All posts by nightskyfarm

About nightskyfarm

My name is Jennifer Downey and I have owned and bred Saanen and La Mancha goats for almost 30 years and now raise French Alpines as well. I also worked for DHIA for several years testing both cow and goat dairy herds in New England. I strive to produce a superior product and healthy, correct livestock. This is a true family farm; the Grandfather, the three children, myself and the three dogs work the farm and produce the cheese. My father goes to market and is our head of cheese sales! My oldest son does much of the heavy work like fencing and mechanical repairs and also goes to market. My middle son tends to the young stock and poultry and my daughter, the youngest, milks the goats in the evening and supervises the kid rearing and any regular veterinary work the goats may need. The three dogs make sure we are all in our places at the proper times, especially breakfast and dinner. I am the cheese-maker, the overseer of operations and the head of transportation with only one pick-up truck. Night Sky Farm, once a dream is now become a reality. We are located in picturesque central Virginia, part of a rural, agriculturally based community. We are the only goat dairy. Most all of what is used in the making of our farmstead cheese comes from either our farm or from the local area. Through this, we try to keep our money at home where it is needed, supporting the local economy. The goal of this enterprise is to promote a safe and healthy local product, at the same time be good stewards of the farm and it's resources; the land, the animals and our community.

Breeding Season Is Well Under Way



So far, all but 5 does have been confirmed bred. I will have registered Alpine, Nubian, Saanen kids coming next year and some 50% Alpine/50% Saanen as well. Much has happened since my last post. Needless to say, things are changing here at Night Sky Farm.

I sold one of the cows three weeks ago. Annabelle Clover went to her new home in Spout Spring, VA where she fits in nicely with her new family. I miss her tremendously, but it had to be. Emmy and GABRIELLA, her heifer calf of 2013 are here and well. They both have just gotten over a bout of  “Winter Dysentery”, YUCK! I will be breeding Emmy in 3 weeks since she just had a heat along with the virus. Gabriella will also be bred soon. The Fall milk will flow!!

I am slowly getting used to life on the farm by myself. My son moved away last February and I greatly miss his presence, not only for the help, but the physical person is no longer here. I have created a rhythm that seems to work with me, but it is very hard. I have had to stop attending Market due to the fact that it is Winter and I cannot be away from the farm and my house for 12 hours at a time. I heat ONLY with wood and there is no one here this Winter to stoke the fires and keep the farm orderly. My milk shares have had to cease because of this except for those that pick up on the farm. I am sad about it, but it has to be for now. Goat babies start to arrive mid-February. I have to be on the farm to catch those kids and get them properly feeding. If I’m at Market, my farm will suffer.

I am building a weebly site from which to sell my products this Winter, so all of my regular customers can continue to enjoy the products I offer. When the site is done, I will link it on a separate page which you can access from the main page of the blog. As well as on FACEBOOK. I am very excited about this 🙂 In the meantime, I am making soap, laundry soap, lotion, deodorant and tooth scrub. Also, crocheted gloves, scarves and hats. All of these will be available to buy on this new weebly website. If you need anything please send me an email or call 434-426-4886. I can ship anywhere via USPS or FedEx.

So, take some time this Holiday Season to give THANKS, I am.


Let’s Resurrect This Blog!


It has been quite sometime since I have opened up this website and really looked at it. I have spent hours thinking of what made me stop and I can blame it on social media, especially Facebook. I have decided to delete my personal Facebook page and stick to this alone. The business page will remain with links to this site. I am blown away by how much Facebook has interfered with my life and I am appalled that I allowed it to go on so long. I am returning to my WordPress platform and will be adding an online store with a Paypal checkout for my products. There will be a page detailing my Farmer’s Markets and where and when to find me which will be regularly updated.

I feel this is a move in the right direction. You can still contact me on Facebook through the Farm Page or send me an email at

This is a rebirth not a death.

A New Cheese On The Block!

Night Sky Farm annouces a new cheese for the 2011 Farmer’s Markets!! COSMIC GOUDA is a fresh 100% Jersey Cow Milk Cheese with awesome flavor!  I wish I had an aging room or cave to age this cheese for 60 days because it would enhance the flavors even more! But, I don’t have that ability as yet, so a fresh cheese it will be.


Cosmic Gouda

Cosmic Gouda, as do all our fresh pressed cheeses, comes to you cut in 5 oz. pieces which are vacuum sealed to extend shelf life and preserve freshness. Right now, Cosmic Gouda will be in limited quantities until later in the season, but Hat Creek Cheddar and Sugar Hill Harvarti in all their varieties from the herbed, dill and spicy pepper flavors, will be available most market days. I think you will be very pleased and impressed with our new Cosmic Gouda.

We will also have available Goat Butter, sold in 4 oz. bars and later in the summer, Cow Butter and our Blended Goat/Cow Butter, the best of both worlds. This is not your ordinary butter, not meant for cooking or baking. I call my butter “table” butter meant to grace your table for spreading on crusty french bread or a flakey croissant.

Cosmic Gouda Wrapped & Labeled

Our Farmer’s Markets kick off on Friday, April 1 with the Chesterfield Farmer’s Market at the Chesterfield Town Center from 9 – 1pm. and on Saturday, April 2 at the Brandermill Green Market 10 – 2pm. The Brandermill Market is in the Shopping Center on 360W (Hull Street) at the 288 inter change. From Richmond it will be on the right before 288 and from the west, you will have to go up and then U-turn on to 360W and then it will be on the right. Please come and see me at either market and check out all of our wonderful cheeses, goat milk bath/body products and WASH TIME Eco-Friendly Laundry Soap.We will be vending theere for the month of March and posssibly throughout the season.


On Saturday, April 16, Night Sky Farm will be present at the 3rd GREEN SPRING EXPO on Healthy Living held at the Armory in Lynchburg, VA. 9 – 4pm. This should be a fun filled event for everyone with plenty of local food to buy and sample, music and demonstrations. This is the event to attend to find out what farms are producing in your area, where to find local foods and services, and to meet the folks that make it happen. Between the famer’s markets and the many Springtime events being held throughout the area, there will be plenty of opportunity to come out and show your support for sustainable agriculture and local producers. Our 2011 Farmer’s MArket schedule is not yet finalized, but this is what is confirmed right now: we will be in Newport News on Wednesdays at the Port Warwick Farmer’s Market, in Chesterfield on Fridays, a new farmer’s market in Forest on Saturdays, and at Goochland, VA two Saturdays, South of the James Farmer’s Market on 2 Saturdays. Yikes! I am all over the Commonwealth getting our fabulous products out to you and now you all need to come out and support these markets and keep them alive and vibrant! The exact dates for the Saturday markets still need to be mapped out, but this is the plan. I will be including the schedule in the next Night Sky Farm newsletter and if you have not yet signed up to recieve one, please click on the box above. It will take you to our sign up page.


We’ve Made The Switch ~ To Peanut Power!

Yep ~ a new feed for the dairy and we are just about transistioned over to it. This is a minimum 16% protein rated, textured feed consisting predominately whole grains and PEANUTS for protein and not a bit of soy! Nowhere – Nohow, no hulls, not ground, zero – zilch – nada. I feel really good about this feed and the goats really like it too. They eat slower and seem to be enjoying the pace. This is produced by a relatively local feed company in Lawrence, NC named Performance Feed and it is delivered to the farm monthly. The company also blends cattle feed, poultry feed and offers whole grains. All of my does are pretty much in late lactation, getting bred or are bred and drying off, so this was the best time to make a feed switch and get them on it before their next kiddings. The dairy’s milk production has even gone up a little bit to average between 7.5 – 8 gallons on 17 does milking. One first freshening yearling is only going in the tank on her evening milking (she has been nursing her kid). I have not started the cows on this feed yet, they are still eating the 16% dairy pellet. I tried giving Eirinne some one evening and she choked on it eating too fast, then spit it out. Darn cow! Eirinne leaves the end of October for her new farm and then I may try Emily and Annabelle Clover on the new feed. Emily is due to dry off by the first week of December with a due date of February 1, 2011.

Performance Feed
Feed Detail




You can see the peanuts, cottonseed, cracked corn, textured protein pellets etc. The girls, big and small are enjoying this feed. There is also a substancial monetary savings with this feed over what we were feeding before and the savings allows me to pay off my hay man ( in pieces, but bigger ones)!

Fall has officially arrived in my book. I don’t really like it much because it means cooler weather, ramping up of the ongoing wood project, fence and barn construction, and the constant bellowing and arguing of does in heat! Bred Sweetie yesterday to my big Saanen, Nibbie. I am really liking those crossbred does. We will have some Nupines born next year, I am using Sugar Bear on a few of the Alpines to increase overall butterfat content of the mil. Here is a pic of some of Nibbie’s kids – Goats-in-waiting is what we call these girls! Three Nibbie Saanens, 2 Chribrydon Nubians and a Saanen/Alpine doe, Morning Glory.

Those Girls!

They hold a lot of promise for the dairy! Breeding them in late winter, January – early February 2011. I already have 6 -7 yearlings freshening this winter and at least 3 of them will be for sale late spring.  Now, I am ahead of myself! Market Day tomorrow – Back to Work with me!

Oh Boy ~ So Much Going On, So Little Time…….

WE HAVE BUTTER! Perfect 40z bars of “table butter” for you holiday enteraining! Sweet Cream butter and a hint of sea salt molded in our Medieval Flowers tray mold. They are vacuum sealed, frozen and thawed only when ready to use. Find our butter at the St.Stephen’s Farmer’s Market and offered on the new St. Stephen’s Online Market! Yes, a new co-op in Richmond, info to join is on their website. Many of the regular vendors present at the market will be offering their products with the new online market as well. Thursday is the day for delivery and pick up, same as our Fall Line, so for me the logistics work and I can offer more of my products! I will be putting up all my cheeses, butter, soap and bath products, and our WASH TIME Eco-Friendly Laundry Soap too. Look to the new online market for you Holiday gifts, but you have to be a member to purchase or browse the offerings.


100% Jersey BUTTER


The new addition is an electric BUTTER CHURN! Of course, I could only find what I needed in Alberta, CANADA!   A Gem Dandy 1 gallon churn. All I could find here if they did small amounts were in rough shape and all the new ones did a minimum of 2.5 gallons and were on the pricey side. I should have it next week which will greatly aid butter-making!


Butter Churn


Not to mention that ALL the does are cycling and I am breeding them in rotation. We will have lovely La Mancha, Alpine, Alpine/Saanen and Alpine/Nubian crosses, Nubian and Saanen babies next spring, many of which will be for sale. I have kept 2 reg. Alpine bucks, 2 reg. Saanen bucks, 2 reg. Nubian bucks and 1 La Mancha buck. Also, I am bringing in a French Alpine buck for late-October and  all of November to be used on at least 4 of my does. He is Tempo Aquila Bold Type and I have some of his lineage already in my herd. He will stand at Night Sky Farm for the time he is here for outside breeding. If you are interested in using him please send me an email. He has a reasonable service fee.

Production is remaining steady with 7 gallons of Jersey milk and 7 – 8 gallons of goat milk daily! We will be milking through the winter so far. Our first senior doe, Cranberry is due 5 November, none in December and several due January/February 2011. Oh, what a circle, it will be back to feeding kids again.

I would like to introduce you to Stella and Camille! They are handily taking care of all the extra milk and whey generated by the dairy. They will be in residence through the winter and early spring. I am actively searching for a breeding pair of American Guinea Hogs, small, prefectly sized farmstead pigs!


Stella & Camille


Stella is the banded one and Camille is the black beauty! That is mud on her snout. They were not terribly friendly for the first few days, but now I can scratch both of them without a bark. Camille actully barked at me the first couple of times I reached out to her!

So much to do, so little of me!

WOW! What a Whirlwind!

Eirinne Cow

It’s been a whirlwind of 3 weeks! My Brutus has found a new herd to reign over and a whole family of La Manchas ( Mother and 2 daughters )  left for their new home: together! The woman who bought them adores each and every one. She said the butterfat content in their milk is exceptional! Many, many bucklings and the 3 yearling bucks have moved out, leaving me with Karisma’s 2010  buckling, Equinox, a Nibbie son out of a WIllow Run doe in 2009, Shadow, the Pine Springs 2009 La Mancha, Cosimc Brownie my Smooth Operator grandson from 2009, Hans Solo, a 2009 American Alpine from Walnut Fork in W.VA and of course, our Nibbie, Bonnie Blue Sir Nibbler. Nibbie is our AI bred Companeros Cascade buck. Then, Night Sky Farm is leasing French Alpine, Tempo Aquila Bold Type from Rianbow Colors Farm to recreate a Bandit, the 2 yr old buck I sold last year who was a Bold Type son and with any luck give me some wonderful doe kids! He should arrive mid-October and will be available for use through November 2010. Just send me an email if you wish to book a breeding. Pictures of his daughters can be found on my FACEBOOK in the photos section. Listed the album: Bold Type Daughters please check them out!

We still have 3 Alpine does for sale and 3 Alpine doe kids, 1 Alpine buck kid, 2 La Mancha doe kids and 1-2 Grade La Mancha does, and one Grade La Mancha buckling still on milk. Our first kids are due 5 November and some each month thereafter till June! Annabelle Clover is still very large and is getting ready. EIrinne Cow is for sale and our dear, Emily Cow is due 1 February 2011. I want to get down to 2 milking cows.

Emily Cow
Annabelle Clover Cow

Today, I made 15 lbs of feta, and many, many lbs. of chevre. Tomorrow, I will work on the 100% Jersey milk and pasteurize it for Fresh Cream Cheese, Havarti and Cheddar.

Also, need to replenlish our stock of lotion, lip balm and laundry soap! Lavender Mint, Chamomile Sage and Saharan Sandalwood are on deck.