SOUTHINGTON – Most folks would not even fathom all the activities that can be done with goats until they visit Bradley Mountain Farm.
The property at 537 Shuttle Meadow Rd. is adjacent to Crescent Lake and a revelation takes place there every time a visitor discovers that goats can paint.
“We call them our little Van Goat artists,” said Traci Wood, one of several event leaders on site who are always dreaming up new ways to have fun with the herd of 32 goats that live on the farm.
“Each goat has their own painting style,” added Terri Battaglia, another event leader who has been training the hooved animals to interact with canvases and non-toxic, washable paints.
Rosebud and Buckwheat are the swiping type, who hear the command “paint!” and know just what to do.
Rewarded with treats each time they successfully step on or rub splattered paint onto a canvas, the goats have incentive to amuse guests.
Sprite walked all over the small picture being made on Sunday by Rhiana Sklavouris, who spent the day at the farm with her mother Margo.
The Sklavouris’s are Goat Nannies, which means they have a special relationship with Bradley Mountain Farm’s goats.
“We get to come once a month and take care of the goats,” Margo explained. “We give them vitamins…check their hooves and we get to do fun stuff with them too. It’s really cool.”
On Sunday they made goat paintings for the sixth time, adding to a gallery that has gone up inside their Plainville home. Earlier in the day mother-and-daughter also joined in goat yoga, another popular offering.
As visitors struck poses on the grassy hill, the goats walked around them and on top them.
People can also go on a “Fairy Goatmother Play Date”; attend a Goats ‘N’ Pajamas Party, participate in Goat Storytime or even “Join the Herd” – walking and playing amongst them. A variety of offerings take place every weekend up until Christmas and private events can be booked anytime as well.
Next Saturday, Oct 31 is Halloween and the goats will be dressed up in costumes. The full Blue Moon will entice guests during a nighttime stroll around the property, planned for 6 p.m.
The event has already sold out, but there are other activities happening throughout the day.
“We’ll have goat painting, a make-and-take soap workshop, goat yoga, goat snuggles and a goat n’ pajama party,” Wood said.
While area leisure and entertainment venues like movie theatres, concert halls and bars have suffered irreparably during the covid-19 pandemic these last seven months, the farm has kept fairly busy.
“We’ve been very lucky,” Store Manager Karen Perry pointed out. “People want to be outside and doing fun things with their families.”
Upon closing for three months last spring, the goats missed their regular visitors.
“When people started coming back you could tell they were happier,” Wood said.
The herd has grown, and so has the farm. Eight goat babies were born over the last year, and a new pavilion was built onto the main farmhouse for events.
A wedding took place there this past Saturday. Owner Anneliese Dadras welcomed the newlywed couple and their families for cocktails and dinner.
“It’s been a crazy time but honestly, a good time for us,” Perry said. “We’ve reevaluated and we’re doing really well.”
A full calendar of events is available on the farm’s Facebook page or at bradleymountainfarm.com.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.