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The Yankee Express

Luke Visits Armsby Farm

By Amy Palumbo-LeClaire

Two things came to mind during my first visit to Armsby Farm, Sutton. First, I wanted to find a natural based body lotion for my skin. Second, I thought about my pup. Oh, how Luke would love it here! “BAA!” The goats welcomed me with blatant enthusiasm. Their calls echoed a time of innocence and childhood storybooks. Wide eyed and curious, a few stretched their necks from the edge of the pen. Others, unimpressed, chewed on hay. 

Check out our lotions!
We have unscented! 
We are milked two times per day by hand!

Twelve years ago, if you told Misha Brigham, a former banker from the Czech Republic, that she’d be milking, bottling and freezing the milk of seven healthy goats, she’d have told you, you’re crazy. Yet here she is in the small town of Sutton living a dream built on devotion, hard work, and unconditional love for goats who, ahem, expect to be milked in the same order. Misha and her husband, Justin, brought home seven two-week old female goats during the spring of 2022 with a vision to, first, care for goats and, next, create something more. The goats were a birthday present to Misha. Little did she know that she was about to receive a gift even greater.
The couple bottle-fed the goats immediately so that they would easily transition from mother’s teat to bottle nipple. Two years later (late January/early February 2024), Misha found herself camping out (for five days) in the barn to await the births of goats she had come to know and love. She facilitated the births of sixteen healthy goats. “I kept visiting the barn to see when it was going to happen. I couldn’t wait and it seemed as though they knew I was supposed to be there. One goat had a kid unexpectedly and it caused chaos. Goats like their routine to stay the same. Every single birth was a different experience. Each of the goats did it differently and had her own little things that worked to deliver healthy babies. The experience was stressful, joyful and overwhelming. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she shared. “To witness a living thing being born was indescribable.” 
The day had come for Luke to visit the goats of Armsby Farm. He couldn’t believe his nose.
“It smells like a goat was here!!” Nose planted to the ground, and with Misha’s permission, he pranced into the barn on a mission to greet new friends. “BAA! BAA!” He sensed Misha’s acceptance for him and nestled beside her. “Go ahead, Luke. Come on up.” She tapped on the counter of the kids’ wooden pen. “I can watch them up close?” He rested his front paws on the wood and reveled in the sight of so many goats. “You remind me of a dog with a long neck. Your eyes are so big!” He twitched his nose and smiled with the charm of an entitled pedigree golden retriever.
“BAA!” The goats responded with cautious approval. Misha went on to share a story that’s become a folktale, told and retold to Armsby Farm clients who take home a piece of Misha’s goat-love—sold in a two-ounce, four-ounce, or eight-ounce pump bottle. 
 “I’ve never done anything like this before,” Misha admitted. ‘It was something unbelievable. I had so many emotions and cried a bit. The goats and I take morning strolls through the meadow each morning before being milked. They are trained to stay together and stay by my side.”
Luke listened with a leonine grin and looked up at Mother Goat. “But how about play time? Do your kids like to play?” A natural animal-person; Misha scooped up a goat and set her down outside of the pen to greet a rambunctious Luke. “BAA!! Who let the dog out? I’m not comfortable! I’m not comfortable!” 
The freed goat darted and hid between Misha’s legs as though auditioning for a Scooby Doo episode. Luke respected the kid’s wishes with a hyper air of charm. “Don’t let my big head fool you. I’m afraid of my own shadow at times. See ya!” Then he galloped out of the barn and romped up the meadow hill, alongside the fence border. 
“The girls are a handful, aren’t they?” Malcolm, the bearded stud of Armsby Farm, stood tall and wise at the top of the hill where he eyed Luke. Despite some early “reluctance” to do his job, he became a proud father of sixteen goat kids (Misha ending up keeping four babies). Intoxicated by the farm; Luke lied on his back and rolled around foolishly, as though to brand the meadow with a lotion titled Luke’s Scent.
“Luke, please!” I scolded my pup. Good behavior on the grounds of the Billy Goat of my childhood seemed reasonable.  Luke snapped to a seated position. “Can I have a sleep-over?” A piece of straw hung like a pipe from the corner of his mouth. 
We decided to lock Luke up in his own pen quarters while I took more notes about the lavish Armsby Farm. “Am I in a time-out? The hay in this prison cell smells soooo good!” He sniffed and smiled and sniffed some more. “Any chance I could get a glass of water?” Misha grabbed a bucket, filled it with water, and set it down. Luke’s eyes bloomed. “That water bowl is so big!” 
We chatted some more about Misha’s lotions and soaps, and she shared with me her love for the creative process of concocting lotions that are as lustrous as they are varied. She sells lavender, pink mimosa, hickory and suede, coconut paradise, sage and lemongrass, and clover and aloe, among several others. Misha and Justin, additionally, plan on progressing to a small farm operation; growing vegetables, seasonal items, and eggs. “We hope to add to the already thriving farms in the community.”
A sense of gratitude for the circle of life came over me during the drive home from Armsby Farm. I thought about the goats, first being loved and bottle fed, then growing to become nurtured mothers who provide rich milk for the well-being of others. Where would we be without a Mother’s Love? Meanwhile, Luke popped his head out of his travel crate, grinned, and watched the cars go by. I couldn’t help but imagine the bumper sticker of Luke’s car, should he learn how to drive. 
Visit Armsby Farm at 67 Stone School Road, Sutton
Follow Armsby Farm on FB and IG
Email them:  [email protected] 
Call Misha directly (mobile): 774-708-0730
Stay tuned for more on Luke Valentino.
Follow him on IG @livingwithlukevalentino