On June 10 1961, one month after the Midolane inspections, four Blue Diamond does - Tia, Teresa (also spelled Terise), Kitty and Nita - and one buck - Nino - were admitted to the AMGRA registry. Tom Draper's friend, Al Meeder, who was caring for them in San Bernardino CA, had transported them to Norco for the inspection.
Although sires and dams are recorded for these animals and Tom did publish some notes about their breeding, it is next to impossible to follow the mating trail as these animals were moved from northern California through the Central Valley to southern California. This much is clear: Tom was philosophically committed to inbreeding. He also outcrossed to other breeds - principally Toggenburgs - when backed into a corner, which seemed to be happening with alarming frequency as his small herd was moved from place to place.
His favorite doe, Teresa, great granddaughter of a LaSuise Saanen buck, was bred to Meeder's Toggenburg buck which produced "Manuel." Blue Diamond Nino L222 was the offspring of Manuel and his dam, Teresa.
That, at least, is one scenario. The other is that Nino was the son of Meeder's Togg buck (comment written on grandaughter's registration paper.) I am writing about this now because up until recent times many parentage questions have arisen which were not amenable to resolution. It is also true that not everyone keeps careful records. Now that blood typing is accessible to anyone who wishes to use the technology when a question arises in the future it can be resolved. Honest mistakes are one thing. Integrity is another. Accuracy in a pedigree is the only justification for keeping these records in the first place.
Some time during the 60's Draper purchased a few Fay does. A story suggesting he wanted to add more "red" color to his stock may be true, however the buck he also acquired - Fay's Jerri Andi L567 was decidedly black and white in a broken "cou noir" pattern. (I have been unable to obtain any other specific information about Draper in the period 1961-69.}
October 15, 1969 marked a turning point in Tom's impassioned involvment with LaManchas. A serious truck accident brought to an abrupt halt his California dairying ventures. The story is both sad and confusing. I do know the herd was divided between Tomahawk Ranch in Ukiah and Laurelwood Acres in Ripon. Over time several of these animals and their descendants flourished and provided seed to many small herds.
Tom recovered from his injuries and moved out of state, eventually making a home in Florida. Almost exactly four years after his accident nine does and one buck were returned to him by the Nordfelts (Laurelwood Acres.) He lived until January 29, 1987 maintaining sporadic contact with breeders he had known from earlier times. His herdname - Blue Diamond - has still not been given exclusive "historic" status by the American Dairy Goat Association. It needs to happen soon.
"Swiss Miss" (Al Meeder's herdname) and " Coulter R" (Ed Coulter's herdname appear on some early LaManchas registrations. All of these goats derive, apparently, from Blue Diamond stock. Doreen Ross (Goat City and Free Lance) also, using similar stock slipped in and out of the LaMancha orbit in this time period. The large, white buck - K-Lou Macho - provided a counterpoint to Doreen's use of Blue Diamond genes.
Many of the best of the Blue Diamond does found a home at Mary Stefani's Tomahawk Ranch. Blue Diamond Barri L1130, a red and white Jerri Andi son, became her first herd sire. With the help of her daughter, Nancy Turner, she milk tested, exhibited, advertized and sold kids nationwide.
Her foundation stock, which included some of Tom's Fay acquisitions had a different look from the K-Lou/Nixon/Longden Acres LaManchas, which were dominating the show scene in that period. They were mostly large framed does: chamoisees, red or black with white paint. Their heads often lacked breed character and could be coarse and undistinguished, but they stood on strong feet and legs and projected plenty of dairy character.
In 1976 a Jerri Andi daughter, Tomahawk's Feather L1151, tied for butterfat production with a 141# record made at the age of four years. Feather stood out in the showring, when she was exhibited by her owner, Nancy's daughter Heidi. She was big, she was deep red with splashy white paint, and she had a capacious udder. Unfortunately this udder was adorned with rather small "sheep" teats, angled to the outside. Mercifully these dysfunctional teats were bred out in the succeeding generations. Her granddaughter, Tomahawk's Chick-A-Dee, became the dam of Redwood Hills J Chickory, one of the more successful bucks in the breed.
Two of the longest running shows on the LaMancha stage got their start with, among others, Tomahawk stock. Both of these small herds were headed by mothers with growing children, careers and a persistant devotion to their LaManchas. They helped to promote the breed by volunteering in the American LaMancha Club and they purchased stock from far away places when it wasn't so common to do so. The Washington "Ever Lovin" herd is the pride of Mary Curry (previously Vickery) and her family. I am sure it is aptly named. Ruth Anne Barker of Vermont owns the Revelation herd. She is famous for her entertaining, politically correct sales lists. She claims her animals are highly evolved spiritually. My impression is that Ruth Anne is very evolved.
The Blue Diamond contingent at Laurelwood Acres Goat Diary was headed up by Jerri Andi and his six month old son, Blue Diamond Busy Boy L1054, who grew to truly live up to his name. By the time he was eight years old he had at least 60 registered daughters and six sons, more or less. And the numbers continued to climb in the ADGA Handbooks for the next couple years. Harvey Considine, who was an ADGA classifier at the time, classified him: Excellent 94 at the age of nine years and at the age of seven had awarded him " Best Buck in Show." The Nordfelts seemed to particularly enjoy showing this buck whose skin was as wrinkled as a Shar Pei's.
Several of Busy Boy's sons, most of which were owned by Laurelwood, became permanent champions. But alas, apparently only one of his daughters made the "permanent grand champion" grade in the showring and she was owned and shown in Washington. To be fair a few of the does had show wins, but none were memorable for good type. Even Flouncy, the daughter of GCH K-Lou Bouncy, was a lesser doe than her dam. It is not hard to understand why other breeders were not lining up to use Busy Boy on their does, especially those who were looking for mammary improvments.
Some of the milk records his daughters made were remarkable, especially for a commercial dairy the size of Laurelwood, but most were a just a bit better than average with butterfat averages on the high side. A few achieved " Breed Leader" status, but so did daughters of other LaMancha bucks domiciled at Laurelwood that were not used as heavily.
The Erbe's dairying efforts experienced a serious financial setback some time in the early 1970's and several K-Lou does and at least one buck were picked up by Laurelwood. I asked Louise why some does with K-Lou prefixes were sired by bucks owned by Laurelwood as it had not been their practice to use these bucks in the past. She explained to me that the registration papers for their dams had not been transferred before the breeding season had gotten underway.
The bucks, K-Lou Flasher L932 and Law-Zel King Zog L469, were both bred directly from the Midolane "Basics" and tended to have a beneficial effect on type, particularly udders. Laurelwood's use of these bucks was proof of that as they produced more show winners than Busy Boy. The 3x National Show Champion - Rocinante Kellie - is a mix of Flasher/ Zog and a few of the direct descendants of the Blue Diamond "Basics."
Even though the LaMancha breed was not a favorite at Laurelwood Acres, the breed is indebted to them for taking in animals at risk and providing them with a dairy setting in which they were able to prove their value. They kept very accurate records and sold La Mancha kids to individuals who perhaps could not have obtained them easily otherwise.
I have a very personal connection to Laurelwood: my introduction to the breed was a magazine photo of an adorable LaMancha kid peering over a fence at Laurelwood. That magazine was the late lamented "Dairy Goat Guide," which I spent hours pouring over in the city prior to our "return to the land" along with all those others in the 1970's. Because of that photo we never considered any other breed when we sought to acquire our first kid.
In 1968 after three decades of dedication to the nuture and promotion of the tiny ear goats, who had endeared themselves to her, Fay Frey died. As we shall see the breed was in safe hands and the Seventies Goat Boom was about to erupt.
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and Barbara Backus
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