October 28, 2016
This past week we added two gray females to our herd along with a trio of kitties to help police our barn. Gwenhwyfar Macdhui (yes, that is the correct spelling) and Heather Nikos, both from Thistledown Alpacas in Manakin Sabot, VA, will help us diversify not only our genetics, but also color. We can now add gray yarn to our stock of white, beige, fawn, brown, and black. Our three new feline friends – Doc, Watson, & Minnie Pearl (she’s the gray one) – will soon be put to work making sure that our occasional field mouse visitor will understand the feed is for the alpacas, llamas, and pigs and NOT for them. When not busy at work they’ll have a big time socializing with the herd and playing in the hay. We’re sure they’ll provide much entertainment for many years to come!
August 8, 2016
Well it took 7 1/2 years and two retirements, but we finally have all of our herd plus two guard llamas on our very own farm. We gained a lot of knowledge from our mentors while boarding our animals at Bear Garden Farm and Double 8 Alpaca Ranch, but the time has finally come to put all that learning to the test. The herd is adjusting well to their new surroundings and we have our first “herd health” day under our belts with nary a spit. (Well, maybe a little spit). We’re looking forward to our first farm event – an Open House on Saturday, September 3. If you’re in the Waynesboro, PA area that weekend, stop by and check us out!
July 5, 2016
To those who asked me over the years, – “how long are you going to stay in the Army Band” my answer was always – “until I find something I’d rather do”. That finally happened a short time ago and so it was time for me to move on. I’ve had a truly blessed career. I’m retiring as the Concert Band Percussion Group Leader – the goal I had set for myself nearly 30 years ago when I walked through the front door as the band’s newest percussionist. It wouldn’t have happened without a lot of help from many different people, first and foremost my family: Thank you to…
… my wife Kathy, who has been my rock, for all of her support through the years, for her incredible wisdom and sound advice, and for her nearly limitless patience and enduring love.
… my son Jeff, and daughter, Julia for making parenting easy. They are two of the best kids you could ever want. They enabled me to spend most of my problem-solving energies at work, instead of at home. I am so very proud of who they have become and all that they have accomplished.
… my parents, who suggested that I take drum lessons when I was 7 years old and made me stick with it when I wanted to quit. They paid for the private lessons and attended countless concerts over the years (must be in the hundreds!) and I am eternally indebted to them
… the command team - COL Holtan and Command Sergeant Major Dan Smith. Two individuals who care deeply – not just about the Band – but about the individual members who make up the Band and want each one to be as successful as possible. You don’t write personalized handwritten birthday cards unless you truly and deeply care.
… those who helped me get off to a good start in Pershing’s Own when I arrived in October of 1986. SGM Mike Johnston was the best mentor a new member of the Ceremonial Band percussion section could have. He made coming to work fun, but knew how to be serious when it was time to perform. He along with Robert White, and Myles Overton were a great section in which to start out and they showed me the ropes for the first quarter of my career.
… the members of the Concert Band percussion section who mentored me when I made the switch to Concert Band in 1994 – SGM Bill Messerschmidt, Bill Richards, Gary Swiderski, and Terry Heilman. We were a section of Pennsylvania boys – except for Gary. They taught me a lot about musicianship and being a section player. Watching them play was like a free private lesson every day. It was a great way to be introduced to the Concert Band.
… SGM Tim Huesgen who was my partner in the leadership of the Concert Band percussion section for 10 years. Even on the worst day when things were going wrong Tim would have that one off-the-cuff comment that would crack me up. We made a good team and had a lot of fun. On trips I could always count on him to have researched the best restaurants and attractions.
… the various Concert Band Element Leaders over the past several years. SGM Debbie McGarity, SGM Chuck Seipp, SGM Rick Parrell, SGM Don Palmire and now SGM Jerry Amoury. They were always happy to give advice and guidance when I asked, and even sometimes when I didn’t. They helped shape who I became as a leader and their impact on me was substantial.
… the EO Team – Primary EO Leader was not a position I sought, but I was blessed to have had the opportunity, and to work with and get to know such dedicated and caring people. You do great work. Thank you for your efforts to make TUSAB a better place
… the current Concert Band percussion section – I’ve enjoyed performing with you for the past 15 years. We’ve had some challenges, but have also done some great things and had some great times! As my replacement, Kris Keeton is a great addition and immediately makes the section better by his presence. I expect more great things.
… Jen Lissak and POFA, for their help with the retirement luncheon!
There are many things I will miss:
Finally, as with most retirees, I have to offer a bit of advice as I walk out the door. We are all extremely fortunate to be a part of this organization. Although there are things we’re required to do that we don’t really enjoy, for the most part we are making a living doing what we love. For musicians that is getting to be a very rare thing. Never take it for granted!
Thank you for a great career!- Jay
June 25, 2015
After years of being a virtual farm the time has finally come. We recently closed on the purchase of our brick and mortar (actually it’s wood siding) Sugar Hollow Farm! It is 26 acres located in Waynesboro, PA and we will be moving our alpacas there in 2016. It has been used for horses for the past several years so we will spend the coming months getting it ready for alpacas, chickens, and maybe even some kune kune pigs!
Although it currently needs a little upgrading we will have a farm store on the premises, so after you visit with the alpacas you can stock up on your favorite alpaca clothing, and yarn from one of the alpacas you just visited!
We look forward to having you visit our farm after we move in, so watch this space for updates and our grand opening in 2016!
May 11, 2015
Julia graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Animal Sciences. We are so proud! Alpacas changed her life — we discovered them when she was a sophomore in high school. She chose to pursue animal sciences at Penn State, and has completed her Bachelor of Science degree. Along the way she became certified in artificial insemination, which we can’t do in alpacas (yet!), but she’s ready for your cows!
May 7, 2015
Once again, our herdsire Matoskah has held his own in the fleece competition against much larger farms. This year he placed 2nd in his class coming in just behind an entry from Cabin View Alpacas and placing ahead of an entry from the well known Cas-Cad-Nac Farm. The judge’s comment on his scorecard was “simply stunning fineness”. And Ian Watt reports that Matoskah is the fourth most dense alpaca he has ever tested. He is now available for breedings at introductory prices. Once his crias hit the ground next year the price will inevitably go up. Make your investment now. Matoskah is standing stud at Double 8 Alpacas in Lovettsville, VA.
May 25, 2014
We are pleased to announce the birth of Inspiration’s Keep the Faith on May 7! Since her dam’s name is Esperanza (Hope), we thought it only appropriate to call Esperanza’s daughter Faith. Esperanza is the hope of our farm, and Faith reflects our confidence in the future!
She is a lovely dark fawn color, and inherited her daddy’s density and fiber structure. She has a beautiful, soft hand. We’re going to enjoy watching this little one grow up!
We are Jay & Kathy Brown of Sugar Hollow Farm Alpacas in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Learn more about us here.