VT Grand View Farm

Kim and Chuck Goodling

Welcome to Living with Gotlands. Share my life at Vermont Grand View Farm with Sweden’s curly sheep and a busy border collie named Kai. Settle in with a cup of tea, and learn about wool crafts, homesteading and raising sheep.

Want more? Come stay in our Farmhouse Suite, and experience life on a sheep farm.

I hope you will leave comments as you read our posts so that I can get to know you!



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Gotland Wool Company

Yarn - Roving - Kits

Vermont Grand View Farm

Farm Stays - Gotland Sheep - Yarn

Is a Border Collie a Good Fit for Your Family?

Recently, I received a phone call from someone needing some help re-homing their 8 month old border collie. They had purchased the dog thinking it would be a good companion for their son, but have begun to have trouble with the puppy. Now, they wonder if a border collie is a good fit for their family. When I questioned him about his dog, I quickly realized that he was unfamiliar with the breed and their high maintenance needs. Border collies are wonderful dogs, but they have specific needs which are not for the faint at heart.

Years ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read:


Kai-resident border collie at VT Grand View Farm

My border collie is smarter than your honor roll student.

At that time, I could not totally appreciate the meaning behind that little sticker haphazardly slapped on the back bumper of a car. Now that I am on my second border collie, those words take on a new meaning. The very traits that make them such unique and wonderful dogs are the very traits that make them such a challenge to own:

  • insatiable intensity and zeal for working
  • highly intelligent
  • sensitivity to sound and motion
  • strong herding instincts

Border collies need a job. If I could have one half of the amount of motivation to work as my dog, I would accomplish a tremendous amount of work each day. Though traditionally a livestock dog, their job does not have to just be herding sheep. Activities such as, agility training, fly ball, joring, swimming, and hiking, all provide the intensive physical exertion that border collies long for. Unfortunately, without a job, border collies develop negative behaviors like chasing cars, insistent barking, herding people, chewing on things, and all round lack of discipline. Kai, our border collie, helps me with farm chores twice a day. He goes on two 30-45 minute walks a day where he has time to run free on the trail. He also works with our sheep in training sessions about 5 times a week.

Sheep Dog Training Session

Border collies are also super smart and need mental stimulation. They constantly analyze and think about what they are doing and their surroundings. These dogs have the ability to out think their human owners, and to manipulate them. Consistency and setting clear boundaries are key to successful training.  With high intelligence comes the ability to learn quickly, both the good and the bad habits. If they get away with something once, they will surely try it again. This has been the most challenging aspect of owning Kai. There have been times when I have called upon a more experienced friend or trainer for help and advice when Kai is not behaving for me.

Ridge Runner -Stowe Pinnacle

Ridge Runner -Stowe Pinnacle

Many border collies are sensitive to movement. High pitched sounds and quick movements often put a border collie in a tail spin. When our Kai was a young puppy, he would try to grab and hold swinging skirts, swaying shopping bags, and running cats or children. Now that we are training with sheep, I find that the slightest movement on my part will effect him and send him off around the sheep. I have to be careful how I hold my arms and where I position myself as he not only reacts to my words but to my movements as well.


Kai loves to run!

Before considering purchasing a border collie, it is important to spend time with some border collies first and become familiar with their needs. Border collie rescue groups, like New England Border Collie Rescue, take in border collies that need new homes.  When placed in the right home, border collies flourish and are a joy to own.


Autumn on our Hillside Farm


Autumn is one of the things my children miss most about our hillside farm. “Take pictures”, my son pleaded the last time I spoke with him from his dorm room in Pennsylvania. So this post is for my college kids, Emily, Anna, and Luke. [read more…]

Shearing Day for the Gotlands

Sheared Gotland ewe

It was the perfect day for shearing. The sky was blue and the sun was warm.

Even Kai enjoyed the day. Our shearer brought her dog Lyle along, and he and Kai played a game of tag around the truck.


Kai and Lyle

Now shiny backs of gray graze in the field.

Gotland sheep come in varying shades of gray from pale silver to dark charcoal black. Curls of gray fall from the clippers. It feels good to scratch after the wool comes off.

Wool Sweater Weather & the Vermont Cardigan

Vermont Cardigan

It’s wool sweater weather in Vermont. Smoke rises from chimney tops. Mist lays in the valleys in the early morning. The dew lies heavy on the grass, and the leaves have burst forth in full color.

I finished knitting the long sleeve version of the Vermont Cardigan, just in time. One test knitter told me that she loved her long sleeve cardigan knit from our Gotland yarn. She said it had become her “go [read more…]

Letting Go

feeding baby birds

In early spring, a robin built her nest in the holly bush right next to my front steps. There she raised two clutches of eggs-six babies in all. I watched as she diligently cared for them. This was a summer of letting go, for mother robin and for me. As a parent, there are multiple times when you have to let go. Some times are easier than others.

Mother robin sits on her eggs.

[read more…]

Sheep Transport from Coast to Coast


It was mid morning at a small town in New York, just over the Vermont border, locals whizzed by on their way to work, grabbing their coffee at the corner shop. We waited in the parking lot for a woman from Oregon named Heather, whom we had never met, driving a truck with a livestock trailer in tow. We, as well as others, had entrusted her with our sheep, to provide safe passage as [read more…]

Gaining Ground with Reading and Knitting

Vermont Cardigan

It has been a good couple of months, gaining ground with some leisurely reading and knitting – nourishing my soul.


Gaining Ground found its way into my hands a couple of months ago. Through its pages, Forrest Pritchard tells of his journey to reclaim his family’s farm. One would think that such a book would most inspire the “farmer wanna-be” or encourage the current farmer who is trying to make a go of it. [read more…]

Felting With Gotland Curls

Gotland Curl Producers

Merino wool + Gotland curls + Soap & Water = Pillow

Gotland Curls Felted Pillow

This pillow is made by creating a sleeve using a resist during felting. I laid Merino wool on both sides of the resist and then put Gotland curls on top of the wool. I used the deep palm felting tool by Heart Felt Silks to speed the felting process and to maintain the curls. When felted and [read more…]

The Fiber Art Studio & Work of Andrea Noeske-Porada

Andrea Noeske Porada

Through the past 10 years, I have taken felting and fiber art classes from some pretty amazing artists-Robin Russo, Neysa Russo, Jean Gauger, Inge Bauer, Katia Mokeyeva, and Andrea Noeske-Porada. Each of these artists generously opened their studios, knowledge, and lives up to their students. Not only did they share their technical skill, but also that space within themselves that feeds their yearning to create. While in Germany last fall, I took a one day [read more…]

Farm & Fiber Art Retreat

Shibori felting technique

Last week I had the joy of hosting a woman from Canada who wanted a private farm and fiber art retreat. She had been felting for a few months- exploring on her own and discovering the delight in working with wool. She wanted to move her skill to the next level, learning new surface design techniques and the use of resists. Linda traveled a full day to reach our farm to be immersed in sheep, [read more…]