Columbia nurse manager finds life is better with lots of little goats | Local


Mary Jordan’s days don’t end when she quits her job as a nurse manager. When she reaches her farm south of Columbia, there are plenty of goats to feed – about 50 of them.

For Jordan, raising his Nigerian dwarf goats is a childhood dream come true. Long before moving to Columbia in 2006, she grew up in suburban San Francisco and envisioned life as a farmer. His father supported him by allowing him to own small animals such as rabbits and chickens in the family yard.

But farmland doesn’t come cheap in California, so she gave up on her dream — until, years later, it was resurrected.

Mary Jordan sits with her goats on Monday, June 27 at Deer Park Road in Columbia. “My favorite memory is lying on the floor and all the babies are piling on top of me,” Jordan said.

Jordan was living in Maine when her husband, Dennis Jordan, encountered some kids visiting their sons’ preschool. When he suggested their family buy a pair, Jordan thought it was ridiculous. But after seeing them herself, she quickly changed her mind, and they adopted two.

What started as a hobby quickly became so much more. Jordan thrived taking care of the goats, sharing them and showing them off.

Dennis Jordan didn’t quite agree at first. “I didn’t know how I opened Pandora’s box with, you know, maybe two to four goats,” he recalls. “And then we ended up with the 10.”

Their herd soon grew to about 20, and Mary Jordan began showing and raising goats as a business.

Mary Jordan picks up Jellybean

Mary Jordan picks up Jellybean on Monday, June 27 at Deer Park Road in Columbia. Jordan said his favorite goat is Jellybean because of its kindness and gentleness.

It was only recently that she revealed to Dennis that more than two decades ago, she would occasionally drive through snowy New England to secretly pick up new goats for her herd, sneaking them with the others while her husband was at work. However, he soon came to love goats almost as much as she did.

After Dennis Jordan was honorably discharged from the Navy, they sold their goats and moved to Colombia to be closer to their family. “I had 12 years of goat sobriety. It was a really sad time,” said Mary Jordan.

In 2018, she decided to reestablish her herd and started American Jewell Farm, named after Dennis’ family. The Jewell family had a strong presence in Columbia’s early history, a fact the Jordans discovered long after moving to the city.

Mary Jordan shows nationally award-winning goats, but the awards aren’t what motivate her. Her job in the behavioral health unit at Truman Veterans’ Hospital is stressful, especially during a pandemic. Allowing herself to be immersed in her goats when she’s not on time is a form of therapy.

A goat is resting in a hay feeder

A goat rests in a hay trough Monday, June 27 at Deer Park Road in Columbia. The goat lay down in the shade to escape the scorching sun.

Jordan thinks goats can help others too, and she and her husband can often bring goats, called kids, to visit with students and hospital patients.

On their first visit taking children to a local nursing home, they were surprised to see around 50 people waiting.

“The old people didn’t want to give up on the baby,” Jordan recalled. “We were putting a baby on our lap, and a very old lady was holding it. And she was hugging it so tight. And she wouldn’t want to give it to the next lady.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, they loved having the opportunity to brighten people’s days with goats. “We had some really, really touching times in the nursing homes here in Columbia with some of the seniors. It’s super rewarding,” Jordan said.

Mary Jordan bottle-feeding her kid Bodonkadonk

Mary Jordan bottle-feeds her young Badonkadonk goat Monday, June 27, at Deer Park Road in Columbia. Jordan fed the young goats before the older goats could steal them.

Although their children are grown and out of the house, the Jordan home is certainly not an empty nest. With three dogs, a cat, a few chickens and all those goats, the house is never quiet, especially when there’s a bottle in the living room.

When a child is born with a medical condition, such as a broken leg or muscle strain, Jordan’s nursing instinct kicks in as she fights to save him. With her experience as a labor and delivery nurse in Maine, she feels ready to step in to help her goats give birth if they need it.

During kidding season, she is up almost every hour of the night and rushes home during her lunch breaks to check on goats that might be in labor and help with births in case of a difficult labor or birth problem. health.

Last year a child was born with a broken leg which later had to be amputated. Jordan gave the child, whom she named “Biscuit,” extra care, raising her in the house while she recovered.

Mary Jordan feeds her goats

Mary Jordan feeds her goats Monday, June 27 at Deer Park Road in Columbia. Jordan feeds the goats every night after going down to the hospital where she works.

For months, Biscuit lived in the Jordans’ farmhouse living room, sleeping in a park and walking around the house when they were home. Biscuit eventually joined the herd and lived happily ever after until her recent death. The Jordans planted a tree at his grave in memory.

Rolling up his living room rug so the kids can run around on his vinyl floors isn’t uncommon for Jordan. If goats were allowed to go to work in the hospital with her, you’d probably see her with a baby in her hands as she makes her rounds.

But that’s a task reserved for Dennis Jordan, a local real estate agent. If there is a goat that needs special care during the day, the duty falls to him. He does it so much that he even added goats to the logo on his business cards and signs.

Mary Jordan kisses a goat

Mary Jordan kisses a goat on Monday, June 27 at Deer Park Road in Columbia. Jordan cares deeply about the goats and says they are a form of therapy for her.

Mary Jordan is on a mission to help every life she can, human or goat. “She always had an extra love for people or animals,” her husband said. “So I don’t think in her world, she can ever get enough.”

As she watched the sunset over the goat farm, Jordan said, “I’ve followed my heart, like, my whole life, and it’s brought us to a pretty nice place. I’m just gonna keep doing this.

Elizabeth Brixey is city editor at the Columbia Missourian. She oversees education coverage.

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