Todd Eastin

Todd Eastin, Chief Coordinator of Caprine Conservationists, has been living on the same patch of Shady Valley mountainside since 1972. He and his wife Lynn are amazingly well matched for the life they chose 4 decades ago. With a goal of establishing a subsistence farm and homestead, they have succeeded in avoiding the riches of more lucrative traditional careers. **

Todd developed an interest in the natural world attending summer camp in the Colorado Rockies. That interest carried into college where he received a bachelor's degree majoring in biology at Principia College in Illinois. He and Lynn met there and were married after graduating in 1968. They spent the next two years in Iowa City in Todd's home state while he worked at a Goodwill Industries sheltered workshop. It was while there that he and Lynn planted their first garden, heated their un-insulated farm house with wood, and started down a slippery slope back to the land. They never quite got over it.

The Move to Shady Valley

Upon leaving Iowa City, they set off on a 5 month odyssey in a Chevy van looking for a remote piece of land for starting a homestead. Strangely, the odyssey ended where it began ... in Bristol, VA. Lynn grew up in the Appalachians of SW Virginia and had family in Bristol which is one of the most plausible explanations for how the two of them found Shady Valley.

After two years living in a tipi, they moved into a framed structure of their own design and labor. That was Phase One. Phase Two followed the birth of their second daughter and the need for more space. And Phase Three was completed in 1996 as part of Lynn's pottery studio expansion. After the birth of the daughters, Todd and Lynn's habit of doing everything together began to assume a greater division of labor. Lynn tended children and pottery. Todd managed most of the outdoor farm-related activities.

Of the many things they have put their hands to over the years, raising goats is one of the most enduring. The first Angora goats were purchased in the late 70's. Todd has been shearing goats twice a year ever since.

Involvement with the Baatany Goat Prjoect

Todd took a vicarious interest in the Forest Service goat browsing on Round Bald in the 1990's. He had already used portable electrified netting with his goats for a number of years when conversations with Jamey re-introduced the idea of making goats available for browsing blackberries.

Although the Baatany Goat Project is labor intensive, the opportunity to be part of an ecological restoration using goats has been rewarding. Not the least has been the making of new friends who love the balds and also find the charisma of browsing curly goats hard to resist.

** One of Todd's favorite farmer anecdotes is the one where the farmer is asked what he would do if he won the lottery. He replies "I guess I'd just keep farmin' 'til I used it up!"