May 11, 1984 – May 14, 2021
Ashley was born 5/11/1984 in Mitchell, South Dakota. She was raised on the family ranch by her parents Tracey and Terry along with brother Kyle and sister Shelby. Ashley loved ranch life, and missed it dearly when she moved to Colorado in ***. She was bent on finding a way to bring ‘farming’ into her life in the town of Manitou, CO where she owned a darling cottage right in town. Anyone that knew Ashley understood that if she set her mind on something, just look out because she was going to make it happen. So she started bringing her farm life to town – first with a few chickens, and then a Nigerian dwarf goat…and then things grew from there. When she was told she couldn’t have goats in town any longer, she didn’t give up – she paid to board them at a farm in the Black Forest north of Colorado Springs and would drive there twice a day – with joy in her heart – to do her chores. Around that time, Duane Coleman, a self professed city-boy from Baltimore fell head over heels for beautiful stylish Ashley, and it wasn’t long before she had him falling in love with farm life as well. He joined her whole-heartedly in her passion for farming. As their goat project grew, they made the jump to their own acreage up in the Rocky Mountains outside the town of Florissant. There on the acreage, her dreams soared, with the love of her life and best friend Duane at her side. Ashley became a full-time farmer while Duane continued to trek 4 hours round trip to work night shift as a VA police officer in Denver. Over the past two years, she developed a highly-respected goat dairy and breeding operation, created and marketed hand-made goat milk products, as well as raised chickens and sold the eggs. Ashley and Duane also added livestock guard dogs to their operation – a necessity with the predators up in the mountains. Their dogs Marshall, Snowball, Demi and Zeus were critical to keeping the farm safe and healthy. She had recently also added another species to the operation – Tibetan Yaks.
Ashley LOVED her life on the goat farm – she cherished every minute of it. Farming is not easy – anyone who does it will tell you that. It takes blood, sweat, and tears, grit and many, many sleepless nights. It takes passion for the animals which is best explained as self-sacrificial love. Ashley’s past two years on this earth, where her farm was in full swing and she had her loves all around her – her Duane, her critters, and her best friends – were the happiest of her life. Many people talk about making their dreams come true – Ashley did it. Visitors to the farm would say it was like Disney Land, and that it was the most peaceful and beautiful place. Her goats are incredibly social, thanks to the countless hours she spent imprinting them and interacting with them. This year, 2021, was what Ashley called “our make it or break it year” and she would say with a smile “we got this, we can do this!” She and Duane had worked relentlessly to put all the pieces in place and the goat farm was going to reach that tipping point where it became profitable. Right when she was about to enjoy the fruits of her labor, she developed a seizure disorder. Several ED visits and a neurology consult hadn’t yet revealed the cause nor the treatment when an unimaginable tragedy struck: Ashley suffered a grand mal seizure on her 37th birthday on May 11, 2021 and went into cardiac arrest. Her husband Duane and her friend Sadie Maybach DVM were on the scene, and live-saving measures were undertaken immediatly. Unfortunately, EMS was unable to get her heart beating again on its own for nearly 2 hours. Ashley suffered profound brain damage and remained in a coma until she died May 14, 2021 surrounded by her family.
Something Ashley was wildly passionate about was inspiring women that they could have their own farm too. One of her plans this year was to set up agri-education tours of the farm. She had recently provided the local elementary school children with several farm experiences along with her best friend, neighbor and fellow female farmer Ellie Curie. Her flame was lit to continue inspiring others to get into farming. She wanted to build an farm experience and education barn on their farm. She was applying for a USDA small farmer loan as well as a farm grant to make this happen. With Ashley have left us so heartbreakingly early, we would like to carry on her legacy. In line with her heart, we are starting Ashley’s Female Farmer Fund. This fund will be used to help female farmers overcome some of those hurdles in the ‘make it or break it’ moments. Funds will be used to carry on Ashley’s Dream, as we will carefully select women farmers to throw her heavenly arms around and say “We got this!”