This article appeared in a September 2016 issue of the student newsletter.
By Brenda Cadena
North Lake News-Register Staff Writer
When it comes to managing time each morning to feed more than one mouth, no one does that better than Sonya Hopkins, speech professor at North Lake College.
The proud owner of Rio Rancho Ranch, located just minutes from Irving, Hopkins shares 12 beautiful acres of land with her three longhorns, four horses, cows, 20 chickens, nine Dwarf goats, a rabbit and cute miniature horses.
She is very dedicated to this lifestyle, waking up very early to feed all of her animals before leaving her home at 6 a.m. twice a week to make it to her a.m. classes. It usually takes her 30 minutes in the morning and the evening to make her rounds of feeding all the animals.
“They eat before I eat,” said Hopkins.
It all started when Hopkins was living in Grapevine and a chicken flew into her neighbor’s yard. Her neighbor was a hunter and already had a recipe for that chicken in mind, but Hopkins asked if she could keep it and give it a better life. From there, she added three more chickens to the coop before deciding to move out to the country for a new lifestyle.
Hopkins tends to her chickens while holding a rabbit on her farm of 12 acres.
At first sight, many would never guess she was living a country girl’s dream. That is, until you personally took one of her classes and heard all the amazing farm stories she has to tell.
“In almost every class she talks about her farm, like how she eats fresh eggs instead of buying them and shows us pictures of her goats,” said Jose Sierra, a former student of Hopkins.
Deborah Lovera, an NLC student, likes Hopkins’ stories. “I like her talking about her farm,” she said. “I don’t mind.”
Hopkins plans to further live off her ranch by growing crops. In the meantime, she has plenty of eggs to eat and share with her friends and family.
Hopkins said there are many adventures that come along with owning one’s own farm, and one of the most recent she experienced for the first time was delivering baby goats. She was able to learn how to deliver the baby goats by looking up the process on YouTube videos and with the help of her boyfriend.
“It was exciting, it was really exciting,” said Hopkins. “I had never delivered baby goats before so it was a little scary to witness. It was amazing.”
A cute little miniature horse is one of four owned by Hopkins.
She also has a young miniature horse that was born unexpectedly after she bought a male and female miniature horse and did not know that the female was expecting.
She also has both horses of regular size and really cute miniature ones that don’t grow more than 42 inches in height. They eat grass, horse grain, carrots and treats.
Although she was born and raised a city girl, Hopkins plans to retire on her beautiful ranch in the future.
“This is my sanctuary, and it is a commitment that I have made. I’m the happiest when I am here out in the country,” she said.