Christmas is always such a wonderful time here at the Meadows. We enjoy winter and snow and look forward to the challenges they bring. Our goats however, HATE winter and anything to do with snow. It is a real challenge to keep them entertained and out of trouble as the snow piles higher and higher. One way we ensure they do not get bored is to snow blow our entire yard and all the goats pens so that they can still enjoy playing without having to get their little hooves frozen. We encourage them to come out and play in the yard and to chase us around so they still get exercise. Many of our goats do not enjoy the jogging around the yard but as herd animals they follow anyways!
Every Christmas we enjoy taking portraits with our animals dressed up in festive attire! Here are some of this year's best Christmas photos from the herd.
Merry Christmas from all of us the Sky River Meadows and all the best in 2014!
A few weeks back we made a trip to Marmora, Ontario to look at some purebred but unregistered does that were for sale. The intention was to purchase some new additions to our herd that would allow us to offer some less expensive offspring for sale as not everyone cares about registration papers. Upon arrival at the Bain farm in Marmora, I immediately fell in love with little Sylvan. She locked eyes with mine and I knew she had to come home with me. After inspecting the rest of the herd I also decided on Lucretia. My good friend Annette also chose 2 does to come home with her. Both of these new girls have passed all their health screens and blood tests and are now officially part of our herd! We look forward to getting to know them better and watching them as they learn what life here at the Meadows is all about. I can already tell that Lucretia will make another wonderful addition to our educational displays throughout the year and may also excel as a therapy goat! Sylvan is still quite young and needs much more attention as she is still very skittish. Both girls are very beautiful and nice examples of the Nigerian breed.
We were recently featured in two local media releases. The first article was written in the What's Up Muskoka which is a local newsprint magazine. You can find and read the article here. http://eedition.whatsupmuskoka.com/doc/Whats-Up-Muskoka/wum_nov13_2013/2013111401/#6
The Second article appeared in the Huntsville Forester. Here is the link to that article. http://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story/4216176-local-farm-home-to-several-national-champions/#.UoTejcXbP4s.facebook
We are incredibly proud of all of our accomplishments and thrilled at the wonderful write up's done by both publications!
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair was in it's 91st year recently. As a child and later as an adult, I have always enjoyed attending the Royal. It is always so full of thrilling displays and so many different breeds of livestock, animal shows and demonstrations. For the past two years now, we have enjoyed the Royal experience from a different perspective - as an animal exhibitor! Last year I only brought 3 goats to the Royal with me as I was unsure what to expect being behind the scenes. It was such a memorable experience I could not wait to do it again! This year we had the pleasure of showing our goats at the Royal again and nothing could have prepared us for the amazing success we enjoyed there this year! More on that later!
This year, my daughter in law Erica accompanied me. We also brought some new friends and first time goat exhibitors! Annette from Sneaky Feet Farms joined us with her Grand daughter Joshlynn and her Nigerian Dwarf doeling Peanut as did Denver from Parliament Hill Farms with his parents Nancy and Don and their two little Nigerian doelings Daisy and Cocoa. We were "Team Nigie" and we were looking for some great times and some Royal ribbons! It is safe to say that we all had an amazing time and are already making plans for next year! One of the most memorable moments of this year's Royal was being chosen to coach the "Celebrity Showmanship Challenge" in the show ring. Erica helped me by coaching Bob Blumer while I coached Ben Mulroney in showing dairy goats. We used Denver's doelings Daisy and Cocoa for the showmanship. It was an amazing promotion for the dairy goat industry and we had a lot of fun doing it! You can watch the video here.
The Royal Winter Fair is an experience that has to be experienced to understand. All of our goats from "Team Nigie" did really well and I was so proud of Denver and Joshlynn for doing so good during the Youth Showmanship on our final day there. As for Sky River Meadows and our gang - we did amazing! Not only did our farm win the Premier Herdsman Award, but we also brought home the Premier Nigerian Exhibitor Award. Donna was overall Nigerian Dwarf Grand Champion and Best Udder and Carmela was the overall Nigerian Reserve Grand Champion. Carmela's daughter Neveah took home the Nigerian Reserve Jr. Champion which moved Daniel and the rest of us to tears. Neveah has had a miraculous year , coming from near death and none of thinking she would pull through to her big win at the Royal! She proves to us everyday that if you have the fight in you, anything is possible! You can see a full list of our placing's at the Royal here:
With the Royal done for another year all we can do is look forward to next year with excitement. We are all already making plans on how we can improve awareness of our breed and ensure that Nigerians no longer go unnoticed and begin to be taken seriously as dairy goats.
Last year we attended the Rockton World's Fair for the first time on Thanksgiving weekend to check out the alpaca show there. It turns out Rockton also has a great goat show! This year we decided to take our girls all the way to Rockton to compete and they did not disappoint us! Donna came home with AOP Grand Champion and AOP Best Udder while Maisie came home with AOP Reserve Champion. All of our girls did really well and showed off their breed beautifully. We were very excited for our Maisie though as it was her first time back in the show ring since Brooklin due to a tumour she developed on her shoulder. She underwent surgery to have it removed and fortunately the tumour was benign. Maisie was finally healed and ready to complete again - even though you can see the scar on her shoulder still.
Rockton holds a wonderful fair if you are ever looking for something fun to do with the whole family on the Thanksgiving weekend. It is well worth the drive!
Our next and final fair of the season is the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto which incidentally this year is also the host for the East National Dairy Goat show. We will be there on site from November 1-3 and will be competing in the ring on November 2nd.
What an incredibly busy summer! We have spent almost every single weekend at fairs all over the province either in shows with our goats or doing our educational displays and demonstrations. It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with people, educate about goats and engage with children in the hopes of finding future farmers. Over the summer I have taught hundreds of children and adults how to milk a goat and it has been a very rewarding experience. We are already filling up our calendar for the 2014 fair season! Another project we have been working on is opening up our farm for tours. We have met some outstanding people and made some lifelong friends while sharing our love for goats and homesteading! I can't wait to do it all again next year!
We were at the Bracebridge Fall Fair today doing one of our educational displays and there was another breeder there who raises meat goats. This little girl caught all of our eyes immediately as she is just so darn cute! When we found out that she would be heading to market as goats that are raised for meat do by a certain age we all decided that we just had to have her! We all pooled together and offered her owner the money she would make selling her for meat and brought her home. We aren't yet sure what we plan to do with her but are glad she is here safe and sound! After some debate, we all agreed that Daphne is her name. A beautiful name for a lovely, beautiful young doe!
After a very long and exhausting 4 years, I finally did it! I graduated from University! It was a wonderfully beautiful day and I was surrounded by my friends and family to celebrate. What more could a girl ask for? Convocation was held at the North Bay campus - which I had never been to before! After the ceremony we went out to dinner at a lovely little Japanese restaurant in North Bay called The Kabuki House. I highly recommend it if you're in the area and want great sushi! My wonderful family surprised me with a Pandora charm bracelet as a graduation gift! Now that I have finally earned my first degree I am not sure what the next step is but look forward to having a break from school and exploring my new options.
We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first second generation Sky River Meadows babies and our Cassi has finally given birth to her first kids - gorgeous twin boys! Both are blue eyed and very striking. Sadly neither of them inherited their Sire's wattles but they are still perfect even without them! It was so surreal delivering Cassi's babies in the same stall where I delivered her into the world a year ago. We have decided to retain Cosmos - the black and white buckling for future breeding purposes and Galaxy - the grey and white has been sold to Brydson Acres Nigerians. Cassi is a very attentive and dedicated mother and has the most adorable little udder!
The Brooklin Spring Fair is one of our favourite shows to attend and is a wonderful start to our show season. This year was no exception! Our Asia won AOP Jr. Reserve Champion, which her mom Maisie won last year! Even more wonderful was that Maisie won AOP Reserve Sr. Champion and AOP Reserve Grand Champion! We are so impressed with Maisie's first freshening udder as were many other breeders at Brooklin. She has great potential in upcoming years and we hope that she passes her amazing udder off to her daughters.
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”
- Anatole France
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