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.
I have a hard time believing how much time has passed since I was last able to post on here. September was SOO long ago and a great deal has been happening here since that time. I will do my best to give an accurate and full update here but this may take some time and afew more posts as well to get it all in. School has been particularly brutal on me this term and hasn't given me an ounce of free space to really focus on the farm all that much and that includes keeping this blog and website updated. Doing an honours year is a great thing but extremely tough as well but I know all the hard work will pay off. The good news is that I will be officially graduating in June and will have plenty of time at that point to keep this dream going! This post is bound to be a long one as I fill in all the holes from the last few months.
Let's start with the amazing picture posted above! This painting entitled "Canadian Goatic" was lovingly painted by Geordon's neices Natalie and Jessica and given to us as a Christmas gift. We just had to show it off here! The girls did a wonderful job at not only capturing us but the personality of several of our goats as well! We are thrilled and honoured to have received such an amazing and thoughtful gift. Thanks girls! xoxoxox
One of the biggest and most absent bits of news I guess on here would be our attendance at the 2012 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair as exhibitors this year. We did attend and compete at the Royal this past November and it was a memorable experience for sure and one that we look forward to repeating year after year. Carmela, Maisie, Cassi and myself spent four days at the Royal where we met some amazing people and learned so much about showing.
** I appologize for not having better photos. Geordon was being the *ahem* photographer on show day and clearly was distracted and not thinking about getting good photos.**
Carmela placed 1st in her class, Maisie and Cassi both placed 2nd in theirs. We
did not win any great awards or championships there this year but we were
completely thrilled and delighted to be there and to have any ribbons from The
Royal is an accomplishment all on its own to be proud of! Next year we will go
again and hope to do even better! We look forward to the 2013 show season!
Breeding season is wrapping up here. All of our girls are bred to their chosen mate with the exception of Cassiopeia who must wait another month or so before I breed her. Spring kiddings will begin with CC who is due first at the very end of March. Bonnie, Maisie, and Lucy will follow in April with Dixie, Carmela, Mimi and Donna all due in early May. It is sure to be a very exciting time here with kidding season! Jose was chosen to breed 5 of our does this time around and we can`t wait to see what his genetics will add to our herd. Gigalo and Shaemus have both also been used for breeding this year. We hope for many happy, healthy doelings!!
We had a beautiful autumn here this year with some amazingly warm sunny days which allowed for us to enjoy many wonderful hikes with the goats. With the snow comes the end to the majority of our hiking days as the snow just gets too deep for the goats to comfortably walk in. Here are some wonderful photos of our Thanksgiving Day hike though :o)
The holidays are always a fun time here at the Meadows. We try our hardest to ensure that every Christmas is spent with an abundance of relaxation and peace, free from all the drama and stress that the holidays bring to so many. This year we spent the holidays with my dear Mama Melina and her boyfriend Red having lots of laughs, good food and making lasting memories. Our son Daniel surprised us all by proposing to his girlfriend Erica! We are excited for them as they move forward making their own life together. Here are some pictures taken over the 2012 holiday season here.
We were blessed with a happy donation of left over Christmas trees generously donated to us by our friends at Dean's Home Hardware located in Port Sydney, ON. Our goats really loved the different variety of trees they received! We also received one from the Cook family from Huntsville, ON. We are always on the look out for more so if you are in the Huntsville area and have a real tree free from tinsel and sprays then we would love to hear from you!
Well I think that sums up the important bits of what has been happening around here for the last few months. I will write another post very soon about an exciting new project I have started but will leave it for it's own post. Hint - think goat milk ice cream!! YUM! Stay tuned for more info!
From all of us at Sky River Meadows, we want to wish all the best to everyone in 2013. May blessings and happiness be in all your days to come!
Once again, my apologies for not writing more regularly. This summer has been one that I won't soon be forgetting - and not for the good times! Well, there have been a few of those though as well.
So to the new happenings on the meadows...
Well, Daniel has decided to spread his wings and try living on his own. He has been gone for two weeks now and so far he is doing good. He is living with the family of one of his good friends and seems to be thriving on the freedom. I know he will continue to do great and hopefully juggling full time work and his last high school credit in a few weeks won't be too much on him.
The mystery of the pregnant goat that never gives birth may have been solved today once and for all. Poor Trixie, it has all been such an ordeal for her. I had our vet, Kelli Drost out today for a
visit and to see what Trixie's udder was suddenly much bigger on one side. It turns out the poor girl has mastitis which may be caused from a lymph node problem. As this may be a highly contagious problem so she has had to be isolated until she runs through a course of antibiotics over the next few days and being milked and given an udder treatment. She really does have the tiniest teats ever! At least she stands quietly while being "milked". So Kelli, informed me that once she is treated she may dry right up and display no signs of pregnancy! So for the next few days we will have to wait and see how she does. I can't believe after all these months of waiting and preparing for Trixie to have babies she may not in fact have any!
The big surprise of the day today was learning that not only is Dixie definitely pregnant like we suspected, but Kelli feels she should give birth within a few days! I am dumbfounded by being kinda caught by surprise on this one. We suspected she may be bred but figured that nothing would happen until after Trixie gave birth. Kelli informs us that Dixie will be the first to give birth. I just hope she waits until Trixie comes out of the kidding pen! I hope we become better goat farmers than we have been so far!
In other goat related news, the boys - always so funny and entertaining have begun to enter into rut - breeding season - which is causing them to act out more aggressively and let's just say that the odour they cause is creating some havoc around here. Geordon and I are even contemplating not keeping bucks now after all and looking into some kind of AI for future breedings. This is only
the earliest stages of rut as well; we have months more of this and it will only get worse! I can't imagine how bad things will smell around here in the fall when they are fully in rut... I don't think I want to imagine it either.
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”
- Anatole France