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!
Well, another long break between posts but at least I return to write some more! This summer is flying past so quickly, it is really hard to imagine where it has all gone to. The last week has been spent dying and complaining from an incredible heat wave that didn't seem to want to quit. With a storm that came in Saturday, the wave is finally broken and today seems blessedly cool out for a change!
This past weekend was spent at Earl Rowe Provincial Park in Alliston, ON where the Horner side of my family gets together for a reunion. The weather was hot and steamy as it always seems to be like when we are there. Not all of the family could attend this year so it was a small gathering but all who attended still enjoyed themselves. The pool at Earl Rowe is definitely everyone's favorite place to spend time. It is built like a big pond with a gradual slope all the way around into the deeper part which is still only 5 feet deep at the deepest. Someone told me the pool is actually 3 acres in size which makes it seem spacious - even when crowded during a heat wave! There are no pictures of the pool though because for some silly reason I forgot that I now own a waterproof camera! Next year it cannot be forgotten!
It really is a nice time getting together with the family. I look forward to seeing everyone together again all year, but I get the most excitement about being around all the new additions to the family! Watching the youngest family members grow one year at a time is really bittersweet and
reminds us all that we need to continue this tradition of getting together. My cousin BJ and his beautiful wife Stacy brought the newest additions to the family this year with their twins - Draven and Ceil. Twice blessed with these little angels, they were lucky enough to have a boy and a girl! The beautiful picture accompanying this post is of my dear Aunt Jackie feeding Draven. She has such a beautiful proud glow around her when she looks at her new grandchildren. It makes my heart smile! All of the little ones are a year older and so much bigger than they were at last year’s reunion. It saddens me in some ways to wonder how much bigger and different they will all be at next year’s annual gathering...
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”
- Anatole France