Welcome to another week, and another story featuring one of our herd members. This week I have chosen to share the story of one of our oldest Matriarchs, beloved Carmela. No other doe has contributed more to the growth and development of my herd than this regal beauty. This very special doe was the first that I found and purchased back in the early days of creating my herd. There was something very special about Carmela right from when I first met her, and I knew she had to be a part of what I was building. It took some convincing of her owners, as she wasn't for sale. Fortunately for me, after sharing my journey and vision for creating this herd, my dear friends Debbie and Shain agreed to sell her. Carmela was the first of three special does that I would add. Her paternal sister Maisie (Tripping Billies Loo) joined us in 2012, and has been actively involved in my programs since she was just months old. Finding goats that were "naturals" at connecting with people was essential for me in my goals. It takes a very long time to breed, raise and train a herd of goats to do equine therapy, and there was no guarantee it would work. Looking back at the beginning days of this journey and standing here today, it feels very surreal. Carmela is a many, MANY times Great Grandmother to more than half of my current herd. The white and gold coat and those almost white blue eyes - yep, that comes from Carmela.
It is fun to dig back through old photos to find the ones to share in these posts. I get to see the progress I've made and remember all the special moments I've shared with my herd. In the early days, while I was still in school earning my degree, I spent quite a few years competing with my herd in the show ring. This was partly because it is fun and I thoroughly enjoy the people, but also to get my name out there and spread awareness of what I was trying to create. I spent years being laughed at, told I was dumb, that it would never work, you name it - I heard it. If it wasn't for Carmela and her sister Maisie, I don't think I would have had the stomach to carry on. Those years on the road competing in shows were a great deal of fun and learning despite the negative comments. There were equally as many supporters as there have been naysayers along my way. Those years in the ring helped me to build my confidence while I studied and earned credentials. It was a great and valuable way to pass the time and I am so grateful for my "Goat Show Family" that still exists today. Goat people are good people ✌❤🐐
Carmela is easy to spot in our herd as she is rather wide through the middle. She has quite the "runway strut" and is often mistakenly thought to be pregnant by first time visitors. This is not to say that Carmela is overweight, because she actually isn't. Carmela has what I affectionately call "Mom Bod", the shape she earned from having some extremely large babies. Her last two pregnancies produced some of the biggest triplets I've had born here not surprisingly earning her new shape from the ordeal. To give you all some perspective on just how big Carmela was, here are a couple of pregnancy shots taken of her in 2013 and 2014. She carried like a champ!
Carmela won some pretty impressive titles during her years in the showring and is actually my most highly decorated doe having earned more than any other, including many National titles. Here is her 2013 Reserve Grand Champion Nigerian Dwarf photo. What a looker!
Carmela was retired from my breeding program in 2015, due to an unfortunate diagnosis of melanoma. She manages well through her treatments and takes everything in stride. Nothing seems to stop this girl. Carmela is a true beauty Queen, complete with dignity and grace.
My reason for choosing Carmela this week as my GotW, was motivated by the state of world affairs and the impact I see it having all around me. When I find things too overwhelming in my human life, I often seek solace and wisdom amongst the animals I share my life with. There is profound teaching and wisdom that can come from animals, if we are open to receive it. I spend a lot of time in meditation with my herd because they help me solve almost every problem I bring to them. I also learn through observation of how my large herd lives together. I see many parallels to our own human existence. Not that long ago, we all existed in communities that functioned very different than they do today. If you were lucky enough to have grown up in the 70's or 80's you'll know what I'm talking about. It literally did take a village to raise a child back in those days, otherwise not many of us would have survived! Nowadays it is more common to NOT know your neighbours. How can that be? What if you needed to borrow a cup of sugar? I don't want to spend too much time on that, as this is about something more. Magic happens at bedtime in the barn, and it is most prominent to see in Carmela's family. She will lay down and it is like a signal goes off through the herd to all of her relatives that it is now bedtime. Like a reverse ripple in a pond, when Carmela lies down, all of her family come and join her. I have to point something out here - Carmela has no sons or daughters currently in my herd - only grand children and beyond. How interesting that they ALL come and sleep with her, even a grand daughter (Everlily Maples Tootsie Roll) who was born on another farm and joined our herd when she was 3 months old. It is pretty mind blowing when you think about it.
Most of my herd observations bring me to realize how disconnected many of us are from our own home communities. Now more than ever during this pandemic, I think it is community support we all need. When I get caught up in anxiety and stress (meaning I've watched or read the news), I remember that I can't impact or change those larger things that are happening in the world. I remind myself that if I want to change what's happening in my world, I need to change how I am living and supporting those in my own community. They are in fact the people I do have a chance of directly helping, supporting and impacting. Narrowing my world view to be that of a community view immediately changes how I feel. When my world becomes smaller I am much better able to stay grounded and aware. If I can focus on things I personally can do to help my local community, I know I can make a positive impact and in doing so feel better overall. My herd, like all others, rely on each other to survive. We too need each other to survive. Let's all try to find ways to be better. We all are suffering and struggling through these difficult times. A simple pause to consider, before reaction. Choose kindness and walk with love 💖
Happy Monday everyone and welcome to another GotW. This week I am so excited to feature a very special little lady, who has quite the fan following at our farm. Please allow me the pleasure of introducing you all to Sky River Meadows Pipsqueak. Guaranteed if you've visited the farm, you've met our dear little Pip. When people first greet Pip, I often hear "Oh what's wrong with her leg?" or "Is she OK?" Let me tell you although Pipsqueak was born with a rare condition and a leg deformity, there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. Known by a few nicknames on the farm, ie: Sergeant Pippers, Pippersnipper, and most commonly just called Pip. No doubt if you've had the honour of meeting this little darling, she certainly left her mark on your heart ❤
Sky River Meadows Pipsqueak was born on August 10th, 2014. Her dam (mom), Taylorside's Coconut was pregnant when I acquired her through a rescue situation. Having had no personal part in the breeding of Coconut, there was no way to know when she would give birth. I was very grateful to have been home when the momentous occasion did occur, especially when Pipsqueak was born. Pips twin sister SRM Mystique was born first and at a healthy size (2.1 lbs) considering how tiny her mom was. When Pip was born I was immediately terrified for her. At first I wasn't sure she was even alive as she was so small. At birth Pip weighed in at only 10 ounces! She was by far the teeniest, tiniest baby goat we had born up to that point. Fortunately she was breathing and other than being super small, all appeared OK. When an unusual birth occurs at my farm I always put out a call to my vet to come do an examination on them - just in case. My vet Dr. Kelli Drost has been my vet for a very long time and she knows me well. What she said to me that day was one of the hardest things I have had to hear from my vet. She told me NOT to get attached! After her exam it was discovered that Pip had some health issues caused by her additional dwarfism gene. The news wasn't good at all and I was told she may naturally just pass away within a couple of weeks. I am so glad that Dr Drost was wrong! Pip is a true warrior and has fought through a lot to make it to her sixth birthday last year!
So although Pip was born with some physical issues that challenge her daily life, she is otherwise a very happy, healthy little goat! She plays, runs and fights with her herd mates just like the rest of them. One thing that perhaps Pip isn't aware though, is that the herd seems to really look out for her. No one in the herd bullies or is mean to her. If anything they all treat her with amazing respect. I think my favourite Pip story comes from the summer of 2018 when we first moved to the Woodfield property. Where we had moved from we had a lot of tree cover and shade. At the farm we have wide open fields and skies which the herd had a hard time adapting to. They did not want to walk or explore the property and would barely leave the shelter of the barn for the first few weeks. Pip must have been born an adventurer because she was the ONLY goat willing to walk with me for the first few weeks. Each day I would open the gate and call the herd out, hoping that they'd walk with me, something we'd been doing for many years at our old home. Only Pip was willing lol. I did start to worry that perhaps the move was a mistake. If the herd wouldn't walk, I wasn't going to be able to run my summer programs. In the end it was Pip, who did it! She would plant her tiny hooves and scream her little head off until the herd came. Each time the herd would stop and try to head back to the barn, Pip was there to motivate and encourage them. This photo is a still shot from a video I took of Pip calling the herd to follow her. Pip does have some impressive vocals for such a wee lady. Her ability to command the herd in this way, earned her the nickname of Sergeant Pippers ✌❤🐐
The summer of 2014 when Pip was born, we had 32 baby goats born on the farm. Pip was the last born, the youngest and smallest by far. My concerns for her as she grew up were many. That was a rough, tough gang of kids born that year! My concerns were for nothing as Pip was well looked after within the herd too. Her twin sister Mystique was always beside her, often fighting Pips battles for her. Also born in 2014 was Sky River Meadows Geordie, who by all rights is considered to be Pipsqueaks "husband". SRM Geordie was a breeding buck of mine that was castrated in 2017. My breeding males live completely separate from my main herd. When Geordie became "fixed", he rejoined the main herd and was reunited with Pipsqueak. I'd call it love at first sight--again! Pip and Geordie are the cutest goat couple - seriously. They are always eating together whether indoors or out, and they absolutely sleep cuddled up to each other every single night. They both snore, which seems to suit them and they always seem to find a place to sleep directly under a hay feeder so they can enjoy late night snacks together as well. Whatever reason these two had to fall in love, I 100% support it! We have a few "couples" in our large herd, but this match is by far my favourite. I think they are blessed to have found each other ❤
In all seriousness, I want to mention that I would never breed Pipsqueak. In my humble opinion to do so would be harmful to her and any potential babies she would have. We have 5 "dwarf" dwarf goats in our herd and none are in our breeding program. However, ALL are heavily involved in our therapy programs here at the farm.
So against all the odds our dear sweet Pipsqueak is still with us. She turns 7 this summer! I can't say if she'll be blessed with the average life expectancy of a goat (15-17yrs), but I can say that while she is here, she'll get everything that she needs. This past summer it became obvious that she is slowing down and starting to feel her age in her joints. She is a fiercely independent little miss though, and insists she can do things by herself. She is sweet enough to be asked to be carried up the hills though and I am happy to oblige her! I have purchased her a chariot that I intend to teach her to ride in starting in the spring to allow her to still come on our herd hikes, but to skip all the hiking part. She can catch a ride to where we are going, then get out and browse with the herd. I am hoping by training her to accept this "help", that it will take a lot of pressure off her joints. There is no guarantee that she'll agree with any part of my plans lol. Pip keeps it challenging for me as she can get chubby pretty easily, so finding that proper, healthy balance for her to still get enough physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight for her joints. It is my hope that Pipsqueak will be around for many years to come. She has so much to share and give! Regardless of how long I will get to share my life with her, I will always be grateful she came to share my life. This little goat has taught me so much about life. Her biggest lesson to me has been that we can't control what happens to us in our lives, but we can absolutely choose how we react to it. Pippers takes on life with zest and enthusiasm each and every day. Not once for a single second has this little goat ever felt sorry for herself. Larger than life, as brave as they come with an absolute heart of pure gold. Thanks for teaching me about, and showing me your amazing authenticity Pip! ❤
What better way to start off 2021 then by bringing back the Goat of the Week posts? Life is hard, times are strange and I feel the need to continue to share the stories of my beloved herd members. I always find it much easier to talk about my animals anyways, and although I am completely biased, my critters have some pretty awesome stories to share. I wouldn't be a good human friend to my animal colleagues if I didn't use my voice to help spread their messages of love and hope, and so I feel it is my duty to do so. They all have such special, sweet souls, and it is my pleasure to be their voice. When deciding to start these stories back up again, it was a very easy decision on who I'd want to start with. So without further ado, let me begin...
Godric was born on June 18, 2018. He was the first born of triplets, born to SRK Cosmos (Sire), and SRM B'elanna (Dam). He and his two sisters were the first of our Sky River Meadows herd to be born at our new home on the Woodfield property. The birth of Godric and his sisters, Rowena and Ariana, was unique and memorable for me. Their dam had two breeding dates, one week apart, which appeared to have resulted in two conception dates. I'll explain of course. Each birth requires special care and attention, including a close physical exam of each baby soon after birth. This is to ensure that all is well and everything is where it should be. During my exam I noticed that both Godric and Rowena were very healthy, both weighing just over 3 pounds each, and both having their teeth erupted - which is what you want to find. Ariana in comparison weighed in at just over 1.5 pounds and had no teeth pushing through her gums yet, a sign of prematurity. How incredible! After the triplets were born, B'elanna passed two separate placentas. One had contained twins - Godric and Rowena, the other contained a single - Ariana, further evidence to my hunch about their birth. The size difference between the three was obvious, and I was deeply concerned that it would be a challenge for Ariana to strive while competing with her siblings for milk. Under normal circumstances I think she would struggled more, however she had Godric for a brother and he seemed to look out for Ariana right from the very beginning.
It is normal to observe siblings fight over the teats when it comes times to nurse from mom. She does only have two teats to feed her babies from after all, so when there's more than two mouths to feed this can be a problem. Often when triplets are born, I need to pay special attention that ALL the kids are getting enough to eat while they grow, and intervene where necessary. Fortunately for Ariana, and a credit to Godric, her biggest competition was her sister Rowena. Godric seemed content to defer to either of his sisters, and instead spent his time defending them aggressively from all the other baby goats in the herd. Godric was NOT fond of sharing his sisters and if either of his sisters was found playing with the other kids, Godric would step in and pick a fight ending all play very quickly. Godric was AMAZING at being a big brother, but really struggled socially with the other "Harry Potter" kids. For this reason it took him longer than most to find his place within the bigger herd as he matured.
Right from the beginning Godric was quirky, just like his mom. An independent thinker and happy to go his own way, Godric was always unique from the other wethers (fixed males) in my herd. With no interest in playing with anyone but his siblings, one could think of him as anti-social. If he wasn't with his older siblings Earin and Gandalf, he would ALWAYS be found with his mom ❤ Perhaps it is the common interest they both shared in finding tasty things to eat, or the fact that Godric inherited his mother's beautiful, soft amber eyes, but to me I think he is most like her of all her children. B'elanna and Cosmos have had 9 children together. Twins, Earindil & Gandalf in 2017, triplets: Godric, Rowena & Ariana in 2018, and quadruplets: Yara, Girly, Margaery & Melisandre in 2019. This large family has been very helpful in my research and the development of my herd. It's through sharing my lives with families like Godric's, that exist within my herd, that I have learned so much about animal bonds, love and relationships. Make no mistake, the loving bonds that we share and experience as humans are not so different from what our animal friends share.
Winding our way through life, we rarely come out unscathed. We all earn bumps, bruises and scars along life's path. This is true even for animals which Godric learned first hand a few weeks ago, as some of you may have seen or read. Godric tripped coming out the gate at evening chores and the entire herd trampled over top of him in their own hurry to get to dinner. Poor Godric really took a beating, being rolled over and over while being stampeded over. When the herd passed, my son and I were able to assist Godric to his feet and move him to a box stall to wait to be seen by our vet, Dr. Kelli Drost, who confirmed my fears - he had broken his leg. Godric has been proudly sporting his new cast for a few weeks now and is doing remarkably well. I personally think the isolation with his sisters appeals to him. He has learned to adapt to the weight of his big cast and has found ways to sleep comfortably. He has almost reached the halfway mark to getting the cast removed. Until then, Godric must rest in isolation with his sisters. The irony of his situation and the parallels to what we are all facing in our own lives has not escaped me. Godric is in a lockdown of his own and can't visit with the rest of his herd. I feel you buddy. ❤ I long to see my herd again too.
Life is hard and going into 2021, it doesn't look like it will be any easier than 2020 was. The challenges of the last year has taken it's toll on many. My business which had barely even opened it's doors has been faced with two lockdowns and loss of ability to even connect with my main clientele. Lockdown or not, these guys need feed and care 24/7. A big part of the commitment I make to my animals, is that I will always honour them. Although my herd is happy, healthy and love the work we do, you might be surprised to learn that not all of my herd WANT to be therapy goats. There are some distinct opinions amongst some members of my herd that when the right family comes along, they would like the chance to move on. I have faced this situation a couple of times in the past where a bond and connection was created that was undeniable. Who am I to stand in the way of true love and connection? I'll tell you, I'm NOT one to stand in the way or to try to deny truth. When a bond is made, and a relationship begins, it truly is a beautiful thing. I mention this now because I have made the difficult decision that Godric and his sisters Rowena and Ariana will be leaving my farm this coming spring. A friend and volunteer has offered them the loving home that I know they've been waiting for. My heart is sad knowing that I will miss seeing them daily, but it is happy knowing they will get more attention and spoiling where they're going. I was hopeful it would be a good fit and when this family of 3 met my trio, it was love at first sight. Honestly it couldn't be more perfect. Godric and his sisters will have the quieter life that I know they've longed for, which will also benefit Godric if his leg gives him any more trouble down the road. Best part is that they are staying local so I can visit. 😁 There is something very special about this goat family. I know that they will freely share their love and it will spread with them where they go ❤❤
A beautiful crisp morning greeted me as I stepped out into the new year. The air was clear and deeply refreshing, and there were no sounds but that of the sleeping forest. As I stood there dazzled by the beauty of the morning, I quietly sang to the morning. As I stood in quiet reflection, I was filled with deep gratitude for the beauty of the morning and a the peace that existed in that moment. Looking back on 2020, I am actually in awe of the challenges overcome, the strength and resolve found, and the magical connections and friendships that were cultivated during one of the most challenging years of any of our lives. I had been planning and working towards 2020 as the GOAL year when I would see all my years of hard work pay off. Instead, 2020 became the year that I became grateful for everything that I already had. Suddenly I am not so driven to succeed, because I realize I already have. I did achieve my goals, they just didn't look the way I had anticipated, as it happened during a pandemic. There may still be some obstacles and roadblocks but I recognize they are temporary. I still have my heart, and unrelenting passion to help others achieve their personal goals. The year ahead will continue to be one of healing and growth for me. I am beginning a new 30 Day Yoga Challenge again today and vow to get rid of my harmful vices. I want 2021 to be the year I become the healthiest version of myself, and to really get deeply in touch with my body. In order to be whole, we need to take care of all parts of ourselves - mind, spirit and BODY, something I tend to forget. Since there are still a few weeks left to this lockdown, it is the perfect time to start.
Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year! I hope this year brings an abundance of connection, laughter, light and love to you all ❤
Sitting down to write today feels very strange. I am coming out of a wonderful holiday spent with my close loved ones. This has been a Christmas, and a year for the record books for everyone. I am so grateful that I was able to spend it with my son Daniel, grandson Wylder, and boyfriend Fred. Many that I would normally share the holidays with were missing from my table this year. What an adjustment. Instead of our usual large gatherings, we enjoyed several video calls with family and loved ones. I was surprised, but it was a lot of fun, and definitely made them feel closer. I had insane high hopes for being able to host a large gathering for Christmas dinner and purchased a monster of a turkey (24 lbs!)in the fall in preparation of that. Well... we have a LOT of turkey leftovers now, which isn't a bad thing anyways in my opinion. As a way of keeping my mind off of dwelling over the fact that I couldn't be with everyone I wanted to, I spent the holidays baking and cooking up a storm for my trio of hungry men. My Christmas budget this year was non-existent, so I had to get creative. Gifts were either repurposed, handmade, or if I purchased something I tried to keep it local. Through my favourite online auction group, I was able to find some pretty incredible stuff, including finding a local woman who hand knitted scarves for my volunteers. We chose to celebrate our family Christmas on Boxing Day this year as my son has shared custody of my grandson. This gave my grandson two special mornings with both sides of his family, and some serious spoiling this year! If I was to express one thing I am most grateful for, it's that I was able to share in that special Christmas magic with Wylder this year. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a toddler again was the greatest gift I could receive. His excitement, joy and his little voice saying "thank you Daddy!", "Oh! thank you Gramma!" for anything and everything. My most precious moment happened in a video call with my Pappy (Dad) in which Wylder said "Bye, love you Bumpa!", and I was able to see his touching reaction ❤ Precious memories are still able to be made, even when we are apart.
What a ride 2020 has been. Coming to the end of what has arguably been the hardest year of my life, I can't help but reflect back. You can't see how far you've come if you don't peek backwards from time to time. 2020 has been a year that none of us alive will ever forget. It is easy to look back with a negative lens and feel utterly defeated - especially if you're like me - a small business owner who has been forced to close it's doors once again. I'm working hard to turn my thoughts to the positive, and hanging onto the wonderful things I have learned from this challenging year. The more time I reflect on the positive, the far better I feel. 2020 was supposed to be the most incredible year for me. I officially opened my therapeutic farm and began taking my FEEL practice to my local community. Woodfield was also set to open officially for the first time, bringing two long standing projects forwards. Funny how life doesn't always go as planned. I am now closed for the second time since opening my doors and am faced with the fears associated with losing my source of income. I have a lot of mouths to feed here and that increases the pressure I feel exponentially. Giving into despair and fear would only set me farther back, so I vow to find a way through, keep my feet firmly grounded, and take this "break" for the benefit it will give me in slowing down and regrouping once more. Hang in there my friends, we've gotten this far! See you all again in 2021 ❤
With love and light,
Here it is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. The skies are currently overcast but I hope they clear for me to see the convergence of Jupiter and Saturn tonight at sunset. Either way, I am happy that it gets closer to spring each day! What strange and interesting times we live in. We are a few days away from both a 2nd lockdown, and Christmas, for which I am very excited about it this year. My inner circle is very small but includes my son and grandson, so I am grateful to be able to spend the holidays with them. Everything is so magical to my grandson at the moment we are just focused on him and all the fun we will have. I am not looking forward to another lockdown as this means our doors must close also. My heart breaks for those who are forced to be alone this Christmas, and for the family I wish I could share it with. You are all in my hearts ❤
A week ago one of my goats, Sky River Meadows Goderich, fell coming out of the gate at dinner time and broke his leg. It was a horrible things to witness and I am just grateful that he wasn't injured even worse, considering the entire herd trampled over him. Fortunately we have a wonderful vet to rely on and Goderich should fully recover. He is in a full leg cast for the next 5 weeks until we can take the cast off and see how the bone has knitted. He will spend his time with his triplet siblings in his private boxstall to limit his activity and ensure he rests well. His sisters Rowena and Ariana seem more distressed than Goderich does, however that could be that he is on pain meds and pretty comfortable. My volunteers have been signing his cast and spending lots of extra time with him. Special thank you to my friend and vet Dr. Kelli Drost, of the Muskoka North Veterinary Services for all of her help putting Goderich back together. It gives me great peace of mind to know that my gang are well look after when they require special medical attention. Kelli has been helping my herd since the very beginning and I can't praise her enough for all she has done, and continues to do to support the health of the herd, so we can do our work .
Over the past week I have been enjoying posting photos to my social media accounts as "The 12 Goats of Christmas". As I know that not everyone is on social media, I wanted to also share these photos here to ensure everyone gets some extra Goaty Christmas cheer this year. I hope you enjoy looking at these photos as much as I do! May they bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart. 💗
From all of us here at the farm, and from my family to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May love and light shine through the darker days, and may you keep hope alive knowing that spring will always come. 🌞
OK, so I'm not going to beat around the bush - I'm angry and I'm struggling with my new reality. I've been angry since Friday and no matter how I try to process and flow with this anger, it doesn't want to move. Why am I angry? As of this morning, the District of Muskoka has moved into a RED Zone.. Seems simple right? Everyone must do their part? However, Muskoka is only a RED Zone now based on the numbers of covid in the Simcoe/Muskoka Health Unit - which predominantly means the City of Barrie. As of this writing, Muskoka has 9 active cases of confirmed covid currently and none are in the hospitals. So why are businesses in Muskoka being forced to shut their doors once again? To me it seems like lazy politics and bad decision making. For the time being, my business operations are having to adjust once again. I will do everything in my power to keep fighting. I am not willing to throw away 12 years of work and give in now. So now in order to be in compliance with the Province of Ontario, I can only now allow a max of 5 people on site at a time. I can only hope this restriction doesn't last long. I worry about the ability of many small businesses to be able to stay alive during this period. I have been trying to distract myself by filling my free time with decking the halls in the barn. For those who will be choosing to come to the farm for a visit over the holidays, you are in for a real treat! The magical glow inside the barn is enchanting when the full lights are turned off. I was attempting to make the barn feel more intimate and cozy for the colder months ahead, and I am not disappointed in the least! I literally have had to stop myself from stringing more lights. For safety, all of the lights in the barn are battery powered. I have to admit it is kind of tedious turning them all on and off each day, but I am admittedly obsessed with Christmas lights so don't mind one bit! So while I worry about the future of my farm through this prolonged pandemic, at least I can enjoy the cheer of the decorations while they are up.
I think my flock of hens has really sensed how stressed I am as well. They have been going out of their way to gift me with beautiful fresh eggs each day. Yesterday was a record with 5 eggs left by the ladies! This past week our Black Copper Marans have also decided it's time to start laying! We've collected 8 rich dark brown eggs so far that sure do stand out in contrast against the Bielefelder light brown eggs. If production keeps picking up, soon I will enough eggs to share with my neighbours. I never thought I would have taken to my hens (and rooster) the way I have but I am very glad they are here. I get a different kind of joy from spending time with them. I am sad that Attila has reached her maximum size for being able to perch comfortably on my shoulder though. Not only is she heavy but she is just a very large hen and I am not as big I once was. I have yet to catch Attila in the nesting boxes so am pretty sure she is the only Bielefelder not yet laying eggs. Why is it always the ones I spoil rotten that become the freeloaders around here? Regardless of how many eggs I get each day, I won't ever be able to go back to store bought eggs. The colour of the yolk, and the flavour of our home raised, loved eggs can't be beat!
I have been fairly silent on social media for the past 2 weeks. This was literally just so I could stay focused on my studies and not be distracted by world events while working through my next level of teachings. As a way of making up for the lack of recent posts, I decided yesterday to launch the "12 Goats of Christmas"! Each day between now and Christmas I will feature one of our beloved herd members on our Instagram and Facebook accounts. In case you are not on those platforms, I will share the same photos here on my weekly blog. What started yesterday with Carmela, continued today with Vanilla. I hope you enjoy these photos, and that they bring a smile to your heart in these troubling times. Hang in there my friends. With love ~ Angee
Ease. This is what I am now working to bring into my life. When I woke this morning, I stepped into a new path in my life. Trying on anything new feels strange at first, whether that is adopting a new wellness practice, workout routine, starting a new job, or in my case, coming home from an extraordinary 3-day workshop in my shamanic studies. I gained so much insight into myself that before coming home I made a sacred vow to myself to adopt some immediate changes in my life starting this morning. This past weekend was one of the most incredibly magical and powerful, transformative experiences of my life. I am humbled and honoured to study with some of the most amazingly courageous and authentic people, other brave, searching souls looking to find meaning and understanding in their own lives. When I started this journey I had no idea how deep I would be willing to go. With each teaching that I receive, I slowly work to unfold the mystery of Who I Am, and Why Am I Here.
Ease. Pause. Breathe. Be Still. Reflect. Soft. Let Go. Flow with Ease.
These were just some of the loving, whispered messages I received while working with my horse teachers through some incredible personal reflective exercises over the weekend. I hope the echo in my heart remains from these incredible exchanges, and that I don't convince myself that it never happened. Journaling has become a very importance piece for this reason. One of the most amazing things you can do for yourself is to step outside of your own comfort zone and to explore the areas in your own life that may be leading you out of balance. With each lesson I go through, another missing piece of the puzzle is found. This past weekend I found the courage to look deep within myself to explore why I set such ridiculous expectations on myself. The things I learned have shaken me to my core and I was shown how limited my remaining years would be if I did not stop this cycle of self abuse through overworking. These new discoveries will take me some time to fully process and for that very reason I am choosing to head this very important advice and for the time being just flow with ease. I am forever grateful to my community of brothers and sisters who so willingly take on every personal challenge alongside me, so that we can support each other fully through these processes. I came away from the weekend with a new direction, a fresh outlook, direct focus to what I need to do for myself to continue towards my goals, and a brand new Totem Animal to add to my growing menagerie. Welcome Moes, the black Dragon who has come forward to be my Warrior Animal, joining my Power Animal the Wolf, and Birth Animal the Sturgeon. The gifts and power of these guides help me to better understand myself. To my horse teachers of the weekend, Contendor and Juliette, as well as the rest of the HSC herd, thank you for the beautiful love and wisdom you shared. To my human teachers Andre and Janis, words will never express the love and gratitude I have for you both being a very important part of my life. To my brothers and sisters of Wisdom Circles, I am so looking forward to the taking the next step in this incredible journey with you all. With deepest, loving gratitude ~ Angee ❤🎇
What a wet and dreary Monday in Muskoka! The forecast is calling for 30cm of snow over the next couple of days though so I should enjoy it while I can. This has been one hell of a week for me. You know the kind that just never seems to end and nothing really goes quite as planned? Not only has this been a really heavy week for the herd and I helping our visitors to process the stress of the past several months. The emotional energy seems to be lingering in my barn these days with an echo of sadness, that no amount of smudging seems to able to fully clear. There has been some powerful healing shared though and for that I am always grateful. I am living the best life for myself where my daily routine requires me to be grounded and focused. Last Monday started with me putting myself in the ditch. My week ended with an amazing a beautiful gift of community, and a fierce reminder that there are people in the world who intend harm without provocation. I will write about both of them in this weeks post. Normally I would share photos pf the previous week in my blog, however this week I am posting photos for myself. Self loves seems to be hard for me today, so I want to remind myself that I am never allowed to quit, but have to continue to find a way. These photos are to remind me of the loving magic that exists and is shared here.
Before I get into the darker side of this week's post, I want to take a few moments to thoroughly express my undying love and gratitude for all of my volunteers. Not only does this amazing group of ladies love all of my animals, they also care about me and want to help me as much as they are able. This past weekend I had scheduled a big job that requires many hands - mucking out the main goat pen. This is no small task, and it is horribly dusty and dirty. As a team we all got started first thing after morning chores, and I honestly thought it would take us until dark to get it all done. Oddly there was no place for me in the barn so I busied myself for a bit with doing pre-breeding shots on my bucks. I had some errands to run and promised to return with pizza for everyone in the afternoon. I was home by 2 and went to the barn to call everyone in to eat and stopped DEAD in my tracks. The barn was DONE! I was completely speechless! These amazing 5 ladies knocked it out of the park! I felt guilty for not being able to pitch in and pizza felt so inadequate for the amazing work they did. I can't thank these ladies enough or express how deeply it touched my heart. You truly all must love these crazy goats as much as I do! Thank you to all of my amazing volunteers for always being here when I need a hand! You all fill me with the love you so freely give to everything we do here. You are all amazing, bright lights in my life, and I know the herd loves you all deeply as well ❤🐐
So, now I need to get something off my chest. Someone over this past weekend committed a criminal offense against me, in a malicious attempt to cause my family and I harm. I won't share the details of what happened as it would only give this person exactly what they want - an audience and attention. The police are involved, so that should tell you that it is serious. Fortunately there was plenty of evidence collected and I pray that justice finds this person. I will not give it thought, or allow it to bring me down in any way, but willingly leave it in the hands of the OPP. You didn't hurt me, but you sure have made things harder and darker for yourself. Karma really is a mean, cold bitch sweetheart. We all face our pasts eventually. I wish you luck with that...
Here is the greatest lesson life has ever taught me. You can't control what other people choose to do - period. Bad stuff happens to good people. You can't choose what happens to you in life BUT you CAN choose how you REACT to it. I refuse to lower my own vibration by giving this attack my energy and will instead choose to send love to this person. They clearly need all the love they can get, and I have it in spades to share 💕 For those of you who read this and are now concerned, please don't be . All is well here and I will continue to forge ahead, as I always do. With love in my big, open heart and with a smile on my face.
Be well my friends ~ Angee ❤
So how did your Monday start? This was mine. Funny story too, and very likely exactly what I needed to kickstart not just my week, but ME. I have recently acquired an addition to a certain 1$ auction on Facebook. This group and all of the available treasures being offered have given me a lot of joy in recent weeks. Soon I even plan to start selling some of my own stuff on this site to justify the buying I am doing. In my own defense I do have a huge house to furnish. So this morning I find myself off to pickup an antique table that I just won for $2. I am quite excited as these runs to collect my new found treasures, like I said are bringing me joy. Well, I made a bad decision this morning when I chose to go down a road that was marked CLOSED DURING WINTER. Now, we all know what they say about making assumptions. Well I made one and YEP, it DID make an A$$ out of me lol. I assumed that the road would be not winter maintained - as in not PLOWED, but we only had an inch of snow. Fact is, it's due to the insane hill that is shear ice! Let's just say, I never made it to the table and will have to find another way to collect it. Fred to my rescue ❤ for sending out a tow truck! I was back on 4 wheels and rolling in just a couple hours. I had plenty of time to stew over my silly decision while I waited. In hindsight, I was able to shake my own head. See kids, just goes to show you're never too old to get excited about something and make a bad decision lol.
Having shaken that off as the start of my day, I feel ready to take on the week ahead. Each week I kind of toss around ideas in my head of what I will write about. This week I admit I was a bit stumped for a bit until I started to look at the stories that were coming together to round our this weeks post. I have had the usual incredible animal interactions, but this past week I think I achieved a milestone in my life and can say that I am no longer afraid of birds. At the beginning of the pandemic I decided as a covid challenge for myself I would start to raise my own chickens. I have had chickens as a child and even had some boarded with us for awhile. I can look after chickens, but I NEVER trusted them. I found birds frightening in the least and normally would just avoid them as much as possible. Choosing the breeds I got was important, but mostly I wanted the opportunity to raise them from chicks from a trusted hatchery. I picked up my 6 Bielefelder chicks when they were 10 days old and I have watched them grow into the beautiful hens they are now. I surprised myself that I COULD bond with birds and am even proud to say that I am no longer afraid of them! I am building special relationships with each of them and really enjoy the time I spend with them. One hen in particular has really captivated me, and I truly think that without her being the way she is I wouldn't have had such a positive experience. Attila the Hen as we've named her prefers the company of people to that of the other hens. She loves to roost on me and will hang out for as long as I let her. I used to have to go find her, but now I can call her and she comes! She is only about 6 months old and already a massive hen. I hope she stops growing soon or I won't be able to fit her on my shoulder anymore. I haven't caught Attila laying yet, but know for a fact that Helen, Lizzie and Chicka Khan are all laying! I am finding 2-3 eggs each day now and they are all very different in size, shape and colour which I find fascinating! Same breed, same feed and environment, but very different eggs. As each hen starts laying I am sure the variety will be spectacular! Come on Black Copper Maran hens! Lay those black eggs!
Speaking of my Black Copper Marans, which are the second breed I am now raising. I was starting to notice something VERY obviously different about one of my hens that had me stumped for a bit. The behaviour and energy of Cluck Norris was starting to stand out to me but I still couldn't figure out why. Well, turns out that Cluck is a ROOSTER!!! I felt so silly when it finally dawned on me and I swear I heard that old Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the other..." playing through my head. At first I was confused and thought I had to be wrong as I bought 12 hens that were hand chosen for me by my friend that I bought them from. It was then that it dawned on me what happened and I LOL'd with delight at this hilarious accident. When I picked up my BCM pullets, I also collected an order of pullets for a friend. That order consisted of 5 hens and 1 rooster....well shucks lol. Obviously an easy mistake but it did take me months to realize I had done it. Now I have a rooster I don't want, but will keep as I am VERY bonded to him.
So if you thought this chicken story is amusing, it gets better! My volunteers, family and I spent all summer coming up with creative and awesome chicken names for our flock. Not sure if ever posted the final names list, but our hens are: Henrietta, Henny Penny, Attila the Hen, Bok Bok Choi, Helen, Lizzie, Cleopecktra, Chicka Khan, Eggelyn, Karhen (the h is silent), LayD Godiva, Henneth Paltrow, Eggy Azalea and CLUCK NORRIS. So tell me, how is that after all the names we chose we actually settled one name that was after a man. We specifically assigned the name to the wimpiest chicken we had as a way to help build up their ego. We didn't know at the time that Cluck is in fact a rooster and now has the BEST rooster name EVER!!! So many things about Cluck's behaviour make so much sense now. Like why does Cluck talk so much more than the others? Why is Cluck's tail so different? Why does Cluck have beautiful wattles when no one else does? It would eventually become totally obvious in time when Cluck started cock-a-doodle-doing, but I am glad I figured it out first. My plans to get a rooster in the spring were just solved! One more thing off my list 😁
I started writing this week's post about fear and I want to circle back to that. Several years ago when my late husband Geordon became sick, I decided that fear wasn't going to stand in my way any longer. He died at age 46, and I was a widow at 37! I started to examine the things I was afraid of and challenged myself to explore them to see if perhaps I was just standing in my own way by giving into fear. I was once VERY claustrophobic and struggled even being in stairwells and elevators. I challenged that fear while visiting my Mom in New Mexico and went and explored the Carlsbad Caverns, which is a pretty insane experience. It was intense and there were moments of absolute sheer terror, but I managed it to come away from the experience with a drive to challenge more. Since then I have met, interacted with and even HELD a tarantula named Rosie who taught me that spiders aren't THAT bad, but they still need to keep those freaky 8 legs to themselves! As well as tackling chickens this year, I also very recently started putting myself a little more in the forefront. It has been very easy for me to deflect attention off of myself and direct it to my goats, thereby escaping notice. That will only get me so far in life. I now realize that my herd is the way they are because of me and that means I can't hide anymore. This past week I REALLY put myself out there when I volunteered to do a virtual farm tour for a group of seniors through the Active Living Seniors Centre new Virtual Village program. The catch? I was LIVE for an hour! Yikes! Anyone who knows me knows I have a potty mouth and profanity does tend to come out of it often. I was terrified I was going to swear! I am happy to say that didn't happen, and I survived talking with a camera in my face for that long. I plan to continue to find my bravery and do more to showcase just what it is I do all day here with this crazy group of animal friends. I successfully experimented with Instagram and Facebook live this past week and will be doing that more. The work never ends here and I literally do work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week to make this all possible. Living the dream? Perhaps not for some! For me though, it fits just right! Why not examine some of your own fears to see where they may be holding you back in your own life? We don't grow if we don't seek to improve and change things in our life that don't serve us. Fear can immobilize us, stop us in our tracks and keep us from moving forward. It weakens us, destroys our immune system and we can easily become stuck in the emotion of fear - especially in our current world. My advice is to always PUSH. Learn to question everything and push yourself, your boundaries, belief systems and thought patterns so that you continually grow. Until that day we take our last breath in this life, we are all still children after all!
Until next week my friends, ~ Angee