This week I have decided to take a pause, to not pick or write about another GotW in order to honour my boy Gigalo for one more week. For those who have not yet heard the news, my dear sweet Gigalo passed away peacefully. My heart is not in the right place for me to be able to focus on another goat at the moment while I mourn him, so rather than force it, I will take this week to reflect on things and update you all with the farm happenings and when everyone can expect baby arrivals for 2020. There has actually been a ton happening around the farm these days, and in my life in general, so an update kind of post is in order for this week.
So first I'd like to take a few moments to pay my respects to my dear Geordon, who would have celebrated his 53rd birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday to you my love <3 With Gigalos passing a few days ago, I have really felt Geordon's presence strongly here at the farm. While I held Gigalo during his last moments, I know I was not alone in the barn with him. It was actually quite a touching, the few moments I had to share with my sweet old (very smelly) man in the end. As I held his tiny body I was overcome by a sense of peace and love akin to what one would feel from a grandfather. I felt that Giggy knew it was time for him to move on, as I was now OK to continue to journey without him. I felt Geordon there beside me and knew that he had come to take Giggy home. There honestly are some moments in life that can never be put into words - those moments that are there for us, and us alone. To experience. To feel. To hurt. To learn and to grow. I think Geordon came to support me while I said good-bye, as he knew how hard it would be for me. Holding that space for Gigalo to take his last breath, I couldn't help but reflect back on his amazing life and just how grateful I was for being able to provide that for him. I know there are many that think I'm a nutter, but the service I give to my animals is out of love, gratitude and deep respect for who they each are. The well being of the herd is paramount to all of the work we do here, so when one of them passes away, it matters. I believe in honouring the life that lived rather than mourn too long for the passing of it. I know there is still joy within our memories that we can continually share, long after they've passed on.
I don't want to dwell on the sadness of the past week, I really want to focus on all of the amazing an positive things that have been happening here. I recently launched a new program I am calling "Goats on the Go!" and it is going better than expected. We have been visiting local retirement homes, residential homes, drop in programs, and almost anywhere else we are asked to come. The goats seem to be enjoying the outings as much as we are. Each day we go out we are bringing smiles and joy to people's hearts. We feel the excitement when we arrive - and within minutes you can fell it settling and becoming calm. Often by the time the hour is up, the goats are chewing their cud and even lying down with people for cuddles. Our biggest challenges to these visits are dealing with the excited energy when we arrive at a location - it often makes the goats a bit jittery, but they trust and take everything in stride knowing we (myself and my wonderful team) have their backs and that they are safe. We limit the length of time that each goat works (max 2 hours daily, with at least 1 hour break in between), as well as how many days they work per week. This ensures they are never over worked, overwhelmed, or stressed. Our other challenge to the visits is bathroom breaks. I train my goats to go to the bathroom on command so that they essentially "empty" outside, before going inside. When this works, my whole team is delighted!! The flip side to that is when we arrive and we have a mutiny and no one wants to go to the bathroom before we go in. Well then what? I love my team and they put up with a lot of shenanigans from me around here. Without them, the goats and I would be running wild through the streets! My team keeps things civilized ;) Accidents do happen, but they are rare.
So the last week around here has been very busy. Now that we are on the road and becoming active in the community, word is spreading. It is really exciting to watch something I have worked years towards, start to grow into what I dreamed of. In only a few short weeks I am already seeing the positive effects that my herd is having on the individuals we see regularly. I always try to take the same goats to the same repeat locations so that relationships can be built over time. In some circumstances there hasn't needed to be any time - those relationships were apparent, immediately. In the past several weeks my team and I have been moved to tears on multiple occasions by the magic we are witnessing. Saying I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job would be an understatement. With the recent travels, word is starting to get around. In the past week we have been featured in the Bracebridge Examiner, on CTV News Barrie, and just this morning I did an interview on CBC Radio, Ontario Morning with Wei Chen. I will post all of the links to the media coverage below. It has been a very big week, with a great deal of exposure and excitement. Add the passing of Gigalo into the mix and it is no wonder that I am feeling a bit run down these days. I dream of a vacation. The barn feels so empty each and every time I go in there. I know that will pass with time. I try to hold onto the positive and amazing things happening with my business and dream, and know that Gigalo is proud of all of the work we are doing.
So 2020 is here, and with that is normally an announcement of when we can all expect the next batch of Sky River baby goats. This past winter and breeding season has been one for the record books for me. With the unexpected passing of my main herdsire Jose back in November. Without him to carry on my breeding plans it left me with very few options. I had intended to add a new buck this year anyways for this reason, but had wished for more time. Jose had other plans. So where does that leave us for babies this year? We still are not sure. I am hoping for confirmation of at least one pregnancy this week. Everyone will have to wait a bit longer, but at this point we know for sure that we will not have any baby goats born on the farm until July and into August. Animals are funny and no matter how much planning we try for, there are curveballs thrown our way you just can't prepare for in advance. I am desperate for confirmation of a pregnancy though. My herd has gone ballistic with hormones this winter. With no one bred, all of the does are now trying to be bucks to breed each other....It is not working. It is CHAOS somedays though! I long for warm sunny days and kicking this band of hooligans back outdoors again. I wish I had better news on the baby goat front, but it will have to wait just a wee bit longer. The warmer weather is upon us, the clocks have once again been changed (when will the insanity stop??), and I've noticed a great increase in birds returning to the area lately. I know that before long we will be full on into mud season on the farm - otherwise known as shedding season, or big spring clean up season.. Either way it guarantees the return of warm weather and that also means the return to our active on farm animal programs! I have big plans and new ideas that I am hoping to launch and introduce. With it all, I plan to stay positive and keep shining! In beauty ~ Angee
Bracebridge Examiner: https://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story/9872560--who-knew-they-would-be-such-a-hit-goats-aid-muskoka-s-mental-health/?fbclid=iwar3t97ldwlnzvxuwyzalrfzepzokvjnrku1wzfianqevdrrd8u42pg7jpnw
CTV News Barrie: https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1916827&jwsource=fb&fbclid=IwAR0M-ClGXi0vfWVe7jTZ--K-fwtPDT4iqUk21LxlDnBFHhLYD8iL3vbmL_A
CBC Radio, Ontario Morning with Wei Chen: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-112-ontario-morning-from-cbc-radio/clip/15764693-ontario-morning-monday-march-9-2020-part-3?fbclid=IwAR1bQi-DgpNFYzxG6L4-umR5DrGS3vYRUrabuIJulKD8f5fvDkNhSNVvnxM