This morning when I woke, I felt utterly defeated. The trials and challenges of the last week have really kicked my butt and for whatever reason, last night I felt like a hit a wall, and today didn't start out much better. I am emotional, I am feeling overwhelmed and just downright miserable. I'm really not one to ever feel sorry for myself, but today I wanted to join my own pity party. Learning new skills on new equipment is challenging enough, but then when that same equipment breaks rendering the job impossible....
As I was standing there on my porch feeling sorry for myself, a wild tom turkey came out of the field and began strutting around in front of my barn. For those who watch and listen to the messages in nature, the arrival of this turkey was very significant for me. I watched him walk around, so confident with his purpose and place in the world. I absorbed the teachings from the turkey and knew immediately what I needed to adjust in myself to feel stable and grounded again. It was even more of a blessing to walk to my barn about 20 minutes later to find this beautiful gift left behind by that very turkey. This feather will be added to a growing collection of treasured gifts. While I marveled at the message I had already received from turkey this morning, I had an even stranger encounter with a young red squirrel on my deck. Although I am studying shamanism, these kinds of events always take me by surprise. Although it is nothing unusual to see me chatting it up with the animals about all kinds of things, this encounter was really odd. I watched the squirrel walk down my driveway towards me as if I was his destination. It wasn't long until I realized that this squirrel was actually here to see me as there he was sitting across from me on my deck, on one of my chairs as if he had just arrived for an agreed upon meeting. This young squirrel, I think a male, proceeded to give me the biggest scolding from a squirrel I've received to date. It turns out that this little squirrel also had a ton of wisdom to share with me but was far more impatient in sharing his wisdom than the turkey was. I really needed that though little squirrel, thanks for the lecture <3
What an odd way to start out my blog this week no? You must be wondering what could have happened to make me feel so desperately defeated this morning. Perhaps I should back up a bit. I believe last week, I left off running to see a man about a tractor. Well, that's the great way the week started - we actually bought that tractor and it arrived last Tuesday! Sky River Meadows now has on it's team, a very sexy and beastly, Fordson Power Major 5000 tractor with an industrial grade bucket. I have always had a thing for old trucks and tractors, especially when they work! This powerful machine will help us move a lot of manure! Most importantly though, it is powerful enough to help us to get the hay off the fields. One of my biggest stressors since moving to Woodfield, is that each year it has been a struggle to get the hay off. We have over 300 acres in hay, and I have been buying it due to lack of my own equipment to make it. As we've only recently acquired these essential tools, this is why we're just starting to cut. Regardless of how much we manage to put in our barn, the fields all still need to be cut down so they are good next year - hence the rush to get everything operational. With assistance from some wonderful neighbours we managed to get a small bit of hay down so we could test the equipment. Bailey, Fred and I spent a Saturday afternoon/evening pouring over the 24T square baler with an old service manual in hand. I am some blessed at the moment as my man Fred AND my girl Bailey have some MAD skills with equipment!! Bailey managed to figure out the knotters, get them working, and even figured out the complicated thread pattern for the baler twine. We got that old baler up and running, and it was even tying the bales right! I was literally jumping and dancing in the field while we followed that baler through the field as it dropped it's first bales for us. Our victory was very short lived however, as 14 bales in, our new (to us) baler let out the most horrid sound that metal can make, and died. I won't get into the gruesome details, however it now sits in the equipment barn across the road, pulled apart and looking sad. With the square baler out of commission, we had no choice but to see if we could get the round baler working. We were out in the field Saturday night until close to 11pm trying to get it going and had to admit defeat and call it a night. Thankfully Fred is amazingly gifted with machinery. He managed to work out a lot of issues with every piece of equipment we have. This week things will get serious into making hay! Good news is, replacement parts for the broken baler have been found and are being picked up tonight. Apparently Monday's are now also for road trips for essential farming equipment :)
For anyone who has ever farmed with animals, having a barn full of hay is security. It ensures the herd eats for the winter. Our business depends on a happy, healthy herd and of course I want to provide the very best of everything for a herd that works so hard to help so many people feel good. It is likely safe to say that hay season is one of the most important jobs (and least favourite for most) on a farm. The cost savings are huge if you can make your own, but for me I also just always enjoyed the entire process as a kid. With the exception of the "hay bites" as I have always called them, the scratches you get from moving hay bales around. I find cutting grass of any kind to be deeply therapeutic. Raking and baling the hay are all equally satisfying jobs as well. When the barn is full of fresh hay, there is no better smell in the world. To me it smells like survival for another winter, and that is a necessary security. I feel the days getting shorter already, and I hate to say it but the leaves are starting to change as well. The geese are very active during the day and the dew is thick and cold on the grass in the morning. All of these are early signs of an early autumn and I object profusely! We are absolutely not even starting to think towards the fall until the hay is off the fields! We need at least two weeks of good weather and we will be all set. I am loving the learning curve and trying to stay positive. I know next year things will run smoothly and on time. I definitely am looking forward to that!
Over the past several months, the Snowlake Initiative has been running a talent show here called GOAT. This past Tuesday we welcomed Ontario performer and musician, Jen Cook, of Red Jenny and the Boys to come to the farm to try out her skills in front of the Sky River judges, for the filming of Episode 4. I can honestly say that in all my years of hosting people with the goats, I have never before witnessed someone have more fun than Jen did. Watching her preform, hearing her laugh, enjoying the reactions of the goats. Wow, what an experience to witness! There was a few very special bonding moments for Jen with a couple of the herd. This photo captured here of Jen with Julia really sums up what a joyful experience it was for Jen to play for the goats. When this episode is up on YouTube I will of course link it in to a future blog. On a week that has been so stressful and I feel overwhelming pressure, this break was so welcome. It was so easy to be sucked into the fun and enjoyment that Jen experienced while playing for the herd. If you too want to try your talent in front of the Sky River judges, there is still time to apply! For more information, details and questions, please contact the Snow Lake Initiative. Take advantage of the beautiful weather that still remains in this summer and come visit the farm and these very judgmental goats <3 You won't regret it!
With as strange as this entire year has been, it is no wonder that choosing names for the new babies has not been a priority. We have been getting by with calling the boy "little man" and the girl "little lady". Not the kind of names you want sticking for very long. I have tossed quite a few ideas around in my head for the 5 weeks since they were born and each time I have continually come back to the same names consistently. I am now happy and pleased to announce that the 2020 babies have finally been named! Please welcome Sky River Meadows Zeus and Sky River Meadows Hera! These two cuties of course will both be staying on the farm for many months as they learn to work in our therapy programs. Sadly for Zeus, he does seem to have a LOT of testosterone so he will very likely be fixed in the next few weeks in order to hopefully settle him into a quieter lifestyle of cuddling and being loved on. These two little darlings have already tripled in size since they were born on July 10th. If you'd like to meet them and cuddle them while they are still small, be sure to book a visit for you and your circle!
Before I sign off for another week, I want to take a moment to personally acknowledge some important people. First to my team of volunteers at the farm - without you, I think I would have thrown in the towel a couple of months ago. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not only being here to lend a hand, but for coming this past Saturday for my workshop. It was hard for me to share with you all but I felt loved and supported through it all. I appreciate the insight, and sharing. I look forward to many more workshops and brainstorming sessions! The herd and barn have never looked better, keep up the amazing work! I wanted to also thank my wonderful neighbours from down the road. Lloyd, Howard and Ray Quinton have all offered help and support in recent days and I know they are rooting for us to get this farm into tip top shape again, like it was when the Quinton family used to care for this land years ago. There are no better minds and hands to teach me than those who've lived in this valley their entire lives. I look forward to bringing it back to it's former glory and making it better than ever before. Lastly, but certainly not least, to my Fred. I can't express how much you mean to me already in such a short time together. These last few weeks have been so full of great experiences, it makes me excited for the future and what other mischief we can get up to. Watching you become Farmer Fred is the greatest gift of all <3 Thank you for all you do, and most of all for loving me <3
When I was younger, and admittedly even up until recently, I truly believed that we were supposed to love others, but not ourselves. Let me tell you how wrong I was. I now know that if you don't love yourself you aren't able to love another. It starts with ourselves. We are all raised by the people who are in our environment as children. Our minds are shaped by our experiences, good or bad, just as the lessons we are taught by those around us. Children learn from everyone and everything, starting from their parents and siblings, down to neighbours and friendly faces in the community. We are all surrounded by others who have also been shaped by their own experiences and influences. What if some of the things being taught and passed down are based off of incorrect perception, assumptions etc? So what happens if thought patterns and behaviours had been shared and taught through multiple generations? It seems to me that you get a lot of confused individuals, impacting each other with their thoughts, emotions and energy, and not necessarily in constructive or supportive ways. This is why SELF LOVE needs to be the first step in finding your true self. By protecting and nurturing ourselves first, we can do a much better job of supporting and nurturing those we love. I don't know at what point in my life I stopped loving myself, but I do know when I learned that I didn't. For me it was meeting a FEEL horse named Northern Lady during a private session at Horse Spirit Connections. That incredible mare, who I am sad to say recently passed away, looked me dead in the eye that day and spoke directly into my heart. She asked me, "Why don't you love yourself?" Honestly until that point I didn't realize that I didn't, nor did I realize that I should. That was when I enrolled in the FEEL Certification program and began a journey home to myself. Every single day since my program started in April 2018, this has been my journey. The struggle is real and most days I think I still lose the battle and don't put myself first, but I am getting better at this each and every day. I made a very serious commitment to myself after ending my last long term relationship and that was to always love myself first. I even got a tattoo this past December on my ring finger, in small letters "ME", as a constant reminder to never forget that self loves comes before all else.
So I turned 44 this past weekend. Not sure if that's a milestone, but for me it is the year I really began to love and honour myself. Covid has taken so much away from all of us. I try instead to focus on the good that is coming from it in my life. For me, this time has helped me to really connect with myself. Without those weeks in isolation I may not have really committed to learning to love myself every day. For me that is remembering to eat - something I am very bad at - but eating healthy when I do. Also, taking time for the things I truly enjoy, that fill my heart. I had to make a list because I had actually forgotten what I used to do to make me feel happy. I also ensure I exercise everyday, my active lifestyle ensures I don't have to work hard at that. Taking time to care for and nurture my body, mind and soul through meditation, music and ceremony is also essential for me. This past weekend I did something that I wasn't sure I would be capable of doing - I went away for the weekend and left others in charge at the farm. This is an absolute must for self love - taking time for yourself - something I don't do, and so I made myself do it! Volunteers were here to ensure guests were looked after and that weekend Goat Yoga with Caprine Vibes was a success. I went camping and my phone was incapable of getting even a weak signal. I stressed - I don't think I will ever NOT stress while away from home, but I managed to have an amazing weekend. I started seeing someone new a couple of months ago and this past weekend we escaped together to a remote property his family has on the Vermillion River north of Sudbury, ON. This was exactly the kind of break I needed to recharge from the endless weeks of 18 hour days. There was no sound but the animals in the forest around us. I was able to spend hours on the river kayaking, which is one of my happy places. This river is so much fun to explore! The pace it flows at ensure you don't even have to paddle, but can just float and meditate. Thank you Fred for sharing such an amazing place with me that is dear to your heart, and for an amazing birthday weekend! <3 I can't wait to go back again.
This past week on the farm has been exciting, as per usual, with loads going on. One of the highlights for me was witnessing my friend Amanda stand in her power and lead her first Goat Yoga classes. The energy and vibe of her class, combined with her soothing voice and great music choices seemed to bring something very unique to her class offering. On Saturday she ran her second class and from what I here it was also a great success! I look forward to these ongoing classes and hope to be able to catch a class myself sometime soon. Currently Amanda is offering classes each Wednesday evening at 7pm and on select weekend mornings. You can find all of the information on her classes and how to register on her Caprine Vibes website.
In last week's blog, I mentioned that we were fortunate enough to have been given the use of some farm machinery to get our hay in. Well, unfortunately the tractor is in much need of servicing so is now in the shop and may not actually make it back in time to use for cutting the hay. So, the search continues for a tractor and tonight I am on the road to Newmarket in the hopes that I will find what we need and at a good price. This year has been challenging enough, and bringing in the winter's hay is essential for any farmer's peace of mind. Knowing there is a barn loft full of hay to keep everyone fed through winter is one of the best feelings in the world. Right now, the alternative would be to purchase our hay for the winter again and honestly this is not a good option when we have 320 acres of hay to be cut. Hey, if anyone reading this knows of a tractor for sale for a good price let me know! :)
The past several weeks here have seen a huge amount of change and transformation to the look of the website and also the structure of operations here. This is all due to the amazing gift, talent and advice being given to me by J'aime Payne of Breeze Business Management. Adding J'aime to my team has allowed me to create a new business model that will allow us to sustain during these challenging times, but also to allow us to reach more people and in the most impactful ways. I think I am most grateful for the passion and heart that J'aime possesses which really partners well with my own. Creating my vision with her guidance, has even rejuvenated my own inspiration for why I wanted to build this special place. I could sing J'aime praises ALL DAY LONG! Not only does she handle the things that stress me out, but she does it with actual JOY and EASE. She has literally shown me that it is possible to run a farm, a business and still have a life. Oh, and did I happen to mention she is VERY affordable!!! I assure you, if you have a business that is in need of some spark and energy, please consider checking out Breeze Business Management. It has been the best business decision I have made to date. Call her, you won't be disappointed!
Well, for another week I need to sign off. I am off to see a man about a tractor. Send good luck and energy my way! I need a quick and easy solution to this tractor problem so we can get to the serious business of getting this hay off the fields. Hopefully by this time next week I will check back in with good news and pictures of another sexy tractor :)
with love, ~ Angee
How can it be August already? I have difficulty some days when I realize how much time has passed and how much longer it will take before some semblance of normal returns to life. I am one of those who absolutely refuses to accept this "new normal" as an acceptable way to live. Perhaps it is that I work in the mental health field so I am seeing the direct effect on families and especially children. This new normal is not a healthy choice. It actually ensures that we connect even less with each other, which I feel, will in the end just continue to exacerbate the issues we are all already facing. I think that is why I am more motivated and focused than I ever have been before. I know that my herd can help a lot of people, so now I am working hard to reorganize my business so that it can be much bigger than just me. I can only personally see so many people in a day, so my team is expanding. This will allow programs to run concurrently and I can have more time to focus on creating my specialized FEEL programs. It is kind of ironic that I spent all this time and money to be able to bring the FEEL Approach to my Muskoka community, but I actually am unable to offer this service because I'm too busy with the farm chores. That is all changing and as each week passes will only get better. My new "boss lady" as I am calling her, is a Godsend I swear, and I am so proud of what we are creating together. If you haven't looked yet, you should check out the new website and see the direction my business is now taking in order to stay alive in this crazy covid world. With the new look also comes a new pricing model. This was a very difficult decision to make, but as the herd is quite expensive to maintain there had to be an adjustment. Although you will now pay more money for 1 on 1 time with the herd, if you come with your social circle, or "bubble" you can actually save money now. Of course also due to the changes and my decision to keep all groups private, my goat walks also have to evolve. When the walks resume it will be at a new price as it will be my first FEEL Program and will include some fundamentals of the FEEL Approach. Participants will get way more bang for their buck, as they will also take away some powerful teachings that can really help cope with this stressful new reality. I am really looking forward to expanding on the experience of anyone who has come prior, and to introducing this new program to first time visitors. I hope to launch this new program by mid month so stay posted for more info if you're interested.
I am sure that many of you are anxious for news about our darling baby girl who was sick is doing. I am happy to report that she has made a full recovery, but will continue to be monitored closely, as her system is already weakened, she is much more susceptible to other illness. I am so grateful to have volunteers here now to help me. I am rarely alone to deal with stuff now, which at first was a hard adjustment for me, but I am learning that letting go of some responsibility will allow me more time for myself. The herd has never been so well tended with so many hands on board to help. We are so lucky to have the volunteers we have. This little lady, along with her brother still remain without names. I have this tendency to wait until all babies for the year are born before I make a solid decision. I am still a little undecided on my exact theme yet anyways. With only one more doe due (and likely not pregnant), no one will have to wait much longer. Honestly the fact that there are less babies to name, actually make this choice tougher for me. If these two little ones grow up to be therapy goats then their name will be important. Perhaps by next week I'll figure it out ;)
I have been sitting on a big secret for many weeks now while my dear friend Amanda worked to create something brand new. If you remember a few weeks back, I sent out an energetic seed of inspiration in the hopes that it would create some magic. Not only did magic happen, and in a few beautiful ways, but also in one incredible and exciting way. I have the amazing honour and pleasure to introduce you all to Caprine Vibes. This incredible new partnership brings Amanda Kindrat, facilitator and Intuitive Reiki Master together with the Sky River Meadows goats to bring Goat Yoga and Goat Assisted Reiki to the Muskoka community. I have first hand experienced the healing in this powerful partnership and know that Caprine Vibes will bring a lot of great energy and healing to the community. This coming Wednesday August the 5th, Amanda will run her first Goat Yoga class, and I hear it is already sold out! Upcoming classes and information can be found on the Caprine Vibes site, or Facebook page.
Although I have only known Amanda for about a year now, in that short time she and her beautiful family have had a profound impact in my life. Her family has also become close with a few of my family due to an amazing weekend experience they all shared last fall, here on the Woodfield True Nature Campus. I think that weekend bonded everyone who shared it for life, not just my close circle. This connection with my family and now also with my herd has me deeply curious about where else this relationship and connection can go. I find myself drawn to Amanda. There is something about her energy that just exudes kindness, and love on a "felt" level. As with so much in my world in the last two years since beginning the FEEL programs, there are some things you can't ever put into words. I know Amanda feels some deep unexplained connection here as well, so I am just grateful that she is just as willing as me to blindly jump into this new partnership in order to explore where it will take us. Perhaps what the world needs now more than ever before is animal assisted therapy programs like the ones we are running here. There is no doubt that goats bring a lot of life and playfulness to every learning activity at the farm, and I think that in some ways makes them more effective and approachable. Either way, I am thrilled to see where this partnership will go.
Also, seriously? My herd can put Goat Assisted Reiki on their resumes. I love that!
I had been excitedly waiting since the filming of episode 3 of GOAT: Talent Search for it to be released. It finally is available and it so much fun to watch! The cuteness overload is almost too much. 3 young human siblings with 3 young goat siblings + 1 amazingly patience and talented mother = great viewing! To me this video is raw motherhood. Beautiful, gifted and blessed with three of the most gorgeous children, it was an absolute pleasure to host Leah Zantingh and her children. They managed to capture enough GOAT points to take the lead! Here is the episode below. Who will be next?
Our herd numbers recently expanded a few weeks back with the addition of 6 goats from a family I have supported with their herd management. These 6 after a few weeks of ups and downs and shifts within the herd are finally settling into the routines around here. When it comes to being social, these 6 are often involved in daily Cuddle Puddles with visitors. I think they are all well adjusted to the amount of grooming that is available if they socialize. They are still being taught the rules and have a lot to learn about manners still, but so far there haven't been many issues. They are still unwilling to follow the herd on a walk, so for the time being they have to be put in while the rest of us go out. In time I really hope they learn to follow, as I find when given the chance to browse, goats are really good at regulating their own nutritional needs. Besides, the regular exercise does everyone good! Chances are if you've been to the farm since we've reopened, you've met and mingled with Daisy, Cocoa, Julia, Vanilla, Stella and Simon. If not, you should consider booking a visit with your bubble to come meet them! :)
Sky River Meadows was very recently gifted the addition of some new (to us) farm machinery! This generous offer comes from the same source as most of our blessings, Mike Bradley, the owner and founder of the Woodfield True Nature Campus where the farm is situated, and where we have called home for the past two years. Through the continued generosity, support and belief in my programs, Mike continues to push and inspire me every single day, and has since I met him. I have now been given a huge responsibility of overseeing not just the 40 acre farm that I lease here, but also of the other 280+ acres of farmland which will soon come to be known as the Woodfield Sky River Farm, a collaborative partnership between our two companies. Covid has done some major damage to a lot of businesses, dreams and overall lives. I love that many are coming together, being willing to adapt, push new boundaries, and find better ways to work together. With the use of this heavy equipment, my life of running this farm just began 50X easier. We now have at our disposal a Boomer 8N tractor (an automatic which is odd, but I will learn) haybine, rake, round baler, hoe, bucket, hay fork, snow blower, post hole digger, post pounder and a few other attachments I haven't figured out yet. Mike also helped us purchase a small square baler which I found for a steal of a deal from a local family. Being able to make small squares will also save a lot of hours of heavy lifting for everyone who helps here. Now to get everything serviced and operational so I can start cutting these fields! It's been a long time since I've made my own hay and I am actually surprised to say I am looking forward to doing this job again. If you've ever worked bringing in hay, you'll know anyone who enjoys it is crazy. If you have the capability of sending us good vibes, luck and anything else that helps get machinery up and running quickly, please send it our way! If by chance someone reading this knows something about Boomer tractors, and particularly the rear hydraulic system. Or if you happen to have a manual for one we could reference, give me a shout! For now I am going to leave this weeks update here. This week will be the first week testing the new reservation system and I am so hopeful that this makes all the difference not only for me, but for everyone who wants to come to the farm. Until next week friends, please be kind. With love ~ Angee
I'm just going to start by saying that the 2020 roller coaster is still alive and well here. This month has had some pretty big highs and lows, and I find myself a little off balance at times from it. Of course inevitably life must move on, and with farming this is especially true. For me, the endless cycle and rhythm to the routine on a farm keep me grounded, steady and always moving forward. Chasing the sun each day, while tending to my herd, has a very comfortable rhythm to it. From that first moment each morning when I enter my barn, I know that my day will be filled with purpose. It always starts and ends the same - feed, water and tend the herd. In the space in between, we host a variety of people here these days. Each group brings new energy and dynamic to the herd, and my team and I stay focused on tending the herds needs throughout the day, so that they can make our guests happy. Although there are "to-do lists" here, the priority is the same day in and day out - the herd comes first. What they need, we provide. This past week has brought it's fair share of the usual challenges, but then on top of it we said good bye to our herd Queen Bonnie who was laid to rest. I choose to love a farming lifestyle because it allows me to be deeply connected to the rhythms of the planet every single day. I get lost in the changing of the seasons, enjoying each day for the gift that it is. I even enjoy the challenges the weather can bring to my day, because I know that hidden within any challenge in life is an amazing opportunity to learn and grow. We are daily surrounded by lessons if we are only willing to see them, seek them out even? Nothing bring me more immediate pleasure than a perfect moment of pure joy that you can find during your normal routine day. I want to share an example of what I mean as I recently was able to experience one of those perfect moments in time with my Aunt Thelma when she recently visited me. It was 6am and I went out onto my porch to greet the day as I do each morning and there in front of my face was the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. in the glow of the rising sun, this dawnlit rainbow will be forever etched in my memories. No photograph would ever be able to capture just how beautiful and perfect that moment was. These cycles in nature that we see through the changing seasons, and even with the daily dance of life and death, keep me deeply humble. Farm life is not always easy, and somedays it feels downright impossible, but it will always keep you grounded, and remind you of what really matters.
Although I am still mourning the loss of Bonnie this past week, the herd has already moved onwards and the inevitable battle to figure out who the new herd queen will be has begun. There are quite a few bloodied heads out there today. I only hope they figure it out quickly, but this is a big herd so it may take awhile. With the loss of the herd leader, a new one must be established. It will most often end with a matriarch, but on occasion a wether (fixed male) can also take over. I have no doubt that in the case of my herd, it will be a doe who wins. My ladies are TOUGH! My (19) wethers are content to sit back and watch the ladies duke it out for the most part, with only the occasional interest taken in joining in. At my last check, there were 9 does involved in the latest royal rumble. With goats there is not much you can do but to let them sort it out. Separating the combatants doesn't work as they'll just wait until they see each other again and pick right back up where they left off. As the herd shifts around establishing the new order here, it does offer some interesting entertainment and conversations for our guests. I truly do enjoy these pure moments of learning when I have an opportunity to closely observe and study the herd dynamic as they sort out their new hierarchy. Not all of the herd is interested in fighting for a place near the top though. Some prefer to find a quiet place to watch the show from. I hilariously captured CC and Carmela hiding together while watching one such fight. These photos speak for themselves and the caption possibilities are endless. They reminded me of those two old guys off The Muppet Show. You know, Statler and Waldorf? Check these out lol.
Further to the challenges of farm life and how you can never let your guard down, our newest little doeling born two weeks ago from SRM My Precious, went down yesterday with Floppy Kid Syndrome. This is something that hits young kids often between the ages of 3-21 days. It can be caused by a multitude of things, but if caught early, treatment is generally effective. It was very touch and go for awhile there over the last 24 hours with her. Her complete recovery will take several days, but at the moment I feel good about her progress and returning strength and will continue to do everything in my power to keep her here with us.
It has been a couple of years since I have had active volunteers on the farm helping me with the day to day. Due to this, it has been awhile since I have shared these experiences with others and I have really enjoyed watching the wonder, emotion and joy on the faces around me, especially during the highs - like birthing. That being said, I was rather unprepared for what sharing and witnessing the hard side of farming such as the death of Bonnie, or currently helping to nurse this doeling, and seeing that toll on those same faces, is a much harder thing for me to process. Covid has really taken it's toll on all of us, and emotions are raw and already running close to the surface. Witnessing a baby goat's health rapidly fail is intensely emotional. Some of my volunteers are really young and farming can be really tough at any age. If you have never seen Floppy Kid Syndrome in action, basically you have a healthy bouncing baby goat one minute, and the next they are laying flat out basically lifeless. For those who've never witnessed this before it can be VERY alarming. I've seen it many times over the years so it helps me to remain calm. I have to stay focused on what needs to be done in order to save a life, and my emotions can hamper my ability to think clearly. One thing I've learned for sure is that even if you do everything right, you don't always have the ability to save them all. I once spent 8 days around the clock fighting to save a baby goat to have him fail anyways. Now I firmly put my faith in God to know what is right, and until then just do my absolute best. <3
I am pleased to report that while writing this, the little doeling is now nursing again on her own and already back with the herd under my teams watchful eye. She is feisty and fiery and has what it takes to make a full recovery quickly. My "spidey" senses were bang on yesterday when I first felt like she wasn't right. I started treatment just a couple hours before her symptoms really become apparent, and by then she was already on her way to recovery. Hopefully due to this she will not suffer any prolonged side effects, but only time will tell. Please send her your love and support! <3
Sky River Meadows once again was playing host to GOAT: Talent Search this past weekend for the filming of Episode 3 which should be aired in the coming days. This third installment of this fun competition featured local Huntsville Artist Leah Zantingh and her beautiful young children. You can check out Leah and all of her amazing work at http://www.leahzantingh.com/
Team Rain, Timber, Breeze and Leah spent some time here on Saturday to record their submission and it was truly a delight and an inspiration to watch it all come together. I don't want to give anything away, but for me it was really incredible getting to witness this episode. Here is a young mother with three small children, competing in a competition WITH her children to make it work. It was so inspiring watching as Leah was able to tend to her three childrens needs, protect, as well as fend off the goats, AND still complete her "act", seemingly effortlessly juggling all three simultaneously. And when the kids snacks came in the pen!! Hysterical!! I can't wait to see this episode when it airs and to see how Leah and her family scored against their competition. There is still time to sign up to be on GOAT: Talent Search. For information and to book your spot in this competition, go to https://www.thesnowlakeinitiative.ca/ I will of course share the episode as soon as it airs and will also link it into a future blog post as well. If you haven't watched Episode 1 or 2 yet, go check them out and see the Sky River Meadows "Judges" in action. Think you've goat what it takes to impress this herd of judgmental goats? Well what are you waiting for? Apply now!
Muskoka Hot Yoga's Goat Yoga classes are on a short break while Trinity is away, but will resume on August 18th. The herd and I will miss Trinity but eagerly look forward to her return. Over the past several weeks of running these classes together, the yoga goats are really getting into their groove. The participants of the most recent class were also able to enjoy the added presence of the new 2020 kids who joined the class, and added an seriously adorable element to an already pretty amazing class.. When Trinity's classes resume, these kids will grown in size some, but they will also have much more energy and be more than willing to climb all over everyone holding their yoga poses. To see Muskoka Hot Yoga's August schedule and to sign up for available Goat Yoga classes, please visit her website at https://muskokahotyoga.com/
Never enough Goat Yoga? Don't fear Goat Yoga lovers! There will be another exciting announcement made about a brand new Muskoka business opening soon with exciting new offerings, and I can't wait to announce this collaboration. Expect that announcement in the coming days!
Until then my friends, be kind to one another. When we choose love, everyone wins! ~ Angee
It is with a very sad, and heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of our beloved herd Queen, Imperial K Bonnie. This beautiful horned Queen of mine was the Matriarch of my herd since she came to my farm in 2009. The very first Nigerian Dwarf to join my breeding program, Bonnie and I go back to the very beginning days of my vision to create this farm. Bonnie was not a lover by any means, and much preferred to spend her time giving people the "stink eye" from a distance. More times than not I would hear visitors remark on how it felt like Bonnie would look right through them like they weren't even there. That really sums up the persona that Bonnie was. Enigmatic, elusive, wild and always free, Bonnie was the one that I could never tame. That is because she was never meant to be tamed. She will always remain as free and wild as the heart that beats in me. She inspired me often to never give up or back down, even when the odds were huge against me. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful teacher she has been to me in teaching me on how to lead the herd in a respectful way. The patience Bonnie had for me, to allow me to learn through making mistakes in training the herd, allowed my programs to get to where they are now. It may seem strange for some to read these words, however when you raise animals with autonomy, you really do get to know them on an individual "being" level. The stories I share come from my heart, as I know each of my animals very deeply and personally, and have grown with them all over many years. In the very beginning, my program started with two Nigerians: Bonnie, and the also recently deceased, Imperial K Gigalo. Every dream starts somewhere, and mine started with those two goats. From their first breeding at my farm, came the first generation of Sky River Meadows therapy goats, their daughter SRM Cassiopeia. Fast forward down the generational line to the babies that were recently born on July 13th, 2020, and those two beautiful babies are actually Bonnie and Gigalo's 6x's great grandchildren. The blue eyes these new babies have are the same eyes that Bonnie has consistently passed down through each generation. I have other blue eyed goats in my herd as well, but these stark deep blue eyes are all Bonnie's. Like a perfect blue sky day.
I will deeply miss Bonnie and how she has kept me on my toes every single day since she came into my life. The lessons she has taught me about respecting the herd, trusting my intuition, and always listening to my heart, have helped to shape me into the woman I am today. Of all my herd, Bonnie has been my greatest teacher. My life will not be the same without her here, and I hope that her spirit remains to watch over the herd she helped me create. She was laid to rest on the west corner of the farm, facing east towards the rising sun, under a big spruce tree beside her great granddaughter SRM Aphrodite.
Bonnie was the very first Goat of the Week that I wrote and I have linked it below for anyone who is interested. There is a gallery of photos there as well that truly capture the spirit of this beautiful soul. Rest in peaceful green pastures Bonnie <3
It is with a happy and joyous heart that I announce that on July 13th, 2020 around 9pm, SRM My Precious finally gave birth to a set of healthy and very vigorous kids! (boy & girl) Not long after publishing last weeks blog, I went back to the barn determined to do everything in my power to get Precious to kid. I smudged, sang, played my singing bowl, and eventually laughed at myself for the lack of patience I had. I was beyond exhausted from too many miles spent walking back and forth from the barn so many times a day. I had volunteers sleeping in the barn determined to not leave until the miracle occurred. It was after so many hours, that I felt perhaps Precious needed a break from all of us, so we all took the herd out for some browse time in the field to watch an incredible sunset at the end of a long heatwave and exhausting week of waiting. I joked to my volunteers that it would be funny and ironic, that after all the hours of waiting, Precious would kid while we were all in the field and away from her. She didn't though, she waited and we were all able to take a breather, watch a beautiful sunset together, and recharge a little. I have been blessed to witness many births in my life, and was even allowed the privilege of witnessing the birth of my own grandson two years ago, which will forever be in my heart as one of the highlights of my life. For some reason this first birth of 2020 has been one of the rawest for me. I think it may have to do with how badly we all need some joy in our lives right now. I know nothing more joyful, and capable of healing hearts than baby dwarf goats! This years darling twins from Precious are no exception to this! What the world needs now in these uncertain, and trying days are more baby goats!
Last week I gave a shout out to all of my volunteers that spent countless hours waiting and watching. The wait definitely paid off for 3 of my volunteers (plus 1 lucky Mom!) who were here to witness the birth, and assist in cleaning the babies and helping them to nurse for the first time. I wouldn't say that Precious had an effortless birth this time around, but I am grateful that there weren't more serious complications. The reason it seems that it took so long for Precious to get down to actually kidding was the difficult birthing presentation of the first kid. He was coming head and nose first, but had both front legs back under him, making for a large brisket trying to move through the birth canal. Once the boy's head was out I was able to gently feel inside for a front leg and get it to come forward into proper position. Once in this "one leg forward" position he was easily delivered. His twin sister came out moments later in the preferred "dive" birthing position with both front hooves and nose coming out together. Both babies were on their feet and nursing within moments. They are strong and healthy. Both have blue eyes, wattles and I believe that they are both "polled", meaning naturally hornless. I imagine that both babies likely have moon spots as well, but I still have to check on that.
This is the first time since 2015 that I actually have volunteers working with me to help socialize the babies. I had forgotten just how captivating these baby dwarf goats can be, but seeing the love and adoration immediately on the faces of my volunteers, brings it all back. You can't mistake that "love at first sight" look on anyone! This is the best place to learn about my training techniques though, from a place of complete love and openness. My methods for raising my herd are somewhat unusual I suppose, but it has literally allowed me to create the incredible herd I have, to do the work that we do. I really do enjoy teaching others, talking about the nature of animals and how we can understand them better. Sharing my thoughts, beliefs and training methods for how I work with my animals with my volunteers has allowed for some amazing and very engaging conversations. Perhaps it is just the state of the current world that has drawn us all together, but somehow the week shared in waiting for Precious to birth has bonded us all in far deeper and more meaningful ways. I completely immersed myself in the entire natural experience of birthing again. I knew I needed to REALLY take it all in and explore the wonder of it all with new eyes again. For me, sharing it with others made it even more magical as I saw the shared wonder on their faces. It was exactly what I needed to move through what feels like the "junk" of emotional energy this new COVID reality has created in my life. Fresh new faces bring fresh new hope, and a renewed energy to what I need to do to keep the business alive. The fresh faces I speak of are not just these beautiful new babies, but also the new additions to my Sky River Team. This new energy from my new team members bring me so much inspiration and renewed drive. Enough with the $h!t of 2020! I'm ready to get excited about something again! Stay tuned for some exciting new announcements and a brand new fresh look to everything Sky River Meadows!
Moving on from the exciting news of the arrival of babies, I'd once again like to touch on how much I am enjoying the added programs of Goat Yoga from Muskoka Hot Yoga here at the farm. Each time Trinity shows up at the farm I feel a very distinct energy come over this place. It feels like my herd is now recognizing that the "baton", or "torch" has been passed, and for the next hour, Trinity is charge of this space. It feels very surreal to me, so much so that for the first month I completely dismissed the feeling. Yoga session after yoga session though, the same feeling comes over me. The responsibility of holding space here at the farm falls to Trinity for that hour, and I can truly be free and myself. If I can be honest, this has been an amazing discovery for myself, that I can allow someone else to hold space with my herd, to work with them as they see fit, to increase the possibility of this beautiful connection between animals and people to take place. Each week as each class occurs, I enjoy watching the connections and smiles almost as much as I enjoy watching my herd hone these new skills. Trinity has recently added to her summer schedule and is now booking into the end of August. You can find her schedule and how to register at https://muskokahotyoga.com/ I look forward to these continued fun and challenging classes with Trinity each week.
This past week, as well as the one ahead, have been incredibly exciting for me. I recently took a leap of faith and hired a Business Development Manager. BEST decision I ever made!!! I am absolutely honoured and proud to say that J'aime Payne from https://www.breezebusinessmanagement.com/ has transformed my life for the better! Not only does she have an incredible gift for business, she has a passion that fires me up about my own dream! I think that's a rare combo and I am so grateful she came into my life! Also amazingly serendipitous is that J'aime is the creator of GOAT: Talent Search and is bringing attention and assistance through the farm though her great talent show being hosted by the farm and judged by the SRM herd! Check out Episode 2 of GOAT here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LziCg7ZbViw There is still time to apply to be a contestant on GOAT! Do you have what it takes to bring your talent to the SRM Judges?
Through the past couple of weeks I have been really enjoying my time watching as all kinds of different relationships I am involved in are developing into new and interesting connections. New volunteers, new clients, new babies and new energy, really make the farm feel like it is running on an energy all its own. Each week as I enjoy conversations with people, I revel in the new relationships that can development. Case in point this week is a generous donation from Clearstream Water Treatment http://clearstreamwater.ca/ of an 8x4 utility trailer. I have actually been in the market for a trailer for awhile now, and with this generous donation we can save a bit of money and a ton of time. Thank you so much to Brian Jones for dropping the trailer by this afternoon and for the great conversation that was a welcome break to my humdrum of a Monday. while fighting with rural Muskoka internet and ability to connect to any form of a signal. Not only was Brian gracious enough to donate this trailer to the farm, but his young daughter is also a "helper" here at the farm , learning ahead of when she is old enough to actually volunteer her time here. This young lady has an incredible gift for connecting with animals and I am honoured to have her here, even on a limited for now basis. This trailer graciously donated by Clearstream, will be put to good use on the farm while we work towards goals of better management and equipment. This trailer will make a lot of jobs easier and for that we are so grateful <3 I can't wait to get some paint and let the student volunteers loose on it to make it into a custom piece of SRM art here at the farm. Hope to post photos of this trailer and the new fresh paint job soon!
Until then, stay safe and healthy. Please also remember to choose kindness daily <3 With love, and in beauty, ~ Angee
I can hardly believe an entire week has already passed again. I have reached a new level of exhausted while I continue to stare endlessly at a backside that just will not start expanding in giving birth. I am on day 5 of continuous trekking to the barn every 2 hours. The last 33+ hours have been spent watching contraction after contraction, while SRM My Precious continues to be in no hurry to ACTUALLY give birth. She is not in distress or terrible discomfort, therefore I am absolutely not allowed to stress whatsoever. Nature knows way better than we ever will for when the right time is for something to happen. Precious will kid when she is good and ready, and certainly not a second before.
More about Precious to come, but I really should address the question of "Was SRM Mystique actually pregnant?" Sadly the answer is no. Nope, nope, nope. To the disappointment of many, what did seem to good to be true, proved to be another false pregnancy. The more I learn about goats, the more I realize I don't know. Tricky critters, these sneaky, crafty little friends of mine.
So as I write this blog entry, I have 4 amazing and dedicated volunteers in my barn ensuring the needs of the herd are all being met. I feel blessed to have so much help here and it adds to the fun to share the endless waiting with others who are enduring this agonizing game for the first time. Last night, two of my volunteers slept in the barn with Precious for the entire night, which I LOVE SO MUCH!!! It was the first time I haven't slept in the barn during kidding in 12 years! I have to admit, I didn't miss the mosquitos, and did enjoy sleeping in my own bed, even if I was still up and walking to the barn every couple of hours. I also admit I felt very creepy peeking into the stall where Precious and her team of dedicated doulas were sleeping lol. I was touched beyond words <3 So I MUST give a HUGE shout out to my girls Nava and Bailey! Seriously, you both rock!!! I assure you, the wait will be well worth it! <3
We have completed another great week of Goat Yoga classes her, being offered by Muskoka Hot Yoga (https://muskokahotyoga.com/). Trinity continues to bring a great class to her students, and the goats bring great playful energy and a lot of cuddles. Now that we have a routine going and the kinks worked out, the "yoga" gang are settling into this new activity. At each class it seems the goats enjoy themselves more and more. I am thrilled to see repeat attendees at classes! I think one of the most adorable observations I've noticed is that my crew of Dwarf Dwarf siblings that are the "oldest", but smallest goats in the yoga squad, have attached themselves to Trinity herself. At yesterday's class I captured Bilbo trying to get Trinity's attention by nibbling on her flipflops with his sister Raen, I swear those three think they are Trinity's helpers lol. I think Galadriel thinks they are soul sisters <3 This past weekend I was fortunate enough to have some dear family visit and I booked them space into one of these classes. It was fun to watch them take part in something that I am really enjoying hosting each week. The class sizes have remained small to stay within the current group size restrictions. With the province stepping into phase 3 of reopening though, group sizes will be increasing slightly soon. I will always continue to restrict the number of people who visit the farm at one time. In order to ensure the most intimate connection with our guests and herd, I always like to keep the group size on the smaller size anyways.
So, after a few more hours have passed since I began writing this blog entry today, Precious is still keeping us waiting. I am distracting myself at this point with anything else, so writing this is helpful. I really do need to purchase another Fitbit the next chance I have! I would have loved to see the steps I've walked recently back and forth from the barn so many times. Precious is finally in active labour now though, meaning she is occasionally pushing, and very up and down. These things take time and I am never one to rush. I will sleep good once these kids are safely on the ground, and until then will remain in auto pilot. I am almost grateful that Mysti isn't pregnant so that I don't have to watch another doe until the beginning of August when SRM Hermione is due.
There was a beautiful surprise highlight to my weekend and that was in the surprise serenading of my herd (and family) of local musician Mitch Buebe. Mitch's teen daughter is one of my volunteers here, and when he brought her to the farm he offered to play the saxophone for the herd. My herd loves music in ALL forms. Each person that comes to play for them always has a captivated and appreciated audience. It is always so lovely and magical to watch. Mitch played quite a few lovely songs from his baritone saxophone for everyone who was lucky enough to be at the farm Sunday morning prior to the start of Trinity's goat yoga class. What a special and rare treat in these times of covid, when the one thing I miss the most is access to live outdoor music. A special thank you to Mitch for that lovely surprise <3 Check out Mitch and his amazing and talented band here (http://www.mitchbeube.com/)
Alright, as much as I would love to be able to write and share more - that will have to wait until these new bouncy babies are born! I will post a birth announcement blog once the occasion arrives, as well as posting on social media. Send your loving energy and birthing vibes our way! Anything to get Precious to kid already! Until next time ~ Angee
Hello friends! Another week has gone past in a blur, with new programs and activities happening at the barn every day. Of course the news I was hoping to announce this week hasn't yet begun to occur. Both Precious and Mystique are in no hurry and seem quite content to keep their sweet babies to themselves a while longer. Both are in good spirits and still joining the herd on walks currently. The walking seems to keep my girls in great shape for kidding season, and I think this may contribute to why my girls rarely have problems giving birth. (touch wood)
My days are blurring more and more as the weeks pass. COVID has done such a number on my business that I've had to work beyond overtime these past few months to stay afloat, but I am proud of how I can continue to think up new and innovative ways to help support my community with the herd. I feel like I am finally bouncing back from the initial devastation caused by COVID. It sucks that my mobile Goats on the Go! program won't be able to run for some time yet, but I am thinking and planning always, so know we will continue to be OK. I am adding some new blood to the team in the shape of some powerhouse business development. I know that I am only capable of so many hours a day to get work done, and it is time to call in some serious back up :) More about that in the coming days :)
While we all continue to wait for the new babies to arrive, I know many are anxious for news. Funny thing about waiting for goats to give birth. The more we question or try to intervene, the longer they seem to take. There is an old video widely circulated among goat farmers that really sums up what it is like waiting for them to give birth. Although this video is "dated", it is still funny and oh so very true! I present "Does Secret Code of Honor"
I will absolutely post updates as soon after a birth occurs as I am able. No news means I'm just still waiting patiently as well.
This past week has been very exciting and a lot of fun while the goats adjust to working with new practitioners and continue to learn new skills. The Goat Yoga classes being offered my Muskoka Hot Yoga (https://muskokahotyoga.com/) here at the farm are going really well. After a few trial runs I have determined that my yearlings are the best with the yoga classes as they are still curious and playful with meeting new people. Each class gets more interesting as they become more relaxed with the new environment and activity. As you can see from this picture, they work hard in these classes. When the new babies are old enough to join, they will bring even more youthful exuberance to these classes.
The goats and I also participated in our very first Barefoot Goat Walk! It was a really neat experience and everyone enjoyed themselves. This walk was organized by Muskoka Barefoot Inc. (https://www.muskokabarefoot.com/) and there are currently no further activities scheduled with them.
Last night was a very powerful full moon. For the first time Sky River Meadows hosted a Full Moon Sound healing ceremony run by Trinity O'Brien of Muskoka Hot Yoga. The sounds echoing out of our old century barn while the sun set over the hay fields was a very surreal experience. The herd came out of the barn and seemed to marvel at the vibrations and beautiful sounds as well. Even the wildlife seemed to notice. To the lucky participants inside the barn, they were able to take part in an hour long sound healing meditation. The more I work with Trinity, the more I come to respect and love this beautiful soul. I feel blessed and honoured to share my work space with Trinity, and hope to continue to work together for as long as we both need to, in order to get through these challenging COVID times. As I am so passionate about supporting my community, helping other practitioners who also support my community just makes so much sense :)
I think the biggest news that has filled me with the most excitement this past week was the launch of Episode 2 of GOAT. Last week I wrote about Toronto performer David Shilman (@MarkTwangMusic) and his audition in front of my herd of judges. I am so pleased with how great his performance went and think that his testimonial is hilarious. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. Will you be the next to apply to perform for the herd? A huge thank you to David Shilman and J'aime from The Snowlake Initiative for such a great episode :)
So that's all for updates this week! Not a ton to write about when most of my week has been spent frowning at two little goat mammas, waiting for some sign. In the meantime, remember the Doe Code and don't prolong our wait! As soon as there is news to share I will be quick to announce it. Stay well and be kind <3 ~ Angee
It is a beautiful, sunny Monday on the farm! This past week has been a flurry of activity and excitement as new programs began, new volunteers started working here and we get ever closer to the arrival of the new additions to the SRM herd. Babies are due to arrive Friday which means I am on full alert mode where my two moms to be are concerned. SRM My Precious is fit to burst and I suspect she has twins on board, but she may surprise me with triplets. SRM Mystique seems right on track to give birth, but I am still skeptical as to whether or not any babies will come out of her, as she has fooled me many times before. I am admittedly eager and excited though, as she has never been THIS pregnant before. We will know soon without a doubt. Several of my team are also in the same state while we watch Mysti, like a kettle that never boils. As birth announcements are amongst my favourite things to post, news will be sent out quickly when all blessed new arrivals happen. <3
With much news to announce, I am going to just get right to it. We began running Goat Yoga classes in partnership with Muskoka Hot Yoga this past week. Two classes have run so far, with lots of playful magic added from the goats, to Trinity's already great yoga class. I was bummed to discover that if I try to join in and do yoga with the class, my herd will basically stick around me and be less likely to interact with the other participants. So my sole role during Goat Yoga is now poo patrol! They are goats, and yes, they do poop. The goats are amazingly respectful of where they go though so rarely do they poop on anyone's yoga mats. Trinity also brings her sound bowls to her yoga practice and the goats seem fascinated with the tone and energy held within each bowl. No matter which goats join the class, they all seem to go and stick their heads in Trinity's bowls, and generally make a mess of her belongings. With each class, I learn more about which herd members are best suited to which activities. The yoga goats tend to be the younger, more outgoing goats. Muskoka Hot Yoga will be offering classes 3 times a week, through to the end of July. If you are interested in joining a class, you can find all the information and sign up here: https://muskokahotyoga.com/ Trinity is also offering other programs on select days here at the farm through to the end of July.
This past Saturday we had the privilege of taking part in Episode 2 of GOAT: Talent Search. I can't even describe how much fun it is to be a part of this great show. Mark Twang was the brave second contestant to come and preform live in front of the SRM judges. He brought his folk vibes, humour and even introduced the herd to the kazoo! It was a great afternoon, and luckily the rain held off as they were calling for severe thunderstorms. The herd was hungry, the song was fun and lively, and Mark was able to record several takes for his entry into GOAT: Talent Search. You can follow Mark @MarkTwangMusic on Instagram. I am eagerly anticipating watching the second episode of GOAT and will share it to my social media as soon as it become available.
It is not too late to apply to be on GOAT! Check out all the information on this fun, entertaining and talent filled competition at The Snow Lake Initiative.
Who is going to be next? What are you waiting for? The judges are eager to see you preform your talent for them!
Another new development/collaboration begins this week with Muskoka Barefoot Inc. https://www.muskokabarefoot.com/ Owner/Practitioner Agatha Farmer, will be offering two ongoing programs here at Sky River Meadows. Beginning tomorrow, we will host the first Barefoot Goat Walk with the herd. Beginning this Thursday and running every Thursday until October will be the Barn Burner Bootcamp fitness program for ladies. To get more information on either of these programs, and also to register, please contact Agatha directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
This past week has been incredible, full of many great connections here at the farm. I am continuing to meet with individuals who are interested in running their own programs here, and will update as things are in place. I was blessed to experience my very first reiki healing session on Saturday by a dear friend, and was beyond blown away by the experience. The experiment was to see what the herd would do during a reiki session, and the results were remarkable. Not only did they take interest, several of them got involved! I can't wait to make the announcements about the upcoming services that will be offered here by this amazing and beautiful individual. I have it on good authority that my herd is also excited to begin this work with her. Is it odd to be proud of your goat herd and the skills that they are learning and adding to their own resumes? Honestly it feels like the same pride I have for my sons many accomplishments. :)
We expanded our herd recently by adding 6 goats that I have had an ongoing relationship with for many years. The plan to add these goats has been more than a year in the making. As if adding 6 new goats wouldn't be challenging enough, these 6 don't even all get along with each other! They are divided into two herds of 3, making it even more difficult to integrate them into my herd. This ragtag posse of non conformists are determined to make each and every day here a bigger challenge. Normally I would never add to my numbers, but under special and unusual circumstances, and with health statures assured, I can bring in new members. These particular goats belonged to a family that I have mentored for many years and as a result they have become family. Life changes mean sometimes we have to make difficult choices, and so these 6 will hopefully integrate fully into my herd in due time. So far, each attempt to take these guys for a walk with my herd has had the same results - they head out the gate, in the opposite direction the herd just went, to head up my driveway as if headed for home! This may take some time, but I am confident that at least a few of these guys will become active members of my therapy herd. Those that don't at least try to follow the rules........well, they'll join the large group of retired animals I already have.
The biggest anticipatory news of each year on the farm is when babies arrive! July 3 is the first due date for both SRM My Precious and SRM Mystique. Expect announcements, news, pictures and videos of all the exciting new arrivals soon! It is suddenly a flurry of activity as my team of volunteers and I prepare the barn for birthing and baby goat snuggling. I am always seeking reliable, loving volunteers to help out with the hands on raising, training and socializing of the herd. If you've ever thought about joining my team, reach out! I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time my friends, stay well, be kind, and remember to fiercely love yourself daily. ~ Angee
Hello dear friends. What a glorious day it is, here on the farm. Summer has arrived and a slower pace to the daily chore routine is a very welcome relief to me. Hotter days mean the goats eat less hay and browse more. It also means they sleep more and are less demanding on my time. I actually managed to finally finish getting my garden in over the last couple of weeks and I am happy to say it is flourishing! Guess my thumbs aren't as black as I had originally thought. With a bit more time to myself I have been able to continue actively pursuing my new passion of trying to spark inspiration in others. The more energy I seem to commit to this venture, the more exciting it becomes each day.. I am actively planning with several individuals who will begin offering new programming here at Sky River Meadows in the coming weeks. I am stoked and I am pretty sure the herd is as well! Each new idea we are exploring, the more ideas we seem to spark. The goats are very curious about all of the new activities and I am excited to see how each new skill they learn will enhance their abilities. For the time being it makes sense to continue to hold my Goat of the Week stories and instead focus on sharing updates about farm happenings. These are busy and exciting times! I am so grateful that I am able to have the help of my volunteers here again. Even I have to admit that I am tired and can't continue to sustain this pace for much longer. Having other avenues to bring in new revenue streams will ensure we survive through these unstable times. As I am always seeking the positive in every situation, I can think of no better way than that of a mutually beneficial collaboration with other practitioners who can offer their services here. Or even better, for them to team up with my herd and I in new and creative ways. I am bursting to share some of the news, but it is too soon yet. One collaboration is ready to begin though, and the first event is this upcoming Wednesday evening, and is completely sold out!
I am so honoured and excited to be partnering up with Trinity O'Brien of Muskoka Hot Yoga! Trinity will be partnering with the SRM herd to begin offering Goat Yoga here at the farm 3 times a week through to the end of July. Trinity will also be offering some her own programs here at the property, which will allow her to reach her clients in a safe, socially distanced environment. Through the coming weeks, the herd and I will be blessed not only with Trinity's offerings here, and connections it will bring, but we will also receive the healing benefits of Trinity's singing bowls, as well as her wealth of experience and knowledge, as she guides her participants through some amazing experiences here this summer. You can read all about Trinity, and the amazing work she does on her Muskoka Hot Yoga website. https://muskokahotyoga.com/
You'll also find a schedule of events, and information on how to register, what to expect, and what to bring for any of the programs she will be running here.
Trinity had this to say about offering her programs here at SRM:
"I have loved goats since I was a little girl. Combining yoga with goats was a no brainer. You can not be in a great mood when around them. They are playful, friendly, oh so cute and personality to spare! The goats bring a playfulness of yoga to a whole new level. If you love to laugh, and feel good, you will benefit from joining me on your may to breathe, move and play with these adorable therapy goats at Sky River Meadows. I look forward to seeing you soon!"
To say I am excited about these collaborations is an understatement. I know that by supporting each other through these challenging times, we can all come out better and stronger than ever on the other side of this crazy year. By aligning with like minded individuals to continue to try to help support our communities, we can't lose. It is also a huge comfort to me to know that I am not struggling through these times alone, but others are struggling too and we can help each other by working together where we can. If you have an idea, like Trinity, on how you can bring something to help support our community in partnership with the herd or the farm, please reach out! I would love to hear from you!
Normally at this time of year I would already be in the midst of the newest generation of the herd arriving. My breeding plans for the year were thrown off with the unexpected death of one of my main bucks, and then COVID. For this reason, kidding season hasn't even begun here, but we are fast approaching the first births of 2020! SRM My Precious, and SRM Mystique are both due to give birth on July 3rd, and SRM Hermione is due August 2nd. In the meantime, young Romeo is receiving all the baby snuggles (even though he is getting stinky) at the moment. He won't look so little when the new arrivals come and then he will have to compete for attention again. I took this beautiful picture of Sharon, one of my lovely volunteers, cuddling Romeo while we were visiting with seniors at their windows last week. These two have formed a special bond and Romeo was sound asleep in this picture. You can't see in the photo for privacy's sake, but right beside Sharon is a window lined with smiling faces of the seniors at Muskoka Landing in Huntsville. For anyone who asks, "What is it like to volunteer at Sky River Meadows?" I think Sharon's face says it all right here. If you've ever thought about reaching out to offer some time or skills you have to offer, now is the best time to reach out. The benefits of volunteering here are innumerable, and possibly even immeasurable for all of us, as the work we do is so fun and far reaching. Now more than ever I think my farm, and others like it, will become powerful places of healing, and that means we will need all the help and support we can get. I think if anything, COVID has taught me why resilience is so important. Life is ever changing and we need to be able to adapt with those changes. I refuse to allow this virus complication to slow down my work or how I want to help my community. With each new challenge in life, we are invited to discover new ideas and inspiration we hadn't previously considered. Working with others and dreaming new innovative ideas is creating a life force of it's own here at the farm. Volunteers can also get in on the excitement, and be involved in some pretty magical moments. Reach out to me to find out how you can get involved :)
For the closing of my blog for this week, I want to take some time to sing praises to my herd, and to my team of volunteers and friends who continue to help out around the farm, with the herd or with my work. The past few weeks since reopening my barn doors, my herd has surprised and astounded me daily with their open, willing hearts, and abilities to always, ALWAYS know exactly what to do, and with whom. If anything I think the time the herd and I had in isolation together, gave us all a long needed rest. Being back in action it is almost like the herd is inspired alongside me to work harder to help more people every day. Goats who previously would never come forward to interact with guests have since come out from the shadows and are beginning to shine with their own gifts. Oddly enough, even my herd Queen Bonnie, who is wild and unfriendly, has been allowing several people to pet her. I am shocked each time it happens and then try to touch her myself, but NOPE! I know my place with her and it doesn't include unwanted touching! It could be that both my herd and needed those many weeks in isolation for a much needed rest and reflection period to see where we are needed most. Some have asked me how the herd faired through the quarantine and I won't lie, it has been challenging. For twelve years these goats have interacted with, been loved by and created bonds with many volunteers and guests. Many of those relationships are just as important to my animals as they are to the people who've fallen in love with them. My entire herd became depressed for weeks after being cut off from their sense of "normal" as well. I think since reopening we've all been given a new sense of purpose. Emotions have been really high from each and every person that has visited in recent weeks. Everyone has been through a lot and the stories and experiences being shared are amazing to listen to. We've all endured much in a few short months. Often as in the case of in my line of work, things are not easy to put into words. Even for me who has spent every day with this gang for twelve years, I find it impossible to put some things into words. The photos I have shared in this post are some of the magical moments I've managed to capture here recently. If any of these photos speak to you, reach out and book a visit. Now might be the perfect time to hear the wisdom of some pretty remarkable little goats :) Until next time, with love Angee