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