Saturday, August 22, 2015

Time Flies, but Not Memories


Where have you gone?  It feels like you just came the other day!  Now school is right around the corner, I am going into 9th grade, 4-H fair came and went, and so did my first 4-H State Achievement Days!  Well, I can a least tell how everything went.  Last week, I went to my very first State Achievement Days, 4-H State Achievement Days is an educational three-day program for 4-H members (ages 13-18), sponsored each year by Penn State Extension. This annual event is held to demonstrate achievement of 4-H members and provide recognition of their accomplishments in competitive as well as non-competitive events. I participated in the Livestock Skill-a-thon.  My team and I practiced with Cindy Foulke, our vet, 4-H leader, and a wonderful teacher.  She taught us a lot of what we know, and thanks to her, we went, did a great job, had a lot of fun, and learned a lot.  Our team placed 1st and I placed 2nd overall as an individual!  I was very proud of how we placed.

On the last day of State Days, our Dauphin County 4-H Fair started.  We left Penn State and headed right to the Farm Show Complex for 4-H Fair.  Thanks to my mom, sister, and Papa who worked very hard to get all of my animals to fair that morning.  Also, thank you, Matt Bishop, for bringing his horse CJ to fair and getting her all settled in.  As soon as I arrived, I fed goats and rabbits, checked on all of the waters, checked on Journey, fed him, set up a goat agility course, and prepared my goat for my Large Animal Pet Project.  For my Large Animal Pet Project, I taught my goat, Scooby, using clicker training techniques!  We started in March and now he can go over an agility course that my dad and I built and he listens to my commands.  I was very proud of him because even with all of the noises and distractions, he still went over and through everything that he was asked to!  I am happy to say that we won first place!

The same night of the Large Animal Pet Projects, they held the Dairy show, which meant that I showed my dairy goats. First was showmanship.  I used my La Mancha doe, Cocoa, for my class and we did very well.  We one first in our class!  After showmanship, we held the dairy goat breed show.  The first breed up was La Mancha.  That meant that Cocoa was my first goat to show for the day.  She did very well and the judge said a lot of nice things about her.  Next, I showed my Nubians, Peek-A-Boo, Daphne, and Luna.  Peek-A-Boo did great considering that she went lame for seven weeks just a few months ago and she is an older doe.  She did, however, move on to the picking of the Champion Nubian.  Daphne and Luna also moved on to that class.  Luna was Reserve Champion Nubian and Peek-A-Boo won Champion!  He did say that Daphne has a lot of potential but not the maturity as the others.  After showing Peek there, I did decide to let her retire and enjoy life.  So she is now dried up and I will not use her for breeding this fall.  She will just be enjoying life and watching over all the other goats as she has always been quite maternal.

Whew - that was just day one!  The second day included the horse show and the rabbit show.  I began the day with feeding all my animals housed at the fair, cleaned pens, groomed rabbits, and then prepared myself and the horses for showmanship.  I was fortunate to use C.J. for showmanship and we actually placed third which qualified us for the district horse show.  As soon as I was finished in the showmanship ring, I quickly ran over to the rabbit show where I was able to show all my rabbits.  They all did well and I went on to win Best in Show with my English Angora from my friend Donna.  He is gorgeous.  After the show, we had to complete showmanship which I did using my American Fuzzy Lop named Julius Pepper.  We did very well and I won showmanship with a perfect score!

After the rabbit show, I had to race back to the horse show.  I was up for the Beginner Trail Class with C.J.  I was a bit nervous because there was a rather steep bridge in the course which I had never experienced before.  Well, C.J. did beautifully and we placed 1st in the class, also qualifying for districts.  I then competed in the miniature horse classes using my little guy, Journey.  We first did the in hand trail class where we placed first!  Next up was miniature horse driving.  Ashley, my sister, was my assistant which I need because I was still in the junior category.  The footing wasn't the greatest, but Journey pushed through it and we will be going to districts for those two events as well. 

The third and final day was equally exciting for me.  It was the large animal livestock show.  First up for me was sheep showmanship.  Usually, even though I try, I don't do very well as I am showing a wool breed of sheep in the same class as a market sheep.  The wool breeds aren't shorn for the event, but the market lambs are.  The judges seem to prefer the clean look of a shorn lamb over my wool sheep.  Well, I did do my best to have my girls, Queen Bee and Queen Polly from Kelly Anderson, looking their best and I had spent a lot of time with them both before fair getting them used to walking well for me.  Guess what?  All my hard work paid off because I won the junior division in showmanship.  I went on to compete for overall showman against the seniors and I was chosen for champion showman!  I was shocked!

The final event for me was overall Large Animal Clover.  In this contest, all the first place showman compete by showing each species of large animals that were shown during fair.  I had to show a pig, horse, sheep, market goat, dairy goat, dairy beef, and dairy cow.  When they announced the winners, I could hardly believe it, they called my name as champion showman!  I am so proud of how my friends and I did at this year's 4-H fair and I look forward to next year.

I can not believe that it is already August!  It reminds me of a quote, "How did it get so late so soon?  It's night before it's afternoon.  December is here before it's June.  My goodness how the time has flown.  How did it get so late so soon?"  That quote is by Dr. Suess.  I can say that I will miss you summer and I will see you next time.  
                                                                                                      Your friend,


Showing Cocoa

Showing Cocoa

Daphne being shown

Showing Peek-A-Boo

Showing Peek-A-Boo

Sheep Showmanship

Sheep Showmanship

After Large Animal Clover

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Never Give Up

Hello everyone, I know it has been a while since my last post, but this summer is just flying by!  I can't believe that I turned 14 last week and school is about to start!  We had some exciting news here at Blue Mountain Farms the other day.  Tyler raises the Dexter cattle and he has been trying for years now to get a little girl calf.  Last year, Dream, Tyler's first cow, had a heifer.  Sadly, her umbilical cord was torn and she died moments after being born.  So, Tyler tried again and was hoping for a happy, healthy girl.  We waited and waited and waited.  Finally, the morning of July 22, 2015, Dream had her calf!  She had it over night without any problems.  If only it was always like that. 

As I was feeding that morning, I saw Tyler walking from the barn to the fiber mill were mom was.  I knew something was up when I saw the big smile on his face.  He said, "Madi! Dream had her calf!"  Immediately, I asked, "Boy or girl?"  He said, "A girl!"  Finally, Tyler has a little heifer that was born right here!   I am so excited for him.  After waiting all that time and he now he can show with his little calf and his cow, Dream.  How amazing is it that for his last 4-H fair, before he ages out of the program, that he is able to show full circle with this precious little calf and his favorite cow ever?  Oh, Tyler gave Dream her name because it was always his "dream" to own a cow.  Now if he could just come up with a great name for a great little girl.

4-H Fair sure is going to be a good one!
Tyler with his first calf from Dream
Dream and her calf

Dream and her calf

Here she is!