Tuesday, November 15, 2011


On Saturday, my wonderful, thoughtful fiance who spoils me and feeds my farm dreams got us tickets to see the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Hoooey!!! What a spectacular and wonderful little oasis in the city for a happy farmer-to-be. We got to see the superdogs agility course (with a spotlight-stealing bulldog by the name of Potroast who barreled straight through the jumps and used the poles for chew toys) and the Junior/Amateur show jumping championship. Having Andrew there for that was really neat. He did some jumping and dressage back in the day, so I got a bit of insight into the horsemanship and what to look for in the rider, and I shared a bit with him about the horse's movement and gait and way of thinking. I like that about us, we have enough in common to always have something to talk about, but enough of a different vantage point to keep it interesting.
We ate at greasy food vendors, longingly fondled sleek hand stitched leather saddles, compared the merits of different styles of tack we are years away from needing, and buried our hands deep in the plush pelts of the lambskins they had for sale. I think the only reason we didn't come home with 4 of those was the inconvenience of bringing them home on the bus. That's alright. I know where the store is now. We'll go back with the car.
The sheer number and type of artisans and vendors was staggering. Everything from hand carved wooden bowls, antique butcher-block kitchen tables and reclaimed barn board dining room sets to intricate hand made jewellery and leather goods, and of course, horse tack and other animal paraphernalia... It was awesome.
We ran into a man selling lamb meat, and I was thrilled to realize he's the same lamb man who sells at our farmer's market here in Orangeville. Small world huh?. I had just missed out on the last market day and thought that without his business card or even name, I was doomed to a winter without farm fresh lamb. His card is tucked into my wallet, and we're talking about setting up a visit to his farm in the next month.
There were displays of produce, favouring those things that winter well, such as squashes, and grains. There were giant pumpkins like I have never seen!!
And then, of course, what I was overall most excited about: the animals. We went during a lamb and dairy day, so there was a HEAVY prevalence of those animals about, but there was a token presence of pigs, dairy cows, rabbits, etc. Most of the fancy, domesticated city dwellers there were shaking hay at the little lambs trying to bid them nearer to soak in their cuteness and their little pink noses. Call me callous, but I was looking at ewe birthing records, and picturing just how much lamb chop I'd get from Lambchops over there... running my fingers through their dense coats and picturing myself bedding down on its skin at re-enactment events next summer... I think that makes me several steps along the road to being a farmer. Mentally anyways.
And the horses!! The portable stalls were the typical sort, solid walls to about 4 feet, and bars for another... 4?5? feet beyond that. There was everything from tiny shetland ponies and miniature horses that had a hard time peering over the wall of their stall, to massive percherons who hung their head our over the top of the bars. They were huge!! I was drooling... I love percherons. They're just so impressive! This fellow's head was easily 8 or 9 feet off the ground. It occurred to me that I would be hard pressed to properly massage their withers from the flat ground let alone reach those thick necks of theirs!! I think for sheer manageability I will start off with a percheron cross... but I just love their stocky build, and meaty round hindquarters, and those massive powerful necks... I want the outline of a percheron, in a slightly smaller scale. Of course, I also spent due time drooling over the Canadians and the Friesians, but there were only two of each of those breeds. There were aisles upon aisles of percherons there for the draft pull competitions. Outside I couldn't help but laugh at the mack trucks attached to the front of each trailer sporting a percheron logo. I guess when you're hauling around 6-8 2000lb animals, you need that kind of hauling power.
We finished the day off with reeses pieces fudge, and the long bus trip back to Andrew's place in Newmarket, but by far it was the BEST Saturday I've had in a long long time!!


small farm girl said...

That sounds like a fun day. You might want to look into a Haflinger. They kinda remind you of a Percheron just shorter. lol

small farm girl said...
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Sam said...

Funny, they always reminded me of little belgians :) They certainly have that stocky build of a miniature draft horse though! I'm a fan of the black and grey colours of the percherons and perch crosses, as much as that's a superficial thing to prefer in a horse!