Monday, December 31, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Christmas Week, Part Two

The day after Christmas, Wednesday, we had lunch with friends J.P. and Monica, unaware at that time that one of our Christmas Day companions was in the hospital undergoing emergency surgery. Happily no such health crisis happened to our day-after-Christmas friends. Or us.

Although J.P. and Monica are theater and art friends, not birding friends, they happen to host a flock of twenty some wild turkeys on their hill, all of whom were dining outside while we dined inside.

Thanks to weather and other commitments, I still had not run my December North Santiam raptor route, so we did that in a break in the weather on Friday. We saw nothing remarkable and I took only one photo, of a Bald Eagle along the North Santiam River on my route. His perch looked a mite precarious.

On Saturday, Johnny, bless his heart, finished the feed room and milk room banner and rosette cases that I had asked for after finding my lost goat show banners and rosettes in my lost and found tack trunk. You see, I had always dreamed of having my Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor banners from the Oregon State Fair fiberglassed into my new milk room should I ever get one. I did get a new milk room this fall but the banners were not to be found. At Thanksgiving, our son Steve helped sort out our old dead electronics to be recycled and/or given away. While digging through the attic to find a box of old Commodore computers I knew should be there somewhere, I found not only that box but also, buried behind it, my missing tack trunk. And therein the show banners and ancient rosettes. They now grace two walls of the feed room and one in the milk room, behind plexiglass, courtesy of Johnny.

My favorite banner of all is Gigi's. She was a 3/4 Nubian, 1/4 Alpine doe who was many, many times grand champion. Such crosses are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association as Recorded Grades. Her offspring with purebred Nubian sires could be registered as American Nubians, which all of my goats now are. Or would be if I were still bothering to register them. At the time I was showing both Nubians and Recorded Grades pre-1988, the grades were not part of the official dairy goat show at Oregon State Fair. But many of us breeders exhibited our grades anyway and put on our own show there. After several years of successfully doing that, with a minimum number of entries, the Fair Board allows the breed to become part of the official dairy goat show. And so it happened in 1988: Fink Family Farm Gigi won Grand Champion Recorded Grade Doe at that first official show. Not only that, but when all the grand champions of all the breeds were lined up to be judged for the Best Doe in Show, Gigi won. Here is her banner as Supreme Champion Doe of the 1988 Oregon State Fair.  Many of my Nubians before and after were Grand Champions, but Gigi's win was my proudest moment as a breeder.

Christmas week was definitely "up" on Saturday, especially after hearing that our friend Barbara was healing much faster than the doctors expected from her emergency surgery the day after Christmas. But then came Sunday... our scouting trip for the new Jan. 2 date for our Upper Nestucca Christmas Bird Count. That harrowing story in Part Three.

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