Dunnville, Ontario

Famous for the spectacular Elora Gorge and its 80 foot limestone cliffs descending into the Grand and Irvine Rivers. Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers regularly flock to Elora, Ontario to enjoy some fun and take in the natural beauty.

Many original stone buildings from the 1800′s still make up the downtown village centre. Over the decades, Elora has maintained its old world charm and the century-old buildings have been transformed into unique galleries, gift shops, artists studios and charming restaurants creating the perfect four-season shopping and dining destination.

Elora is a cultural haven with so much to offer. Rich in live music, visual arts, crafts, up-scale boutiques, natural beauty, architecture, culinary flavours, and diverse in culture; Elora provides an alternative lifestyle not typically found in small, rural communities in this day and age. Discover for yourself what makes Elora so unique and you will fall in love too!

The Best Christmas Gift
by Shelley Norman

shelley norman christmas cow gift

My husband is terrible at buying gifts. He wasn't always this way. When we were first dating he used to bring me roses, my favourite flower, so often I'd run out of vases to put them in. But after we'd been together for a while flowers fell to the side. I started getting gifts like the "Super Deluxe Noises and Lights" yo-yo (that he'd just always wanted) for my birthday. Or the large chocolate ball with a tape dispenser hiding inside (that he just didn't mind eating the chocolate for me) for Christmas. And I will never forget the year he surprised me with an electric pot scrubber under the tree.

"An electric pot scrubber," I said as the wrapping paper fell away. "Yeah, I thought of you when I saw it," he replied taking the box from my hands and turning it over to show me the back. "See it's even guaranteed not to electrocute you if you drop it in a sink full of water." I nodded, wondering where he found such a thing. "And best of all," he continued all smiles, "doing the dishes will be so easy now, you won't need my help anymore!"

Needless to say I was sceptical when on Christmas Eve he came into the kitchen where I was baking cookies, and asked if he could borrow my truck to run a quick errand to pick up my gift. As I stood by the kitchen window watching him pull out of our long farm laneway I wondered what in the world he’d gotten that wouldn’t fit in his car.

He’d been commenting on how comfy the Lazy-Boy was at my parent’s house the previous week could that be it? Or maybe it was a bookshelf, after all he was always complaining he didn’t have enough room for all his books. There was also the possibility that it might be a self-propelled snow blower, since he spent the whole winter, every year, whining about shovelling snow. Hmmm…

I was at the sink washing the last of the baking dishes when I heard a familiar rumble, looking out the window I could see my truck coming down the road pulling my in-laws’ livestock trailer. What in the world could he have bought that was so big it wouldn’t even fit in the box of the truck and he needed to borrow his parent’s trailer? I watched the vehicle slow down to turn the corner into the laneway and that’s when I noticed the large drift of snow that had formed across the lane in the couple hours he’d been gone. There was no way the truck was going to make it through that drift pulling a trailer. And sure enough a moment later my 4WD pickup was stuck up to the bumper in snow. I watched as my husband got out and walked around to the front of the truck and surveyed the predicament he’d gotten himself into. He took off his touque and scratched his head, then looked at the trailer then put the touque back on. He then walked off towards the shed, I assumed to get the tractor to pull the truck out and clear away the drift. But he returned a minute later carrying just a rope. Huh?

Walking around to the back of the trailer he opened the small man gate and climbed inside. Oh, it must be a snow blower and he’s going to use it to blow the snow out of in front of the truck, I leaned on the edge of the sink watching. But when he re-emerged a few minutes later he wasn’t pushing a snow blower, in fact it looked like he was trying to pull something out of the trailer. How strange.

The trailer shook and rocked for a moment and then out stepped a beautiful butterscotch coloured Scottish Highland cow. A very young Highland cow considering how short her horns were. I quickly wiped my hands on a tea towel and shoving my feet into my boots pulled on my coat at the same time, then rushed out the door, the dog close on my heels. I approached them slowly not to spook what I was hoping was a new addition to our little herd.

When my husband spotted me his face broke out in the biggest smile imaginable, “Merry Christmas!” he called out. “Do you like your present?” “You got me a cow?!?” I exclaimed with glee. “Yep!” he replied, obviously very proud of his selection. “I saw how much you liked the Highland cows over at my parents’ neighbour’s place this summer. So I went over there a few weeks ago and talked to them, and Presto! a Highland of your very own!” “She’s gorgeous!” I held my hand out for the heifer to sniff my fingers. We slowly walked her to the barn and opening the gate she wandered into the pen with our other cows. “So do you like her?” my husband asked as I leaned against the gate watching my Christmas gift sniff at the hay in the feeder. “Yes! She’s the best gift you’ve ever given me!,” I said turning and giving him a big hug. “Thank you!”

Nellie, as I have a tendency to name my cattle rather than assign numbered eartags, lived in our herd for many, many years until old age. read more Shelly Norman

She was a small, sweet dispositioned cow, that knew her name and never refused an apple. She was also the matriarch of my very own line of cattle I call “Highgus” a mix of Scottish Highland and Angus. You won’t find a better bovine than one of my Highguses! Her daughters, grand-daughters and great-grand-daughters are a very important part of our herd, and will continue to be for generations to come.