Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

one of these days...

I will get  back to a regular  blogging schedule!
Finally finished up with  the farm in time to start  getting ready  for the Mane  Event !
I was initially only going to  go for a day and have a look  around,but at the last  moment I was able to get a  table after all . So I will be there with my books as usual,but also promoting  Equine assisted  wellness.
Because it is fairly  short  notice ,my promotional material is a little  busier than I would  like it  but its better than  nothing at all . Here is what I have.
Postcards front and  back

 Business  card

I will have  help at the booth  in the form of  a few  Higher  trails alumni.Really looking  forward to chatting  with them and picking their  brains as I have  2 new  clients  booked  for the spring!
Wish me  luck, and stay safe my friends . I will be checking in on all of your  blogs as  soon as I can

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Springing out!

Finally time  for the horses(at least some of them ) to get out of winter  quarters and stretch their  legs.
I did things a little different this year because  I have only  a small number of geldings now so the big  girls are on coyote  watch in the lake  pasture ,and Johnnie and his little harem are in a bigger pen  but still up close. Stryker and Harley are still in because Harley was tearing around  yesterday and has injured himself (kids!) and of course the babies, we they too are in a bigger area, but just a little ,I still need them close to work with them now that it is nice out and I finally have some time (I hope) 
But first I went out to make sure all the gates on the far side of the lake  pasture were closed , and what  did I find out there??
Well Loch Ness has Nessie, the Okanagan has Ogopogo, and we here have the monster of Lake Ste  Thomas! Winston! First polar bear swim of the year! 

 see the ice?
 dang  this dog is tough!! 

 then it was time to cut the girls loose

 "That  Richie mare " 20 yrs young and looking every bit the athlete  we know she is 
"umm! hey! what about us?
 next  crew running up the alley! 
Cat ,Annie, Andee and Johnnie 

 a little  animation, cause we can
 the bathing  beauty , chillin' in the gator

Pretty  good  day overall, also got some help from my nephew loading a truck to go to the dump, a few things to recycle and such. went really well till I clocked myself in the head with the side of a bench!Sigh, I guess its still a good day if its only a little goose egg.

Much better then the snowy cold days we had  earlier in the week
 these  two calves  were hard pressed to be born on dry  ground! 

Then yesterday the weather turned around and boy were we all happy! 

Sunshine and spring  will just make anyone want to kick up their heels! 

Happy Easter  everyone!
Stay safe 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Winston whispers, and some more cute calf pics

Up to 7  calves  now and other than the first one  being a little  wobbly still on his legs (going to brace them  for a few  days ) all seems to be  going well .
Doing a walk through  during  chores  we got a few pics , and the yearly "Calf  Whispering " shots have  begun

 Noo!  I don't  want t o play that  game !! 

Little  heifer  got the zoomies! 

" aint  scared! "
 "just  going  this way  now!"

 2 of  my  favorite  farm  boys (no  idea where  Skeeter was at that  moment )

And a little  animation form the last post 

Stay  safe friends

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No foals, but we do has babies!

 Shotgun(Winston ) heading out to check  calves in my trusty  Gator, lucky I have it as our  first calf  was a bit early and had some troubles with his legs. Needed  a ride  a couple times. And yes, I can  still throw a calf into the gator. and NO I should not ,my back  did not thank  me ! 
just 3  so far, the little preemie  bull calf and 2  spry little heifers. Tiny  critters, but they  are  bright and  active, just hit the ground  growing! 

Thanks for all the kind  worlds and support  regarding the family  farm.It helps .
Things  with  that are  wrapping up. The the march  for spring  continues  with  calving and  hopefully  more horse  time as  the ground  dries up, and soon  I will be  getting ready  to pack  a bunch of other stuff, to head out to the Mane  Event  for another  year ! 
No  rest in  sight  but  spring is here and life is good.
Stay  safe my friends

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Just this

The  boys  are  having  fun  trying out their  "big  boy  moves"

and then  there is  Casey... sigh 
one in  every  crowd! finally  got  Tango  out of it and in  she stepped 
Oh  well  soon it  will  be  spring  good and proper and they  can go out and  "leg up" in  the  pasture, play  eat  grass and  GROW .
Stay  safe

Monday, March 31, 2014

"It's not enough to be proud of your ancestry, live up to it "

The Horricks Family Motto (listed in Ref. Dept. of Ottawa Public Library) is "Industria et Spe" which means roughly, "Work and Hope".

This  post has  been  a long  time  coming. And is why I haven't  been posting  a lot  lately. You  see I felt  compelled to write it , yet I struggled  mightily  even to begin.
It is not about horses  this one, but it is a long  winded  post that I have  started and stopped  so many  times, so be prepared . Also be  prepared  to maybe  feel  the tears  I cried  writing it . Change is  inevitable  I know but it still  isn't always  easy.
Many  people   move  once  twice or  even  several  times in  their  lives. These  folks  have the blessing of a  wandering  spirit and  the ability  to take root  where  they  are. Me? not so much . I have  lived  in  2  houses  in  my entire  life , and my  roots are  dug in  DEEP

I have mentioned  before  that the old  family  farm site has  been  sold, and we  have been  very  busy  getting things  packed up and moved  into storage or  sold. Many treasures  have  come  home to Martin  and I , others  to friends and  family  members. And we  are  nearing  the finish  of all  this  hard  work. 50 years  my  folks  lived in  that  house , but over 114 that  place  was  home  to the Horricks  family . The  first and only place  my  dad, Grandfather  and Uncles  lived until  a short  time  ago . My  dad  of  course  moved  with  mom  last  spring to the  seniors  facility  for mom  to receive  ongoing  care. And Uncle  Bill has  bought a small  parcel of  land  in  the area.
I have  been  gone from  that farm now  longer than  I lived  there, but it  was still home, the place I started . Packing  has  been difficult  and melancholy  thing  for us, with  moments of  joy in  remembering the wonderful childhood  we  spent and the  amazing  people  who  were the  builders  of this wonderful  home and part of a  proud  heritage.
I could, and have  written  about the  farm and my  family  before , and also I believe  the  guest posts  that dad  shared  have  given  an  idea, of the  kind of  people  that  made, and make up  my  family . So because I cannot  type through  tears  very  well I will share  a little info  on the history  of the  family  name  Horricks  ( excerpts credit : the The House of names)

 The saga of the name Horricks follows a line reaching back through history to the days of the
Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a name for someone who worked as a shipwright or a
sailor. The surname Horricks is derived from the Old English word horrok, which means
part of a ship. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object
associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of
occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.
During the Dark Ages men of the church were the keepers of the written word; surveys were
compiled for the purpose of the king's taxes, births, deaths and marriages were recorded and
land purchases were registered. Among these records are the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086,
the Curia Regis Rolls, drawn up in the 11th century and many other documents. Evidence
from these documents suggests that the name Horricks was first found in Lancashire where
they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest
and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Early History
The Horricks family, which has descended from the Anglo-Saxon tribes, has a history that is
intertwined with that of the Anglo-Saxons themselves. In the 5th century first the Saxons, and
then the Angles, migrated to England and pushed the Britons into what is now Wales. They
established the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Kent, Essex, Sussex and East
Anglia. These rival kingdoms were united under Egbert, king of Wessex. Surviving periodic
Viking invasions, the Anglo-Saxon culture continued to develop. In 994 a successful Danish
invasion eventually led to the expulsion of the Anglo-Saxon king, Ethelred. Ethelred fled to
Normandy, where his family remained until 1042. Up to this time a Danish dynasty of kings
ruled, then Edward the Confessor, son of Ethelred, came to the throne. Upon the death of
Edward in 1066, Harold Godwin was elected king, however, this choice was disputed by Duke
William of Normandy. William led yet another invasion of England and its success brought
the reign of the Norman kings. Despite the ever changing leadership the country remainedpredominantly Anglo-Saxon.The first years of Norman rule were marked by rebellion and oppression. William sought to
achieve political stability by increasing the central authority of the king. But not all reforms
were tyrannical in nature; for instance, learning was greatly encouraged during William's
reign. After the reigns of William and his sons, the disputes over succession ended when the
Plantagenet dynasty was founded.
The Horricks family emerged at this time in Lancashire where they were recorded as a family
of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. Robert Horrocks was Lord of
the manor of Horrocksford Hall in the parish of Clitheroe in Lancashire. They later
established branched in the same county at Preston and Larkhill. The name was early associated
with the famous Lancashire cotton trade of which the Horrocks became magnates

Spelling Variations
Revealed in these documents are the various ways in which the Horricks surname was spelled.
This surname appeared as Horrocks, Horrock, Horrox, Horrocksford and Horrexand these
changes in spelling could even appear between father and son. It was not unheard of for the
same individual to be referred to with their surname spelled differently multiple times. Even
literate individuals such as Shakespeare spelled their own name in many different ways. This
famous playwright's name can be found recorded as Shakespere, Shakspere and even Shaxspere.
There are many different reasons for the variety of spellings a name many have, one of which
is that early English lacked spelling rules. Words were recorded as they sounded until spelling
rules were formalized.

Early Notables
Distinguished members of the family at this time included Jeremiah Horrocks (1619-41)
astronomer, born in Liverpool, who became curate of Hoole, Lancashire where he made his
first observation of the transit of Venus on November 24, 1639. He then deduced the solar
parallax, corrected the solar diameter and made tidal observations.

Intersting  and  a  proud heritage indeed, but those  Horriks/Horrocks  are a far  cry  from  the  family  I call mine.
The  Horricks  in  my  immediate  heritage include William Horricks  my  great  Grandfather.
Birth: Jul. 20, 1863
Ontario, Canada
Death: Jan. 15, 1939
Alberta, Canada


"William and Margaret first established their home in Westmeath, near Pembroke. The barn he built is still in use but the house has been replaced. The land was better for farming than in the Drummond area. William also worked in the lumber camps every winter to add to his income. Here, eight of their eleven children were born." "In 1899, still in search of better farmland, William decided to join the trek of settlers to the West. After stopping in Calgary to inspect property there, he decided to push on to Edmonton and there found what he sought - 640 acres of flat fertile land only six miles from the heart of the city. He bought it for $6 and acre. Thirteen years later, at the peak of the Edmonton real estate boom, he was to turned down an offer of $600 an acre for the SE 1/4.) With the help of his elder sons, the first log house and barns were soon built and the land cleared (no stones!) and brought into production." "In the early years of the new century, William worked every winter hauling freight with horses and sleighs to Athabaska (sic) before the extension of the railroad to that northerly point. Three more children were born..." "As the farm prospered, large frame barns, granaries and a frame house replaced the early builidings. William was fond of gardening, and his well-planned landscaping is still very much in evidence around the farm. He inherited his father's love of music and singing, and saw to it that all his daughters took piano lessons. He also liked the theatre and travelling. When William retired from active farming, the two youngest sons took over the "home place", buying additional tracts of land for their herds of beef cattle and dairy cows. Over the years, twelve more houses were built, some for the hired help, some for George's sons as they grew up and were married. William died January 15, 1939 of a heart attack following a stroke. Margaret outlived him by 14 years, dying on July 3, 1953, aged 89 years." Submitted by Emily Hebert as recorded by John and Ruth Armstrong, Family History in Six Volumes; Horricks-Magee, p. 220.)

They  also  include  brave  souls  who  fought  for their  country in the  1st  and second world  wars, William, and  Albert who's  records are  posted online and others . Young  boys really  who  fought  bravely and  died  for their  country. Men I never  knew  but have  been  raised to honor in memory. 

I am  sure  all  who  have  read  my  blog  for any length  of  time ,know how  very  proud I am  of  my heritage. They  have left me  some  pretty  big  shoes  to fill, and while I doubt  I will  truly  ever  live up  to  them , I am  sure  determined  to try.

There is a  lovely song  out there  that has  the line "Wild  flowers don't  care where  they  grow" 
They  may  not, but I am  a pretty  tame  plant  and I do  care and  as  I said ,my  roots  run  deep. 
I will  leave  you with  a picture  of  an old  sentry  left at the  home  place , still standing  guard  so  to speak ,in  the  remains of the old  dairy  yard 

Stay  safe my  friends