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, 13 August 2014

Singing ,dancing, and running wild (*many pictures )

I have been running wild, not the critters, well actually Martin and I , wild might be stretching it but we did have some pretty great leisure time this last weekend.
The usual busy week  while he was home, then a big rainstorm threatened our plans ,but as you can see, it cleared off.

Friday night was the Annual Darwell  Barn burner (not sure why its called that) a big outdoor concert with 4 separate acts , the headliner  being George Canyon, a wonderful Canadian artist . He has some great music of his own, and also played some wonderful old songs, from George Jones to Johnny Cash , and Glenn Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" What fun it was for hundreds of us all singing along at the top of our lungs! I remember as a kid, maybe 10 or 12 Glenn Campbell rode out on a big black horse at the "Super rodeo" singing that song
It got pretty cool that night ,so We had to sit close for warmth ... yeah that's it ! LOL .Martin and I snuggling in the beer gardens 
Then Saturday, we went out again! This time to a Cowboy Poetry gathering in Stony plain
There were 2 venues one in a large hall the second in a little pioneer church , I much preferred the church, more intimate and fitting for the poets and singers, speaking of singers we were again singing along to Red River Valley with none other than   Gary Fjellgaard another Canadian artist but one who has been around a long time, nearly 80 yrs old and can still sing beautifully!
So there you go, to those who told be to chill and relax  some time, I did all in one weekend ! (yup I am a weirdo!) 
Thew rest pof my time has been busy enough, but there has still been some time to play with my camera 

 Catching my little hummingbirds in flight 
And making silhouettes on the sun shades 

Checking in on Johnny , Cat, Andee, and Annie 
 All of them looking round and in need of this round body to get out and ride some 
 And this little darling, who has just found a home for herself and her many toes 

And of course the kids, all leading well and doing fine. Maks will be leaving next week, Tango and Sprite are still for sale, but loading in the trailer well also and ready  for whoever takes them 

It has been pretty hot, but with the rain earlier in the week the humidity is high, after the sun goes down we are getting some prety misty evenings .Marc and I moving  the renters steers last night had some pretty views, only cell phone pics here ( I really need to start carrying my camera everywhere again ) 

So that is whats been going on here, I have a little more relaxation coming my way in a couple days, as I am off to the Emerald City !
Stay safe my friends 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Just cooking along!

Seriously cooking!  Been pretty warm around here lately , I seem to only get things done in the morning or late in the evening! the remainder of the day I am either at work or laying low in the house. I did install my little window air conditioner , which I have had several years and never used, but this last week has been too much and the humidity has been high . When the centre of my house is at 82  degrees Fahrenheit , I have to concede defeat and do something. I believe more than just I and the dogs appreciated the cool down

Seems the summer is flying by!
With the cooler time in the evenings, I am out working with the foals, or trying the two mares I am breeding this year to get that done. Jazz is bred to Cactus (fingers crossed ,will recheck in a few days ) and we are breeding Ici to Phoenix this year, if I can ever catch her in heat! (funny mare that one ) I did also have 1 outside mare here, but she was here,bred and gone so fast I forgot to get her photo, sweet little thing though, I sure don't mind having  such gentle easy to handle mares here.
I posted last time about loading Tango and Maks in the trailer, I have been also working with Casey and Sprite, Casey seems to have gotten the least handling this summer so trailer loading isnt  the priority, just working on leading nicely and  her feet,she is not for sale so it seems she has been less of a priority , time that changed! she is only going to get bigger!
Sprite did just fine with her trailer lesson, once I convinced her she needed to come out of the pen with me , pretty much looked at it and popped right on

Pretty good girl, and a smarty pants too!

Aside from that I have moved the renters steers a couple times, had a small incident with a wasp (he died, but not before stinging me  ) and got rear ended while driving the gator in the field by the renters hired man. Sigh I guess to be fair I did stop in the middle of an open 1/4 section! The gator is fine  as am I but I was one hot grumpy gal by the time I got in that day, and the steers were still not moved, I went back out that evening, with  just myself and the dogs on the gator and got the job done
Cooler temps and cooler heads prevail
 Skeeter says, "too many!  I is just a little cow dog, I only work little cow herds!"
 there are 275 of them out there, but I have to say for yearlings they are sure nice and quiet, easy to work with overall
 Of note I am trying to disperse my cat herd, I swear there is some weird kind of signal over my farm, like the bat signal for batman , only mine is a cat signal , that is a beacon for all pregnant cats to come to my barn!
So for anyone interested, I have several little orange polydactyls, like this one

Then there are a couple like this 

 also some greys, a black and white(hard to catch ) and a couple  tortoiseshell ones ( no calicoes this year )
Already placed are (#4 in the picture) 

 And this little white  treasure, she is a poly-dactyl Manx! who knew we got fancy around here! 

So if anyone is looking for kitties...

Also horses, I do have Wilder, and Tango  still listed for sale , also Sprite and Peps (Debs horses are for sale , maybe I can work a deal with a free bag of cats with every horse purchase... cant see how that could go wrong ! lol 
Anyhow I have been busy and I have neglected the blog and reading others, for that I am sorry , I will continue to try to do better. I did consider stopping the blog, but honestly I think if everyone can bear with  me for a few more weeks,I will get caught up and start being indoors before 11:00 pm  and then  maybe I will write all those rambling posts  that have been swirling in my head ! 
Meanwhile as my weekend winds down , stay safe my friends!  

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The best darn training tool I never bought!

 A brag and a tiny rant There are clinicians out there that will tell you that all you need to train your horse to , lead,rein ,run barrels load in the trailer , and on and on is ,their very special wonder stick! halter ,bit, saddle etc.
But really that is no magic bullet! It takes time, patience, effort, more patience, and the ability or willingness to use what is at hand .
For example , I don't use a round pen, I like corners, I use them in my ground training and halter breaking. Why? well to be honest when I started I didn't have a round pen, still don't , I have a working pen about half the size of a regular arena but not the typical round pen. So I used what I had, and what I had was a group  of smaller pens we use for sorting cattle. They have corners ,so I learned to take advantage of them .I could go on about how I do that but for the moment I will leave it at that because this post is really about a big old barn of a stock trailer and some sweet smart colts.
The reason I say it is the best training tool I never bought is because I actually don't own it. The trailer belongs to my dad, it is a big 4 horse lift off stock combo. It is about 30 yrs old and it is a bit tired, but I love it,it has hauled my horses, mine, dads, and other cattle and bulls, a piano, a house full of furniture or several,  a lawn tractor, I am sure a thousand bales of hay over the years, posts, rails,and so much more.
It is also the one trailer in my world that I can absolutely guarantee,I will get any horse to load into it.
Even young Harley, who had unfortunately won a battle of not getting into my uncles angle haul. This was regrettable but it was and extremely hot day and while he wasn't spooked or really fighting  he was also not getting in . In 30 degree Celsius,which BTW felt like 40 C in the trailer , I figured that was just not the hill I wanted to die on. So a week later , I got out the old blue stock and Harley ,thought  he was going to win again... nope! I did not drag him on or whip him we just back up to the chute, opened the slider and walked him on, with no options to go right or left, he had only to choose forward or back, and with some time and patience guess what he chose? Yup the only thing more stubborn and determined than an appy cross colt,is  well, the appy cross colts owner ,ME!

But I prefer it not to be a battle of wills so I went out tonight to practice loading Maks and Tango. Maks because he is sold and Tango because he is for sale (tomorrow will be Spite and Casey's turn )
How did it go?
Well the combo of patience , encouragement , a really good open trailer and some darn smart colts was the perfects mix to create this

 As you see it is quite open and lots of light comes in, it is however LOUD , and when they first put a foot on the noise often makes them hesitate, but not for long Tango actually wandered around in there for a bit and was making a huge amount of noise but it didn't seem to bother him after the first step.

And yes there was a pail of "cornflakes" grain in the trailer once they got in so the experience ended in a reward but I did not use the treats to coerce them on , just the commands they have come to know, and lots of pats and "good boys" . And good boys they certainly are!
 That big old trailer is nothing fancy, but it is sure a handy thing to have around, and it works for me .
So the lesson here is learn to use the tools you already have and maybe that "magic stick" can stay in the tack store.
Just my opinion. Stay safe friends

Saturday, 26 July 2014

"the best way to slow down a runaway horse is to bet on it.."

No I haven't been on a runaway horse, in fact I have not been ON a horse at all , seems more like it was I that was the runaway!
I mostly just liked the quote, made sense to me
Busy times last week , even though I was off work I was doing stuff here and hanging out with hubby, then when he went back to work on Monday , I grabbed a few  groceries on my way home before slipping over to my cousins to help them with a horse.
Back to work Tuesday, then out with my niece Deanna and her friends to the Tim McGraw  concert! What a great show. And such fun to go out with these girls! I watched them grow up from little angels to beautiful grown women and I love that they still want to go out with their  old Auntie Sherry now and then !

One of my favorites of his songs. Classic lyric 
"We ride and never worry about the fall, I guess that's just the cowboy in us all"

Then if getting home at midnight one work night wasn't enough, I went to K-days (the big fair ,exhibition) in Edmonton on Wednesday night. We walked around , samples some junk food and marveled at all the crazy rides on the midway, before grabbing some mini donuts and heading home!
I was the walking wounded Thursday and Friday , so much walking on concrete and late nights! I might be slightly too old for this !

And then the rains came, 3 1/2 inches in a day! It was one soggy cold wet day and unfortunately , there is nothing for it, when you have critters, there is no hiding inside. I was one soggy wet person by the time I got in last night. Also,a  side bit of info, when it is raining like that,make sure to take fly masks of the horses. I had intended to take Phoenix' off but got side tracked, then in the morning ,Miss Whoa Dammit was out, and I had to get her in before  heading to work, when I got home I went to take it off and Phoenix was acting quite oddly, spooky and shying away from me, finally got him settled and got it off, and he was immediately fine. I was trying to figure out what was up, and looked through the mask... nada, could not see a thing. Somehow when they are that wet the mesh seems to go opaque. SO my poor guy was "flying blind" Glad he is such a good boy , he didn't panic, just layed low and waited! The mask is now dry and I can see through it easily but I left it off to give him a break, the flies weren't bad today .
Moved cows today and shuffled some horses around as well. Farrier day tomorrow so I better get my self off to bed! 
Stay safe my friends

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Remember Maggie? The "not so" Wild card, and the Pool boy

FV Sparks Image,(Maggie)  by Windwalker Cactus,out of my sweet Jazzy mare (Fern Valley's Jazz)
Now do you remember her?
Sold to Kat, who turned out to be daughter of an old schoolmate, so that particular sale  netted me a new friend  Kat, and reconnected me with an old one as well.
Of all the folks I have sold horses to, (I have been  blessed to have updates on many of them)  Miss Kat , has been the best at keeping me up to date on hers and Maggie's progress and adventures. Just when I begin to wonder how things are going or when I will next hear,I get a text or  email update. Sometimes just a quick update or a hello, but sometimes I get pictures, and even better? VIDEO!!


So pleased with this gal and Maggie, they are just a wonderful match! 
Kat is starting a new venture as well, taking on some horses over the next year  to train ! I would say  work she has done with Maggie, who she trained herself is a pretty darn good advertisement! 

Wilder is still here,though we did have a young girl out her yesterday to try him out. Hard to say whether  the family will be back, the girl seemed to really like him and did very well riding him,stayed on  walking trotting ,backing etc for nearly an hour. But, there are a lot of good horses out there so while I believe mine are the best (because they are lol)  People have to go with what they feel is the best choice.
But since this sweet horse is here and  truly as sweet horse, he is he took on the role of Equine assisted therapy coach  with the young fellow I work with last evening as well .Cool thing about Wilder is,he had just been in and ridden for an hour, I had barely turned him out when  my client arrived, and yet when I went out to get him he met me at the gate! 

 Just the right horse to help this fellow  with focus and calm. I would love to go into details of the exercise,but that  kinda gives away a few more details about this  kiddo than I want to . Hoping to get together with a few other coaches soon and do a demo day  so we can explain the program better and with any luck I will have video or photos  as well. Suffice to say some of the other pictures I didn't take of this pair involved an ear to ear smile!

That's is it for now ,other than it has been hot, the first cut of hay on  one field is done and Marc has a great start on the next one. Martin is home this week and hoping to be able to get into the field as well, but we are watching the weather ,with rain forecast they don't want to cut anymore just yet. So martin moved bales while Marc  baled today. But we did get a rare  relaxed moment  out of Martin yesterday !
Gotta figure its pretty hot when we can get him to relax in the "Redneck dipping pool! "

Stay safe my friends

Monday, 14 July 2014

Pics of the kids, and Maks is sold

 Yes, my sweet ,handsome Maks has been sold.Funny he has been officially listed for sale on Northern Horse , for a couple of weeks.I did have ads out of a free site and FB but wasn't really pushing too hard till I had some more groundwork accomplished and had him gelded and feet trimmed.Once listed the ad got lots of views, but very few actual inquiries, this didn't worry me ,because as a rule, selling these young ones at least  that is how it goes, nothing much other than views of the ad, then BAMM! the right person sees the horse and we have a deal! That is how it went with Comet and Quinn, and Justus and Maggie before them,and those that were sold before them as well. Put your add out there, put the best foot forward and wait,its the waiting that pays off. SO Maks will be heading south to the Calgary area in the not so distant future. As always I will miss him, but sounds like he has found a good family to start his career with .
I still have Tango listed, and I am hoping his person will come along soon as well. But it  will happen when it happens.Here they are out on a bigger grass area, off hay entirely now , and much to their chagrin off grain as well.

 A fin little animation 
 Oh ! what a face! 
 Tango, gazing off into ... his future?
 A shot of the littlest cowgirl, Sprite, who is also for sale .Deb is selling both of her horses at this time.
Oakley's Arctic Heather,2013 filly proudly offered for sale , consigned at Fern Valley Appaloosas.
"Sprite" is a sweet tempered willing  filly with a great mind and a world of potential . Pretty and elegant with chrome and color!
Sprite is a daughter of Fern Valley's wonderful palomino stallion, Windwalker Cactus , who passes his great mind,,conformation and overall ride-ability on to all of his offspring. Siblings of this filly have proven to be safe, sane and sound .
Up to date on immunizations, worming and hoof care, halter broke ,leading well and stands nicely for farrier 
Compact and correct, this little girl is all about versatility! Sweet smart and so much more!
I am going to start up my Fridays for sale posts again, to share what I have available , and also ,I always appreciate the critiques and suggestions my fellow bloggers have to tweak the adds to make them pop. Also feel free to share any for sale items that you would like me to spread the word on  . 

That is about it for now , other than  Harley will be going to be lightly started with my honorary niece Katie next week and also will be offered for sale . Once all of that is firmed up and organised,maybe that summer of running wild and riding horses I planned will actually happen! 
There are after all a few "spots" that need my attention!

Stay safe my friends