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, 15 October 2014

Favorite places and spots

Quite a few pictures, and not a lot to say
Just loving the autumn here in Alberta, its been a busy couple of weeks 

 But there is always time to smell the leaves and just enjoy the view 
Took our annual trip to Jasper this weekend with Heather and Marc as always 
It is truly one of my favorite places in the world

As soon as we see the mountains ,it seems we all breath a sigh of relief and feel the serenity coming on . There is a small parcel of land just east of the park gates, that I have often dreamed of owning, funny I told my dad about it and he knew just the spot, it seems he too, has dreamed of living there, since he was a kid. Guess the apple really doesn't fall far  lol 
Even Martin found some peace and joy after the sadness 

We walked around , then headed to town to do a little early Christmas shopping 


 As you can see we came , we saw, we shopped! I was pooped 


then up the hill to Miette, and the mineral springs


Feeling much better after a soak in the hot springs! 
I have had some chiropractic work done on my shoulder and finally after more than 2 years, I have regained nearly full range of motion! I was trying out swimming in the hot pools and I am happy to say I can do it ! will no longer be swimming in circles! Going to try some lane swimming at the local pool this week 

 Heather and Marc tend to take this trip near their anniversary, this year we were a week late, but I think its still OK , 26 yrs Married this year 

 The mountains in all of their autumn finery 

 Martin , at the foot of Mount Pocahontas , with a couple of interesting fellows 

The home to the farm and my "other" favorite spots! 
Tango, just a yearling ,yet this sweet colt has been a great help in the Equine assisted personal development program, wise beyond his age, gentle and kind, he has connected nicely with a couple of youngsters that come here

Then there are these , spots on the move

 They all bring joy to my life, but I seriously need to actually get on a horse, and soon!
But until then ... 


Stay safe my friends 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Finding our feet again

As expressed in my last post .Martin and I both had our world tilted  by some very sad news, it felt like the the hits just kept coming . We spent most of last week spending time with family and preparing for the funeral service.
 Above is Martin and his siblings, below, with Aunt Honey and cousin Grant 
 I also connected with my friends (Mom Brown's daughters) and we shared over the phone many memories and tears. I also wrote a poem for her family that was read at the service , I was unable to attend as it was the same time as my father in law's. I would share the poem here but to honor her very private nature I will for the moment decline , other than to share the title ,which says pretty much what I thought of this lovely lady ."I thought I met an angel once "
The silver lining for me is that I was able to catch up with the girls ,in person for brunch on Sunday. And after a total panic attack ,where I thought "oh my ! what if they don"t love me any more ?" I went , and it was truly wonderful! we fell back into our old friendship  like no time had passed at all. Do they still love me? I think  so, I know I still love them.

But I am getting a little ahead of myself .
Friday was the service for Martins dad, and we were truly humbled by the outpouring of love and support.A big thank you to all who attended to honor him, and to support us!
The service was lovely and the family members who were able to stand up and speak for  him and us were so very brave in the face of their grief.

The weekend was a little low key, just about helping to find our balance again . We had company  on Saturday , Deb and Brian, and we headed out on our gators to just see some sights in our own personal patch of heaven. Did a little fencing , a little clearing and a lot of just enjoying the beauty around us.


 Martin's new workout regime 
 "oh ,you go to the gym? cute"





 "I played in mud and I liked it "
 A little hidden treasure, just off the hay field, blueberries,a peat bog and Tamarack 
 Just follow a little narrow path into a thicket and its like coming out the other side of the wardrobe door

 A little washing up after the dugout diving event 
 The Redneck dipping pool is officially done for the year 
"Its a Love seat mom!"

It was a perfect day, and we enjoyed a fire and wiener roast when we returned. Then got cleaned up and headed to a birthday celebration for my cousin , a good reminder that life ,in fact goes on.

So then back to Sunday, as I said I had brunch with the girls and families , then went to pick up Martins Auntie Honey, sister to his dad, and a spry young 87 yr old lady. Just a few weeks before , she lost another sibling , her sister Dee Dee. Dee Dee was a sweet lady who I had the pleasure of meeting a few times and who also loved to look at photos of my horses. She had exacted a promise from Honey that should she ever return to Alberta she had to go see the "Appaloosas" for her. Well Honey honored that promise and we went out to see the horses. 
 she is a very petite lady, but as you can see Tango is a huge kid, standing next to me in the first pic,it is hard to believe he is a yearling, he looks quite the giant next to her 

 Johnny Handsome , coming up to say hello 
 I think Dee Dee would be pleased 

Brought the cows in as well to wean calves to ship, so Honey says she will now tell everyone she was part of a cattle drive!



Weaned  today and sent them off, so it really is business as usual around here now . The cows out in the pens singing "the song of their  people" all night .Funny thing is I am not kept awake by that sound ,but can be awakened out of a sound sleep by the sudden deafening sound of silence that usually means they have gotten out and are in the hay or some other inconvenient place ! 

So were are slowly coming to our new normal here in the Sikstrom house, not the same as we were,but moving forward .Thank you for all of your kind words and support , you are all so very kind and much appreciated .
Stay safe my friends.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Go rest high on that mountain




I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
‘Cause, Son, your work on earth is done
Go to Heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son



This past week or so has been rough. Just plain rough . On me,on Martin, and his family , and on friends of mine. 
As you  know last week I had to put to rest my beloved Jazz. Difficult but the right thing to do . 
Thought ,that while I was sad, the worst was over.

 But my father in law has been quite ill for some time and that too has been a constant worry . I saw him earlier in the week, and he was looking frail and tired, but still chipper and recognized me and Martin, as well as bot of his daughters. Martin returned to work on Monday despite worries that his dad was failing , but with the promise from his work site that if need be they would get him home. Thursday Larry seemed to rally some, but as often happens that was the beginning of the end. Connie received a call Friday morning that he was unresponsive and he passed in the early afternoon. True to their word , his employer had him home in record time. The most difficult phone conversation I have ever had was to tell my sweet husband that his father had passed away. 
Rest well Larry, a sweet kind and honorable man , you will be missed .
The family asked me to write a poem for his memorial service, Larry was an Ironworker, building bridges across Alberta back in the day there were few if any safety regulation and when a 16 yr old boy could be trained and doing the work of a grown man! 
This is the poem I wrote for him, I hope it honors him and does justice to who he was 
A Bridge to Heaven
If there could be a bridge somehow,
From here to Heaven’s gate
You know that we would rush right out  
And cross it just to wait,
For a chance to glimpse your smile,
Or sit and talk to you awhile  
To say the thank you that we need to say
For your wisdom and love
And your quiet way
 Your gentle heart and sparkling eyes
Will be ever missed as we say our goodbyes
A bridge from here to heaven,
 Would be a daunting task
But if it could be built somehow
You would be the man to ask.


While on the way to the airport , my sister called, worried that I would hear this next news without warning , as a young girl I had a wonderful friend ,Lisa, her sisters and mom simply welcomed me in and became part of my family. "Mom Brown" was a wonderful lady and treated me as one of her own , even once letting me as a 16 yr old drive her treasured camaro! Ever the lady she handled great adversity in her life and the lives of her girls with grace and patient understanding . I had lost contact with this family to some degree, and had reconnected only recently with an older sister. We planned to get together but somehow the busy days marched on and it did not happen, she mentioned "mom " was suffering from dementia and while that spurred me to try harder to see her we just seemed unable to connect . The sad news is, that last Thursday night "Mom" became confused and left her home in a storm, and became lost. She died of exposure in the night . The thing Heather was warning me about was the newscast where the interviewed my childhood friend during the search for her mother . Seeing her in such pain, and knowing of the loss, broke my heart .
Too late now to see her again I will remember her always, and I pray for peace for her and her girls. 
And you my friends if you are of a mind to ,please pray for all who are struggling and facing loss. 
Godspeed "Mom" Brown .

I do hope to gather with the girls and celebrate the great lady sometime soon, but I am also mindful of the fact that we have grown apart and I will let them take the lead on this .

Stay safe my friends, and if there is someone out there who you need to reconnect with , don't wait 


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Thank You for the Music



 So this song is an old favorite of mine and while the lyrics don't exactly fit  the situation the  chorus fits  well  enough  for me. and for this sad goodbye 


 Thank you for the music  
(yes I am an ABBA fan ,I said before I like all kinds 
of music, the rule is ,if I like it I listen , that is all)


                                                            So I say
                             Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
                                      Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
                                  Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
                                                What would life be?
                                 Without a song or a dance what are we?
                                     So I say thank you for the music
                                                    For giving it to me.






Fern Valleys Jazz 
my sweet pretty girl, dam to the gentle and handsome
  FV Shall We Dance 
"Tango"

The ever beautiful and willing 
FV Sparks Image 
"Maggie "
who re introduced me to an old friend and made me a new one in Kat , her daughter and the proud owner of Maggie 



FV Dandy Line
"Dandy" 
ever gentle , and peaceful, had a stumble in his young life and changed owners rather quickly ,but landed beautifully and his new family adore this gentle giant 





the original power take off kid! 
And the first .
  FV Jazz Time 
A sharp looking fellow indeed who grew up to be , big powerful and tough
And while I was not able to keep up with his career, I have recently been told he is being sold at a ranch horse auction  in Lethbridge. Looks amazing and has been working  pens in feedlots.A great job for a guy like that




 Thank you  my Jazzy girl, I wish we had had more time, and a way to make it all better 
So to my "girl with the golden hair", 
  Today as the autumn leaves changing ,reflected  your color,  I said farewell.

Stay safe my friends