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, 10 February 2016

Shiny new computer!

Hi friends, my old computer was slowly dying, and it made for some difficulty with posting, add to that I was at a loss for anything to say so the blog sat dormant again.
I will do better soon I hope. Especially with this sleek speedy quick new computer!
Luckily I backed up my photos so I have some I can share as an update











There is some news to share, but not just yet.
Meanwhile I need to check in with all my favorite blogs and see what you all have been up to.
Stay safe 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Book 3 ? maybe

So I have 2 books published and my publisher is calling and asking if I will be making another. Self published so their concern is more a financial issue than necessarily thinking that I have the next best seller on my hands. But also a few folks who have my books have also asked if I will be writing another. 
Here is my dilemma,or question; I have about 20 poems written that have not previously been published, so I have a start on another collection. But I haven't written much of late so I don't have enough to really complete another volume.
In the other books I have a few favorites that might bear a rework or repeat.
I also have often been told I should just right a book of "Auntie Sherry isms" Quotes and thoughts that have popped into my head and out of my mouth over the years. lol (some obviously do not bear repeating in mixed company but...) 
Things like; 
"The only thing that happens quickly with livestock ,is a wreck or a rodeo"
 "If you are in a hurry with critters, hurry back into the house you are done! "
or
"Optimism for the modern girl:when you wake up and realize your "fairy tale ending ,is really a broken pumpkin, a missing shoe and a torn party dress. Your thoughts are, that was fun, lets have pie!"
"you missed me? really? what were you aiming at?"
So I am wondering about a combination project, some poems, some thoughts, photos and maybe an anecdote or two. 
I have a working title  but it too is  still just a possibility " COWGIRL LOGIC"followed in small print "some old some new , none borrowed, a few blue" 
Any thoughts?
There is no rush , I may not publish another book ever or not for some time, but this is an option that has come to mind so I thought I would see what folks think of the idea.
Anyhow  thanks for any suggestions, and stay safe my friends

Sunday, 17 January 2016

building an environment for successful learning

So ,here we go again! its been a while but a thinking post is emerging!
I talk a lot about energy and resistance in working with horses, and also in my equine therapy with people. this falls into that area as well as into the area of teaching and learning. Both for horses and people.
What I mean by this is we at least should when working with horses, create an environment of success. Safe area, few distractions (for us) focus and attention to details, and positive energy. We look at the horse for signs of pain or distress, and if none are present we begin our work. Some horses can be very reactive and loose focus easily so we use exercises to build focus and establish leadership. While I say this as if I do it only in the beginning of a session, I am actually "listening" to the horse for cues throughout, checking in often to assure we are still working well together and the horse is still focused , and receptive

One I use is to let the horse loose at liberty in a pen or arena, when they start out the are often moving at their own will some at a walk some flat out. I let them go for a few moments , then I begin to change things.I don't immediately ask for a whoa, rather I subtly change the trajectory of the horse, position myself so then need to go a different way, a few times, then I begin to ask them to slow (once you control the trajectory you gain control of the feet and ultimately the mind) then to stop. When they are able to follow this at liberty , they are focused and ready to learn.
So how do we do this with the people I do therapy with? Often the kids I see have trouble with focus and attention, so am I likely to just toss them into the pen with 1000 lbs of independent thinking and sharp hooves without at least getting their attention? NOPE!
So we walk and we talk, and I LISTEN, I ask them how they are , check in for issues of stress, fear, discomfort (headaches etc) then we do some breathing, slow steady , calming. Then I ask them what they would like to learn work on today. We go through what the client is interested in and while doing this I ask them to think about how that might happen. NO I don't expect them to know the answers, but in bringing that to the front of their mind I have a better chance of controlling their trajectory so to speak, and with that keeping focus and creating a receptive learner.  Again , this is done throughout the session, as things change with people as they do with horses, and "listening to cues " is key with both.

When we look at traditional training and education, none of these things were often in place, in the general sense. "old school trainers and teachers simply taught what they wanted done and expected results. That worked well for many, but not all. would there have been as great a need for "special ed" if the education system had allowed for styles of learning and allowed teachers to "check in " and see if they had lost a receptive learner , or even created that environment to start with? To be fair, there have always been wonderful educators who have done this instinctively and those are the ones we remember and honor as mentors in our lives. I know I certainly was blessed with many.

So putting it together, if I create a positive and receptive horse, and enable the client to be equally positive and receptive, I increase the likelihood of a positive learning experience and successful therapeutic intervention.
Hoping that ramble made sense to everyone. and seeing as it was a bit heavy going for a first blog after the new year, I will toss in a few pics  to lighten us all up.







Stay safe my friends 

Friday, 1 January 2016

2015 I will happily kiss you goodbye



Is it over yet 
Can I open my eyes 
Is this as hard as it gets
Is this what it feels like to really cry
(excerpted from Kelly Clarkson Cry)

Well the songs are sung, the champagne toasts have been drunk. And the New Year is begun!
And not a moment too soon! 
Not to say that 2015 was all bad, a matter of fact the first 2/3 of the year was quite wonderful.
But since contracting Shingles in late september, then a sinus infection I was already feeling a bit low.
 Losing my incredible strong mother, and my beloved Winston just a day apart  was a monumental blow.
 But 2015 wasn't finished with me yet! , before I could say goodbye to the year I had first to say goodbye  to one of my Dream Girls. "See you in my Dreams" , my sweet mare (a Dreamfinder granddaughter) Dam to FV Catch a Dream(Whoa Dammit), FV Rainmakers Quest, and FV A SHocking Comet. This Sweet timid girl, has been a wonderful horse to own,even if she broke my toes ,and given Fern Valley Appaloosas some star class foals. She passed suddenly and our silver lining is that she seemed not to have suffered. So farewell Ici, and until I see you again, I will in fact See you in my Dreams.

That was yesterday, just hours before the end of the year. So fine, I get it.Life is tough, I have had worse times, and I have most certainly had better. I shed my tears, yet again, as I likely will from time to time over the next while (possibly very long while ) then I picked up myself  turned my face to the setting sun and proceeded to get on with saying goodbye to the year. 
I spent New Years surrounded by loving friends and family and welcomed a new year with hopes of great promise and joys ahead. 
The last year did bring joys, and I was blessed to attend, not 1 or 2 but 4 weddings! And you just cannot be sad watching people you love starting their own journey of love together. We have met several new and beautiful babies in our extended family. and we have had much laughter and yes a few tears, but those are all part of living. Those who have been around me with horses know I talk about energy, and intention a lot. Well "Acting with intention" is just what I am doing moving forward. Make a goal, develop a plan, and take action. Now my goals are simple ,I intend to find joy and celebrate all of the positives I can find in each and every day. To not let fear of failure,rejection or regret stop me, and to be happy.

A friend of mine  often suggests a "word for the year" something that speaks to what we want to see in the year ahead. Last year I believe my word was "River" the energy and feeling it depicts is a pleasant flow, moving and changing as needed and continuing forward .

That worked for me , and might work this year as well,but what sticks in my mind at present is the word "Fearless" not in the devil may care traditional sense but more of a becoming fearless, by learning to trust myself again, my skills, and my intuition. The second word is "Resilience" Which I actually have some measure of  already I believe , but as a trained personal resilience mentor  in the heartmath program, I need to coach myself a little to keep on an even keel in the face of all the changes and losses I have faced. Not to avoid grief, which I cannot and would not, but to make sure I do in fact face it and let it begin to help me heal.
Beyond that my goals for the year are yet to be set. Staying well, emotionally and physically will for now simply require that I put one foot in front of the other until I build some momentum up again.
I have missed the regular routine of blogging, and I would love to say I will pick it up and be more consistent this year but for now I will just do what I can.
my friends, I think of you all often and hope your New Year brings wonderful things! 
As always , stay safe 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Equine therapy, for me. Wrapping up Christmas, and the big move!

So busy times this last while! Dad took possession of his new house on the 18 Dec, and we hit the ground running , I had great friends come and help clean the driveway, we picked up a few new items for the house and set to unpacking the little stuff before the 22 when the movers came  with the big load of stuff. Then dad , my honorary nephew Cal and I set to work unpacking, sorting and doing what we could on the 23 . After that I took a break to finish getting ready for Christmas.But first I took a little "me time" 
Went to see the girls and had a little photo shoot





As you can see I had a blast! 

Then all of a sudden it was Christmas! we all gathered at my sisters house for Christmas eve. Dad ,Martin and I and Heather Marc, Tara, and Russ,Deanna and Adam, and Brendan. A house full of love! We laughed, had a few tears but mostly celebrated the way we knew mom would love!

Christmas morning Martin and I had a little time here then back to Heather and Marc's for brunch. Home for a little nap and out to Adam and Deanna's for supper! It was wonderful! Deee outdid herself with the meal, and while I felt a little at odds not having to cook anything, I got comfortable with it pretty damn quick, and simply enjoyed the day! 
Stopped to see Martin's sister and family on the way home, then to his other sister on Boxing day. My heart and belly are full! 

Today I had guest in the form of the Oakleys, Deb and Brian,  Robert and Rhiannon.I was so pleased I haven't had a visit with Rob in a very long time, the first of my honorary nephews,he holds a pretty special place in my heart.
Angela and Cara were unable to come but they sent some lovely cards, words and treasures. One in particular, moved me to tears, not in a bad way but while every gift I receive is wonderful and perfect, there are some that just ...well I will let you see it 
This is a watercolour that Cara did from a photo I took in the spring shortly after Henry arrived in my life. Winston took mentoring the little one seriously and we joked that this pic was him telling henry how to make a snow angel
"ya gotta get yer back into it"

the original pic

Then after the company left I headed back to dads (it is so cool that he is only 10 min away now!) 
to unpack some more, he has kept moms curios and china some for the grandkids and some just because, plus his own treasures .Luckily my Uncle was there with his fiance, so I had help too Sharon helped unpack and clean then flattened the boxes, you know the story , many hands  make light work! 
So now that he is in and it is official here are a few pics of the new digs! 
 the shed
 front 
 side

rear
and inside before the move



 Now with the goodies put away 




Its a two bedroom, so room for an office and very comfortable, the infloor heat is amazing! I think dad will be happy here, and I am thrilled to have him close! 
Back to work for a couple days this week then New years will be upon us! Hope everyone is safe and happy, with loved ones around during this blessed season! 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Another round of "messin with the music! " some pics, and the poem I couldn't write. in not exactly that order

Thank you to all who posted, emailed and send condolences. Your support means so much .I know mom will rest easy with my big yellow dog, knowing I have such wonderful friends.
The service for mom was lovely, with remembrances form her grandchildren and my sister Heather read the eulogy. Thank you to all of the many who joined in celebrating the life of this great lady.

Together we wrote the eulogy, I had hoped I would find the words to write a poem for mom, but maybe it was too soon, or too close. I felt badly that I couldn't write one for her service, then finally (with support and caring from family ) realised it would happen when it was meant to , or maybe not at all. And that is fine too . Mom knew I loved her and still do, and I did in my way write poems for and about her in the past, just just have to know us to see where they are.
This did come to me the other day,not quite what I had thought I would write, but what I was in that moment compelled to write. Is it the Poem I couldn't write? I don't know , it is the one I did write  for now
I took your picture off the wall
 as though you were never here,
 at all.
Yet I close my eyes and see your face
Ever present in this place
I took the picture down you see
Because it made me cry
In the next moment 
My heart begged me to know why
I wanted for a time
 to hide from my tears
I thought if I couldn't see you
 I could forget all those years
The lessons laughter love and 
time
the memories that are just mine

 I thought if I could forget
 I could let go of the pain
But then only emptiness would remain
I hung your picture on the wall today
There it will always stay 
I remember the love,

I let the tears fall.
And I hung your picture on the wall

But , as mom would say, "moving right along, here are a few photos of the last while here.
Henry has taken up the torch and joined in on the Fern Valley Duelling/Dancing  doggie show










As you can see , after a long mild fall, Winter has arrived.Still not terribly cold but definitely winter now 




 Frosty and cold enough for hats

Speaking of hats, 
I had kept on of granddad Blain's harris Tweed hats, it was a bit big, but it reminded me of him and smelled like his pipe tobacco of all things so I kept it and wore it from time to time.

Well before brendan left to go back to school after moms service, we were talking and he had tried on my dad's cap, it looked great on him but was too small.
Well much as i wanted to keep it, I figured Brendan might like it and it really didn't fit me so...



He wears it well don't you think? 




Well Christmas is fast approaching , and some other exciting news, that I want to keep under my hat for just a few more days, so I will leave you with this for now;
another run at messing with the music, not a funny twist on an old favorite this time, but a twist all the same 
Have yourself a special little Christmas
But let your love shine bright
someday too our trials will be made more light
Have yourself a  special little Christmas
Take the time that day

To show that prayer and faith are
 What will truly light your way
Celebrate like the olden days
Cherish special ways once more
Bless those who are not near to us
Yet dear to us ever more
Take the time no matter what the weather
Spend some time together
In the here and now.
And have yourself that very special little Christmas now

Stay safe and warm my friends