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 .

Thursday, 4 August 2011

March 2011


The end of MArch has finally arrived.And not a moment too soon. Big hopes for spring ,April just doesn't ever seem as cold and awful as February and March. Here in Apberta we all need some solar power to get moving after the long cold winter . I am doing OK, but there were days days over the last few months , that quite simply sucked!


Some days are not so great

Nothing really wrong

But still I feel at odds

The entire day long

Any thing I try

Nothing seems to fit

I ‘m not gonna lie

Some days I want to quit

Just the kind of day

You can’t take any more

And I start to feel

Like a dog stuck in a cat door

On that kind of day ,

I take another route

Or maybe ask a friend

To come and get me out

Stay Safe , Stay warm

A saddle is just a place to sit

Hold on friends , this is another of my meanderings.

First though , Ernie was out to trim some horses for us yesterday . Ernie is one of the fellows I use as farrier and also my trainer. Because Both he and Charlie trim for me , and I started Johnnie myself I guess there is a chance he has never met Johnnie. Anyhow ,Ernie does a lot of competitive Penning , and he is also the guy who says" I don't really like Appys, But I sure like this one" He has wound up saying that , about , well all of mine that he has worked , So I just laugh at him now .

Anyhow , brought Johnnie in to trim , and Ernie , said ,"Who is this ? He is sure nice " and commented that he did not remember riding him. Explained , that he would not have and why. Went on to ask me "is he cowy? I really like this horse " I couldn't resist I said , but hey ,you don't like Appys ! well even he got the joke this time, and said , "well I sure like this one , bet he would do well penning " I told him he could try him , but It doesn't matter cause he can't keep him.

"I ain't going nowhere thanks!"

On to the meander. Ernie and I were talking about riding ,and different disciplines and how , often a change in stirrup length changes the signal you are giving the horse. Riding in a slightly shorted stirrup for penning , he finds himself more secure , less in the horse mouth and able to increase his times.(for that type of work where you are giving the horse somewhere to go with the stimuli I think that is quite reasonable) I tend towards a longer leg, mostly for trail riding , and even when we would move cows,. A longer leg I find gives you a deeper more elastic seat and while you are still able to drive your horse ,you are not over stimulating him.

I rode Martins big gelding, Sonny (since sold ) a few years back . I was riding in stirrups set for Martin(a little short) and I was driving that poor horse out through the end of his own nose! He was nicely collected ,but confused, I realised the problem and dropped my stirrups altogether, and the horse literally sighed in relief. I still rode with contact , but not giving him signals to fly while asking for a walk. It can be pretty subtle but when we are tense and "shorten our leg" we often create that feeling on our horse , "hurry up and wait" that helps to create that "jiggy " over excited mess" that IS NOT FUN TO ride . If we keep in mind a long relaxed leg , on a horse for the most part, similar to how we sit bareback , we have far greater control of the signals we are sending .

Remember the saddle is not what is keeping you on the horse , its is just where you sit while your SEAT AND BALANCE do the work

Moo Monday

Ok ,enough grumbling about the fact that its not April yet, we are calving .It is what it is .

I promise not to bore you with daily updates of how many we have ,but Martin has a buddy he works up north with ,who has never seen a brand new calf. Since they have access to a computer I am posting this for them , and anyone else who wants to see.

We are up to 3 now and as you see, they don't get much newer than this last one in the video


And this guy is just really happy with the new straw bale, he is kindly rolling it out for me


Stay Safe and Stay warm, and

Martin if you are reading this,Love you , miss you , see you Friday

For my friend

Today , my friend Deb, had to make the difficult decision to put her beautiful Golden Retriever Rosie down. Rose fell ill very quickly overall, though as often they do it seems she was masking problems for a while. Had a great day yesterday with her playing with her buddies Winston and Skeeter, and nipping Deb's behind.It is a huge loss to Deb and her family and I hope you will all join me in sending warm thoughts to Deb(Greymare) and her family

Would that I could dry your tears

turn back time ,retrieve some years

There comes a time ,we all know

to say goodbye , and let good dogs go

It's never easy ,nor meant to be

but in time ,I hope that we

can share the joy and remember her

That beautiful girl of golden fur

As her story sadly closes

I will remember her in the

Wild Roses

In other news , baby is doing well

And as you can see she has a new playmate as well

Yup, April calving

Stay warm and safe

All about meeeee!!!!

I took a totally selfish approach to my day today.I decided after getting up ,doing chores and checking cows , that I was going to have a total ME day.Do nothing , accomplish nothing ,just coast .
the first thing I did was to go on to Amazon and download the Kindle App for PC, so I could read THIS .

then I settled in ,feet up ,with a cup of coffee and read it I did! Loved it btw!if you are not already aware ,this is a book written by our very own fellow blogger Nuzzling Muzzles !
My only issue with it is sitting at the computer reading .I may need to invest in a Kindle if I am to do a lot of this type of reading.
Though Martin and I are terrible and tend never to buy new technology till it is nearly obsolete!

I did take a couple breaks to go for a walk , and to visit with Deb and Brian , and BIL Marc .But then right back at it.I am a bit of a bear about books.If I am enjoying it I will read it straight through till I am done, really don't care to set it down. So Nuzz Muzz , you got my attention and kept it all day, so please write more , but maybe in the interests if me getting some things done ,only a couple a year? K?

Also did some writing myself, at the prompting of my hubby, he kept asking why there was no poem for Sunshine? well for a couple of reasons , mostly every time I started I would fall apart a little , and could never find just the right words. More about this lovely mare here.
Not so sure I got it right this time either, but it is from my heart

Sherry’s April Sunshine

Early on one April day
Nestled in with straw and hay
Snug in the old Dairy barn
My April Sunshine was born

A leggy Chestnut filly there
That little one, she knew no fear
From her birth to the day she died
Sunshine was never one to hide

First foal I raised, my oh my!
She gave to me my very first black eye
And broke my nose, I should mention
But not by her unkind intention

We did some learning she and I
Bred to run, oh she could fly!
Descended from Triple Crown stock
In a race she couldn't be caught

She grew up tall and strong, and white
It seemed she changed overnight
A gentle horse, quiet and staid
She calmly walked through a parade

I could call her anywhere
Across the fields to me she’d tear
And stop up close and quietly stand
Checking for cookies in my hand

In later years she lost her sight
But still my Sunshine shined so bright
Raised up some foals of lovely stature
Watching her was pure rapture

Gone from me now,
Yet still somehow
In my heart she’ll stay
And no one really ever can
Take my Sunshine away

With any luck , I will get off my tush tomorrow and do something more productive.
Stay Safe , Stay warm

April Calving????

We are supposed to start calving AFTER April 01

Suffice to say , we are early again. I had a little chat with a certain person about the timing of when the bulls went out last year. And we have established , that I am too old for this crap , and I will decide in future what day the bulls go out. At least until such time as he is planning to be here for calving. It was not a fight , just a discussion . Seeing as he is away working , and I do miss him ,it seemed silly to yell.That said ,I believe my point was made.
Momma was a bit "heads up" and I am in fact too old to be "cow fighting " I waited till BIL ,Marc got home to help me drag baby up to a dry warm spot.
Got that done and went to the house , only to hear Marc holler from outside . Ran out to see what he wanted , and found the neighbor's , very pretty , very goofy Arab gelding dashing up and down the mares fence line , getting , my 2 heavy in foal mares all jacked up!!!
Got him away from them , and off he went to visit Phoenix! Even better...NOT
Finally got him penned in and settled ,and called his owner , who will be picking him up this evening or tomorrow. He is a very pretty horse as I said .And I am the last person to pick on Arabian horses, I quite like them , and have seen many sweet quiet Arabs over the years. But the lack of training and handling this dude has had , sure doesn't help the old stereotype!
Will try to get a shot of him before he leaves , he is marked like Badger but smaller and far more elegant .
Finally around 8:30 got into the house , had supper and a hot shower then fell into bed!
The early calving thing is not actually the end of the world , just irritating ,and all seems to have ended well. Baby is fine this morning . Will try to get some nicer shots of her over the weekend.
Meanwhile , stay safe, stay warm!

Words on Wednesday

Just another little poem , I have written.I wanted to thank you all for letting me share these with you ,it has been very good for me. and just to let you know , I may never have the nerve to stand up and recite them at a gathering ,(or I may) but I have actually made some enquiries into publishing them . So you never know , someday "Telling Tales ", may become a reality !!!

Heart made of Horses

For my entire life it seems
Horse have been in my dreams
In my life and in my space
A feeling that you can’t replace

The Grace and beauty that they share
Cannot be found, just anywhere

They are a thing second to none
To let them go leaves me undone
And heartbroken tears I will cry
When all to soon they say goodbye

Each takes a piece of my own heart
When the sad time comes to part

But leaves behind no empty space
Just glowing memories in their place

I watch them grow and watch them dance
And know that it was worth the chance
No rage against natures forces
It has left my heart
Made of Horses.

As always my friends , stay safe and warm!

the photo an old one of Johnie and I , but I like it

Slow down!!! the life you save may be your own!!!!

This post is a bit of a rant,and for that I apologise. But here it is, Springtime in Alberta tends to look a whole lot like Winter in Alberta . In the past few days we have had OK temps (from 5C to -5C in the days ) and not even terribly cold overnight . But we have had snow !!! and lots of it , sticky,wet , heavy snow!!!! and as nice as it is the temps are still freezing or close to it . So that makes for treacherous road conditions! Sloppy ,icy ,poor visibility the works . But are people slowing down and driving with the road conditions in mind? NOt many . Most are out there flying down the road like their bums are on fire. Several people just in the distance between here and Edmonton lost their vehicles to roll overs or collisions, and in a couple cases I have not heard for sure , but I suspect lives were lost . NOTHING THAT YOU HAVE TO DO IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO DIE FOR!!! I was transporting a client to town today , and while the roads were at that point fair , I still drove with some cation , adding to that is the fact that I am responsible for more than just me in the vehicle , very often I am transporting an elderly or disabled person ,who in an emergency would not be able to keep themselves warm , so I am mindful of that as well, and if I am not comfortable with the roads ,I will reschedule appointments.

I am not claiming to be a perfect driver , but really people PAY Attention !! speeding , cutting other drivers off ,slamming on the brakes to rubberneck at an accident , etc not a good idea.

Pay attention people!!!

Stay safe ! somebody is waiting for you to arrive home ALIVE!

OK ,rant over .I have no new pics at present , I am on strike(kinda) till I have something other than snow to photograph

I have heard there are Pussy Willows out there , but haven't seen them .This one will have to do for now
Stay warm , Stay Safe!



Spring has sprung,
The winter done
At least that’s
What they say

I looked outside
And nearly cried
Instead of green grass showing
In typical Alberta fashion
I woke to find it snowing

I will take heart,
On this bleak day
As spring will surely come
My way

It takes a little longer,
yet ,with it we grow stronger

and eager for the change

The snow and cold, it sure got old
A tough one , this long year

We long for days
Of sunny haze
Hard work and ice cold beer

Soon the green will come again
To bless this patch of heaven
And we can all sit back and smile
We survived the winter of “11

Bound(aries) Bent and Determined

"Think I am living in the twilight zone .Strange truck stuck in the field,half dead deer stuck in the fence ,and today was the day my colt though he should push boundaries and attempt to body slam me! Deer-out of its misery thanks to the neighbor, who also knew the identity of truck and is removing it . Colt has now been made aware his behavior is unacceptable. Bath ,bottle of wine Bed.I am done"

For those who are not on Facebook, the above was my status from last night .Not a terrific night. The update is , the truck is moved, the Deer, is sadly out of its misery ,the two things were not related , each more than a 1/4 mile from the other . And Dandy , well he was a very good boy today .Which brings me to today's post ...

What happened with Dandy last night was as a result of what I will call"testosterone toxicity" translation , young stud colt growing up a little Manageable , and or totally curable depending on your choices (IE. training,and, or gelding).He decided yesterday was the day he was going to determine hierarchy with me. and essentially he did , I was the boss of his little herd and I still am!LOL.This is not such unusual behavior especially for foals raised in small groups or one on one.It still happens in larger groups , just usually is handles by herdmate or a "boss mare"

As I walked into the pen , I got a sense that he was a little revved up , so as I walked down to the feed ,I did turn my back on him, but not completely.I kept my body turned obliquely towards him .I did this so that if and or when he challenged(in this case when ) and attempted to hit me with his chest ,the worst he would do is bounce me off of him. If my back was totally to him ,I wouldn't see him coming , and be face down in the snow , and facing him full on isn't always best either, as they can and will still try , and even a yearling barreling his chest into you is enough to make you pasture pizza!

So sure enough ,he made his move , I turned and he glanced off of me and I gave him a swat and growled something like "here now" This is where you need to get BIG!!!,not happy Jelly bean big ,but really big and mean big !"you wouldn't like me when I am angry"


Not intending to hurt the horse or frighten him ,but just make very clear you are NOT TO BE MESSED WITH!!

Because often the challenge is not over on the first try , and it wasn't with him either , he then thought it might be wise to strike out at me . He did not connect , because again I am watchful of my space and his and position myself to get out of the way. He did not connect ... but I did!!! one time, gave him a good solid boot to the chest and he leaped back this he was dealing with a monster. This is not abuse! I did not kick him with 1/4 the strength that another horse would have , but they need to know that it is Not OK.

That all said , he is fine and was fine 5 minutes later coming up for pets and scratches and the only change in his behavior today is that he is far more respectful of my space.Is this the end of all challenges with Dandy??

Heck no! the only time a first battle is the last is when it ends with someone dead or disabled, but he did learn a valuable lesson .

I am a huge stickler for ground manners and boundaries with my horses, and because of that and the training I do when they are young I am able to go into a pen like I did with Phoenix and take pics of him rampaging around .He has respect for my space, and the little reminders he needs now are often no more than a raised hands and "here" or "easy "

Dandy is his own sweet self today ,and I spent a little time moving him around before feeding him just to be sure . My training techniques are not everyones, and as I have said , I am not a "trainer " Just a farmer who raise horses. But as much of what I do I do alone ,I need to be able to keep that statement"I have never been killed by a horse I trained" to be true.I should note that this behavior is not exclusive to colts , fillies will do the same in the similar effort to establish their place in the pecking order.

Spring is coming , so everyone remember the horses are feeling good too! Stay warm , and stay safe!
Edited to add , my dear friend CNJ kindly offered to make the drawing for the CSN post , and the winner is...Linda!! congrats!!!!I will send you the gift code asap

The Farmer

He comes into town
In his old rubber boots
The marks of the years on his face

His hands gnarled up,
A bend to his back,
a bit of a hitch in his pace
He moves a bit slow,
but steady he goes
For he knows life isn’t a race

He ruined his back
To save a sick calf
One of so many it seems
He worries and fights
On those long winter nights
Colder and colder it seems

Then fencing and seeding and
All of the rest
No holidays, to speak of
He gives it his best

This is the farmer, the man of the land
The fellow who gives all he has

And they do it why honey?
Well it ain’t for the money
The glory, the fun, or the tan
They do it for family,

and they do it for pride.
And simply the love of the land.

And into the fall, he answers the call
For harvest and weaning and such
When all this is done, he is the one
To quiet a horse with a touch

So give him respect,

a handshake or a nod
Or even a pat on the arm

The food that you eat

and the shoes on your feet
They started somewhere on a farm

Something in the air

Warmth , and calm, somehow the feeling that the long hard winter is coming to a close.

And soon we will see the green again.

Spent as much of the day outside yesterday as I possibly could

Enjoying the warm sun and fresh air. And watching the animals enjoy it too

" I ain't heavy,he's my brother"

Wandered out with some brushes to give Dandy a once over . As you can see he is a real crazy bean...NOT

Found myself trapped in a "pony hug " here

He was liking it a lot and looking for someone to groom as well

Momma cat, says "some kids never grow up"

Went in to water the girls, and found myself trapped in yet another "love fest "

Oh oh ,maybe too much sun! I am seeing spots!

Stay safe and warm

Do ya Love me?

You broke my heart

'Cause I didn't dance

You didn't even want me around
And now I'm back,

to let you know

I can really shake 'em down
Do you love me?
(I can really move)

Do you love me?

(I'm in the groove)

Ah do you love me?

(Do you love me)

I can dance
Watch me now!
I think someone has been reading
Ride a Good Horse , and figures I am way too fond of that handsome black Beamer for his liking!!.
These pics are still the old camera, seeing as this is the first time I got Phoenix to dance on camera for me , he gets pretty close and I didn't want to wreck the fancy new one. Now that I know how well his brakes are set up ,I will feel better in the future. Just like his old man he did all his moves but never got any closer then about 10 feet till he was settled .
Got lots more pics this weekend ,so I will have more to share through the week.
It is a beautiful warm day today here,I am loving it !

Tell me a story

The following is a little song from my childhood. After reading it , I just know all the moms are going to rush off and teach this annoying little ditty to their toddlers...NOT.
But it is fun

Tell me a story

Tell me a story

Tell me a story

before I go to bed

Tell me 'bout the birds and bees

And how to make a chicken sneeze

Tell me a story ,before I go to bed

You promised me , you said you would

You gotta give in ,so I'll be good

Tell me a story

And then I 'll go to bed.

But to the title of the post, not much going on here . In laws are doing better and settling into a good routine , Father in law has been home from hospital for a week, and other than he believes he is tougher than a $2 steak and tends to over do , things are good. I have been fairly busy with work, the farm , and tending to a few of their needs here and there so I find I am a little tired this weekend and frankly a bit blocked as far as a post .

So today I am asking you all to tell me a story ,

about what?

well, I could say tell me your best horsey memory , but not all my readers have a horse or have had one . So, lets go back to the song, tell me about something that makes you smile .

Also missing my hubby a bit these days , he should be home by the end of next week . So being tired, and frankly having a tiny case of the winter blahs , I could use a smile or two.

The picture is a bunch of carnations I saw while grocery shopping this morning , and on the spur of the moment decided , they just HAD to come home with me , such bright beautiful colors !

Stay safe and warm ,my friends

Just say no to crap!

This is a giveaway post! Hard to tell from the title but it is!

The lovely people at the CSN stores are offering a $30.00 gift certificate for me to give away!

The title , misleading as it may be is about crap,or clutter in my home and office . My sweet hubby is a bit of a ,well a ,pack rat.

(OK , to the people who know us personally and are aware of how big an understatement that was,I will give you a moment to clean your beverages off the computer monitor! )

And he saves EVERYTHING . He probable still has the piece of paper he wrote my phone number down on the night we me (not that he could find it ,but ... )

Anyhow , when he went away to work, I told him that I was going to clean up the office and get it organised and of course I have seen some great stuff and home office desks

http://www.csnofficefurniture.com/. that would sure make organising things easier.

Anyway here is the contest ,

Working on the KISS (Keep it simple sweetie) theory ,leave a comment about the room in your house ,that you would love to get organised ,and I will draw from the comments on Sunday.

Good Luck !

Stay safe ,Stay Warm!

Back to the Wild Life

Sorry ,no more sun and sand for now

Just a few

Shots of our very well fed


very determined

Dinner guests

These pics are mostly of the same Deer

What you don't see in the pics is the other 15 or so

and the A team of Deer herders

Skeeter and Winston , hot pursuit!

Just a couple shots

of the animals the hay is actually for!

As always stay safe , stay warm.
And stay in touch , a contest is coming!

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