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, 30 August 2012

I got my "Fix"

Fern Valley's Phoenix, that is !!!
My  blue eyed handsome boy is home, and we are HAPPY!!!!
I went to  try him out and bring him home ,and I am very pleased. He is settled, willing soft and responsive, just as he should be.I think I will keep him LOL
First I watched Justin ride him a bit , not as much of what he has been doing  is shown but it was a busy day there getting ready for a futurity. He has been used to  turn back  cattle and also they have been "working him on the flag " (useful for cutting and penning) I would have liked to see that, but I needed to get down there more than I did .Sometimes being busy is good, but sometimes it sucks! Anyhow as you can see , my "Fix" did get over his  fire breathing dragon moment/s that he had when he first got there and has settled into the good horse I knew he  could be.

Then , I got on. Geoff  kindly agreed to take a few pictures of me .Thankfully  after the trainwreck which was me mounting up! Lets just say that although it was not pretty I got there (bad hip, and knee, sore shoulder all conspired to make a mess of it ) And that in itself also showed what a star Phoenix is , ! He stood , feet solidly planted and waited for me to flopscramblewrithe onto his back!

So he is home and settling in nicely,not just sure what the next step is for  "Fix" but he has a lot of ability, and a great foundation so we need to figure out just where  to go from here . Meanwhile I am just going to enjoy having the blue eyed wonder home !
Stay Safe

Monday, 27 August 2012

A proud legacy

In my honorable mentions posts I talked about a mare I owned  C7 Sparks Jewel you can follow the link or look  under the page for "unforgettable Spots "
Well if you have read her story , you know it wasn't a  wonderful one, but I did my very best with her. I still own her Daughter Fern Valleys Jazz, and those who have been reading here a while  know  that my "special girl " Jazzy , makes NICE BABIES!

FV Jazz Time(Timer ) 

FV Sparks Image (Maggie ) 

And  of course  BEC's fav 
FV Dandy Line (Dandy )
(I always loved this Power take off shot) 

But this post in particular is about Maggie , a second generation filly  born here, and what she has become . 
Her story is  much happier than her grand dam. Maggie was born here. at last year sold to a young lady who  goes by" Kat". The cool thing about  Kat, other than she is a great little gal with wonderful ever growing horsemanship skills, is that her mom and  I went to school together! What great fun it was  for us to reconnect after all these years, and you know, we look  just the same ! Well maybe a little smarter! 
Anyhow  I digress.
Kat invited me out today to see her and Maggie , and well I jumped at the chance ! I love that I can follow upon horses I have sold. I have had some updates , Kat has emailed me from time to time, but nothing beats being there.
I got there , camera in hand and well ,here is the part you  likely want to see ...

 Kat has done the training herself, with support and supervision, and she has done a brilliant job. Maggie is soft , responsive and respectful. Kat and she have clearly bonded and it is clear how much she loves Maggie, but she is mindful of teaching  boundaries and has been very consistent in her handling of Maggie . and it has paid off big time ! Well done Kat!
Kat's mom Annette has also fallen for Maggie as you can see. What a great visit ! A great young lady who is going to do great things ,and her mom backing her up 100% you  just can't beat that! 
I have to apologize , there were videos too, and a great one of Maggie following Kat at liberty, but something went awry when I downloaded them and Poof! Gone! 
All in all I am so pleased to have been able to visit and thrilled at the success so far. I sure hope I am able to continue following this pair. 

Funny , when Maggie was born  "Sparks Image" popped into my head immediately , yet she doesn't  really look like my old mare , there was just something about her that made me think of Jewel. Whatever it was it fits , and the proud  legacy of my scared, scarred little mare  will live on in the likes of Maggie . And what a legacy it is! 
Thanks for the visit ladies! and everyone remember,
Stay safe !edited to add, I did find the videos after all !!!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Reviews scare me a little

When asked to offer my book for review  during the publishing process, I was very hesitant , but I decided "in for a dime, in for a dollar" and allowed the publisher to send it out . I  received my first review a while back, and while it was overall positive , there were a couple item the stung. But  I am not now nor do I claim to ever be Hemingway so , I knew my review would not be perfect.
I received an email today ,to advise me the I had another completed review. I thought about it , and thought about it , and finally opened it . And WOW!!! Glad I did
Here it is , on the actual site Review 
or as pasted here;

Tails, Trails and Campfire Stories:
Photographs, Poetry and Musings of an Alberta Farm Girl
by Sherry Sikstrom
Trafford Publishing
"Roses fade and chocolates spoil, nothing lasts forever/but raising horses and raising cows is what we do together."
What Sherry Sikstrom does well in her volume of poetry is capture succinctly the life a woman growing up in rural Canadian farm country. This is a collection of poetry and photographs that capture the affections of family, animals, and the land that Sikstrom so dearly adores. It is inspirational and personal, with an emphasis on the simplicity of rustic living, the determination of both people and animals to thrive and survive, and the observations of the cycles of the seasons as well as an homage to heritage and tradition. Her poems are lessons that are close to the heart of the author, and she shares with the reader in the spirit of sitting around a campfire and trading stories—a kind of intimacy you'll find throughout.
The author reflects on the dual aspects of nature: the wonderful and the frightening. Many of the poems are filled with sentiment for lost loved ones, while others explore the "good old times," sharing the world with other people and creatures, fading cowboys, personal dedications to family, and how animals can teach you as you are teaching them. Sikstrom is one of the very few "cowgirl poets," as there are a number of poems written about the cowboy, farm, and rural way of life that reflect the male perspective—but not as many for or by women. the author adds in her own photographs, which makes this collection very distinctly and uniquely hers.

I will still always be nervous of reviews , but this was sure nice to see .
Stay safe everyone

Friday, 24 August 2012

Rest well Diesel

Find  a soft sunny space
For my grumpy old kitty
She had grown tired and ill,
But do save your pity
She was loved all her life
And received best of care
Now she is gone over the rainbow
To wait for me there 

13 years ago I found a starving little crazy wild  kitten on a straw bale. She would hiss , spit, then appear to  pass out (I though she had died)  No momma to be found so I brought her in . Honestly I have tired with barn kittens before , and it seems they  either sink or swim regardless of what we do , but I gave it a shot . Well it must have been a good one, or she was tougher than I thought  because she survived, and thrived ! Diesel has never been a  particularly sweet cat, but I loved her and she seemed ,well accepting of me and family .
Anyhow she has been growing old and changing quickly, still seemed to enjoy sunning herself on the deck and  had a good appetite till yesterday , Wed she did not  come out at all ,, and then she stopped eating . I could have waited a little longer I guess, but at the speed she was changing I did not want to wait till it was too late and she was suffering so today she was humanely put to sleep. 
I handled it all just fine until I got home and began packing up her things.( I don't plan to have another house cat .)I  cried like a child, I called my folks and I wrote a poem. 
It was the right and kindest thing to do for her, and I know that . But it still hurts.

Stay safe my friends

Thursday, 23 August 2012

I am a show off

And who wouldn't be with this to show off with !
not even my work, but when this girl is famous I can say I knew her when ...
If you remember a couple weeks ago, my young friend Mel was out  for a visit. She is a very talented artist (as evidenced  above )
We were talking about her needing some more pics to display her gallery of work, . She always  has permission and will not use copy written material without the owner's OK so she has had a little  trouble building her gallery , I suggested a couple of my favorite photos to work from.It is a win win, because she gets to showcase her amazing talent , and i get the opportunity to own some  stunning artwork of  none other than my very favorite critters!  
You can see her other work here on the blog or on her website   
Can you imagine with all the pictures I take how many Mel Shwanke originals I could have? Better pick and choose soon she is going to be way to busy and famous to work for me! 
but , a girl can dream right?
Stay safe everyone! 

Monday, 20 August 2012

We get by

Monday night already! wow! ,gonna lose this week too if I am not careful! 
We had a great time with the barbecue. Lots to eat, lots to talk about.
Sunday we had a few things to do ,including  trying to help my niece with a mare who is a bit challenging to catch and handle . I did a bit of round penning with her, but frankly in 30 + heat with horse that is not responding to cues, I took the "discretion is the better part of valor" approach and walked away  before it became another chance for her to win. They have a good plan in place and I am quite sure they will get around this girl.Sometimes a different set of hands/eyes on a situation  can help , and that is what we were hoping for .In this case the mare was not responding any differently to me or my tactics.

Then on to our  next  "bull headed" adventure 

Met our neighbor who came  to help us with out bull. He had hoof rot earlier in the year, and we treated it and though it was resolved ,he was sound again and moving well ,but it seems to have flared up again . We trailed him in part way then got him in the trailer to bring home. It went fairly well with us all dancing around  from the mosquito in the long grass. I am here to tell you that ,the rain may have stopped , but there are still some wet areas ,one step wrong , and up to my calves in goo! 

We have him home now, and that is fine , he should be done his work by now anyway. And this way we  can get that foot cleaned right up 
By the time we finished that , and had a visit , it was into the house skipped supper and fell into bed.

I was off to work today (at my paying  job) and Martin was preparing to start baling . 
Well the best laid plans and all, we are awfully lucky to have  both Marc and Martin with balers and this year the kind help of another neighbor . Martin got a few bales done then had one breakdown after another ,Dad came out to help with repairs while Marc and Billy carried on .
When I got home, I assumed my regular duties of water/girl, parts  holder/finder/deliverer,  twine finder ,cook and bottle washer. I find I do a fair bit of dashing around in circles but I hope I am of some help .
Anyhow they got it done , this field completely with no rain whatsoever. The hay looks great for as long as I hung  around .(I am allergic to the alfalfa and the fresh hay while it smells great tends to make feel me a little like Dorothy in the poppy fields! )
(from far to near, Martin and dad working on repairs, Billy 's John Deer  in the middle and  Marc's rig at he back . All done and ready for refreshments ) 
I had quite a bit of BBQ beef left over  from Sat so we had  beef on a bun, and Caesar salad for supper . And of course cold beer for the crew !
We are so blessed , we don't need help all that often , but when we do we have great neighbors , friends and family , who are there to help out .
So like the song says 
"We get by with a little help from our  friends"
Stay safe everyone 

Friday, 17 August 2012

I appear to have misplaced this week

Not sure if it was because I was  busy ,or 
But somehow I posted on Monday  about Mel's visit , and the next time I looked it was tonight!

Not a  particularly  busy or not busy week, just a regular week. Martin arrived home on Tues ,which is nice, this  2 weeks away  1 home sucks .
 We did go back to see the  girls (Cat and Andee) on Wed  so Martin could see how they are working . And I guess between work, and yard work the time is just flying by.
Big BBQ this weekend with  Martin's  side of the family. We have done it with  both my folks and sisters family as well, but this year we will just have to have 2 , better with smaller groups anyway its easier to visit.

FRIDAYS FOR SALE:I do finally have the boys Comet and Quinn listed for sale ,I have had some interest in the ads , but so far nothing firm. 
I have  fairly healthy prices set on these boys, which are negotiable, but still. It is not cheap, free, or all that easy  to raise  foals properly so I have invested my best effort in them ,and I value that effort as well as the horses. That said if the right buyer comes along I will and have in the past made allowances for a good fit .
Also have been invited to go visit Maggie (Sparks Image) and you know , even though I am busy I think I am going to play hooky for a day next weekend and  go see her in action. Would love to go check on Dandy and have a visit too, but he is 6 hours away so ...

Should be going to get Phoenix  soon, and we will look at what he is doing and where next to go .
And Cat and Andee are going to be home the first week of September, so if I think I am busy now,I better think again!

We do have some quiet moments from time to time, and a very special one is to see Martin standing still
And simply enjoying time with his horse 
Quite honestly I have a better chance of catch this one standing still! 

Stay safe everyone and have a great weekend 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Let me entertain you

Well, not quite, but I was trying to entertain a guest this weekend , which hopefully explains why I haven't been stopping at anyone's blog much.

I had a special guest this weekend! Some bloggers will remember her as Almighty Marshmellow from  the blogs, others will recall the beautiful pieces of artwork she has done for me

But the gang here, just know her as Mel
 the nice 
 brought out 
 to visit 
 all of us !

And to Winston?
A new best friend! 

We had a quiet  weekend , visiting ponies and catching up.Pretty sure other than mowing the lan and  moving a couple horses I can call it a weekend off! Went and visited around the fire on Saturday night with Deb, and family (Greymare) . 
Mel  is a talented little lady , who is currently doing custom artwork,see her work here, Custom Commissions by Mel Shwanke
Took lots of pics too, I think maybe I may find more original Mel Shwanke artwork gracing my walls before too long!

And I wouldn't complain a bit! 

After I took her home I did catch up on a couple things , moved the cows and threw in a load of laundry . Not too much, I sure enjoyed  taking it easy this weekend ! Thanks Mel, come back anytime !
Hope everyone else had a good weekend.
And as always , stay safe! 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Update on the girls

Forgive the quality again, I  just had the cell phone.
I was out an about  today , and as my work day came to a close I found myself  very close to the barn where Cat and Andee are in training .
Roland told me I could stop by anytime to see them , so I took him at his word and did just that.
Apparently great minds think alike, because as I walked into the barn he said"oh good ,you got my message! I am just getting ready to work the girls"
I guess he had called and invited me to  come today to see their  progress. We got a chuckle out of that and he went to work,first with Andee then Cat .

Andee is doing well, very sweet (which we all knew)  but worries a bit , and is a bit reactive, but after only about  9 sessions I  have no complaints .

I really like that Roland works in an arena that can be very busy . After all no one ride in a vacum, and he doesn't wait to have it all quiet before he works, the horses are paying attention to him, and at one point a gall galloped by Andee, then did a sliding stop, Andee remained focused on Roland and though her head came up a bit she did not really seem bothered .

Cat also os doing well, far less reactive ,  Roland commented that she is very settled and nothing seems to rattle her. Unfortunatley(or not) she did have an abcess  just after she arrived  so her under saddle  work has been lessened,but he has spent a consitent amount of time on other detail work, and she is doing well.
I am attempting to load a video, but it is going very slowly.If I ever  get it loaded I will add it.

Stay safe

here you go

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Blown away, well almost

I know, more about the weather , sigh
Well it has been weird  but at least it makes for pretty pictures.
We got hit hard again tonight , but all are well so ...
Enjoy the art Mother Nature  created tonight

Stay safe