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, 24 April 2013

catching up?

Will I ever? Seems like every time I think I am ahead, I realize, nope ,not really!
Cant  believe it is already nearly the end of April! Packing up and getting ready to head to the Mane Event 
I am able to  do this only because of my  great family and friends. Calving is not  done, but Marc (my brother in law ) has again kindly stepped up to keep an eye on things over the weekend , and a couple of neighbors will also be pitching in to check the dogs,and cows while Marc is at work. 
what would I do without these amazing folks in my life???

It has been noted that I am not blogging as  much as I used to , I do post a little more often on Facebook but simple because its  quick, you can post a pic, write a  5 word blurb and dash off again . But the thing that I love about blogging is the journaling part of it , and I seriously have to get back into the routine .
It helps me to remember and to slow down and collect my thoughts . Also when I blog about  the horses I am working with I see the progress, and the pittfalls. So starting  Monday  when I get home I am going to seriously make an effort to get back into a routine.
Meanwhile here are a few bits and  pics from the last few days 

I captioned this one on Facebook  with;
When Toyota Canada asked where have you been with your Rav 4? Not sure if this was the answer they were looking for. Putting the "utility" back in sport Utility.A little cardboard down to protect the floor and a blanket over the seats and away we go!Little guys momma had no milk so we took him to some folks who could provide regular groceries for him

At the place where we took the calf I got o meet these adorables
then there was this guy , here at home, failing at hide and go seek! 

That's it for now folks, see you after the weekend .
And as always , Stay safe! 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The long wait is over, well nearly

 " The boys" my geldings , have been itching to get out of winter quarters  for some time  now, I felt for them, Johnny struggles with dry feed as the end of  winter comes ,not heavy  just a cough, which is resolved  as soon as he  can get out and rip and pick a little. The hold up has been all the snow and the water situation  While I know they can eat snow I don't ever trust that it is a way to go , colic, and so many other issues  present without fresh  water.Well finally we have open water in the dugouts and overnight temps are such that, the boys  can get out of the paddock and see the world again. They seem to know the day I am heading out to do this and meet me at the gate  ready to rip.Not too many theatrics caught on camera today . But it was sure fun to watch!
 If any horse here ever tells you  he is afraid to walk through a puddle, he will be lying! 
 Heading up to see what Martin has for them 
 They have spied the bale (we still feed hay out  in this pen till the grass  comes up)

Obligatory  Johnny Handsome shot! 
Stay safe  my friends, spring, she is a coming , slow  but steady

Friday, 19 April 2013

Helping things along

 Wow, a week already, and no blog post!!! oops! Busy busy I guess.
The anniversary party went very well, we had a great turnout and I think all enjoyed it . My niece Deana, did a slide show of photos through the years and that was a special hit. If I can figure it out I will share it sometime soon.
Otherwise it has been business as usual , calving is going along well for the most part, the snow,is painfully slow melting away but it does seem to be finally going .

 I posted the above shot on facebook the other day and it appeared to a friend that Winston was laying on a table . But really ...

We are keeping lots of straw out so the "kids " have  dry bedding 
We have one little hiccup, a calf  born on Saturday in yet another spring snow squall. He was one cold wet little dude, the neighbor  came to help be bring him in to dry shelter and I had to tube feed him twice  before he seemed to be OK. But after a day or so ,even though he seems to be nursing ,he looked a little sad and droopy, so I took out a bottle hoping he would take it, take it? he leaped  up and darn near  chased me around the pen for it , got him on mom again but still seemed like he was not getting enough , so we brought them both in. She does have some  milk but not really enough so we are supplementing him for the time being .Which is where the helping hands come in.
We had a special guest here yesterday , in the  form of Emily,my newest honorary niece(as I puff out  my chest in pride at all the wonderful children I am blessed to have in my world) and her mom Amber to help feed the calf. I just love the smiles! 
So  as I said things are going along. Next week I will be packing up and getting ready to head to the Mane Event  But I hope to post at least a couple times before that .

That's whats up in my world these days , hope everyone has had a good week. 
And as always , stay safe my friends.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

50 years in the making

April 15,1963
50 yrs ago, on that  day , Ronald John and Patricia-Alice , started their lives together as Mr and Mrs Horricks.
And tomorrow ,a day early, we will all gather at the home he built for her to celebrate a wonderful milestone in their  journey . 50 years married.
the smiles are  just the same .

For Mom and Dad on your
Golden Wedding Anniversary
A million smiles and a million tears
That’s what you share in 50 years.
The hopes and the dreams that you had on that day
Haves soared and come true, is so many ways
The times that were good and the ones that were great
The frightening times with too much on your plate
In sickness and health you both know those fears
And yet you stood strong through prayer and through tears
As you look back on the day that you wed
And all of the love in those vows that you said
The family you built and nurtured with care
Are all here to rejoice and memories to share
It’s not always perfect we know this is true
But it can always be worth it
We learned this from you
50 years married does not mean you’re old
It means you have a love that is made of pure gold

Happy Anniversary,to my mom and dad. I am, as  always so proud to be your  daughter.
With love  from Sherry .

And to my friends. celebrate your loved ones with me on this day , and as always , stay safe 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

its not how much they love you

Hold on to your hats gang ,I been thinking! And as always I tend to ramble and circle around , but hopefully eventually do get to my point , or points

'There is a fairly  famous  quote out there that goes along the lines of:
 "People don't  one  care  how  much you  know , till they know how much  you care " John C Maxwell

Well in my opinion horses aren't a whole  lot different . So many times we see folks struggling with the idea, that their horse  doesn't listen  for many reasons ,they are  moody, or "mad at me" or ...
Or the classic anthropomorphism "He/she  doesn't love me , or he/she would do what I want "

Now I realize I am preaching to the choir here  for the most part, I have found  most of the folks who read my blog think an awful lot the way I do , but let me go ahead anyway ( a few things I have seen on TV  lately, and on other sites  are what have brought this to mind )
So what makes  your horse do what you ask? respect, patience trust ,food. My horses all have come to me on the run for  years. It makes for  great photos  but having a herd of horses stampede towards you is not for the faint of heart either. The fact that I make me the safe secure positive place in their world helps a lot. Not to say I don't  give them firm consistent direction and boundaries,if I didn't , there is no way in the world I would stand firm in front of them when they run  towards me. I KNOW they know the rules and boundaries, and boundaries are also  part of why they feel safe with me .
Imagine for a moment you are on a high staircase with no handrails , and a steep dangerous drop on each side. (OK bad example for me I am afraid of heights and had to take a moment there .) then imagine , nice strong secure handrails on either side, feels a lot better and safer right ? that's how  boundaries work. They actually add security. In a herd the boss  horse establishes  boundaries for [pecking order and behavior, when things are  frightening to the herd they tend to  follow the boss mare's lead  for what to do and how to respond (safety , security ) do they "love her" cant say, but they dang sure trust her.So we are back to me talking about herd  dynamics and "boss mares " again lol
One on one with a horse, you get your best success with good leadership, and teaching boundaries, your ability to do so and your  patience shows your love and compassion for your horse. After all training, done right is never a quick thing .
 I have written about my old mare C7 Sparks Jewel  in the past, she was an abused mare ,who never really overcame all of her issues, however she and I did fine together  in time because I took the time,and still gave her clear boundaries, helping her to feel safe in my presence. Did she love me , NOPE , did I love her, oh yes! Otherwise why would I do it? But for the love of the horse?

That all said, it is true sometimes that love is not enough. Jewel was a  case that  the right combo of time , patience, resources and love got through to. But one variable taken out of the mix? her story would be very different . Another conversation about "rescue" came up recently and the huge outcry that happens when rescue horses  go to auction  Fact of the matter is it happens. Some do not find the "happy ending " in a foster case ,or a forever home right away or at all. Many things contribute to this , the horses age, health,and temperament. The resources of the rescuer  or the governing body that  is forced to seize the animal in the first place and on and on. There has been a huge outcry recently about  just this type of situation. Many ready to point fingers and cry foul, and of course they could have  handled it sooo much better ...

My rule of thumb about these things ,is know all of the facts before I  voice my opinion, and also be ready to put my money where my mouth is , and if I am going to stand in judgement and say I can do better? well then I better be prepared to take those horses on and show that I can. Some horses , even with the best of our intentions will and do fall through the cracks, and I would far rather they met a quick end than fall into the hands of someone without the skills , time and resources to manage them . Does that mean I am pro slaughter? I don't  know , It means to me I am "pro horse"

Anyhow, busy times ahead here, calving , slogging through  mud, planning and preparing, with my sister for our parents 50th Anniversary party on Sunday , and apparently thinking . Something has to give, so I will stop thinking LOL and wish  you all a great  week, stay safe my friends

Thursday, 4 April 2013

When spring really starts here

the photos are  just to get everyone caught up on the calving , and because these kids are cute! 

 its not , the 21 of March
 or the start of calving 
 or the lack of snow LOL 

 its the day 
 I finally relax
about the  electric watering  bowls.Spring finally really starts for me the day I can stop my hyper vigilance  checking twice, sometimes 3 times a day to make sure they are working  
We did have a couple of  blips, this year, but overall it went well. No  frozen fingers in icy cold water , no scraped  knuckles trying to tighten fittings , no hands burnt on elements. I am calling it a win! 
As you can see there are some  dugouts filling up, so even if there is a problem with a waterers now I have options . I haven't  shut the power to the heaters off  just yet, but I am  finally breathing easier about it all . First year in a long long time we didn't have my yearly rant about waterers. And I like it .
Anyhow , we have some iffy weather forecast for the next few days , but I would say spring is finally on her way. 
SO I will end this post with a slightly different farewell. Just, 
 Stay safe everyone,  may the sun  keep you warm  now