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 .

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Puddle jumping anyone?

Sit  down  and  grab a snack , this might be a  long one ;
We got  rain!!, bunches of it! And while it was raining? what was I doing?
As usual , I was out  playing in the mud. And yes Feral, I was out  playing in puddles with my good friend  Deb, again.
If anyone is  wondering, in my  last post Go west Feral  woman  was teasing me and asked if Deb and I play in the mud too. I answered , oh yes we do and said I would  tell her a story about  just that.

First though , why were  we playing in the rain  yesterday? we  were moving horses, trying to get as many out  on  grass as we could and  get the "ladies in Waiting " separated  into a pen up  close  for me to watch. We dodged the early  part of the storm, and were  lucky to be safely ensconced in my sister Heather's  house for  coffee and snarfing  biscuits (hungry girls ) when the hail hit, but that is where our  luck ended. Went  back out  to move the geldings and essentially got as  far  from shelter as  possible , before it his again with a vengeance! Totally soaked  we made our  way back slowly toward the house, stopped to fix a board on the fence (why not  you can only  get so wet before it stops  mattering ) on our  way. Laughing about some of our  past adventures in the  rain and  mud ...
 Some of the ponies  who were moved 

Many years ago, we had a particularly wet spring, and when I say wet I mean gooey slippery sink the pickup to the axles  kind of  wet , and no end in sight!
We had a couple incidents with calves  getting stuck in a bit of low ground  that  had  gotten  boggy(we have  since put in a culvert and it is  much  better) And I am  glad there are not  photos of me ,up to my hips in bog, dragging a calf out  while  my sister fended off the fire breathing momma!Or the second indecent  which involved me pulling the calf out , my brother in law Marc, dragging me out and Heather on dry land  pulling all  3 of us out !!! I tell you , mud is the worst thing ever, I know how  draining  being stuck in the mud was  for those calves , when you are in over your knees and can't even bend them it is pretty easy to panic.
Figured enough was enough and we  needed to get the stock out of  the close  pens . and out to the open  field, wet and cold are  deadly to  young  calves and even our  rotational  feeding  program seemed not to be  preventing it that year. So Deb and I saddled up, and headed out with the herd. Sunny  spring  day ,all good right?
Wrong  the  clouds rolled in and it began to pour again! Plus  we had a straggler fall behind . I stepped off  Catana to help the calf and promptly  fell on my ,um yeah you  know, on the  creek! Nice, Deb stepped off to help me and fell in too!
Perfect! we are now soaking wet, the straggler has  caught up to the herd and  we are back on horseback and good to go. One  good thing about being soaked through to the skin,is wet jeans and a suede seat on the saddle means. dang ! can you stick a buck!! Catana, my wonderful horse, got a wild hair,and decided to get a little  broncy  for a minute, I didn't even move, couldn't have  come off if I  had  wanted to!
In the fracas , we did miss one more  calf  who was lying in the shed, so when we  got back, cold wet and tired we decided to call in the cavalry (my dad) and  take the calf out in a truck. Got the horse unsaddled and went out to bring the calf into the barn till dad  got here  with the big 4X4 . Keep in mind  this is several years ago, and at this time I could still easily sling a calf over  my shoulders and  carry it in , if it was not a real  big one. Well, after all we had  done I was pretty tired, so I got Heather (my sister in case  you missed it ) to bring the  truck out and Deb and I headed across the pasture to the calf  shed. I got  down on one  knee and got the calf over my shoulders and could  not  for the life of  me stand up. So (again so glad there are no photos ) Deb  grabbed me around my waist and hoisted me to my feet with the calf on my shoulders , meanwhile Heather was  frantically looking  for the truck keys , and finally met us at the gate. Got the calf to the  barn and headed into the house to get  cleaned up and  dried off while Heather made hot toddy's and we  waited for dad.

Now you may be  wondering, why we  did things the way we did, and how we missed that last  calf, At the time I bet so were we, but keeping in mind this started to be a ordinary deal moving the herd and the storm  blew in and hit hard and fast , and critters tend to scatter  in a storm or just hunker down somewhere to wait it out.We had some of each .

There is more to this tale,about how  we  got the calf out in the end and a little about a Blue bird,yet  another about a bunch of us  building a makeshift bridge out of railroad ties when the road washed out and I might tell it all someday but for now we will leave it at, Yes.my friend  Feral , we do play in the mud, and do some puddle  jumping  from time to time, and you would be  more than welcome to join in if you are ever up this way.

Stay safe my friends

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A little shout out

Those of  you who have followed  my  blog for some  time will know who Deb is,a longtime  friend of mine and  partner in the ownership of Windwalker  Cactus.She has been  my  friend  for ,well since we are both only 29 (eye roll) my entire  life lol . She and her  hubby Brian  have shared many adventures with me and I am honorary Auntie to  their kids , Robert ,Angela(Dr Oakley DVM) and Cara and I  am  ever so proud of each of them and honored  to have them  call me Auntie!
The  gang at Christmas 
 She  posts as Greymare when  she  comments, and what you may not  know  or  remember is, she has a blog.Never too Old has  been in ,shall we  call it a hiatus? for some time but  with some  gentle prompting  she  has resurrected it and  begun  posting again. Please  join  me in welcoming her back! I was reading it today and  read back nearly to the beginning! which I would only reccomend if you have a box of  tissue, I found a few tears  lurking  back there!
Anyhow, as I said welcome back Deb! With a foal  coming  from Peps this year I bet you will have lots to blog about.
No winter is not back, its  just a favorite picture 

 Deb and I  doing  what so much of our time together has been, just two gals and their  ponies 

# 3 in the foaling  contests  coming soon, meanwhile ,as always  stay safe my friends 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

What Dreams May come ?? Foaling contest candidate #2

The  title is  borrowed  from a  movie (one I have never seen BTW) But it sort of suits this next Mare on the list .

 See you in My Dreams (Ici)

She  is  Bred  back to Windwalker Cactus 
So  far this  has proven to be an excellent  cross.The  2  foals  produced  by these two 
FV Catch a Dream ( the Fat  Baby or Whoa Dammit as we have  affectionately called her )

And more recently,  FV A Shocking  Comet( we  just called him Comet) 

Well there are  no guarantees in life, far less in Appaloosas , but I believe it will be safe  to hazard a guess this next kid will have color. 
Ici  was  confirmed in foal after a single  breeding date of July 15. Which if you believe some of the old  wives  tales about when in the cycle a mare  is bred defines  the sex of the foal... Not sure I do , as long as it is healthy I am good . Same deal. Guess, date , sex, and I will be  kind, I cant  guess  color so I will leave it up to you if you want to try .I will link this  on the foaling contest  page as well .
Good luck, and as always  , stay safe 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Light from chaos

After the long winter, it seemed spring would never really come.As recently as May we still had snow in places.The suddenly BAMM  it was spring !!! And we were running around trying to catch up. Lots going on, Dad is recovering well from his hip surgery ,but now Martin's dad is ill and in hospital. And again I am  falling behind on posting and reading . A little down time tonight ,I went out and took some pics .Would love to say I caught up a good horse and went for a ride, but no, all the running around , plus we treated calves and turned them out this weekend,then Sunday before  going into town for a mothers day picnic with mom, dad, heather , Marc and the kids. I ran out to catch up the geldings and  some of the mares  as Charlie was out to trim  horses. All of that has  conspired to make my back very unhappy with me .SO this week I will rest up, and maybe start doing some active horsey stuff on the weekend .(Thanks also to Deb, who kindly held  many of the horses to trim and let me "hold up the barn" for a while )
So for now until I am up to  doing some ear cam  footage  from Johnny's  back or Cat's, here are some of the lights that are shining in my world.Nothing like the four footed therapists here to bring order  to my mind.

 A daughter of Miss Callie(there are several poly dactyl Calicoes in the barn this year .
Cactus  storing up on his energy for later in the year

The booby trap (dead  branch up in the live tree) has survived another year, one day we will figure out how to get it down
A Pussy Willow???

a couple of the boys
 My beloved Johnny
 "what do you mean I am grubby?"
"okay mom, I will pose  for you  
 Per square inch the most effective  cure for stress out there 
 My sweet Winston  who is fine after his altercation with a cow on Sat. He always stays between me and the cows, when  we are sorting , and one got a little rammy. Knocked him down and rolled him , worried him a bit before stumbling over him and stepping on him! Scared me out of 10 years growth!! He kept rolling so I  guess that is what saved him, he was pretty shaky for a time but otherwise no ill effects!

 "shines like a penny in a little kids hand" 
Not everyone will guess the significance of this last photo. So  for those  who don't 
This is a pic of 2 generations of Fern Valley horses , both solids, but both that beautiful copper red I so love. Also Stryker, the original gentle  giant,and Harley, have another thing in common.Stryker is the first some of Chile Poivre (Chips) And Harley is the first son of Fern Valleys Phoenix  and a grandson of Chips himself. 
That's all for now, gonna lay low and get feeling good, and then look out! 
Stay safe  friends !

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A little different spin on the foaling contests

So this year we have potentially 4  foals  coming to Fern Valley! 3 of my mares and also Peps (Arctic Frosted Pepsi) Deb's  mare . Now Deb also has a blog,but has  not posted in forever so I am not sure if she will host a foaling contest there or not .For now we will  just deal with my 3 and if she wants I will host a contest for Peps as well.

The spin I am  going to  put on it this  years is this, I will post a separate  post for each  mare and then link it on a new page (foaling contest ) Our  first foal is not potentially due till early June so it might be hard to keep track  as the posts  wind up further down the page (though as  much as I have been posting lately ,it might not be a big deal lol) 

But that all said ,here we go 
Mare #1 confirmed in foal  is none other than "That Richie Mare" Get Rich Quick .  

Bred back to Windwalker Cactus 

This is the  third  foal  from this  cross. and the first two? were stunning! 

 FV Quicken the  Wind (Quinn)  2011 Palomino gelding 

in 2009 (backwards order I know , but that's  where the picks were )
FV Just as Quick (Justus) or as his  owner calls him, "the Barbie Horse"

SO this one is  gonna be kind of a "gimme" or maybe not?? 
Rich was bred  July 11-12 .
Your guess for the foal  should include color,sex, time of day , and of course date. Good luck !!
and as always 
Stay safe my friends 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

By Jove I think he's got it! and some cool stuff

The Mane event  was a great weekend and is already in the vault for another year! Since I have been home I have been getting back into the swing of things with work and life in general .Dad had his hip surgery and is recovering well.Mom is also doing well but missing him, it looks like he will be discharged on  the weekend . What a relief to have that done,he said on the weekend he already had less pain than before the surgery.

So to the title? The  trade show at the Mane event is huge, last year it was all about the books for me and I did quite well. This year, far less book sales ,but the interest in my horses was HUGE! Many folks stopping to look at the photos and talk about the  foals coming .One fellow in particular  asked about  prices,first for a foal,and then for stud fees. When I answered he said "hmm, so I pay less and breed my mare and gamble on a good outcome,and also feed and care for the mare , or I let you take all the costs and risks and pay  more for the  finished  product so to speak"
Hallelujah!!!!! someone  finally said it and understands (not that lots don't understand this premise  but its sure nice  to hear it ! )
Several others complimented me on the  breeding program I have established and I did sell a few cards and books. Overall I am very pleased.
I looked around  but didn't buy much other than a really lightweight carbon longe whip and an awesome 18 oz wine glass!

The cool stuff? I did get to see a couple info sessions, and I took a gander at Wylene Davis in the trainers challenge(she had picked a  bit of a pistol but did quite well, however she did not win the competition) But honestly other than to  peek at he challenge I find I am not particularly interested in seeing a horse started in 3 days ,I like to see it done slow and steady and I believe that will be a better and more lasting outcome. That said ,these trainers are GOOD!
But the really cool thing is I got to meet  Get Rich Quick's (That Richie mare)  former owner who had the booth beside me.

 She was pleased to see that Richie has a good forever home and is doing so well ,and has offered to send me copies of her race record, news article about her and her winners circle photos!!!!! How cool is that"?
Also  got to spend some time with friends old and new and overall had a blast! 
Hope everyone has a wonderful week .
 And as always stay safe!