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 .

Monday, 31 March 2014

"It's not enough to be proud of your ancestry, live up to it "

The Horricks Family Motto (listed in Ref. Dept. of Ottawa Public Library) is "Industria et Spe" which means roughly, "Work and Hope".

This  post has  been  a long  time  coming. And is why I haven't  been posting  a lot  lately. You  see I felt  compelled to write it , yet I struggled  mightily  even to begin.
It is not about horses  this one, but it is a long  winded  post that I have  started and stopped  so many  times, so be prepared . Also be  prepared  to maybe  feel  the tears  I cried  writing it . Change is  inevitable  I know but it still  isn't always  easy.
Many  people   move  once  twice or  even  several  times in  their  lives. These  folks  have the blessing of a  wandering  spirit and  the ability  to take root  where  they  are. Me? not so much . I have  lived  in  2  houses  in  my entire  life , and my  roots are  dug in  DEEP

I have mentioned  before  that the old  family  farm site has  been  sold, and we  have been  very  busy  getting things  packed up and moved  into storage or  sold. Many treasures  have  come  home to Martin  and I , others  to friends and  family  members. And we  are  nearing  the finish  of all  this  hard  work. 50 years  my  folks  lived in  that  house , but over 114 that  place  was  home  to the Horricks  family . The  first and only place  my  dad, Grandfather  and Uncles  lived until  a short  time  ago . My  dad  of  course  moved  with  mom  last  spring to the  seniors  facility  for mom  to receive  ongoing  care. And Uncle  Bill has  bought a small  parcel of  land  in  the area.
I have  been  gone from  that farm now  longer than  I lived  there, but it  was still home, the place I started . Packing  has  been difficult  and melancholy  thing  for us, with  moments of  joy in  remembering the wonderful childhood  we  spent and the  amazing  people  who  were the  builders  of this wonderful  home and part of a  proud  heritage.
I could, and have  written  about the  farm and my  family  before , and also I believe  the  guest posts  that dad  shared  have  given  an  idea, of the  kind of  people  that  made, and make up  my  family . So because I cannot  type through  tears  very  well I will share  a little info  on the history  of the  family  name  Horricks  ( excerpts credit : the The House of names)

 The saga of the name Horricks follows a line reaching back through history to the days of the
Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a name for someone who worked as a shipwright or a
sailor. The surname Horricks is derived from the Old English word horrok, which means
part of a ship. Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object
associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of
occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.
During the Dark Ages men of the church were the keepers of the written word; surveys were
compiled for the purpose of the king's taxes, births, deaths and marriages were recorded and
land purchases were registered. Among these records are the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086,
the Curia Regis Rolls, drawn up in the 11th century and many other documents. Evidence
from these documents suggests that the name Horricks was first found in Lancashire where
they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest
and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Early History
The Horricks family, which has descended from the Anglo-Saxon tribes, has a history that is
intertwined with that of the Anglo-Saxons themselves. In the 5th century first the Saxons, and
then the Angles, migrated to England and pushed the Britons into what is now Wales. They
established the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Kent, Essex, Sussex and East
Anglia. These rival kingdoms were united under Egbert, king of Wessex. Surviving periodic
Viking invasions, the Anglo-Saxon culture continued to develop. In 994 a successful Danish
invasion eventually led to the expulsion of the Anglo-Saxon king, Ethelred. Ethelred fled to
Normandy, where his family remained until 1042. Up to this time a Danish dynasty of kings
ruled, then Edward the Confessor, son of Ethelred, came to the throne. Upon the death of
Edward in 1066, Harold Godwin was elected king, however, this choice was disputed by Duke
William of Normandy. William led yet another invasion of England and its success brought
the reign of the Norman kings. Despite the ever changing leadership the country remainedpredominantly Anglo-Saxon.The first years of Norman rule were marked by rebellion and oppression. William sought to
achieve political stability by increasing the central authority of the king. But not all reforms
were tyrannical in nature; for instance, learning was greatly encouraged during William's
reign. After the reigns of William and his sons, the disputes over succession ended when the
Plantagenet dynasty was founded.
The Horricks family emerged at this time in Lancashire where they were recorded as a family
of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. Robert Horrocks was Lord of
the manor of Horrocksford Hall in the parish of Clitheroe in Lancashire. They later
established branched in the same county at Preston and Larkhill. The name was early associated
with the famous Lancashire cotton trade of which the Horrocks became magnates

Spelling Variations
Revealed in these documents are the various ways in which the Horricks surname was spelled.
This surname appeared as Horrocks, Horrock, Horrox, Horrocksford and Horrexand these
changes in spelling could even appear between father and son. It was not unheard of for the
same individual to be referred to with their surname spelled differently multiple times. Even
literate individuals such as Shakespeare spelled their own name in many different ways. This
famous playwright's name can be found recorded as Shakespere, Shakspere and even Shaxspere.
There are many different reasons for the variety of spellings a name many have, one of which
is that early English lacked spelling rules. Words were recorded as they sounded until spelling
rules were formalized.

Early Notables
Distinguished members of the family at this time included Jeremiah Horrocks (1619-41)
astronomer, born in Liverpool, who became curate of Hoole, Lancashire where he made his
first observation of the transit of Venus on November 24, 1639. He then deduced the solar
parallax, corrected the solar diameter and made tidal observations.

Intersting  and  a  proud heritage indeed, but those  Horriks/Horrocks  are a far  cry  from  the  family  I call mine.
The  Horricks  in  my  immediate  heritage include William Horricks  my  great  Grandfather.
Birth: Jul. 20, 1863
Ontario, Canada
Death: Jan. 15, 1939
Alberta, Canada


"William and Margaret first established their home in Westmeath, near Pembroke. The barn he built is still in use but the house has been replaced. The land was better for farming than in the Drummond area. William also worked in the lumber camps every winter to add to his income. Here, eight of their eleven children were born." "In 1899, still in search of better farmland, William decided to join the trek of settlers to the West. After stopping in Calgary to inspect property there, he decided to push on to Edmonton and there found what he sought - 640 acres of flat fertile land only six miles from the heart of the city. He bought it for $6 and acre. Thirteen years later, at the peak of the Edmonton real estate boom, he was to turned down an offer of $600 an acre for the SE 1/4.) With the help of his elder sons, the first log house and barns were soon built and the land cleared (no stones!) and brought into production." "In the early years of the new century, William worked every winter hauling freight with horses and sleighs to Athabaska (sic) before the extension of the railroad to that northerly point. Three more children were born..." "As the farm prospered, large frame barns, granaries and a frame house replaced the early builidings. William was fond of gardening, and his well-planned landscaping is still very much in evidence around the farm. He inherited his father's love of music and singing, and saw to it that all his daughters took piano lessons. He also liked the theatre and travelling. When William retired from active farming, the two youngest sons took over the "home place", buying additional tracts of land for their herds of beef cattle and dairy cows. Over the years, twelve more houses were built, some for the hired help, some for George's sons as they grew up and were married. William died January 15, 1939 of a heart attack following a stroke. Margaret outlived him by 14 years, dying on July 3, 1953, aged 89 years." Submitted by Emily Hebert as recorded by John and Ruth Armstrong, Family History in Six Volumes; Horricks-Magee, p. 220.)

They  also  include  brave  souls  who  fought  for their  country in the  1st  and second world  wars, William, and  Albert who's  records are  posted online and others . Young  boys really  who  fought  bravely and  died  for their  country. Men I never  knew  but have  been  raised to honor in memory. 

I am  sure  all  who  have  read  my  blog  for any length  of  time ,know how  very  proud I am  of  my heritage. They  have left me  some  pretty  big  shoes  to fill, and while I doubt  I will  truly  ever  live up  to  them , I am  sure  determined  to try.

There is a  lovely song  out there  that has  the line "Wild  flowers don't  care where  they  grow" 
They  may  not, but I am  a pretty  tame  plant  and I do  care and  as  I said ,my  roots  run  deep. 
I will  leave  you with  a picture  of  an old  sentry  left at the  home  place , still standing  guard  so  to speak ,in  the  remains of the old  dairy  yard 

Stay  safe my  friends 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Springtime in Alberta means...

More  snow usually ! Oh  well  these  two  were  enjoying it 

A couple  fun  animations  again! 

Stay  safe   friends 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

"Max"imum handsome and Harley makes a "shocking" discovery!

 I have  had a  few  inquiries  on  Max and  one in  particular  requested  more  photos. Tough  to do this  time of  year as  they are  pretty  fuzzy  still .I did  get  a couple  OK  shots , but I also  got  some  fun  ones.He has  become  a pocket  pony  so I need  to be  quick  with  the  camera  to get anything  other  than  a shot  right up his  nose!
 "awe  gosh ! I is  a cutie! "
 My "princely  side"


And then there is  Harley. Sigh . Cute ,sweet  smart and  oh  so mischievous! He  is always  eager to check  out what is  going  on  and  be  a part of things, including  when I was  trying  to fix  waterers  earlier in  the year. Pulled  the cover off, dragged  the  tank  away , offered to carry off  tools,  the works 
Well Mr  Mischief got  a  little  wake up  call. It  seems  he was  investigating  the  stock  tank  heater, a little  too closely and  I am  guessing  by what  I found  he  got "shocking"  result !
I went  out  on Friday  to  do  chores  to find the  tank heater unplugged, the  tank  freezing  , and Harley  looking pretty  wide eyed  and nervous.Let him  drink from another  tank till today After  checking to make  sure it  was  still working , I plugged it  back in and  filled  the tank and  let him back in with it .
To say  he  was  cautious   is an  understatement ! Circled it and  came  at it  from different  angles  for about 10 min  until  I stood in  the pen with  my hand in the  water. Then he  finally  took  a  cautious  sip. 

 To say  he  was  cautious   is an  understatement ! Circled it and  came  at it  from different  angles  for about 10 min  until  I stood in  the pen with  my hand in the  water. Then he  finally  took  a  cautious  sip. 

"It is NOT  funny ! "
 A little  disgusted  with  me  laughing at him  I think
 Hope he  learned! 
Funny  thing is I was  just  saying on the phone to my  niece  the other  day, how he  had  not  messed  with  the tank  heater  ...yet. 
Oops  I guess I jinxed myself .
Oh well  the  life  with  young  horses  I guess. 
Stay safe 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Up to no good??

Well not  really  but Harley? 

Me? I  have  been  keeping  busy  still with  the move , and  work  and  the farm ,and...

But  I have  had a couple "head under the pillow " days as well . Or mornings  at least 

 Lots more  packing  done  at the house  , with my "super  helpful  assistant  " Delilah! (my  nephew's  kitty)

And  like  many times  before  we have  discovered  some treasures 

 From  Granddad  Blain's air force  uniform 

This plague  hung in my  grandmas  kitchen , and in my moms and  now is proudly  displayed in mine 
 Also have  brought home  my moms grandfather  clock , this  one  was  the one  I chose  out of the two she  had  because of its  lovely  face

Last  week I had  the opportunity  to attend  the EAPD  training (I took  this  certification  in  November ) to help out as alumni  and  refresh  my  knowledge . A  wonderful  group of  ladies, wonderful horses and the facilitators  Ross and  Dee MacInnes .I came  away  refreshed , rejuvenated and  feeling  wonderful ! 

Also  had  an  opportunity  to do a photo shoot, with  people!!! 
My niece,  Deanna  and her  sweetie Adam  came  out, and we had  great  fun  taking  their pictures.

Hard  not to get   good pics  with  a coupe as  good looking as this.

That  about  wraps up  what I have been up to for the past  week. We have been blessed wit  nice  warm  springlike  weather   for the last  week  as well which  has been  a huge  help. It sounds like w e have  another  little  blast of winter headed our  way but not  the  frigid  temps  we  experienced  at the first of the month. Spring is coming , and  soon I think, and with it, a whole  lot more  to do!! 
But such is life,  you  can't  get  bored if you are busy! 
Stay  safe  my  friends 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Springing back? I hope!

We  finally had a  break in the weather, and this weekend we  were above zero!!!! Yippee, so warm  we even have an early  sighting of , 
wait for it ,
could it be
"Pussy  Willows!"
Well not really  but its cute 

 I spent  a lot of time outside this weekend , and while I think I over did  things, I sure enjoyed seeing the sun!
I do not enjoy seeing Tango  standing in the feeder

 Or  Casey for that  matter, so one of the things I did  was to try to clean away the debris around it and  pull the hay to the front
They  pull a lot out and it piles up  around the feeder till they  can  just step in, I think I have it  fixed   now , at least for now 
Also spent some  time trying to bring in the lame cow, which went , well badly . she is in pain and  got quite  rammy with us, so I finally decided  that  Deb and I needed  to live more than she needed to come in, Martin and I will try again tomorrow.
Sunday started out with some big  plans to go pack  some  more at  the old farm, but all were  pretty played out form  the  last  few  weeks  so we took a day off. Instead I hung out at  home and spent a little time helping Deb  with the littlest cowgirl, Sprite. What a sweet  filly! 

Today  went into town and  met with  the  fellow  from  Wards  Auctions  . My mom has  had some lovely  antique collections over the years , but has  chosen to sell  them now. The dolls  went in December to Halls  Auctions  . And the furniture and curios  went today to Wards.The mover commented today that the pieces were some of  the nicest he has  seen  in the showroom , so any collectors out there might want to keep them in mind.I will also be  posting a few items here, a collection of antique  cameras and such . 

So we are still pretty  busy with the packing and working and all,brings  to mind a quote from  a while  back 
"So  busy I can't  tell if I found a  rope or lost my horse!"  
But I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Promised my sister today that when we are all done ,she and I are going out for a "pamper us day" lunch and pedicures or something. LOL  
Anyhow  that's  it  for now, hope all are enjoying  the signs of spring . 

And as always  ,stay safe my friends 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

a pretty full plate

That is what I have  going on at the moment, a pretty  full plate. So full in fact I hardly know where to start.
We  got home from our holidays and pretty much  dove  straight in!
Business as  usual, except for I am working without my regular vehicle. Sadly  on the way to the airport  before our vacation we hit a deer. I was nearly  stopped when it hit,but still hit hard enough to do some  considerable damage. The Rav can still  be  driven but the hood is loose and I prefer to be  safe.As for the deer? it took off but its hard to say if it was OK sadly I doubt it .
its  booked in to be  repaired on  Thursday, and my insurance  will provide  a rental so I wont have to drive Martins  big  truck much  longer. I don't  mind the truck but the fuel economy sucks! 
and fuel economy is what I need  these days! between the driving  I do for work and running into the city  every couple of days to help pack up mom and dads house (oh my !! 50 years of  living! ) It is a challenging task but we have  lots of help these days so there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Mom and  dad  are  doing  well in the new  place and have  many of their treasured items there , but the rest is going to be  packed in storage or  given  to family.

With all of that  going on , I have also been struggling with the forces of nature  here. since I got home it has  been cold , really cold! "minus a million" was a favorite  of my honorary  nephew  Robert, and it sure  felt that  way. Saturday I awoke to -38C with a  wind chill making it closer to -48C (keeping in mind  -40 is -40 Fahrenheit or Celsius! which is  really  freakin cold!  
went out to start chores, and all the waterers  seemed fine, but the tap in the barn  didn't  work. Oh  crap! so what it really meant is there  was no  water  going to the automatics and sure enough the cows  emptied  the one in their pen and ... nothing.
I got the  barn  water  defrosted, and 2 of the waterers working but the bottom  one was  frozen in the lines. stuck a  light bulb  in it on a pigtail (which is essentially a  light bulb  and  fixture  attached to a plug warms the inside of the automatic and helps the heat tape and heater  pan along in  defrosting it )
Then  filled  my trusty  spare  stock  tank, and  finished  afternoon  chores  before grabbing a  couple of my   books  to donate  rushing off to a benefit  for an old friend  who is sadly losing a battle  with  cancer. It was a good evening with many good old friends and new  coming together to raise money through a live and silent  auction . over $12000 was raised in that little  town in one night! 
Then  back to packing on  Sunday, and Monday.
The weather is finally breaking , and the light bulb worked so I have a (nearly ) full complement of  waterers again (old Orange is retired ) 
now if I can  just  get the lame  cow sorted out (oh yeah! got one of them too! ) and keep  Tango out of the feeder, I might actually get through this next few  weeks ! 

Martin  will be home again on Monday which  will be a huge help as well, and i have decided to take a few  more  days off  work  so I can  catch up. I figure  we should  be  just wrapping  things up right around  April 1 .Just in time for calving ! 

I decided  today at work, that days like these  require a cookie. So I had 2! 

So please  forgive me  for my absence here and on your  blogs. I will be back.
Stay  safe and  warm  my friends