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 .

Friday, 30 December 2011

2011 Year in review , part 2

June  brought more excitement and some fear  . Forest fires raged in the northern  part of the province, and Martin came home from work on a bus , as they could not take off in the plane due to sparks on the runway!!
Many Albertans , suffered with these fires, and the entire town of Slave Lake was devastated ! homes were lost , the hospital and law enforcement facilities damaged , and much more.We witnessed a miracle of a sort though with this , as communities pooled together , near and far to help the victims for the fire , donations of food, clothing bedding and lodging poured in , not just from Albertans and Canadians, but from The USA as well . The Royal  Couple attended the site , and we were all reminded , that even in the face of tragedy there can be  good found in people! 

We also shared in some wonderful family time. My moms  birthday celebration was an opportunity for  many of the family from near and far to gather and visit . My Aunt and Uncle from Seattle attended , as well.
A  bittersweet time  as we also learned that my Uncle Bud  was  losing his battle with Cancer, but we enjoyed a great visit with him , and he remained relatively well through the summer , attending his grandson's wedding and his nieces 50th birthday in the fall . I wrote him a poem , at that time , and though I hesitated I am very glad that I gave it to him. He read it and told me I made him sound far too good , but those of us who knew and loved him , know I did not even scratch the surface .

"I will remember you laughing”
I remember you laughing with total abandon
A wonderful memory I often reflect on
So much more to say and remember
The soul of a poet, a heart oh so tender

Square dancing or ballroom you fit in just fine
Then out to the fields and on the combine

Community minded, with an adventurous spirit
Climbing a windmill, with no sign you fear it
You took on the world and had a good look,
And saw so much more than is found in a book

Father, a husband, a brother and friend
A grandfather and uncle loved beyond end

And if you must leave us and go on ahead
We will have memories to hold in your stead
Save us a place, and wait for us there
And oh! One day, the stories we’ll share

But in the meanwhile
As time keeps on passing
In my heart and my mind
I will remember you laughing

Following the party , Martin and I packed up the truck, and With Auntie Peggy and Uncle Brian in tow , we went on a road trip to Seattle , to return them home. Those who know me well , will laugh and know that I drove the whole way! I am a TERRIBLE passenger , and seem to loose all upper body control when you take away my steering wheel. Luckily Martin is not a fan of driving a lot so we so OK .

Had a great visit with family there in Seattle , and then ,

I did it again!
I met another fellow blogger!
Mikael! of Mikael's Mania/Rising Rainbow Arabians!!!! 
I cannot load all of the pics I took, and can't even link back tho the original posts as the hacker screwed that up, but here is one of my favorites!
Mikael ,and the handsome  Tango We had a lovely visit, seeing all of her horses.I fell in love with many , Suede ,Dandy, Legs , the twins Surprise and trouble , and of course Mikael, and her family! Again too short a visit , but when you find good friends are visits ever really long enough?
Home  and Martin returned to work till July ,  then had some time off for Haying .
Unfortunately in early July , a hacker attempted to access , my pay pal account, and email,(both of which have subsequently been closed ) then when they were unable to do that  successfully , out of what appears to have been pure spite , they deleted my blog posts from the past 3 years . 500+ posts ! gone! . As I said , at the time , I may not be the most tech savvy gal out there , but I am stubborn and determined , and I got the blog back , without the posts and comments , but have gradually recovered the posts. This did not in fact  make me jaded or defeated , in fact the outpouring of love and support I received , actually renewed my faith in human nature and I am determined to follow my mothers mantra of "the best revenge is living well!" and Live well I shall!!!
This summer also brought graduation celebrations for my nephew Brendan,
My favorite photo of the evening was this
My very proud  sister , dancing with her son!
Summer also brought the newest of the Fern Valley Appaloosas
FV Quicken the Wind ( actually arrived in May )

and FV A Shocking Comet!

Ands we have enjoyed all summer watching these beauties grow!
This summer , we sold FV Sparks Image, to a young lady who's mom and I attended School together,
Bug, Chance , and also Dandy have found  new people of their own!The great thing is I am able to follow up , and these folks are keeping in contact with me , so even though I have sold ,  them  , I will at least to a point be able to watch them grow and see their careers!

August brought some fearful and stressful time ,with mom going into hospital with a presumed stroke. She was  going downhill quickly and we feared the worst as she became unresponsive 3 or 4 days in. Fortunately the doctors found out the problem and My tough little mom has recovered again! Yes , all prayers are answered , and sometimes it is yes!

She is still in a care facility but has been able to come home for several visits, including Thanksgiving and Christmas .

Fall came to us as it does, and amidst the hay hauling and weaning , chores began again for the year. Martin is working away again , and I have cut down to a part time position at work. Life is going along much as is should.I took a day trip to Red Deer to meet Janice (Own a Morgan) , Shirley ,( Ride a good Horse) , and Crystal at the Supreme,(have I mentioned I adore these ladies ? each and every one . My sister and I took a quick "sisters trip" to Seattle at the beginning of December  to visit family , and had a wonderful time ,thinking us girls should do that more often .

We had some sad good byes this year as well, in our families , and in our furry families as well. So when we look up  and say our prayers at night , we will see some new stars in our sky , and know that we will meet again someday .

Christmas was lovely , an warm and loving family time , where  we  were treated to a beautiful gift of my dad singing to us , he has finally given in and agreed to let me share this with you !
Forgive the quality , as I am not yet used to the big  camera on video mode ,and there is a slight hiccup in filming , but you will see I think that it is a most wonderful gift . 
Dads Gift As New Years Eve fast approaches  us I am looking forward to the new year coming , and looking back at my adventures with some wonder! I don't know what is coming next for  us here at Fern Valley, but whatever it is I hope we are equal to the task!
Wishing you all Peace , comfort and Joy in the New Year .
Thank You for hanging in with me this far , and as always , stay safe , stay warm! I love you all!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

2011 ,Year in Review part 1

So ,I hope I haven't left you hanging so long you wandered off!
Here it is! the year in review!
So , as I said , I had begun writing a bit of poetry, well January , my muse awoke in earnest and I  began to write even more . Sometime in there ,also the idea of publishing my poetry began to flicker in the back of my mind .
January of 2011 a;lo brought with it ,more snow as Old Man winter took the prairies by the hand and held on tight! It did however make for some great photo opportunities

Deb and I braved some NASTY driving conditions to attend the Breeders and Owners conference , and came home after that weekend to a record snowfall Again! We began to believe Winter was never going to ease up , far less to end !
February , came along and the nasty bite of Winter held tight ,with even more snow and nasty roads . Severe winds and temperatures as well. So bad that one of my electric waterers (It seems one always does ) froze up , and I had to have Nephew Cory out to re wire it .(I am more than willing to thaw them and fix the plumbing , but when the water is close to the electrical box, I cry Uncle and holler for help .) Because the weather would not ease I could not get  time to thaw it , so I covered it till spring and placed a Rubbermaid tank in that pen for  the remainder of the winter (fixed it this spring , no sweat and so far , so good!)
In late Feb, Martin and I left the farm in the capable hands of Angela(DVM2012 ) and my brother in law Marc , and headed for sunshine and Palm trees for 1 glorious week !

Travelled with Martins sister Connie , and her hubby Mike.
Fun sun and relaxation!!!
On the way home we had a layover in Phoenix , where we got an extra special treat!

As we exited Customs were were greeted by two of the cutest redheads EVER and their folks ! My dear friend Linda (CutnJump) and her hubby , and the beautiful twins Lillian and Vivian! We had coffee and a visit , and as with all of the blogger friends I have met so far, it felt like we had been friends forever! Too short a visit , but with friends it always is.

Home to the snow and the long wait for spring .I finally  bit the bullet and contacted a publisher and started on the book . It was scary , and exciting , and ...
Spring finally came to Alberta , sort of , and calving began

It was a little rocky and rough by times , but with my able assistants Winston and Skeeter , I got through
At the end of April ,  Deb and I again headed for Red Deer for the MANE EVENT , a huge Equine trade show and conference , where we  helped man the booth for the Appaloosas Horse Club  of Canada . And I (apparently "got my flirt on") and got us in the side door , saving us a huge walk, and then a free extension cord for the booth! (I swear I just smiled and asked nicely!!!! )and did , dance very briefly in the aisle with a cowboy I have never seen before or since for that matter ! (Told you I was coming out of my shell these days!lol)
Again a huge treat awaited us there , we were able to meet One old Cowgirl(Linda) and Crystal from Ranch Riding !!! Two of the sweetest ladies, both of whom I adore!!!!

 Martin and I celebrated our 10 anniversary this year, had a very exciting evening out at the Red Lobster ,complete with a power outage and candlelight moments!
And then it happened! just before my moms birthday party I  received the copies of my book!!!!!!

There he is , MY HUBBY , reading MY BOOK! how cool is that?
And you know what , that is only half the year, and half the excitement !!!more to come tomorrow !

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Looking back

Well now that Christmas has passed ,and New Years is fast approaching ,it seems time to do "A year in review post " Which I will do , but first I have to go back a little further.
In 1999, I was doing things a little differently than I am now . I still lived here, and had horses, and cared for cattle ,but my work and social life was vastly different . I was single , working at 2 1/2 jobs. By that I  mean I worked at a group home part time , caring for seniors, and also was in the same job contracted to work 3 nights a week with a palliative patient , a lovely , and far to young man dying of a terrible and  much feared virus .Yes ,I am talking about HIV/AIDS, and as much education as there is out there , the disease and the victims of it still suffer immensely from fear induced wrath and negativity . In addition to that I had started a small business I opened a Consignment craft store ,called "Allsorts Crafts and Curiosities "
I was kind of a busy girl!
I was dating here and there, but nothing serious , had a great group of friends , and was essentially settled into a pretty good life of a single 30 something gal.
Then September came along , and after a double shift  at work and a half day in the store I attended a birthday party for a friend . Where I was introduced to Martin .

Well you have all read the story of how we met , and if you haven't I will find you the link later, but that was the start of some big changes . By December we were seeing each other fairly steady , and I had also sold a partnership in my store . As 2000/2001 came along the changes started to happen very quickly . I moved the store to a new location . The palliative care position ended and I started yet another job with the local Health authority , as a Mental Health Aide . And by December had sold my part of the store  I was engaged to be married . Also had started working as a Home support aid fro the region . 2001 was a year of new beginnings and huge change. Oddly ,I who hates change , just took it all in stride and loved almost every minute of it !!!
A friend  gave me a Crystal butterfly at the time , with the quote "Go butterfly go! " remarking on the metamorphosis she was seeing in me and my life !
So why have I told you all this?
Well I mentioned I am not a big fan of change, and yet  changes happened again ten years later!
Maybe not as drastic, but I sure had to "come out of my shell" Over the last 2 years, I have attended , and presented at displays in very large trade shows (THE MANE EVENT ) Which certainly required me to step out of my comfort zone and actually speak to strangers . Also as you may have noticed I have been writing Poetry . Well at first I wasn't prepared to share any of it , but slowly with  a lot of encouragement from family friends, and this wonderful blogging community , I started to share it . And Low and behold , I began to spread my wings further! first publishing it here on the blog, and then taking a huge leap and having the book published!
Telling Tails , became a reality ,and you have never seen such an excited girl as me the day I received my "Authors copy " in the mail!
So we are back to the present . I have more to talk about over this "Year in Review " But that is the "back story "
It has been quite a year, good times , sad  times , and everything in between!
till later
Stay Safe and Warm

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Wrapping it all up

Well! Christmas night is upon us! And what a Christmas it was!
Grab a cuppa ! its gonna be a long one!
Christmas eve was spent here at home , doing last minute preparations .My dear friend Linda was out for a visit and helped me roll cabbage rolls for today's dinner.(I soo appreciate this , as it is a tiring task, and all she ever charges me is a small pan for her and her mom to snack on)

Then while they were cooking we went out for a walk, watered the young horses and the Phoenix.
You get the benefit of her photos ,with me in them , jelly bean look intact( Note to self , winter wear especially puffy vest and coat  NOT SLIMMING!)

The since we were out there , the conversation wandered to The Phoenix , and Skeeter . Way back I had posted about doing some liberty training with him. But the dang dog has beat me to it !!!
Well I figured I would see if the big guy would dance for me ...

So into his pen I went
And I asked him

As you can see

The answer was a resounding YES!

"Awe Gee mom , that was fun ! Will there be a snack?"

Back into the house and the business at hand .

Wrapped a couple last minute gifts , then started the dough for Cinnamon buns. My plan was to get it to the stage it was rising in the pans then pop them into the fridge to stop them. The all I would have to do in the morning is put them in to bake, and viola ! fresh baked buns for breakfast!
And it worked just the way I planned! Yeah!!

Christmas elf!
My other helper elf
 The finished product

The gang for breakfast

A little down time then whipped up some mashed potato's , and took them and the cabbage rolls to my sisters house for dinner
She put on a wonderful spread , and we all ate , well  probably too well but ...

Yes we exchanged gifts , but the greatest gift I received today was the blessing of having my loved ones all close and being able to  celebrate a family Christmas again this year Mom was able to come home for a few days on a pass , and will hopefully be settled at home soon in the New Year . and if that wasn't all just as good as it gets , We got my dad to sing for us . took some talking and coercion , but he finally allowed us to film him singing . He won't give me permission to show that video here , as he says he is too rusty , but take it from me .He is not ! He has agreed to practice some , and maybe one day he will let me share it!
For now ,just know that it was lovely , a song he tells me he sang to mom when they were dating
here is a bit of the words

"I'm saving my money to buy you a rainbow A rainbow, to fit on your finger And after I've gone and bought you the rainbow I'll go out and I'll buy you the moon "

What  can I say?

A truly wonderful day .I am blessed .
Hope each and every one of you  were able to celebrate with loved ones , this special time .
Stay safe and warm

Friday, 23 December 2011

A Christmas wish

I will make a wish this Christmas Eve
For all  to give and to  receive

I promise I  won't wish for very much
Just  all creatures to  have a  loving touch

That joy and comfort and peace are shared
that shelter abounds and lives are spared

That families rejoice for loved ones come home
that no one is left afraid and alone

that no one is hungry ,or out on the cold
I will wish for this ,If I may be bold

It may seem impossible, this gift to receive
But it can happen ,I have to believe

For all to be loved, and kept  warm and safe
This is what I wish, in continuing faith.

Merry Christmas  to all !
And as always , stay safe and warm!
With Love ,

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

This is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs . I have always loved it and yet often struggled to remember the words. I had looked it up a few years ago and written it down  , and later found in one of my beloved grandfathers diaries , the lyrics all written out in his hand . Funny that ,I always wished I could journal like my Grandad , who chronicled his daily life in his journals in his own hand for years. My gift to him each Christmas for many years was a nice new journal , and after he passed away they came to me . AS I looked through them, I felt I came to know him better, and I learned a lot about what made him who he was .I never did get the hang of journalling , or  well, at least not till I began to blog.Maybe not quite the same  but ,it works for me .He has been on my mind a lot today , and I knew his birthday was right around now . I am ashamed to admit that I had to ask my sister the exact day , which would be tomorrow, December 22. So I guess this proves to be a timely post in a way .
I Heard the Bells on Christmas day
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

For those who would like to listen to it . This is the Carpenters version.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Encore performance

So while I should have been wrapping presents, or soaking cabbage to prepare cabbage rolls or ...
I was playing on the computer .at what you ask?
Well Skeeter and Phoenix have their daily dance, and I sometimes just watch and laugh , but today I caught it again on camera.I seems they have "upped their game" a bit and even involved Winston in the performance this evening !
So I though I would share it . Forgive my choice of music( I like the song ) and I don't have a lot downloaded so my choices are limited. Between that and A slight stumble over my Christmas spirit today I chose this song  because it fit the mood I, and it appears Phoenix also was in .
Those who know me well, and knew or at least knew of my old friend "Chips " will understand that I had to cover the original video sounds to cover,vocal encouragement  of Skeeter and  the "hitch" in my voice and the sniffles . For just a moment there I thought I could see the old boy again and it brought a melancholy tear  .

Anyhow , I seem to have that "stumble" under control, and have been wrapping some gifts , and playing Christmas music at full volume again . Martin is very good at wrapping gifts , and he will be home tomorrow , so to be honest I am just making an effort to look like I was busy wrapping , and he will take over when he gets here (yup I am a bad*ss) But I do still have some baking , to do and those cabbage rolls wont make themselves ...
Stay Safe and warm my friends
edited to add here is the link to the video in a larger format (different music, but a bit easier to see )
Dog and Pony show

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Walk with me

We had a light snowfall last night , followed by a bright beautiful day
So after church , I grabbed my camera , to go for a walk!, are you coming?

The Phoenix looking regal in the frost

walk a little further now

 the cows , waiting for feeding time
Cactus , wanders up to say hello
 the right lighting , can even make livestock equipment pretty

note to self ,do not take a picture of a woodpecker while he is busy, you wind up with a creepy shot of a headless woodpecker!

Skeeter seeking something?

 The ever handsome Winston
deep in thought

Hi GL! hugs and snuggles from Johnnie Handsome!

Looking pretty good for an old fellow(Stryker 22 years young this year)

Wilder(Mr low key quiet guy )

Another cute overload from the blonds

a quick stop with Tommy Toes and my miniature Aslan

then back to the house for coffee and Baileys , you coming?
other than that , got the baking caught up for now , and the house is all decorated. Just have one or two last minute things to pick up. The wrap presents , make cabbage rolls, and Cinnamon  buns , and I am ready for Santa!

Stay safe and warm