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 October 2011

Adorable overload!

Sorry they are a bit blurry.

But if the pics were any clearer

the cuteness might actually be lethal!

And , yes, they are of the 7 toe advantage type too!

Stay safe everyone

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Think of me , now and then

Think of me, now and then
take the time, remember when
I was the brightest light you saw
When you dreamed of me with awe

I was there first ,in your heart
then you grew up and we did part
On to bigger brighter ways

But oh how I miss those days
When you called me first
And I would run,
 straight to you
  my days of sun

As we learned and as we grew
and across those open fields we flew
The joys that we shared together
I thought they would last forever

You loved me first , And I you
what great things we did do

For now I will patiently wait,
Until I see you at the gate
and to you my soft ear will bend,
so think of me , now and then

Kind of a melancholy verse , but ,it is what it is. I am going to spend a little time  working over the next while to pull out all of the "Honorable Mentions " that I had written and put them together on one page . I was able to save most of then I believe and I just need to take the time to cut and paste them . I also have another to write for Blue (not my horse  but he lived with me his entire life so...)
But meanwhile , today I am thinking of those horse in my life who brought me to where I am . The first ones , the worst ones and all in between.
Stay safe everyone

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Nothing new

Not much new going on around here, trying to keep up the routine ,working  with at least some of the group of youngsters I have on my list . Days that I work off the farm though are a bit limiting so I tend to just do a little handling of the babies. I don't like to work horses when I feel pressed for time.As I have said  "The only thing I find that happens in a hurry with horses is a wreck"
Same old same old toady , cleaned stalls , and mucked around with Comet and Quinn. did a little more work with Dandy as well . Took a different approach with Andee and Cat, just spent time with them at liberty in the pen , working on getting them to move away from pressure . and reminding Cat what WHOA means , getting in her space and asking for it , also just moving my body "in front " of her (eye line ) and asking for a whoa . took a few tries and a bit of exaggerated body language. But she is getting the hang of it again Why? because I like to be able to walk up to her or have her walk up to me safely in the pasture , knowing she is respectful of my space and boundaries , and if she is paying attention to me on the whoa, she should remain easy to catch(no science to this , it just works for me )
Another run at housekeeping (lucky I don't have a huge house , it seems to be the last thing on my list)
then went out to water the mares . Took a few head shots of the ladies , just for fun.

 Get Rich Quick (That Richie mare)
Such a wise and peaceful girl . Dam of many of my best , Fern Valley Phoenix, FV Canadian Classic, FV Wild Card , FV Just as Quick , and This year FV Quicken the Wind

Fern Valley's Jazz (Jazzy) ? Well she is very pretty , she raises beautiful gentle smart babies .FV Jazz Time, FV Sparks Image , FV Dandy Line, and maybe next year...

See U in my Dreams , this is momma to the FAt Baby(FV Catch a Dream) , and Also this years  boy wonder FV A Shocking Comet

A yes and a obligatory shot of Whoa Dammit(Cat)  and her buddy Andee . I see she is already getting used to weight on her back LOL

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Might have to change her name

So after the "nobody"debacle on Monday , I  took a day off of working horses and went to my paying job yesterday (equally as frustrating as we had an admin meeting , but no skinned knuckles!)
Picked up hubby at the airport last night . This trip home he has less planned, so I am able to stick to my schedule a bit better.
Did a little more, patience work and foot handling with Dandy , just snuggled with Annie , cause I can .
The caught up the all star team of Cat and Andee!Time for these girls to see some work!
Started with Cat ...

Also known as "FV Catch a Dream"

"The Fat Baby "

And frankly now, until she gets a better handle on this longing thing , I think I will be changing her name to "Whoa Dammit"!
Yeesh! that is one solid , strong little mare!!!!!
Teaching her to longe was interesting . She seems to have been practicing! lol. "You want me to run in circles?? Hail yeah! I can do that! The question is boss lady , can you hang on?"
She put a few corners in the round pen today and , easy, and whoa are words she seems to have chosen to ignore . But all in all a good start , she eventually settled in to a nice job , then on an "easy transitioned into a steady walk, and we called it a day . Bout then I was sure my knuckles on my left hand were dragging in the dirt! Not too worried about it , it was her first time, and Johnnie , Sunshine Chili, even the perfect Catana , were a little like out of control tether balls on their first time longeing. And look how well they turned out! Training Appy's is exactly the same as training any other breed , only different! LOL.They do make you work for it !

Then went and got Andee. What do I say about that sweet girl. For those of you who don't know this I bought Andee from Shirley ,of Ride a good Horse when she was a weanling . I bought her simply to have a pen mate for Cat . And the plan was to resell her in the next year. As you can see plans changed . I bought her sight unseen only having seen photos on the blog. I knew I liked the look of her and she was well put up and well bred ,but was not too focused as I raise Appys and not QH's. I paid what seemed like a fair price for her and life went on.
To tell you the truth  now, though . After getting to know this little darling over the last couple years, seeing what she grew into as far as looks , conformation etc and seeing her amazing sweet gentle nature . Fair price? nope, I stole this filly!!!!! And she ain't going anywhere. Martin has claimed her as his , and it is a true love match!

She was a little more reactive today , seemed to have some confusion with me asking her to move off of me, but overall did very well for her first try.. fewer pics of her , as I couldn't hold the whip , the line and my camera after wrestling with Whoa Dammit! (arms were way tired! )
A few more days of this ,and I will be limbered and strengthened up, and  They will very quickly get the hang of things. And ready for the next steps !Still have an hour or so before I have to head to town so I guess I should get off where I sit and head out to get in Comet and Quinn's faces for a bit!
Stay safe everyone!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Mystery ,misery, Monday

Have you ever been a victim of "Nobody"? If you have , you know how frustrating it can be!

Nobody did it Nobody saw it
Nobody came or went
Nobody heard, or saw the event
But somehow the bumper got bent!
Nobody broke the fancy vase
Or put finger prints on the glass case
When the lights or the stove or

power, is left on
Nobody did it and nobody’s gone

I have known nobody a very long time

And when things go wrong
Often heard is the line
Nobody did it!  

Yeah right,is the thought
But at the end of the day
Nobody got caught
So , plans were to follow up on the work I was doing over the weekend and work with the "kids" . NOT went out to do chores and discovered that the electric waterer for Dandy and Annie was not working . Opened it up and found the water supply had been shut off! With the heat left on. Needless to say the valve had warped from the heat and it now was leaking .
Here is where I needed to be thinking.Went quickly back into the barn to get tools , when I came out Dandy had helped himself to a huge drink of that icy cold water!! Poor guy was shaking so hard his legs wouldn't hold him!(should have locked them out and packed some less icy water to them first!)
Lucky for me I raise smart "kids" ! I was going to try to grab him and start walking him, or give him a warm drink to settle things , before I  made that decision he started trotting up and down the alley , he would stop grab a bit of hay , shaking like a leaf then trot around some more ,15 min or so of this and he was just fine ! went back to eating like nothing was wrong!.

The mystery is ,who shut off the water? I know I  didn't , asked Marc , and everyone who was around , and they didn't (as Deb says ,she wouldn't know how) The last time it was opened for any reason I am aware of I opened it to flip the switch on for power , and just before that Cory  had it apart repairing the wiring . All of that was 12 to 14 days ago! There is no chance they went without water for lat long #1 because I may not go right in and stare into the bowl every day , but I am not blind or a complete fool I look in on it when doing chores , and I also notice when my horses look a little thirsty . After 14 days of no water , they would have looked a little dead!

Spent 2 hours trying to get the leak fixed this morning , with no success.Did every thing I could think of ,replaced all the washers and the bottom valve.Thinking that the top valve was OK. WRONG ! Finally went to town and got a new float valve .When I got the old one apart I found there is a tiny little washer  way up inside the float valve (sits  right up by the diaphragm  for those who have replaced these before )it was complete soup! I have never even seen that washer before , far less had to replace it ,so.I guess we learn something new every day.
Dandy seems fine  this evening , as does Annie so I guess we dodged a bullet there, but ???
My other Mystery is these darn cats! I now have 3 more who have arrived , they are uber cute poly dactyls with very long fluffy hair and huge blue eyes! A little shy so no pics yet but really??? Is there actually some signal only cats can hear that says "come to Fern Valley"?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Baby steps

Well after my last post about that case of the "I ought to's" I figured, "alright girl,put your money where your mouth is!"
I can't say that I did all I wanted to , but I got a start on things.
Comet has been getting by on  "cute and little" for a while now, and he tried on "Bigger and snotty " on Friday. It didn't go well for him.

Saturday I cleaned stalls, and spent a bit of time "getting in his space " Also inviting him into my space in an appropriate way (ie , not ears pinned and demanding feed! ) It didn't take long at all and he was accepting and moving off of pressure , and coming back for more attention. HE is a sweet colt , but they all have to test boundaries sometime .
A lot of the same work with Quinn.It is important to remember , just because he is really sweet and friendly , he does not automatically know what is expected of him. Colts like Quinn are great as long as we don't forget to teach them all the same stuff we would teach any other horse . After all , its sweet when he is little , but a 1000 lb lap dog is NOT my idea of a good time .
Once the barn cleaning was done , and the work with the little guys . I moved on to Dandy . His lessons this weekend were about patience (standing tied) and willingly giving his feet . He is pretty good , but patience is not his strong suit , so we are working on that. Another one who would be easy to let slide, because  he is willing and gently , and BIG!But like kids in school, just because they are taller or bigger than the others , doesn't mean they know more. Dandy got a good grooming and stood tied for about 20 min .I am impressed , never took more than the slack in the rope ,as soon as he feels pressure he stops! Once I was done that I did chores and  packed it in for the day . Dang I am out of shape for that kind of stuff!

Deb and Brian stopped by last evening to help (read Deb and I watched while Brian worked) hang my pictures that got taken down for painting . Looks terrific! Thanks Brian!

Up this morning and they came with me to get a decent load of square bales (I have been getting smaller loads at the mill on my own ,its nicer to go with help when you have to load and unload yourself .

Once that was all done , back into the barn with the boys , for some more focused work . And another lesson with Dandy . He did well, but we had a little whoops and he beaned me in the head with his jaw. This actually made me smile after I finished cussing . One of the best horses I ever owned Sunshine (nicknamed Shiner)  , was white ,and the first horse ever to give me a black eye! and broke my nose (all with the side of her head!) Weren't we just all talking about safety ? That said , she was an awesome horse ,and if Dandy turns out to be half the horse she was ...
Besides I bang my head on the door of my car fairly regularly , I need a helmet most days to get out of bed in the morning so I wont hold it against him for now .
Worked with my sweet Annie  as well, though all I need to do with her these days is just get back on and get  her going well under saddle again. She was started last year, and is good , but had some soundness issues . She seem resolved now so we can get back at it .

Was going to go spend some time doing ground work with Cat and Andee as well, but was getting tired. Also Marc needed some help with a repair on the bale mover (which basically did me in) it was not a lot  of  work but standing bent at an odd angle which is a bit tough on my back .
 Off to our church this evening for a talent show and chili cookoff. Had a very nice time .

So all in all a pretty good weekend . Not all I want to get done , but a start . And every little  bit counts right?Just got to keep up some momentum, and ad a bit each day .
Stay safe!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Serious case of the "I Ought to's"

Feeling a little frustrated here . I cut down my "work " schedule  for a few reasons, not the least of which was to get more done here with the horses.
So how is that working for me so far?
Not great to be honest. I have been busier than ever it seems, and not accomplishing diddly!
Don't get me wrong, the colts are cared for , the rest of the herd as well. But as far as productive , tangible progress? NADA!
 I am looking for a new trainer as well. Not because Ernie is not good , but the guy is soo busy with farrier work , he has still not been able to commit a time for Cat and Andee . I don't relish the prospect of trying someone new. Both Ernie and Kate have been very good , and I am spoiled being able to trust them so freely. Kate is working full time these days and not able to help either so...

My choices are , work with the girls myself , until I either get the job done or get to a point where I need to absolutely send them out(hopefully by then Ernie or Kate can take them )

Or start looking for a new trainer right now and ...
That said , I should be riding(or at least working with ) . Annie, Wilder , Phoenix . And Dandy . Need to be handling the colts  as well.
The problem seems to be me and my time management . I have extra days available, and yet I don't seem to be accomplishing what I want to . Extra trips to the city , a pressing need to clean the house , feeding , checking , cleaning stalls ...
So , what am I doing here at the computer?? good question? I need to set up some accountability here , so I am telling you all where I am at .This blog started originally as a training journal, and I am hoping to take it back there at least partially . I will still post poetry and  photos , but hoping more of the day to days posts will be a chronicle of what I am accomplishing . That will mean a challenge for me to "take back the reins" of my own time and schedule . and be pretty firm in my planning .
Wish me luck!

That all said , I am off to visit mom in hosp today , and tomorrow am have promised my sister an outing to the big farmers market in town. So I am not off to a great start . But you have to live your life. I am just hoping to find a balance  here . I know in my "paying job" I am all kinds of motivated , and very focused. So while no one is "paying me to do the horse work, every hour I put in is one less hour the trainer needs to , so I am paying myself in the long run.Hoping this mindset helps

Stay safe everyone

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Boundaries , Bent , and determined

Thank you for the support and input on the last  2 posts regarding safety . Crystal , of Ranch Riding has accepted my Challenge and written a very good post on Horse safety  on her blog . Shirley ,of Ride a good Horse and Kate of A Year with Horses have agreed to also post on the topic . These are very wise ladies, as are several others, hint hint , who have a wealth of knowledge to share.
I have set up a page here (see above tabs ) Boundaries ,Bent and determined . Where I am linking each of the posts related to this series.Having them all linked in one spot will hopefully provoide easy access ,I am sure these posts are ones I am going to want to read again !

I did a post  with this title a few months ago , about an incedent with Dandy , and his attempt to asert his authority over me .
An excerpt from this post:
What happened with Dandy last night was as a result of what I will call"testosterone toxicity" translation , young stud colt growing up a little Manageable , and or totally curable depending on your choices (IE. training,and, or gelding).He decided yesterday was the day he was going to determine hierarchy with me. and essentially he did , I was the boss of his little herd and I still am!LOL.This is not such unusual behavior especially for foals raised in small groups or one on one.It still happens in larger groups , just usually is handles by herdmate or a "boss mare"

As I walked into the pen , I got a sense that he was a little revved up , so as I walked down to the feed ,I did turn my back on him, but not completely.I kept my body turned obliquely towards him .I did this so that if and or when he challenged(in this case when ) and attempted to hit me with his chest ,the worst he would do is bounce me off of him. If my back was totally to him ,I wouldn't see him coming , and be face down in the snow , and facing him full on isn't always best either, as they can and will still try , and even a yearling barreling his chest into you is enough to make you pasture pizza!

So sure enough ,he made his move , I turned and he glanced off of me and I gave him a swat and growled something like "here now" This is where you need to get BIG!!!,not happy Jelly bean big ,but really big and mean big !"you wouldn't like me when I am angry"


Not intending to hurt the horse or frighten him ,but just make very clear you are NOT TO BE MESSED WITH!!

Because often the challenge is not over on the first try , and it wasn't with him either , he then thought it might be wise to strike out at me . He did not connect , because again I am watchful of my space and his and position myself to get out of the way. He did not connect ... but I did!!! one time, gave him a good solid boot to the chest and he leaped back this he was dealing with a monster. This is not abuse! I did not kick him with 1/4 the strength that another horse would have , but they need to know that it is Not OK.

That all said , he is fine and was fine 5 minutes later coming up for pets and scratches and the only change in his behavior today is that he is far more respectful of my space.Is this the end of all challenges with Dandy??

Heck no! the only time a first battle is the last is when it ends with someone dead or disabled, but he did learn a valuable lesson .

I am a huge stickler for ground manners and boundaries with my horses, and because of that and the training I do when they are young I am able to go into a pen like I did with Phoenix and take pics of him rampaging around .He has respect for my space, and the little reminders he needs now are often no more than a raised hands and "here" or "easy "

Dandy is his own sweet self today ,and I spent a little time moving him around before feeding him just to be sure . My training techniques are not everyones, and as I have said , I am not a "trainer " Just a farmer who raise horses. But as much of what I do I do alone ,I need to be able to keep that statement"I have never been killed by a horse I trained" to be true.I should note that this behavior is not exclusive to colts , fillies will do the same in the similar effort to establish their place in the pecking order.

I have removed commnets for this post as it hasd been posted before

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Becoming the Boss mare

My apologies to the gentlemen who read this , and the owners of geldings . The premise is similar for male horses /and handlers.It is just best described  with mares.There is no one better at the dynamics of herd management than a boss mare.
To Quote Dr Phil"If momma ain't happy,ain't nobody happy!"

So who is the boss in your herd?
Well hopefully YOU! but beyond that figuring out the "boss mare" in your herd is a matter of observation.Who she is NOT, is the silly one who rushes around stirring up crap and kicking at every little thing, nor is she the food obsessed filly who tries to steal from the submissive ones and must eat from every pile . She is not the one who goes into a pen or receives a new horse "guns a blazing" aggressively approaching all new comers . She is not necessarily the largest or the oldest ,or the fastest . But she is the wisest, and she is who you want to model .
This horse is often quite quiet in the herd until things get out of hand , she  doesn't vie for position at feeding time , because she doesn't need to , she knows her status and is calm and sure in the knowledge . The horse is calm and confident.
When a new horse comes in to the herd , she will often observe , not approaching the new herd member , rather allowing the horse to approach her . This is where you need to really watch and take heed. This mare will not become hugely aggressive , but will display very clear behaviors specifically designed to assert her authority .
She becomes "larger than life" Body language is very important , she will seem to ,well just get taller and larger carrying herself in a manner that exudes confidence and authority. When to new horse approaches , she will acknowledge them ,and sniff in greeting , but if that new horse comes into her personal space too quickly , she will warn, a foot stomp, a squeal(and from Ritchie it will curl your hair to hear it , that is often all it takes )a nip, and if all else fails she will rear and strike or as a last resort turn to kick. Unless she is confronted with an other Alpha mare ,it likely wont get much past the squeal stage . Now the remainder of the herd will jockey for position to be higher in the pecking order than the new horse , depending on the nature and skill level of the new horse ,it will be interesting to see where the dust settles . At this point a really good boss mare ,can keep the excitement to a minimum, as all of the others will still respond to her as well. A well timed Whinney from Rich , and everyone stops!

So how do you get to be boss?
Well we have identified what not to do , which to recap is , do not rush, do not challenge ,
 Do observe.
Do exude confidence
Do ,use appropriate body language to establish authority .
What is that body language?
Well you are not going to rear or strike, as such. But modeling that behavior, a foot stomp can be a hand clap(brisk clear assertive) a hand raised with a clearly stated WHOA! rearing and striking ? a raised hand , flat palm out and again a clearly stated command , (this is not where you sweet talk them , this is where you say NO, WHOA ,BACK, etc)
A nip? a lead rope or your flat palm, a quick sting essentially , a slap on the neck or shoulder . (you are not hurting them , you are  seriously not strong enough to do damage with the flat of your hand ,or a snap/sting  with the rope end of a lead.
Keep in mind you are not  anywhere near as big as a horse ,( no matter how big your thanksgiving dinner felt! )So another trick in showing a horse especially one who is questioning your authority , is be Big in your mind , and be willing to move into them each time , but obliquely, angling your body so that if they do rush you , you can let yourself bounce off the shoulder , and move out of the way . SAFETY IS THE #1 priority
I am going to stop here , for now . I am hoping a few fellow bloggers will add thier input and post as well in this regard. I hope I have been clear in my explanation . and to close I want to remind you of a couple things.
1. I am not a trainer,nor do I claim to be . I have had and worked horses for a long time , but I am by no means advocating my way is the only way.
2. Something Crystal said  reminded me of this .
Remember it is not personal! your horse is not hurting you or pushing boundaries , because they do or don't love you . Any more than your kids would . It is not  a matter of love , it is a matter of SAFETY

Monday, 17 October 2011

everybody hurts sometimes,

Hang in there gang!I have been thinking again!!!

I believe almost everyone I know, in my home life and online who has worked with livestock , has been hurt as one time or another, From, a whoops out of the saddle, onto our pride, to a first class wreck!
Handling livestock, be it horse cattle ,swine ,etc. can be hugely rewarding , and it can leave a mark.
One of our blogging buddies , has  had a few wrecks over the summer and is still in the healing process from the last one. (I have not named her , because it is her story to tell and not mine ) She commented the other day about having some difficulty maneuvering around her super friendly and hungry horses at feeding time. A few of us talked about establishing boundaries ,and I thought now was as good as any time to talk about it . I have 2 colts in stalls right now I am working with , and a yearling gelding Dandy. Dandy and I had a pretty big discussion of boundaries in Jan  when he tried to assert some authority over me . suffice to say , he now asks permission to come into my space !
For the sake of our fellow blogger who is healing and ourselves , lets talk a little about how we establish boundaries and safe practices with our stock.
The first thing I am going to say about any of it  though is , no matter how long you have been at it , and how much we think we know , every individual ,can get hurt , at any time . Animals are not machines , and they  can be unpredictable . That said , there are some ways to mitigate the risks .

1. Always ,Always , always , be mindful of where you are , in relation to the animal , or if there are many (in a pasture catching a horse or on a pen working cattle .)where they all are , and where your safe exit is .
 Many years ago I was in a pen checking on a cow calf pair , quiet cow, I had no concerns , I turned briefly to move a fork out of the pen, the next thing I knew momma was ramming me against the barn wall , she kept at me until I literally crawled on my belly out of there. What did I do wrong? I was aware of her , but had not noticed that the calf had gotten around me , she perceived me as a threat to her baby and took action.

A second example
When Johnnie was a yearling , I was walking through the pen he and several others were in . Johnnie had not had a lot of work at that point , but was very friendly . The other horses began running and he spooked. Right into me ! I had half turned to protect myself , but still took 2 boards off the fence one with the back of my head and one with my behind.What did I do wrong??at that point , my mistake was a) I had not taught Johnnie enough to be respectful of my space , even in a panic, he should have been taught to go around me or stop , not crawl in my lap, and b) not mindful of my personal area, I had essentially put myself in a corner and given myself no escape.
I will tell you my darling Johnnie ,learned whoa and BACK off ! and damn fast , I believe even before my head stopped spinning !!!! which leads me to my next point...

2. Be mindful of your own abilities/disabilities .If you are sick or injured, be aware of your limitations regarding mobility . If you can get help do so , if not  find some alternative ways to get things done. Or maybe some things can wait .
Just last winter I had a flare up , and was in pretty tough shape. I did chores , very slowly, and did not go in any pens . Yes that meant feed went on the ground and not in feeders , but when I say I wasn't well ,I am not kidding , My sister had to come over later in the morning after I had showered to dry and comb my hair ! (I could not lift my arms at all ) That was not a day to push my limits and try to go right into a pen, if a horse  had bolted or pushed me I would have been on the ground under foot, and whole lot worse off! (that time I got it right )
a few years before , I had been discharged from hospital the night previous , and  we had a mare to breed . Cactus was a little jacked up, and clearly sensed that I was not altogether OK. He got quite rammy with me . I panicked and jerked him off balance  and no one got hurt ,but... I was immediately very aware of how wrong It could have gone , because I was not thinking clearly !

3.(could be 1,2and 3. PAY ATTENTION!!!!! I don't care if this is your first horse ever or , you have been at it since you were in diapers, complacency leads to disaster !
nuff said here right?

4. TAKE YOUR TIME ! ,the only thing that happens in a hurry , with livestock is a wreck!
I have a favorite saying "if you are in a hurry , hurry home , YOU ARE DONE"

In the interest of not having a 4 hr post here I will stop at this .Over the next little while I would like to do a series , on how I teach  some boundaries with my horses. I am not a Trainer. just a decent hand with a horse. I am also hoping that a few of you will do so as well. either on your own blogs and let me know so I can link to it , or here in the comments if you chose . I am hoping more for your own blogs , and maybe some of you techies will ad video?
I think my standard "Stay safe " is very fitting here!
so my friends , please do STAY SAFE!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Day of rest, more or less

Well it was, for some

Actually for me too, I did a bit more housecleaning , because ,frankly ,it needed to be done badly!
then I got to thinking , as nice as it is out ,it could turn any day now so I took the gazebo top off and stowed it , started to put away lawn furniture, but as you can see above , some of it was occupied!
puttered away at that for a bit. The went for a little walk.
 These ladies were all stretched out sleeping till they heard me , up they got and over the the fence to see if there were any snacks!
I never get too far into the lake pen , before I am spied by Johnnie . Sweet boy , always comes over to see me !

Wilder has rejoined the herd more or less, but does tend to go off on his own now and then. Nice view buddy!

As you can see the leaves are mostly gone now , still a few splashes of color yet to be found . I have been watching , but either the swans have already been and gone or they haven't arrived for their yearly visit to our lake .
Mom was out again today for a visit , and we had a little gathering at my sisters house . Mom is getting stronger and receiving a fair amount of physio where she is at ,. Hopefully with continued improvement she will be able to go home to stay in a few weeks .
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!
Stay safe!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Are you working today?

This post is not a complaint or a rant , its just a fact of well, my life .And I suspect I am not alone in this. As most of you know I work in town as a Mental Health aide ,up to September I also did 2 days a week as  Administrative support staff. After a lot of talking and thinking , Martin and I agreed , I have a lot to do here, and especially when he is working away ,I could use a bit more time . SO I now only "work "3 days a week . Friends a fam will call from time to time and ask "are you working today?" I smile , because most if not all are in the same lifestyle as I and they know full well we sometimes work harder on our days off than on scheduled "working days " I think the better question might be "are you getting paid for what you do today?" and even that has a couple of answers, no, not getting paid right away for what I do here on the farm, or not in $$$ but in a sense of accomplishment ,pride and hopefully eventually some funds as well, yup I am .
So what was I not working at today?
Got up , threw on a load of laundry . Got a load of bales and unloaded them in the spots I wanted. Did a quick spit polish of the house (emphasis on quick) more can happen later . grabbed a bite of lunch , and had a fast coffee with my brother in law. Then out to clean the stalls and re bed them for Quinn and Comet .The barn now has a lovely fresh pine scent , significantly better than when I started and well probably better that I smelled when I was done.Dewormed Comet , Quinn, Annie and Dandy , swept up the barn and did afternoon chores a little early . In the house by 4:00pm  and have the whole evening to either clean house , or work on registration papers or maybe figure out if I am doing a Winston calender ,or boot my muse in the tush and write a poem, or just put my feet up and relax hmmm...So (forgive me Garth Brooks ) "The stalls are clean , the horses fed , a bubble bath and I 'm off to bed"

Whatever I do I will do , so was I working today??? not really just doing what needed doing , did I get paid? Oh yes! snuggles and nuzzles from horses , purring kittens  of the 7 toe advantage type , and Winston and Skeeter just being their usual helpful sweet selves .
(C'me on breaks over ! What do you think this is ?a union job?)


(when is snack time?)

(Shovel Poop??? I think NOT)

(It was terrible ! Slave driving)

(Who is our job steward?)

(Hurry up!! I don't know how long I can hold it !)

Stay safe everyone

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Awe shucks !

 Thanks to Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch.
I have received an award !
Thanks Lisa!
With the award come some rules. I am to share it with some of my favorite blogs (lawless soul that I am I will share it with all or any that want , all of the blogs I read are favorites)
And to tell you 7 things you may or may not know about me .

  1. I am shy, no one really realises this when they meet me as I usually force myself to smile and walk right in. But inside I am a basket case .
  2. I am very close to celebrating the silver anniversary of my 20th birthday . and I still blush  at the drop of a hat
  3. I hate my feet , I took ballet as a kid, and between that and arthritis ,I have one toe that is really messed up and will eventually need surgery , either ,intensive repair or removal . I have looked at the options , and frankly ,9 toed cowgirl ,is the way I will go. Way faster recovery !
  4. I love to cook. But not just for me ,I find it very hard to cook proper meals when hubby is away . And I really enjoy having people over for a meal so I can really make something good !
  5. That said , I rarely bake , don't often make cookies ,or cakes ,NEVER make pie (I am terrible at pastry ) but I do make really yummy bread , and cinnamon buns.
  6. I don't sleep very well, toss and turn , and when I have a cold I can snore the paint right off the walls!
  7. I have an evil streak, a bit of a dry sense of humour . I don't let it out much anymore , but if the world could hear what I am thinking ...
So there you have it , 7 things you might not have known , or wanted to about me ! lol
Grab the award and have a go if you like ,I am always happy to get to know you all better .
Calenders are done and ready to order , and so are my Christmas cards with Shutterfly so I am finally staring to catch up, I think!
Stay safe!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Where to start

Hang in this is going to be a long one !
Martin was home for his 7 days off, starting Tues of last week. As per usual , this time of year , "days off " hardly describes it . He was rushing around trying to get things sorted out to move the cabin. He , dad, and brother in law Marc , put in a day or  two fixing equipment.Yay ! the Versatile(Front end loader ) is up and running again!!!! we sure miss it when it is broke down. We have other tractors, with loaders , but that one is as my dad would call it "a great rig!"
While the guys were busy at that , I was working , then on my "off time" I was cleaning stalls getting ready to wean the babies. The stalls got left empty , but not properly cleaned out  over the summer and it was a mess! Deb helped me as well on Saturday doing the cleaning .Fresh bedding , and scrubbed buckets , and we were ready! . I also got to play electricians helper to nephew Cory , who was fixing a few lights and the power box on one waterer. And Welders helper to Dad who came out to weld the squeeze for tagging calves .
 Sunday morning Deb , came over and we caught up the mares , led them and babies into the barn. then quickly slipped the mommas back out cranked the radio and closed the door! For the most part , that was it , Rich has been through this program enough she just sighs and wanders off. Ici, called a bit , and also settled quite quickly . The babies fussed here and there , but with the radio they cannot hear mom calling back so they too settle quickly . But Jazz, the mare without a foal, well she went plumb crazy!!!! Dashing around and calling like she had lost her best friend! Funny old girl , she really missed the little ones . Her dam was similar , actually worse , even when she had no foal and was in a completely different pasture than the babies, she seems to sense weaning day , and would call and squeal running the fences for a whole day in sympathy I guess, and when we weaned a foal of hers? Well lets just say I have still not recovered from that sleep deficit !

Jazz is the dun mare on the left ,Rich,centre Ici back and on the right . Settled down by the time this pic was taken . Quinn set right to drinking and eating well, with no hesitation, but Comet had me watching for a bit . It usually goes well doing things this way , they already are eating hay and have a taste for grain. Also are drinking water long before I wean ,but the odd one pouts a bit . I am vigilant until I see "water going in and poop coming out " the feed not so much of an issue , though I do watch , but without water ...

 This weekend was also the one we weaned and shipped calves . There was an Angus influenced pre sort sale today that we wanted to catch , as the next one is not till mid Nov and Martin will not be home . So I went out with him to bring the herd in Sunday .
you may remember a few of these
The heifer Winston "whispered"

And who could forget Elusive Louie, the magical disappearing attack calf!

As you can see they have grown well 

Out at 7 am to bring them in . Martin and I and the dogs did that part .Then we were joined by Marc and Deb , to help sort and tag. We have just a tiny herd so it really doesn't take long . Marc  reminded me of the days a few years back when we ran 120 through in a morning before the truck, not just 20!
It goes pretty much the same whatever the numbers , sometime just a little quicker .
Truck was there at 1pm, I had gone in to clean up, and whip up some mashed potatoes for my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner , then .we headed for town!

A wonderful dinner at my parents home . The dinner was a group effort , Brendan made the turkey , Dee, mashed turnip ,and cauliflower with cheese sauce , Tara , stuffing . Heather , 3 different kinds of pie, I did the mashed taters and made the gravy. It was very nice , and I must say The kids did a brilliant job! the food was wonderful!!
Mom was out on a pass for the day from hospital as well . Yup our prayers are always answered , and sometimes...it is YES!
Deanna , let us know to try to dress nicely for the event ,as she wanted to take some family photos . She has a plan for these ,but I am not to tell. I also wanted a new one of Martin and I for our Christmas card .I think we got some nice ones,Thanks to Dee

 I am guessing you know this couple
The whole fam
The pictures were taken in mom and dads back yard, near the playhouse Heather and I shared as kids
Dee,and Tara

nieces Tara, Deanna , and nephew  Brendan
Marc and Heather (My sister and brother in law)

And of course Mom and Dad .

Martin has returned to work today . It seems like his time at home was a warp speed blur. But we got lots done, and next time , maybe it will be calmer ! Meanwhile, I sure hope the cows settle soon I can't hear myself think!!!
Stay safe!