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, 30 January 2012

By request

 So in the last post Reddunappy asked for photos of the stallions  from the contest . So my friend, here you go .

First up 
 Wind Walker Cactus 
Pedigree here 
sire of ,   

 FV Jazz Time ,FV Spun To Gold, FV Just as Quick(Justus) FV Sparks Image ,FV Catch a Dream 
FV A Shocking Comet , FV Quicken the Wind 
(not all shown)

Next up, is 
Fern Valley's Phoenix 
Pedigree here 
Not the best shots of him , looks like somebody needs a glamour day and photo shoot 
 2011 was  his first season , breeding only one mare .

Very excited to see what he and Jewel produce!

There you go.
Stay safe and warm!

Book or a calender?

So I wrote down all of the names from the contest blog and drew 2 . The reason I only drew 2 was that Shirley , was very close in her answer only off on one horse, so I figure she kinda wins something anyway .
The answers were;
Jazz,bred to Cactus
Peps X Cactus
 Jewel bred to the Phoenix
So the names were all thrown into my lucky Kenny Chesney  ball cap and

drum roll please


You  have the choice of receiving a Fern Valley Calender, or signed copy of Telling tails . Shirley ,I can offer you a calender or a surprise gift as you already have the book.

Congrats to all , and thanks for trying everyone .

So email me please at fernvalleyappaloosas@hotmail.ca ,and give me your mailing address and your choice of gift !

Meanwhile stay safe and warm!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Proof readers?

I have spent the last few days gathering and organizing my photos and poems for  my second book. It is finally ready I think! The hardest part seems to have been the organizing and the writing about myself ! Funny the poems came so easily !
After feeling for most of yesterday and the day before, like,I don't know enough about me to write  the "about me" portion of my new book, This is what I came up with late last evening . 

“If it is possible, I will do it .If it is impossible, it will take me a little longer Author unknown

I read this quote several years ago. And it spoke to me in its simplicity, and clear determination. This phrase defines the people in my life who were and are my heroes and the people I am proud to call family.
From my great grandfather William Horricks who settled on  the old homestead near Edmonton and proceeded to build a life with his family, to my Grandfather George Horricks , who with his brother Charlie built and established Horricks Dairy, a formidable entity in its own right  from 1927 to 1977.
Initially delivering milk to customers with horse and wagon, then in later years more modern modes.  George served on the board of directors and as president of the Alberta Dairy Pool. Charlie, a blacksmith, of note, as he had only one arm as a result of a motor vehicle accident, and George, who also due to injury, had lost his hand, were two of the most able and capable men I have ever known! Teaching me that nothing is impossible, it just takes some “figuring”.
The farm continued with the growing partnership of George and his sons. Bud (Milton) Bill and Ron. They worked not only in the dairy, but in a large commercial cattle operation as well as grain farming.
This is where I grew up, and found my enduring love of animals and the land. And where I learned a work ethic, about family, loyalty and love.
The first “real job “I held was at the age of 10 washing bottles and delivering milk on the farm. I was so proud of the checks I received from Grandpa!
The bottles I delivered were plain, but the original Horricks Dairy bottles looked like this.

The Label Read
Horricks Dairy
“Natural Milk, Naturally the best”
A phrase coined by my grandfather.

My love of literature, and knowledge came also from My Granddad Blaine; he was an avid reader and shared his love of literature with us all. Again not one to let adversity slow him down, he returned to High school at the age of 42 completed his Grade 12 Matriculation!
I have kept the lessons of these heroes close to my heart, all of my life. At the age of 18 I moved away from the family farm to start my life on the ranch near Onoway. Caring for the stock and attending college to study Animal Health Technology. My path changed, as they often do and I found a career in Health care, working first with adult survivors of Brain injury , then later as I expanded my knowledge in health care as a Home support aid and finally as a Mental Health aide , providing support to individuals in my community .
Through all of this I have maintained a breeding operation of the beautiful Appaloosas horses I adore ,as well raising beef cattle ,first with my dad, and now with my husband Martin , whose support and encouragement  for my writing has been outstanding .

My poetry is written, always from the heart, and about the life I live here at Fern Valley. About and for the wonderful people and animals who have been part of my life.

Any thoughts ?
Stay safe and warm 
edited to add
I did take photos of the bottles with milk in them for the book on your suggestions, and Yes I admit it, I am a "comma criminal"

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Are we up for a little contest?

So here you have a few pictures of the ladies

 Jewel(Martins Jewel, not mine) 

No pic from today of "That Ritchie mare"  by herself , but that will be your free hint . She is open this year .

The whole bunch

The contest is simple (or not ) who among these ladies is a "Lady in Waiting " for a 2012  foal ?
and who are they bred too? 
Go ahead and take a shot at guessing . If you get it right , there will be a bonus gift , but all guesses will be entered for the draw 
Stay safe and warm !

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Some things to say

 Another long winded ramble , but I believe one worth reading
First and foremost , Thank you so much, to Country Gal, of  Our County Cove life , and also the 4 R's of 4 R Ranch for this lovely award
     Liebster means Dearest or Favourite in German."

Here are the rules:
1- Choose FIVE up and coming blogs to award the Liebster to. Blogs must have less than 200 followers.
2- Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
3- Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you gave the award to with links to their sites.
So now I am to share this award with 5 blogs who  have fewer than 200 followers . 
I love all the blogs I read, which is of course why I read them . I have been known in the past to be a little lawless about  this and just give them to everyone, but I will try just this one time to follow rules. Sigh
1. Sally, from Ferngrove Farm who kindly shares her life and journey all the way from the other side of the world! 
2.Jeni of Super Size My Cob  With the beautiful  Rosie and Bonnie, and some  huge determination! 
3.Janice of Own A Morgan a  blogger friend , I have also had the joy of meeting in person! and she is wonderful! 
4.CutnJump  on her blog Cheap Chef Yummy straightforward , cost effective recipes! love it (met her too! I get around)
5. Dang it! I  tried , everyone else would like it  that I follow! 

 Secondly , I need to brag a little , well need is a strong word but I am going to all the same .

 Dandy , as you saw  on Yesterdays Post has gone to his  new home. I am very pleased with him, and his new owner . She has already been working with him, and as shown yesterday and again here , has sat on him , and steered him around the pasture a bit . Yes he is that quiet , and kind , and yes ,I think she is that good! She has a very nice way with her about horses, and as I said I have seen video and photos of her with her other horses and she seems to have the "stuff."
The brag part is , that Dandy, Maggie , and Timer are all foals from FV Jazz. The only daughter I kept  from my  sweet abused old mare C7Sparks Jewel

Fern Valley's Jazz

FV Sparks Image(Maggie) and FV Dandy Line(Dandy )

FV Jazz Time 
 as you may have read in the honorable mention ,Jewel came to me in a sorry state , and I never really did  truly  gain her trust. I got a long way with her, but .... Because of this , Jazz is a bit , different ,I had tired to work with her as a foal , and she picked up some of mom's nervousness. She is much easier to work with than her mom was , but can by times still be a bit goofy. With her foals  however I let them be until either they come to me , or they are weaned (so far it has always been the former and darn quick too. And I am careful when i handle Jazz to not let her "crank up the kids "  This has worked well and as a result ZI  am seeing the true nature of this line , coming though loud and clear ! Quiet ,kind , straightforward. Timer , went to my nephew , Maggie is , doing very well, with her very own Teenager, and Dandy , well...
I am proud of these horses, and of the line that in effect originated here with my old sweet Stallion Chips, and a sad scared little mare named Jewels.
C7 Sparks Jewel 
The only tarnish on this  for me is to think what Jewels could have been if she had had a kinder start .

So, that is part of what I needed to say, the last is a strong reminder to STAY  SAFE , and pay attention. As I was unfortunately reminded this weekend .Walking into Phoenix's pen ,totally distracted, and walking away without talking to him first, I got a rude awakening!  Fix , was an arse! Knocked me down with his chest, yes it was in play.NO IT WAS NOT OK!!!! And he is now firmly reminded of that fact ! I will leave it at that , only to say  that while his behavior was wrong , I was also at fault in that I was distracted, and in working with horses , you need to pay attention!
Stay safe and warm my friends! 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Warming up

The sun finally came out and gave us a break yesterday ! Which was much needed after this little cold snap we had ! Saturday Martin and a friend of ours installed a new pressure tank  for the house ! what a relief not to hear the pump kick in 20 times every time we use water!
In the process though we had to turn off the water to the farm, and ,we did have one waterer give us trouble .The float froze and it would not fill!.A couple  kettles of hot water fixed that !
The late in the day Dandy's new owner showed up to take him home . It went reasonable well all things considered. The footing was , well is poor , and it was dark, we actually wound up backing the trailer into he barn and building a bit of a ramp. Dandy was willing but due to the footing he got a little rattled. once we got him on comfortable footing and in the light he went right in. I think he will do well, as cold as we all were , his new owner ,maintained her composure , and patience. She did let me know he travelled well and she already loves him !

As you can see Sunday (yesterday ), was a much  brighter warmer day. So of course another waterer froze up!???This one has been the bane of my existence for years , and if you don't manage it exactly right it will do this . I think we have it fixed again , but time will tell. Might be time to just bite the bullet and replace it !
Anyhow after all that I went for a little walkabout and got a few photos

The discovery of the Jolly Ball
Anyone free for a pass?
Go long Comet!
Cactus , hanging out in his lair
Do I need to  tell you who this is?
"What  are we doin' next dad?"
I have a few other posts brewing , one on the ever important issue of safety and also I received an award , I need to share. Meanwhile,
Stay safe and warm everyone !
Quick update! 
Lookit this! doing well and  learning to be a big horse already! 
Breanna  gave me permission to use this , hope she keeps the photos coming! Dandy has found himself a dandy gal! 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Don't know , but I'll give it a try

Heads up gang ,thinking again!!!!

On Facebook I have seen several links to liberty horses today. The are all amazing and beautiful demonstrations of what  can be done with the horse/human relationship . Also Dandy is leaving today , the young lady who is taking him is quite the horse woman in her own right , I have seen videos of her riding ,jumping , and just peacefully sitting cross legged on her horses  in pasture . One of the videos that made me  really  "get " that this gal "has the stuff" is her and her beloved mare  in the field in  fairly deep snow . she swung up with  I believe a halter and the horse was blanketed , the video shows her laughing , loving on the horse , riding "hands free" at a gallop through the snow (which if you have ever done can be a bit bouncy ) and jumping logs. Sure she slid off a couple times , but that mare stopped and waited for her to stop laughing and hop up again! The pure joy and the depth of a trust bond she had with this horse  was a beauty to watch .
What does one thing have to do with the other . Well like the young lady , the liberty trainers didn't know they could absolutely do  this until , they tried ,
What could we accomplish in life and with our our horses,if we let go of the "rules " a bit , and really got into our own comfortable relationships with them . allow them to trust us ,by learning to trust ourselves ?And by doing so trust them ?
When I say let go of the rules, I don't mean let go of boundaries, those have to exist  for us and the horse to be safe. But let go of the rules in that "horses are  to be  ridden and driven only"
Don't panic my friend ,I am not suddenly going the route of not riding at all , but looking at the options of building  better bonds on the ground to enhance the riding / driving .
We each have our ways of doing this , and I am not here to argue for or against any particular clinician, other than to say , it needs to be about the work ,not the equipment .

I am just wondering if we can push the limits of what we already do, and see what we can really accomplish,
Take my dear old Catana , she was a horse that literally did anything I set her at , huge steep hill? I was asked , can your mare do it? I said"don't know , we will try" and up she went . And the same with crossing a bog, swimming in the lake, standing (yawning no less ) as a train crossed  in front of her . She had a huge heart , and I asked her to do things , because we had a great trust bond, and I had learned that she would not start something she could not finish ( That horse had a work ethic we should all strive for! )
Several years ago ,I was asked on short notice to come handle my sister in laws  warm blood stallion for collection  , he  was an older horse , and familiar with his own handler and not me . I said "I'll try " I could not would not guarantee success, but I sure didn't go in planning to fail. I was just taking into consideration the barrier to success I would face and how best to manage that. What I did is went in assuming he was no different than my (considerably smaller  stallion) expected the same appropriate behavior and manners , and... got  them. He was a prince ! the warnings I received that he might be rough with me and or try to bite , or ram me into a post (not that he is a bad horse , but they like to try new people ) were  totally unnecessary  . I expected him to be good , trusted him to be good , and he followed my lead .
And of course the Phoenix, didn't know he would dance for me, till I asked!

So lets take this a step further, I didn't know I could write a book of poetry , till I tried! Now I am not claiming to be a huge literary success, but I did it , and am ready to publish book two very soon. Now trying a few new things with my photography as well.
As I said , we never know what we are really capable of till we try.
And me ,
 I'll give it a try
Stay safe and warm!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


So I have been thinking about a few things lately . About my book, and the photos I take . I love the calenders and the blog . But whether I am just looking to spread my wings, or all the compliments have gone to my head I am not sure , but I am doing a couple new things  in this next while . exercising  some options,so to speak.
I will be attending the Mane Event  this year, but not with the ApHCC as in previous years .I  will be at a booth I am sharing with Drayden Insurance , who are developing a farm/equine insurance parcel . My sister in law Connie and I will be there all 3 days rather than the usual part time presentation I have done i n the past . I will obviously have  my farm stuff there, but I will also have my book (and maybe even volume 2 !!) I would love to take Calenders but it is really too late in the year to offer those for sale so I may have one for display but that is it . 
One of the new things I am trying is  photo cards . I have received many compliments on my photos and so I have taken a few of my favorites and had them made into note cards  through Shutterfly

 "Are you a Pony?"
 Wild 'n free
 FV A Shocking Comet 
Power Take off 
These are the ones I have chosen to start  with .Shutterfly has done my Christmas cards the last few  years , and they do a wonderful job. The price point is amazing so I am going to try  this selection for the mane event .Also have chosen  two to do up as mouse pads  (Wild n Free , and are you a Pony?) 
One other thing I like about Shutterfly is that I can send directly form them if someone orders the cards .  Rather than have them come here and then ship out which can be pricey! 
I figure seeing as I don't seem to be spending as much time as I would like on my horses (as in riding ) Which I also hope with this new health regime to rectify, I might as well do something  with the  side benefits I get from being with my horses. 
Unlike some  of my talented blogger friends ,I don't feel  able to book portraits , or photo shoots  for other, but I still do love taking pictures so for now I will leave the  pros  to it . and just puddle along at my pace . 
Any and all suggestions will be much appreciated ! 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

bummed out bloggers

So blogger is still having issues for many. We have those who are unable to load photos , and others unable to log on tho their own blogs to comment ! My trouble seems to mostly be an inability to comment on some blogs . So If you feel I have been ignoring you , sorry I am still here!
I have tried a few things , some effective others, not so much ...
1.Scream at the computer, no so effective , but cathartic
2. I changed my comment window to a pop up a while back and it seems to be working despite the other glitches, all the blogs I read that have a pop up comment box rather than the other style seem to be allowing me access. pretty effective
3. I upgraded to Google Chrome  on my home computer and I am back able to access all blogs. That is not an option for some who access from a network, and I am slightly resentful that I was essentially forced into a new technology
4 I have considered changing to another venue , like wordpress, but I am sure it comes with its own issues , and for the most part , when it is working well I like blogger . I have it figured out for posting ,links and templates, and while I have learned a lot , I am still a veritable techno bumpkin so ...

So to those I haven't "seen" in a while , I miss you and hopefully we will get this sucker back on track . Meanwhile , stay safe and warm.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Merciless Monday

Let me open with, I don't actually dislike Mondays. I dislike some of them , but for the most part they are OK.After all you gotta get through  Monday to get to the rest of the week, and back to the weekend right?
That said , this one could have been better !

It started around 2am, when I stuck my nose out of the fleece sheets and comforters and noticed it was , well, more than a bit chilly. Now I often sleep with the window cracked open so I didn't immediately panic, just closed the window and prepared to snuggle down. But something seemed off , I could hear the furnace fan going but it was cool . By the time I decided to get up the thermostat  in the hall read 60F not bad , but a bit nippy. Went down to check the  furnace(no idea what I thought I could do ) then tried resetting the thermostat. no good and the temp was dropping . Grabbed a space heater and fired up the wood stove ,which made it livable in the kitchen and living room, but by then the temp in the hall and bedrooms had dropped to 54F .
Bout then I got worried about pipes and such and gave in and called for help . The furnace tech arrived at 4 am. And I have to say,wow! what a nice fellow , up at  that time of day and driving in  -holycrapitscold!
Apparently my meter had frozen?? who knew that could happen? Lucky I called because while the house might have been OK the barn is not as well insulated and the pipes more than likely would have frozen , causing at best frozen waterers and at worst ...

All fixed and working by shortly after 5 . I tried to go back to bed , but uit was still darn cold in the house so not a lot of sleep .All things considered though it could have been worse . Funny thing , I thought of later, here I was alone , letting a total stranger into my house at 4 in the morning ,in my pj's not to say I wasn't covered trust me I had on dang near everything I owned at that point ! But really not a common occurrence . Glad he was such a nice ,non creepy guy!
Today was nasty cold again , I have been getting away with  just a light flannel jacket and vest for quite a while now , but today was definitely a Carharrt day! Don't know what it is about those coats , but they are awesome!
Winston is still happy to be outside nekked but Skeeter is having trouble , even with his sweater and boots he is not lingering . I actually too k the truck to check waterers this evening , as it was just too much for him to walk all the  way there and back!

Stay safe , stay warm! (I plan too!)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

careful what you wish for (be specific!)

So , I have said a few times , we needed more snow. and last night ...

we got it , along with blowing snow , and a serious drop in temp

I had commented too, that a little cooler would be better, the warmish season  seems to make colds and flus more prevalent and Quinn's wound is much harder to keep clean with the chronic melting . Guess I needed to be clearer about how much colder! We have gone from soup to nuts !
above zero last week to -21C dropping to as low as -37C over the next week . Too lazy to do the conversion right now , but suffice to say -40 C is the same as -40 Fahrenheit! 

the horses are fine, lots of feed , some straw (if it didn't blow away ) and fresh water 

Snow is staying on their backs , is a good sign 

took fresh bedding to Quinn and Comet (Or rather Quinn , who has claimed this bale as his!) 

"Hey hey ! What about meee?"

The ladies in waiting too are holding their own in this cold snap.
Guess it is just me and Skeeter who are  unhappy.
By the way , note to all , bored Border collie Blue heeler crosses are maniacal! Add a big old golden retriever to a housebound  Skeeter , and they will rearrange your furniture! 
Stay warm and safe!