Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Stealing away

Had a busy weekend here , bringing the cows and horses to winter quarters. Cleaning Harleys stall and schmoozing with him
Then today , had  the horses trimmed, wet pretty well except as were were inside the horse were a little antsy and Johnny lost his manners entirely over his  left hind. He is such a sweet horse but every now and then ...
Had a little "come to the faith" meeting with Charlie and all  was resolved . 
Spent time also gathering up clean clothes  for a little getaway Martin and I are taking .
Heading to Vancouver for a couple days where I will be attending the Barbara Streisand concert. Surprised??? 
Well I describe my  musical taste as eclectic. Quite simply if I like it I listen to it . I like George Strait , and George Thorogood  , Tom Jones and Tom Petty , Bon Jovi and Broadway and on it goes  . And this is a  once in a lifetime chance , so I took it ! 
Will have a proper post soon but meanwhile I leave you with the wish  for you all to stay safe and warm.
And while we steal away a picture of me stealing a kiss from Harley 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Memories are made of this

I spent a little time in town today at my parents home. They are starting to look at downsizing and wanted to go through some  treasures that are stored in the basement . and What treasures we found!!! 
This little box of goodies 

Contained my dads 8mm  movie camera, can you imagine cranking it to take a movie??? 

 And my very first camera!!! A Brownie Reflex,it was already an antique when I got it , you looked down through the viewfinder and it showed the reflection of the photo you were going to take . Black and white only! 

 My photography skills have come an awfully long way since then!
We also unearthed a box of  manuscripts and plays  written by my great grandfather George Palmer!,He  had several published works and was instrumental in the Regina  theatre scene many years ago ! 
I guess, with so many avid readers and prolific writers in my heritage I come by my love of literature and writing  honestly ! 

Then  there is this chair, so many times I tagged along on antique hunts with mom, I have to admit I was often bored and uninterested but now looking back...

This chair is unique and beautiful in an odd way and one of my favorites 
 AN Edison gramophone is perfect working order 
(sorry it is sideways , but blogger and I cannot  work out our differences on this issue )

 Behind you can  catch a glimpse of moms beautiful porcelain antique and specialty doll collection. That I was interested in and I had a small collection of my own started years ago, still have them packed away , maybe someday I will get them out and display them . Cannot say I was always bored on the trips, i did eventually with the dolls collect and entire set of antique china , that I still proudly own and use ! 
And speaking of antique dollies...
Man I was a cute  kid!!!! LOL
So much more to go through ,and memories to recapture.
Stay safe , and as Old man winter lets us feel his  chill, stay warm my friends

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Golden, Going ,almost gone

 The Golden boys of 2011
FV Quicken the Wind (Quinn) and FV A Shocking Comet (Comet )
 We have  watched them 
and present 
 Wonderful photo opportunities 
And now
 they are big boys 
I have given them the best start I can .And they are off to their new lives and adventures! 
Quinn, leaving tomorrow to live  near the Alberta Rockies with a reiner ! Lucky  boy ! I love the mountains!Maybe I will be able to  see him from time to time if I head to Jasper . And Comet, headed east to Southern Saskatchewan, to be the best looking  ranch horse that area has seen!!! 
I wish them well, and their new folks also . I know they will enjoy these beautiful sweet good minded boys . Will I miss them? Yes , I always do , but knowing they have gone on to good lives and careers is worth it. Horses need  jobs, and the really cool jobs,well they usually need horses so ...
gonna say it again 
Here at Fern Valley
you have a  job
we've got
for that! 
Stay safe my friends !  

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Guest post

Hello all, me again, Johnny Handsome. 
In case you were worried ,I am well and happy .Not much  going on in my world mum has been paying waay too much attention to Cat, and Andee and baby brother Phoenix(you all knew I was his big bro right?We are both proud sons of the memorable "Chips" Chile Poivre)
Anyhow , I have been keeping the grass from growing too tall, and waiting for my chance to take mom for a spin , soon I hope .Meanwhile,  my biggest fan (well other than mom) Go Lightly requested a picture  so here I is!!!!
Stay safe everyone 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Calenders, good dogs and horses

A merry mix up post here  but ,oh well it is what it is .I have been struggling this year with my calendar project. Staples ,who I have always dealt with before ,raised the prices and got rid of the template that I really liked .So I tried to work with what they had, but I just wasn't happy. I have alos in the past dealt with Shutterfly. and honestly , I really like this company, user friendly , good  prices , discounts for  bulk orders and so on .So I went on their site, loaded my pictures and instead of 3 days of headaches, 3 hours (or less) later ,I had a completed calendar I could be happy with. Yay!!!!  A little different format this year than in the past , but I am OK with it . Change is good right?  I cannot show you the whole calendar  but featured are a few of my favorite pics

 Just a few samples 
Alos will be adding a  photo card to my collection for sale  of Winston and the "How many days till Christmas" sign
And Winston deserve his own card, he is a star! 

Especially today , we have a little  problem here, apparently we have a resident skunk. He has been hanging around and sneaking into the barn for a little nosh on the cat food! We have met face to face 3 times now , and 3 times  have walked away smelling ,if not like a rose well not like a skunk either !
The first time I saw him before the dogs got into the barn and called them back quickly .Mikey is  right ,you cannot ever underestimate the value of your dog coming when you call! 
The second time was yesterday, I was on the Quad , I whipped around the corner to  park it and them SLAMMED on the brakes as Monsieur Le Pew  looked up at me .I sat very still and he dashed off. the today , Skeeter was off chasing Peacocks or  crows or whatever and Win and I were  heading in to the barn alley , I stopped to close the back door and he went ahead, I caught a glimpse of a black and white tails and choked out WINSTON COME! He stated back to me then paused at the skunk ,and I hollered Winston NOW!! and he came running to me! 
And there we stood, frozen in place waiting for the guest to leave. I will be calling the county for a trap, while I am a "live and let live " kind of gal, he doesn't have to live here! 
And finally , young Harley is a big boy now , he is being weaned, I did it the same as always and he is in the barn safe dry and snug as a bug, albeit a little ticked with me . Mom called for a time  but settled well and now is out with Cat and Andee . I am looking around for a pen mate for him, rather than buying hoping a local  person  will  have an "only"as well and we can put them together . If not he will be fine , I can always drag  Mr Peaceful Wilder in to hang  out with him.

Not looking so peaceful here
Anyhow , thats whats up here. Stay safe  my friends and watch out for the skunks! 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

No Smoke on the water, but we had fire in the sky!

I went to the Tack sale in Stony Plain today , great turnout, and I did well with sales of my cards, and a few books as well. Every time is different, last time  no one was interested in the cards, but maybe closer to gift giving time...
Anyhow had a nice time, Deb came to sit with me and help  so we visited to help pass the time and keep from running around spending all the profits! LOL 
Then home for chores and to take salt out to the cows , that had to wait a bit as suddenly the sky changed and we had a late fall  thunder storm, with the wildest skies I have seen in a long time !

It was over  fairly quickly and I did get the salt out, then  back it came so into the house  warm and dry for this kid!
Lots to do tomorrow so hope it is  a nice day. and hope all are enjoying their weekend !
Stay safe

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Look where you are going , and don't over steer

 This post was  started, then saved and started again several times,because ,I lost my train of thought, or something else took my attention  and finally because I  just could not finish it to my liking. Still don't know if  I can do that , but here we go ...

As you know I have been riding my two  young horse Cat (FV Catch A Dream) and Andee AV Docs Baby) a few times a week since they returned from training . As typical youngsters they are good girls , but with only 30  days training  we have some ways to go . They are still learning balance and rhythm  and we/I are learning it with them .
Andee is super soft and responsive  but at times when she is  trying to be evasive , she will tuck her head  right to her chest and try to get "behind the bit"  I have found opening my hands and picking her up a bit seems to help. But there is something else...

Now Cat on the other hand is a "Show me" kind of girl, makes you work for  her  a little bit but the end  is the same , getting her to respond to the bit and work engaging her hind and front end  her challenge. That little girl has such a big motor , she is perfectly comfortable  driving from behind and letting the front end be carried on momentum. Maybe not the total end of the world for some , but I gotta tell it makes her trot interesting ! Kind of like freewheeling downhill on a bike with no brakes!

Both these horses will improve with time and miles, but a way I can help them improve ,is to improve me . I have developed a bad habit or 10 over the years , and just lately seem to be looking down a lot more than I used to. Well you all know when driving ,if you are not looking far enough ahead of the vehicle  you tend to overcorrect and  wobble all over right? Well I compare the same thing  to horses, looking up and where you are going helps to , I don't know, plan your route?And physically prepare for  where you are going, making your direction changes ,less aggressive and more subtle ,more a case of supporting with the outside rein and smaller adjustment with the inside,more like neck reining . Like heading down a straight stretch of road  with your vehicle ,looking ahead and making subtle adjustments as you go , same with the horse ,you get a nice straight line along the rail or through the middle, looking and moving forward  with only subtle corrections to the course. Go Lightly posted a long time ago about this  and one qute, among many  that hit  home was

 "Anyway, whatever's happening, you have to ride it. Practice trusting yourself. Follow your instincts. ALWAYS stay ready, for anything, from the balance of your seat. Balance will save you, before strength."

 "think ahead"

I would likely be wiser to  just link to her blog and that post to explain , but I will continue to give this a shot 

Also I went to visit my niece yesterday and had a lesson in  long lining . Yes I have driven a horse  before but  long lining , or ground driving  in this way was not something i was familiar with. I had the pleasure of  working with Arse's full  brother Eirhart, another truly lovely horse , and he was sweet and accommodating my oh so subtle  direction lol. I was quite  careful to start ,ever mindful of how much more leverage you have  when driving as opposed to riding , and I certainly  did not want to jam him in the mouth! 
So there I am  walking along with this ginormous gentle giant teaching me how to ask for  things. He is a good teacher,and as I got used to the positioning and  the lines (trying not to hang myself ) I first felt like a bumbling idiot, then as I got a handle on it , I started to see  something ,I was head up looking ahead and planning my  course , as we went straight up the centre I was simply  balancing him and then as I changed directions , because I was looking forward as well as moving forward , it became a simple smooth turn. One of those "AHA !! its all coming back to me now moments!" I remember when I first learned to drive Sunshine, and my little cart we tacked  down the road like a renegade sailboat ,then I learned to ... Look where I was going and bam! straight as an arrow! 
So while Cat and Andee travel straight I find as we start to correct we can create that same renegade sailboat  look if we don't  keep eyes up and  forward, that too will help Cat  as the eyes up and forward  keeps me better balanced and more able to pick her up and balance herself at the trot. 
Sometimes we need to learn something new to remember something we already  knew !!!
Hope that ramble made a little sense 
Stay safe my friends

Sunday, 7 October 2012


I laughingly called this  weekend  "The Great Canadian Turkey Binge of 2012"
And it is that, but it is also our Canadian Thanksgiving. 
So todays post is about that , Thanks.
I am thankful for my loving husband,& family  

Not all are shown here, but all I hope know ,just exactly how much I love them.
 For my wonderful friends , near and far, those who I have known forever,the newfound ones , some who have returned to my life, and those who I have yet to meet face to face , but have come to know and love through the magic of technology. You are all such an incredible support and joy to me.

I am thankful to be living a good  life here at Fern Valley , being on the farm and privileged to have such wonderful critters to nurture and love 

 My faithful companions, even though Skeeter wishes he could "call shotgun" now and then 

 Winters feed and tractor with a cab for when winters bite begins
And ample groceries for all 

And  just living in an area of such simple beauty 
Life is good, and I am thankful.
Stay safe 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Time out

Yesterday we took a little time out . Martin and I went with my sister Heather and brother in law MArc  on a little day trip to Jasper. Just a nice day to rest and recharge before  the warm days come to an end and Winter is upon us. Jasper National park is  one of Alberta's true treasures, beautiful views, the Rocky Mountains at their very finest ,wildlife, and wide open spaces. I  was on a trip to denver once years ago, and the cab driver that picked me up at he airport said"While you are here  you need to see the mountains " I told him I am from Alberta, and he laughed and said , "nevermind you have seen the best of them" I agree,though I do need to see more from my fellow bloggers in in Colorado , New Mexico, and Nevada. And well all of them , each has shown what beauty surrounds them in each different area. Here is a taste of what we have here

 Makes me think of the movie "A river runs through it "

 A Picture postcard shot
 I swear Martin was having fun, not sure why he would not smile.Hey even I did with my crooked  grin, and I rarely do for pics 
 BIL Marc, looking  deep in thought 

 Deb and Brian recomended this spot , where the Athabasca river and the Maligne  river meet , all the times I  have been I had never stopped here.
Below is the log Marc  kindly put across the water for me to cross,
 A log roller, nor a mountain goat will I ever be! took my shoes and socks off and waded through on the return trip, cold but I figure one balancing act per day thanks
 Saw this little sign and  just loved it and had to share 
 And we actually bought Martin this shirt, we just had too! 
After our walkabout we headed up to Miette hot springs  for a soak , then out to dinner . Home by 9:30 . It was a big  day , but a good one. Nice to get away to such a beautiful place for a while.
Hope everyone had a good weekend .
And as always
Stay safe