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, 29 March 2013

Warming up, and catching up

Well the weather seems to finally be warming up. The calving is going along well, we are up to 8 now all doing well .For Once they are calving while Martin is  home and he is quite enjoying  checking  cows and seeing the new little ones , me? I will have my turn when he goes back, so I am  for the most part letting him  go to it , unless he asks me to check on them with him for concerns.The downside of that is I  have not taken many "baby pics" but I will .

As spring is finally coming to us here, I figured now was a good time to get Harley  gelded, while there was still a clean mud free area, and before the flies. It went well Angela(Dr Oakley)  popped over this morning and had a visit and hot cross buns with my sister Heather ,her hubby Marc, martin and I then we went out and ,turned this Harley , from a touring model to a sporty (LOL)
He is  a bit tipsy still here, but doing well. I stayed with him and walked him until he got his "sea legs " back . And when I caught him to put him in tonight he seemed to be doing  just fine. Albeit a bit low key for him.
Funny thing, we laid him down in front of the barn, in view of Phoenix, who was watching quietly until Haley went down, then ,Oh my!!! we had some theatrics! rearing and dashing about , and staring over the fence,looking for all the world like he was trying to be an Arab Halter horse. (must have been worried he was next!) I talked to him and he seemed to settle, and once Harley was on his feet again he was back to himself . I did  catch a couple shots of him though looking quite regal later in the day .
 My Blue eyed wonder
The rest of the day was  pretty  relaxed, just  puttering around and spending time with hubby. Winston  often digs a hole in the snow to make a bed and Martin decided to help him , digging him a snow fort in the  big  pile by the house.I think it was appreciated .
What a guy! 
Well that's it for now, Enjoy your weekend and Have a Happy and blessed Easter. 
and as always stay warm and safe my friends

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Just cant keep up

I feel like that old saying
"so busy I don't  know if I found a rope or lost my horse"
Just keeping ahead of all the snow last week, working and chores and whatever else (I cant seem to remember what  just that I was busy) , I fell behind reading the blogs and mostly just fell into bed.
The weather is warming up, and Martin is home this week, so maybe I will catch up, or not .But I will try.

We are still feeding our regular group of cows and horses, and also a small not so small herd of deer . Skeeter is doing his best deer herding on a daily basis ,chasing them out of the feed
A little hard to see because he is so far away, but if you look close you can see there is a big bunch of them, and its only about half! the rest went north .
 And calving is slowly starting, we had another this morning ,while Skeeter is a cattle dog/herding breed , he is a little too enthusiastic with the  young ones so it works better if we bring in the "specialist" Winston, calf whisperer!

All in all things are good, just need to get  caught up and ready for spring when it finally catches up too.
Stay safe and warm

Saturday, 23 March 2013

What the heck is an Alberta Clipper? and Spring is on back order

Sounds like something  fun right , like one of the  boats you see in the sail boat races in Australia  Or maybe a "Tall Ship" .
Nope neither, it is a mother of a spring snow storm! and we had 3 of them in less than a week! The first  blast was last weekend  while we were moving my folks, a lot of snow but we got through it. The last, was Thursday 40  cm of snow and high winds in 24 hours. It was a train wreck.

The roads were an unmitigated disaster, by noon Highway 2, 33, and 44 were shut down, and even the Edmonton ring road  the Anthony Henday was closed for a time . The Yellowhead was closed for an accident , but the biggest  was Highway 2 (known as the QE 2) in what was  reported to be the largest multi car collision in Canadian  history  up to 60 vehicles were involved in  one site and in total 100 vehicles in accidents on that stretch of road. The dreaded  code orange was  called over the U of A Hospital intercom (mass casualties) but the news was not so bad in the end , of the over 300 injured, most were minor and treated on scene, and only 3-4 were serious. However I have heard reports of a fatality on the Westlock highway (44) prayers for the families of any one who was lost to this storm.
The bright side? the city and surrounding areas pulled an emergency response system together brilliantly , sending mobile triage and first aide as well as city buses  to transport those stranded in warmth and safety. And as soon as possible for them to be effective the road crews were out sanding and  clearing the roads and by morning we  here had clear sailing . Well done guys, its  rotten hard work, and they are so under appreciated!

The sun has been out the last couple of days ,but it is still pretty cold,should warm up and be normal ish by mid week. But ready or not , and early or not we have begun ! This little fellow arrived  this evening
We always say we calve after April 1, well I am not sure in recent years we have ever actually made it to April ,usually right around  now we start. No April 1 is not a special or magic date, its just  that little bit closer to warmer temps and tolerable weather. Every year when we turn the bull out I say, "maybe lets wait a week or so longer, there is always the early ones" and every year ... well we don't wait . That is all I am going to say about that . (to you guys anyhow) .
Overall things are going well, I am still tired  from this past week, but am slowly getting back to normal, a little stiff and sore ,but shoveling  a foot of snow every couple days will do that to a gal . Spring may be on back order, but it is coming , so meanwhile stay safe and warm!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The house that dad built, the home that love built

I wont share the pictures, not today,someday.But I will share the pictures in my heart.
The house my dad built for himself and his new bride 50 years ago , still stands  where he built it, weathered a bit,but beautiful and safe. Changed over time to suit the needs of him and his family,and softened  around the edges of my mind like a beautiful old quilt.
 The house where mom baked fresh bread and brought into  our rooms a buttered crust before dawn on those special winter  mornings.
The house where we left for  Santa ,onion sandwiches and scotch (because that's what he likes you know)
The yard and the swing set and the slide and playhouse (that he also built) where we played and laughed and fell and cried .
The home where we lived and loved and learned .
Times change and life moves forward.Mom and Dad are moving to a new place where it will be easier for them, the house will remain for a time , with the grand kids watching over it ,but it is the end of an era  in some ways . Soon the whole old  farm will be different . But the love and the memories ,comfortable and soft, like that treasured old quilt  will remain .
I wrote this poem some time ago when I first learned that the farm would be sold . Much of the family mentioned in the poem are the folks that I knew and grew up with , but the story is incomplete without , at least acknowledging  the  Quiet Giant, our beloved   Uncle Albert , who  left as a young man to farm at Toefield, and who passed away far to young  , and my gracious and beautiful Auntie Peggy who married and traveled farther away raising her family in the USA.

Remembering Home 
Dusty and Jigs, and an old dog named Peps
And grabbing the paper, off Aunties Barbs steps
Awaiting the School bus by the highway in September
Just some of the times I still can remember
The big old Spruce trees that reach for the sky
One lit up for Christmas in all years gone by
The old Dairy barn
And salt in blue blocks
This is the place, where I learned to walk
And to work and to ride, both bikes and on horses
And learned the true facts
Of Nature’s good and bad forces
Delivering milk, all round the farm
Those crates seemed so heavy, upon my young arm
The sweet smell of silage that wrinkled your nose
And the wonderful feeling of grass on your toes
Sweet peas so fragrant all up on the vine
Scented the breeze near grandmas clothesline
Our gardens so huge and us on our knees
Griping and grumbling
Picking green beans and peas
Farm life is good it isn’t all hard
I remember the water fights out in the big yard
100 years plus, here on this land
Where a young William Horricks. First took a stand
A heritage built, on hard work and grit
Where all of us learned, to just never quit
With George, and with Charlie, then Bud, Bill and Ron
They took up the torch, the old place stood strong
And now progress has come,
As we knew that it would
Soon new homes will be built
Where our heritage stood
I wonder will they know
Will they understand?
The magic that lies right here in this land
The light of our dreams let loose to soar
The echo of cows and the big combines roar
The things I shall take, as I say farewell
To this space
Are the memories fond, and no matter the place
That each of us land, and wherever we roam
We learned it here first
Our family is home

As always , stay safe and warm my friends 

Happy St Patrick's day

Had to pull some green from the archives, but it will be here soon... I hope
Stay warm and safe my friends

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The winds of change and more of the same

I have been a bit absent lately , absent minded at least . Lots going on in my life and around me and many changes coming  for folks close to me. I don't mean to be obscure, but I am not ready to talk about  much of it . Suffice to say Martin and I and the family are fine. We just have some new  things to deal with  . One thing is that dad who has needed  hip replacement surgery for some time is finally scheduled for it at the end of next month ! What a relief that will be for him . He has had so much pain.

That and the rest of the stuff going on has me feeling a little discombobulated lately ,the things that  usually bring me peace , the horses and  such are still doing so, but Mother Nature threw a wrench into things with another blast of winter bringing snow wind and more snow the last few days. Sigh, makes for pretty pictures I guess . I think I have a case of the "Februarys" in March

Probably doesn't help that about 2 seconds after I took these shots I stepped on a chunk of ice and wound up flat on my back , soft enough landing , but I am sooo done with winter this year.The shoveling and the stomping through snow and the ice are getting pretty old. I want to  tell it, kind of what Harley seems to be saying here.

 But spring is around the corner I know , calving will start and we have a wonderful event to celebrate , on April 15 my folks will have been married 50 years! And we have a nice celebration planned for them.
Then I am off to the Mane Event at the end of April,the foals due in spring  and looking forward to attending a clinic in July so lots of good ahead all around . And the changes I mentioned earlier are not bad , just simply changes, and it will take some time for us to get used to it all .

Kind of a blah post I know, but it will get better ,it always does . Meanwhile stay safe and warm  my friends

Monday, 11 March 2013

Sleeping Beauties

This picture was on Saturday , but kind of suits how I feel this morning , like I would like to find a soft warm spot and have a snooze!
Have a great week everyone, and as always , stay safe

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Saving Time?

At midnight tonight , all those areas that buy into "Daylight savings time " will be moving the clocks on hour ahead . I have an opinion about it that is best (or well more politely reflected) in this poem

Springing forward , falling back
sleep is lost to the attack
of the ringing of  a loud alarm
As chores need doing
 all o'er the farm
day is day and night is night
when will they learn
you cannot "save " light"
Oh well it is as it will be
Not much to be done
and as for me
I'll wake  when I  do
 and sleep when I should
And "saving time "  will do no good

That all said ,whether you are affected by the daylight savings time routine ,or arr one of those sensible areas that ignore it .This is a great time to remember to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and Carbon Dioxide detectors .
As always , stay safe and warm my friends 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Just the same only different

Harley, my sweet, adorable rogue. That is him , he is sweet, and good minded but he does have a bit of a diffferent  temperament that  Comet and Quinn, or Justus, or... not to say he wont come around, and hasn't already,but he does have a streak of  something different, something I havent seen since, well since really, his grand sire , Chips was a foal, and that a long time ago. Phoenix was a little this way too but the old man was the one. He never throws any really big stuff at you , just tries little things, constantly , always thinking always trying. He is now  standing nicely every time to be haltered, and accepts whoa and pressure nicely , but ... well I will let the pictures tell you , I may have won the battle , but I have a war yet to fight LOL.
 As you can see I have him, he is soft and not  pulling , but.. he is thinking about a way out . These pictures don't show he, or I at our best, and he really is soft on the lead  and not at all  what I would call "dirty" he just hasn't really decided that I am "the boss of him" just yet

Its OK  wars with these guys are never too bad , and so far I always win.
Maybe I can get some better pictures of him leading over the weekend , martin snapped these quickly on the way by for me ,but taking pics is not so much  his thing so I didn't push my luck.
Hoping to get some more time in with Harley as the weather is  warming up, maybe more than  just a few min a day leading him in for  supper , and soon enough he will come around and be the sweet gentle soul I know he is capable of being.For now(an always when working with horses) I will  remain alert .
Stay safe

Monday, 4 March 2013

Always carry your camera !!

2 posts in one day !! But I had to share this. Went out to do chores this afternoon and the crows were in a frenzy! talking and flapping around nonstop. So much that Skeeter who usually tries to chase them was a little offish.Then I looked up at them  and saw ...
not one
not two , but 5  Bald Eagles!!!
Didn't have my camera, and believe me next time I will , but I did have my cell phone so I did my best with what I had at a distance ,with some excited shaking hands!Basically only really got a shot of the two so you will have to trust me on the rest  . I have seen an Eagle here many times before, we actually have usually a Bald Eagle and a Golden Eagle here , but 5 at once was very exciting .
So forgive the quality , and put on your readers to see ...

The others were further back, and when I walked closer they took off, by the time I was close enough to get a good shot all that was left was this big  guy, he looked at me  and casually swooped down off the tree and across in front of me toward the lake (guess I got told!)
Anyhow, had to share .
Stay safe and warm

Monday Meanderings

Here’s to the horses
Here’s to the horses that taught us our stuff
Our patience, compassion and how to be tough
How to sit, how to listen, and how to eat dust
To be quiet and gentle, and how to just trust
The biters the kickers the ones that could buck
The reason all cowgirls, need a really good truck
Beautiful rides on wide open trails
And hours of fencing with a fistful of nails
Miles of vet wrap we have in our stores
And potions and ointments for wounds and for sores
The hours of cold and sleepless long nights
Till signs of a colic are again put to rights
And just when we think we are so very smart
Along comes the one who will make us a lawn dart
Every horse, shares new things in its turn
And shows us we still have so much to learn
So here’s to the horses that taught us our stuff
As much as they taught us, it’s still not enough

Stay safe and warm my friends