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 .

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Wrapping up the strangest year ever!

 I will actually do an update and check in but this was the best tribute to 2020 I could come up with .

If 2020 was a horse

She was a bronc for sure
She started out light and fun
Made us start to trust
Then bolted, bucked, twisted some
and dropped us in the dust
She bit and kicked, we spat and cussed.
Then winded for a bit
we thought she had settled
So we swung back up and tried
And again it all went bust
Looking back we rushed right in that maybe wasn’t fair
If 2020 was a horse she was a chestnut mare!
So as we come to the year end
I will share a thought
If ‘21 is from that same stock
Then don’t rush and take a hit,
Just slow down and take the time, round pen that b*tch a bit.

Happy New Year! Stay Safe!

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Grace over Judgement

This post is a HUGE departure  from what I usually write here, but it is on my heart and so I want to share it .

 Individuals living with mild to moderate brain injury don’t look any different than those without. Like many “hidden disorders” unless you know the person particularly well, AND are willing to see past your judgement , you will not notice some of the key features and understand why.

A brain injury is any injury to the brain that affects a person physically, emotionally or behaviorally. Brain injuries can happen at birth or may arise later from trauma or an illness. Depending on the cause, a brain injury is called either traumatic or non-traumatic.

Traumatic causes

·        Motor vehicle accidents 

·        Falls 

·        Violence or gunshot wound 

·        Military attack or bomb blast

·        Essentially any impact that causes a blow to the head

A non-traumatic brain injury may also be called an acquired brain injury or ABI. This type of brain injury is a result of an illness or condition within the body, and it is not a result of a blow to the head. These are the most common causes of a non-traumatic brain injury:

·        Stroke (leading cause)

·        Lack of oxygen (hypoxia)

·        Tumors

·        Other illness such as cancer

·        Brain infections or inflammation

·        Other infections

·        Seizure disorder

·        Chronic substance use


So given that information it becomes clear I would think that brain injury is far more common than we might think. And a good reminder that it can happen to anyone.

Symptoms may  include but are not limited to ;

  • Headache
  • Difficulty problem solving
  • Time management challenges
  • Perseveration (focusing on one particular subject or issue and unable to “let it go” or the tendency of an idea to stick in your mind or recur, or getting stuck on something mentally and not being able to shift gears
  • difficulty coordinating balance
  • blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • milder vision problems
  • seizures
  • changes in sensory perception
  • trouble speaking and swallowing
  • personality changes
  • difficulty forming sentences or choosing vocabulary
  • confusion
  • trouble communicating
  • difficulty with reason, focus and logic
  • memory impairments
  • having a “short fuse”
  •  impulse control
  • depression
  •      grief ( loss of the old " normal"  among other things)


·      What you see above is not an exhaustive list and each individual experiences differently, they may not include all symptoms, or there may be some seen I have not shared. The range can be from Post-concussion Syndrome, to severe Brain injury affecting motor function, speech, and executive function.


My mother lived with an acquired brain injury as a result of severe meningitis, and yet she was sharp as a tack till the day she died, so much so that my nephew spoke of her at her funeral “I don’t know if Grandma even knew what Google was, but she knew more!”

Living with Brain injury was described very simply and very well by an adult survivor of a traumatic brain injury I provided supports to many years ago, “it’s like the bridge is out, and cannot be rebuilt in the same place. You can still get across the river but not the way you used to “

Similarly you can still function quite normally but some skills will by necessity change.

What that requires from the individual, is patience, determination, and heart, and trust me it takes all they have!!!

What it requires from us is


Is it easy? Especially when it is a close family member. A spouse, a parent, a sibling, or an in-law? Nope not even a little bit, but if they can overcome the challenges is it that much to ask you to meet them halfway? Also bear in mind however challenging it may feel they are LIVING with the brain injury , the alternative is them not being with us at all.

Grace over judgement, empathy over ego.

But for the grace of God there go I

Monday, 20 July 2020

Baby Foxy pics and a ramble

Apparently I got enough sleep last night and have had some time to think. Its been a while since I shared the tangled passages of my mind but here you go! 

For years people have been lamenting that they wished “if only horses could talk”. And for an equal amount of time,I imagine, horses have been lamenting to themselves “if only people would listen”
One of my favorite things about horses and Appaloosas in particular is their style of communication. Straightforward no confusion, all you have to do is listen, pay attention, and be mindful of what you ask for. A horse is listening to everything, you say, you do, and even what you are thinking of or looking at. That is a master of communication!
They will give you exactly what you ask for even if that’s not what you thought asked for. So listen to them and be careful what you ask and how.
And there is nothing like an Appaloosa to humble you, they’re always paying attention, they’re always thinking. And if you put them in a tough spot they will help you out of it. But if you should choose to lash them for doing so they are perfectly happy to hand you your own ass.
Is it wrong to wish that people communicated so clearly?

Now the promised baby pictures! And also a lovely moment, Angela made it out to visit her Arse , after a long stretch of no travel! 

that's all for now, got some more thinking to do! 
Stay safe friends! 

Thursday, 16 July 2020


Meet FV Sable Fascinator  (Foxy ) 2020 model out of The Drama Queen and by Fern Valley Phoenix

In true equine fashion ( they are born looking for a place to off themselves. She got a little hung up already on day 2 of life. But she is a trooper and it looks like it is messier than serious. All cleaned up and back to being a baby. SO sweet and smart, she took her treatment without even batting an eye !

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Thoughts on Pain ( I needed to put this somewhere )

This has been on my mind and heart for some time , especially in these current circumstances with constant stress, fear and fatigue in our world. I shared this in jest (sort of ) a while back but seriously  the added confusion has certainly upped the ante 

"Pain is a human experience. It can be uncomfortable, with the potential to be horrible. The commonly accepted definition of pain from the International Association for the Study of Pain, states that pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or potential tissue damage…” Since pain is an individual’s experience, we should start any discussion of acute versus chronic pain with the understanding that defining and describing pain in an adequate manner is very difficult."

"Orionhealth -Acute versus Chronic Pain: 

Acute pain is of sudden onset and is usually the result of a clearly defined cause such as an injury. Acute pain resolves with the healing of its underlying cause. Chronic pain persists for weeks or months and is usually associated with an underlying condition, such as arthritis.

So what is this all about? I have had some conversations about chronic pain, and the judgement, derision and lack of empathy around chronic pain conditions.
Are the people that judge bad people?? Absolutely not, but it still feels bad.
So this is my effort to educate from the standpoint of someone who lives with chronic pain, and has for many years.

The hardest thing to manage with pain for me has not been the pain itself, it has been the fear, fear of judgement, of disbelief, of being told I was hysterical or that it was all in my head. Also the fear and grief associated with loss of ability and mobility.
Fear can motivate or paralyze, and fear can make pain worse.

How? Well when we feel safe, heard and understood when reporting our pain to physician and or family we are calmer and less on alert, when we are heard and feel supported.
However, when a doctor brushes off symptoms and states or acts like we are over reporting or worse “drug seeking” fear, lack and a feeling of being unsafe rises up.

Similarly with friends, family and coworkers. An example of this is in my circle I was once told after I explained my absence from a family work session (I had been having a bone scan) “Oh there is something wrong with you??  I thought it was just laziness”
Talk about a gut punch!!!
So already in pain, searching for answers and feeling very vulnerable I hear that someone I trusted thinks I am a faker.
That may or may not have been what they meant, but it most assuredly what I heard.

 So how do we help others in pain?

We listen, we ask straightforward questions and we believe the individual, because there is no place for judgement, and you have no way of knowing how one person’s experience of pain manifests for them. Pain and our response to it is very individual and how each of us experience it comes from a myriad of variables, from trauma, fear, past experiences with this and other pain symptoms and of course how heard and safe we feel.

How do we help ourselves?  
That is a big question, finding balance, honestly reporting symptoms and listening for the answers as well. Doing the research so that we are able to ask reasonable questions.
Write it down , when we go to the doctor instead of allowing fear and confusion to rule, make a list of questions and concerns and take it with you.

How am I helping me? Check back to the Keeping the water cool , and others. I am not perfect or completely pain free, but I am managing well on my current protocol of supplements, essential oils and traditional supports with my specialists.

A lot here about pain for a horse blog, but I felt called to share it , and I believe my horse pals, understand this better than most .

Be well friends and stay safe! 

And keep watching, we are late this year, but Reina is percolating a little hostage for  us here at Fern  Valley, she is due any day!  A couple pics of her past releases 

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

I like love stories

So a “few”years ago I went to a party for a friend. While we were there setting up (because that’s what country gals do) another friend, Sam showed up. He said “I brought you something “ and held out a case of beer.He also said this is Martin, pointing to his friend. I said hello and put the beer in the fridge and carried on helping to set up. It wasn’t until much later in the evening, having danced with Martin and talked to this very sweet and shy man a few times that Sam said “I brought him here to meet you“ it’s probably important to know that you should never shock me with this type of new information in the middle of a polka. We nearly had a wreck. The evening carried on and I was mildly uncomfortable with the fact that I had been set up on a blind date but I rolled with it. That was nearly 21 years ago.
We had a little bit of a slow start, with a couple of conversations that just about had a “Sherry sized hole in a plate glass window” because I was a bit gun shy. But eventually this sweet quiet man got my attention and held on. He seemed to take my cavalier smart assed attitude in stride, and I found eventually instead of turning away he was who I turned to. This is the man who on the day after I yelled and swore at him while watching my beloved first golden retriever, Tucker struggle and pass, me t me after work with some fuzzy pink slippers complete with glittery toenails, and an engagement ring tucked inside. Like I said he takes all that I am in stride. ( By the way I said yes obviously)
The rest is as they say history. We have had some wonderful adventures, and some sad scary times but ultimately he is still who I turn to. Today we celebrate 19 years married, and I look forward to all our adventures to come. I am still a smart ass and he is still taking it all in stride.
Happy Anniversary to us!
Tell me your love story
 As always , stay safe friends 

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

The Confidence game

The Confidence Game
A long time ago, I started this blog, you may remember it ( I guess if you are here you do remember me, and I thank you for coming back), it was about horses, and farm life, then poetry and just my life. It still exists and I am feeling very called to come back to it. I love the freedom of writing and sharing the parts of my life and heart that I share here.
But here is a secret, I had another blog, (called the Confidence game) a quiet private one that I shared with very few. This one shared deeper thoughts and insights, and parts of my story that I wasn’t open to sharing with the rest of the world. That is where, my fears, and insecurities lived. I shared experiences and insights into where I felt my confidence was lacking or undermined
Also where my darker side showed, the anger I felt and sometimes judgement of others and my response to their judgement of me. I have long since walked away from that blog and those feelings.
They were right for a time. Healing, but not healthy.
So why now am I talking about it? This time in the world is very strange, there is fear and anger, confusion and judgement around every corner, and a lot of those insecurities and inadequacies that I felt have sprung back. Especially in thinking that I wanted to come back to blogging. 
I have tried so many times and I wonder if anyone would still read, but then its about  writing , even if no one reads I can still write.
I re watched Brene Brown on shame and vulnerability and I had a sudden moment of, I don’t know how to put it “DAMN! I FEEL THIS”
I have felt fear and shame about many things and have given power to other’s judgement of me. Even those who sincerely think they are helping or trying to. I feel like they are somehow trying to “fix “or “shape me to their will” maybe some are, but I suspect it is more about my reaction and  connection to old feelings .
So am I going back to that old secret quiet blog? Nope, like I said it was healing but not healthy long term, I felt the feelings, and wrote them out and now it is time to let it all be.  
I looked at my FB feed (grid view)  and I was pleased to see that in the face of all of the negativity out there, all I see on my feed is smiles honesty and joy. Does that mean I never get down? No but I have found my lifelines and I am holding on tight.
Will there still be judgement and pushback in my life? Probably, I am not able to change others, but I can change how it affects me. So I will go on sharing my story, my journey, with oils and with all I am, and I will share my joy
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Stay safe and well friends

Hello friends, its been a minute

I haven't been a good blogger now for years it seems, I start and stop, and somehow I always "mean to get back to it" and suddenly its months later and I am still missing you all yet still not posting.
I feel like my muse has left me, but really I think I have neglected her . SO here is to trying again.

Right smack in the middle of a pandemic!
Social distancing isn't hard for me, I love people, don't get me wrong but  I also love my space.

Hoping to do more than just pop on here and there.
Hope you are all staying well