My sister Donna and BIL Mike on their cruise, February 2010
Summer is almost over and I haven't had a second to catch up. When I last posted, I talked about my BIL Mike and his battle with cancer. This is where I will start my summer. Our beloved Mike finally let go and took his last breath on June 26th. We had a wonderful memorial July 6th with over 100 family and friends. Mike's favorite drink was Gibsons Rye and on special occasions he would pull out the Gibson's rare. It was sacrilege to add mix to this so on his day we toasted to Mike and with each toast a shot of Gibson's rare was to be enjoyed by all. After many toasts and many stories we all became much closer and understood who Mike was. It was a beautiful day and we will miss him dearly.
After this I needed to get away and recharge so I took my daughter Angela, DVM 2012 and we went on a four day back country horse pack trip in beautiful Lake Louise area. It was absolutely perfect. It was just the two of us with a guide and a cook. Although our first camp was destroyed by a grizzly, it made the experience even more special. We just made a cook tent and a camp tent out of what was left and had a great time. It was nice to spend some one on one time with Angela. The horses we had were two great appys. One was a young horse named Skyler that had never been on a pack trip before and after two days and 8,000 feet of climb, he finally slowed down and took things a little slower. The little appy I had was a rescue that the Alberta SPCA has rescued about three years ago from a reserve. His name was Sunchild and he was the owner's favorite and I was honored that she felt I was trustworthy enough to take her baby out. The trip was too short and I would definitely go again, only longer. The scenery was spectacular and the company and food exceptional. This outfit is first class. Timberline Tours, Sue and Paul Peyto Angela and I on our pack trip to the mountains.
Then in August, hubby and I went back to Manitoba to the family cottage in the Whiteshell. The lakes in Alberta are pretty scuzzy except for the mountain lakes and some of the bigger ones in the north so we headed east to enjoy some quiet time and great swimming. Westhawk lake is a meteor crater formed lake so it is very deep and clear. Over the past thirty years that I have been going there, the water has always been very clean and you could drink the water. It is now starting to show signs of over use and the quality is not as great as it was but the swimming is still great. We spent hours sitting on the dock, listening to the loons, going fishing and tons of swimming. Hubby and i spent two evenings at a little lake called Hunt lake with our simple fishing rods, our earthworms and catching small fish. It was fun putting the worms on the hooks and catching fish. We had our Golden Retreiver Rosie with us and what a hoot she was. She quickly understood if the bobber moved, there was a fish. We would pull it up and she would play with the fish. Not hurt it but paw at it until it jumped back in the water. It was such a special time. I will remember and cherish this time forever. We took our time getting to Wpg. Usually we do the trip in about 14 hrs straight but this time, we stopped in Saskatoon to deliver items for Angela for school, headed south to a little place called Abernathy where my husband's family first started out in the early 1900's. Drove through the most beautiful country. Who knew that Saskatchewan was so beautiful. Everyone claims, Saskatchewan is so flat that if your dog ran away you could watch it for three days. Not so. Absolutely breathtaking. Coming back was a different story. We drove from Northwestern Ontario to Edmonton in 14 hrs. Our young Vet student became quite ill and ended up in hospital in ICU. Developed a blood infection from a previous surgery that hadn't healed well and then working with horses all summer picked up some strange bacteria. While she was in hospital her younger sister and I cleaned up her living space at the clinic and helped her repack her belongings and got her ready for her return to Vet school in Saskatoon. So thinking okay, time to head out to our cottage and to the horses for some riding time. Not. Started a reno of our downstairs bathroom. What we thought was a simple bathroom renovation is turning into a complete reno of the rec room as well. Taking longer and of course way more money than we thought. Hubby and I spent most of yesterday putting up drywall and putting in electrical. Trying to save a buck my doing it ourselves as much as possible. Well after the 12th sheet, the last two being 10 feet long, I was exhausted and physically beaten. Had a hot bath and went to bed and slowly hauled myself out of bed this morning. Every muslce and joint hurt. The day wasn't all work and no play though. Went to the local horse show with Sherry from FV yesterday. Only been in one other show in my life and that was many moons ago with my old mare Schiroc. Just a little local show but fun. Thought I would take my young Mare Peps, so entered her in a halter class for 5 yr and up mares. Peps is a bit of a flighty mare. Gets excited and nervous. Thougth this would be a good learning opportunity for both of us. Spent Saturday, cleaning her up, practising squaring up, trotting in hand etc. She picked it up really well. Get to the show, and unload her and she is as calm as can be. The whole environment didn't seem to bother her. We practised some more and all went well until her little buddy Cat left her side and did her class. Settled again once Cat came back. Took her to the gate to enter the arena for her class and bingo, the anxiety and nervousness took over for both of us, her more than me though. I forgot all about squaring her up in front of the judge. she did trot well though in hand but would not stand still in line. All the other horses are standing nose to tail, very quiet and here is Peps, standing 90 degrees to everyone else and taking me for a ride in circles. Really wanted Cat for security. Right at the end of the class when the judge in making her selections did Peps decide to stand still. Left the arena and she was good and quiet and well behaved again. She's never been in that atmosphere before so hopefully this was a good learning experience for her. We were probably the talk of the place afterwards, " What a joke that was" but I don't care. I had fun, spent some great time with my horse and learned alot too. At least I didn't have to crank on my horse before the class and after as so many others were doing. Peps and I were just ourselves. No pretense or trying to be something we're not. So during all these things over the summer, I did manage to get in some pleasure riding. Helped FV with getting the mares bred. Ran for re election to the Summer Village Council. Kept my flower garden and rose garden weeded and they're still blooming. My other horse Blue is doing great. With his new shoes and his arthritis meds, you can't tell that he has navicular and arthritis. He still is not 100% and will never be but at least now he is comfortable and hopefully pain free and when we do get time to go out, we have fun. Haven't ridden at all in August, but end of July I had a good ride on each of my ponies and actually Peps and I had our first gallop in an open space. It felt good. She was having issues leaving the farm but with FV's help got her going and we had a great ride. I've also started making jam and jelly. The apples and crabapples are a bumper crop this year.
It is now approaching the first week of September. Maybe now things will slow down, the weather will straighten out and I can finally get back in the saddle and enjoy the fall colours. p.s. I will add more pictures once I get to my own computer. stay tuned!
Married to my soul mate Brian for 26 years. We have three wonderful children. Robert 22, Angela 20 and Cara 17. Loved horses all my life. Got my first horse, a crazy piebald track pony when I was 14. Bought my first true friend Schiroc a wild 16 month old grey appy filly in 1983. she became the family teacher, nanny, guardian for 26 years. Through her I met my human best friend Sherry and her old mare Catana in 1983. We became business partners in her appaloosa breeding program when she purchased Windwalker Cactus. We live in Edmonton, have a cottage on Lac Ste Anne and spend every minute possible on the ranch, Fern Valley Farms. I work part time for the Alberta Spca and enjoy travelling.