Howling Duck Ranch Moves North, Part One

After conquering 'The Hill' and several hours of the poor Chiclcotin blacktop, it was time to stop for a much needed rest for everybody.

Here’s to good friends old and new–thank-you all:

Some would say I seem to have a knack for meeting interesting people. I would say I get terribly lucky with who shows up in my life! After many months of being alone here in Grande Prairie, Alberta, I finally have my beloved goats and horse with me. The are now safely installed and well looked after on two different farms. How did this happen?

One night around 2:30 am, one of the Nurses I was working night shift with leaned across the table and asked, “So what else do you do besides work here?” I couldn’t have asked for a better entree. Without a word I flicked on the computer and showed her my blog.

We spent the next few hours getting much work done (not) and learning a whole lot about each other. As it turns out, we are kindred spirits. She has married a farmer and despite her city background now finds herself  knee deep in cow poop, often. Cuz, life on a farm is always about poop! Hence the title of my book. But I digress.

I can’t remember if it was actually that night or soon thereafter that she offered not only a place for my goats to live but also the loan of her stock trailer to get them here.  I couldn’t believe my ears, or my luck. She then took me to her farm to meet her husband, her son, and her variety of barn animals: cows, goats, horses, and token llama. These folks lent me their stock trailer without hesitation or acceptance of payment. But they did wonder if I could perhaps look after their place when they went away later than month? “Later this month, later next month, and any other time you want to go!”

Once the idea of moving my horse and goats was transformed by my new friend from a fantasy to a real possibility, I asked my friend Rex  (who I’d met very briefly along with his wife years ago at another friend’s place and whose farm I moved up here to look after for 5 weeks last summer) if he was really serious last year when he said I was welcome to bring Nick to his farm. “Of course you can. I just can’t promise nothing will go wrong out here. It’s got older fencing and barbed wire and who knows what else in the field,” he cautioned, more I hope to console himself than to warn me. He does after all have two of his own horses on the land and it quite meticulous about keeping his place up. Moreover, he is a Vet. I decided I would risk  it and bring Nick here!

It was a whirlwind trip and I barely had time for two nights at Howling Duck Ranch. I did manage to get a visit in with a couple of  good friends from the valley, Clarence being one of them. We had a pancake breakfast reunion. Something a few of us used to get together to do when I lived there. It was too short a visit but better than no visit at all. The next day I was up early, loading the goats, and heading to the barn where Nick was kept.  I was looking forward to seeing my friend’s husband. I was not looking forward to not seeing her. Clare had developed Rolling Pigeon Ranch over many years in the valley and I met her when I decided to take up horse back riding lessons. Clare died far too young last December and I’d not been able to get to her funeral. She is the first friend that was part of my day to day life (up until leaving the valley) that I have lost. Coming to the valley and visiting with her husband was an emotional reunion for both of us. I finally got a chance to grieve her with someone who knew her and loved her too. It was a bittersweet, but much needed, visit for me.

How l like to remember Clare. She was at her best while instructing riding on her own hand made trails.

The only time I’ve ever trailered Nick, Clare was there to do the work for me. I could rely on her know-how and just be the heavy lifter! Today however I would be doing it for the first time alone and I was nervous about it. We had a long, long trip ahead of us and, to date, I’d only done a 5 hr journey with Nick when Clare was at the helm. Before I tried to get him in the trailer, I looked up at the sky and said quietly, “Clare, I’m going to need your help with this.” Then I opened the doors and walked Nick into the trailer. It was that easy. “Thank-you,” I whispered skywards as I closed the doors and latched them closed. And just like that we were on our way.

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Animal issues, Developing Community, Horses, Learning to Farm

2 responses to “Howling Duck Ranch Moves North, Part One

  1. looking forward to part two..
    SBW

  2. Jo

    And me! I hope Nick and the goats (and you!) have settled in well in their new homes … keep us updated!

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