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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone!

We have so many projects on the go so I figured I could start a little Journal so people can follow along!

Sky People in nature Mountain Gesture Travel

Soooo.... May of 2021 my husband and I decided to leave life behind in Ontario and drive to Alberta to chase our dreams. At the time we had 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 1 horse (Dudley). We put our furnishing is a shipping container, the pets and a couple clean shirts in our vehicles, put our house up for sale and left. Sounds crazy but that's honestly how it went.. personally I would not recommend selling your house from 3600+ kms away but we survived. When we landed in Alberta 3 and 1/2 days later we started renting a house and the property hunt began!

Our house we sold in Ontario:
Cloud Sky Plant Building Property

The view from our rental:
Cloud Sky Plant Natural landscape Tree

Where we were renting was 1 and 1/2 hours drive from both of our new jobs so we knew we did not want to look in that area. After only a couple of weeks searching we found the place we decided to buy and it was a real diamond in the rough (heavy on the rough). It had previously been used as a cattle ranch, specifically a cow/calf operation but when the owner died 20+ years ago his wife walked away and let her son take over and he let everything go! He was growing "medicinal greenery" in the house, garage, and multiple sheds and let me tell you, THE SMELL would give you a contact high if you drove past lol. Luckily anyone else who looked at the run down farm buildings and the house that looked like something on TLCs Hoarders refused to see the potential.

A tiny taste of the clutter that was left behind:
Automotive tire Automotive wheel system Gas Auto part Pottery

In the meantime while renting I had purchased Tansy who was a yearling AQHA filly and Gordon had purchased Maxwell a 6 y/o Grade QH gelding. Don't worry we never forgot about old boy Dudley still left back in Ontario!

Tansy鈥檚 Sale picture: 馃槀
Horse Terrestrial animal Grass Pack animal Snout

Maxwell鈥檚 sale picture:
Sky Horse Ecoregion Cloud Working animal

We took possession June 30th, 2021 and the fun began! We almost gutted the house before moving in and focused on getting a small acreage (~1.5 ac) ready so we could start moving horses, to be continued...

New flooring and paint because those carpets and linoleum were not salvageable and the smell of the wallpaper was foul:
Wood Flooring Floor Shorts Hardwood

The pasture:
Cloud Sky Plant Natural landscape Fence

Finally started to feel like home when our things arrived:
Joint Skin Smile Shoulder Eyebrow

171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)

Once we got the house livable and could move in some furniture so we weren鈥檛 driving back and forth from the rental we doubled down on getting things ready for the horses. This involved a TON of brush hogging! Much of the property and pasture had been over run with thistle and had virtually no benefit for our horses. Next we secured hay since our pasture was rented out to a beef rancher and we only had about 1 and 1/2 acres of mowed thistle to house the horses. Thankfully there were pre-existing cattle shelters and although they were packed FULL of garbage and junk the structures themselves were amazing. One we had hay, shelter, fencing.. we brought the ponies home (including getting Dudley shipped from Ontario)

Max and Tansy checking out the cows once we moved them:
Horse Sky Cloud Ecoregion Plant

Sky Fence Natural landscape Land lot Plant

Dudley when he arrived from Ontario.
My friend had been sending me photos from back in Ontario and I noticed Dudley was often ribby in the pictures and rapidly losing his top line so we decided to get him shipped ASAP so we could get a handle on him right away
Horse Sky Plant Liver Working animal

All 3 of them got along so well right away, it was a huge relief because we took a gamble and really didn鈥檛 have a way of separating them if things got really nasty unless we housed someone in 鈥渞ound pen鈥 which was actually an old feed coral for cattle.
Horse Vertebrate Sky Working animal Mammal

One weekend we finally decided to take some time to explore, we decided to go see the mountains for the first time (about 3-4 hours from home)
Cloud Sky Mountain Plant Nature

Cloud Sky Mountain Snow Slope

Sky Plant Natural landscape Mountain Larch

Horse loving mama
723 Posts
Girl, thanks for sharing, I love the way you are telling your story to us, so interesting and keeping my attention, lol..Most times I just look at pictures and dont read, ha ha ha ha..But you are keeping this fun to read so really really cool.. :giggle:
Cant wait for more updates (y)

171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Due to my husband and Max losing confidence in one another we sent Maxwell back to his previous owner to see if he could pinpoint the issue and so he could take lessons with the previous owner on Max.

and Max:
Horse Cloud Sky Working animal Plant

After many phone conversations with our pasture renters, we became fast friends. He knew he was going to be short on feed this winter and felt bad that Gordon was out a horse for the next few months so he offered to sell us one of his AQHA mares, we picked her up Thanksgiving weekend for a trial and it was almost immediately obvious that she and Gordon were going to get along great.
Star when she arrived:
Horse Sky Plant Tree Working animal

Now that we had two broke horses again we could start heading out on the property and put some miles on, so we took advantage until it just became too cold and the ground too hard and slippery.

Horse Ecoregion Working animal Mammal Horse tack

Sky Plant Horse Working animal Tree

Eventually it got too cold to do any riding or really anything lol so we just kept the horses fed and happy, we managed to survive our first Northern Alberta deep freeze!

Clothing Hair Face Head Sky

Dudley got a blanket upgrade because he doesn鈥檛 grow any winter coat

Sky Snow Plant Working animal Tree

These Northern girls handled the weather no problem

Horse Snow Sky Terrestrial animal Freezing

Horse Snow Sky Working animal Tree

Truthfully due to the weather and bitter cold the winter months are pretty uneventful.

171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
January 2022 - March 2022

Okay guys, things have been hectic but I鈥檓 back and I鈥檓 ready to continue lol!

Cold鈥 nothing but cold January through February, there was almost a full 33 days where the warmest part of the day didn鈥檛 come above -20掳C
Maxwell came back:
Horse Snow Tree Working animal Plant

This is how we fill stock tanks so doing this in -40掳C was almost impossible because the hose would freeze faster than you could turn it on, we still need to troubleshoot our water system further for this coming winter:

Tire Sky Wheel Cloud Snow

We made sure that everyone stayed well fed and pleasantly plump for warmth:
Horse Tree Working animal Terrestrial animal Natural landscape

In March I found a factory that was disposing of ther retired laying hens (1 year old hens) they were getting a new shipment of hen for April 1st so they were selling these laying hens crazy cheap with no laying guarantee as long as you could pick them up before April 1st. So the chicken coop adventure began. I decided when we first found out we were getting the property that the old grainery would be our coop. It鈥檚 11 ft x 13 ft and build really solid so other than completely gutting it, it was perfect lol


Wood Building material Beam Composite material Event


Property Wood Flooring Floor Shade

Finally Done:

Sky Wood Rectangle Interior design Plant

Wood Flooring Rectangle Shade Tints and shades

We then welcomed the 8 girls, they were in a pretty bad way but with some TLC and room to roam they have quickly become egg machines again, its hard to believe they were being gotten rid of because they weren鈥檛 laying well. We have been getting an egg daily from each consistently. It goes to show how heavily improper husbandry affects production.

Bird Wood Line Twig Metal


171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
April 2022 - May 2022

Truthfully April was a quiet month, things were starting to warm up but not enough to melt the ice, riding was still out of the question since everything was sheet ice. We have since found a local heated arena that charges an annual membership so we can ride all year, so we will be looking into that for this coming winter.

In May the ground started to thaw so we knew it was go time and we needed to pound posts and string fences to get the horses more pasture before the custom graze cattle showed up the end of the Month!
Gordon was working out of town but when he was home he started clearing trees out of old pastures and gateways that had become over grown the last 20 years and we started stringing fence and hanging new gates

Cloud Sky Plant Natural landscape Twig

Plant Fence Tree Land lot Natural landscape

This is our proposed eventual pig pasture!

We pounded new fence lines for the horses:
Plant Plant community Sky Natural landscape Tree

We got a total of the 3 new sections fenced for the horses, a 5 acre field, a 2 acre field, and a 1 acre area (maybe Dudley鈥檚 eventual grumpy old man pen 馃槀)

Cloud Plant Sky Tree Natural landscape

Once the horses were settled and we were happy with what they had, we refocused on the pig pasture and started stringing fence:

Plant Ecoregion Tree Natural landscape Land lot

Weekends had started to get busy with local brandings, rodeos, and just riding and enjoying life so the pig pasture has been put on hold for the time being, it鈥檚 approx 60% completed.

We did managed to drag this old greenhouse over to the chicken coop to be turned into our outdoor run for the girls, UNFORTUNATELY all chicken wire is onsevere backorder so it just sits as is for now but I will hopefully have some wire soon so I can get the girls outside!
Cloud Sky Plant Land lot Tree

Cloud Sky Plant Tire Wheel

We also FINALLY built a 鈥渢ack wall鈥 in our main barn so that we could get our saddles and tack out of the horse trailer and much more accessible:

Road surface Wood Track Asphalt Rolling

We鈥檝e been able to consistently take our horses (Dudley and Star) to a few different places for brandings, checking friends cows, and just putting on miles, it鈥檚 been a blast. May had definitely been our busiest but most rewarding month yet.

Horse Liver Working animal Horse tack Bridle

Plant Grass Working animal Fawn Landscape

8,556 Posts
Hey Smokey, we did our "tree change" starting mid-2010 and have been super busy, as one always is when on land and with animals. I always enjoy following other people's stories of becoming smallholders etc and spent ten years writing for a back-to-the-land hippie magazine which shares such stories, as well as lots of DIY tips. Good for you and good luck! :)

171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
June 1 2022 - June 14 2022

Okay, we are caught up, this is good!

Our custom graze cattle started arriving June 1st by the truck loads, we are grazing approx 200 pairs (cow and calf) and 9 bulls. Thankfully this year has been a good mix of rain and sun so the pastures are looking good and lush. Last year we had drought conditions and very poor quality pasture so the cattle were constantly pushing the fences looking for more food. Fingers crossed they stay put this season and we arnt constantly rounding them up!

The first load of the season:
Sky Cloud Plant Fence Natural environment

We have continued to pick away at replacing old gates as needed:

Sky Cloud Plant Plant community Natural landscape

Cloud Sky Plant Plant community Ecoregion

There was unfortunately something that must have happened that caused a stampede on the property and in the stampede 4 cows tripped and went down, some were killed instantly and others survived only a short while. This left 4 orphaned calves, our renter wanted to thank us for everything we had done over the past year and for being so hands-on and willing to ride through that cattle regularly so he didn鈥檛 have to come check them himself so often. So he offered to give us one of the heifer calves so we could start our own herd. So we ended up with our first cow, a 2 week old Angus x Charolais heifer calf, her name is Cedar.

Sky Working animal Fence Tree Mammal

Wood Grass Sheep Grazing Terrestrial animal

We ended up feeling guilty after a few days and wanted Cedar to have company other than the horses so we found another sweet little orphan, her mom had unfortunately broken her leg when she was only 2 weeks old and had been bottle fed since. So we welcomed Cypress another heifer calf who is Simmental/Angus x Charolais.

Sky Eye Cloud Working animal Fence

Mammal Wood Working animal Sheep Fawn

Cedar is our wild child, Cypress is much quieter.. they are a funny pair. Cedar is only 3 weeks old now and Cypress is 8 weeks and Cedar is 100% the ring leader and the one getting into trouble.

We have finally checked our trail cameras and caught a few moose on them over the winter.

Vertebrate Rectangle Television set Television Computer monitor

Now that Gordon is working Star regularly and has started roping/doctoring cattle off of her we decided to make sure she is feeling her best so she is now receiving regular chiro care at our vet clinic.

Jeans Trousers Luggage and bags Flooring Wood

My 2 y/o filly Tansy has decided to become a horse overnight, I was having difficulty contacting the trainer I had originally scheduled her in with but it ended up being a huge misunderstanding. Emails ended up in junk folders and phone numbers were lost. So it鈥檚 all sorted out now and we have decided to put a very light start on Tansy starting this weekend.

She鈥檚 maturing so fast!
Horse Plant Tree Working animal Natural landscape
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