“The end of another decade!!”


This Update continues the practice started 10 years ago, of recapping the past year’s adventures for family and friends.  Some of you may reminisce about what you did at Winning Ways and others may get caught up on the changes that inevitably occur. Throughout this Update you will only find family members and close friends named.  I believe in privacy for all individuals who visit Winning Ways whether as helpers, who join the crew of "Kelly's Angels," or clients who enjoy our equines and landscape.


Since there are many pictures in my archive for 2019, I have made several Photo Essays that are (or soon will be) posted on the pages of the Photo Gallery. I have recorded the Holiday Season that started with Winter Solstice December 21, 2018 through January 1, 2019 as a photo essay. After that there are pictures of the “city culture” and the ranch culture, people, horses and all the rest of the critters, the changes and so much more.



Another decade is coming to a close with the end of 2019!  2019 saw changes on the ranch-- both arrivals and departures. There are new critters and we said goodbye to some other animals.  We also said “See you later” to Amanda.  Our part-time ranch-hand, Amanda, moved to Meadow Lake!


Amanda moved from Ontario to Meadow Lake in the fall of 2016 and helped at Winning Ways since then.  Amanda has a background in the dairy industry, her family has a dairy in the Hamilton area.  She is familiar with calving cows and feeding calves from her dairy experience.  Amanda and her father were also very involved in Heavy Horse showing when she was younger.  She still enjoys driving a team and frequently helps Howard MacCuish with his wagon and sleigh rides.  Amanda likes to ride when she has an opportunity, sometimes she finds the terrain here a bit challenging (willow bushes and hills were not that common in the dairy's pastures.) 

Amanda had never been on a Cattle Drive before arriving at Winning Ways but has joined a few since coming here.  She had fun for three winters training horses to drive, first she worked with Diesel, then Missy and during the winter of 2018/19 she trained both Mr. Big and Velvet so that they could go in the Rodeo Parade.  She always says it’s easy and the horses seem to do very well with her. The horses always bring Amanda back to the ranch and this fall she has been working not only with some here, but at a friend’s place as well.

Amanda works full-time at the local Tim Horton’s (she’s now a supervisor). Erratic work schedules led her to choose less driving and more sleeping and so she moved into the “city”. Occasionally she lends a hand around the ranch with all sorts of chores and helps our international visitors become acquainted with ranch life.  She even got a few bruises at the 2019 June Branding.


 There is a great collage of Amanda's time at Winning Way's on the 2019 Photo Gallery first page. I haven't figured out how to move it here!


Here’s a short photo show of Amanda’s driving horses at Winning Ways during the winter and spring.


Winning Ways acquired some new horses this spring, some of the existing horses have moved up in their training and some are retiring.   Some of the newbies joined us because their owner was no longer able to ride them, some because they needed training and one because she was not suitable for her former owner.  Dixon, Tex and Misty have been added to the riding horse list, but Scout and Ranger are still in training.  Flynn has graduated to being a ranch horse, Tawny is a show horse-in-training (he’s got an attitude, I think he knows he’s a pretty boy!)  Kosmo is still not sound and he and Dale are semi-retired. Brandy has decided that she can no longer carry me, when I’m in pain, so she must be used carefully by the helpers.


My young friends, Jordan and Marion, have brought their horses to join the herd at Winning Ways.  Bear is a former Standardbred racehorse who is rideable, but highly anxious about whatever is in his surroundings.  He’s not too bad on trail rides, but there is usually too much going on for him to be comfortable in the riding arena.  His companion is Big Ben, a very uniquely coloured draft horse.  We are guessing he’s part Belgian and maybe Percheron with some roan Quarter Horse thrown in.  Ben has been trained to pull, but Amanda has been giving him a refresher course, complete with all the verbal commands.  This winter we hope Ben will become the trainer for the other horses we want to drive. 


We have had some longtime residents cross the Rainbow Bridge this year.  Whiskers the black llama reached a point where he could no longer stand, so we had him euthanized. Haley, his sister, continues to live with the sheep and seems as interested as ever in treats and tries to go unnoticed when she escapes on a “walk-about”.  Tubby, the big black & white cat of the McLeans, ended up with a cancerous growth and had to be euthanized, he is interred beside old Hobo.   Shortly after that we found Spot, the big fuzzy tabby cat with the spot on his nose, laying cold in the tack house.  He is also in the pet cemetery.  Shotzi was becoming more and more crippled and totally deaf so she was similarly put down and placed in the pet cemetery.  My helpers did a great deal of grave digging this summer!


The McLeans have a new home in Dawson Creek, BC.  They moved part of their belongings there at the beginning of July but were only able to move to their new property in September.  During the summer Caslyn acquired the new puppy she had excitedly been seeking.  Lena, as she is named, is a cross bred—German Shorthair Pointer X Icelandic Sheepdog. Lena definitely took after the shorthair pointer as opposed to the long-haired Icelandic. While Lena is intelligent, she is not the least interested in making anyone but herself happy.  Caslyn has a whole new appreciation of parenting from her experiences looking after Lena.


At Thanksgiving the McLeans returned to Winning Ways to hunt, visit and pick up some more of their belongings.  They also went home with 3 cats and 2 dogs along with a truck & trailer full of “stuff”.  The 3 cats are NOT impressed with Lena, but I guess there has been an uneasy truce established at the McLean residence. Old Yellow was so excited about his family being here, he attempted to jump into the back of the McLean pickup and either miscalculated or is simply getting too old to jump on the tailgate.  He fell and damaged some ligaments or tendons in his back leg.  Nothing broken cuz I took him to Dr Dick for an x-ray. I think that he is still carrying that hind leg even though Lena tries to encourage him to run.


The house at Winning Ways is now inhabited by Thor & Odi, who arrived as little black balls of fur.  Marion’s “kitten” had kittens in August, and I had said that when the McLeans took their pride of cats home, I would look into getting a new cat.  The weekend after the McLeans left, Jordan was standing at my door with two cute kittens.  Marion assured me they were both male and that although the little one was small, it was feisty.  It took me a couple of days to name them, I think critters need to have suitable names.  Thor is indeed named after the god of thunder.  How something as small as he was, could make that much noise, as he galloped across the floor, I have no idea! Odi just didn’t seem to have any god-like qualities and I couldn’t call him Oden.  But Odi did seem to fit.


If you are a cat lover, as I am, then kittens are hilarious. I have spent many evenings being highly entertained by their antics. I also wear heavy sweaters and jeans, so when small fluff balls charged at me and ran up my leg to have a view from my shoulder, I was unconcerned.  Now they are heavier but still inclined to want that shoulder height to view the world. However, lightweight sweaters and leggings may not be enough protection from longer and sharper claws.  My visitors must be warned that these kittens are not the best behaved and may appear anywhere at any time.  If you leave clothing, sox especially, laying about, the packrat Odi will grab it and run. 


Recently Marion was playing with the ‘bébé chat’ (yes Marion is French).  She suddenly looked concerned and then worried, “Odi is a female!!”  I told her that was ok, we would keep her. Odi is going to be my new lap cat.  Already she will come and lay still on my lap while I work on my computer.  Thundering Thor, on the other hand, is never still for long and generally does not choose to sleep on anyone.  I am concerned how we shall ever maintain an upright Christmas tree this year!  Although I remember that Marilyn once had the cutest little grey face peering out of her tree on Christmas day.


There are two obvious changes around the Winning Ways yard that former visitors would quickly note. The removal of a great deal of scrap metal, ranging from old machinery and vehicles to tanks has created more “room”.  The scrap man came at the beginning of September and loaded many truckloads.  We need to finish cleaning up some of the areas where not everything got loaded.  We may still get more cleaning done this fall, but the snow is great at covering jobs to be done next spring.  The uprooted trees, that had to be taken away from the equipment stuck in them, can now be cut into firewood. 


The other change is the addition of a new green shed, built over the summer by Jordan with help from various volunteers. We have been talking about building or moving another tack shed for the last couple of years.  This summer Jordan got it done.  It was great for the crew when they were preparing for the Horse Show this August, Vawn and Tara wondered how they ever managed without it!  It was also great for the fall lesson series; students could take their backpacks in there and we could have theory lessons inside.


Winning Ways students this fall participated in the first class of a new program from Equestrian Canada—P’tit Trot.  There were 4 young ladies who enjoyed learning from the horses and their manuals about all things to do with horses.  At the end of the classes, all the girls were recipients of the first two levels of the program, bronze and silver.  The girls are looking forward to spring, when they can proceed to the gold level.  Another Equestrian Canada program that runs at Winning Ways, Learn to Ride—English, had three successful candidates complete their first Level.


My personal highlights of the last year were having the whole family here for Christmas 2018 and almost everyone (Chris was working) was back again this summer!  My May Arizona adventure was a great one and is recorded on the Blog. For the ranch, the highlights were the yard clean-up and new shed, along with bringing ALL the calves home this fall, in spite of some late calving and carnivorous wildlife creating an orphan. Each of the volunteer helpers probably had their own highlights but some I know were: winning the Curling Funspiel, helping at the Dog Sled Races, watching the fireworks at the Winter Festival, bringing the cows home on a Cattle Drive and then moving the yearlings in another Cattle Drive, attending the Rodeo, riding in the Parade, participating in the local Horse Show, enjoying the beauty of the Fall Colours Trail Ride, sharing Thanksgiving dinner, rounding up cattle, and laughing at the comedy “Aseop’s Foibles”.


My heartfelt thanks goes out to all the helpers who added their personal touches to life at Winning Ways.  Whether you cleaned some critters’ living space and made it smell nice, checked the cow herd, cooked an authentic meal from home, took extraordinary photos, made another volunteer feel at home, used your creative talents, trained a horse, walked a dog, told an astonishing story, dug a hole, helped a student, drove some nails or drove a vehicle, all the experiences were blessings.  All the new friends that join me here on the ranch, create new and exciting memories for me.


“The end of another decade!!”

That’s what someone recently said to me and I was a bit taken aback, another decade, come and gone?  I often feel that time is flying, faster than ever.  But really, is it just our lifestyle or is there some insidious thief, stealing precious moments from us?  Perhaps I have misinterpreted the comments of others who say, “I don’t have time” or “How much time is that going to take?”  Maybe they are not feeling that there is a ‘shortage’ of hours/minutes in every day.  However, I think that there is a huge community that feels they will never get it all done, because there is just not enough time.


Did you know that “time” was the most widely used noun in the English language?  Last year I wrote that time flying was another effect of Global Warming!  Then I added that flying time might have something to do with being an aging Baby Boomer that still thinks I must get as much done as I always did.  I have since realized that time only flies if you are busy and engaged in activity.  Those who feel lonely and are separated from society often feel time moves very slowly.  I’ve also read that if life feels as though it’s going fast, this could be a sign of a life that is full.  I certainly prefer that life is full of new experiences, new friends and new opportunities than feeling isolated. If each of us tries different activities, meets new people and explores fresh ideas then we will have swiftly flowing days. When we look back, we will have many great memories which lead us to feel that we have spent an amazing and long life.

There are moments when I choose to sit back and relax, maybe I take a nap with one of my lap cats, possibly I listen to some good rock’n’roll music, or I go for a ride on a horse that I don’t have to train.  I believe those times of quiet reflection are made better by the majority of moments when I am busily engaged in some interesting, fulfilling or innovative activity. I know I can control my thoughts, and how I think about things can make me more optimistic, productive and focused on a job well done rather than doing things quickly because I’m “running out of time.”

More reading, this time excerpts from theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli’s new book “The Order of Time” reveals that time is a mass delusion or ignorance. “Time is a story we’re always telling ourselves in the present tense, individually and together. It’s a collective act of introspection and narrative, record-keeping and expectation, that’s based on our relationship to prior events and the sense that happenings are impending. Without a record—or memory—and expectations of continuation, we would not experience time’s passage or even know who we are, Rovelli contends. Time, then, is an emotional and psychological experience. “It’s loosely connected with external reality,” he says, “but it is mostly something that happens now in our head.”

So folks, I’m going to suggest that we all do a bit of storytelling and create a future based on a slightly different interpretation of prior events.  We will tell ourselves that we are happily busy, doing interesting, fulfilling and productive activities with just the right amount of “time” to complete them.  Perspective is everything, the time engaged in events, which we enjoy and are most captivated by, will indeed fly; while the less interesting tasks may seem to drag.  That “thief of time” is all in our heads!!



Let us enter the next decade with great memories from the past and even greater expectations for the future.  I ask that each of you be blessed with health, prosperity, joy and friendship.


'til our trails cross,