4Shoes 'BOOKENDS'; Morgan Horses

4Shoes 'BOOKENDS'; Morgan Horses
“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” ~Langston Hughes *pictured: '4Shoes Bookends'

Monday, 16 October 2017

Break In!

Assistant Warden of the 4Shoes high security facility, Mrs Shoes, was making her usual rounds when she found evidence of a break in. Further investigation turned up a discarded bandit mask, which eventually pointed to the actual burglar, in a head-to-toe beef suit, hiding in plain sight amongst the other inmates lined up for chow.

When questioned, the offender appeared relaxed but would give no indication of why she would break IN. Sources speculate that Y19 may simply have wanted some sweet, sweet Carver love...

"I really don't know how I ended up in here; I come from a good family. I think I want my lawyer."

Phone lines lit up as the search for answers began. Finally, the grizzled Warden Bob of the females only facility nearby confirmed up that Y19 had indeed escaped from his custody. Warden Bob has publicly apologized for the lapse in security, saying, "Because I am in charge overall, I take personal responsibility for everything that happens at my facility." 

"I don't know how the hell this happened, or WHY?" said Warden Bob. "We treat these ladies real good & there's no reason for them to want to escape. There are 3 separate fences between us & the 4Shoes. Rest assured, repairs are already underway, & updating every aspect of institution security is my #1 priority." Warden Bob offered this further promise, "This will never happen again."  

However, sources tell us that an entire block of female prisoners, some with youngsters at side, had last summer been inside the 4Shoes outermost perimeter fence,  loitering on the lawns leading to the visitors parking lot. The ladies had been on a forced march to new lodgings when they suddenly veered off course through a gate leading up a tree-lined, grassy drive. A.W. Shoes confirmed that she did report the incident to the office of Warden Bob but had no further comment. 
While trying to get an interview with Warden Bob, we were told simply that he was unavailable at that time. Questions about where the officer escorts were at the time that the group of their charges wandered through the gates of the 4Shoes were met with stony silence.  

Y19 is currently being housed at the females only facility on the next quarter. Accused of jumping over the moon, Y19 is awaiting a retrial due to a poisoned jury pool. Y19's accomplices includea fiddle playing cat who is serving a short sentence in the local remand, as well as a dish & a spoon who fled the scene & remain at large, but are wanted only for questioning. A laughing dog was also detained at the scene, but was later released after authorities determined that he had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time (jocularity not being a crime).

A.W., Mrs Shoes, promptly saddled up her cowhorse & tidily herded the young lady off of 4Shoes property & back into her own prison exercise yard while Warden Bob drove an enormous tractor, shouted, & waved his arms, doing a very poor imitation of a cowboy but, no matter, Mrs Shoes' cowpony is an expert recovery agent and needed no outside help. 

Y19 has previously been convicted of good conformation, a nice face to look at, & a lovely udder; she & her yardmates will soon be moved to a satellite location of the female facility where they will serve their sentences as replacement heifers. 
Though our sources could not confirm how long Y19 will be imprisoned, this 4Shoes break in will surely add extra time to her sentence.    

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Haters Wanted

I've got people who lean hard on me, & I'm strong enough to take the weight, but for the love of God, don't ask me to guess what you need or what you want right now. 
Where are all my damn Haters?
 I'm sure I used to be more universally unlikeable.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

I Swear

I swear by all that is holy, 
if even one, single person tells me to

I will completely lose my shit.
Fucking. Lose. It.

Not even kidding today.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Sandhill Cranes Dancing

We have a pair of Sandhill Cranes that live in our pasture; the same pair each year I suspect, as I understand, they mate for life. Sandhills are super territorial birds; if ANYthing gets too close to them they start their delightful gobbling & shrieking. I've never had any guinea fowl because people say they are so noisy, but I suspect the cranes are about the same. 
The cranes have now gone south for this year, but we do look forward to their noisy return. The cranes along with the Canada Geese, who are flying overhead by the thousands in their distinctive V-formations, honking encouragement to the rest.
There is no room for doubt... autumn has arrived. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Where in the World..

Please, won't you help us find Kaydance by sharing any where that you can think to share. Please.
I've related the story of the abduction of Kaydance on 4ShoesLife before, but you can also click on the WITWIK photo anytime to read the horrific & scandalous details of this case of heartless parental abduction. 
Kaydance's other mother, Lauren Ann Etchells is a wanted fugitive in Canada for her felony crime & for her violations of orders by the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Lauren's current lover, Marco van der Merwe, has been aiding Lauren in keeping Kaydance hidden away, in violation of the custody order (Tasha Brown was granted full parental custody & there is a court order in place that Kaydance be returned to her care). Parental abduction is a serious crime against the child, against the other parent, & against the extended family. 
Please, help us spread the word by sharing Kaydance's story on all your social media. 
Lauren & Marco are counting on public apathy ~ I hope you will take a moment to prove that good people DO care! 
There is also a WITWIK fb page, so sharing is just a click or 2 away; we'd be so grateful.
Kaydance turned 3 years old on Tuesday; she remains missing & thought to be in the Netherlands.
Click for this heart wrenching story of loss.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Fire is the Test of Gold

Our whole extended family has been in quiet turmoil since September 1st, when our nephew was struck by a car while crossing a street (in another province), sustaining life-threatening injuries. When they slid him into the back of the ambulance, Sandals was already in a coma. 

The entire case has recently been thoroughly reviewed by a different neurologist, who concurs with the primary care team that there is absolutely no reasonable expectation that this once vibrant 23 year old man will ever wake up. Yesterday in conference, the doctors told the parents the sad truth that Sandals has entered a vegetative state. There is a DNR in place. 

The medical recommendation is that (when his body is sufficiently stable) this precious child should be transferred to Winnipeg where he can be closer to  home. At that time, the doctors recommend that all assistance should be removed, including the feeding tube. After that, they estimate that the incredibly bright light that Sandals once shone upon this world... will slowly, painlessly, burn out for good within approximately 56 hours.

Sandals is a twin to Runners; their older brother, Nike, & the twins are best friends with our son, Boot. Runners & Boot have been sitting at Sandals' bedside for the last 2 days, silently communicating their love & their persistent hope for a miracle. 
Nike, Mr Shoes & I, and all other family members who have been able, have traveled to SK to remind Sandals of our love for him, & to lend support to his parents in this time of terrible sadness. 

Despite all our sorrows, the world goes on, as it always does. Plants continue to bloom in my gardens; though only the carrots, beets, peppers, & celery are still growing in the vegetable beds. 
"Adversity is the first path to truth."  ~ Lord Byron

"Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course."  ~William Shakespeare
    "Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men."
  ~Martha Graham
Sandals' parents are of very humble means; being in SK since the 
accident has already strained their finances past their limits.
 ~ A gofundme is in place for any who may feel moved to help ~ 
Any & all donations will be applied to Sandals' upcoming expenses. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

Is My Grand a Genius?

Yesterday, GrandAmy left this little interpretive art piece for me to find later on when I went out to saddle up. 
I think she may be artistically gifted. 
Excuse me, but I have to go call The Julliard & get her onto the waiting list...

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Back to Bunny Life

Mr Shoes & I had a very happy Honeymoon (belated though it was) in gorgeous Niagara Falls, but now it's time to resume my daily routine. 
I thought I'd get started back on track with this little bunnis out in the Rabbit Shack right now...
I'm a pretty little girl that soon will go live with my cousin bunnis, Precious, & her BunnyMommy, Pamela. I don't know my name yet, but I know Pam will have ideas. I can't wait to get there & start living the good life!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Friday, 8 September 2017

28 Years After the 'I Do's'

Honeymooning @ Niagara Falls, ON
As dusk turns to dark, Horseshoe Falls, CA is awash in coloured lights.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Always On Guard

"Saint, what have you got there?"
"It's mine. You want one, you go kill your own."
"I just want to look at it."
"Look with your eyes then. Don't come any closer." 
"You know, muskrats aren't any danger to us."
"On the 4Shoes, I make the call on what's dangerous."
"Okay, okay. I was just sayin'."
"Don't you have a Honeymoon to go on?"
"Yes, I'm going. Boot & Rugby Cleats will be here though."

"They'll have to fight me for this rat. They will lose."
"Trust me, no one wants to touch your rat."
"Don't worry about a thing, just go.
I got this (as usual).
You're welcome."

Friday, 1 September 2017

An Alternate View

'The Mane Trail'
Here we are again, on a different night, traveling down what we call 'The Mane Trail'This main track lays a pleasant 1/2 mile stripe down through the heart of the North Wood. Many arms of named trails branch off from The Mane: some go deeper into the North Wood & make crazy loops, while other paths lead to your choice of pasture, meadowland, or toward 'The Marsh'. Some paths even lead a meandering journey to the South Wood, where new future trails are in the process of developing. 
The Mane Trail empties out at the bottom into the middle of 'The Tail Trail', which is the 4Shoes' easternmost boundary. 

Every time we swing a leg over we do so knowing that we are in for an entirely different ride (even though we travel within a relatively small footprint of 160 acres), made more marvelous daily, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Monday, 28 August 2017

World Views

My favourite view of the world is 
the one that I see between his ears. 
*photo taken on the 4Shoes, riding down MeadowWest Trail

Sunday, 20 August 2017


"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

We Need Silence

"We need to find God, & He cannot be found in noise & restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon & the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls."  ~Mother Teresa

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Bringing in the Sheaves

Here in MB, Canada it has been a dry year. 
MB is the home of a thousand lakes... it's not like we've been drought stricken, but it's been dry enough in our area that the yard has only needed mowing 3x this entire summer (rather than the usual every 9 or 10 days), & the high areas are somewhat brown & crunchy. We've had a few sprinkles, & a lot of thunder & lightning action, but not enough moisture to leave any actual puddles. 
Until last night, when it rained steadily for several hours. The ground just drank in(!) all that cool rain, but there were even a few small puddles in the barnyard this morning & the wondrous smell of rain lingers in the air. 
Now the really cheery part for the 4Shoes... 
Conditions the summer of 2017 have finally been perfect to harvest the first hay crop on land that we cleared & seeded years ago! 

A rough likeness of the process to aid you in imagining 
the level of destruction in which we were up to our ears. 
Notice how I have painstakingly photo-shopped in snow-
banks & flakes (no 2 of which are alike, just like real 
ones)Because I'm totes creative & thoughtful that way.
Initially, we were forced to hire a cat to come in the winter of 2011/12 & knock down stands of willows & poplars by the thousands. Then the cats' blade scraped up a layer of soil that was literally rife with blankets of roots. 
When the snow had melted, the next step was dragging that field over & over & over again, separating trunks & sticks & roots & rocks from topsoil, and depositing all the debris into yet another enormous burn pile. Straight up - we have had a LOT of bonfires, yo. 

Cannot count the hours invested... but I can count
the dollars, which have been significant. NO shit.
The Spring of 2013 we dragged again(!), then tilled & seeded a Horseman's Blend in hopes of soon(?) harvesting home-grown livestock feed. Naively, we actually thought the hard part of the west field was over at that point... Fate must have been laughing her ass off. 

Mother Nature is a tenacious gal & loathe to let go,
so each succeeding year we had been back in that west field mowing down, ripping out by force, & burning re-appearing baby poplars & willows by the thousands*, while simultaneously gnashing our teeth over low spots sprouting cat tails. Until this year, that is. 
The West Field had LEGIT not been harvested in 34 years.
Mother Natures' tangles ensured a lot of hard graft for us to
wrestle it away from her. Mother Nature is a greedy, temper-
amental, persistent biotch.
But then, so am I.
This first & glorious harvest off the west field is a long-awaited payoff for having battled for what has (at times) felt like forever, for nothing. 
The effort has made us very thankful(!) to live in the age of heavy equipment. Especially when we've come in hot & exhausted at the end of hard days, but knowing that we can hardly imagine how much more difficult it was to accomplish these kind of goals in the pioneer days. 

The Barn Field...
Because on this side of the fence is the barn,
& because super-original names just come
 easy to us. 
We currently hay 3 other good parcels that we call 'the barn field', 'the lane field', & 'the wild field' because, crazy-level imaginative here. This year, in addition to ongoing grazing pasture maintenance & various farm upgrades, we have started clearing what we call 'the bottom field', which has been left gone wild for 34+ years & currently serves as a lovely, cozy bed & breakfast for a. lot. of deer. 
The Lane Field...
Because it runs alongside 4Shoes Lane, which
is an actual road allowance that dead ends at
our property. Forever & ever, Amen. 

But the 4Shoes is here for the long haul, & progress demands as much of our land as possible be productive so that Mr Shoes & I can continue to live comfortably after Mr Shoes has retired from his lucrative career. 
I shall be very careful not to go off on a *rant  about the hardships of the small holder, which often as not require at least one dependable outside revenue stream. 

*Right now. Later? No promises.

*The 4Shoes has been slowly tamed back into productivity for a decade now. Originally, it had been a thriving farm, but the owner just before us was a self-named alcoholic hermit who just liked living in isolation & so he let the farmed land drift steadily back to bush for 24 years. 

Mother Nature can reclaim almost everything in 24 years... 
Then the 4Shoes family came along, & she has had to loosen her tight grip... because we just won't quit! 

I couldn't even begin to calculate how many man & equipment hours we have logged, but now we often hear admiring words, "Your place is just BEAUTIFUL!", which feels very satisfying, because, who wouldn't enjoy some outside validation for a decade spent planning & executing a dream?

No actual sheaves were brought in, because sheaves are grain crops, not hay.
I think, technically, we are bringing in the equivalent of stooks, but I could be wrong.
Go ahead folks, edu-ma-cate me, please!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Day vs Night

"Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made & forgot to put a soul into."            ~Henry Ward Beecher
"When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."  ~Sunryu Suzuki

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A Deal's a Deal, Until it's Not

A deal is a deal. I ended that sentence with a period because, once a deal is struck & agreed upon, that's supposed to be the end of it. All that remains after the words, "That's a deal." are the pick up & the money exchanged for the receipt. 
Mr Shoes was hot after a manual bale transport (like the one above), but they don't come up used very often & new price hovers around $1000. A couple of weeks ago he got a line on what he wanted that was 3 hours away. Mr Shoes & the seller agreed on the price, made the deal, & arrangements for pick up on Mr Shoes next day off. 
It's a good thing Mr Shoes is thorough; he called just before we were to leave for the pick up.... only to find out that the seller had let the transport go the night before. 

"But we had a solid deal.", Mr Shoes said, "You sold it 
out from under me, & you didn't even have the decency to call & let me know before I made what I explicitly told you is 6 hour trip?" 

I could hear the seller shrugging through the phone; wth is wrong with some people? He got off easy actually; had we driven all the way there & found out we had spent $80 hauling a flat deck that would travel back empty, someone might've gotten a lightning-fast rabbit-punch. Some might say that I've got a bit of a temper... Mr Shoes is definitely the more reasonable (non-violent) half of this pair.
After hanging up, Mr Shoes was a little ticked off, & I didn't blame him because 'A Deal is a Deal'. I also didn't blame the seller because, 'A Bird in the hand'... 

However, the jag-off seller SHOULD have manned-up & just called Mr Shoes. Even a text would have been fine.

More recently, there was the 3pt autostart fertilizer/seeder... I spotted a screaming good deal on one of these & immediately sent the seller a text. 5 minutes later, the seller phoned me (he phoned ME!!) & told me to come & get it. I literally dropped what I was doing & jumped in the truck, texting that I was on my way. He texted back "K". 40 minutes later I arrive to find the seller with another buyer. What the what now? Long story short, I offered a higher price, but the seller figured he ought to give it to the guy who arrived first. I left without bothering to remind him that he called me(!) because, what was the point.

Another thing Mr Shoes had been wanting for a while is a bale elevator - a motorized conveyor belt that tilts up to the top of your stack & saves your back. One guy is at the bottom feeding bales onto the belt, & the other guy is on top, tying the bales in as they come off. We've physically thrown bales all these years... & we're not getting any darned younger. 
Luckily, the gal who was selling our new-to-us elevator was as good as her word. I made the deal with her on a Sunday, we drove out & picked it up 2 days later, & she had a bill of sale all ready to go. Yay! No more chucking bales!

That's the way a deal is supposed to go - you make a promise to pay & they make a promise to decline other offers. You make arrangements for pick up & you show up at the agreed upon time, with cash. 

Take note Sellers: If you say 'first come gets it', well then potential buyers know in advance that it's a free-for-all & no hard feelings if we get beat out. 
But, by Gawd, if you make a deal then you ought to be bound by it. If you're the dirty kind of bird who makes a deal but doesn't hold up your own end, at least be a decent human being & inform other interested parties that the item is sold before they drive out of their way.

To the dude who called me & told me to come pick up the fertilizer: Shame on you for double dealing & for wasting my time & traveling money! I think I showed amazing self-control this time, but the next toolbag who jerks me around might want to stand well back out of range of my swinging fist. 
Rabbit Punch!!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Cartoonist for Our Time

*Cartoon used here with express permission of Connie Sun
Connie to the Wonnie is a super talented young cartoonist who really speaks to our anxiety-ridden inner selves & to the times that we live in. 
I have to say that I feel pretty chuffed to have been granted permission to reprint one of her cartoons here on 4Shoes Life!
If you haven't already been, Go Now! Visit Connie's 5x/week strip online - her cartoons are evocative & memorable. And they're bloody funny too. 
If I don't soon see Connie to the Wonnie on your bloglist, then I'll know for sure that your taste is all in your mouth. *;-)

Monday, 24 July 2017

Golden Moments

I've been busy as a bunny these last few weeks; no doubt we are mostly all in the same summer boat. This little boonis is one of 7 kits in the Rabbit Shack at the moment, with another litter due Thursday. All the 4Shoes critters are looking fat & happy - can't complain on that front. 
After some taunting about how I would take on all comers on the Bocce field, I was soundly trounced by my BIL, who wasn't too shy to do a victory dance & rub my face in my failure. Truth be told, I actually didn't expect to win, I just like to smack-talk & incite good-natured rivalries @ our annual Family Gathering. 
And here's the traditional bonfire later that night, around which drinks were hoisted & tall tales were told in amongst the more accurate family memories, & much love & laughter was shared. These are the golden moments that I live for - surrounded by the people whom we love & who love us back most of all. 
But all good things must end, & after 5 days of revelry, even Manic MinPin was all tuckered out. That's saying something about this years' Gathering right there all on it's own!
For all my blogging buddies, I hoist a cuppa to ya & I wish you wonderful new memories made in the summer of '17.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017


Seems like a long time since I've seen a whack of foxtails blowing in the breeze, looking like an ocean on land. I found this little patch a few hours north of here & they reminded me of home, where foxtails blowing in the breeze are commonplace. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

Hell's Bells Ringing

It's so darned hot already that even the porkers have no energy! The forecast for the weekend? Roughly the same temperature as Hell, but with extreme humidity to boot. *sigh*

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

How're MOO Doin'?

Now about 15 months old, this mini Hereford heifer is up to about 700lbs. Lucy is a flirty lass - she's always "making cow eyes" at Crispin. 
Ethel, or Halfhorn**, is just as bad as Lucy - the 2 of them sashay their butts around him shamelessly.
"Hey Mrs Shoes, it's called a biological imperative, you know! And we don't appreciate being slut-shamed." 

Out the window one day I see the bull flat out... not moving at all. "Oh no!", I thought. "Has he had a blue balls heart attack?"
*Notice the 2 slutty heifers just as close up to his gate as they can possibly get?

From right outside the fence, he still looked dead.

"Thanks a bunch, Nap-Killer. This tremendous fart should have you simultaneously both reassured & repulsed."

**Halfhorn is a result of incorrectly applied dehorning paste by the breeder - Strike 1. You cannot see them, but Lucy has small horn tips under her hair - Strike 2. 
Obviously, Crispin goes around half horny all the time (running joke here) - Strike 3. 
Dehorning paste applied by that breeder?  100% FAIL. 

*This all cow post is for Sabine, of Friendly Hairy Creatures, who runs with her ponies and who would like to see an all cow blog. Sabine, my friend, this is for you!*

Sunday, 2 July 2017

150 Years Strong

The True North, Happy 150 Canada! July 1, 2017

Happy #241 to The Home of the Brave! July 4, 2017