Monday, 23 April 2018

Check the windows

Nice to have spring finally arrive. I took a short trip on Sunday and ran across this abandoned farm near Cessford, Alberta. I am not much of a fan of taking photos of abandoned vehicles, this one did have some character.

Behind the car is an abandoned house.

I learned to check trees, old barns, and abandoned houses for owls from a friend of mine. I never really paid much attention before. Now I try to give them a look. There was a Great Horned Owl in the window. So the place is not totally abandoned, there is at least one resident.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

So, it was a little damp in rural Alberta today

Flooded farm field. 

Saint Columba Anglican Church and Cemetery

A sign at the gate of Saint Columba Anglican Church and Cemetery states: "Built by the early settlers to the glory of God.Consecrated on November 2, 1898."

It was one of the earliest churches built in the district, and although regular services ceased in 1959, Saint Columba is still host to occasional weddings and baptisms and the cemetery is still in service.  The site is maintained by descendants of the early church members and was declared a Municipal Heritage Property in 1997.  This little church is near Tuxford, Saskatchewan and will have its one hundred and twentieth anniversary later this year. 

"Charming" is an understatement.

Friday, 20 April 2018

McConnell, Manitoba

Most of McConnell, Manitoba in one photo
The ghost town of McConnell, Manitoba is a typical Prairie story. The town came to being with the arrival of the railway in 1911, and the town disappeared when the railway closed in 1978.

Today, there are two buildings, two grain elevators and a few small farm buildings with some cows in the area.

The town was never very large - not much more than a dozen buildings. The school building served the area until 1967, and the remaining students went to nearby towns for their education. The building served as a community centre for a short time until the town was deserted.

Former school in McConnell, Manitoba
The town church was used as a residence for some time.

Former church in McConnell, Manitoba
There are two grain elevators in McConnell, former Manitoba Pool elevators along the railway right-of-way.

Grain elevators in McConnell
More on McConnell's grain elevators.

Steve Boyko

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Whiska Creek

I often make road trips during the week and that means restaurants, town offices and gas stations are open in the small towns.  I like to support the local businesses when I can and things can be pretty quiet on the weekends. On this occasion I was travelling in the R.M. of Whiska Creek on a Thursday and, as I often do, I stopped at the R.M. office in Vanguard, Saskatchewan.  Maybe there was an old school in the area... 

I talked with the secretary and as soon as she knew what I was looking for she said, "You'll want to talk to this guy," and promptly made a phone call. Within a minute I was talking to a long-time resident and R.M. employee who was not only generous with his time but even photocopied part of the municipality map, marked the locations of two old schools and the best route for the current winter conditions.

At this point I'm more than happy with my windfall and then, when we shake hands, he hands me a business card and says, "Hope you enjoy the sites and if you get stuck or have a problem, don't hesitate to call."  Well, sometimes a "thank you" just doesn't seem like quite enough. 

Did I mention that it was cold and everything had a blanket of blanket of snow?  I'd take photos for a few minutes, run to the car to warm up, then repeat. Lucky for me both schools were fairly close to the road.

Burton School is northeast of Vanguard and sits on top of a hill.

Bonus: A sign where Arnold School used to stand.

For some reason, the landowner stripped Easby School of its bricks and all that's left is a skeleton. Nice skeleton it is too.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

So I have had my photos jacked

Doing a little bit of interet surfing on my break and I happened to notice this site:

Damn those photos look familiar.

The website just lifted the photos right from my blog. I do this sort of thing for fun. If they asked I likely would have told them they could use them. No one ever asked and no credit is given. They also swiped a few other photos for the Finnegan Ferry. I sent an email asking for an explanation. I will see if I get a response. They weird thing is that this looks like some kind of government sponsored tourism site.

I am sure I have had a few more images "liberated" by unknown parties. I know some other people that have had this happen. If I did this to make money I would really be steamed.

Update: My friends over at had the same thing happen with their photos on this same site. We will see what develops.

The Canada Geese are staying so spring must be coming

I have been seeing hundreds of them on fields and the numbers are increasing.

They are tough birds. A late spring winter snowfall will not hurt them.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

New camera

Easter weekend I bought a Nikon Coolpix P900 and finally had an opportunity to get out and use it.

I did a minor zoom on this sitting in a field.

The zoom lens let me get closer.

I wanted to see just how good the telephoto lens was. I was able to read the manufacterer's information stamped on one of the blades when I zoomed in. This is not new stuff to anyone that has had a decent camera and a telephoto lens. Until now I have just owned inexpensive cameras so this is fun new territory for me.

While I was at it I thought I would try to be a bit artistic. I like the result.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Somewhere a groundhog needs to die with extreme prejudice

Last night my area received a heavy snowfall warning. Snow was to start today and we were to receive 10 to 20cm by the time it was done.The snow is falling heavily but it is melting and not piling up. Winter needs to be served an eviction notice.

Due to a lack of material . . .

I find myself posting that I bought a truck. Last Friday I contacted someone via an online classified ad and went to see it after work. I ended up on Saturday buying it. I now own a 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac with 4WD. Everything works and it will need a few minor fixes. It definitely needs a windshield, just like every other vehicle in Alberta. I like it for now. If I find myself not liking it I am sure I can sell it for more than what I paid for it. 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

White Valley Lutheran Church and Cemetery

I stayed the night in Eastend, Saskatchewan and being an early riser, headed straight to Charlie's Cafe for breakfast just as the sun was rising.  I struck up a conversation with the fellow sitting next to me at the counter and mentioned I was heading out to White Valley Church and Cemetery to take a few photos.  As it turned out he was one of the volunteer caretakers at the cemetery. Small world.

This lovely old church sits out on the open prairie in southwestern Saskatchewan. The associated cemetery is a little further down White Valley Road. 

From the Saskatchewan History & Folklore plaque mounted at the church site:

"The White Valley Lutheran Congregation was organized in 1911 with fourteen charter members.  Services were held in Rhodes School until 1928 when the church was built.  In 1983 it was declared a heritage building.  Originally part of the Frontier Parish, it is now in the Eastend Parish.  Throughout its eighty year history, twenty-four pastors and three lay ministers have served.

Thanks be to God for this heritage.

Psalm 32:12 'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His heritage."

Friday, 13 April 2018

Everybody has to suffer from something


They are really starting to get to me.

Five days in a row last week. A brief respite of a few days and an ungodly headache today. Currently the side of my head feels numb.

A few days ago I gave in and went to my friendly neighbourhood physician about the headaches. I rarely go to see my doctor. He is a good guy, seems to know his stuff, easy to talk to. If I do not think something is seriously wrong I do not bother going to see him. I am a low maintenance client. This time I went because I cannot seem to shake getting nasty headaches. It is seriously interfering with my life and my ability to do things.

I get to go for x-rays, blood tests, urine test, and a CT scan. Hopefully this all leads to some kind of solution.

Beulah and the Hay Bales

Beulah, Manitoba
This lovely old grain elevator at Beulah sits alone and abandoned beside highway 83, north of Virden, Manitoba. The elevator was built in 1922 and operated until the mid 1970s. More information on the elevator

- Steve

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Weyburn Court House

Verbatim from the Government of Saskatchewan brass plaque outside the court house:

"Weyburn Court House was designed by provincial architect Maurice Sharon in a distinctive colonial style. Constructed in 1928, this elegant building expressed the confident aspirations of Saskatchewan towns in the last good harvest year before the depression.

Colonial Revival in architecture was inspired by American historic reconstruction at Williamsburg, Virginia. The construction of court houses in this style at Prince Albert, Weyburn and Estevan in the late 1920s symbolized the growing influence of the United States on the cultural and economic life of the province."

Weyburn Court House is a Provincial Heritage Property and in twenty-five words or less: "It's a beauty!"

Monday, 9 April 2018

Wildlife In Jasper, Alberta March 31, 2018

This was all on one day. When I visit Jasper it is kind of rare not to see wildlife. A few times I have seen them walk right into town. All of this is just barely outside the town of Jasper.