Saturday 31 December 2016

As 2016 draws to a close

There are some roads I wanted to travel that I did not get to and some destinations I did not make.

Tomorrow is another day.

I wish everyone the best in 2017.

Thank you to all of you that have read this blog and have put up with the multiple hay bale posts.


A few regrets. I did a few things that did not turn out and there were some destinations I missed. I met some people online and in person and find myself richer for the experience. Life goes on until it does not.

Some highlights from my 2016 in photos. All have been in posts this year.

Friday 30 December 2016

The last barn post of 2016

December 30, 2016 and I find myself spectacularly unmotivated to do much and running out the clock on this year. Therefore I am posting another barn because I like barns.

Highway 39, 10km west of Calmar, AB

Barnstorming December 26, 2016

Highway 39 west of Calmar, Alberta. I have gotten into the habit where every time I see a barn I slow down and wonder if it would make a great photo. The great thing about barns is they hold a pose for you.

Thursday 29 December 2016

Signs of things remembered

I saw this Rocky Mountain House, Alberta on Boxing Day.

This is the first store dedicated to trapping I have seen. If they were open I would have walked in. I have seen a fair amount of beaver in the wild and they can be a problem. I have seen muliple dams on the same creek leaving me wonder how many generations of beaver there were in that area. When I was a kid one of my uncles used to work for the county and one of the jobs they would do was breaking up beaver dams, trapping, and relocating them. Beavers are very industrious and their actions would divert water from culverts or block them and flood roads. 

Another uncle of mine had a farm near Tomahawk, Alberta. There were a number of beaver that were flooding part of his farmland. I was not yet in my teens and I was out on the farm one summer. I liked visiting him. He let me learn to drive on a 1942 Willys army jeep with questionable brakes that he had on the farm and I got to play chauffeur driving him around the farm for the week I was there. There was a two man crew on his land doing some work for an oil company. It was a hot summer day and we drove across the field and hailed them. My uncle heard they had dynamite and asked if they wanted to take a break from what they were doing and if they wanted to blow up a beaver dam. They had no problem accepting the invitation.

Everyone piled in the jeep and off we went. I watched the one guy walk across the dam, take a pry bar to open up a gap, and insert the explosive. Wires were unrolled as we all got a safe distance away. Then I got to see one of the most awesome sights when I was a kid, a beaver dam exploding into pieces and the water rushing out. My uncle was a happy guy.

My uncle was also not a great farmer. He worked hard at it and did the things you were supposed to do. The problem was he never really enjoyed farming. His heart was never in it. He could not bring himself to kill anything. The beaver were left alone and overnight they rebuilt the dam. If you are going to get rid of the dam you also have to get rid of the beaver. Maybe he secretly liked having them there. Not too many years later he died of a massive heart attack nailing shingles on a cattle shed. His son took over and still has the farm today. He also solved the beaver problem.

Strange how things remind you of other things.

Rural art December 27, 2016

I hit the brakes when I saw an abandoned farm by Highway 21 south of Hay Lakes, Alberta. I like unusual stuff and this caught my eye. I also have a really bad habit of taking the long way home. It should have only taken me about two and a half hours to drive home. It took the back and side roads and arrived in five hours.

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Christmas post mortem

I dislike buying gifts because I am not good at it. I am far worse at wrapping gifts. If I have to buy a gift I like to put some effort into getting something unique and personal that I think they will like. Not being the creative type it is kind of difficult to find something I think someone would like. I would rather everyone not buy a gift and spend time with friends and family. Getting together with people is what I think the season is all about. In my opinion Christmas gifts are more for children. 

If I have to buy a gift beware, you might wind up with something like toe socks. I actually did buy these for someone. 

By the way, has some fun stuff.

Long distance Boxing Day voyager

For various reasons my mother did not make it to join the rest of us for Christmas Day. Therefore on Boxing Day I grabbed some coffee to keep me company and headed north for three hours to pay a visit. It seemed like the right thing to do. I always thought Christmas Day was for family and Boxing Day was for visiting anyway.

The parts of Alberta where I live and needed to travel were recently hit by a snowstorm. Some areas got as much as ten inches. There were numerous cars off the road from the prior three days. People were in various states of digging themselves out and setting up for things to get back to normal. The main highway was fine, the side roads were not as fine. Patience is key. I had an odd Christmas, I made good use of the time to turn off my thoughts and drive.

I checked in on mom to make sure everything was fine with her. Mom turned seventy-five this year. My sister talks with her on an almost daily basis. Instead of phoning I try to visit as I do get concerned about her. Seeing someone in person tells you more than a phone call. My sister had more family responsibilities than I do and I do not mind making the drive. Mom had dinner plans which she could have cancelled. Every time I visit lately she is cancelling plans with her friends when I arrive. I felf guilty and I had a long drive back. I told her to keep her plans and we would meet up again soon.

Range Road 71 north of Buck Creek, Alberta

Tuesday 27 December 2016


The time between Christmas and New Year's I like to be relatively quiet. The next year will soon be busy enough as people move from the holiday season back to living their lives. Things will bet back to normal and life will find its regular routine. Enjoy this time, it will be over too soon.

Meeting Creek, Alberta November 20, 2016

Monday 26 December 2016

Boxing Day should be a celebration of

Hay bales! Taken near Little Fish Lake, Alberta on December 15, 2016. This might be my best hay bale photo yet.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing I hope you are making the best of this holiday season. Have a drink and visit friends and family. Not necessarily in that order.

Sunday 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas everyone!

To everyone that reads this page may you have a Christmas to remember.

May we all keep in mind what the day is all about.

Saturday 24 December 2016

The day before Christmas

Wherever you are I wish you all the best this Christmas Season.

Moravian Church near Leduc September 4, 2016

Friday 23 December 2016

December 23, 2016 snowstorm

It will definitely be a white Christmas. This is just north of Airdrie, Alberta. Keep warm and cozy wherever you are.

The things you find on fence posts in the middle of nowhere

Thursday 22 December 2016

Fake cowboy on real prairie

I see a lot of silhouette cut outs in rural areas. A lot of them do not get your attention. I thought this one was quite good. They even put up some fencing and a gateway behind it. It was north of Hanna, Alberta just off Highway 36 on December 15, 2016.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

'tis the season

For thin posts. Christmas preparation and those close to you take priority over blog postings. 

Birding December 15, 2016

Driving in the rural areas I have been seeing a lot of birds such as eagles, hawks, and owls on fence posts. Trying to get a photo of one is tricky. Most will not stay in place long enough for you to get a picture. I have missed a few dozen opportunities. I managed to get a quick shot of this one near Little Fish Lake, Alberta.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Bulwark Cemetery December 15, 2016

The cemetery is the only permanent thing that remains of Bulwark, Alberta. It is a little north of Highway 599 east of Castor, Alberta. You can see the ghost town of Bulwark from the cemetery. The sign beside  Highway 599 pointing the way to the cemetery is ridiculously small.

The cemetery itself is well looked after. It if was not so cold I would have taken a good walk around. My hands and camera were feeling the cold in minutes.

The big marker is there to remember the people who settled this area. A lot of the words were covered in snow and ice.

I am not sure if it is still in use. Some headstones looked recent. A return visit in the summer is on the list.

Monday 19 December 2016

Bloggers who should post more often

This guy has a great blog. The only issue I have with it is that he really needs to post more often.

Bulwark, Alberta December 15, 2016

Bulwark, Alberta is definitely a ghost town. No one lives here. At one time it had several businesses such as general stores, a post office, two churches, a hardware store, and a bank to name a few. There were even five grain elevators. The rail line is long gone and a few buildings and scattered junk remains.

The sign marks where the Bulwark School was. Bulwark School District 4265.

The building looks like a school. I am unsure if it was.

I was taking this photo and notice two huge owls on corner of the roof. One was a Snowy Owl, the other was a Great Horned Owl. I quietly raised the camera, zoomed in, framed the shot, pressed the shutter and the camera shut itself off due to no battery power. The owls flew off. I will never get another opportunity like that again. There was a new package of batteries in the car. Not that it helped me at the time. 

Miscellaneous junk and the remains of some buildings are all that is left.

The town is almost hidden by a few dips in the prairie landscape. Bulwark from a distance.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Drive by visit: Netherby School

I took some advantage of some free time on December 15, 2016 to take a run out to the countryside. I felt the need to get out for a run. It was a dumb idea. The weather was damn cold. I was looping my way back when I remembered this school kind of near Hanna, Alberta. I had been here before last summer and I heard rumours that it was demolished. It was good to see it was how I remembered it. It is abandoned. This building was used to film scenes in a movie "Why Shoot The Teacher?".

Saturday 17 December 2016

November 26, 2016 Cochrane, Alberta

I felt the need to post a barn.

Friday 16 December 2016

Anthony Hill School December 9, 2016

Jenn at deserves credit for this one. She sent me a note days ago saying that she thought she found a school via Google Maps. I stopped by it on my way home from visiting my mother on December 9, 2016. This is off on a rural road a little east of Usona, Alberta. There is not much at Usona, Alberta. 

This is a classic one room schoolhouse. I would have walked through the snow to get a close up look as it was just barely off the rural road except for the absolutely nasty cold temperatures. It will have to be a trip for another time. It was three in the afternoon and daylight was starting to fade. I am looking forward to the days getting longer and the temperatures warming. I would love to see what it looked like back in the day.