Thursday 28 February 2019

Short break

Need a day or two of downtime.

Just wrote a midterm yesterday. I have a university degree but I have not taken any post-secondary courses in ages. I spent quite a bit of time trying to study and writing notes. Trying to get back into that routine when taking a course took a bit of time. Everyone in the course is younger than I am.

The course is in a subject and industry that does not usually have a lot of change. What was kind of tripping me up is that the course material is stuff that I have taken in other courses years ago, it is the same but different. The weird thing is that the definitions of a lot of the terms have slightly changed from their prior definitions. I remember things one way however I have to make sure I have the answer as it is defined currently. There are dumb changes as well, where the pronouns in definitions were "he" they are all changed to "she" or "he or she". One more solution in search of a problem.

I think I did well enough. They just announced a fast track course in this program of study that would be on two weekends this June. I pondering signing up for that one.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Jasper National Park, February 18, 2019

Trying to be artistic once again.

Chez Bandy?

I have a few things happening that are taking up my time besides my job.

Earlier this month I put in an offer on a condo. It is a foreclosure where the bank recently dropped the asking price. I arranged an appointment with a realtor to see it. It needs a little bit of work, nothing serious. I made a lowball offer on a Friday night that was sent in on a Monday morning. I was a little surprised to hear my offer was accepted. The seller did not bother to counter. I was a little miffed, I should have offered less. In the meantime I had an inspection done and asked my brother-in-law who is an accountant to review the condo board financials. Everything seems to reasonably be in order so the end result of all of this is that I will be owning a condo. I take possession next month.

After renting for the last five years and living with few possessions I will have to buy some furniture and enough stuff to make my new abode comfortable.

I like the sound of Bandy Manor.

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Corinne, Saskatchewan

I passed through Corinne, Saskatchewan on February 1, 2019. I was there for a train but I had a bit of time to explore. I found this school division sign, "SD #2720 CORINNE 1910-1965".

In the distance was a two-story house, apparently abandoned. I took a photo of it from the nearby Highway #6.

Corinne is also home to a large Pioneer grain elevator complex, and the CP Weyburn subdivision runs beside it.

- Steve Boyko

Monday 25 February 2019

Zion – Wheatwyn Lutheran Church, Saskatchewan

Paraphrased from:

Around 1900, a small group of German Lutheran immigrants settled in this district. They held informal church services on the neighbouring farms and established Zion Evangelical Lutheran congregation in the spring of 1906. A cornerstone was laid in the late summer on land donated by one of the original members, John Lingner, and construction began soon afterwards. The church was dedicated on November 3, 1907, and regular services were held there until 1961 when the congregation merged with St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in nearby Markinch. The church is still used for special services, funerals, weddings, etc. It is designated a municipal heritage property in January 1982, and a provincial heritage site in July 2005.

Heritage value resides in the church’s stone construction and Gothic Revival architecture. Constructed from local field-stone, the church includes three symmetrically-placed pointed arch windows on each side, and a cupola facing the east. Visited in January 2019, located in the Rural Municipality of Cupar, Saskatchewan.

- Jason Paul Sailer

Sunday 24 February 2019

Classic little red barn

Tis a bit cold and I am committed to other matters. Posts have been a little sparse as of late something that I am planning to remedy. The post cupboard is getting very bare, not even any bale posts. 

Saturday 23 February 2019

Jasper National Park

I did a quick drive on Highway 93 from Saskatchewan Crossing to Jasper, Alberta last Monday. Great views and saw a herd of at least thirty of these critters. Getting them to pose is another matter entirely.

Friday 22 February 2019

Thursday 21 February 2019

Random thoughts

I think of certain people at odd times. I am sure everyone does.

My father died in March 1997. You think of people on the important dates, and at unexpected times thoughts of them will come up during the course of your life.

One of my father's great loves was peanut butter on toast, sometimes with jam, for breakfast in the morning with his coffee before heading off to work. He would be up before anyone and have his toast and coffee and share it with whatever dog we had at the time. I can remember a lot of times he would get up and have it as a midnight snack. Quite a few times he would have it for dessert. I inherited the same habit. I like to have grape jelly with my peanut butter and toast.

In 1974 my father spent over three months in an intensive care unit, first in a hospital in the town we were living, then he was sent to a hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia where they could do more for him. He was suffering from blood clots and came close to dying from them during that time. I do not recall seeing him during that time.

We knew a few families quite well on our block at that time. Most of them were blue collar types. My father was a heavy duty mechanic, the guy right across the street was a welder. One of the neighbours was a guy with the last name of Lane. My parents were friends with him and his wife. Mr. Lane was a guy that was on a different path. He was smart, had a university degree, and was a professional who owned his own company.

Mr. Lane and his wife were in Vancouver when my father was in the hospital and they stopped in for a visit. Dad was quite ill. Mr. Lane and his wife were dressed up as they were going to dinner in a high end restaurant. Mr. Lane asked if there was anything they could get him. My father said he was dying for a toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for some reason he could not get one in the hospital. Mr. Lane and his wife went off to dinner and near the end the waiter asked if there was anything else they would like. Mr. Lane asked for a toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich to go. From what I heard the waiter did a bit of a double take and said he would check with the kitchen. I believe Mr. Lane said it was important and would appreciate it if they could accommodate this request. The restaurant came through and they charged him six dollars, expensive for 1974. He delivered it to the hospital and my father was damn happy to get it. Dad talked about getting peanut butter and jelly delivered to him for years.

Dad got better, we moved from that town not long after as dad accepted a transfer, and I only saw the Lane family one or two times after that.

Not sure why I was thinking about this event recently. Maybe I was thinking that a small gesture can have a big impact on someone else. Or that I was thinking that I hope there is peanut butter and grape jelly in the afterlife. 

Summer reminder

There was a nice short break in the cold snap and temperatures are set to dip again. Daylight Savings is March 10 this year and winter will soon be on its way out.

From July 14, 2018.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

A Baker's Dozen

I always appreciate a stained glass window, no matter how small and simple or large and detailed. They unfailingly catch my eye and make the day a little brighter.  Here's a very small selection of personal favourites from churches I've seen over the past few years.   


Saint Paul's United Methodist Church, Helena, Montana

The rose window from a church of modern/industrial design.  The clear and yellow round pieces are about one and a half inches thick in the centre and give the captured light a dimensional quality...when you move, the light moves along with you.

Directly below:

Saint Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Some sections of the windows at Saint Pat's are constructed with glass that's at least a half inch thick.  Unlike the thicker rounded pieces mentioned above, here the edges are chipped to fit into the leading.  These chipped edges catch the light at different angles to create quite a dazzling display.  See how the crosses in the upper and lower sections have "extra sparkle."

Saint Andrew's Anglican Church, Tompkins, Saskatchewan

A small town church with an exquisitely designed triptych of stained glass from England behind the altar.  I have a friend whose father was the reverend here in the 1950's.

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Parish, Weyburn, Saskatchewan

A window of modern design.  The "rays of light" in upper part of this window are spectacular and remind me of the "Jacob's Ladder" effect when sunlight streams down in rays between the clouds.  My sister played organ here when she lived in Weyburn.

Saint James Catholic Church, Powers Lake, North Dakota

The arched window above the front doors. There are another seven larger windows of like design inside the church.

Nazareth Lutheran Church, Kenmare, North Dakota

One pair of windows from a large church in town.  It was open and I could hear activity coming from the door leading downstairs . . . about a dozen ladies were quilting.  I was just in time for afternoon tea.

Saint Luke's Catholic Church, Noonan, North Dakota

A rare combination of burnt orange and purple in this, the smallest of eight windows in the church.  Many of the traditionally styled stained glass windows in this part of the world were designed and assembled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as are these.

Zion Lutheran Church, south of Noonan, North Dakota

The Ladies Aid donated this window to the church . . . I'm sure lots of cookies and Christmas cakes were sold to finance the purchase.  Finding the maker's name in the lower left hand corner of the centre panel was a rare treat: Studios Ford-McNutt Glass Co. Mpls.

Lesje Lutheran Church, near Souris, North Dakota

It was frigidly cold outside and in the distance I could see smoke rising from the chimney of a big country church. It was warm inside and all ready for the Christmas service. It also had bathrooms! These are the windows that surround the front doors.

Trinity Lutheran Church, near Ambrose, North Dakota

An abandoned country church with simple stained glass panels in the windows.  I was both surprised and pleased to see the windows mostly intact with only a few panels missing or broken.  A bird had attached its nest just inside one of the broken panes. 

Saint Barnabas Anglican Church, Medicine Hat, Alberta

I love this large five panel window.  The expansive use of turquoise coloured glass around the main lower panels is unusual and attractive.  The windows here are all from England.  The same friend's father was reverend here in the 1960's.

Bethany Lutheran Church, Tilley, Alberta

These stained glass crosses are on the front doors of the church. The church itself is of Danish design and is quite a rarity in these parts.

Saint Paul Mission Church, Hays, Montana

My personal favourite in this collection of windows. This is the only church I've seen that visually celebrates native Americans. Nice to see that.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.

- Michael Truman

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Just wanted to thank . . .

Michael Truman. Including tomorrow's post he has contributed one hundred posts to this blog and helped me keep this blog going. I certainly had no idea it was that many and I appreciate all the posts he has contributed. All of the posts that anyone has contributed are tagged with their name if anyone wants to search them.

2nd Avenue and Thunder Road

A few photos from this past summer . . . the "Pool" elevator in Glentworth, Saskatchewan.

The hotel/bar/restaurant here is still open and caters mainly to locals and hunters; they make a great Denver sandwich. 

It was beastly hot outside and the sky was filled with smoke from all the forest fires.  Inside the restaurant was cool and homey.  Friendly people.

- Michael Truman

Monday 18 February 2019

1901 Balgonie United Church

A beautifully restored 1901 stone church in Balgonie, Saskatchewan. It was used as a church until 1973 when the church moved to a newer building nearby. The stone church was renovated into a seniors centre and later into a daycare. After the daycare closed the Town acquired the church and assisted with the renovation efforts. 

When we stopped in the town in mid-January 2019, we were lucky that a town employee had stopped at the church to check things over and graciously let us come inside to see the interior. He himself has helped with the work inside the church and he gave us a tour - we thanked him for his contributions on preserving prairie history before we continued on our way. If you are in the area, it is definitely worth a few minutes of your time!

- Jason Paul Sailer

Sunday 17 February 2019

Whatever happened to . . .

. . . cheap yellow pads? It is kind of weird how things disappear over time. I am doing my taxes and some studying for a course this weekend. When I was a full time student I used to buy stacks of cheap yellow writing pads to write pages upon pages of notes. The paper was rough with no finish to it, in fact the paper looked like wood pulp in some cases. The pads were perfect because I was not keeping the notes when I was done. I would write and rewrite the same things to help me organize and remember course material. An added bonus is that my handwriting would get better with constant repetition for when I needed to write a test. Anything I wanted to ever keep for notes I would type and keep in a better format.

I went looking for the cheap yellow pads recently and they were damn hard to find. I believe the issue is that everything is done on computer these days, even the final exams for courses. Fewer people write anymore which I think makes people just a little dumber.

For those that are curious I am getting a refund. It will go towards the road trip fund. 

Stony Beach

Grain elevator at Stony Beach, SK
I was in Regina, Saskatchewan recently and took some time to go visit the grain elevator at Stony Beach, between Regina and Moose Jaw on the CN branch line. This elevator is fairly unique in that it still wears the full Saskatchewan Wheat Pool logos.

The rail line is still in use by CN - I'm not sure about the elevator.

While I was there, I drove through the hamlet's few streets and spotted this old church (?), now boarded up. Based on a little Googling, it could have been an Anglican church.

The white building beside it intrigued me. It looks like an old railway section house.

The hamlet seems to have a fair number of people still living there. There is a lot of industrial activity nearby, as Stony Beach is just north of Belle Plaine (on the Trans-Canada Highway) where there is a large Mosaic potash mine, a new Ilta Grain loading facility, some natural gas wells, and the CP Rail main line.

While I was driving to Stony Beach, I saw a fox cross the road. I was able to pull over and pick my camera off the passenger seat and snap some photos as it bounded across a field. The photos are very grainy (ISO 6400) as it was still pretty dark and the fox was a good distance away. Still, I'm glad I photographed it. It was cute.

Finally, here's an arty photo I took of the grain elevator by zooming the lens while the shutter was open. I like the effect.

Thanks for reading! More about the Stony Beach grain elevator.

- Steve Boyko

Saturday 16 February 2019

Another attempt at art

Friday recap

My mother's car needed a quick trip to the dealer for a fix. Mom does not like to drive very far these days. Proof of that is that her car is over five years old and has slightly less than 40,000km on it.

I stayed overnight at her place. Then I got up early Friday morning to drive her car ninety minutes into Edmonton for its 9:00am appointment. Edmonton is the closest Kia dealer. You cannot drop your car off anymore, you have to be checked in. This seems to involve taking a tablet and taking a photo of your VIN, a photo of the mileage, and photos of the car. Then you sign some forms confirming what you already told them you wanted fixed. The key is handed off to someone who drives off with the car and you get relegated to a cramped waiting area.

I shortly got a text asking me to confirm, via text, that they could communicate with me by text, and show me a video confirming that the car was in the shop being worked on. I texted back "Just fix the car, not interested in the video". I contracted with you to perform a service and I really could not care about the fancy technology, just give me what I came for. If they were going to give me a wall job I think I could figure it out. By the way, a wall job is where they park your car by the wall, do nothing, make you wait an indeterminate amount of time, then give you a bill with some dirt stains on it to look like something was done.

What work they could do was done in a timely manner. Of course there is always that part that has to be ordered because they do not have it so you need to book a return appointment. I will have to pick up mom's car and repeat this process at a future date. I then drove her car back ninety minutes, this time in falling and blowing snow, then picked up my vehicle and drove myself another fifty-five minutes to where I live. Being the absolutely stellar son that I am I made sure to gift mom with a full tank of gas.

What gets me about car dealerships, or at least the ones I have recently visited, is that these days is you cannot tell the staff from the customers. A service adviser used to look like a service adviser. Now they seem to be young women, or hipster types, who I am not sure even have a driver's license. They dress like they are hanging out in a trendy coffee shop. I wandered through the showroom out of boredom. There was only one salesman who had a suit and remotely looked like he had some interest in his job. They rest needed to be showcased on that television show "What Not to Wear". I always leave hoping at least the mechanic knows what they is doing and that the car does not fall apart when I am on the highway.

To me impressions make a difference in how I view your business. I have kind of ranted about this before, I just had to revisit the subject again.

Friday 15 February 2019

Thursday 14 February 2019

North of the Hills

Just north of the Cypress Hills this past summer . . . fresh hay bales!

A mile or two down this road is the old Congregational Church and Cemetery.

- Michael Truman