Monday 30 November 2020

State of the blog address

November 30 is the anniversary date of this blog. I think. That is the date that I go with.

I still loathe the latest version of Blogger. There are many reasons which I will not get into.

To say this has been an interesting year would be charitable. At the beginning of the year I had some plans to do certain things. I am not alone, I am sure that everyone had things they dreamed of doing that were rapidly derailed by COVID. I am not sure if we will be able to do much of anything a few months from now. The rules of the game keep changing. We live in interesting times. Currently I can go to a restaurant but not have people in my home. Go figure.

My employment this year was not affected. Lots of people had their lives upended. It was, and sometimes still is, tough dealing with clients and family who had their lives blindsided by this. I sincerely hope everyone gets their life back. The reality is some will not.

I still have this half formed plan to travel to Iceland which I wanted to do this year. Obviously that did not happen. Why Iceland? Everybody wants to travel somewhere. That was one of two places (other than the USA) outside of Canada where I wanted to travel. One of those I accomplished. That trip was in the budget. I think it will get kicked over to the year after next. It might take that long to get the world somewhat back to normal.

Events this year threw a wrench into everyone's plans. I am not unique. Trips within my country had to be changed or scrapped, forget any trips I wanted to make to the USA. I had planned a trip or two for a week into British Columbia. Those became trips to Saskatchewan instead, less hassle due to provincial restrictions. Trips were shorter instead of longer this year simply because of lot of places were closed and events were suspended. Things are more expensive which in turn made road trips more costly. That may affect future plans and may affect this blog in the future.

With what has happened this year I thought that I might not get anyplace interesting or find anything worthy to post. I was glad to prove myself wrong. I just had to concentrate on exploring other places. I did get to see some interesting sights. I thought I might not get any good photos this year. I think I got a few. If nothing else I got to cross two ferries off my list.

My motorcycle riding this year was practically non-existent. Too many rainy days in this area up to the end of July. Plus the bike was in the shop for an extended period. I just recently got parts in for the bike so there should be no issues with the bike next year. However the phrase "Famous last words" comes to mind.

As always thank you to those who contribute posts and material to this blog. Thank you to those that comment, I get some comments on old posts that cause me to do some thinking and a little digging. I do my best to credit contributors and link to their blog if they have one. By the way, starting a blog is an interesting way to meet people. I hope to meet more and I am looking towards a brighter future. To start a blog and keep it going this long has been a bit of an accomplishment.

There may be a break from blogging in the new year or less frequent posts. We shall see.

St. Anne's Church


St. Anne's Church near Poplar Point, Manitoba is "one of the oldest log churches in continuous use in western Canada" according to the sign on the grounds. From the outside, it looks like an pretty ordinary country church.

When Jason Sailer and I visited it, the building was closed, but I was able to stick my camera through a gap to capture this flash photo showing the logs that the church was built with.

It looks like this church is still used, at least occasionally.

Steve Boyko

Sunday 29 November 2020

A little school history

A reader of this blog, Don Rice, sent me an email and mentioned that his grandparents taught in a few one room schools. He provided the following where they taught.

Embury School which is about 40km North of Saskatoon - no school there anymore, just the marker where it once stood.

Parker School which is about 50km North of Saskatoon, the red brick school school, although not in great condition is still there, and there is a marker as well. Considering this school just celebrated its one hundredth anniversary in September and the building hasn't really been looked after in fifty years, it is amazing that it is still standing in as good of a condition as it is. It definitely would need some work, but I'm checking to see if it would be feasible to fix up this rare red brick single-room school and have it named a heritage site. There is only one red brick single-room heritage site school in Saskatchewan, and that is over 250km away.

I have started a Facebook page for the school:

Penner School, maybe 5km north of Saskatoon. This school is still used as the Saskatoon Snowmobile Clubs Clubhouse, and there is a marker as well. The school is in fantastic condition.

Friday 27 November 2020

Bought myself a Christmas present

Picked up a bottle of forty year old Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port.

Think I will crack it on Christmas Day.

After all, I have been (reasonably) good.

Summer shot

From somewhere in Saskatchewan from this summer. I will admit to feeling a bit down over COVID, restrictions, and it getting dark when I get off work. It is really unfortunate that there are yellow fields of Canola for a short time. It is also unfortunate that I never seem to get enough photos to post when summer is over.

Thursday 26 November 2020

Grad 2020


It seems to be an annual event for the high school graduation students in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan to celebrate the occasion by repainting this old barn.

Chances are grad was a non-event this year but at least the kids were able to enjoy this annual tradition.

The barn is located on the northern edge of town where Atlantic Avenue turns into Ontario Avenue.

- Michael Truman

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Twilight moose

Not the greatest photo due to the light. Spotted him on my way home today. 

St. Paul's United Church


The St. Paul's Anglican Church near Poplar Point, Manitoba is a nice little country church. I've photographed it a few times as I passed by it chasing trains. I think it is still in use; at least it is well maintained.

The drone photo above is from July 2020 while the winter photo below is from November 2019.

Finally, here's another ground-level photo from July 2017.

There's a small cemetery adjacent to the church.

The church is on Google Maps and has 3 reviews - two five star reviews and one four star.

Steve Boyko

Tuesday 24 November 2020

There will likely be a return of COVID restrictions in my province

I am not on board with restricting people's freedoms and forcing businesses to close.

If it does happen I have eighty rolls of toilet paper and food on hand. I am better prepared than last time.

Except for alcohol. I need to stock up. I keep drinking it.

The Lonesome Garage


A photogenic old garage near Burstall, Saskatchewan. Looks like it may have been on "Main Street" at one time.

- Michael Truman

Monday 23 November 2020

Winter in my part of Alberta

Some snow, not a lot. It will be melting this week as temperatures will be around zero degrees Celsius. With luck it will be a mild winter.

The Blue Church

Guest post from Dale Redekopp.

I have photographed hundreds of old churches on the prairies, and it is very rare to come across a church with a blue exterior. These blue churches are referred to as “Marian Churches” and are dedicated to the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The color blue has many different connotations in different religions, but is almost always connected with the Virgin Mary. This distinctive blue is referred to as Byzantine blue and is considered the colour of the Mother of God and is usually used in religious icon paintings to show her heavenly nature. The backgrounds of mural paintings in many Byzantine churches dedicated to the Mother of God are dark blue. A renowned example of Byzantine blue is contained in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

In the Ukrainian Orthodox church, blue clothing is worn for all feasts of the Virgin, including Mary’s Feast Day. Other religious denominations wear blue during different times and ceremonies.

I have seen only three blue churches so far. The St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church north of Punnichy, SK which is pictured, was built in 1937 and was active until 1970. The other two churches are a Ukrainian Orthodox church west of Edmonton, and the St. Edmund’s Anglican Church in Big Valley, Alberta.

Sunday 22 November 2020

The no post, post

Post cupboard is bare for today and I am supposed to be studying for a course I am taking. 

The course is boring and motivation to study is proving difficult. Trying to force myself to stay the course.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Hagen, Saskatchewan

Guest post from Dale Redekopp.

Hagen is a hamlet in Saskatchewan. It had a population of 39 in the 2006 Census. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) constructed a Relief Aerodrome for RCAF Station Prince Albert near the town during WWII. There is no evidence of this airfield that I could find. There is not much left in Hagen. The Pool elevator was built in 1930 and is in poor condition.  The Saron Lutheran Church is located a few KM to the southwest of town.  The cemetery contains the graves of many Hagens, but not Festus.

Friday 20 November 2020

Road tripping - Part Three - The long road home

The ferry south of Ainsworth departure times for the morning are 6:00am and 8:10am from Balfour to Kootenay Bay, British Columbia if you are going to take the southern route. My friend and I debated about going back the same way we came and due to the rumoured snowfall we decided to take a different way home. I said we should catch the early ferry crossing. He said the one after eight was fine.

Set an alarm which was not needed as I have a habit of waking up early, or in this case a bit after six. My friend woke  up, looked at the time, and said he thought we were taking the early ferry. I said I wanted to take the early ferry and that he wanted to take the later one. We already missed the first ferry of the day.

After checking out he said he was driving. From Ainsworth to Balfour to catch the ferry is less than fifteen minutes. Got in line waited. There is usually a coffee stand open at this time where you wait for the ferry. Nothing was open. I kind of need my morning coffee. My friend does not drink coffee so you already know there is something suspect about him. At least it was not snowing and it was supposed to be a sunny day.

Drive onto the ferry and of course due to COVID you have to stay in your vehicle. There is kind of a little diner on the ferry but that was not open. Nothing to do but stay in the vehicle and enjoy the ride. It is about a forty-five minute crossing. You cannot run your vehicle and vehicles do not retain heat so you could feel the inside get incrementally colder as you cross. On the other side nothing was open either. Fifty-five miles south to Creston where I could get a decent cup of coffee.

Highway 3A to Creston goes through lots of little settled areas, hugs the side of the mountain and lake, has lots of twists and turns, and in many places the speed limit is 60km/h. There is some snow and ice on the road. I drive to road conditions, my friend thought it would be fun to drive as fast as possible. I am not against speeding however I do not like driving really fast on a road like this with snow and ice on it. I mentioned it a couple of times. It did not make a difference.

No photo stops. It would delay the trip back. The road along Kootenay Lake has great views. One of my favourite roads in British Columbia.

Creston is big enough to have a couple of fast food chains so I snagged coffee and a breakfast sandwich and he filled the truck with gas that we had in the back. When you go inside to order there is a plexi-glass shield and the young lady behind it is wearing a mask. Trying to figure out what someone is saying when everything is muffled is a pain. After correcting my order three times I got what I wanted. Coffee was worth it.

Highway 3 from Creston all the way into Alberta. Only slushy spots were by Yahk and Sparwood in British Columbia. Otherwise the highway was bare and bare all the way home. Nice sunny day as well. Once in Alberta it was Highway 22 north all the way to Highway 39 and then home. Highway 22 north to Longview was very windy but it always is. Lots of hunters were out south of Longview. 

There were some minor disagreements. I had a faster route plotted. He wanted to take Highway 22 all the way. I said that since he was driving he made the decisions. About eleven hours from hitting the road to the time I was home. It was good to get an extended visit, catch up, and discuss some stuff. It was a good trip. I had all day November 15 to rest up before work on Monday.

I would do it again.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Road Tripping - Part Two - Hiding from Friday the 13th

The last Friday the thirteenth in March of this year the world went to hell. If the same thing was going to happen in November when Friday the thirteenth hit I was damn well not going to be a work this time.

I am not superstitious. I just wanted to get away to someplace nice. Ainsworth Hot Springs in British Columbia is a nice place. If you are going to hide from Friday the thirteenth this is one of the places where I prefer to hide. Apparently the population here is twenty people. There is the resort, a small motel, a few houses, and that is about it.

There is some upside to COVID. Less than half the resort was full and the hot springs were closed to the general public and were reserved for hotel guests only.

There of course multiple downsides to COVID. You could not get breakfast at the resort restaurant because they were not serving it. They have in the past. If you wanted breakfast there you could go to the main lobby and grab a paper bag that contained a muffin, an apple, and container of juice.

I wake up way too early at this point in my life. I was up at about six. Did some reading. Looked out the window later and someone was in the parking lot beside their van enjoying their bong. He was taking hits and then looking around to see if anyone had saw him. Whoever he was he was too dumb to consider someone might see him from their room. I rapped on my second floor window which caused him to turn around and see where the noise was coming from. He could not figure it out. No one can tell me the best and the brightest do drugs. For my own amusement I reported him to the front desk later.

Going back to sleep was not possible. Some zealous type decided to clear the parking lot with the snowplow, which was a plow attached to a pickup. Snow had fallen during the night but it was wet slushy snow that was mostly water than snow that might have been an inch in total.

I grabbed what passed for breakfast and made some coffee with the coffeemaker that was in the room. Of course with COVID everything comes in prearranged packages and you have to contend with powdered creamer. Nevertheless I was in the pool as soon as it opened at nine.

During the day it snowed, rained, turned to sleet, or decided to do a combination of those. For the entire day. If you are sitting in outdoor hot springs why would you care? I sure as hell did not. Two hours of this was perfect. There were so few people using the pools at times that we were the only ones in it. If you want to get your heart rate up there is an ice cold pool that you can plunge in after getting out of the hot pool. Once was enough.

Out of the pool, grab some food since the restaurant was open and serving actual food. Took a quick trip down the road to cross taking the Harrop Ferry off my list then back to the resort and in the pool. Few hours of that, then dinner. Bacon wrapped rib-eye again simply because it was so damn good the night before. Then about two more hours in the pool to close out the day. The nice thing about coming here is that there really is not a lot to do so you are kind of forced to do nothing. With everything going on in the world I was fine with that.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Highway 16 west of Stony Plain, Alberta 2:00pm today


Bales in the Meadow


A lush meadow populated with bales near Saint Louis, Saskatchewan.

It will be several months before we see this much greenery again.

- Michael Truman

Road tripping - Part One - Hit the road Jack

A few months ago I had booked a three day trip. About a month ago it came up in conversation with a friend of mine that I had this trip booked and he kind of invited himself along. He said he needed a break and really wanted to go. I really needed a break, this year with all that has happened and with personal issues a few days away was essential for my sanity. On one hand I had other plans in mind for this trip, on the other hand expenses would be split down the middle. Being cheap won out.

This is a friend that I have known since high school and we see each other on an irregular basis. There may be some changes coming up in his life that may make it harder for us to meet up in the future. It looked like this might be our last chance for quite some time to get together for a few days. I was able to juggle a few things so he could come along.

The plan was to get to Ainsworth Hot Springs in British Columbia. My friend lives on a quarter section (160 acres) outside of Edmonton. This was to happen on November 12 and a snowstorm had gone through our area the prior weekend and hung around for a bit on the following Monday. Distance is about 880km one way.

I am one of those types that likes to hit the road early. Very early. I like there to be a cushion built in for travel time just in case something goes wrong or there is a delay. Of course my friend had to volunteer for overtime and worked the night shift. He was off work at seven in the morning. I was at his place on time and wanted to leave right away however we had a disagreement over which vehicle we would take. I wanted to take mine, he wanted to take his 2002 Ford F150 4x4. I pack light, he packed enough for what looked like a week. Arguing wastes travel time when you are trying to leave on a trip so I caved. I drove because he had worked the last twelve hours and I was not going to let him drive. On the road at 8:15am.

I would have rather taken my car. My ride had new winter tires and the brakes had just been serviced. I drove all day in his truck that had a check engine light constantly on with a few other minor issues. Most of the time the idiot light means nothing however those things bother me. I really did not want to take his vehicle however he brought beef jerky for the trip so that helped me overlook a few things.

My friend is one of those who has extra gas on hand. Gas in my area is 82.9 cents a litre. Once you get into British Columbia you are paying thirty to forty cents a litre more. My friend had ten five gallon jerrycans that were full in the back of the truck so we did not have to pay their prices. Instead of stopping for gas, there were stops at the side of the road to fill the truck from five gallon containers.

Highway 39 west of Edmonton, south on Highway 22 to Highway 1 then west. Quick stop to top up the gas. That part of the trip was largely uneventful until Highway 1 west heading towards Canmore we encountered absolutely brutal headwind that faded away when we got into Banff National Park. Then it was fine all the way to Revelstoke. The highways were bare.

Then from Revelstoke south on Highway 23 to the Shelter Bay Ferry. There was a quick stop because my friend wanted to put gas in the truck. I did not want to stop because I wanted to make the ferry. There was lots of gas in the tank, it read about half full. We ended up stopping. After filling the truck he asked for the keys to drive, I declined. The comment was made that "I do not get the keys to my own truck to drive?" to which I agreed. I needed to have something in the win column. Besides, I am a lousy passenger, I like to be behind the wheel.

We get to the ferry landing and it had already departed. If we had not stopped we would have made it. We had a little over half an hour to wait for the ferry. I was stretching my legs and got conversing with the guy in the vehicle parked beside us. There was a joke made about marijuana for some reason and he said he was on a buying trip for a marijuana business he was involved in. I mentioned that I knew one of the founders of Aurora MJ, one of the companies involved in the business in Canada. He said he was one of the founders. We both knew the same guy. He was no longer involved in the company at this time. As an aside, what are your chances of meeting someone in British Columbia involved in the marijuana trade? The chances are damn good. The guy lives in my part of Alberta and I gave him my card.

South on Highway 23 to Nakusp, then Highway 6 towards New Denver. Of course it was night and pitch black with no moonlight before we got to Nakusp. The road to New Denver was fine however there are many twists and turns on this road all the way to Ainsworth because you are in the mountains. You have to be careful at night due to the abundance of wildlife. At New Denver it was Highway 31A to Kaslo and then south to Ainsworth. As soon as we passed New Denver it started to snow and snowed all the way to Kaslo. It snowed just enough to cover the highway with a thin layer and it was snowing heavily. There was close to zero traffic which was fine because I could not see where my lane was due to the covered road and falling snow reduced my visibility and speed to about 60km/h. To make it easier I just drove down the middle of the highway.

Once in Kaslo it was about 21km to Ainsworth. No snow and clear sailing. It was also over eleven hours travel time for the day. Just a wee bit longer than I thought it would be. Ainsworth is a small place and I had the foresight to make dinner reservations at the resort weeks before. Bacon-wrapped rib-eye with a nine ounce glass of wine is a perfect way to finish the day.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Harrop Ferry

Another ferry off my list. I have been close to this one several times and finally took it.

The Harrop Ferry runs across the Kootenay River to the communities of Harrop and Procter (on the south bank) in British Columbia. Ferry capacity is twenty-four vehicles and ninety-eight passengers. It is an on demand twenty-four hour cable ferry. Crossing time is five minutes. You have to cross back because the other side is a dead end.

I think the snowy day makes it look picturesque.

Monday 16 November 2020

Hattonford Church - Abandoned Alberta

This one is north of Nojack, Alberta. I posted this one earlier this year but I liked it so much I wanted to visit it again. I also thought I could get better photos with a second trip and I got interior shots I did not get the first time.

The back room.

Old stove that was used to heat the church in the back room.

Pews in the main part of the church.


View from the altar.

Main doors.