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.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Snowstormed once again

Just outside Airdrie this morning. 

Jacob's Ladder

A winter sunset near Grosswerder, Saskatchewan in December of last year.

One view: "Jacob's Ladder" is a reference to Jacob's dream of seeing a ladder to heaven in the book of Genesis in the Holy Bible.

Another view: Rays of sunlight emanating from a seemingly single source that pass between the gaps in clouds are known as crepuscular rays.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Athabasca River March 31, 2018

Jasper, Alberta is hidden in the background of the first photo.

Photos are taken approximately here: 52.871511, -118.063136

Friday, 6 April 2018

Spring is taking too damn long to arrive

I swear I saw Canada geese flying south today. They must know something.

Possible snow this weekend. I remember we used to have four seasons in Alberta.

A road trip is probably not in the plans.

Hay Bales at Azure

Azure, Alberta and hay bales
What could be better than hay bales, a grain elevator, and mountains?

More on the elevator:

- Steve

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Alkabo School

A little bit of history . . .

The town of Alkabo, North Dakota was born in 1913 when the Soo Line Railway extended their lines westward into Montana. People moved into the newly plotted town, businesses were established and a small rural school was moved into town.

With population on the rise, a larger school with two classrooms and a full basement was built. It opened on September 4, 1916 and remained the centre of community activities until October 31, 1932 when it burned down.

For the next two years school classes were held in a converted newspaper building. Neighbouring schools loaned books and different organizations held fundraisers while the school board, once again, dealt with the building of a new school.

The building was completed in time for the school term beginning in September of 1934. It boasted one of the best gymnasiums in the county, complete with a permanent stage, three classrooms and two bathrooms. For the next thirty years it served as the centre of the community.

But by the early 1960's the population had declined considerably and it soon became evident that the age of the country school was nearing an end. The last high school class graduated in 1962 and the grade school was closed the following year.

I visited the school fifty-five years after the last bell had rung for class. It was sporting a fresh coat of paint, the grounds were neat and tidy and the interior was much as it would have been when it was originally built. It was instantly apparent that the school wasn't simply maintained, it was loved. Kudos to everyone who has helped preserve this piece of history. It is a job well done.

I was luck enough to meet one of the long-time volunteers during my short visit. He had lived there all his life and I could see the pride on his face when he spoke about the school. Much of the information for this post was his "word-of-mouth" memories with the remainder gleaned from a short written history of the area that was posted inside the school.Thank you.

If you are ever in the area, Alkabo School is well worth a look. Have a picnic, ring the bell, experience the memories . . . and don't forget to sign the guestbook.