Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wandering Close to Home

Something always seems to get in the way of exploring lately. Life, time, money, family stuff, etc etc. However, I was able to take advantage of the warmer weather by shoveling some of the built up snow and ice off my deck and doing a bunch of sanding and staining in prep for some upcoming markets.  While I was doing this, the kiddo played in the snow, building tunnels and paths and digging holes. Yes, we still have a ton of snow, enough to build tunnels that a child can disappear into.

I also had to head up the road to a the town about 10 min away. On the way back I took a roundabout way home and saw a few photo worthy places. I spotted a trifecta of my favourite things (not all in one place), an old truck, an old barn and an abandoned house. If I'd seen a school it would have been a complete day.

The old truck was just behind a fence off the side of a gravel road, I stepped into the ditch for a closer photo and ended up in snow over my knees. I was wearing boots but not boots that tall. Needless to say, I got snow in said boots. As I was on the side of the road emptying snow out of my boots a county peace officer happened to drive by, he turned on his lights and asked if I was OK. I had to laugh and tell him what I was doing. He left and I continued on my way home, wet feet and all.

Is there still snow where you are? Or perhaps spring flowers?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lonely in Loverna

Another place that I have always wanted to visit is Loverna. It is just over the border into Saskatchewan and has only a couple of residents left from what I understand. Census info from 2001 says 5 people live here, leaving it pretty close to earning ghost town status.

As with almost all prairie towns, Loverna came into existence in 1913 with the arrival of the railroad. To say the town boomed would be an understatement, several hundred people called Loverna home and there were several streets of thriving businesses. Today only a few buildings remain. There have been 2 fires over the decades that have destroyed many of the buildings. Markers placed along the streets tell what used to be there. There was hotels, a Chinese Laundry, Confectionery, Jewelry Store, Print Shop, Garages, Cafe, various other stores, hardware, insurance, gas station, churches, a Legion Hall, curling rink and more. It had everything! 

Today I snapped only a few pictures but definitely need more time to explore the rest of town, there was still quite a bit to see, including the curling rink which still exists. I think Spring might be a good time to go....no snow (hopefully) and before the bugs. Those are pretty much the 2 seasons.

Canadian Legion Hall

United Church

Anglican Church

Loverna elevators, now residing in Alberta on private property.

Date unknown (could probably guess based on the truck)
Photo from prairie-towns.com

Saturday, March 3, 2018


My Grandpa, we call him Papa, is 96 today. He is a Husband, Brother, Uncle, Great-Grandfather, Grandfather, Father, and a WWII Veteran. He currently lives in a centre for Veterans in Calgary and has suffered from dementia for many years. He does not remember any of us but we remember him today and everyday. Happy Birthday Papa!

One Busy Mother, Except This Weekend.

January was long, February was busy, what will March bring? So far snow....a lot of snow. Almost a foot over the last 24 hours. Does shoveling snow count as cardio?

I was hoping to get out this weekend but the snow and road conditions have turned this into a Netflix and Clean the House kinda weekend. Any minute now I am going to start cleaning...

Here are some photos that I took in the Oyen area 3 weeks ago. No story, just some abandoned homesteads. I love this one, it still looks strong and sturdy:

The next homestead is looking a bit worse for wear and the barn has collapsed.

Besides being a mom, working part time, exploring, and blogging, I have decided this year I will devote more time to being healthier and to some creative projects. The main one being Ingrained Images. I take my photos, or ones someone gives me, and I transfer them to wood. It takes a bit of time but I love how they turn out. I recently dropped off some stock to a new store, and am working on restocking now for another store and some upcoming markets. I also took a beginner knitting class last weekend and am finding it very frustrating, I don't think knitting is for me but I will at least finish the class and hopefully have a hat at some point.

Here are some of my Ingrained Images!

I hope you enjoyed the photos and are enjoying your weekend, hopefully with less snow, unless you like the snow! What is everyone else doing this weekend?

I am on Instagram:
Photos @jennspix
Ingrained Images @ingrained_images

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IngrainedImagesAB/

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Sticks and Stones

There are not a lot of stone buildings on the prairies, so it is cool when I get to see one. I have seen a few stone houses, a school, and even a little castle. I know there are more, and I will hopefully see them myself one day.

The place we saw on the recent Oyen area trip used to be barn. I don't know much more about it other that I was told it was built by German settlers. It wouldn't have been an easy task as there are not a lot of stones in the area and some of the ones used are quite large. 

While on the topic...here is an abandoned stone house I found in September 2017:

A big thanks to Dave M, for showing us around the Oyen area, we saw a lot of cool things that day and many of those I would like to revisit.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

New Bridgen Water Tower

I have seen 2 railway water towers in Alberta. The first, at the Anthony Henday Museum in Delburne, AB. It was moved a short distance from it's original location, restored, and now houses part of the museum collection. The museum (which is an old train station) also has a restored one room schoolhouse, CNR caboose and a speeder. Worth a visit when they are open in the summer.

The other tower, which I have been wanting to see for ages, is in New Brigden, Alberta. This water tower is unique in the fact that it still exists in it's original location. It is a local landmark and the tallest and oldest building in town. There are a few more of these octagonal beauties around Alberta,  Saskatchewan and BC that I know of. I would like to see them all.

Lone photo of the lone tower.
The tower is 13 meters tall and was built in 1925. The community also used the water tower to flood an outdoor skating rink and for the ice in the nearby curling rink. Maybe it's because of those other uses that it has survived the steam engine era as well as the closure and removal of the rail line through the area. It has been looked after by the locals and was given Provincial Historic Resource status in 2009.

Speaking of the curling rink......there happened to be a bonspiel going on when we were there, how CANADIAN. We stopped in, ate some delicious food and just hung out. I loved the atmosphere in there, and I am pretty sure everyone knew each other. I grew up in a big city so I never did things like this. I enjoyed myself and so did H.

Also, since I mentioned Delburne, here are some previously unreleased photos from July 2017 of our visit! It remember it being a very hot day. The school at the museum was one I had gone to look for in it's original location not realizing it had been moved.

Small child for scale

Wood Lake School 1906-1957


Caboose selfie! Also sad the sunglasses I am wearing were stolen. 

References: HeRMIS

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Since I first started exploring and looking at photos of abandoned places, I wanted to visit Esther, AB. Esther is almost a ghost town and is on private land. Luckily I was with a local friend and we had permission to check it out.

Esther was established in the 1920's when the railroad came, and was named after the daughter of the postmaster. Esther never had more than a few dozen or so residents and today I think there are only a couple of people left. The railroad is long gone but the elevator lives on as the oldest surviving Alberta Wheat Pool elevator left in the province.

There is lots more to see and I would love to go back and spend more time taking photos and exploring but for now I was happy to be in Esther.

Nature taking over an old gas pump