Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Last of the Golden Fields

Our summer has been cooler than normal with lots of rain and a way above average number of tornados. Other parts of Alberta have been dry and there was major hail damage in other parts. Hope your summer is warm and sunny!

The best of the canola bloom is over. I always try to take photos of the canola and am happy with the few I took this year, all within a short distance from home. There seemed to be a lot more canola than I recall from previous years. Next up.....sunflower season!!!

Here are some images from this last month:











Monday, July 22, 2019

A Splash of Colour

Right now the landscape is dominated by fields of yellow. The annual canola bloom. I am sure my son is tired of me pointing and saying, "Look! Canola!". 

It's such a vibrant and brilliant yellow that it boggles the mind to accept that it is a natural colour. I also came across a particularly vivid kind of wild rose. At least I think it's a wild rose, I think our provincial wild rose is a different kind and a lighter pink.

Enjoy these pops of colour!






Thursday, July 18, 2019

Parliament by Day & Night

The Parliament buildings of British Columbia are located in Victoria, next to the beautiful Inner Harbour. I could spend all day/week/month just watching the goings on of the harbour. Luckily our hotel was also on the harbour.

I can't imagine this area without all the hustle and bustle of tourists and traffic. As you can see in the daytime photo, it's colourful and busy and I am here for it. Even if you have been here before (which I have), there is always something new to see. It's interesting being here as an adult with my son compared to when I went as a kid/teen with my family. A whole different experience! 


At night the view from our hotel across the harbour was outstanding! You can see Parliament all lit up and the building next to it, which was lit up for Pride, was Madame Tussauds Wax Museum when I was younger (closed in 2010). Originally though, it was the Canadian Pacific Railway Steamship Terminal, constructed in 1924 and is now on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. It currently houses the Robert Bateman Centre


It's easy and enjoyable (and I recommend it) to walk everywhere but for something different, try the water taxi! It stops at various points in the Inner Harbour and beyond. The one we were on was green, earning it the nickname of 'pickle boat'. 



Thursday, July 11, 2019

Stormy Skies

How's the weather where you are? So far our summer has been stormy. Wind, rain, hail, severe thunderstorms, tornado warnings, and brief periods of sun. 

All these storms produce some interesting skies. Here are a few of my faves from the last couple weeks. These are all unedited images from my phone. 

It hailed and rained heavily right after this.

Before the loudest thunder I have ever heard

After the storm...lovely mammatus clouds 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Clayburn Village

Not only was I 'West of the 5th' last week, I was West of the 6th and 7th too! Everything happened last minute and we headed off for a short trip out to Victoria, BC stopping at various points along the way and back.

I decided to look up ghost towns (BC has some great ones) but only 1 was near where we happened to be. Turned out to not be a ghost town at all but a little village with some history. Enough history that it was designated for conservation as a Heritage Site in 1996.  

Welcome to Clayburn, British Columbia, at the foot of the Sumas Mountains. Info from the village website states that Clayburn was the first 'company town' in BC.

They Clayburn Company made bricks from the high grade of clay found in the Sumas Mountains. The factory built in 1905, was dismantled/destroyed in 1931 with scaled back operations continuing at a sister factory, Kilgard, further up the mountain. Clayburn's last local brick making facility closed in 2011. 

During its heyday, not only did Clayburn make standard coloured bricks but they made buff coloured and specialty bricks. This made them sought after by architects and contractors for their originality. Clayburn bricks can be seen in many prominent buildings in Vancouver and Victoria built before WWI. During the 1920's the 'new wing' of the famous Empress Hotel in Victoria was built using Clayburn bricks. (The Empress deserves it's own post, it has fascinated me since I was a kid).

Not much remains of the original Clayburn brick works now (that I could see) except what looks like part of a wall, some ovens and pieces of brick embedded in the path way. The village itself has a quaint atmosphere with nice brick houses and lovely gardens. About half the original homes, a store, the church and the schoolhouse remain. The church and school are on the historic register of Canada. 

Enter here and follow the path

Brick ovens

Not a brick in this wall

Clayburn Church built in 1912

Clayburn Store...lots of candy and ice cream inside!

Clayburn School built in 1907
Clayburn School c.1925.

Stay tuned for more pics from our trip!


Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Ranch

I am not much of a planner, so true to form, it was a last minute trip that took me on this afternoon trip. Also true to form, I figured why not kill 2 birds with one stone by stopping at the Alberta Central Railway Museum on the way. Fun for me but also something fun for the kiddo before dragging him to take photos of old buildings. The museum and the ranch are only about 20 minutes apart. Perfect. I love it when a non-plan comes together.

The Museum I will post about another time, today is all about The Bittern Lake Ranch.


You might think that by looking at the size of it that it was built for a large family with some money. It was actually built in 1897 for an English aristocrat named William Anthony Stoughton, who came over from England in 1893, accompanied by his cousin James Mansfield.

Mr. Stoughton, a bachelor, didn't spend much time here, only the summers. In 1902 he rented the place to the Chambers family who farmed grain and had cattle and horses. In the Spring of 1907, he traded the ranch to Ernest, Robert and Alice Ochsner for a brewery in Edmonton. After awhile he got rid of his brewery interests and went back home to England. He passed away there in the late 1940' or early 50's.
The Ranch c.1907

c.1966
Robert Ochsner, who had arrived in Alberta in 1894, founded and built the Strathcona Brewery. In 1907, with prohibition looming, he though the trade was in his best interests. He made the deal, stocked the farm with 500 head of cattle and 80 horses and went into the ranching business. He also built a horse barn, cow barn, pig house, granary, machine shed, a bunkhouse, a smoke house and even a double toilet. One side for men, one for women. The ranch had plenty of hired help.

But what about the beer?? In case you were wondering what became of the brewery...after prohibition ended it became Northwest Brewing, then was bough by Calgary Brewing and Malting, sold again in 1973 then closed in 1975. The only remaining part of the original brewery is home to part of the Edmonton Archives. Quite the history! Maybe I should start a beer blog.

Over the years, the ranch was owned or rented by various people. Harold Doel, the final occupant, bought the ranch in 1946. He demolished most of the outbuildings and used some of the lumber to build his new farmhouse nearby. The old ranch, sadly became a granary.





Interesting to see a homestead like this with so many different people having lived in or owned it. You might expect a place like this to be on the same family land and passed down to the next generation. Not the case for this once fine old home. The house is apparently braced but one may wonder who long it can keep holding this pose before finally collapsing.

References: Treasures Memories: Gwynne and District; Coinoath Sarsfield

Monday, May 27, 2019

Lighting The Way




Just popping in to say hello! Unfortunately when things get busy, my blog suffers. I am still taking pictures whenever possible so I have bits and pieces of potential blogs for the future.  The lighthouse on the lake where is live is decorative only and very photogenic! If I see a nice sunset I can get to this spot in about 1.5 minutes to take photos, which I do often. I have posted many a lighthouse photo. 

I hope the flowers are in bloom and the weather is warm wherever you are! See you soon.