Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Late Summer Balcony

The state of my balcony a few weeks ago.  Most
of the plants I grew from seed this year; the
seeds coming from such exotic places as France,
Holland and Guatemala.

And then there's that bison skull.  One summer
back in the 1960's some now old friends found
this skull lodged in a sandbar in the South
Saskatchewan River near Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Of course they had to bring it home where it sat
in the garage for a few years until it was
mounted under the peak of the poolhouse where
everyone could enjoy it.  There it hung for
over forty years until last fall when they
decided to downsize and, to make a long story
short, it ended up on my balcony.

I have no idea how old it might be but I do
know it's a welcome addition to the space.
The plants like it, the birds like it, I like it and
it creates just that little bit of uneasiness in
some of the folks that visit.  I like that too.

Photographed on September 4, 2017.

Medicine Hat, Alberta, wildlife, plants

Medicine Hat, Alberta, wildlife, plants

Comrey Cemetery

Nature working overtime made my first visit to
Comrey Cemetery a rare and special treat.

Photographed on November 30, 2016.

Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical

Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical

Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical

Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical

Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical


Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical

Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical

Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical

Comrey, Manyberries, Alberta, cemetery, historical

Monday, 18 September 2017

Sweet Grass Hills

Some photos of the Sweet Grass Hills in
northern Montana.  These shots were taken
on a wonderfully frosty day along the road
between Manyberries and Comrey in the
County of Forty Mile No. 8, Alberta.

Photographed on November 30, 2016.

Montana, Alberta, Sweet Grass Hills, landscape, Comrey, Manyberries

Montana, Alberta, Sweet Grass Hills, landscape, Comrey, Manyberries

Montana, Alberta, Sweet Grass Hills, landscape, Comrey, Manyberries

Montana, Alberta, Sweet Grass Hills, landscape, Comrey, Manyberries

Montana, Alberta, Sweet Grass Hills, landscape, Comrey, Manyberries

Montana, Alberta, Sweet Grass Hills, landscape, Comrey, Manyberries

Montana, Alberta, Sweet Grass Hills, landscape, Comrey, Manyberries

Montana, Alberta, Sweet Grass Hills, landscape, Comrey, Manyberries

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Formal Gardening

Last weekend I finished tidying up the plants at
Cook Southland Funeral Chapel in Medicine Hat,
Alberta.  The photos show what it will look like
until next spring when the plants begin to grow
again.

I've been here tending the trees and shrubs for
about twenty-five years and that is longer than
anyone else has currently been associated with the
funeral home.  In this day and age I'm sure that
seems like an eternity, especially to young people.
I certainly can't expect everyone to understand but
it is still very rewarding after all that time.  I
believe that working with and simply being
around plants has enriched and continues to
enrich my life.  

Some years back we had a devastating winter
and well over half of the plants were so
irreparably damaged that they needed to be
removed and replaced.  It's a shame when that
happens, but I try to see it as a new beginning.
Fast forward to the here and now and you'd
never know that anything that drastic ever
happened.

People come here for solace in a time of sadness
and loss.  This formal landscape is meant to not
only help ease a personal loss but to help give
structure to move ahead towards more hopeful
times.  It's an honour to help in a time of need.

Enjoy the plants.

Photographed on September 10, 2017.

gardening, funeral, Medicine Hat, Alberta, formal, cemetery

gardening, funeral, Medicine Hat, Alberta, formal, cemetery

gardening, funeral, Medicine Hat, Alberta, formal, cemetery

gardening, funeral, Medicine Hat, Alberta, formal, cemetery

gardening, funeral, Medicine Hat, Alberta, formal, cemetery

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Heritage Tree - Yun Shan

Yun Shan is Chinese for Dragon Spruce and
is native to western China.

This majestic evergreen tree lives in
McCharles Park in the South East Hill area
of Medicine Hat, Alberta.  It towers over
the houses in the neighborhood at about
80 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter.

The official hardiness zone for this tree
is 6a which means that is should only
grow in climates that reach a low of -23C.
The temperatures here range from about
+40C to -40C plus a wind chill.  This
stately specimen is a true survivor.

There are seven Heritage Trees in
Medicine Hat.  A few months ago I posted
the Hargrave Plains Cottonwood and hope
to post the five remaining in the upcoming
months.  About six week ago I posted a
Dragonfly which was sitting on a branch
of this Dragon Spruce.

Photographed on July 15, 2017 (No.1) and
September 16, 2017 (Nos.2-5).

Medicine Hat, Alberta, park, plants, trees

Medicine Hat, Alberta, park, plants, trees

Medicine Hat, Alberta, park, plants, trees

Medicine Hat, Alberta, park, plants, trees

Medicine Hat, Alberta, park, plants, trees

Friday, 15 September 2017

County of Forty Mile No. 8 sign

This sign is located west of Seven Persons,
Alberta along the Crowsnest Highway.  I've
always been a fan of these big wooden
signs, especially one that makes a statement.
The pronghorn logo is a nice tip of the hat
to the abundant wildlife in the area.

Within the boundaries of the County of Forty
Mile No. 8 are Red Rock Coulee, Writing On
Stone Provincial Park, Milk River Canyon,
Etzikom Windmill Museum, several infamous
towns and hamlets such as Manyberries,
Nemiskam and Orion, a reservoir named
Rattlesnake Lake, lots of wide open country
and more.

It also has a port of entry named Aden that
has the distinction of being the second least
used border crossing in all of the U.S.A.;
only about 1000 crossings each year.  I
account for four of those crossings this past
year.

The southern side of the county offers some
of the best views of the Sweet Grass Hills
to be seen from Alberta.

This sign is an invitation to all these things.
Turn south when you see it.

The county's website is here:
County of Forty Mile No.8

Photographed on August 5, 2017.

Alberta

Alberta

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Evensong

Evensong sits on a hill in the southwest corner
of Empress, Alberta.

According to "Golden Jubilee: Empress, 1914-
1964" it was built in 1928-29 and opened in
1929 as the Nativity Catholic Church at
Empress.  It remained active under the
original name well into the 1960's.

I gleaned a little information from the local
people and it seems that sometime in the late
1960's the name was changed to The Church
of the Infant Jesus Roman Catholic Church.
It operated under the new name until it was
decommissioned by the Catholic Church
some years later.

It is now privately owned and is run as
Evensong, a non-denominational "Old Time
Gospel Church" where everyone is welcome.
The day I visited was the first time I'd seen
the doors open.  I was hoping to talk to the
owners but no one made an appearance while
I was there.  Maybe next time.

Photographed on August 18, 2017.

Empress, historical, Alberta, church

Empress, historical, Alberta, church

Empress, historical, Alberta, church

Empress, historical, Alberta, church

Empress, historical, Alberta, church

Empress, historical, Alberta, church

Empress, historical, Alberta, church

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Muskrat Mounds

I was out in the Cypress Hills today to do a little
work, visit a friend and then have lunch in
Elkwater.  On the way into town I noticed that
the muskrats were already building their winter
homes, known as mounds or push-ups, in
Elkwater Lake.

The first two photos from just twelve days ago
don't show any signs of construction but the
remaining photos taken today show that these
elusive creatures have been very busy.   The
mounds are made of reeds, sticks and grass.
As you can see, the ducks enjoy this end of the
lake as well.

Muskrats are quick to sense danger and hide
quickly.  Over the many years I've been
visiting Elkwater I've only seen muskrats
about ten times.  Last winter I saw them out
playing on the ice; maybe I'll get lucky again
this year and have my camera ready.

Photographed on September 1, 2017 (Nos.1,2)
and September 13, 2017 (Nos.3-7).

Elkwater, Cypress Hills, Alberta, animals, wildlife, Elkwater Lake

Elkwater, Cypress Hills, Alberta, animals, wildlife, Elkwater Lake

Elkwater, Cypress Hills, Alberta, animals, wildlife, Elkwater Lake

Elkwater, Cypress Hills, Alberta, animals, wildlife, Elkwater Lake

Elkwater, Cypress Hills, Alberta, animals, wildlife, Elkwater Lake

Elkwater, Cypress Hills, Alberta, animals, wildlife, Elkwater Lake

Elkwater, Cypress Hills, Alberta, animals, wildlife, Elkwater Lake


Monday, 11 September 2017

The Pink Church

On the north side of Fort Belknap Reservation,
Montana sits Sacred Heart Catholic Church and
Cemetery.  The church is known locally as
The Pink Church.

The church and cemetery were established by
Jesuit Priests in 1924.  The church closed in the
1960's but the cemetery is still used to this day.

The church reminded me of the adobe churches
I saw some years ago in the southwestern U.S.A.
It would be right at home in southern New
Mexico or Arizona.  The cemetery made me
think of those I had seen in northern Mexico and
it would feel right at home there.  

I like the simple and often homemade memorials
on the graves.  It's uplifting to see that those
buried here are still remembered by their loved
ones.  This is a beautiful place and the trip here
was well worth it.

Photographed on September 1, 2017.

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned

church, cemetery, Montana, Harlem, Fort Belknap Agency, abandoned