Welcome to My Little Piece of the Prairies ...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.

~Author Unknown

My Lil' Ghouls have returned from 'trick-or-treating' and with that ... I hope you all have enjoyed a 'spooktacular' Halloween evening!!!  BOOooo ...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Big Dipper

Well, we finished harvest today and we could not have asked for a more beautiful autumn day!  I believe it hit 14 C ... which rolled into a beautiful night for star gazing, something I love to do and grew up doing with my parents, especially my Mom (she was a bit of a night hawk!).  So after supper, my dear friend Nanita and I, headed out to see what we could capture with our cameras!  ... Not bad ... but definitely some room for improvement!

Harvesting the Flax ...

... FINALLY!!!

Our flax started coming off the field today!  YEAH!!!  And we will finish it and our 2011 harvest tomorrow.  We've been fortunate to have such a beautiful, open fall and *fingers crossed* ... we are hoping for a few more weeks of this wonderful Fall weather to allow us time to get some bales hauled out of the fields and some equipment put away!

Friday, October 28, 2011


I love the ability to look out into our pasture midday to see our cows laying up on a hill, sunning themselves and chewing their cud!  It's one of those prairie scenes that is repeated through the generations that I think many of us never tire of.  And knowing that it won't be long before the grass is covered in snow, it's nice to see the gals enjoying a late October day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rat House ...

... Muskrat Style!

With our days getting much shorter, frosty mornings, and sloughs beginning to freeze at night, the Muskrats are certainly preparing for the upcoming winter months.  Throughout the last month, I've noticed a few more "rat houses" appearing in a few of our bigger sloughs.  Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) are large rodents found in wetlands throughout most of North America.

Through the Glass...

I am definitely changing things up today.  Not quite the 'wildlife' photos I usually snap but I took these photos specifically for my Dad and Stepmom today.  They are stained glass artisans that own and operate 'Windows of the West Stained Glass' (http://www.windowsofthewest.ca).  "Noah's Ark" was a commissioned piece that they crafted, which now resides in a church window in Rimbey, Alberta.  Approximately 78 x 37 inches or 20 sq ft., this wonderful stained glass artwork has 530 pieces of glass in it.  They both worked long hours on this beautiful piece and should be very proud of it.  Dad wanted me to head out to Rimbey with him to get some photos with my camera to 'justify' the incredible colors in the glass.  However, I don't think my camera or any camera can really display the true beauty of a stained glass window ... one needs to see the beauty by looking through the glass!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hundreds of "Honkers!"

"There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds... 
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter..."
-- Rachel Carson

And with Fall Migration ... I am assured that winter will be arriving after Fall!  In the meantime, there is something magical about snow geese during their migration.  It's such an incredible sight!  Perhaps it's how the sun reflects off of their white plumage, giving them a stark contrast against a blue sky or a golden stubble field.  Perhaps it is the incredible sound of hearing hundreds of them communicating to each other.  Or maybe, it's just because their migrations mark another journey and another season on the calendar for us ... and at that (WINTER) ... we look forward to their return!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Golden Hues ...

Yes, the greens, reds, oranges and other colors have faded with the season.  However, across the landscape, golden hues mixed with rich browns seem to define the prairie topography!  And while some may still be enjoying fresh blossoms elsewhere, we are enjoying dried flower arrangements ... prairie style!  LOL!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Fall Slough

I must be a true prairie girl ... I really do find beauty in a slough!  Yes, we have lakes ... many of which are alkali but we do have those that are not!  However, around here, we have many, many, many *sloughs!*  And I think too many pass them by and don't pay attention to some of the sheer prairie beauty they express.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Hippy in the Night!

Okay ... so I have to go back to the drawing board ... or in this case, back to this location once again with some type of heating pad attached to my camera!  LOL!  My camera and it's battery do not like the cold (and truly, it's not really that cold ... YET!).  This is posing a problem for a girl who is trying to get some long exposure pics of star trails!!!  So please bear with me ... eventually I might get everything to come together!

Friday, October 21, 2011

It was a funny October morning, weather wise!  First it was cloudy, then sun popped out ... then the fog rolled in and it all occurred within minutes!  Despite my lack of desire to head out into the cold and fog, the horses do care and they don't like me to be late!!!  They have a routine you know ... or so their expressions say so ... even if I am only running 5 minutes behind schedule!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Down at the Tracks ...

Why do railway tracks and cars intrigue so many of us?  Perhaps its a form of transportation many of us wish we still had.  Perhaps its an invitation to reminisce about the past ...  Well, on this cold, October day ... I enjoyed exploring some of the 'relics' down by the tracks!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shorter Days ...

Almost a full month into 'Fall' and the days are definitely shorter and will continue to get shorter ...   Hmm, we currently have approximately 11 hrs of daylight to work with.  On a positive note ... if I want to snap a sunrise I can catch it between 7:30am and 8:00am (no more 4 or 5am mornings!!!)  and a sunset between 6:30 and 7:00pm.  And when the sky is on fire with this kind of light ... AWESOME!

Trial at Star Trails!

Well ... I still have ALOT to learn and figure out!  However, on my way home from Calgary tonight, my friend and I decided to stop and play with some LONG exposure times!  Although the half moon was causing us some frustration ... we still managed to get a few star trails!  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rock Dove ...

... AKA ... The Pigeon!

Hmm ... what can I say ... it is Fall and all of the little song birds are gone!  However, these famous (we all know them) birds stick around YEAR ROUND!!! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tundra Swans

Flying over our wheat stubble, we spotted 5 Tundra Swans who were heading to the big slough east of us!  It has been 6 months since the Tundra Swans flew overhead.  These graceful giants (Cygnus columbianus) do not nest in Alberta but they do migrate across our province to and from the Arctic.  If you are trying to spot the difference between the Tundra Swan and the Trumpeter Swan ... Tundra's have a yellow 'tear drop' in front of their eyes!  This small group is only a sign that the big migration is yet to come!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bursting Cattails!

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, 
of gathering together.  
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.  
~Edwin Way Teale

The prairie pothole sloughs are drying up.  The birds such as the the Red-winged Blackbirds and Marsh Wrens that call these little wetlands home for the summer have headed south.  And, as the cattails ripen ... they burst, sending plumes of white 'cotton balls' floating in the air!  My 'Mama' always had dried cattails in her home ... I should've asked how she kept them from bursting!  I love cattails ...

Friday, October 14, 2011


There is nothing quite like a 'frosty' fall morning ... The grass crunches beneath your feet, you can see your breath and the air is clean and crisp!  It was -3C or 27 F this morning.  It definitely was not a heavy frost but I suppose those are on their way ...

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Moonlight is sculpture.  
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

There was a strong northwest wind today, leaving many trees leafless.  It would appear that these 'bare-bone' figurines are beginning to overtake the landscape.  However, on Autumn nights when the moon is rather full, it illuminates mother natures sculptured treasures that were once hidden by leaves!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cozy ...

That time of the year is returning ... the time of year when I just like to be saddled up close to the fireplace with a cup of warm tea and a good book!  I'm starting earlier than normal ... I could be in trouble once the snow actually flies!

The Grain Elevator ...

Coming home rather late from Calgary tonight, my girlfriend dropped me off at my car in Big Valley, AB and we both noticed that the grain elevator is lit up at night.  How neither of us had not noticed this before is a mystery (especially her ... its her hometown!!).  However, before driving off and heading for home I did manage to stop and snap a couple of quick pics.  It was another beautiful fall night ... not too cold, and this well kept, historical grain elevator was also lit up by the slightly overcast full moon!  


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