Welcome to My Little Piece of the Prairies ...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Little Summer Rain

Yes, another evening thunderstorm!  
And as long as it only brings a warm, gentle rain ... we're okay with that!  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Baby Pied-Billed Grebe ...

Hmm ... while heading home from the hayfield this afternoon, the boys and I discovered a 'very panicked' little ball of fluff that was attempting to runaway on the gravel road ... only to end up in a heap down in the ditch!  With no apparent sign of 'Mama or Papa,' I headed over to the ditch only to discover a wee little (darn cute) Pied-Billed Grebe!!  Grebes stick pretty darn close to water.  In fact, it is believed that they only take off from water.  Therefore, knowing this little one was not yet capable of flight and judging by the distance it was from the nearest slough ... I'm thinking he escaped being someone's mid-afternoon snack!  Needless to say, we scooped this little one up, crawled through the fence, marched through some crop and waded knee deep out into the closest slough and reunited him/her with a slough full of other baby grebes ... likely it's relatives!  Any longer out on the gravel road in 30 C temp with the hawks circling above was certainly NOT the place for him/her to explore!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Fencing Crew!

We have MILES of old 'picket-like' fence that has been standing since the dinosaurs roamed (okay ... not quite that long but certainly long enough!) and this afternoon provided some opportunity to work on just ONE of those fence lines!   After rolling up wire and pulling old posts, my lil' fencing crew stepped in to help move posts to make way for the new fence!

The boys worked hard today and certainly made us proud to have such a great fencing crew helping out!  Thanks for being such great kids!  Love Ya!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

With Any Luck ...

In the not too distant future, we will be picking apples and eating some corn!  There is nothing better than home grown fruit and vegetables, especially if you can enjoy them alongside something grilled on the barbeque!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Lil' Country, A Lil' Western and a Bit of Rock 'n' Roll!

A Lil' Dierks Bentley!

Things always get a lil' western at a rodeo!

... And a bit of Rock 'n' Roll ... Big and Rich Style!  

We are back and although our stay in Medicine Hat was far too short for my liking, we had a great time while we were there.  I headed home to celebrate the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede's (MHES) 125th Anniversary with the Rodeo Royalty Alumni.  It was an honour to represent the MHES back in 1990 as the Stampede Queen, so it was wonderful to head back home for a reunion and reconnect with not only the past and present royalty but with so many people responsible for the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede!  The weather was fabulous, the people were great ... and oh how I miss that Southern Alberta Prairie!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rural Graffiti

I see this old wooden grain bin every time I drive to Calgary.  I've seen it in the dead of winter, in the fall and spring but seeing it in the summer with a stand of canola surrounding it certainly makes 'certain artwork/names' pop!  Hence, a quick snapshot through the car window as I drove by!  I've always chuckled at rural graffiti!  Chances are the names belong to the kids at the local school and the grad class marked their year! Do they think nobody will know 'who dun it?'  LOL!

I'm off for a couple of days ... heading home to take in and celebrate the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede's 125th Anniversary!  I'll return on Friday with my camera in tow!  Enjoy the next couple of days!  Cheers!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rolling Thunderheads!

There were no shortage of thunderheads rolling past this afternoon!  Lucky for us, the sun and the wind were stronger than the clouds and we finished putting the hay up that was ready!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Aurora in July

What a day!!!  UGH!  I spent the day 'breaking' haying equipment!  Not fun!  Yup, it was just one of those days!  Needless to say, we rolled back into the yard as the stars were twinkling.  I had hoped to pack my camera with me today but the ground we were raking and baling on was not overly friendly to large equipment ... let alone my lil' camera!  However, I managed to sneak outside just shortly after midnight ... long before this day really started and snapped a few quick pics of the aurora borealis!  Anytime I can enjoy the northern lights during the summer months ... I'll take them!  I'm still trying to master capturing them but eventually I will figure it out!  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Berry Competition!

And so it begins!  Who will get to my saskatoon berries first???  Me, the kids, the dogs or those CEDAR WAXWINGS!!!  Did I mention the robins, the magpies or the crows???   Hmm ... well, usually first thing in the morning and early evening the waxwings enjoy a feed, the kids and dogs snack on them during the day and I keep saying I am going to need to start picking those soon ... what's left anyhow!  Yes, the saskatoons are just nicely starting to ripen and there is definitely some fierce competition to get to the first ones!  As long as I have enough to freeze so that we can enjoy, not only fresh ones, but some throughout the winter, I'll be happy!  Happy berry picking!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Swainson's

I know ... but I couldn't resist snapping a few of this sweet Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) sitting, watching, stalking ... waiting for it's mid-moring snack!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Soaring Over My Sea of Blue!

Perspective!  I can only imagine a hawk's perspective!  Do they see colour?  Do you think they noticed our field of flax is turning blue?  Hmm ...  I wonder what it would be like to soar over my prairie sea of blue?

Yes, this is our second year for growing flax and it is just coming into full bloom.   This year, I am fortunate enough to enjoy a bit of blue set against canola yellow!  Definitely a vibrant scene!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oh Those Ruddies!

The blue billed boys are back!  In fact, these 'clowns' have been back for awhile but pull out a camera and they are rather shy (sorry, these aren't the best photos)!  Meet our Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis).  The Ruddy Duck is the ONLY member of the stiff-tailed duck bunch found in Alberta and I love 'em!  Not only colourful but they are also entertaining to watch!  The ladies, despite being much smaller than a mallard, will commonly lay up to 15 eggs and apparently the ladies in our sloughs were successful 'Moms!'

The first 'Mama' has a clutch of 10 swimming behind and in the final pic ... a different slough and a different 'Mama,' there are 11 ducklings!  I guess you could say these ladies have their 'ducks all lined up in a row!'

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tiger Salamander

(Ambystoma tigrinum)

A promise is a promise ... and I promised to take a few pics of 'Sally Salamander!'  Whether or not this Tiger Salamander is a 'Sally or a Sam,' she/he still intrigued my boys for much of the morning until a certain 'Mom' said it was time to return 'Sally' to her family!  Tiger Salamanders are found throughout south and central Alberta and I think they've intrigued many a young child (myself included) over the years.  Salamanders are amphibians with long tails and although they look like lil' lizards they are in fact amphibians!  Many people get a little squeamish at the sight of salamanders BUT their impressive appetite includes young mice!  In my opinion, anything that helps control mice is AOK in my books!      

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Observer

On my way out to close some gates this morning I could hear this Red-tailed Hawk screeching from the tree top as he kept a watchful eye over the pasture.  I was hoping to get a bit closer but alas, my 'hawk stalking' skills were rather inferior to his observation skills!!!  Tomorrow is another day ...


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