Welcome to My Little Piece of the Prairies ...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Beginning to Bloom!

Some fields are already a full sea of yellow but our canola fields are just beginning to bolt and bloom!  This is certainly a beautiful time on the prairies!  Its a quilt work of greens and yellow framed with that big ole' prairie blue sky!  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rainy Day!

A timely rain that sent us on a road trip to get some much needed errands done!   I think in the end, another inch of rain fell!  A welcome drink for thirsty crops!  In our 'neck of the prairies,' rain has 'been a good thing!'  However, for those that have faced yet another deluge of heavy rain and are now flooding, yet again ... rain brings a great deal of heart ache, tears and stress.  My heart certainly goes out to those in Eastern Saskatchewan and Western Manitoba!!!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Couple of HOOTS!!

While out fixing fence this afternoon, we came across these two young Great Horned owlets just hanging out and taking in the scenery.  I love watching the transformation of very young fuzzy, fluffy owlets to the mix of fluff and adult feathers these teen-like fledglings now have!  Such amazing birds of prey!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Sweetness of Silver ...

Often tall and spindly looking, the Silverberry/Silver Willow or Wolf Willow (Elaeagnus commutata) is certainly a component of our transitional Mixed Grass Prairie and Aspen Parkland zone.  Currently in full bloom, if there was EVER a time to invent scratch and sniff photos for the internet, now would be a great time!  Yes, these silver shrubs might not be the biggest show stoppers with their foliage and little yellow blossoms BUT their intoxicating sweet smell is second to none!  I don't even quite know how to describe the smell of a silver willow other than it is divine!  I love driving down a gravel road with the windows rolled down and having that sweet smell float through one's vehicle in little waves!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Our Prairie Chicken

Well she's all you'd ever want,
She's the kind they'd like to flaunt and take to dinner.
Well she always knows her place.
She's got style, she's got grace, She's a winner.
She's a Lady.
~ Tom Jones

Well ... at least in the grouse world, she is a lady!!!  Truthfully, I took this the day before thanks to a lovely 24hr flu bug that hit my oldest son and I!  Needless to say, taking a picture was not on my mind today!!!  However, I did manage to cross paths with this beautiful female Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianelleus) while checking cows the day before.  Grouse are an intriguing bird and I find them rather fascinating.  Somehow I always manage to cross paths with the females but the colourful males are rather elusive!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LAST Day!!

Well, the summer season arrived, the weather seems to be a bit more summer-like and today, our boys were able to celebrate their last day of SCHOOL!  Whoop!  Whoop!  Here's to a fun-filled, jam-packed exciting summer!!!  (And if you are going to jump with excitement ... make sure the lid to your bubbles is screwed on! Haha!)  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Day of Adventures

 Taking a leap of faith and Ziplining!!!  Yes, our boys had a fun-filled, adventure packed day on their 'Year End' School field trip to Deer Valley Meadows.  There are many benefits to attending a small rural school but as a kid, the year-end trips usually take the cake!  As our oldest stated ... "Best Day EVER!"

Ziplining, rock climbing, a huge slip and slide, an afternoon of soccer and to top off the day ... ICE CREAM!  The weather was perfect and there were plenty of smiles and memories made!  Not a bad way to end the school year!    

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Sweet Day

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. 
~James Dent

Our lawn mower is not broken BUT we decided the best way to enjoy the first Sunday morning of Summer, was to load the "Clipper" and the boys' fishing rods and head off to a local dam.  All of us have been itching to get our canoes out into the water and today was a perfect day! 

We didn't catch any fish but we had a wonderful morning paddling around and enjoying some good ole' family time!  It was a pretty sweet way to start the day!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. 
~Gertrude Jekyll

Aaaaaah ... that Summer Solstice!  Although we are a fair distance from the land of the midnight sun, our almost 17 hours of daylight is still certainly something to celebrate!  This is an amazing time of year!!!  

Enjoying the solitude of the final hour on this first day of summer, I know I am looking forward to a jam-packed, awesome summer with my family!  Happy Summer Solstice Everyone!  Wishing each of you all the best during this summertime season!  Get out and enjoy!!!  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Good Morning!

I used to love night best but the older I get the more treasures and hope and joy I find in mornings. 
~Terri Guillemets

I am always so conflicted at this time of year!  Born a 'night owl,' I do relish that night sky and I love night photography (which has been lacking as of late) BUT I also love the magical, warm light and peace of the prairie during those very early hours!  Hmm ... let me clarify; the very early hours of spring and summer (winter not so much!)  As the final hours of 'Spring' tick away thru the day, our longest day of the year and the summer solstice await their grand entrance!  Enjoy your weekend everyone!!! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

That Perfect Rain

And so it rained and as the sky cleared there was a good inch of rain soaking into the ground!  Although the southern portion of our province has received a ridiculous amount of rain, causing flooding once again, I think everyone around here is happy with what was delivered!  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

RAIN ...

The best kind of rain, of course, is a cozy rain. 
This is the kind the anonymous medieval poet makes me remember, the rain that falls on a day when you’d just as soon stay in bed a little longer, write letters 
or read a good book by the fire, take early tea with hot scones and jam and look out the streaked window with complacency. 
~Susan Allen Toth

What started off as an overcast 'misty' morning has turned into a delightful, 'good soaking' RAIN!  And with that ... a cup of hot chocolate, a blanket and a good movie are required as one snuggles in for the evening and listens to the rain!  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rain Please

As the sun emerged below the cloudy skies tonight, a few rain drops began to fall.  The southern portion of our province is under heavy rainfall warnings.  However, we are hoping that 'Old Man Weather' will share some much needed moisture with those of us in Central Alberta ... especially with those in the East Central portion of our province!  I think there are a few of us doing a rain dance this evening!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Top of the Morn!

If one must be up, this is not a bad way to start a Monday morning ... After all, it beats -30C and a snowstorm!  

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder 
will remain with me forever. 
~Author Unknown

The hardest working guy we know but no matter how much work there is to be done, he always makes time for family and especially his boys!  As their 'Mom' and as his 'Wife,' I feel very blessed to see such an amazing, special bond between my three 'guys!'  Our 'Dad' is our hero and we most definitely love him to "infinity and beyond!"  THANK YOU for everything you do!  We love you!

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Baby Buffleheads

This was a 'fly-by' quick shot as we headed out to a wedding this afternoon BUT this 'dozen' Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) ducklings made us all smile!  Does it get any sweeter?  I might just have to return and try to capture some close-ups!

Friday, June 13, 2014


I was hoping for a Friday the 13th Full Moon but the clouds had their way!  Hence a snapshot from my morning *cow check!*  Calves are cute and comical at the best of times but these 3 managed to find the smallest plot of buck brush out in the open grass, and wedged themselves into hiding!  Gosh ... they are so well hid, especially the bigger bull calf off to the right!  I just don't know how we will EVER find them???!!!  Hahaha!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June Meanderings

Miss Me?  I kind of disappeared without notice!  Well ... I can't really claim disappearing, as I was still here and taking pictures BUT my computer and I separated!  Yup ... after a long, cold winter it has been rather difficult to keep the love affair alive when the sun is shining, the days are so much longer and there are a zillion things to do!  SO, having already taken and posted pictures everyday for approximately 1200 days in a row ... I was a REBEL and took pictures but didn't post them!  That being said ... Here is what has been happening on 'My Lil' Piece of the Prairies ...'

June 1, 2014:

A 5:00am a road trip to Southern Alberta!!!  The most painful part of that equation is watching a GORGEOUS sunrise out of the dirty truck windows and not being able to talk the *pilot* into 'QUICKLY' stopping for a photo (hmm ... I sense the pilot knows better than that!  LOL!).  Needless to say, travelling at that hour is always glorious, especially in the spring time AND the *pilot* does stop long enough for a fresh cup of coffee (He has different priorities I guess!)!

Two hours later, we arrived at the Brooks Motocross Park with two excited boys ready for race day!  Yes, the boys have started their motocross racing season once again!

June 2, 2014:

Our local Great Horned Owl family is growing!  There are actually 3 owlets but on this day, only this feathery *fluff* was inquisitive enough to peer over the side of their nest!

June 3, 2014:

The prairie is BURSTING with colour these days!  Certainly a welcome sight after such a long winter!  These magnificent Dark Throat Shooting Stars or Saline Shooting Stars (Primula pauciflora var. pauciflora) always add a delicate beauty to a saline flat or wet meadow!

June 4, 2014:

The innocence of a wild babe that will soon have to fight to survive in this human tainted landscape and world!  Often viewed as a pest, I am a firm believer that coyotes play an integral role in the prairie ecosystem and love 'em or hate 'em, I don't think we would ever want to see the outcome if they were completely removed.

Our youngest attended our school division's Track n Field day for the smaller grades!  Everyone there was blessed with a beautiful, sunny day!  All you could see was smiles gleaming from the kids!

The heat of the day (which was marvellous!!!) always seems to cook up some interesting storm clouds!  Racing to get the final few acres of barley seeded, my husband managed to finish our spring seeding just as the wind, lightning and rain hit!!!  Yeah!  It's nice to be done!

June 5, 2014:

Brrr... those storm clouds the night before carried in single temperature digits and a very brisk, cold wind the next day!!!  Not exactly the warmest day for our oldest to compete in his Track n Field day!  However, he had a blast!!! I on the other hand FROZE!!!

June 6, 2014:

Much of our birds have finally returned and it wouldn't quite be the same without our Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica)!  Always cheerful and on the fly, like the other swallows that visit us, they EAT FLYING INSECTS!!!!  Any bird that does its part to reduce the flying insect population is golden in my books!!!

June 7, 2014:

Out on a late Saturday morning adventure to check cows and scour the pasture for old relics from the past, the boys and I found ourselves taking cover in one of the old buildings and patiently waiting for some storm clouds to move off!

Apparently the rain and rather large but soft (thank goodness) hail didn't really bother some of the gals but the boys and I thought otherwise!  So we took turns gazing out of the old doorway!

June 8, 2014:

The 'hay and crop' tours are in full swing!  It happens when you are married to a farmer and it happens OFTEN!!!

June 9, 2014:

... The moment you get over to the pasture and start checking cows ... the cold wind picks up and the clouds roll in!!!

June 10, 2014:

Happy BUZZING honey bees!!!!  Mmmm ... HONEY!

June 11, 2014:

Another new BABE!  But a few more to come!

June 12, 2014:

Yes, this beautiful, old prairie continues to blossom but not every lil' native, perennial forb is as delicate as it looks!  Meet Death Camas (Zigadenus venenosus)!  This meadow beauty can certainly wreak havoc especially to livestock (its a favourite among sheep)!  Its toxic alkaloid 'zygadenine' is present throughout the entire plant!  Some believe its more potent than strychnine!  Sometimes referred to as a 'wild onion,' this plant should be considered poisonous to all livestock and humans.

And with that ... I think I'm officially caught up!  


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