Wednesday, July 30, 2008

land of the living skies...

Easy to draw...hard to spell...that's Saskatchewan!
Our recent road trip included a few days of travel in this province which is also known as the land of the living skies.

And we were witness to the living skies...we saw storms rolling by and beautiful sunsets.

We passed by the occasional farmstead, looking rather like there was no one home...

...and had lunch beside the road while a curious crowd looked on.

We even witnessed a Saskatchewan stampede...and all free of charge.

We couldn't resist a quick stop in the little town of Herbert, when we saw a sign on the highway inviting us to stop by the Herbert museum for 'faspa'. Now that is a word we don't hear too often these days...but it brought back memories of Sunday afternoon tea at grandma's place. We checked out the museum...learned a little about the history of the area and it's peoples...and carried on our way without actually sampling their 'faspa'. We opted instead to stop by Tim Horton's...
...and sipped our coffee while this moose looked on. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is a city with a most unusual name and a myriad of underground tunnels that attract over 100,000 tourists each year. It's another place that's worth visiting...but not this time!

Although Saskatchewan is home to 100,000 lakes and rivers...much of southern Saskatchewan is flat fields of grain. I took this photo about 12 miles west of the city of Regina. It seemed strange to see a city clearly on the horizon...where I come from there are hills and trees blocking the view and we don't see much besides mountains in the distance!

If you ever have the opportunity to visit sure to tour Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police training centre.

Every Tuesday evening during the summer months, the police force performs a special 'Sunset Ceremony' – renowned as one of Canada’s top attractions. We never stopped in Regina this trip...but thoroughly enjoyed watching the parade on our last visit.

I loved the little old country churches scattered about the countryside.

There is quite a large Ukrainian population in Saskatchewan, and we stopped somewhere near Yorkton to check out this lovely Ukrainian Orthodox church. I'm not sure if it is still in use, but everything was immaculately kept...

...including an old cemetery across the lane.

We spent a night camped near this spot...

...while the ducks swam on a pond nearby the land of the living skies!

So don't believe all the jokes you hear...
Saskatchewan has a beauty all it's own, and is a great place to visit (in the summertime!).

Hope you enjoyed the tour...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

pets...and apple pie in July!

Our farm has been without a dog on the farm for the past while...the deluxe dog-run has been empty for months. Not any more!

Bentley arrived over the weekend...a two-year old well-behaved mastiff. He may be bigger than the the girls, but he is a gentle giant.

Last night they all came across the fields to show Bentley the lay of the land.
Everyone is pleased as punch with the new dog...
and we hope he'll be around for a long time.

Other news from the farm...

...the yellow transparent apples are about ready for picking!

They are the absolute best pie apples (nice and tart)...and make wonderful apple sauce. Jeremy & Broni have lots of apples on their two little trees this wee tree just got planted, so I'll have to wait awhile for golden apples over here.

But if you have a hankering for apple pie...pick up some yellow transparent apples at your local farmers market...and make up a fresh apple pie. Use your favorite apple pie recipe...or try a pan of 'apple pie squares'...

...and enjoy the best of the season.

I couldn't believe my good fortune when I found yellow transparents at the market a few weeks ago. I made up a pan of apple pie squares...they slice, stack and freeze beautifully. We enjoyed them quite regularly while on our road trip...and had the last two slices last night.

So that's my recommendation...try good old-fashioned yellow transparents and have apple pie in July!

Have a great day...

Monday, July 28, 2008

southern Manitoba revisited...

Southern may not look quite like you would expect! In fact it looked rather different this summer than it has on previous summer visits. Everything was green and golden wheat fields as yet...and the sunflowers weren't quite ready to put on their show.

The fields of canola and flax painted quite a lovely picture, though....

...and we enjoyed the fields of lilies in Neepawa.

Metal storage bins seem to have replaced the trademark grain elevators across the prairies...but I'm glad there are still a few of the original wooden structures left here and there.

My sister and brother-in-law (Jim and Kathy) live on a dairy potato country! The soil in their area is incredibly sandy and fertile...they are situated on an aquifer, so have no shortage of water...and it is the perfect spot for growing potatoes.

While we enjoyed family time on their yard, we watched the planes spraying the potato fields across the road.

We gathered at Jim and Kathy's for a few days before and after my niece's from several states and provinces.

We even helped cook dinner one the Manitoba sun was setting! It seems to stay light there forever... you know these youngun's are up far too late...and pretty happy about it!

Emme and Spencer had a wonderful time with my Iowa nieces and nephews...they wondered why Megan always called Grandpa "Uncle Elmer" though!

Ryder took a liking to Uncle Jim...who thinks you should teach two-year olds all about gopher hunting at the ripe old age of two.

There was always a bocce game on the go...or a ladder golf tournament...

...some of us even played in the water for awhile.

So if you are looking for the perfect spot for an outdoor might want to consider a farm in southern Manitoba!

I know the perfect spot....not only do they host the wedding guests, but they entertain family from near and far for days before and after!

Enjoy the week that lies ahead...there is much to be done!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

peace...perfect peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace...whose mind is stayed on Thee.
Isaiah 26:3 KJV

While we were travelling, we stopped by some beautiful, quiet this little lake at Vermilion Provincial Park in Alberta. It was so peaceful...and brought to mind the verse from Isaiah which speaks of God's perfect peace. Our lives become so busy, chaotic and anything but peaceful at times...and in the midst of all that, we need to turn our minds towards God and He will give perfect peace.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

had camera...did travel!

So where have I been, you ask? I've been cruising the hi-ways and bi-ways of western Canada for the past ten days.

We weren't the only RV'ers on the road! For a time we were following a trailer with annoying mirror windows in the rear...we could see our reflection quite nicely!

We slept two nights in Alberta...two nights in Saskatchewan...five nights in Manitoba...and we spent our last night in the Rocky Mountains of beautiful British Columbia.

We saw sunshine and black funnel clouds...

...a golden moon lighting up the Saskatchewan night...

...and gophers popping in and out of holes everywhere across the prairies.

We spent two nights camped in Neepawa, Manitoba...which happens to be the Lily Capital of the world...

...and joined the throngs that were gathered there to participate in their annual Lily Fest. Neepawa is near Brookdale (in Manitoba terms), where my niece's wedding festivities took place.

We had a great time with family last weekend (from Iowa, Texas, B.C., Alberta and Manitoba)...campfires, barbecues, fireworks, swimming parties...but the highlight, of course, was the wedding.

Our road trip included frequent stops...there were many photo op's I just couldn't pass up! We also checked out Tim Horton's in every province...the coffee's always good.

I found a few wonderful treasures at some little country thrift shoppes....I read a book....I completed a baby afghan for our next grandbaby (coming soon)...played sudoku...and read lots of magazines. Here's one I spent some time browsing, and it's on the newstands right now...

...Taste of Home's Church Supper edition. I'll be using it as a textbook in my test kitchen over the next while.

We saw wildlife in the Rockies...and the scenery was amazing! We logged over 3000 miles...and arrived home safe and sound last night. It's always good to be back home!

And now I have lots of things to catch up on at home....and a ball game to go watch at noon. I'm also looking forward to visiting all of you, my blogging friends...hope I haven't missed anything big while I was away.

Next week I'll take you back with me to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta...and Beautiful British Columbia--The Best Place on Earth (that's what the billboards say).

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008!

It was not actually the sunflowers that brought me here…in case you have not already guessed my vacation destination, Manitoba is where I am! The land of sunflowers, lilies and potatoes…that, my friends, is where I seem to return to on a regular basis. And while flowers and French fries may be great drawing cards…it is family that always brings me back. We have had a most wonderful time over the weekend, celebrating the wedding of my niece, Gillian. Our vacation has been all about the wedding…bringing out flowers from B.C.…and visiting with family from all over who are also here for the special occasion.

We made the trip out here with precious cargo on board. Our last mission before leaving home was to snip hydrangeas…lots of hydrangeas…and arrange them in buckets of water for the journey.

The shower seemed the most appropriate place to store them…and we checked the water level frequently. Although they may be able to grow world-famous lilies and sunflowers right here in Brookdale, Manitoba…hydrangeas do not do so well. Since Gillian wanted hydrangeas for the wedding…and we were driving out with the motor home…we offered to bring out the flowers. Our biggest fear was that they may be rather wilted before the big day…

...but they stood up beautifully and looked lovely on the tables at the reception.

Gillian and Chad were married at the farm where she grew up…and there couldn’t have been a lovelier garden setting! Kathy…my sister and mother-of-the-bride…always has beautiful gardens, and this year they were even more special. There were a few tense moments the morning of the wedding, when the skies opened up and the rain came down for hours. But they decided to take their chances, rather than moving to an indoor venue…and all was well. The sun came out shortly before the wedding started …and the lawns were dry in no time.

The parking attendants had great fun shuffling the guests from the 'parking field' to the wedding a little Kubota truck.

The groom's sisters placed flowers down the aisle just before the ceremony began.

The preacher and the groom (and friends) arrived right on schedule... did Gillian's friends...bridesmaids in blue.

We weren’t the only ones from B.C. at the wedding…the flower girls flew out just for the occasion. Emerson and Spencer have been so excited about Gillian’s wedding…and they had so much fun!

Brother Ryder decided weddings were OK too. He found a friend...a ball...and a large expanse of lawn, and he had a fine time.

Here comes the bride...

...smiling even more than usual...and looking stunning in her beautiful gown!

Before long, it was all over...Chad and Gillian were Mr. & Mrs!

No one seemed in a big hurry to leave the gardens... one seemed to be watching the sky. Suddenly it became very dark..and it was time to leave for the reception. We were barely off the yard when the rain began! How was that for timing?

It was a special day...from beginning to end...and we were so glad we could be part of it. I wish Chad and Gillian a lifetime of happiness together!

Jeremy and Broni (and family) flew home yesterday..we are packing up the motorhome and starting the trek back today. We've seen lots...I have scads of pictures...and I'll tell you all about it once I'm home.