Monday, May 29, 2017

That's a Wrap! Part 2: Western Town

Go ahead, make my day...and join me in Western Town. This is part 2 of my excursion to a western movie set south of Calgary, with Chris and Connie of Team BigDoer. If you missed Part 1: Outlaw Camp, view it here, pardner. I can't promise that there won't be more cheesy western idioms in your near future so saddle up...

Western Town had the most buildings to explore of the 3 sets. It also has stunning Rocky Mountain vistas to the west and is bordered by the Highwood River to the south and surrounded by foothills.

Dead Horse
There was all the usual buildings that you'd expect in a western/frontier/boomtown. I discovered buildings used as a general store, church, police, post office, newspaper, hotel, restaurant, barber, freight office and a rail line. You need only go to once place for your mail and shipping, haircuts or having teeth pulled. Talk about convenience! The hotel had a sign above the door that read 'Dead Horse'. I think that's as good of a name as any for this western town.

What I found neat here was that a couple of the buildings had 2 different uses, for example, one end looked like a church the other end looked like a general store. Then boom! TV magic happens and no one ever knows. There was also a building here that was not a set, it was an old building moved here. It looked to me like it was an old schoolhouse originally. Made the town that much more authentic looking.

Next stop: Dead Horse
A did have a scary encounter with a current resident of Dead Horse, a killer pigeon flew out of a door I had opened and scared the bejesus out of me. I screamed pretty loud. Not my finest moment, but I didn't let it get me down. I went back out, guns blazing, and got the job done. I wish I had taken more interior photos but I am drawn to the clouds and scenery with the buildings so most of my photos are outside.

I spent a lot of time wandering around Dead Horse, most of the buildings were open and I was able to check out the insides as well, this is different than my usual exploring trips where I can't enter most of the places. It almost felt wrong! I tried to imagine these places full of furniture and people, horses tied to the posts outside, wagons going down the street and townspeople going about their business. I could just about see and hear Dead Horse bustling with life, horses galloping into town, sounds of boot heels on the wooden boardwalks, a train whistle in the distance and the lively sounds of the up tempo piano music from the saloon. Grab a whisky and enjoy Dead Horse.

Business in the front, church in the back.

Actual old building now used as a set

Dead Horse Hotel

Police Detachment

Fancy Drinks!

Shipping & Freight


Thanks again to the Big Doer team, Chris & Connie.

Extra extra! Part 3 (and final part) of this series will be coming soon! Thanks for stopping by, now don't miss the last train out of Dead Horse.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Crescent Falls and a New Nephew

Crescent Falls

It's May Long Weekend!  It's the unofficial start of summer, and it was a good one, weather wise and fun wise. It's been known to snow on May Long so this one has been the nicest I can remember in recent years.

Proof of cuteness
We started the weekend by visiting my 6 day old nephew in Calgary. I have to say, he might just be one of the cutest newborns I have ever seen (besides my own of course!). I'm pretty sure I'd think so even if he wasn't related. I am fairly certain no one else in the history of babies has felt this way.

I am so excited to finally be an auntie and my son, who is 7, is excited to be a cousin. He really liked the idea of this new baby but quickly realized that babies don't do much. He says he will teach the baby to be cool. I asked how he would do this and he said that he just needs to be himself. What a kid!

Ended the day with a BBQ with most of the other Calgary family. Only about 50% of the conversation revolved around the new baby. I thought it would be more but since he was not actually in attendance I think it skewed the results.

We had talked over a couple possible things to do on Sunday but didn't really decide until we had packed up the truck and headed toward the highway....east or west....we chose west towards the mountains and the Nordegg area. I had been wanting to go back there since my trip earlier in the year. I had to see Crescent Falls for real this time. We went in the winter but didn't go far enough and only saw the canyon and didn't know I had to drive farther. Oops. This was my re-do.


Long way down
To get down to the falls from the trail, it's a short but steep climb. A rope has been installed which makes it so much easier. It looked a bit daunting but it wasn't bad at all and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.  It was just such a marvelous spot, with the mist lightly whirling around a picturesque inukshuk at the base of the falls (photo op!). I could've spent the afternoon sitting on the rocks soaking up the sun, but we has places to be! More on that later! (Spoiler's Nordegg and the Brazeau Collieries).

2 dudes and an inukshuk

The one selfie where I look acceptable, the boy has to have a goofy face lol
Today is yard work and working on getting wood ready for photos, I need to restock a store in town and for a few farmers markets coming up this summer. Hopefully there is good weather wherever you are.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

That's a Wrap! Part 1: Outlaw Camp

I recently had the opportunity to hang out with my favourite historian/journalist/photographer team, Chris and Connie of Off The Beaten Path - with Chris & Connie. They do a fabulous job of documenting and sharing places around Alberta, from historic sites, to our amazing natural areas, with some retro and other neat stuff thrown in too! Their informative and fun approach to writing is complimented with stunning photos. I have been following their adventures for awhile and was thrilled to be asked to join them! For this 'assignment' they invited me to tag along to a western movie set south of Calgary. This particular location has been home to many movies, television shows, commercials, and recently a music video.

Outlaw Camp c.2017...or is it?
This phenomenal setting in southern Alberta is located in the foothills and is home to 3 sets, nicknamed: Western Town, Outlaw Camp, and The Ranch. As well as the sets, there is access to livestock, buggies, wagons, and many other props. Everything you need to make an authentic looking period production.

After we were shown the area by the Ranch Manager, and maneuvered our way through pastureland full of cows and calves, we had the place to ourselves to explore and capture on film (technically on a memory card but film sounds better!).

Time to ride into the Outlaw Camp! Looking for something to shoot...with our cameras.

Standing in the Outlaw Camp, nestled at the base of some small hills and a few steps from the Highwood River, you'd never know it was a set. You half expect a posse of lawmen to come over the hill looking for a fugitive. Cue the gunfight!! I even said to myself  'they should have built camp on high ground to see anyone coming'.  Enjoy Outlaw Camp and stay outta trouble!

Stable Your Horse and come in for a whisky!

The old watering hole never closes!

The latest news!

Extra! Extra!

Stay tuned for Part 2: Western Town!

I would like to give another big thanks to team BigDoer, Chris and Connie. I enjoyed myself and learned a few things from watching you guys in action! Such a great evening.

Monday, May 15, 2017

I Wonder When I Wander

I love finding abandoned houses, they fascinate me. I can't help but wonder what happened to the owners? What's the story of this place and that place? I recently happened upon an interesting looking property, I could see 2 houses for sure, and it looked like possibly a 3rd house farther back as well as an outbuilding/shed. The main house is still beautiful, I am sure it was even more so when it was newer and lived in. It's faded exterior suggests it was once yellow with dark red trim. The other house was white with green along the bottom. This home was a bit more obscured by trees so I couldn't really get a good look from the driveway leading up to the property, where I had parked. There was a barbed wire gate across the entrance so I went no further. As I drove away, there was a better view of it from the main road.

Normally I get home, go over my photos, edit them a bit (if needed), post them here or there, potentially make them into a wood photo and then on to the next adventure. However the story for this place was not over. I was contacted by someone who saw my photo on Instagram, he told me his grandfather grew up in the 'yellow' house. I was excited to hear this and messaged him back hoping he didn't think I was some kind of weirdo asking all kinds of questions about the property. Turns out he was very nice and helpful. He told me that the house was lived in until the early 90's. Not only that, but his mother and her 4 sisters grew up in the white house. His mother said they had a coal stove for warmth and in the winter months they had to use a hatchet to hack the ice build up off the front door. The family has been in the area since the early 1900's when his great grandfather and brother arrived from Sweden and founded the town of Falun, which is a hamlet in Central Alberta. Falun, I learned is also the name of a city in Sweden. That's some compelling history to have in your family! 

The property is still owned by the original family and I will keep the location vague as they have had enough trouble with vandalism and trespassing. I would love to get closer to these homes someday and take more photos, you never know how much longer these places will be around. I appreciate learning more about this property and being able to put a story to one of the amazing places I have had the good fortune to find on my back road wanderings. 

Yellow House

White House, with weird giant stuffed animal in front

3rd house? Comes with an appliance!

Bonus!  This amazing house was across the road and a bit north of the other property.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Shameless Promotional Post - Ingrained Images

I take a lot of photos. I have found blogging is kind of like a journal of the places I've been. I also turn some of my favourite images into wood photos. Bear in mind I am no professional photographer but I enjoy my exploring time as well as my little side hobby of making wood photos, which I call Ingrained Images (I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with that name haha). I am lucky enough to have my images in 3 local shops and I also do a few farmers markets and seasonal markets as well.

Here's how to find me if you'd like to take a look:

Ingrained Images on Facebook or @ingrained_images on Instagram.

Thank you!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Here a Church, there a Church, Everywhere an Orthodox Church

Whitsuntide Russo Greek Orthodox Church

I had to make a trip to the Edmonton airport this of course I turned it into a trip to the airport with a side of exploring on the way home. Turns out everywhere I went, I found a church.
An Orthodox Church. 
Like 6 of them.....and that wasn't even going off main roads. Like shooting fish in a barrel. (What a weird saying). There was one in the town of Thorsby that I didn't stop at but below are 5 that my son and I took a closer look at. He even rang the bell at one of them...the best part of this 'boring adventure' he said. I am hoping he will appreciate this more later haha.   
Also saw a Lutheran Church, a Reformed Church, some barns and some abandoned farms. 

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church. Built in 1917.
Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church with Bell Tower

St. Mary's Russian Greek Orthodox Church.

Land was consecrated at this location in 1898. Local families decided in 1900 to undertake the building of a church. The 2nd, current, building was completed in 1965.
St. Mary's Russian Greek Orthodox Church. Built in 1965. 

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  Built in 1958

This replaced the original church built in 1927

St. Michaels was my favourite of the day, I had tried to see it once before in November 2016 but it wasn't accessible. It is part of a Ukrainian Orthodox Youth Camp, which I guess is why it looks like a miniature version of other Orthodox churches. It did not have the separate bell tower, typical in other Orthodox Churches. The size and the colour of the domes make this an interesting, beautiful little church.

I took a quick look see around the property. Besides the church I could see a few other buildings and a playground. It looked to me like it hadn't been open for many summers but I checked and yes, camp has been going on every if you're a 7-15 year old Ukrainian Orthodox kid who wants to go to camp in Central Alberta....they still have room. It's a lovely location on a lake. Kind of makes me wish I had gone to summer camp as a kid.

St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Orthodox Church

St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Orthodox Church 

Another view of Whitsuntide, the bell tower is just out of view.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Prairie Skyscrapers and Petunias

Grain elevators, prairie sentinels, prairie skyscrapers, prairie icons, prairie cathedrals...whatever you call them they are without a doubt an iconic piece of prairie architecture and history.  I had the chance to get up close with one that is now on private property. It was built in 1928 and was originally located in Lousana, AB. In 1973, instead of seeing in demolished, Mr. Gordon Green bought it and had it moved a few miles to his farm. It was used to store grain but now is no longer in use. It is a beautiful example of one of the few remaining Alberta Pacific Grain elevators in the province. I believe there are 6 left bearing this name: Dorothy (I love this one!!), Meeting Creek, Raley, Castor, Magrath and this one.  I've seen 3, might as well make it all 6 one of these days.

Nightsky Petunias 
I knew this elevator existed and wanted to see it for myself. Once I got there I was happy to see that on the same property was a greenhouse called  On Earth Gardens & Design, and May 1st was their opening day. I was able to get the coolest petunias ever and a white strawberry plant. Say what?!  Oh and I was allowed to wander around the elevator...could this day be any better??

I took my time and took photos of the elevator from every direction. This is the kind of place I'd like to stop at in every season just to take more photos. No matter how many elevators I get the opportunity to stand in the shadow of, I can't help but be in awe of them and what they meant to so many people. Go hug a grain elevator today, if possible...but don't trespass!

In fact I took a little too much time here and only made it home with 5 minutes to spare after school let out. Almost a mom fail in an otherwise perfect day.

Other interesting places found while exploring, I refer to this as a 'good sky day' and I love how the photos turned out:

Prairie Life

Windmill and Barn

Big Sky

Big thanks to Betty at On Earth Gardens, stop by and check our her greenhouse if you're in the area.
Also thanks to my friend BWBandy who made me start a blog and helped me find this elevator.
Thanks to Jason Paul Sailer for letting me know Magrath also has an Alberta Pacific Grain Elevator, another place to add to my list!