Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Greetings

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and may 2009 have brought you fond memories of times well spent. And, may 2010 bring you all that you wish for.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Times past

Before steel bins became available and affordable for farmers they built wooden bins to store the grain before shipping. The bins were often built in or near the grain fields so as to cut down on transportation time during the harvest. The risk, of course, was that the bins were vulnerable to thievery of the grain by unscrupulous farmers who wanted to meet their quota. The main disadvantage of these square-cornered buildings was in loading the grain. Someone had to crawl inside the bin and shovel the grain to the auger. I remember the dust and the hard work of moving the heavy grain by shovel. If I didn't put a handkerchief over my nose and mouth I would suffer from inhaling the dust. The worst grain for nasty dust was oats.
These bins I photographed a few years back near Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan. I've "colored" the photo to make it look like it was taken much longer ago to try to recreate the times.
I enjoy the progressive falling of the bins all in a row--symbolic of time passing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tessier, Saskatchewan

Tessier is a village of around 30 inhabitants, located west, southwest of Saskatoon. This elevator was still standing in 2001 when this photo was taken. It is a "typical" country grain elevator in that it stands very much alone in the wide open prairie. This elevator is right next to the main highway and so is easily spotted if you're driving along highway #7 on the way to Kindersley from Saskatoon. It's about 50 kilometers or 30 miles from Saskatoon. (Click on the title to find it on Google maps.)
I've chosen to "sketch" the photo to give it a more dated and archival look.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Advertising for herbicides

Farmers face a barrage of advertisements extolling the virtues of this or that herbicide, fertilizers and the equipment to apply them with. I took this photo on the side of the elevator in Birch Hills, Saskatchewan and turned it into a black and white to give the message more clout perhaps. The artwork intrigued me and reminded me of the Soviet style propaganda photos one sees extolling the virtues of the workers in the Motherland, etc.
Herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides are a big industry and farmers have little to say about prices of these products. In order to compete they have to apply these products even though many realize the potential harm to the soil and to people. Farmers can't raise their prices in order to cover the additional costs of applying herbicides, etc., and so are at the mercy of the suppliers.
Organic farmers are working hard to counter this trend and we should support them for it as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Classic Kinley

I made a "sketch" of the photo I took of the Kinley elevator while a train was passing by. To me, it gives the scene a more "classic" feel adding to the memories of times passing.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rose Valley, Saskatchewan

I'm posting this photo of a grain elevator near Rose Valley, Saskatchewan that was sent to me by friends in Regina. Here is the correction to my previous notes as sent to me by a Rose Valley resident: "Rose Valley is a Town. The elevator is owned by a local farmer but is still in it's orginal location, not out in the countryside. This picture just happens to be taken from the Highway, across the school yard so the CP tracks are not evident. The owner of the agricultural land in between the school & elevator does not own the elevator."
My appreciation to the Rose Valley resident who visited my blog and took the time to correct my version of the photo.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Leney, Saskatchewan

When I took this picture in 2000, all that stood here were these elevators and an abandoned school across the road. These are and continue to be, signs of times past. While I don't want to dwell on the past, I believe we honour ourselves when we honour our past. By taking and posting photos of grain elevators I have chosen to honour part of our history as a province, as a country, and as a people.
I have used a filter to emphasize the colours and and contours of this photo as a way of showing more details. It's easy to forget details in order to remember selectively what we choose to ignore. However, sometimes details must be remembered, not in a vengeful way, but in order to keep ourselves fully informed and able to make clear decisions based on all the information.
I'm not sure where I'm going with that leap, but I do see a connection here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

US Elevator history from 1843-1943

William J. Brown has written a book about the history of grain elevators in the U.S., and is now selling his book. I'm not promoting his book, per se, however I am letting my readers know about this in case they are interested in pursuing it. Click on the title to link to his blog about this book.
I'm passing this along as I'm glad to see that there are some writers out there who are willing to spend the time and effort to record this information for others to read.

Here's a quote from his book that applies to the Canadian prairies, as well, as far as I'm concerned:

"Frank Gohlke, a photographer of grain elevators, writes,

For me, the essential grain elevator view is obtained through the windshield of a car or truck while traveling on a highway in Kansas or Oklahoma or the Texas Panhandle. It is not a static view, but one that begins just as the elevator becomes visible above the center line, above five miles out of town, and continues until it disappears in the vibration in the rearview mirror. In the minutes that pass as the speck grows to colossal size and then shrinks to rejoin the horizon, many contradictory messages are created: we are powerful, we build for centuries, our monuments rival those of other heroic ages; we are insignificant, our hold on this landscape is tenuous, nature and time erode our greatest creations as if they were dust. What lingers i[n] the memory, though, is the image of a solitary, upright form in the middle distance of an endless plain."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gull Lake, SK

While surfing the web about Gull Lake, Saskatchewan where I took this photo, I came across a painting of this elevator by Vickie Emms that portrays this elevator and landscape in another way.
Gull Lake is along the Trans Canada Highway west of Swift Current. The population is about 1,000. The elevator on the photo looks like it's getting on in age. I haven't been back there since I took the photo September, 2006, so it may be torn down by now. In the meantime, we can enjoy the prairie sentinel while it still stands.