Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Greetings

Christmas is fast approaching and every year I make up a simple greeting using one of my elevator photos. I liked the bright red colour of this elevator I took of the Springside, Saskatchewan grain elevator. Red is associated with Santa's red suit, and many of the decorations are red or have red in them.
Merry Christmas everyone, and if you don't celebrate Christmas may you enjoy the festive period coming up, including New Year's which many celebrate on January 1.
Traditions are both comforting and cumbersome. Why not add spice to tradition and enjoy the moment.
I noticed that the link to Chris Attrell's grain elevator site had changed so I've updated it in "My Links". I hope this didn't frustrate too many of you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yorkton, Saskatchewan

Yorkton is a large centre on the Yellowhead highway that I used to drive to and through quite often when I lived and worked in Saskatchewan. The Pool elevators were a common sight across Saskatchewan. Unfortunately they went out of business in 2007 when they were bought out. The history of the Pool elevators is in Wikipedia, if you're interested.
I added some special effects using Photoshop to dress up this prairie icon. I took this photo in 2001, if I remember correctly.
Live long enough and many things come and go, as has been the case with Pool elevators.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Wakaw, Saskatchewan

I'm not sure any more if this grain elevator still stands. Perhaps someone from the area could let me know. In any case I've given the original photo a different look to show the colours and lines of these massive structures. Click on the title to go to Wakaw's web page. The story of the origin of Wakaw is of interest.
The history of prairie grain elevators is also interesting. Click here to find a great overview of grain elevators in western Canada. They do a nice job of describing the reason for the shape of grain elevators and how modern design is changing grain elevators.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wet Prairies

When we left Saskatchewan to retire on the "wet coast" as it's sometimes called we were convinced that the prairies were about to go into an extended period of drought. We experienced many dust storms and saw grain crops that barely produced enough grain to make harvesting worth while. This year's been totally opposite. Constant rain and even some flooding is happening on the prairies in Canada. Farmers are hoping that they can get the crops off this fall. They could have bumper crops or as sometimes happens, frost could come early and wipe out the promising yield. Only time will tell. Who wants to be a farmer these days when the climate is so unpredictable?
I found this photo that I took a while back showing water right next to a ripening wheat field. I thought of the farmers this year when I came across it and decided to post it here. Whenever I take photos on the prairies I'm always been fascinated with water next to grain . It's likely due to the anxiety we used to experience on the farm when the grain was testing too humid during harvest. We had to stop and wait for nature to dry the grain. Otherwise we risked it overheating in the grain bins and catching fire, or at the very least, spoiling the whole bin full of precious grain.
The old buildings in this photo are also a reminder of different times when more farms existed and each farm was reasonably self-reliant. Mixed farms were common when I was a child. Now farmers tend to be grain farmers or cattle farmers. Specializing can be riskier when the one thing they're farming doesn't do well that year.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Prelate, SK

We drove through another small village, pop. 164, while travelling through part of Saskatchewan we hadn't seen before. This is the only elevator still standing in Prelate. If you click on the title you'll be directed to a book that's been placed online re the history of Prelate. I've linked the title to the first page regarding the history of the grain elevators. Very interesting history. It looks like they had five elevators there at one time. This book is a reminder of the decline of the rural communities because farms got bigger as machinery became larger and more efficient. Farmers than sold and moved to the nearest large towns or cities to retire or to work.

Leader, SK

Last month we drove through a part of Saskatchewan we hadn't visited before. I took this photo of the Leader elevator along with the sculpted Ord's Kangaroo Rats. Apparently these rats can leap up to 8 feet at once. Leader is the furthest north that they've been found.
It looks like this elevator is still being used. I've linked the heading to some information re Leader and area. We wanted to drive out to the Sandhills nearby but the roads were being repaired and it began to rain, again. Maybe another time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cudworth, Sk

I understand that this elevator is no longer standing. It's unfortunate how quickly these prairie icons are being torn down. They're just not economical, profit-wise, to leave them up. Maintenance upkeep and lack of use, due to the cement behemoths that are replacing them, is dooming most of them to being destroyed. It's less expensive to tear them down than keep them up. Some communities have managed to keep their elevators as museums but the owners (large corporations) make it difficult and expensive to do so. Nostalgia on my part? Perhaps. Sometimes it's hard to let go of what was an important part of our lives as we grew up. The wooden grain elevators is that for me.
(Click on the Title to read about Cudworth.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wooden windmills on the prairies

Even rarer, I'm sure, than wooden grain elevators are the wooden windmills that are still standing. This one is on my brother-in-law's farm north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It's in need of repair as the wooden slats are rotting and it's becoming structurally unsound. It's too bad as these also are icons of the prairies. Using wind power readily available on the wide open prairies was an energy efficient way of pumping water from the well for the water supply of the farm herds.
I have a few photos of windmills in Saskatchewan. Does anyone have a collection? Or know of one? I googled windmills and came up empty. I'll have to do some more searching as now I'm curious as to whether these memories of our past have been preserved.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Inventory of Existing Saskatchewan elevators

I just came across this list of existing grain elevators in Saskatchewan that was completed in July 2006. There are between 500 and 600 remaining. What I like about this list is that it gives the dates the elevators were built. The Pense elevator I've posted here was built in 1967.
If you want to see the list and see if your favourite elevator was still standing in '06, click on the title of this blog.