Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

from I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (1935), 
by Upton Sinclair

Young Grebes

                          "It does no take courage, Quixote.
                           to slaughter windmills in a windy world
                           or tilt against entrepreneurs.
                                                     It is a waste of  breath
                           to criticize vast corporations

                           The difficult thing
                                                    is to sit still
                                                    like a child in the yard
                           while the whole bleak catastrophe of winter
                           descends like a glacier into the soul."

                           from Soliloquy to Absent Friends
                           by D.G. Jones

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Zipping around the Big Slough

"This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—

maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,"

from Morning
by Billy Collins

Friday, August 11, 2017

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

"So heavy

is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,

always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone."

from Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond
by Mary Oliver 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Strike

“If you keep the faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins 
the sunlight and the rain: heads in the light, 
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.” 

from Spirit of Place : Great Blue Heron 
by William Stafford

Yesterday we managed to launch the canoe out onto the big slough from the hayfield. It is a lot easier than trying to drag it across thru the brush with all the beaver runs hidden by tall grass. We saw few small birds, but we did see the Osprey, Kingfishers, Grebes, Ducks and especially the Great Blue Heron.

"And when the blue heron, breaking his long breast feathers,
sees one feather fall, does he know I will find it?
Will he see me holding it in my hand?

as he opens his wings
softly and without a sound—
as he rises and floats over the water?

And this is just any day at the edge of the pond,
a black and leafy pond without a name
until I named it."

from Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones
by Mary Oliver

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Road Trip Krydor to Hafford Part 2

“…this country would always be populated with presences 
and absences, presences of absences, the living and the dead. 
The world as it is would always be a reminder of the world that was, 
and of the world that is to come.” 

from Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry

After our visit to Krydor we drove to Hafford about 21 km away.

A 2016 photo taken from outside the bistro in Hafford. 
These are typical prairie towns with beautiful skies and 
landscape that stretches off forever.

Hafford with a population of  360, still maintains the normal small town
businesses, a CO-OP, credit union, pharmacy, grocery etc. I noticed that
in 2017 the sign has been removed from this business I photographed 
in 2016 and it as been boarded up. Hafford does have a K to 12 school a 
vital link in maintaining community health. 

We also had to stop at the Hafford Ukrainian church, the distinctive
silhouettes of these churches are a beautiful feature of the 
Canadian prairie.

Photos of the church in Krydor taken in 2016 can be found here.

An extensive article on Nykyta Budka can be found here.

“Some of the best things I have ever thought
 of I have thought of during bad sermons.”

from Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry 

Road Trip Krydor to Hafford Part 1

“You may say that I am just another outdated old man 
complaining about progress and the changes of time. 
But, you see, I have well considered that possibility myself, 
and am prepared to submit to correction by anybody who cares 
about a community, who can show me how the world is 
improved by that community's dying.” 

from Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry

Last year we went through the town of Krydor, we spent 
most of our time at the church, a link to those photos will
appear in Part 2. I noticed the boarded up stores then and so
we came back this summer to look around. There are signs of
life, the community hall is maintained, the church kept up,
there are recycle bins. But as you can see the main street consists
of boarded up stores and vacant lots. My brother in law pointed
out that most have metal roofs so some attempt has been made to 
maintain them. Founded in 1911 the town now has 25 residents.
As you drive through you see houses that have been abandoned
and a few with signs of life or an RV plugged in indicating some
seasonal occupation. As I said to my wife, it would be very
eerie to be a child in such as town at night, with all these dark 
overgrown homes and the vast dark prairie sky above.

Demographics can be as relentless as any tsunami. A few 
years ago the rural high school I attended closed after 112
 years in Harrow ON when the decision was made to consolidate to 
large towns. This immediately affected local businesses and the 
sale of town lots.

A link to other photos and some very interesting 
comments about the community of Krydor.

"There was a river under First and Main, 
the salt mines honeycombed farther down. 
A wealth of sun and wind ever so strong 
converged on that home town, long gone. 

At the north edge there were the sand hills. 
I used to stare for hours at prairie dogs, 
which had their town, and folded their little paws
to stare beyond their fence where I was. "

from Prairie Town
by William Stafford

Friday, August 4, 2017


"Autumn is crisp and the firmament far,

especially far from where people live.
I look at cranes on the sand
and am immersed in joy when I see mountains beyond the clouds.
Dusk inks the crystal ripples."

from Drifting on the Lake
by Wang Wei

Yesterday we took off in the morning, promising to finish the little jobs in the afternoon. We did. We went back to a series of sloughs where we saw Sora last year. We did not see a lot of birds, so we are not sure if we have missed the start of migration. Given there were no red winged blackbirds I suspect we have. But we did see Sandhill Cranes a bird we have wanted to see close-up for years. Ever since then my wife (I am too hard of hearing) has heard them passing overhead.


Wilson's Phalaropes

Stilt Sandpiper

Sandhill Cranes

Blue Winged Teal on the prairie.

“If you are very lucky, you're allowed to be in certain places during just the right season of your life: by the sea for the summer when you're seven or eight and full of the absolute need to swim until dark and exhaustion close their hands together, cupping you in between.” 

from Bones of the Moon
by Jonathan Carroll