Sunday, August 29, 2010

Edmonton Fantastic #4 - River Valley

The nip of fall is in the air in Edmonton which makes me feel a bit sad that I haven't been able to squeeze more out of summer. Instead of burrowing myself under the electric blanket and giving in to the bad weather I did something that I've been meaning to do for quite a long time now. I grabbed my good walking shoes, bundled up, grabbed my camera and set out to explore Edmonton's gorgeous river valley.

I headed straight north of our house until I hit the stairs that would take me down into the river valley. It's a gorgeous view of the city from there and a fitting place to start my journey down into the rain-like forest.

From my neighbourhood (Bonnie Doon) to the Muttart Conservatory I followed the winding river paths, smiling and nodding to all the Edmontonians who were out with the same idea in mind as me. I crossed over the North Saskatchewan River to continue on my trek west along the riverbank. The river valley is so gorgeous, filled with the most amazing smells (roses) and sights (the Chinese Garden). I let myself wander and get lost for most of the afternoon.

Finally with my legs aching and my stomach protesting I reached the point where I would turn to head home - first I needed to climb the stairs of agony and then cross the river again on the iconic High Level Bridge.

I found plenty of muscles today that will be cursing me tomorrow but I also found some peace, beauty and fresh air on my walk today. It makes me pumped for fall to get here!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

100 Years of Pride rolls through town

Yesterday my favourite football team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, rolled into town to take on the Edmonton Eskimos. Naturally I had tickets to the game and went to cheer on my team (although it rained, blew and we generally froze our butts off).

Unfortunately our team may have come to Edmonton but they definitely didn't come to play, losing by three points to Edmonton who had been sitting in the bottom of the rankings at 1-6 (now 2-6). We obviously needed the loss as a shake-up and I hope we come back victorious in our next match-up in October.

Anyway, my friends Nikki, Amanda, Ryan, Colan and I had a fantastic afternoon cheering on the 'Riders. It's still anyone's guess who will end up at Grey Cup 2010!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Celebrate good times....C'mon!

Well it's taken a lot of sweat, stress and some swearing this summer but we finally were able to launch our new website for my faculty on Wednesday; visit to check it out.

So while our small team of four worked diligently on this project, we found that our hard work hadn't gone entirely unnoticed. We launched the website on Wednesday and on Thursday afternoon we were invited out to a faculty member's "cottage" for a celebratory retreat.

Situated on Pigeon Lake about an hour south-west of Edmonton this cottage is where I could live right now. This place burned to the ground five years ago and Lory and her husband have worked painstakingly to rebuild.

I really wanted to capture how gorgeous their cottage is - they are avid antique'ers and have added little extra touches all over the home to give you the feel that it has been standing on the land for the 50+ years it had, before burning down. It was the best afternoon celebration that our team could ask for!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another August Anniversary

August is the month of anniversaries. Not even a week after being in Saskatchewan for my father's business's 50th anniversary, I turned around and headed back to attend my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. I've been pretty spoiled these past two weekends because both anniversaries I attended allowed me to have family reunions for either side of the family.

My grandparents (on my mom's side) make growing old look like a lot of fun! We held a come-and-go tea for them in Prince Albert and for the entire three hours, they worked the room like no one else. There were over 200 people there ~ a testament to the friendships they've built over the years.

It was a fantastic day of friends, family and fiddle music! Congratulations Grandma and Grandpa on 60 years together. We love you so much!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy 50th Shellview Sod Farms!

August 7th Shellview Sod Farms celebrated 50 years in the turf business in Saskatchewan. Started by my grandfather, Hugh, the business has grown to a small crew of mostly family to 16 employees and numerous ways of diversifying.

From lawn turf to golf course greens, wildflowers to hydro-seeding the farm has seen its share of feast and famine. Today the business is run together between my father and my uncle ~ a proud family tradition.

To celebrate 50 years in the community - vendors, landscapers, friends and family were invited out to the farm to mix and mingle, enjoy a catered meal under the "big top" and finally partake in karaoke'ing and fireworks.

Congratulations Shellview Sod Farms on 50 years of quality and service. Here's to another 50 and more!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Atlas Coal Mine #3

On the Sunday of our long weekend camping trip Paisley, Denise and I headed east of Drumheller to the Atlas Coal Mine. I have been to this coal mine before and it still captures my imagination as it boasts the only standing wooden coal tipple left in Canada.

When I visited this site three years ago the tipple was in better condition than it is today but I can see evidence that there has been some dollars and work that has gone into other areas of the mine site. For example three years ago we took a "tipple tour" inside the wooden structure and we rode the rails in one of the coal cars. That was about all you could do with your admission fare.

Today you can also don a miners hat, switch on the lamps and journey into the hillsides up one of the mine shafts. That is a new attraction and one that we decided we just had to do. Carrying around the heavy battery packs and wearing the heavy mining hats gave us a whole new appreciation for some of the conditions miners worked in back in the day. We couldn't have asked for a better tour of the Atlas Coal Mine site and I will be going back again and again!

To wind up our day crawling around a coal mine we drove out to the town of Wayne for a cold beer on the patio at the Last Chance Saloon. Wayne itself isn't anything spectacular (only 27 people live there); what is unique is the 11 steel bridges you must cross in the 6 kilometres it takes you to drive to the town from the main highway. It's not hard to imagine yourself as part of the Wild West in a place like Wayne!