The trend to exotic vacation spots can leave you feeling that if you haven't been to Belize or Turkey lately, that your holiday is somehow inferior. Not so. Last week we spent five days 3 hours south-east of home and found unique sights in Saskatchewan. The picture is the sunset on McLaren Lake, in a small Regional Park, not near any town. The road to the park wasn't pleasant because it was gravel, it had rained (a lot), and we were dragging our trailer. Once we got there, it was worth it. Every night there was a sunset something like this one. There was incomparable bird life. Yellow-headed blackbirds, robins, Brewer's blackbirds, King birds, mourning doves, Great Western Owls and more we couldn't identify. The air was alive with bird calls and bird wars, poaching each other eggs and nests. A pair of ducks who had obviously lost their young to predators strolled through the campsite together. One morning I let the dogs out and a mule deer followed by her doe bounded along the shore. We saw a lot of pronghorn antelope and one doe with twins, trotting obediently behind her.
These flowers are sand docks and they were blooming on the sides of the dunes in The Great Sandhills. I have been told they are considered weeds but I found them beautiful and kind of wished some of my bedding plants at home were as showy. They looked like begonias and we were lucky to see them on full display. The rain had brought them out. Our little dogs loved the Sandhills and there were lots of foot trails to follow.
This threshing machine was outside with the machinery display at the Sceptre Great Sandhills Interpretive Centre. I can just remember threshing machines on the farm. My brother and I slid down the last straw stack, which lasted longer than the threshing machine once farmers bought combines.
This elevator is in Leader, Saskatchewan. I took a picture of it because of the various annexes. It is larger than most elevators I remember in Alberta and most of them have disappeared from the landscape.
June 16. I'd been anticipating hearing Cassie Stocks read from Dance, Gladys, Dance, her book that won the Stephen Leacock Medal for humour. It turns out she is the first woman to win in 17 years. Yikes...we are funnier than that.
For example, just getting to the reading turned into a little adventure. Lloydminster's Arts Without Borders was hosting the reading and it's an hour trip from where I live. I'd invited a couple of like-minded friends along and had planned a nice leisurely dinner at one of the Border City's better restaurants. The best laid plans....it turned out that stopping to pick up a friend takes time as does driving across Lloydminster at rush hour. Yes, there is actually a rush hour.
The restaurant we had planned to eat at is CLOSED on a Monday. Plan B: I doive back down highway 17 and there are a lot of businesses along that stretch but restaurants are scarce. I turned around and headed back. One of my friends had spied a Papa John's. Pizza would have to do but we'd have to eat it in the car. Papa John's was take-out only. Last chance: Mary Brown's Chicken. There were tables and time was of the essence so in we went. I ordered first and grabbed one of the two tables where three people could sit together. The young man taking our orders actually brought us our food, but I'm sorry to say The Colonel isn't in much danger from Mary Brown. We ate quickly, washing the sandwiches and chicken down with root beer and diet pepsi, not our usual choices of beverage. 6:30 and because I purchased our tickets on-line, we had to pick them up before we went to the reading.
I expected the worst but then the evening went smoothly. The box office was right outside of the Black Box theatre and there were lovely snacks, fruit, cheese, desserts, even chili! We looked at one another. We should have grazed at the reading. Mary Brown was kind of repeating on me. Wine and Glornic (a drink concoction from Dance, Gladys, Dance) was on sale. Worst $4 I have spent in a while. Somehow gin, lemon juice from RealLemon, club soda and a splash of grenadine don't combine to make the refreshing beverage you might imagine. It was actually kind of nasty.
Cassie Stocks is an engaging, down-to-earth, funny person. There was a QandA kind of interview with a library staff member, reading of two excerpts and a question period. The author told us her "day" job is clerking at the Co-op in the little Saskatchewan town she has made her home. It struck a note. Small town grocery stores are invariably Co-ops.
Great conclusion to an evening that began badly.
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.