Studio: 204 Main Street, Milk River, AB
Mail: Box 93, Milk River, AB, T0K 1M0

 

We take the ordinary and make it look extraordinary

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Spring has Sprung in Southern Alberta

Spring has Sprung in Southern Alberta

Spring is officially here – the gophers made their appearance in the area on February 27. May have been earlier, but that is when I saw my first gopher for this year.

I am sure we will still have a few more snowstorms, but they will be short lived and it is not likely we will see the -40 to -50 weather that we had at the start of February.

In the near future we should stat to see the return of the geese, swans, and ducks that migrated for the winter

But one must remember, this is southern Alberta and we can get snow well into July. Our poor freezing Red Wing Blackbird was a snowstorm in the middle of June.

March also brings flooded streets

and of course with the warmer weather we will start to see more of this as police start their spring vehicle safety campaigns.

Another eclectic mix from across time

Another eclectic mix from across time

Our featured image is from a recipie created for Petersen’s Re/Max Journal, a custom publication created for Rich Petersen who was the broker for the Re/Max brokerage in Fort St John.

Dealing with hunting stories in north eastern BC, the magazine had a regular featured wild game recipe

The recipes were provided by Florence Plotnikow and we photographed the finished meal to put into the magazine.

Lethbridge Health Unit

steam train engine Lethbridge
The Health Unit is located in the old train station in Lethbridge, and behind it is one of the steam engines that used to work out of Lethbridge

Is this a Downy or Hairy Woodpecker?

The two birds are very different in size, with the Hairy being about the size of a Robin while the Downy is only the size of a sparrow. But the coloring is almost the same, so you can usually tell them apart by the length of the beak. In the Hairy the beak is longer than the head, while in the Downy it is shorter than the head. So that would suggest that this is a Downy however, a Downy also has white spots on the tail feathers that are not present here, suggesting it’s a Hairy.

Created for a Lethbridge magazine that no longer exists

Created for a Lethbridge magazine that no longer exists

One of my earliest forays into commercial advertising started in Lethbridge with a session for an ad for Imperial Fashions.

The ad ran in a magazine called Chimera that morphed into Lethbridge Living.

The image was photographed on Black and White film with my Nikon FTN camera, which I still have and use if I can find film.

Back during Covid, when the government didn’t allow us to have any customers, I was taking a online photo course https://project52pro2016.com/ and one of the projects was to take one frame of film every day for a month. These are a few of the images from that project.

Barn located just off Highway 3 near Barnwell, Albert

Blades for wind turbines stored in Milk River while waiting for transport to the construction site.

The elevators located at Warner Alberta

Its High On Ice Time in Fort St John

Its High On Ice Time in Fort St John

Sometime near the end of January to the middle of February Fort St John breaks the monotony of winter with the High On Ice Festival.

They do bring in world class ice sculptures to create some pretty magnificent carvings but there are also local competitors made up of teams from local businesses and communities.

One of the early traditions of the event was creating shot glasses and pitchers that were later used to drink a toast with.

Welding in the Park

Fort St John is also the centre for oil and gas development in northern BC and as such it has a large number of people that are employed in the welding trades. So it was only natural for them to create a summer event called Welding in the park, where local welders were given the weekend to create a sculpture. This metal grizzly bear is the product of one of those competitions.

An eclectic mix from across the decades

An eclectic mix from across the decades

We start with a photo of a competitor competing in the Butterfly Stoke swimming competition in the 2007 BC Northern Winter Games.

Hockey, hockey, and more hockey

Minor Hockey Game in Fort St John

and what would one of these posts be without a couple of the many thousands of hockey photos from over the years. These two are from a game between Peace River and Fort St John

Calendar material

This next one is a scene that I remember from a calendar in what I believe was 1963. If it wasn’t 63 then it was 1964. It was the typical calendar of the time single large graphic, and underneath it a the pages for a small monthly calendar. You would rip the old month off to reveal the new month. I remember the teacher Miss Louis Miller telling us at the time that it was actual a scene from the area.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized that the scene was at the intersection of Secondary 506 and Highway 4 north of Warner. And even later when my mother said that she used to get dropped off here and would walk down to Grandma Frandsen’s farm that at the time was located at that first intersection.

I do remember visiting the farm when I was very young, and not sure when it had been plowed under. But it has not been there for years. This photo is from Feb 10 2020.

Who wants Pizza

If you don’t like Southern Alberta weather wait a minute

If you don’t like Southern Alberta weather wait a minute

If you listen to the pundits you would think that we are about to have the driest year in history. But as usual it is more story than fact.

On the farm, our neighbour Andrew, kept daily weather records. Andrew started keeping those records sometime before 1910. Every day he recorded the high and low temperature. The amount of moisture whether it came down as snow or rain. The wind speeds and directions.


February7 2020, as is typical of old farms the old building are left to the the wind and the rain to slowly disintegrate over time. Sometimes the old buildings will be dismantled, sometimes they will be bulldozed, sometimes, the entire farmstead will be put to the match or plowed under.


You know what you can tell from real records kept in the same place for over 100 years? Patterns. Yep, if you look, you will see that about every 30 years the weather will repeat itself. Wet years, dry years, they come, they go. Rinse and repeat.

The 60’s

Now, I’m not as accurate with my timelines, because I only remember what I remember. But in the early 60’s we had years so dry that we just plowed the fields back into the ground because the wheat and barley didn’t grow tall enough to harvest. Dust storms so bad that we could not see our pig barn that was less than 100 feet from the house.

This is a dust storm just south of Lethbridge, that is the Wilson Siding, or 845 turn off. If you look very closely you can just make out the top of the grain terminal above the dust cloud. Not from the early 60’s but from 2021 and the first dust storm of this intensity that I can remember since the 1960’s

Years where you had to keep the combine header so close to the ground that you were picking rocks rather than harvesting grain.

February 07, 2020 and barely a sign of snow on the landscape.

I also remember years where the crops were so tall that it was over my head. To be fair I was a kid, so not that tall, but even by today’s measurement it would be over my waist, making it probably three feet.

One of the other things you notice from looking at those daily records is that in southern Alberta most of our snow pack comes in February and March and major snowstorms can arrive as late as June.

Also in the late 60’s (I think 1967 but it might have been 1968) that we had a May snowstorm that brought all of southern Alberta to a halt.

One of the kids I went to school with was a rancher and Military helicopters were brought in to carry hay to feed his families cattle stranded in the fields.

Our neighbour – the one that kept the weather records – drove the three miles from his farm with his Minneapolis-Moline tractor to see if Dad could take the bulldozer over to his place to plow a path to his cows so he could feed them.

February 7, 2020 a state of the art for its time seed drill abandoned in a field that has little snow cover

Once he finished there, he moved on to other friends and family plowing their yards out.

Even once all the roads were plowed, it was still like driving through an alien landscape with snow banks along the edge of the road reaching over the top of school buses.

And most of the time the Victoria Day weekend – the start of camping season – is usually cold and wet.

1990’s Chin reservoir drys up

In the early 2000’s Chin reservoir was so dry that it went from being a lake of over 150,000 acre feet to a mere stream. It was so dry that the police were able to recover a rifle that they though might have been used in a murder from the mud.

On February 7 2024 we got one of those snow storms covering most of Alberta with over a foot of snow in most places and several feet in some places near the mountains.