I'm leaving Eastend and the Wallace Stegner House after a delightful and productive two weeks.
Eastend has attracted writers, painters, sculptors and other artists from Canada and many other countries during the last several years. This is a very creative community nestled at the edge of the Cypress Hills. I'll miss Eastend and The Hills: but I'll be back soon.
My thanks to the Eastend Arts Council and all the other people who have made my stay so pleasant.
I was privileged today to be part of a session with the participants of The Great Plains from Texas to Saskatchewan: Place, Memory, Identity, an NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Summer Seminar for School Teachers which was convened at North Dakota State University in late June and is now in Eastend and surrounding area for a three day period. Fifteen outstanding scholar-teachers are studying the the works of Webb, Cather, Stegner, and Momaday under the leadership of Tom Isern, Professor of History & University Distinguished Professor.
Sharon Butala and I welcomed the group to the Stegner House. I gave a short summary of the work I am doing here, and Sharon read from her latest book The Girl in Saskatoon. Questions, discussions, and a tour of the house followed.
The participants in this seminar have come from across the USA, from New Orleans to Oregon. This is the fifth time this seminar has been offered, and I hope it continues for many more years. These scholar-teachers excited me with their interest in this country and this area.
As I prepare to leave the Stegner House tomorrow I wish I could stay just a bit longer and meet with this group again. They are fine people and great ambassadors for their country.
We need more seminars like this one: and our school system in Canada needs scholar-teachers like the ones I met today.
I attended the 100th Murraydale Stampede and Family Picnic today. It's held in a natural amphitheatre in the Cypress Hills and is attended mostly by local families and rodeo enthusiasts, although it also attracts people from elsewhere in Saskatchewan and from other provinces. Murraydale features local cowboys and cowgirls, some very young, competing in traditional rodeo events. This year approximately 1,000 people attended.
The weather was ideal, and people enjoyed watching and participating.
I did not expect to be photographing many storm clouds on this trip, but the journey started with a severe storm as we drove from Edmonton to Saskatoon. Since then the weather has been warm and sunny most days.
Yesterday I enjoyed using my view camera in the back yard at the Wallace Stegner House here in Eastend, Saskatchewan.
Storms developed last night which brought hail (known in Saskatchewan as the great white combine) to nearby areas. A tornado caused severe damage in at least one Saskatchewan town. On CBC radio this morning a woman quite calmly told how a tree fell through her roof into the living room of her house.
I've just returned from a walk in strong and gusty winds. The clouds are moving very quickly, and I expect that we may get a severe storm later this evening.
The small digital camera I used to make these images is approximately the size and weight of the light meter I use for the 4x5 view camera in the photo above: but that's another story for another day.
Thanks for your positive reactions to the storm cloud and other images I've posted during this time in Eastend. I hope you enjoy these photographs as well.
My friends Norma and Don Connick and I left Eastend this morning bound for Maple Creek where we enjoyed a great meal at the Star Café & Grill. This café has earned an excellent reputation and certainly deserves a visit if you're within a few hundred kilometres of Maple Creek.
Yes, a winery in southern Saskatchewan. A winery that opened on June 1, 2007, and has since won an award for the best new business in Saskatchewan. A winery that sold 16,000 bottles of wine last year, their entire production. A winery that grows grapes and other fruits for its wines and uses wild berries as well.
Don and I inspected the vineyard and the garden area. We didn't recall learning about growing grapes in Saskatchewan when we attended the College of Agriculture just a few years ago, but we agreed that innovators like owners Marty and Marie Bohnet, former ranchers who describe their incredible adventure as 'A hobby gone bad' , have created an amazing business in a short time.
The Winery Bistro Bar serves sandwiches, cheese trays, desserts and wine by the glass. We chose to have coffee and saskatoon pie. For those of you who know me that's no surprise. The pie was delicious. Later I sampled a few wild saskatoons from a tree beside the parking lot, but only a few: the saskatoon season is just beginning and those who will visit the winery tomorrow may be eating pie made from the berries on that tree and others nearby.
We sampled the five wines that are currently in stock and bought some for ourselves and some for friends. Several of these wines sold out last year in a short time.
We enjoyed our visit and our chats with Marie Bohnet and the helpful and enthusiastic staff. We'll be back.