This past August, as we do most years, we visited relatives in Saskatchewan and spent some time out in the country. As always, I took pictures; here are ten of them.

As always, many of the pictures are of the sky, because it’s just not like anywhere else.

Prairie skies

I try to avoid one particular Saskatchewan cliché, because it’s saddening: namely, the emptying countryside. The traditional family farm is simply no longer viable, so the population thins as they’re sold out, put together, and operated in packages of ten thousand acres or more. Most people, given the choice, would rather live in town anyhow. So everywhere you go, you see empty farmhouses and, like here, the grass growing up around things that used to be thought valuable. It’s remarkable how fast it happens.

Grass growing up and through a farm machine

The sky isn’t always sunny.

Dark prairie sky

That particular day was chilly, with occasional rain, and a howling Prairie wind. I saw, in a local town calendar, that there were stock-car races, so we went off to take them in.

At the stock-car races

The crowd wasn’t real big.

The stands at the stock-car races.

I’d never been to see stock cars before, and I loved it. It was intense and intimate and colorful. My little four-year-old girl hated the noise and howled in fear and unhappiness every time the cars came by. Also, the wind and rain was getting to us, so we didn’t stay long.

Later that day the sky enough cleared for a nice sunset.

Prairie skies at sunset

The closer the sun gets to the horizon, the better the grass looks.

Prairie grass at sunset

In another few years, this barn probably will be part of the emptying-countryside story.

Prairie barn at sunset

The cows were starting to come home.

Highland cattle at sunset

Ah, those skies.

Prairie skies at sunset

I hope to go on visiting for many years to come.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Adam Sloan (Oct 06 2010, at 11:55)

Humans have always been community-oriented since we were tribal, the big plains farms currently enabled by oil are probably a flash in the pan in our history. Nomadic groups have worked but are still communities and they get to move around - at the price that you have to carry all your belongings of course.

Even the small prairie family farms are pretty big compared to what you could manage with a horse team, I'm pretty sure it would be lonely out there especially in winter even with a big family; not for everyone. Ranching works on big spaces but that is not machinery intensive like growing food, the land can be. Maybe it could go back to a big grazing commons.

I always hate to see good equipment sitting out to rust, I'm sure it cost a bunch and could be very useful for someone on the other side of the planet, but you have to learn not to sweat it - Buddhists might say "nothing is permanent".

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