Monday, September 27, 2010

Views of the Prairies (aka "down south")

I spent a few days down in Saskatoon this past weekend. While the purpose was mostly work-related, I did manage to pick up a few tulip and daffodil bulbs. Hopefully they fare better than last year's decimated bulb plantings.
Highway just north of Saskatoon:

Northerners do need to get out every once in a while to stock up on new shoes, gloves, and electronics to play with over the long, long winter. Actually, it was warm down in Saskatoon and the comfortable fall weather was appreciated.

My favourite views of the prairie are in the fall. I love the expansive golden fields and have been wanting to take some essential wheat field photos for many years. I had a leisurely drive and some nice weather on the drive back from Saskatoon, with my camera riding in the passenger seat.
Some other people had stopped on the road nearby as I was squatting to take this shot. I can only imagine what they thought I was doing in this field:

This one with the round bales one of the Saskatchewan shots I've had in my mind but needed to get in my camera. These things remind me of those giant cylinders of fiber-rich breakfast cereal we ate when we were kids. I think they were called Muffets. I recall that you couldn't break them up until it had sat in the bowl of milk for a few minutes.

Just in case you're not familiar with Saskatchewan, these are the usual views of the southern part of the province. It's quite a change from the forests on slabs of granite up here in the boreal forest of the north. Hopefully I'll get out and take some photos of the forest's colors soon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Falling Towards Winter

Yesterday in the skies north of La Ronge:

We had a short period of wind that made our lights flicker wildly for a few minutes today. This was followed with a period of snow. Yeah, that stuff. "Ah, it's northern Saskatchewan", they tell me. I'm hoping someone remembered to pick the rest of the cherry tomatoes and bring them inside to finish their ripening process indoors. You know, the Saskatchewan way of ripening tomatoes! It always seems like we got such a short season of picking them ripe from the plant. At least the carrots will last in the ground for some time yet. I've also found that green onions left alone in the garden for winter will survive until spring, making for some nice little spring onions.

I've been meaning to go out and do one last blast of the glyphosate on the poplar shoots, but alas, work has kept me from the meaningful and important (read: gardening) activities of life. Instead, I took a flight to the small community of Southend, SK. This is their airstrip:

There's little room for pilot errors here. Either you fall off into the lake, or tumble down a little hill into brush and the lake. Most of the terrain north of La Ronge consists of thousands of tiny lakes in the glacier-etched depressions in the rocky shield. Just north-east of this town is Deep Bay, a 13 km wide meteor impact crater now located under Reindeer Lake. Take a look on Google earth, it's the obvious large round part of the lake at 56° N latitude in northeast Saskatchewan. It's quite deep and apparently has tall rocky ledges surrounding it, both of which are uncommon features in this area.
Check it out in the list of the 10 greatest major-impact craters on earth:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The leaves are all turned to beautiful shades of yellow an red and we haven't seen any warm days in over a week now. It feels like soup, sweaters, and wool tights weather now. I realized with a sweat at 5:00 am last Thursday that I hadn't made my bulb order yet. I had pushed the thought from my mind until the last minute, not wanting to dwell on the massive bulb failure of this spring. Hopefully this winter's cold and snow sequences will not be as discoordinated as last year's, and my $150 is well-spent. I love ordering from Botanus, a BC company. I mainly stuck to reliable small bulbs like Muscari, Scilla siberica, and crocuses, but threw in a few others as a gamble with nature. This is the risky, living-on-the edge side of gardening. Who needs skydiving anyhow?

The "Blue Lake" long green beans are definitely the best performer in this year's vegetable patch:

They take up such a small footprint of soil and grow tall on the metal support (great Lee Valley purchase). They could probably use an even taller support structure, but this tomato trellis does a decent job and looks nice too.

The raised beds are finally looking full, after a summer of disappointment. The "voids of death" are slowly disappearing as I let seedling perennials go crazy.

I love when the evergreen perennial Bergenia cordifolia starts turning a few leaves red. It's a real eye-catcher:

A few perennials always re-bloom at this time of year. I love these delicate little Saxifraga blooms: