I have long said that Saskatoon could and needs to do winter better. Â Instead of complaining about it, we need to embrace it like Edmonton has done. Â With the arrival of winter today in Saskatoon, I decided to come up with a list of 30 awesome things to do in Saskatoon this winterÂ (actually it is 28 things, one awesome thing is in North Battleford and one in PANP). Â If you have any ideas, let me know on the page. Â Iâ€™ll add them all.
Each year I put together some holiday and Christmas gift guides for the people in your life. Wendy wrote the first one and here is my first one; a holiday and Christmas guide for the women in your life.
Wendy is hard to shop for. She never makes a list until itâ€™s too late and doesnâ€™t really crave a whole bunch of things which makes Christmas (and birthday) shopping hard. In case your wife is awesome like Wendy but hard to shop for, here are some Christmas gift ideas to consider.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
The alluring Original Star K Heart Shape 8mm Love Pendant, crafted in 925 Sterling Silver. This beautiful design is set with 1 Heart Shape stone prong set , 1 stone prong set colorless Round Cubic Zirconia. This product measures 8 mm wide, 18 mm long and is a great looking while affordable necklace and pendant.
Why would you get her a iPod Nano when she probably has a smart phone. Two reasons. Smartphones tend to fill up with apps and if you have a 8gb or even a 16gb iPhone, she may not have enough room to have much music on it. The second reason is that she may have an Android or a Blackberry meaning that managing your music with iTunes is a pain in the neck.
An iPod Nano gives her 16gb of storage in an extremely compact package. It may not do everything that her phone or an iPod Touch does but it plays her music really well at an affordable price.
Wendy has always loved music and has always wanted a massive stereo system. Since we have a small home, the dream has never come true. Lucky for Wendy there are some excellent compact speaker systems as options. Here are a few of them.
I have traditionally recommended the Bose Wave home audio system. It provides legendary sound, is $499 but has fallen behind the times. It bugs me that even with the new version you have to add an optional and costly Bluetooth receiver to stream music wirelessly from your iPod. Yet if the women you are shopping for still prefers CDs to iTunes, it is probably the best audio system you can get for her.
For the iPod/Android crowd, I am suggesting you get her a Big Jambox.
The Big Jambox turns any mobile device (phone, tablet, media player, computer) into a portable, hi-fi sound system that wirelessly delivers amazingly clear, full audio at any volume.
- They are available from Amazon and are $277. If cost or size are a factor, check out the Jambox Mini for $99.
Help keep her warm this winter with a faux fur blanket. Perfect for outdoor, watching TV. Stay warm this winter and feel great with this faux fur throw. Unbelievably soft and plush. Dynamic decor piece to throw over a couch or chair, it serves as a fashionable, functional accent piece. Perfect blanket to cuddle up on a chilly evening without any of the guilt and cost of using real mink fur.
I bought Wendy an Olympus PEN last year and she loved it. Over the year we added a couple of lens (I recommend the Olympus 40-150mm, the Olympus 45mm f1.8 (Wendyâ€™s favourite lens), the Sigma 19mm, 30mm and 60mm prime lens) a new ThinkTank sling bag, and some other gear. The result was we took a couple of thousand photos over 2014 and had a great time together.
The advantage of a mirrorless camera system like Micro 4/3 system (which is used by Olympus and Panosonic) is the size of the cameras and the lenses. It means in practical terms that you take this camera places you would not take a DSLR. With 16 megapixel sensors, good (but not amazing) low light sensitivity (if you want great, you need a Sony A7s), you get amazing photos that you can enlarge to almost any size.
If you want something small but with a traditional DSLR form factor, take a look at the Olympus OMD E-M10 for $750.
If she is looking for more traditional DSLR, then look at the Canon Rebel T5i with the 18-135 lens. She will be impressed at how simple it is to create breathtaking photos with ease. The incredible image quality and performance starts with an 18.0 Megapixel sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 5 Image Processor. A continuous shooting speed of up to 5.0 fps allows for fast action capture. 9 cross-type AF focus points help ensure crisp focus throughout the frame, and the Hybrid CMOS AF system enables speedy and accurate autofocus when shooting in Live View mode. In addition, the camera is compatible with Canon STM lenses for smooth, quiet AF performance.
You get full HD video, the ability to plug in a shotgun or lavaliere microphone, and access to the enormous Canon EF-S lens family. You can get a kit with a 18-55mm lens but for the extra $200, the extra range of the 18-135mm lensis worth it.
The ultimate garden book â€“ both a collection of gardens from around the world and a resource for those seeking inspiration on garden design and planting. Featuring over 250 permanent gardens by leading garden designers, horticulturalists and landscape architects, from the 14th century to the present day, and covering all key types and styles of garden, this wellâ€illustrated compendium combines images, text, key information and captions for each of the featured gardens, appealing to both amateur and professional gardeners, as well as garden designers.
Samsungâ€™s Chromebook laptop has been deemed by many to be a success. Lightweight, inexpensive and practical as everything operates off your Google Drive, the Chromebook is great for any career woman on the move.
Chromebooks are great if you are comfortable with using Google Apps but if she is the type that wants to do more with a computer, check out the Acer Aspire E-11 Netbook.
It runs Windows 8.1, has 2gb of RAM, and is totally silent as it is cooled passively. No fans means no noise. It’s only $200, runs iTunes, some games, Microsoft Office (or Open Office). An amazing netbook for the money.
Jean Dubost Laguiole 3-Piece Cheese Knife Set is a great holiday gift for anyone who loves hosting a great dinner party and doing so in style.
This set of cheese service knives includes a spreader for soft cheeses like Montrachet a serving knife for Gruyere and Gouda and a cleaver for hard cheeses such as Parmigiano. Sparkling stainless steel handles carry the signature logo of the Laguiole ‘Bee’. A wooden gift and storage box completes this gourmet set.
Wendy has sensitive skin and watches irritate her horribly. So when I gave Wendy this Timex Ironman watch, she had some serious doubts over whether or not she could wear it. A year later, she is still wearing it every day. Because the watch and band are all one piece, it is an incredibly comfortable watch to wear. Because it is from Timex, it takes a lickinâ€™ and keeps on tickinâ€™.
It is only $27 at Amazon and if you ask Wendy, she will tell you it is worth five times that amount.
Here is what you want to know: Yes, the Kindle Voyage is better than the Kindle Paperwhite. Itâ€™s thinner, faster, brighter, lighter, newer, has a better screen, has more memory (4GB vs last yearâ€™s Paperwhiteâ€™s 2GB) commands more magical elf armies, owns a Ferrari, and is nicer to your grandmother.
The iRobot Roomba 880 is the ultimate high performance robotic vacuum cleaner. Featuring the revolutionary new AeroForce Performance Cleaning System and AeroForce Extractors, itâ€™s proven to remove up to 50% more dirt, dust, hair, debris and harmful allergens from all floor types and is virtually maintenance free.
Of course the best part of this gift is that it saves you and her time, time that you can spend together.
So there you go. I assume I have forgotten, many, many ideas so let me know what I have forgotten the comments below. You can check out the other Christmas and holiday gift guides while you are at it.
Hi, itâ€™s Wendy. Every year I write a Christmas Gift Guide for those of you who are shopping for the men (boyfriends, brothers, husbands, fathers) in your life. The highly organized of you out there are already searching for Christmas gifts (as evidenced by the increased page views of previous years Christmas Gift Guides) so I decided that I had better kick off the 2014 edition before I hand the rest of them of to Jordon (although I will return to author a post on Christmas gifts for the cook). So here goes. Let me know what you think of these gifts in the comments.
I know recommending an iPad is like picking low hanging fruit but the new iPad Miniâ€™s with a retina display is amazing. The new retina display has over 3.1 million pixels, which is a million more than a HDTV.
I never recommend that anyone uses the back camera of a tablet ever (you look ridiculous while using it as a camera), but the front facing camera of the iPad Mini with Retina Display is high definition and makes Apple Facetime (or Skype) video calls look fantastic which could be a killer feature if you or your loved one travels a lot. Staying in touch is important.
If the man you are Christmas shopping for is an iPhone or a Mac user, itâ€™s an great addition (or upgrade) from a previous iPad (which may or may not support iOS 8)
- Starting from $399 at the Apple Store or only $345 at Amazon
If the man you are shopping for is an Android user, check out the new Nexus 7 from Google. It thinner, lighter, and faster. Itâ€™s not quite as sharp as the iPad Mini but it has a whopping 2.3 million pixels in the palm of your hand. So even if he has an older tablet, this is a great reason to upgrade with Googleâ€™s flagship Android tablet. With 323 pixels packed into every inch, you can read text thatâ€™s sharper than the printed page, see images more vivid than the highest quality photo magazine, and watch videos come to life in vibrant 1080p HD. Heâ€™ll love it.
- He will love the technology, you will love the price. Itâ€™s only $199 for the 16gb version on Amazon
Whether you get him an Android or iOS powered device, he is probably going to want to chill out with it which means he will need a great set of headphones. Money doesnâ€™t mean quality (most people find Beats by Dre to be over priced and provide underwhelming sound despite their popularity). Here are some highly recommended headphones from well respected electronics website, The Wirecutter which tests hundreds of headphones every year.
Here is what The Wirecuttersaid about them:
The MDR-7506 have been a studio staple for years, and thereâ€™s a great reason why: Not only do they have an even response across the entire frequency range, the 7506 have better sonic depth and dexterity than many headphones twice their price. Plus, they are durable, comfortable, and reliable. And at a current retail price of less than $90, their performance was better than some of the competition that cost almost twice as much.
If you are on a budget, The Wirecutter recommends the Panasonic RP-TCM125K in ear headphones. We got a pair for Mark and he loves them. For only $15, they were one of the best technology purchases that Jordonor I have ever made.
The Panasonic headphones won because they sounded the best. Hands down. They were everyoneâ€™s top choice in terms of sound fidelity. They have a nice overall balance with airy, mellow highs and present-but-not-dominating bass. They sound just as good listening to acoustic guitar as they do hip hop and rock. Nothing pierces, nothing muddies: every frequency plays well with the others. And as youâ€™ll see with other contenders later, thatâ€™s not often the case in this price range.
- So yeah, $15 gets you a lot. Find them at Amazon.
So if your guy wants to share the music, movie, or game he is playing (letâ€™s not share the game), you will want to check out the MINI BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Speaker by Logitech.
Logitechâ€™s UE Mini Boom works because itâ€™s a speaker that youâ€™ll actually use. Itâ€™s so portable it fits in a jacket pocket, but the sound it produces has enough power to clearly fill a room and preserve the most important aspects of the song being played. On top of that, despite retailing for substantially less than the original Jambox, pretty much every reviewer agrees that it performs better.
A smaller option with a fantastic looking carrying case and carabineer that allow you to take this speaker even more places and on more adventures.
Itâ€™s small and protected enough to take with you on trips, back and forth to work or even take with you on a hike and day out of the city.
The chant gives you around six hours of listening on a single charge which is perfect for an evening around the fire or chilling out with friends.
- You can get it at Amazon for $68
If you know Jordon, you know that he is on 650 News Talk Radio twice a week with David Kirton on the Saskatoon Afternoon Show. So I have to include a tabletop radio. The Model One Bluetooth Table Radio has both an amazing tabletop radio experience with a Bluetooth speaker.
Itâ€™s costly at $269 but it would look amazing on any bookshelf while providing brilliant sound to listen to the Saskatoon Afternoon Show on or to listen to the podcast later on that evening. Even if the guy you are shopping for isnâ€™t a News Talk Radio fan, can you think of a better device to listen to ESPN Radio on while having a drink on the deck? I canâ€™t either.
If he is more old school and doesnâ€™t mind some cords to connect his iPhone to the speaker, check out the Sangean WR-11SE AM/FM Table Top Radio 40th Anniversary Edition.
These are fantastic mini-binoculars. While not as good as high end binoculars from Zeiss or even higher end Pentax, these are affordable and portable enough to take with you anywhere. Jordon keeps a pair of Nikon Realtree Binoculars in his go-bag at all times. If these had come out when he bought those, he would have picked these instead.
Jordon is a photographer and loves his Pentax K-30 DSLR. He bought a Pentax Q this summer and loved it. It doesnâ€™t replace his K-30 (it offers none of the lens options or the low light performance) but is so incredibly portable and easy to take with you no matter where he is going. Itâ€™s not going to be the camera he takes with him to photograph Nuit Blanche or to shoot Markâ€™s football games but it has been great to take with him when we are heading out for a walk, exploring the city or just chasing after the kids. Pentax/Ricohâ€™s website gives you an idea of lens options but according to Jordon, you really only need four.
The best camera is the one that you have with you. If a Pentax Q-S1 isnâ€™t what you are looking for, then take a look at the popular Nikon 1 series of cameras. The Nikon 1 J4 camera with 1 NIKKOR 10-30mm lens and 30-110mm telephoto zoom lens is a great combo.
At $1300 it isnâ€™t cheap but you wouldnâ€™t expect the best compact camera in the world to be inexpensive.
The Fujifilm FinePix X100was a milestone camera in the industry as one of the first large sensor, prime lens cameras to achieve widespread popularity. Its classic look, obviously cribbed from a certain German camera maker, were justified by the excellent image quality its 35mm equivalent f/2 lens could produce. It was also a rare example of a camera its maker continued to develop, long after it hit the market. The X100T is is the third generation X100 and is better than ever.
I bought Jordon an Apple TV last Christmas. He loves it but if the Google Chromecast was available in Canada last year, I probably would have gotten him one of those.
Here are the reasons he will love it.
- Stream online video, music, photos and more to your TV using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop
- Supports a growing number of apps including Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, ESPN, MLB.TV, Google Play Movies and Music, Plex, MLS, crackle, Vevo, Rdio. Allows to cast a Chrome browser tab.
- Box includes Chromecast, HDMI extender, USB power cable, and power adapter. No remote needed.
- Easy setup: Plug into any HDTV and connect to your home WiFi network
- Works with Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks
A new leather Dopp Kit ($34) with:
- Gillette Fusion Flexball ($12) or a Schick Hydro razor ($8).
- Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush
- Kingsley Shave Soap Bowl with lid ($10) and Taylor of Old Bond Street Jermyn Street Shaving Soap Refill ($20) or just go with the Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl ($15)
- Intuition for Men EDT spray ($80)
He will love using the gift and you will love how he looks and smells after. (if the price of leather is too high, check out this great dopp kit from MEC)
LL Beanâ€™s Adventure Duffle now comes in soft yet rugged cotton canvas for a lasting combination of durability and classic style. Itâ€™s more or less the same great bag that people have been using since the 1940s. It now has a water-resistant coating and comes in a variety of colors. Meets airline carry-on size requirements if not over stuffed. Itâ€™s a great gift for the traveller.
Men love flashlights. Itâ€™s part of what makes them men. He needs a small one on his keychain, a tactical one (a universal one works too) to take with him on adventures and and a more heavy-duty one in your house and garage. You canâ€™t go wrong with a classic Maglite. The LED bulb will last nearly forever, and heavy-duty aluminum casing gives it shock and water resistance.
For times when he leaves the houses and has to do manly things, he will want an amazing travelling thermos. Made with stainless steel, the Stanley Thermos is rustproof and BPA free. The 8-ounce lid doubles as a cup for your coffee, hot chocolate, or soup. Oh, and it keeps its contents hot/cold for 24 hours. Need more convincing? Didnâ€™t think so.
A shoeshine kit makes the perfect gift; itâ€™s something that no guy thinks to buy, but every guy needs. Buy a quality kit in a manly wooden box that has all the necessary accoutrements to keep your loved oneâ€™s shoes shining like a sheet of glass. Included in this set are two cloths, a tin each of brown and black polish, two sponge daubers, two 100% horsehair brushes, a shoe horn, and of course the handsome wood box.
Depending on how old the guy is you are shopping for, he may have grown up with an Atari 2600 gaming console. He can relive his wasted youth with this flashback system. 92 built in games, the console and two controllers for under $50. Whatâ€™s not to like?
If he is younger and wasted his youth on a Sega Genesis or a Nintendo, check out this system. No built in games but it is a completely redesigned Nintendo and Sega system in the same system. Blades of Steel, Sonic the Hedgehog, Tecmo Super Bowl, and Super Mario all on the same console.
I know watches are passÃ© now that we all have our smartphones (unless of course your watch is a smartwatch) but sometimes you donâ€™t have your phone with you to whip out 20 times a minute. Other times you just need to look like an adult. In those times you need a watch that is rugged enough to survive and smart looking enough to wear out on the town.
The Timex Expedition watches were inspired by the field watches issued to soldiers during the first half of the 20th century and look great with a wide variety of get-ups. While there are more expensive name-brand versions out there, if youâ€™re looking for a simple, yet handsome-looking watch and canâ€™t bear the thought of having to shell out over $150 or more, this is perfect.
- Full size watch, 3 time zone settings for traveling, Maximum style and performance with water resistant leather strap
- Water resistant up to 50 meters, Indigo night light for low light conditions, Metal case construction for enhanced durability
- 24 hour chronograph with lap and split option
- Daily alarm
- Easy to use 24 hour countdown timer
He has probably checked out the GoPro channel on YouTube (and made you watch some of them). Whether he admits it or not, he wants one of these. Here is why:
- Built-In Touch Display: Frame your shots. Easily adjust settings. Play back videos and photos. Improved Camera Control: New dedicated button enables quick access to camera settings. Simplified menus make navigating settings easier than ever.
- Fast, Powerful Photo Capture: Captures high-quality 12MP photos at speeds of up to 30 fps.
- Built-In WiFi + Bluetooth: Delivers enhanced connectivity to the GoPro App, Smart Remote
- Durable + Waterproof to 131′ (40m): Designed to withstand extreme environments and conditions. Wearable + Mountable: Enables immersive self-capture during your favorite activities. Compatible with all GoPro Mounts: 60+ mounts and accessories – and counting – for capturing a wide variety of perspective and activities. GoPro App + Software: Control your camera remotely. View and share your content. Easily create gorgeous GoPro-style videos.
- Protune – Now for Video + Photos: Cinema-quality capture and manual control of color, ISO limit, exposure and more. Night Photo Lapse: Customizable exposure settings up to 30 seconds for single and Time Lapse Photos. Auto Low Light: Automatically adjusts frame rates for optimal low-light performance. High-Performance Audio: New Audio System captures clean, high fidelity sound and nearly 2x the dynamic range. Ultra Wide-Angle Glass Lens: Enables engaging, immersive footage of you and your world. Selecable FOV: Three FOV settings – Ultra-Wide, Medium and Narrow – allow for a broad range of perspectives. HiLight Tag: Mark key moments while recording for easy playback, editing, and sharing. QuikCapture: Power on and record automatically with the press of a single button. SuperView: Captures the world’s most immersive wide-angle field of view.
Cast irons pans last a lifetime, cook your food evenly, and even impart a low dose of iron to your food. Heâ€™ll be making you bacon and eggs every single morning with this thing.
If you get him a great pen, he may actually start writing hand written letters. What would be better then sealing those letters with a wax seal. The fascinating history of the wax seal that dates all the way to the Middle Ages. The practice has changed very little since that time, and itâ€™s easy to do yourself to bring some class to your correspondence. This kit contains one brass seal engraved with a letter of your choice, and four sticks of their supple sealing wax.
Speaking of writing, every man should keep a journal. If he is having trouble getting into this manly habit, perhaps what he needs is a journal so handsome and inviting itâ€™s hard not to write in it. Wrapped up in leather, this journal will have him putting pen to paper in no time. Perfect as a travelogue for all of his 2015 adventures.
Craftsman is the gold standard when it comes to tools. This set comes with the Craftsman lifetime warranty, is made of alloyed steel, and better yet, will serve all your socket wrench needs. For the man in your life that isnâ€™t terribly familiar with tools, this is a great set to have. It comes with two wrenches and 52 sockets, as well as a screwdriver with an interchangeable bit set.
If you know a man who spends a great deal of time outdoors, get him a nice pocket compass so heâ€™ll never lose his way. Sure, GPS may be easier and more accurate, but batteries die and satellite connections can be disrupted. Thatâ€™s when having a compass comes in handy. Get him one that heâ€™ll pass on to his grandkids.
Jordon went to a super slim card wallet this year and has loved it. This is the thinnest wallet on the market and just makes a man’s life better.
The number one selling home product on Amazon. No wonder, it is a gift that will quickly save you money. The Nest Learning Thermostat learns what temperatures you like, turns itself down when you’re away and can be controlled from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
With optimized beams, rubber grips, and tactical switches, Rayovac’s Sportsman lantern is ideal for use inside and out, whether you’re heading for the hills or camping out in your home during a power outage. Nicely compact and ultra-portable at just 7 inches tall and under 3.5 inches wide, the Rayovac lantern also provides an incredibly bright 240-lumen light that makes it a useful resource for outdoor adventures as well as for emergency preparedness.
You can also find all of the rest of the 2014 Christmas Gift Guides online here. There is a lot of great ideas for all of the important people in your life. Good luck with your shopping and have a great holiday season! Oh yeah, if I missed anything or you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments.
The trailer for 180 South which Mark and I watched the other night on Netflix. Â Itâ€™s a great adventure documentary about an epic journey to Patagonia. Â If you havenâ€™t seen it, itâ€™s worth watching.
Chris Malloy’s film strikes so deeply into the heart of Patagonia’s wilderness we come to feel at home there. 180Â° South: Conquerors of the Useless follows Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia. Along the way he gets shipwrecked off Easter Island, surfs the longest wave of his life â€” and prepares himself for a rare ascent of Cerro Corcovado. Jeff’s life turns when he meets up in a rainy hut with Chouinard and Tompkins who, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all the experience of raw nature â€” and have come to Patagonia to spend their fortunes to protect it.
We are becoming increasingly isolated, and Iâ€™m no exception. Just before I turned 25, my mother succumbed to cancer, and a year laterâ€”as I was mustering the courage to contact my estranged fatherâ€”he passed away too. I have no siblings, and after I left the East Coast and moved to Wyoming, I rarely saw my extended family.Â Â
Thatâ€™s not to say I was alone: I had plenty of friends, a caring significant other, and wonderful colleagues. I ran into acquaintances almost every time I went to the grocery store, and my work at the radio station had made me a minor celebrity in Wyoming. But making plans around other peopleâ€™s packed schedules was often a challenge. And as friends got married and had children, the delightful one-on-one conversations I used to share with themâ€”the kinds of conversations where you hash out lifeâ€™s challenges together and go home feeling lovedâ€”became rare.Â Â
It seemed reasonable to assume that trekking alone for 500 miles, in areas with no cell phone reception and few other hikers, might leave me lonelier than ever.Â Â
But loneliness and being alone are two different things. During the five weeks I spent on the trail, I felt less lonely than I have in years.
The Star Mine Suspension Bridge is a 117 metre long pedestrian suspension bridge which crosses the Red Deer River in Rosedale, just outside of Drumheller, Alberta.
Constructed in 1931, the bridge was built for the coal workers of Star Mine. Although once used by miners, the bridge is now a favorite among locals for fishing and to access great Badlands terrain.
South Africa is home to roughly 80 percent of the world’s remaining rhinos, which number about 20,405 white rhinos and 5,055 black rhinos, according to conservation group Save the Rhino. But that population is in danger of imminent collapse due to a recent, dramatic increase in poaching. This is fueled by Asia’s reinvigorated appetite for the animal’s horn, prized for its alleged curative properties and mark of wealth; rampant corruption in South Africa; and soaring international prices on the black market. As a result, there is a multimillion-dollar global conservation war that stretches across southern Africa. And de Rosner is a mere foot soldier in the battle against these nighttime killers. “We do something — they adapt. They do something — we adapt,” he says, squinting in the midday heat. “They’re watching us as much as we’re watching them.”
For some reason some of you care passionately about what I do to my lawn. Â Here is my spring update.
- The lawn weathered the winter far better than I thought it would. Â We have one sparse patch and the dog did her best to kill some of it off but over all, it is way better off than I expected.
- Some of that I credit to using fall fertilizer. Â It made a big difference which I need to remember this fall. Â
- We have used six bottles of Killex on our lawn to control dandelions. Â Some of you have success using the dandelion bar, I have never seen any difference. Â I have no idea why it doesnâ€™t work for us. Â
- Despite using six bottles so far of Killex, I have a boulevard of dandelions this morning. Â Itâ€™s the same with everyone else but no one else is fighting it. Â Also the abandoned lot behind us isnâ€™t helping things.
- I have fertilized heavily this year. Â I used to reseed the dead areas but then I am naturing new grass every year. Â This year I am fertilizing and then waiting for it to grow in. Â I guess the idea is that I want more of the grass that is successful surviving our winter, not some stuff that is designed for a more temperate climate and looks good in the summer and then dies off.
- I wish I didnâ€™t have to fertilize this month but like a lot of houses in Mayfair, topsoil was never used. Â Itâ€™s gotten better since we moved in but it isnâ€™t ideal.
The failure by the American government to prepare for the shuttleâ€™s inevitable retirement, and to articulate a plan for what was to come next, is for Chris Kraft an unmitigated disaster.
He just might know. As Americaâ€™s first flight director, he is the man for whom mission control is named.
During his nine decades Chris Kraft has observed the entire arc of U.S. and Russian history in space, from the early days of desperately trying to catch the Soviets in space, to beating them to the moon, to now hitching rides to the space station on Russian capsules and being threatened by Russian officials.
â€œThe cancellation of the space shuttle may be the biggest blunder ever made by the United States,â€ Kraft said. â€œItâ€™s fairly obvious that no one in the government thought through what they were about to bring about when they made that decision.â€
Kraft isnâ€™t alone. A Houston scientist who studies the moon, Paul Spudis, served on a Presidential Commission tasked with implementing President Bushâ€™s vision in 2004. What has happened since then, he said, is appalling.
â€œIâ€™ve never seen such a screwed up mess in my life as the way NASA is right now,â€ he said.
Our near-empty sledges still felt heavy and the energy that carried us up the Beardmore, and indeed to the Pole itself in record time despite dragging more than anyone in history, started to wane dramatically in the last few days. What’s more, we’ve been running lower on food as we failed to meet our mileage targets. Six days ago we started to eat half rations, and I’ve felt shattered every day since, aware that I was depleting my body at a rate that might have been reckless. My stomach growled permanently, my ribs became more prominent by the day, my legs were painfully weak and my mind and thoughts and decision-making grew foggy and dim. On our second day of half-rations I got dangerously cold when I had to remove my outer jacket in the middle of a storm to add more insulating layers, and it was only Tarka’s help -zipping up my jackets like I was a toddler while my cold hands hung useless by my side- that got me out of trouble and through a very dark day indeed.
I’ve been reluctant to say so (sorry mum!) but we’ve both been on the ragged edge for a while now, and on New Year’s Eve, we set out on what was to prove the hardest day of the expedition. It was Tarka’s turn this time to struggle, and I’d reached a state where I was barely able to realise it. The windchill was -45 degrees centigrade when I recorded it, and we stayed outside for more than 13 hours, on fifty percent of the food I’d intended and wearing almost all the clothes we had with us. At breaks we would eat halved energy bars and our normally-sweet drinks tasted like lukewarm dishwater with a hint of lemon. Towards the eighth or ninth hour Tarka’s normally rock-steady metronomic pace started to become erratic and he seemed to stagger and stumble more than usual on ridges and divots in the snow surface. He stopped mid-session, in a howling blizzard, to remove his outer gilet (the Primaloft-insulated Mountain Equipment Compressor vests that have served us so well here) and flipped back his hood as if he were too hot. I know -as a professional leader of expeditions to the coldest places on the planet- that these are tell-tale signs of hypothermia, yet I was on the limit myself and failed to react. All I can remember from that afternoon that drifted into evening, with the dim sun slowly wheeling around us and the horizon erasing itself and reappearing again in the whirling fog of spindrift, was being unable to think of anything more than the battle raging in my head against the part of me that wanted so desperately to stop. Just to lean my shoulders on my ski poles and slump forwards against the resistance of my harness and rest, and to hell with the consequences. I wondered at times if I fell over whether I’d have the strength to stand up again, the energy to yell for Tarka, or whether he’d even notice me calling over the noise of the wind.
When I took over the lead I kept turning back to see Tarka -normally right on my heels- drifting further behind me. I stopped a few times to let him catch up, but it was too cold for me to wait for more than a minute or two before I started shivering, so I raised a single ski pole, he raised his in reply -a signal we’ve often used here- and I shuffled on. After doing this a few times, with Tarka receding as if the horizon was sucking him backward like quicksand, he stopped raising his pole. I waited, but by now he was a tiny dark speck in the white that took forever to grow. I unclipped my harness and started to put the tent up, feeling dizzy and breathless myself, and taking what seemed like ages to match the poles to their corresponding fabric sleeves, like a drunk taking some sort of coordination test. “Sorry I’m late”, said Tarka as he arrived, but it sounded like someone else entirely, his words mumbled and slow.
As we finished slowly setting up camp, I saw he was fumbling in his giant outer mittens with the plastic buckles that strap our sledges closed. “I can’t feel my hands”, he said through a mask encrusted with ice, his shoulders slumped forwards. As we zipped ourselves into the porch of the tent to take our boots and outer layers off before climbing into our sleeping bags, we saw that the tips of his thumbs were at least badly frostnipped, if not lost entirely to frostbite. I remember feeling a mixture of fear and anger, both at him and at myself for letting this happen. I pulled up my jacket and fleece so he could warm his hands in my armpits, and to my relief the colour and circulation started to return. We ate our watery half-dinners in near-silence and fell asleep exhausted and cold, knowing we would have to match the same distance the next day.
Our depot was still 74km away and we had barely more than half a day’s food to reach it; eight energy bars each, half a breakfast and half an evening meal. 16km into the following day Tarka started to slow again as he led, before stopping entirely and waving me forward to talk. “I feel really weak in the legs again”, he said. “OK. What do you want to do?” I answered snappily, before realising this was on me. I came here to be challenged and tested, to give my all to the hardest task I have ever set myself and to the biggest dream I have ever had. And here was the crux. This was the moment that mattered, not standing by the Pole having my photograph taken, but standing next to my friend, in a howling gale, miles away from anyone or anything. “Let’s put the tent up”, I said, “I’ve got an idea”.
My idea was to call for a resupply. To have more food and fuel flown to our position so that we could rest and recover before finishing this journey. A decision that changes the status of this expedition from “unsupported” or “unassisted” or whatever semantics you wish to choose to the opposite. Part of me also feels it inevitable that we and this journey would face critics even if we’d done it in period clothing eating pemmican and pony meat. Yet in an instant I realised that my and Tarka’s lives are not something I wanted to gamble with, and that we had given our all. We were lucky that neither of us had collapsed the day before, and I knew we couldn’t possibly have hoped to recover on our meagre rations from the physical holes we’d dug ourselves into.
At the other end of the world, on the other end of a crackling and hissing satellite phone line, our expedition manager Andy Ward sprang into action, and things happened incredibly quickly, with a ski-plane carrying eight days’ of rations landing twelve hours later. The weather worsened as we waited and I feared the flight would be aborted, or that a bag would be air-dropped at speed and lost in the blizzard, but in a beautiful twist of what some might call fate, the pilot was Troy, the same man that picked me up from the Arctic Ocean after my 72-day solo expedition nearly ten years ago, and in my eyes the finest polar pilot in the world. The Twin Otter appeared through a tiny hole in the rolling cloud and swang over us once before landing on the ridged and uneven snow surface and taxiing right up to our tent, its wing-tip almost above our roof. The wind was still blasting and the plane’s skis were almost hidden under the blowing snow. “I’m sorry about the weather”, I said to Troy, amazed that he’d been able to land. “Oh, it was fine”, he replied modestly.
The hours we spent waiting were, I fear, dark ones for Tarka. He seemed a broken man. “It’ll look like my fault”, he said, “and that’s a good thing for you.” This was Tarka through and through. Weeks ago he said humbly, “If there are media at the airport when we get back, I’m happy to help with the bags while you talk to them.” He finally admitted last night that when I was struggling (and if I’m honest now, on the verge of wanting to quit) a few weeks ago he’d taken food bags from my sledge while I was in the tent to help lighten my load without telling me, so he’d been pulling more weight than me for weeks.
Tarka is the hero here, and the irony of our situation is that I would never have made it to this point without his herculean efforts; his giving everything he has to this goal. I’m proud of how deep we have each dug, and I am amazed and humbled by Tarka’s sacrifice. He has pushed (or indeed pulled) himself until he dropped, and I’m also as exhausted as I’ve ever been. For weeks now I have slept fitfully and woken up cold. We are both alarmingly lean, and we have both struggled for a while to maintain trains of thought or decent conversations. I suspect my writing has been going downhill too.
And now we are lying here resting, like two new men after ten hours’ sleep, full-bellied and warm again for the first time in weeks, before we move north again to complete this unfinished journey. Our status has changed, but how little that means to me now. Scott didn’t wear his harness until the Beardmore and would have been “supported” in modern polar parlance. I don’t think we made any mistakes, and I don’t think we could have done anything more, or pulled any more food up here. We travelled 5.6km per day at the start with 200kg per man, greater loads than each of Scott’s weakest ponies hauled.
Heck of a trip regardless of the outcome. Â Make sure you read the entire post.
A well-travelled friend once told me that Saskatoon and northern Saskatchewan were the greatest places on Earth to be in the summer and the world’s worst places to live in the winter.
How much I agree with him depends on the wind chill.
Winters here are long and dreary, and they last from October until May some years. Not only does the snow linger, for many of us, the winter mindset dominates our thinking on all sorts of policies and decisions even during the heat of summer.
We argue about new ideas for the city all of the time. “We can’t have bike lanes because it snows half the year.” “The winter is too long to waste money on a pedestrian bridge.” “Money on parks is wasted because they never get used in the winter.”
There is much we don’t do because of this white stuff – even when we are complaining about the heat in the summer.
Other cities aren’t held captive to winter in the same way.
Many Nordic cities with far worse winters than ours have excellent bike infrastructure and keep the trails cleared year-round.
Edmonton struck a committee last year to help manage winters better.
I am not sure if I agree with the approach that Winnipeg and Calgary have taken with elevated walkways, but I was able to walk all over Winnipeg in -40 C temperatures with only a light jacket.
A report prepared for the Minneapolis-St. Paul region mentioned that nine of the 10 happiest American states are ones that feature cold winters, and listed examples of cities that do winter really well.
In Germany, Austria, and France, people look forward to outdoor holiday markets where they can find a festive atmosphere along with holiday decorations, seasonal gifts, and warm food and drink.
New York City has imported the idea and has set up massive outdoor markets across Manhattan. Before you scoff at the idea, look at the large crowds that come out in any weather to Wintershines. People will come if you give them reason to do so.
December is easy, but we have to make February tolerable. Winnipeg is doing an excellent job. The city pays a lot more for winter snow and not only can you drive around, the sidewalks are cleared. Imagine being able to drive and get around on foot. It can happen.
Winnipeg has also installed heated bus shelters at a growing number of stops. Even in -40 C with a brutal wind, I was able to take off my tuque, gloves, and unzip my jacket while waiting for a bus.
The city has slowly added winter warming shacks as attractions along its rivers. It started as a local idea, and now gets international attention from architects and designers. Those shacks get you out of the wind and give you an excuse to brave the elements.
No matter the weather, thousands of people are having fun all winter long.
Adding a few warming huts each year would make a cold and windy Saskatoon riverfront a lot more tolerable. It would also help connect the different business districts which are spread out because of our river.
Holiday seasonal markets would also be perfect in the Saskatoon Farmers Market. Who knows? It could even one day expand into something other than a weekend destination.
The first step is not warming huts or outdoor markets, however – it is to convince council to get serious about residential snow removal. And our business improvement districts must get serious about keeping sidewalks clear.
Then it relies on everyone figuring out ways to make winters more enjoyable.
Maybe it’s a restaurant opening its deck on milder days, or community associations holding outdoor parties in the winter, like they do in the summer.
It requires the city looking at ways of making our parks winter-friendly, perhaps with more fire pits, or ensuring bike lanes are cleared all season long.
It’s bus shelters that actually do keep us warm. Once we figure out how to shed the shackles of a cold winter and enjoy it, we will find out that even our summer months can get better.
Â© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
It’s that time of year again when people start searching the web for Christmas gifts for loved ones. For the last several years I have published a gift guide of what to get for your husband on JordonCooper.com and this year is no different. So without further ado (and I know how much we all hate ado), here is my Christmas gift suggestions for your husband/boyfriend/father (and all of the other men in your life). If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments â€“ Wendy.
Sony RX-100 II
If you are looking for the world’s best point and shoot compact camera, here it is; the Sony RX-100 II.
- It has a huge one inch sensor (which means better low light performance and more vibrant photos)
- It features an extremely fast F1.8 Carl Zeiss lens which again will mean excellent low light photos and action shots.
- Connection to your smartphone via Wi-Fi or if you have a new Android powered phone, NFC.
- Purchase from Amazon.com | $748
- Purchase from Amazon.com | $549
- Purchase from Amazon.com | $120
GoPro Hero 3+
You have probably seen one of the hundreds of amazing videos that have been posted to the GoPro YouTube Channel or seen one of the many thousands of more videos that have been posted over the last couple of years with these amazing cameras. While GoPro has competitors, none match the features that GoPro offers or any of the many mounts that GoPro has to secure the camera to your car, head, chest, poles, floatation devices, or bikes with ease. For $20-$30 you can literally mount a GoPro on anything.
The camera itself is a lot fun with a super wide angle view, HD video, slow motion video, and time lapse features that allow you to film your ideas. Jordon has one and has had a lot of fun over the years with it. Your guy will as well. An added bonus is that GoPro has released a free video editor so you can easily edit and upload your adventures.
- Purchase the Black Edition from Amazon.com | $399
- Purchase the Silver Edition from Amazon.com | $299
- Whatever edition you choose to get, you’ll need a Micro SD card. You can get a high speed card from Amazon.com for $23.
The bright f/1.8 lens lets you capture quality pictures not normally possible with a compact camera. Noise is kept to a minimum without boosting sensitivity, while camera-shake and subject motion are prevented due to high shutter speeds. And thanks to the large aperture, you can also create attractive "bokeh" blurred background effects.
With itâ€™s retro styling, itâ€™s also a camera guaranteed to be noticed even before you take those great photos.
- Purchase at Amazon | $249
Electronics is cool but so is writing stuff down with pen and paper and nothing beats a Moleskine notebook and a quality pen to do that with. You can find really nice Moleskine notebooks in any bookstore but for about half of that, you can find journals at your local Staples or office supply store.
- Purchase Moleskine notebook at Amazon | $29
- Purchase Parker Metro Fountain Pen at Amazon.com | $17
- Purchase Cambridge Business Notebook at Staples | $12
I purchased Jordon a pair of Bose IE2 in ear headphones last year. He put them in his ears and could not believe the difference between them and the $20 headphones he had used forever. As he said, "It’s like hearing my music for the first time again". For Father’s Day, I got him a pair of Bose AE2 headphones that go over the ear and the sound was even better. It’s easy to dismiss high end headphones as not being worth the money but I can really say that these are. Both are incredibly comfortable and bring a bit of luxury to your world no matter where you are listening to them at. Everyone needs a retreat and this does that. I can’t recommend them enough.
If you are looking for a less expensive option, check out JVCâ€™s Xplosive Xtreme headphones. $16 gets you an attractive bass booming set of in ear headphones that are great for everyday use.
- Purchase from Amazon.com | $16
For over the ear comfort and sound at a great price, check out Sonyâ€™s MDR-ZX100 headphones. We have a couple of pairs around the house and they are much loved and oft used.
- Purchase from Amazon.com | $15
Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff | Jordon grew up with Detroit cable television and for many in our city, they have a close affinity with Detroit. This is the story of what went wrong and is told from a personal perspective. Back in his broken hometown, Pulitzer Prizeâ€“winning journalist Charlie LeDuff searches through the ruins for clues to its fate, his familyâ€™s, and his own. Detroit is where his motherâ€™s flower shop was firebombed in the pre-Halloween orgy of arson known as Devilâ€™s Night; where his sister lost herself to the west side streets; where his brother, who once sold subprime mortgages with skill and silk, now works in a factory cleaning Chinese-manufactured screws so they can be repackaged as â€œMay Be Made in United States.â€
- Purchase from Amazon.com | $21
The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006- by Paul Wells | This is the book that every one of our friends is reading or wants for Christmas. In The Longer Iâ€™m Prime Minister, Paul Wells explores just what Harperâ€™s understanding of Canada is, and who he speaks for in the national conversation. He explains Harper not only to Harper supporters but also to readers who canâ€™t believe he is still Canadaâ€™s prime minister. In this authoritative, engaging and sometimes deeply critical account of the man, Paul Wells also brings us an illuminating portrait of Canadian democracy: â€œglorious, a little dented, and free.â€
- Purchase from Amazon.com | $20
Samsung 2.1 Channel 100-Watt Dual Audio Dock | If the guy you are shopping for is a music lover, you will want to consider this amazing Samsung wireless speaker dock. Incredible sound and rich, warm styling makes the Samsung DA-E750 wireless audio dock the perfect addition to your home. The unique vacuum tube amplifier technology lets you hear music the way it was meant to be heard. Compatible with both Samsung and Apple phones, this device lets you stream music using either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology, or load it from a USB memory stick.
- Purchase 100-Watt Dock from Amazon.com | $459
- Purchase 40-Watt Dock from Amazon.com | $249
- Purchase 10-Watt Dock from Amazon.com | $85
If your husband is a fan of the radio (nothing better than baseball on a summerâ€™s night over the radio), check out the SANGEAN WR-11 AM/FM Table Top Radio. Elegant simplicity combined with state-of-the-art performance sets the Sangean Model WR-11 AM/FM Table Top Radio head and shoulders above the competition. In true Sangean tradition, AM/FM reception is excellent providing clear and static free listening. Rotary dials adjust the volume, selects AM/FM bands, and precisely tunes your station selection displayed in a softly lighted analog display. An LED tuning eye assures youâ€™re achieving the best reception for your selected station. In addition, a stereo headphone jack and provision for an external AM and FM antenna is also provided. An AUX-In jack for playing your favourite MP3 music from your portable devices is available as well as a Record-Out jack for routing to your recording equipment or external devices.
Plus baseball just sounds better played on one of these radios.
- Purchase from Amazon | $85
X-Mini II Portable Capsule Speaker | Jordon gave me one of these last year and I thought it looked cute and didn’t think much more about it but they work fantastic. The big difference with the X-Mini II speakers is that you can link them together to create better sound as well as more volume. We take ours with us everywhere and its nice at the cabin or even in a hotel room on a vacation. There are some other two speaker options as well but you can find the X-Mini’s almost everywhere and they are about the same price.
- Purchase from Amazon | $20
Keep your belongings, and yourself, stylishly organized with Kenneth Coleâ€™s lovely messenger bag. Contrast stitching accents its rich leather body, while a short handle and long, adjustable strap keep your carrying options open. The flap closure opens up to reveal a roomy main compartment, complete with a full-length zipper pocket for your smaller necessities. Front gusseted pockets include a cell phone pocket to keep it handy and within reach.
Soft, Columbian full-grain leather and casual, but polished styling make this messenger the perfect bag for work and everyday. The interior is simple, but versatile enough to carry a laptop, papers, books, etc. There is even a cell phone pocket plus organizer features in the front gusset pockets.
- Purchase from Amazon | $68 (you save $180)
- Purchase from Red Canoe | $24.99
- Purchase from Red Canoe | $149.99
RCAF Dopp Kitt | Unlike many women who require a small suitcase for their toiletries, a traveling man needs only a few essentials to be happy. Nevertheless, a man needs a place to stow these items. Enter the Dopp kit. Now you can get a $5 shaving kit from Wal-Mart but that has no class What you want is something with personality and I think we can all agree, this dope kit has personality. Not only will it keep you guy’s stuff organized, it will be something he holds on to for years and years.
- Purchase from Red Canoe | $45
Sipping Stones is the aficionado’s choice for chilling a drink. It eliminates a common problem for all connoisseurs of fine whiskey: it cools your drink perfectly without the dilution from melting ice. Now all your favorite drinks are able to be served the way they were intended to be, perfectly pure and precisely chilled. Sipping Stones are non-porous meaning there is no odor or taste to tarnish your drink. And unlike ice, Sipping Stones provides a smooth chill that does not overwhelm the character of your beverage. Each set of Sipping Stones comes with nine finely crafted cubes made from soapstone, a safe alternative to ice. Sipping Stones is a great gift for anyone who loves the perfectly chilled beverage. Or you can use it as a conversation starter at your next party. Simply keep the Sipping Stones in your freezer until you are ready to chill your next glass of whiskey.
- Purchase from Amazon | $15
Finally, how much fun would any guy have playing with an AR Drone 2.0 quadcopter. Itâ€™s easy to fly, records in HD video and if he does crash it (you know he will), there is a large stock of replacement parts.
That being said, the automated features of the AR Drone 2.0 make it almost impossible to crash making it stable platform to fly, do stunts with or film video with. Take a look at the video below to see how it performs
Purchase at Amazon.com | $299
Netatmo Urban Weather Station
The Netatmo Weather Station contains a unique set of sensors to monitor your living environment and wirelessly transmits all your data to your Smartphone. The Netatmo App displays your Stationâ€™s indoor and outdoor measurements into clear and comprehensive dashboards, graphs and notifications. All of your data is recorded online and made permanently accessible for you, on your Smartphone or PC. Seamlessly measure, track and monitor your Weather and Environment, indoor and outdoor, at any time and from anywhere. The Netatmo App is available for free at the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store. With the app you can:
- Connect multiple Stations to your Smartphone or computer
- Check the your Stations from any Smartphone or computer
- Share the info on your favorite social networks
We spend 80% of our time indoor, resting, playing with the kids or at the office. The Netatmo Station monitors your indoor air quality (CO2 concentration), and reminds you to ventilate, at the right moment. The Netatmo Weather Station allows city dwellers to monitor indoor air quality, get real-time updates on local Air Quality Index report and pick the best moments for outdoor activities.The Netatmo Weather Station also monitors noise pollution and measures home or office acoustic comfort.
- Purchase at Amazon | $180
Bushnell 10×42 Binoculars
Bushnell Powerview Roof Prism Binoculars are designed to provide high-quality optics in a versatile and durable format at an affordable price. Constructed with a rugged, shock absorbing rubber armor for a comfortable, non-slip grip and equipped with the roof prism system for increased durability, Powerview Binoculars are suitable for multiple applications from sports to nature viewing. The 10×42 Powerview Binoculars offer powerful 10x magnification with larger, light-gathering 42-millimeter objective lenses that will perform well anywhere you use them–from a bird watching hike to a stadium. Meanwhile the BaK-7 prisms and multi-coated optics provide high-level image resolution and clarity. Additional user friendly details include a center focus knob for easy adjustments, fold down eye cups, and a tripod adaptable base. Bushnell Powerview Binoculars carry a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship for the original owner.
Purchase at Amazon.com | $69
Give the gift of great coffee. Tonx sources the best beans from exceptional coffee farmers who are as fanatical about tasty coffee as we are. To make the best cup, you have to start with the best ingredients. Tonx has years of experience finding and working with the best farmers in the world.
They then ship that amazing coffee to your house. It costs you $19 per 12oz shipment and you have a new shipment coming every two weeks. Thatâ€™s right, fresh coffee beans coming to your house every second week. How awesome is that?
Purchase from Tonx | Prices vary according to plan
He Likes Black Coffee | This is a mug for Jordon. Over the years I have given some cool (and not so cool) gifts but his eyes light up every time he sees a cool coffee mug. Of course there are some limitations. Your guy has to like black coffee but if he does, he will love this gift.
Purchase from Indigo | $10
I am biased because Jordon has been selling some amazing photographs of shots he has posted to The Daily but have you considered the gift of art this Christmas? Image Kind has hundreds of incredible artists selling amazing art on archival quality paper. Not only are you supporting local artists but you are getting someone you love something that they wonâ€™t get at your local big box store. Check out his Saskatoon, rural, and travel galleries. You may be surprised at what you will find there.
Am I missing anything? Do you have some great ideas I should be thinking of? Let me know in the comments.
You can also find all of the rest of the 2013 Christmas Gift Guides online here. There is a lot of great ideas for all of the important people in your life. Good luck with your shopping and have a great holiday season!
On Sunday I decided to take the family along the backroads to Prince Albert. Â We explored the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Ascension, Fish Creek Church, and eventually the La Colle Falls Hydroelectric Dam east of Prince Albert. Â Mark shot some video footage while there which you can see below.
Wendy wrote a little more about the day on her blog.
The first church services in the surrounding area apparently occurred in Fort Carlton in 1838. Roman Catholic missionaries served the people of the area beginning in 1870.
The first church in the RM of Fish Creek was part of the Métis settlement along the South Saskatchewan river. It is often reffered to as the Fish Creek Church but it’s religious name was the Immaculate Conception Church. It was a Roman Catholic church, built in 1901. Prior to that, settlers went to the Catholic Church in Batoche, St. Antoine de Padoue, which had been built in 1883, for marriages and christenings and funerals. Father Brueck who was responsible for St. Patrick Orphanage in Prince Albert was sent to Fish Creek to set up the mission in 1900. A portion of a letter sent to his bishop is included in "Kaleidescope. Many Cultures, One Faith." Father Theodore Krist became the first resident priest. He had River Lot 12 in Township 42A. This first church was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1901. Little is recorded about the original members of this church, but they were presumably all Metis. It is interesting that the first priests were German but they likely also spoke French.
The original church was burnt in 1920 and a new church was built on the same site following a plan similar to the original church. The three altars of this church were built by Peter Bukowsky and his sister Wilhemina made the altar linens.
In 1954, the parish became a mission of Alvena and the church was closed in 1957. In 1973 the land and church was sold to Joe & Olga Bazowski. He planted wheat right up to the church in the hopes of preventing vandalism. Although abandoned, it still stands on private land owned by Olga Bazowski.
Some photos from our hike to the La Colle Falls Hydroelectric Dam site which is abandoned dam project 45km downstream from Prince Albert on the North Saskatchewan River.
An avid history buff is marking the 100th anniversary of the day the plug was pulled on a massive hydroelectric project that was started on the Saskatchewan River, north of Prince Albert, Sask.
What was launched as the La Colle Falls Hydroelectric Development instead became a multi-million dollar monument to lofty ambitions, and a financial millstone for Prince Albert taxpayers for decades to come.
"The dam was one-third finished, into the river," Paul Van Pul, a hydraulic archaeology surveyor who has written extensively on the La Colle blunder, said Tuesday. "They never managed to start building the power station."
According to Van Pul, who checked out the remnants of the project, there are only a few holes in the ground that could have been the start of foundation work for a power plant.
The unfinished dam, however, is a prominent — if odd-looking — feature on the river.
By the time the project was halted two years of construction work had gone into it and Prince Albert had spent $3 million, or about $62 million in today’s terms, adjusting for inflation using a Bank of Canada calculator.
"The project was, in fact, too big for the engineers from Prince Albert," Van Pul believes, when asked how it was that the plan was scrubbed. "They had to depend on the city engineer at the time who had no experience at all building such a big, complicated project."
The city was sold on a hydroelectric dam by the engineer who developed Niagara Falls. That expert, however, rarely checked in on how the La Colle venture was proceeding.
Van Pul said design changes, during construction, also added to the costs.
The burden of loans used to finance a project that was never completed nearly drove Prince Albert into bankruptcy, and it wasn’t until 1965 that the debt was paid off.
"P.A. never became the second-largest city of Saskatchewan just because of La Colle Falls," Van Pul believes.
"And the thing is, they almost got there," he added, wistfully.
Van Pul is hoping the concrete structure that remains is designated a heritage site.
"It’s a cautious reminder," he said, even as cities embark on large-scale projects today. "Something can go wrong and then we’re stuck with it for the next 50 years."