Alberta snapshot: North York Creek, Crowsnest Pass.



A couple of photos from a quick excursion out to the Pass last week. I keep hoping I’ll find lying somewhere on the ground a cheque made out to me and in a decent denomination so I could cash it in and buy property in these mountains.  So far it hasn’t happened but you have to stay positive about these sort of things….  😉   You can definitely see why I’m so enamoured with the place.

Alberta Snapshot: Chinook Lake trek.

FP AC Normandeau2

My hubby and I made a quick dash to the Crowsnest Pass a couple of weeks ago, and spent a Friday morning and afternoon hiking through the beautiful forest that surrounds Chinook Lake.  The area boasts an active cross-country ski club and an extensive trail system suitable for all skill levels.  (Although the “difficult” trails that currently feature fallen trees may be taking things a bit too far, LOL!  We could easily hike around the obstructions, and I imagine they’ll be cleared away before the snow flies).  I would love to ski here…can you imagine this place decorated with freshly-fallen snow?

Snowy reward.

Well, we were shut out in December but it finally happened today….


(Photo by R. Normandeau)

This very cooperative snowy owl posed beautifully for my hubby and I in a field southeast of Calgary.  So happy to have found one at last!  🙂

What kinds of birds have you seen lately – in your garden or on a drive or hike? 

N.B. – I’m afraid I had some difficulty with WordPress and this post was deleted a few hours after it was originally published.  Any comments and likes it received were tacked onto another post – sigh! As well, there may be a chance anyone who receives e-mails of my posts will get two copies – I’m so sorry!

Happy Monday!


What a fabulous start to the week!  We’ve had such a marvellous break in the weather in southern Alberta these past couple of days – a far cry from the wind and snowstorms of last week.  Although we’re not technically under the influence of a Chinook, the bright sunshine and balmy temperatures have gobbled up the snow and I came back from my walk on Nose Hill this afternoon with my boots caked in mud.  It felt positively spring-like!

I just wish I could somehow store this warmth for those upcoming days when it’s minus forty and blowing snow!  Surely someone can create an app for that?  😉

What have you got going on this week?  Any fun plans or new projects?   

The Alberta Flood Rose Project.


I first saw a mention of The Alberta Flood Rose Project on the blog one+one stones, as Calgary artist Barbara previewed her entry for this unique fundraising effort for flood relief in southern Alberta.  She was part of a group of over 450 visual artists (both adults and children) who created small 4″x4″ renderings of our provincial flower, the wild rose, that were combined into eight collections.  After a brief tour,  the collections were auctioned off in August, with all of the proceeds donated to the Red Cross.   There is now a beautiful little book available which gathers photographs of all of the artwork together.

What absolutely amazes me as I go through the book is the range of interpretation of the subject matter and the diversity of the media used to create the works.  There is a gallery up at the project’s website – please do treat yourself and click through here to see a large selection of the fabulous pieces.  What a wonderful way to showcase talented Alberta artists and offer support for everyone in flood-ravaged areas!

Related articlesDeluge.  (Flowery Prose)

Drifting along in the Senator Patrick Burns Memorial Rock Gardens.

A couple of weekends ago, my hubby and I took a stroll through the Senator Patrick Burns Memorial Rock Gardens in Riley Park, in Calgary’s northwest.  The history of the gardens’ namesake is very interesting:  Senator Patrick Burns (1856-1937) was a hugely successful businessman, rancher, politician and philanthropist.  He was one of the so-called “Big Four” founding members and financiers of the world-famous Calgary Stampede – without him, the “greatest outdoor show on earth” wouldn’t be what it is today.  Responsible for building a meat-packing empire (Burns Foods), Patrick Burns was at heart a rancher, and at the height of his success, he owned 2,800 square kilometres (700,000 acres) of land in southern Alberta, extending all the way to the Montana border.  The gardens in Riley Park were designed and built in the 1950’s to honour Burns’ contributions to the city of Calgary and the province of Alberta.  They contain 20,000 pieces of flagstone salvaged from the senator’s 18-room Calgary mansion, which was built between 1901-03.

We hadn’t wandered through the gardens in quite a few years, and it was a special treat this go-around because most of the flowering plants were at their peak (we toured late in the season last time).  What caught my eye most, however, was the use of drift plantings alongside the stone walkways.  It’s a design tool used to draw the eye (and the body) upward and onward through the landscape, and it is used with great success here.

Do you use drift planting in your garden?