Wednesday, 22 February 2017

                                                  "Rockin the old Curling Rink"

The old Esther Curling Rink was always a hub of activity during the winter months. There was square draw curling, open bonspiels, women's bonspiels, men's bonspiels and school curling. My Dad was one of the caretakers of the rink so I was the resident rink rat. I always remember the big boiler full of coffee, the homemade stew, soups and best of all was all that homemade pie. One winter during the ladies bonspiel, My Dad (Don Parks), Robert Brockman, Bill Dalton Jr. and Elvin Person dressed up as ladies and entered the women's bonspiel. They got lots of hoots and hollers and had a whole lot of fun. Growing up in a small community, gave us all great opportunities to participate in the community events and learn to volunteer to keep the community working smoothly. My mother was always involved in the community and as I got older I participated and now my daughters and granddaughter are volunteers in their respective communities.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

As time goes by, progress in the way cattle feed is put up. In the early days, many farmers used what was called a Header/Barge. This unit was pulled with horses and in later years with a tractor. The machine cuts the grain like a swather, instead of leaving the grain in a windrow it elevated it into a large wooden box called a barge. When the barge was full it was dumped in a pile. The piles were later hauled into the yard for threshing, feeding or sometimes left in the field where the cattle fed on them during the winter. This particular unit belonged to the Schroeder family who lived about 3 miles northwest of Esther, Alberta.

Monday, 20 February 2017

                                                               Where it all started!
The big old barn and a fine herd of horses are where the Big Bend Ranch got its start. Knut and Frida Westerlund moved from Sweden to Esther via Regina and several other stops along the way in 1925. In 1940 Len (Knut & Frida's son) and Marjorie purchased 3 cows and 3 heifers from Cecil Habberfield and the following spring their boys Douglas and Lloyd each bought a heifer from Fred Beynon Sr.. The cattle were all of Wincott breeding and this was how the Big Bend Hereford Ranch became to be. The barn still stands today and is home to some of the ancestors of those first cows and heifers. The ranch is operated by great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren of Knut and Frida. 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

                                                                       Calthorpe Siding
In the early years, there was a railroad siding about a mile and a half east of where my farm was, called Calthorpe. It was halfway between Esther and Loverna. For some reason, AWP decided in 1928 to build a grain elevator at this siding. The picture shows a couple old timers loading a box car with pails before the elevator was built. In 1938 it became apparent that there was no need for this elevator so it was torn down board by board and hauled to Mayerthorpe, Alberta and reconstructed.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

                                                              School on the Move.
Last week one beautiful afternoon, we decided to take a quick drive east to see if we could find some unique photo ops. We made our way over to Kingman, Alberta and this old school caught my eye. It appeared to be part of the town landscape so I took a photo of it and posted it on the Abandoned Alberta site. A gentleman, who's mother had actually taught school in Kingman in 1947 gave me the actual history of this school. It was the original Dinant School, between Kingman and Camrose, the school was closed and moved to Camrose for storage and then in 1979, it was moved once again to Kingman. As we travel around the countryside there are so many old buildings that catch our eye and it is so nice to get the actual history on them. Thank you to Larry Flemming for his input on this one.

Friday, 17 February 2017

                                                                  "The H-Train"
As we travel the roads about this beautiful province of ours, we see so many variations and combinations of truck and trailers hauling freight. We have single trailers and we have B Trains, Super B-Trains and Triple Trailers, moving our goods to the end users. Well back in the day, we had several variations also, we had horses, the main source of power and then we had the single carriages, buggies, single wagons and as shown above the ultimate freight hauler of the era, the "H-Train." This is one of the locals hauling coal and supplies from the end of the rail at Alsask north to his destination in the Esther Community, a distance of about 35 miles, all in a days work.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

                                                                 Clowning Around.
57 years ago some of the boys from the Esther School under the guidance of our teacher, Frieda Brockman, dressed up as clowns in costumes made by our mothers. We performed part of our tumbling act for the community at the Christmas Concert. Mrs. Brockman instructed us in our tumbling during the physical education class in school. Earlier in the school year, the tumbling group traveled to Red Deer and did our complete routine on CKRD television. That was a big deal for a bunch of kids from Esther.
The group above are;
Front Row: Left to right, Dennis Trevor, Clayton Foot, Manfred Schroeder and William Foot.
Back Row:  Left to right, Ron Parks, Wilfred Pratt, Cameron Stouffer, Murray Pratt and Richard Nelson.