Another warm sunny day with temperature climbing to 12 C. This required one more hike on Spirit Sands. Couldn’t have been more perfect out there today. I was the only one on the Sands when I arrived with just one other car in the parking lot when I returned from the hike. I like that density: one person or less per square mile. Now that the chatty aspens and poplars have lost all their leaves, the silence is enormous! The occasional caw of a crow and the soft sigh of the breeze through tall brown grass were the only sounds to disturb the stillness of the serene landscape. I start the pictures with two shots of the bare poplars and aspens ghostly white against rich evergreens. Click on pics to enlarge
The next two shots are from the top of the dune overlooking an area of open prairie. In the second picture the round “mounds” are, in fact, juniper bushes that grow in circular shapes low to the ground. By this time of year they have turned a chocolately brown and stand out in the landscape.
The juniper berries have turned bright blue and the bearberry has gone from glossy Christmas green into a tawny red as you can see in the first picture. Ditches in the park still hold some water and in the final picture sunshine twinkles off Marsh Lake.
Fieldstone House, 27 Third Avenue NE, Minnedosa, MB
If there is one thing the prairies has, it is stones. Thank you retreating glaciers for sharing your billions of rocks. Minnedosa, MB, a small town nestled in the luxurious valley of the Little Saskatchewan River, has one of the best collections of fieldstone buildings on the Canadian prairies. Built over the course of just a few years, between 1892 and 1903, ten eloquent fieldstone buildings still stand in Minnedosa, all are occupied and maintained with love. Other stone buildings in the town have been demolished or stuccoed over, but these ten are the jewels in the town’s crown. Let’s start with this beauty built between 1892 and 1900 by stonemason Robert Gugin, one of several excellent masons who worked in Minnedosa and area.
This is a mesmerizing piece of work! Employing the popular Gothic Revival style with a bit of southern Ontario influence, Gugin found incredibly sympathetic stones in colour and size, creating an embracing texture on all sides. The lone steep gable suggests the style and the delicate woodwork on the porch adds to the lightness of the place.
The solid massing, soothing mottle of the stones and attention to detail make this a most attractive use of readily available materials in a popular attention-grabbing style. The rear of the house has a cinderblock addition that detracts somewhat from the lovely side façade. The contrasting red and white accent colours and the fancy woodwork give the house a delightful appeal.