Monthly Archives: November 2011

Manitoba Herps Atlas – Repost

Reid Dickie

I’m reposting this piece from May 2011 just because it’s a fascinating project and the wriggling tail of the lizard in the video is a little spooky!

Reptiles and amphibians are collectively known as herpetofauna or just “herps.” There are 24 species of reptiles and amphibians in Manitoba and you can find them all described, illustrated and located on the Manitoba Herps Atlas. The Atlas, part of the NatureNorth.com site, is the work of  Doug Collicutt, a local biologist. The site contains information on frogs, treefrogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, snakes and a lizard (yes, Manitoba has a lizard!).  Fascinating and informative!

Manitoba’s lizard is the Northern Prairie Skink and is mainly found in the Spirit Sands in Spruce Woods Park and the Lauder Sandhills. If under attack and grabbed by the tail, the skink will release the end section of its tail as a distraction so it can escape. The piece of skink tail wriggles wildly adding to the distraction. Watch it happen here.

Click the pic of the Western Painted Turtle to find the Atlas.

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Happy Deathday George Harrison

“I’d join a band with John Lennon anyday, but I wouldn’t join a band with Paul McCartney.” Good choice, George. On this day in 2001 Beatle George died of lung cancer. He was 58. His ashes were scattered in the Ganges River. George left a few thoughts behind for us today.  “After all we did for Britain, selling that corduroy and making it swing, all we got was a bit of tin on a piece of leather.” “It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”  “As far as I’m concerned, there won’t be a Beatles reunion as long as John Lennon remains dead.” “As long as you hate, there will be people to hate.” “The biggest break in my career was getting into the Beatles in 1962. The second biggest break since then is getting out of them.” “When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.” “You’ve got as many lives as you like, and more, even ones you don’t want.” What’s with happy deathday?

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Manitoba Heritage House – Minnedosa Fieldstone

Reid Dickie

Fieldstone House, 77 First Street NE, Minnedosa, MB

Situated on a quiet street and peeking shyly from behind luscious evergreens, this dignified fieldstone house sports several rather rare Gothic Revival touches. Beyond typical Gothic features of its steep  front gable and rectangular, symmetrical massing, this two-storey house features elegantly elaborate bargeboard (under the gable) in a pattern that is replicated on the low balustrade around the porch roof. The peak of the gable has both a pendant  hanging below and a pinnacle pointing upward, lovely features with the pinnacles repeated atop the side gables.

Porches on heritage buildings can be tricky and either add to or detract from the overall design and feeling. This porch, painted white to contrast the grey and reddish stones, adds further elegance to the place. The columns on the porch suggest Classical Revival architecture. The little balustrade on the roof is precious.

The side view illustrates the symmetrical fenestration with subtle sunbursts above each window. You can see the pinnacle at the point of the gable end and the attractive mottle of the fieldstones.

The Minnedosa Heritage Committee states the house was built in the 1890s for Joseph and Edith Burgess who raised their 11 children there. Joseph established the Burgess store in Minnedosa in 1896. Burgess Quality Foods still operates from the same location today. The house has changed hands several times over the decades with very sympathetic restoration being done after 1985.

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Filed under Heritage Buildings, Houses, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Luckier

“All goes onward and outward

Nothing collapses

And to die is different from

What anyone supposes

And luckier.”

-Walt Whitman

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Another Winnipeg Elm Hits the Chipper Shredder

Reid Dickie

Although I live on an older residential street in Winnipeg, at the same time, I also live in a forest. Winnipeg’s urban forest consists of a wide variety of trees including elm, ash, maple, oak, poplar, basswood, willow, birch, spruce, pine, cedar, some fruit trees and shrubs. The number of trees in Winnipeg is estimated at 8 million, which includes about 160,000 elms.

Every year for the last 10 years, Winnipeg has lost 5,000 elm trees to Dutch elm disease. The City spends $3 million a year to control the disease with varying degrees of success. One method of limiting the spread of DED is removal of infected trees. This week, a City Forestry crew took down a sick tree on my block. The tree was at least 90 years old and one of the larger, better-trimmed trees. My time-lapse video condenses the two hours the crew took to cut down and dispose of the tree into two minutes. They first cut away the crown of the tree, then tied a rope to the bare trunk and pulled it over with a hough. Every year City Forestry plants between 700 and 2400 trees.

Reid Dickie

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Religions of the World

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Experiment With Yourself

WOULD YOU SIT DOWN?

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Early Refrigeration – The Icehouse

Reid Dickie

Until rural electrification reached small towns and farms via Manitoba Hydro in the mid to late 1930s and refrigerators became available, the icehouse played an important role in keeping perishable foodstuffs from spoiling.  A small building, often wood frame or made of fieldstones, was built near the house. Blocks of ice were piled inside and covered with sawdust to keep them from melting during the hot summer months.  A fresh supply of ice was added to the building every winter. This is a typical fieldstone icehouse that was built around 1890 and still stands in Shoal Lake, MB today.


Before electricity, Shoal Lake Creamery organized “ice days.”  Because the creamery stored vast amounts of ice to keep the milk, cream and butter from spoiling, when word got out that the creamery was cutting ice, townspeople and farmers from far and wide converged on the lake to get their share.

Hand powered saws cut long strips about 24 inches wide and cut again into sections about 3 feet long. Clydesdales provided the horsepower to pull the blocks of ice out of the water and onto the waiting sleighs.  The horses had done this job for so many years that they didn’t even have to be driven.  They simply went around and around waiting patiently until the hooks were fastened to the ice blocks and a soft “get up” was all that was necessary to put them into action.

Once the ice was hauled home, the blocks were slid into the icehouse and covered with a good layer of sawdust, which effectively kept the ice from melting all summer. When the sawdust lost its insulating power it was replaced with fresh aromatic sawdust.

Most kitchens had an icebox with a compartment at the top holding a block of ice releasing cold air over the perishable food below.  The ice had to be replenished every day.  Ice boxes had drip pans which caught the water from the melting ice. Often forgotten, the drip pans overflowed onto the kitchen floor.

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Sacred Places and Consciousness Part 3

Reid Dickie

Part Three

“During shamanic flight the soul doesn’t fly. We expand our limits to include aspects not usually part of our being.” – Hans Peter Duerr

             Before you begin reading this, if you haven’t already done so, please read Part One and Part Two in the series and study the Map of Consciousness supplied in both parts and below. Checking out my FAQ page will help as well.

            One purpose of this final part in the series is to share some of the specific inner experiences that occur at each stage of super-consciousness. Extraordinary experiences need extraordinary and uncommon language to describe them. Shamanic experiences are often stage-specific, that is, they have meaning only at certain stages of consciousness which is not easily transferred or even described in another state. However, being the naming animal, we have discovered certain language that describes rare stages of mind and exceptional access to consciousness. I have Ken Wilber to thank for bringing forth some practical terminology during his 30 years of meditation practice and philosophical explorations. His terms were invaluable filling in the blanks on the Map of Consciousness.  

            For example, Wilber uses the term bliss currents to describe an extremely subtle sensation of loving happiness pulsing slowly through your awareness. When I first read it, I knew exactly what he meant. I’d experienced it many times but never had words to describe it. Still, sweet and descriptive as it tries to be, the term is lame when compared to the actual experience!                       

            When I embarked on my spiritual journey my most basic intent was to become less culture bound and more inner directed, that is, live more from inside myself than from what is applied to me from the outside. Shamanism created the path for me to do this inner work I needed to do. 

            Now, once the drumming begins, I can feel my restive rational mind settle and focus on the steady beat. A wonderful moment of calmness and freedom ensues when I transcend reason and open up to exploring the parts of my consciousness that lie beyond. My first expansion lands me in the Psychic (F7) realm, immersed in Nature mysticism. Some typical experiences in the Psychic realm include:

  • Preliminary meditative states – familiar from my meditation practice,
  • Shamanic visions & voyages – induced through drumming as on-going practice,
  • Identification with aspects of nature up to identification with all Nature – Nature and me are the same stuff,
  • Arousal of kundalini energy – my early meditative experiences included repeatedly arousing these energies. See below for more details,
  • Disclosure of psychic anatomy of subtle channels, energies & essences – this occurs once I began expanding my awareness to include more and more information from new sources,
  • Overwhelming feeling of the mystical – that glorious shivery web of the unknown,
  • Spontaneous spiritual awakenings – important understandings and knowledge suddenly arise in my awareness, sometimes answering intent of journey and/or adding further details and new information,
  • Reliving of deep past traumas, possibly birth trauma – with consent and intent, Mom and I relived my birth about three years after I started my shamanic practice.  

            Not all these experiences occur every time I access the Psychic realm but all of them have arisen at some point during my years of shamanic journeying. Most frequently, I experience the first seven items. A preliminary meditative state is always part of my intent, which, with the help of the sonic driver, sustains the shamanic journey. The outcome of the journey is mitigated by its particular intent, which varies from journey to journey. Much of Psychic is an adaptation for me. 

            My early meditative practice focused on awakening kundalini energies and bringing them to full expression. Kundalini energy lies coiled three and a half times at the base of the spine. Arousing it releases an exhilarating and dramatic array of experiences, many of them physical expressions of inner directives. Teacher Christina Grof and her husband, psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, did invaluable research on kundalini energy. They list some of the effects awakening can have:

  • Dramatic physical and psychological manifestations called “kriyas” most striking of which are sensations of heat and energy streaming up your spine,
  • Possible tremors, spasms, violent shaking, complex twisting movements,
  • Involuntary laughing or crying,
  • Chanting mantras or songs,
  • Speaking in tongues, emitting vocal noises and animal sounds,
  • Assuming spontaneous yogic gestures mudras and postures asanas,
  • Seeing geometric patterns, radiant lights, visions of saints, deities, demons, and entire mythological sequences,
  • Emotional range: ecstasy, orgasmic rapture and incredible peace to waves of depression, anxiety & agitation. 

            Since I am familiar with kundalini energy and open to it from my early practice, my visits to sacred places often arouse this energy to varying degrees. You may recognize some of my experience at Moose Mountain Medicine Wheel in Part One as kundalini awakening. The most intense kundalini occurrences happened to me at the Thunderbird Nest as described in detail on the Sacred Places page. Releasing kundalini energy at that site provided an avenue of expression for my spirit helper Webbed Flight and let him “live again.”  Hope you read my FAQs. 

            The next stage is the Subtle (F8) realm where processes well beyond my gross waking consciousness begin to manifest. Subtle experiences arise solely from within me and require special attention and quietude to perceive and appreciate. More depth is required of me now. Spirit helpers, power animals and the Divine are most potent in the Subtle and are accompanied by inner illuminations and patterns and by blissful states of love and compassion. Peace and serenity settle into my awareness. Experiences in the Subtle realm include:

  • Interior luminosities and sounds – slow pulses of dim lights that slowly change colour or create a pulse, a vague beat, everything is calm,
  • Archetypal forms and patterns emerge – the spirits come out to help me,
  • Extremely subtle bliss currents and cognitions – rivers of delight flow through me, small explosions of happiness abound and persist, gratitude builds,
  • Expansive affective states of love and compassion – unfathomable caring arises,
  • Direct spirit communication – the spirits dance with me,
  • Face to face with the Divine – glimpses of The Light is what I get, just glimpses,
  • Pathology: kosmic terror, kosmic evil, kosmic horror – seldom do I encounter negativity in my journeys. When I do I can deal with it effectively and quickly. This comes from years of inner work.     

      In Subtle abides enormous peace and serenity where quiet forces become evident via gentle perceptions, where love and compassion feel like the only possibilities. Brief flashes of the Divine shimmer through my awareness evoking bliss and unbound gratitude. Access to Subtle for me is generally plateau but adaptation when spirits and helpers are involved, that is I can readily call them if needed in any state of consciousness. Bliss currents and inner luminosities are plateau experiences for me so far. 

      Approaching the Source occurs in the Causal (F9) realm. All I experience is an unbound sense of freedom, freedom to create, to be, to do, an ancient flicker in the heart of Emptiness, a shadow on a cave wall. Being and Doing happily coalesce in me. I recognize myself as Emptiness and blissfully watch the arising world come and go through that awareness. Experiences in the Causal include:

  • Scene of freedom – detached and free from all the lesser woes of lesser worlds,
  • Source of creativity – sense of release from and release to be and do, all creation arises in my awareness,
  • I am an opening, a clearing, an Emptiness through which objects pass. 

      My access to the Causal is through peak experiences as needed although this summer I had several extended plateaus floating in Causal. Often, if I am writing and can’t come up with an idea, a phrase, even a word, I’ll sit back on my chair, close my eyes and send a flare to the source of creativity. The reply is usually instant and substantive. 

            The three stages of consciousness I just described are conduits for the content, information and messages that Spirit wants to convey to me. They are the means, not the end, the method, not the result. Shamanism opens up the conduits so Spirit can flow! Spirit doesn’t just exist when we need or want it to; it exists all the time, which is incorrect since it exists completely outside of time which for us is “all the time.” Clear? I digress. 

            Another purpose of this essay is to shine more light on the stages of consciousness used in shamanism where spirits (animal powers, helpers, nature spirits) manifest themselves in our consciousness and help us. We are always surrounded by spirits but most people haven’t developed the inner technology to perceive them and, using intent (shaman’s secret), put them to work for you. That’s Spirit pole at Buffalo Effigyrather crass because the spirits are in charge and do what they need to do. Shamanism is a process of dropping assumptions we hold about the nature of reality. Instead of assuming limitations, shamans assume the opposite – unbound, freedom, creativity – and, using those eyes plus intent, find out what’s there. Astonishing things are there…and everywhere! 

            Spirits offer benevolence to everyone. Not everyone has the training to use their own inner technology to contact spirits for help. That’s what shamans do. I don’t think there is exclusivity to being a shaman. At a shamanism workshop last fall, everyone there, eighteen people, easily went into drumming-induced non-ordinary reality the first time they tried it. Fifteen of them got power animals on their second journey that day. We are hardwired for this access but few persist at it, few hear the calling or see the use. Shamanism is complicated, scary, ecstatic, boring, exhilarating, life-like and needs a certain kind of cat to dance with. Even though I searched for 45 years, I still feel it found me more than I found it. It’s like coming home. 

            Even if we don’t, can’t or won’t feel attuned to the spirits, they are attuned to us, watching over us. Spirits want to help everyone. A big human discovery was some people found a way to ask spirits for their help and get it. My relationship with Webbed Flight, my old friend and spirit helper (he is the spirit of a shaman who lived in eastern Manitoba about 1200 years ago), has matured in the 12 years we have known each other. Relationship? Webbed Flight tells me to cross the street sometimes if he doesn’t like who is coming toward us (Linda came to appreciate this after initially being unsettled by it), warns me about deer on the road, even dead ones, supports and protects me when I am in trance. I am way past being attuned to him; he is a living part of me. Ever protective, kind and curious, contact with Webbed Flight went from being an occasional peak experience to being able to contact him for longer periods, plateauing. Then he became an adaptation, a benevolent spirit that abides with me. That three-step process – peak, plateau, adaptation – took about 18 months with Webbed Flight. This is sounding so technical! Timely aside: What would the spirit of a 1200 year old shaman, when allowed to live again in 2011, find most amazing? TV? Cellphones? Uh-uh. The two things that blow Webbed Flight’s old mind are glass and indoor showers. Ha! 

            I met Maug (rhymes with blog) about nine months after I started my shamanic practice. She is a fascinating and energetic tree spirit and helper. When I first met her, we went through the three-step process in about 20 minutes and she’s been with me ever since. On my About page, in a piece called The Day Before Yesterday which recounts my ten most recent incarnations, you will find the details about Maug.             

            From Ken Wilber’s map in Part One you are familiar with the evolution of your consciousness. You are not alone on this journey. It is shared by all humanity. Nor is this journey new to any of us. For hundreds of thousands of years each of us has evolved through these same stages, following the same subliminal basic moral imperative: to preserve the greatest depth with the greatest span (Wilber). We have discovered ways of being in the world and intuited maps and techniques to guide the way to fulfilling our imperative. We have found methods of moving Spirit out of Emptiness, from inner space to materialization in a mound, a circle cast in stone, an image of an animal, the language of the soul writ on the land. There we commune lovingly, peacefully. 

            Imbued with Spirit, sacred places become custodians of the Divine, keepers of our very essence, but not hoarders. Sacred sites are open and expressive, appealing to our awareness, usually somewhere in the Psychic-Subtle-Causal realms. Each level allows greater access to deeper and fuller parts of my being, more intense experiences and contact with Spirit. The depth of my experience at these places is relative to how developed each of those realms is in me, how adequate I am to accessing them. Shamanism taught me the process, Ken Wilber expanded my understanding and now I proceed into the mystic at will, confident, experienced and some day, if I am very, very lucky, I may figure out how it works on my own. 

            Meanwhile, I will continue to visit sacred places and perform rituals based on my inner directives. I will continue to journey with my power animals and spirit helpers to imaginal worlds to fulfill healing intents. When Spirit draws me close to absolute awareness, the site of peace and compassion, I will recognize myself as Emptiness.

ADDENDUM 

            Over the summer of 2011 I was lucky enough to travel to more than a dozen sacred places in Manitoba and Saskatchewan recording reports on my little camcorder at most of them. While Spirit manifests at every site, there was one in particular where the message Spirit needed to convey was clear, reportable and captured on video. Please read my original post called Shining a Light Into Hidden Places and watch the video called Three Stones at Pine Cree Park which details my encounter with Spirit on the night I camped in the park.     

 

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, Sacred Places, Saskatchewan, shaman, shamanism, Soul Building, Spirit

Cypress River Boardwalk

Reid Dickie

An hour west of Winnipeg on Hwy #2, the little village of Cypress River has developed an interesting roadside stop. Pleasant amenities are augmented by a well-built boardwalk through the wetlands that surround the small park. Helpful signage along the way explains why we need wetlands and offers local information. It’s a hot summer day. Click the pic to stroll the boardwalk.

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Happy Birthday Bjork

“I’m a fountain of blood. In the shape of a girl.” Only the coolest person in the world would say something this pure. Of course, I mean Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork and today this World Treasure turns 46 years old. Let’s explore some of Bjork’s other thoughts. “It’s incredible how nature sets females up to take care of people, and yet it is tricky for them to take care of themselves.” “People are always asking me about eskimos, but there are no eskimos in Iceland.” “Compared to America or Europe, God isn’t a big part of our lives here. I don’t know anyone here who goes to church when he’s had a rough divorce or is going through depression. We go out into nature instead.” “Usually when you see females in movies, they feel like they have these metallic structures around them, they are caged in by male energy.” “When I was a teenager in Iceland people would throw rocks and shout abuse at me because they thought I was weird. I never got that in London no matter what I wore.” “I am a grateful grapefruit.” Bjork’s website is wild! Watch her perform Venus As a Boy live
 

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Cat’s Eyes

Reid Dickie

The cat you see above is my buddy, Tulu. Linda and I found Tulu at an animal shelter about 18 months before Linda died. Tulu won the lottery then lost half of it, so to speak. She’s a beautiful little cat. If you look closely you can see Linda reflected in her eyes when she took the picture.

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Filed under BEAUTY, Critters, Family, Life and Life Only, Linda, Love

2420 Summers Ago

Reid Dickie

Rustakoomaw crouched in the shade of the cottonwood that grew next to a dry streambed. It was the only tree for miles, an imposing sentinel against the sky. He held a small round drum made of hide and wood that he beat steadily and quickly with a fur-tipped stick. His voice accompanied the persistent beat, sailing across the still prairie, mixing with the whispers of cottonwood leaves the slight breeze spurred. Eyes tightly shut; his body weaving slightly, Rustakoomaw approached the trance with awe and respect. He stepped inside.

Immediately his power animals were with him, ready to accept and follow through on his intent. Rustakoomaw had come to the trance for help. His people were sick and dying, the rain had not appeared for many moons and the buffalo herds had deserted the prairie for the wetter north country. The grass was drying up on the hills, creeks and sloughs were now just smooth stones and crusted earth. He was asking Great Spirit to feed his people and bring the rain so the buffalo grass would grow again. His power animal Wolf linked the shaman with the Divine. Tears rolled down Rustakoomaw’s dark face, landing on his bare chest. He beat the drum harder. Wolf beckoned him.

The shaman found himself being lead toward a high hill that he knew very well. It was at the eastern edge of the region he and his people hunted. It overlooked a vast rolling plain; below it was the white shore of Bad Water Lake. The grass grew tall and green surrounding the hill. He stopped at the foot of the hill and looked up. At the top of the rise, he saw a wavering vision begin to take shape. Emerging from the shimmer of the heat and the clear cloudless blue beyond, Rustakoomaw began to make out a shape, an animal shape.

Like a jewel atop the verdant hill, the image of a huge white buffalo appeared. It turned and looked Rustakoomaw in the eye, nodding its shaggy head. He began to climb the hill toward the buffalo. As he approached, he realized he was suddenly getting wet. It had begun to rain. The vision of the white buffalo dissolved in the sheets of rain that slashed at the land. The sky was still bright blue and cloudless but the rain continued to fall in Rustakoomaw’s trance.

That evening as the small band devoured a thin white-tailed buck, a lucky hunt by one of Rustakoomaw’s sons, clouds began to roll in from the west. A gentle rain began that persisted all night and into the next day. Every evening that week the rain came. The parched earth drank every fresh drop and the grass returned to the prairie, along with it the buffalo and the health of Rustakoomaw’s people.

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Manitoba’s Official Mounted Police Museum

Reid Dickie

Every Canadian province has an official Mounted Police Museum. In Manitoba it is located in Shoal Lake. In my video report find out why this is an extremely appropriate town to have the museum.

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Filed under Day Tripping, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Edwards Creek

Reid Dickie

I grew up in a small town but every summer of my youth I spent at least two weeks on the farm of my Aunt Ina and Uncle Derk. Located about four miles from the northern face of Riding Mountain, their farm had a magnificent view of the mountain and surrounding plains.

Edwards Creek ran along the edge of their property. Aunt Ina and I spent endless summer afternoons sitting next to the little stream, watching the birds and critters that came to drink, marvelling at the darting minnows and feeling right at home. Ina and Derk are long dead, their farmhouse, though now abandoned, stands white stucco with a red roof against its overgrown willow windbreak and Edwards Creek still bubbles along. I spent some time wading in Edwards Creek this summer and brought back a short video report. Join me in the cool refreshing water.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=zRTyv6ogJJc

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Five Meatyard Pictures = 10,000 Words

Ralph Eugene Meatyard

 1925-1972

Plus one

Learn about Meatyard

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Manitoba Heritage Church – St. Mark’s Anglican, Minnedosa

Reid Dickie

St Mark’s Anglican Church, 108 – 2nd Avenue SW, Minnedosa, MB


Minnedosa boasts one of the best collections of fieldstone buildings on the prairies and exceptional St. Mark’s Anglican Church ranks highly among them. Begun in 1903 and completed the following year, the parishioners chose the Gothic Revival style, typical of Protestant churches, to make their statement. And what a statement it is! The steep pitch of the roof, the sensually pointed narrow windows and the entry canopy which has the feel of once being atop the church (Can anyone verify that with a photograph for me?) all contribute to the style. The plan is transept, meaning the church is in the shape of a cross.

One of the church’s many distinguishing features is the rare use of pink mortar between the fieldstones. This is most striking on the south side in full sun and complements the deep red trim around the openings.

The fenestration employs single, pairs and trios of pointed windows, all sporting striking trim and multiple panes. Each gable end has a trio of windows on each level.

The original St Mark’s was built on this site in 1885 and, as Minnedosa grew, so did its congregation. Combining professional masons and volunteer labour, the present church arose costing about $5,000. Local history recalls that St. Mark’s rector went out into the countryside and personally conscripted farmers to haul wagonloads of stones to the construction site.

The stone masonry is exquisite, every detail is lovingly executed, St. Mark’s is a fine example of ecclesiastical architecture in a small town.

Watch my short video about St. Mark’s.

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Filed under Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Uncategorized

What a Guy!

Reid Dickie

Accolades just keep piling up for my friend and National Treasure, filmmaker Guy Maddin. Metacritic offers weighted averages of combined critic reviews of certain movies, video games, TV and music. In the Best Film Directors Since 2000 category, Guy ranks Number 3. Eligibility requires each director to have released at least 4 films since 2000 and to have garnered a minimum of seven reviews of each film. Prolific and purposeful, in the past 11 years Guy has released Saddest Music in the World, Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary, My Winnipeg (which Roger Ebert included in his Top Ten Films of the First Decade of the 21th Century), Brand Upon the Brain, and Cowards Bend at the Knee. I highly recommend all these movies.

Guy’s current project, set for theatrical release in 2012, is called Keyhole, which was screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The Globe and Mail‘s review of it began like this: “A story of marital breakdown and the fight for reconciliation takes on an archetypal, absurd and delirious surface in Guy Maddin’s latest black-and-white dream movie.” This is a still of actor Jason Patric in Keyhole. If you are wondering who ranked Number One and Two, second was Pedro Almodovar and first was French director Laurent Cantet. See the whole list at www.metacritic.com/feature/best-film-directors-since-2000

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Filed under Film, Manitobans of Note, Old Souls, Winnipeg

Top Ten Worst Albums of the Week

COUNTING DOWN THE WORST OF THE WORST

#10

Ummmm…Betty, oh Betty. I’m getting those feelings again, those old, old urges. There is just something about how happy you are in your fantasy and how colourful your fantasy is. Oh, yes, entering the Top Ten from behind, no, I mean, coming in at, no, I mean, let’s just join Betty in her fantasy. It’s in Hi-Fi!

#9

With homosexuality in the animal kingdom such a hot topic on the internet and around the dinner table these days, it’s little wonder dogs are the first to get their own special album, debuting at Number Nine this week. Many, many dogs may be a little surprised at how quickly inter-specie homosexual relationships have taken hold in the culture. My favourite tracks are Get Your Leash, Get the Condoms and his cover of Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ 

#8

Wait, should she even be in there? She’s only 16 and he’s, what, 42? She’s glued to either the beer or the cigarette smoked right down to the filter and either are preferable to John, whose beard smells really really rank all the time. He has bad beard, a rare condition that afflicts beard wearers unbeknownst to them. His record stinks too but, who am I to argue with Number 8 this week.

#7

There are 92 different relaxation techniques explained on this new self-help album ranging from setting your rocking chair out among the lawn sprinklers for a few hours (a la the cover) to doing self massage with a clawhammer to single point meditation on cheese to the Real Good Home Lobotomy Method. Lawyer bait, the entire back cover with 18 page insert is a disclaimer.

#6

The caveman thing again! Didn’t we go through this about 100,000 years back? Did I miss something? Turns out Roger sings in a high girly voice that no Ugluk-fearing caveman would be caught dead grunting in. Roger stepped in something bad on the internet this week and subsequently slips from Number 2 to Number 6. Google him if you dare!  

#5

Could this be the antidote to Buzzmania (see #1 & #2) the world’s been waiting for? While Geraldine is pure as the driven snow, Ricky is a little wooden but their harmonizing, especially on Your Hand Up My Back Is Very Hot. I Know It Is, is completely unaccountable, inexplicably prurient and verging on unique. Trading hands and holding their own at Number 5 this week.

#4

This new release from Hi In-Fidelity Records is being touted as “the first record ever recorded by performers singing entirely and tirelessly from playground swings.” The G-Force Girls have found their niche though the band members change with clocklike regularity. My favourite tracks are Over The Bar, Pass the Umbrella My Water Just Broke and Don’t Mess With The G-Force Girls. It takes the biggest jump from Number 24 to Number 4.

#3

There has been a flurry of What To Do albums lately – What To Do Until the Pizza Comes, What To Do Until You Can Get Back Home To Your TV, What To Do Until Your Marriage Breaks Up, What To Do When There Is Nothing To Do  – so Murray Banks has leapt onto the bandwagon with advice on How To Live With Yourself Until… Crazy, baby, crazy!

#2

Debuting at Number Two this week is Buzz Martin’s follow-up to his boffo first album which still hangs onto Number One. Old Time Logger is more of the same half-spoken, semi-sung lumberjack hooey with Buzz’s out-of-tune guitar work. The internet is abuzz about this being Buzz’s coming out album. We’ll see.

#1

The buzz on Buzz just keeps getting buzzier! Sixteen weeks at Number One now for Buzz’s first album, Walks a Logger, Walks a Man. My favourite track is still Hoot Owlin Again. His second album debuts at Number Two this week. Move over Justin, Buzzmania is underway and growing worse every day.

Keep up with the awful! See more record charts here and here.

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Filed under Humour

Be Happy is contagious!

Reid Dickie

This is my friend, Chris Scholl. He is happy in this picture. This is a link to his blog post today. It’s called “Happy.”

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, Family, Linda, Love, Spirit