Monthly Archives: October 2013

Births & Deaths on Earth in Real Time

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Click image for live map and info about its creator

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Rules for Teachers 1870 & 1915

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See Mom’s 1930 Grade 11 exams here and here.

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Lyons House Update

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Reid Dickie

Over the past week my report on the old Lyons Mansion, tumbling down daily along Hwy #5, has garnered thousands of hits and several comments bemoaning the old pile’s condition.

The pictures on the previous post showed the glamorous face of the place. Below are several shots of the Lyons house in less flattering detail. One reader suggested they’d like to buy it and refurbish the old place. Take a long look at the condition of the foundation and brick structure before you follow through. It’s had it! It’s a ruin!

To see the condition of the interior watch my video.

Click pics to enlarge.

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Gratitude on Thanksgiving

→ “I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” – e. e. cummings

→ “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

→ “Gratitude is the first sign of a thinking, rational creature.” – Solanus Casey

→ “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

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Dauphin MB – Birthplace of Yardfringe

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Reid Dickie

The genesis of a great idea is often casual conversation between friends in backyards. One day this summer Melisa Stefaniw, who is Tourism and Special Events Coordinator for the City of Dauphin, was chatting in the backyard with two other Dauphinites, Michelle and Kirk Nyquist. Melisa’s interest is experiential tourism – creating authentic, accessible and enriching experiences for residents and visitors. Their conversation produced the light bulb idea of Yardfringe based on the highly successful Fringe Festivals which occur every year in most large cities but with a twist. Something new had been born.

The innovative idea is that residents open up their backyards to visitors at a certain hour on Fringe Day then provide some form of tasteful, all-ages entertainment. The audience is encouraged to travel from venue to venue on bicycle leaving a modest environmental footprint while encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Events are free. Sounds like fun to me!

Home to a thriving arts community, Dauphin celebrated Arts Alive! on September 28, 2013 featuring a day of activities including the free premiere showing of a rough cut of The Heart of Dauphin, a locally made film about the city’s classic railroad station. The theatre was SRO. Arts Alive! culminated with Yardfringe starting at 5:30 pm.

“Kirk Nyquist was our Fringe Master,” says Melisa. “We had six venues around the city and, though we publicized the route, show times and addresses, we didn’t tell people what to expect at any of the venues. It was a series of surprises. People liked the element of surprise. They suddenly discovered their neighbours’ stories and interests and came away with an enriched sense of community.”

I asked about the turn-out for this premiere cutting edge event. “We were thrilled with the attendance. At the height of the event we had about 140 spectators and 95% of them traveled by bicycle. The age of the audience ranged from four to 94, literally.”

And what kind of entertainments did these newly-minted Yardfringers find biking around Dauphin? Local troupe Theatre Amisk performed an interactive piece based on an area story. One venue offered a culinary demonstration, another gave a tour of unusual topiary. Two actors from the Youth Arts Group performed Shel Silverstein’s play Duck. A graphic artist created a comic book on site. Singer/songwriter/storyteller Mark Clement and fiddler Kaylee Johnson performed.

When I asked Melisa if Yardfringe would be an annual event in Dauphin, she said “Oh yeah! It has almost no infrastructure. It doesn’t need to be funded, just organized and promoted. We don’t need to apply for extra grants to run it. We used social media to promote it. We printed nothing.”

How about the time of year? Days are short in late September. “We might try it a week or so sooner and start it earlier in the day,” says Melisa.

YF4It seems to me Yardfringe would work in all small cities and towns. Dauphin has about 8300 people. It’s small enough to bike and yet large enough to have an interesting assortment of venues and performers. It would also work in identified neighbourhoods in big cities. Inexpensive to promote, opens doors and builds community – an idea whose time has come.

If you Google Yardfringe today, the only place you’ll find it is in Dauphin, Manitoba. A year from now I have a feeling there will be plenty of towns and cities worldwide with their own Yardfringe. Just as Edinburgh, Scotland was the source for Fringe Festivals, Dauphin, Canada is the birthplace of Yardfringe. Let it be written. Let it be danced.

And…

The Heart of Dauphin, the film by Cade Malone about Dauphin’s RR station, will soon be available to view from MTS On Demand. Watch my 02:25 video of the Dauphin RR Station here.

I am grateful to Melisa Stefaniw for helping me out with information and pictures of Yardfringe.

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Filed under Architecture, Dauphin, Day Tripping

Autumn Music at Spirit Sands

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Reid Dickie

Shirtless in the 20+ degree C afternoon I sat at the top of one of the park’s highest dunes yesterday and the scene above spread out before me. The bright yellows of the poplar and aspen glowed against the ever-elegant evergreens beyond accompanied by the subtle music of autumn on the prairies.

Overhead, late for the sky, Vs of migrating geese sang their urgent pleas harmonizing with the gentle clatter of changing leaves in the afternoon breeze. Atwitter with lively applause during their green days, aspens and poplars intoned a more sombre tune against the wind sighing through conifer boughs. Though most birds have flown south, blue jays squawked and an occasional chickadee punctuated the sunshine with its familiar song as crickets counted down the days til winter’s sleep.

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In fall it’s striking how overgrown with various vegetation the dunes have become as you can see in the picture above. The shot below shows a new dune created by the prevailing northwesterlies.

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Filed under Birds, Day Tripping, Earth Phenomena, Natural Places, Parks, Sacred Places, spirit sands

What are clinker bricks?

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Reid Dickie

I had never heard of clinker bricks until I visited my cousin in Edmonton this summer. She showed me a church that is partially constructed of clinker bricks. What are clinker bricks, you ask?

When fired in early brick kilns, the surface of bricks that were too close to the fire changed into volcanic textures and darker, EDMONTON 138often purplish colors. Typically they were discarded but around 1900, these bricks were discovered to be usable and distinctive in architectural detailing, adding a charming earthy quality to buildings. The hardened residue of coal fires is called clinker, thus these mutant bricks found a name. In Europe, it is spelled klinker

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Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Edmonton was built in 1913 using the distinctive clinker brick adding a rich tapestry to the Gothic design. Rather than the usual conformity of bricks, each clinker brickEDMONTON 129 is unique, its shape and colour determined by its nearness to the fire. This church, celebrating its first century this year, aptly demonstrates the techniques used in combining ordinary smooth bricks with fused irregular clinkers.

Once the charm of clinker bricks was recognized, it was often used on the stylish homes of the exceedingly wealthy. Edmonton still has a few upscale houses that were built using clinkers.

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Manitoba Hemp Harvest

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Reid Dickie

Hemp is grown largely for its seed and/or fibre although all the plant can be used productively. Since ancient times, hemp has benefited humanity in myriad ways physically, mentally and spiritually. Only recently has it been demonized to support the avaricious aims of corpo-fascists.

Hemp is promoted in Manitoba by the Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers Co-op (PIHG) in Dauphin. As its website says, “PIHG is a producer co-op that is in the business of growing and producing industrial hemp for grain and fibre. Members are well experienced in growing hemp and have modified conventional equipment to efficiently and effectively grow and harvest hemp for grain and fibre. PIHG sponsors a industrial hemp plant breeding program to supply locally adapted hemp varieties for Manitoba and other parts of Canada.”

Click the pic above to view my 1:50 video of the harvest underway south of Dauphin.

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