Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let Me Albert County the Ways

News Flash:  I received a Reader's Choice Post of the Week award from Hilary, thanks to a recommendation from Merisi!  So  honoured!
The Award Winning Post:

Last posting, we were out for a lovely Sunday drive through the scenic county backroads.  How about if we pick up where we left off for another eagle-eye view?

While there are a number of charming old houses in the area, there are also many neglected or derelict ones,  not without their own eccentric charms. 

Although this old house has sadly experienced a fire at some point in her past, leaving her gaping windows looking as if her mascara has badly run, she is still putting up a good front, with lovely colours and a jaunty feather sticking out of her cap.

With so much snow, it's not surprising that some people have left up their outdoor Christmas decorations.  In fact, it is not uncommon for some folks to leave them out all year round, which seems to demonstrate an optimism in still being around next year.  Or, I guess if you're not, you won't really care that last year's Christmas decorations are still up.

Here's another colourful structure, freshly shorn of its roof full (rooful?) of snow.  Shovelling the roof of one's house is the latest Albert County sport this winter.  I think it may even be overtaking snowmobiling in popularity, perhaps because a shovel is much more affordable than a skidoo.  (Just so you know, I don't indulge in either "sport.")

Somebody was obviously gripped by Inukshuk Fever and built an entire snow fence of them along the edge of their property. 

Or perhaps it was a homage to Brancusi?

I was particulary charmed by this trio of trailers.  One each for Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear?

Well, things do tend to be reduced to the "bear" necessities during a long snowy winter of hibernation.
Speaking of which,

There's nothing like a thick blanket of snow to tuck over and around the gravestones in an old (1880) cemetery.  This one is called Bay View Cemetery, although why the residents would be requiring a view of the bay is quite beyond me.  I guess it's just another of those charming, eccentric country ways.


  1. So much snow!Thanks for the tour,very interesting.

  2. Perhaps the residents of the latter spot wish to bay at the moon rather than viewing the moon on the bay.

  3. the light in the two Inukshuk images is just astounding! i can't get over how light and snow interact in the second one. and i love the parallel sky and snow lines in the first one. wonderful!

  4. The Bacchus photo strikes a chord. When new to the neighbourhood I ventured out on foot a time or two to explore my surroundings. Once, I was delayed from returning home by two German Shepherds who had been let out since I had first walked past their home. It was winter and very cold and try as I might they would not let me place a toe beyond the boundary of their property. Finally, I screwed up the courage to march by them and to my relief they were satisfied with growling at my heels and left me alone once I was on the other side of their house. This was a Sunday morning on the main road. Then there was the time I ventured down a side road and found myself surrounded by 3 or 4 (really can't remember) Rottweilers. The owner was in his driveway and seemed pleased his dogs were doing their job. Anger took over fear and I yelled at him to call off his dogs. Shaken I returned home and decided not to venture too far afield without first checking with the locals which areas to avoid. Dogged determination was no longer required for my perambulations.

  5. Were'st then some fowl angel of hell
    Who would'st have burnt the place down
    Whilst toasting hot dogs and marsh mellows over the glowing embers ???

    Surely such beings have fled south to warmer climes for the winter ? Leaving only a foul odor of Harley exhaust in their wake ? And do they provide also customers to fill the plots in the potter's field of the final shot ?

    What colorful country you live in ! And where bikers are, there must be a bikers bar ?

    Good to know at least that shades of Brancusi roam those snowy roads...

    Finally, in closing, I will leave you with a poem written long ago, an echo of your blanket...


    There's a graveyard behind my dormitory
    A cemetery behind this seminary of a home
    My window faces east
    I awake to sunrise and tombstones
    I'll get there one day
    To this solemn place
    Or someplace like it

    But why remind myself so often
    When one is young as I am
    There is no need to believe that
    Death is absolutely inevitable

    The ground out there is still frozen, in April
    I wonder if the dead decompose
    More slowly here than in warmer climes
    The worms have little time to do their work
    Between frosts in this cold beleagured town
    Dust to dust takes longer in Flagstaff

    This morning a light dusting of snow
    Set the dark stones in sharp relief
    The sun was rising
    I was relieved to be alive
    I wondered if the dead were grateful
    For their cold, thin blanket

  6. Forest,
    Thank you for coming along for the ride! The forest along these back roads is weaving very deep dreams, all coated in shimmering, crystalline white.

  7. DCW,
    I think most of the baying is coming from the direction of the Bacchus backhouse.

  8. Manuela,
    It was rather a magic conjoining of light and shade and linear movement as the sun was beginning to dip towards the horizon, casting wonderful shadows. A well-lit gallery couldn't have staged it better.

  9. Driftwood,
    Oh, I hear you! Many's the time I had to abort perfectly enjoyable walks along the village roads due to the (perceived) threat of mean-looking, insanely barking dogs that would suddenly crop up on my route, with no owners in sight. I vividly remember one large snarling specimen charging at me, teeth bared, but it made me so damn mad that I stood my ground, pointed towards its house and yelled, "Go home you bad dog!" To my astonishment, it immediately turned tail and ran. At some point, I started gathering a few stones in my pockets on my walks to aim at offensive canines. Eventually, either the dogs moved away, the village clamped down on the laws of keeping dogs tied up, or I just released that fear of being confronted by a dog. Now all I have to deal with is my fear of ice and snow in my path.

  10. How do the bikers cope in so much snow? How do you cope with so much snow? Love the pictures of the buildings. So much character there.

  11. Owen,
    So fine to see you ski-waxing poetic on these frigid scapes.

    I love the line in your poem, "I awake to sunrise and tombstones." That is a whole, complete, resplendent poem in and of itself, I think. I am assuming it is your poem, as there is no other credit attributed to it. So, what is all this about residing in a seminary dormitory in Flagstaff? And do I detect a thinly blanketed reference to the Grateful Dead made by one so young as to dismiss the inevitability of his own mortality? Ah yes, the Dead: Their song is over but their melodies linger on.

    As for biker bars, my sister and I once stumbled upon a shady looking pub in a nearby village where we were summarily informed by a scary looking character in a long grey beard that the bar wasn't open for business. My sister was convinced that it was a front for some nefarious Angels goings-on. Someone else, however, told me that it's a rather nice pub on most evenings, with a mentally-challenged bar maid and resident one-eyed cat. (I may have made up that bit about the one eye).

  12. Mme. DeFarge,
    I suspect the bikers have either migrated south for the winter or are contentedly working away at their customer service jobs in town. They seem to only appear in the summer months, en masse, roaring down the main street with their beer guts hanging out and their WW II German helmets unstrapped on their balding pates.
    As for how I cope with all this snow, quite frankly, not well!

  13. Still got an inkling of summer here and I always wonder why I am so fascinated by snow! Even when we get a few centimeters of it (I kid you not, everyone freaks out "eek it's snowing" and we get hardly enough to make a snow egg!) I just love it, get out in it and catch it on my tongue, get it in my hair...a big kid in other words, yes I see you nodding your big-sisterly head, I LOVE these photos and the three caravans must have been put there for you, me and Brother Toad for our virtual family reunion! I'll get the drinks in shall I? Oh dear, my WV is "fannie" as in I'd be up to mine in the snow...

  14. Saj,
    I'll just sit here in my "caravan" (how I love that word--so much more romantic than "trailer") and sip the tasty drink you've so kindly concocted while I watch through the window as you frolic in the snow, if you don't mind.

    It's fine to love snow and be all giggly and gaga and googly-eyed over it when you know it's not going to last for 5 bloody months! At least I'm happy that my winter ordeal is serving to bring you a little vicarious pleasure...I mean, not the ordeal itself (hopefully), but the snow snow and more snow!

    You can borrow the snowshoes if you like as they're the best way to avoid being fannie-deep in snow.

    I have dibs on the yellow/maroon caravan to the left of the picture, okay?

  15. Super-cooool (brrrr) photo of the Brancusi-Stonehenge of snow!!!! The way it's backlit, with the little white farmhouse in the distance--all white on white. I totally LOVE this shot! And I'd gladly move into the little shack with the red & green.

  16. Thats fine, I prefer to be in the middle anyway - easier to get attention from both of you that way!
    I swear, WV is on a I have "slerps" and we all know what THAT means!

  17. Those photos of the snow sculptures are absolutely stunning - still cannot believe there is still sooooooooooooo much snow around!!

  18. Some of these structures look just plain abandoned. And why? With a fresh coat of paint and new doors and windows, there's some chance of selling. Barn-siding in the north seems feasible. But how much more appealing to use one's time creating the fence characters? Don't even need electricity! me

  19. jann,
    I think you like the red and green shed because it reminds you of aspects of Italy--the colours, the sun, the delightful shabbiness. I, too, found it charming...(the shed and Italy)

  20. Saj,
    I wish we could have you tucked up all safe and sound in the middle caravan, rather than rebuilding from the wreckage in Christchurch. At least we know you and your family are safe. I imagine you won't be getting this message any time soon, but I'm putting it out there anyway--sending you good and loving vibes.

  21. Catherine,
    I can't believe there is still so much snow around either! Even the locals are shaking their heads in disbelief. Apparently the snow is so deep it's not even good for the snow-mobilers, and there are no ski hills in the area, so I don't know anyone who's happy with it all. Enough is enough already! Only another 1.5 months to go!

  22. Margaret,
    There are a surprising number of abandonned houses in Albert County, and throughout the province. People wanted newer, modern ones; others couldn't afford the upkeep; families died off; fire damage made repairs costly. Mostly, though, it's a question of economics (what isn't). The cost to renovate these old beauties would out-distance the amount they would fetch on the housing market in this area.

  23. oh what a wonderful glimpse of your world that is.

    was lucky enough to finaly see some snow after four years ! yet returning to Athens, where it still is way 'too hot' for snow.

    please have a wonderful wednesday.

    daily athens

  24. i so love your snow strolls... i can almost feel the light on snow, and on those amazing colours of the old walls... the homage to Brancusi (this one cracked me up :-) is wonderful, but i think my favourite is the sweet one with the two snow figures, Santa and the happily smiling snowman, this is sooo lovely :-)

    (thank you for saying that my comment might have inspired the previous masterwork with the long snow shadows, i am so happy!)

  25. Robert,
    I'm so happy for you that you finally got a taste of snow after being without its flavour for many years! I hope the refreshened memory will help keep you cool through the hot days in Athens.

  26. Roxana,
    It is a pleasure to know that you're enjoying these strolls. Quite the best way to do so, seated comfortably in front of a computer screen, preferably while sipping tea. Although, it was good to be chauffeured through these colourfully snowclad hills in a warm car. Our reward for having to put up with all this snow is when the sun shines brilliantly against a blue sky, lifting one's spirits. Another storm on the way tomorrow.

  27. Wow! Wow! Wow!
    Louciao, this blog post is my favorite wintry post ever, I am smitten! Those Brancusi (yes, definitely, Brancusi is alive and well in Albert County!) snow sculptures simply took my breath away, the three bear trailers made me smile, the abandoned houses tore at my heartstrings and the outdoor (outhouse?) Christmas decorations, well, I am still giggling. Wonderful all, thank you!

  28. Merisi,
    I feel so honoured to have supplied delights and giggles for you with my humble offerings! It's unarguably quite a different scene than you're used to in Vienna--not a coffee house in sight, though the snow banks might make one dream of whipped cream-filled Viennese confections.

  29. Here I am, desperately trying to get warm on another grey chilly day [they seem to be endless this year] when I am pointed, by Hilary, by way of Merisi [if she said jump I would ask 'how high?'] and find myself confronted with beautiful pictures of SSSSSNNOOOOOW! Now I can feel frost nipping at my finger tips.
    Nice to meet you, however and I shall be back for more of your wonerfully funny prose.

  30. Sad to see abandoned homes and other structures when it's so clear they mostly only need some TLC. I love the snow sculptures!

    Congrats on POTW!

  31. Moannie,
    Great to meet you, too. I feel so honoured that Merisi pointed to my blog and very happy that you so obligingly jumped this way!

  32. Gaston Studio,
    Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment. It was through your mention of POTW that I was able to figure out just who/where Hilary is.
    It is sad and puzzling to come across what were once beautiful homes that have been abandonned. It all gets down to economics in the end, I'm afraid, and sometimes a disconnect from the past.

  33. They're great shots :-) Very wintry and they convey a very vivid sense of the area.

    I, of course, am still stuck on the concept of Canadian Biker Gangs. It seems incongruous.

    Are they lawlessly polite, or politely lawless?


  34. Land of shimp,
    The Canadian biker gangs say "Yer money or yer life, eh?" before they rob you, and "Thanks, have a nice day!" when they're done.

  35. Congrats on your POTW ~ well deserved!

  36. Driftwood,
    Thanks for noticing!