Tag Archives: ranching

Top Instagram shots from 2013 – #7

7. Scenes from Kinnondale, Alberta


Six on the list features two older photos taken in the former Kinnondale district of northeast Vulcan County. The first is entitled “Along the road to Amethyst (2010)”  a reference to a former school district and post office once located north of Hwy. 539. The photo below, “The Lunt Place (2007)”, is the former homestead of Joseph and Annie Lunt, who helped found and sustain the Kinnondale community during three decades of drought and hardship. The Lunts left Kinnondale in 1953.

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“Xmas Eve 1934”

Thank you to C. Tom Grusendorf, who passed along the poem below entitled “Xmas Eve 1934”, written by Mrs. Sanford, housekeeper and cook at the Monarch Ranch, situated 13 miles south of Buffalo, Alberta within the boundaries of the British Block.

Owned by the Horne family of Calgary wholesalers, Horne and Pitfield, the Monarch ranch was managed by Harold Moon, who also managed another ranch at Monarch, Alberta.

The poem makes reference to the diverse cast of characters gathered at the ranch on Christmas Eve, 1934; including J. Les Grusendorf (1913-2004), referred to in the poem as “Leslie”.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Forgotten Alberta readers!

 Xmas Eve, 1934

‘Twas Christmas Eve, the snow lay thick,
The air was clear and still.
And Winter spread his icy touch
O’er coulee and o’re hill.
The hoar frost on the fences,
Like strings of diamonds hang.
And all was Peace, Goodwill to men,
Just as the Angels sang.
And it was fit it should be so,
For tomorrow’s Christmas Day.
And so with mirth and all good cheer,
We’ll sing our Christmas lay.

The Monarch Ranch lay gleaming white,
The sheep all in the fold,
Safe from the prowling coyotes,
And sheltered from the cold.
Just lying peacefully at rest,
Their cuds all quietly chewing,
Till sleep fell on them one by one,
Their spirits quietly wooing.
No “Shepherds watch our flocks by night” –
All seated on the ground.
“Nor Angel of the Lord comes down”
To glory shed around.
We have instead a brilliant moon
Which sheds a minor glory.
Making a perfect setting,
For this lovely Christmas story.
And if you would enact the scene
The Wise men saw that night
Just walk around out crowded corral
You’ll get this vision right.

Continue reading “Xmas Eve 1934”

Earl Taylor — the little cowboy who had big vision

Earl Taylor (inset) and the park he founded, the E.I.D. Historical Park in Scandia.

My August column is about Earl Taylor, or as I knew him, Grandpa’s roommate.

After my Grandma’s passing, my Grandpa Koch, well into his ’80s and a bachelor for the first time in over 60 years, was moved into a room in the Lodge with an old cowpoke named Earl Taylor.

The two men, as it turned out, went way back. They had grown up and later farmed within a few miles of each other at Kinnondale, north of Enchant.

As a youngster I would go with my parents to visit Grandpa at the Lodge, and invariably Earl Taylor would drop in.

My first recollection upon meeting Mr. Taylor was that I was in the midst of celebrity, having recognized him as the founder of the E.I.D. Park that had just opened at Scandia.

When the two would get together, there was much reminiscing about the old days at Kinnondale, with Earl doing much of the talking.

Well advanced in years and rather slight, Earl moved slow, but had a big voice and a distinct drawl as I recall, and a memory that was second to none.

I, of course, was too young to appreciate it or remember most of what was said, a fact I can’t help but regret today.

My grandpa and Earl passed on within a year of each other, taking with them a generation’s worth of our pioneer history.

Thankfully, Mr. Taylor had recognized many years before that the memories of the past needed to be preserved, or they’d be lost to the passage of time.

I am grateful for Earl Taylor’s drive and uncommon foresight, that will, with any luck, give many future generations of Albertans something to remember.

Continue reading Earl Taylor — the little cowboy who had big vision

Bow City – The village born unlucky

Many thanks to the Historical Society of Alberta, and the legendary Mr. Hugh Dempsey, CM, for the opportunity to share a decade’s worth of research on the former village of Bow City. Below is the piece in its entirety in the Winter 2012 edition of Alberta History:

Bow City Alberta History (Refresh if iFrame does not appear)

Sights of the Southeast – 24/10/10

Calgary Sun photojournalist Mike Drew takes a swing through the Lomond area searching for Bones in Black and White.

There is something about skulls that just fascinates me.

I like the way they look, all those interesting bones bent in such amazing shapes, the way those eye sockets seem to always be looking even well after the eyes are gone, the way they blend with the landscape. I don’t find them morbid at all.

That’s why I spent so much time in a ditch out near Lomond taking pictures of them. There’s a fence out there that goes on for a furlong or more with the skull of a cow, a horse, even an elk decorating each fencepost. Under that big blue bowl of prairie sky with wisps of chinook cloud blowing by overhead they looked sentinels guarding gates, the angle of their repose against posts giving them a stern look that their former possessors never had in life.