Canola Scapes





This has been the summer of clouds!  On the few days when it wasn’t actually raining, there were some fantastic fluffy white clouds.  On other days we had the dark and gloomy style, but so dramatic!  Here’s a view from just south of Spirit River.

Stealthy Mama Duck


Kayakers can get very close to wildlife.  Don’t worry, Carolyn used a lot of zoom for this shot as well, but Mama duck took evasive action anyway.  She hunkered down like a stalking cat to disguise herself and the ducklings to look just like a knotty log floating in the water.


We also got quite close to this eagle, who wasn’t the least bit worried that we might disturb it.

Peace Valley Guest Ranch

The Peace Country is beautiful all together, but some places have reserved a particular, timeless beauty that seeps into your pores.  Such a place is the Peace Valley Guest Ranch, a haven of peace, quiet and nature maintained by the Allen family of Grimshaw, Alberta.  I’m going to use big pictures and few words to show you we were excited to visit the Ranch for  a watercolour retreat:


The Ranch House (where guests enjoy superb meals made without electricity, dining by candlelight) is a 100 year old log structure that originally served as a post office.  Mail was delivered by steamboats via the Peace River.  In the evening, a fire is built in the yard and guests tuck in to hot biscuits and jam while taking in the moonlight, owls, bats, fireflies and northern lights.


The ranch decor is authentic: the washtubs, saws and buckets are original to Peace Country settlements.


Washstands and candlelight in the cabins recall simpler times, but the quilts, mattresses and pillows are luxurious for modern hips and heads.


Lovely objects and flowers offer plenty of photography and painting opportunity.


Friendly dogs greet guests and patrol the area for deer, cougars, bears… but mostly squirrels.


The Peace River is vast and offers more material for artists.  The changing fog, clouds, and colours are a lifelong study.


The river vista offers wonderful opportunity for wildlife viewing.  These young males had a splashing good time in the morning mist.


The hills are never ending.  Keep an eye out for birds, saskatoons, wildflowers and elk.


Two hours riding in the glorious hills, drinking in sweet warm air in vast, peaceful landscapes is simply incredible.  Imagine in this picture the soft thud of horses’ hooves, the squeak of leather, the gentle walk of a creature who knows its job well… on this ride we saw billowing clouds, distant lightning, and a rainbow.

Mount Robson

Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, is also fabulously scenic.  It’s just exactly what a mountain should look like: snow capped pointy bits and formidable cliffs, framed by the gentler slopes of lower mountains and finished with a variety of lush trees and a mountain meadow.

It is also easy to take a classic tourist picture, since a viewing platform and information centre with a vast parking lot, lunch counter and souvenir shop (and gas station) are only metres from the highway.  Here is the iconic Mount Robson:


It isn’t every day one can see the top of Mount Robson.  Usually there is cloud cover.  Last year, smoke from forest fires concealed the view almost entirely:


Still, the people took pictures.  For many, just being on the spot was a once in a lifetime experience.

Carolyn likes to look for a picture besides the standard perfect shot.  Here’s her memory of Mount Robson, July 2019.