While Reg goes along with me to shoot houses, his true passion is the farm equipment and old vehicles.  He knows that I go home and I start researching to find out the history of the home with the hopes that I can find some connection in the town history books and word of mouth and through what we are told from landowners when we ask for permission to enter upon their land and photograph their buildings.


I found out this week that this was in fact a house, a very small house.  The family divided the rooms with cloth for privacy.


This small home was built in 1946 when Mr. R returned from the war.  He lived in the home with his wife for many years.

And I was right when I assumed that the home had been moved off the wood pile we found to where it currently rests.


And while it appears that today might not be a good day for me to try to wrap around my head around pages of family history, I can say that there is some relation from this home and the home of the unmarried lady whom took the bus to school with the kids once in a while.


One morning Reg was given permission to enter this property and because neither one of us had anything planned, we went.


The family originally came from Gloucester County, England in 1901 and farmed on different land in the same RM.

In the winter of 1909 the one time land owner and his love traveled to Belfast, returning to Canada in the Spring, married.  They had 4 children, the oldest which passed away at the age of nine.

In 1919 Mr. bought a Model T car.  When I came home and read this, I was thrilled to find this connection.


We found many treasures out and about on the property.

It appears that this at one time was the homestead at one point and then was later converted to a barn of some sort.  To the left of the house was a concrete foundation with no house which I am assuming was moved to another location.


I found this old cart which I absolutely loved and took many, many photos of.  I can envision same in my flower bed in my back yard.


We also found two wells on this property.  One between the two houses which didn’t appear to be very deep and was set up higher.  In the “Dry Thirties” this family sought out land that had water and eventually rented land in another location because of the good water supply there as they had been hauling it from another location.


The two brothers farmed together until 1942 when the youngest joined the R.C.A.F returning to farm in 1946.  At that time, through the Veteran’s Land Act, he purchased this property.  His brother had land nearby and they worked together, again.  The boys mother lived with them until 1955 when she passed at the age of 73.

The land owner was a trustee for the RM, was the council representative for the local library and attended meetings for library meeting at the request of the Provincial Librarian.  He was also on the Executive for our local Royal Canadian Legion Branch.



So, like the old blue truck, on this particular day in a place Reg would call his picture Heaven, I found one car that I loved.


Maybe it was because until you go close, you couldn’t tell if it were coming or going.


This neat old car wasn’t rusted like many of the others we’ve seen.  Just like the blue Chevy truck.

And the chrome!


What a beauty.




I’ll be the very first to admit that the old vehicles and equipment don’t usually interest me that much.  Sometimes, depending on their placement but for the most part that is really Reg’s department and his passion.


One day we came across this and I have to say, I was enthralled!


No words are really necessary for this post.



One of the girls from my work showed me this property so I arranged for permission to take photos and have a further look around.

The land owner thanked me for asking to enter the premises and advised me that we were free to take as many photos as we wanted, we were not allowed inside the house.

He told me that a few years back, the family of the original descendant came from B.C. to see the house as one of them was born there.  The family immigrated to Canada in 1926 and moved into the area in 1928.  They were born in Russia and lived in Siberia for a period of time as well before coming to the area where they settled down and farmed and raised their family.


You can see from this photo that shows the side of the home that the roof is still relatively intact but the weight is starting to weigh on the walls of the home and it has some funky leans and curves.


The inside of the home is starting to heave inwards and while there is a big staircase up the side of the home that is intact, the floor is not.


Unfortunately the home has been used as a hang out and the kids have graffittied the wall, etc.  There is still various pieces of furniture inside and the rooms were painted different colors.  I like to assume that like kids these days, they picked the colors they wanted but Reg assured me it was likely that color of paint that was one sale at the time!




Our next stop of the day was another find I discovered.  Another one I had been driving by on a regular basis and didn’t even realize was there.

We pull up and what flies out of the window?  A turkey vulture.  It sat on the barn for a couple minutes and then flew around screaming at us for a few more.  When it realized we weren’t leaving anytime soon it disappeared.  We did not find any snow white babies in this house.

When I first posted about this home I was not sure about the history.  I can now tell you that the first recorded landowner purchased this land from the CPR in 1896.  They arrived from LaBeauce, Quebec to the treeless prairies vast with inexpensive land.  The father died and is buried in St. Felix Cemetery in 1908.  He and his wife raised 6 daughters and two sons, most of which moved away from the Province and two daughters whom stayed and lived in Dunrea.  The original home on the property was sold in 1912 and became a convent.

The first ancestor of this family to arrive in North America settled in Quebec in the early 1650’s.

I also do know that a friend of ours has lived in this house at two different times in his life, once as a young adult.  He did tell me about some of the things he did in the home which were still visible and he asked if a particular item was still in the kitchen, which is was.  My understanding is that the last residence of the home were farm hands of the current land over.

This property was then owned by another big family from Dunrae.  I am not able to get an idea of when this house was built or by whom.

This house is SO treed over it is crazy.  We walked around the entire home and when we found the door we have to crawl over a tree to get inside.  You could not take photos of the front of the house.  Nature has worked very hard to take this place over again and has almost succeeded.


The home still had beds inside, a dish towel hanging on the cupboard door, a hat on a hook in the closet.  There was a shower curtain still hanging in the bathroom and pictures on the wall in the living room.


The home was beautifully designed.  It had a large kitchen with what appeared to be some sort of cooking area in the front.  It has fallen apart and we couldn’t access it but from the upstairs looking down you could see cupboards and a sink.  There were 2 bedrooms downstairs and then you went up this staircase to this open area.  Upstairs were two bedrooms and then this little room with a low ceiling to the back of the house which was likely used as storage.  Can you imagine the view out that window?

There were a couple of outbuildings and a large barn which I will assume was for dairy cows as well as other outbuildings and sheds.



Anything I tell you about this house is hearsay.  What I can tell you is that this was worth the wait.  I have passed this house a thousand times and one day I finally made the necessary arrangements to get inside.

My understanding is that a large family by the name of Gutrie lived in this tiny little home.  Jill and Reg recall going to school with a tall, quiet boy that lived in this house.

I think Reg and Colton thought that this stop was going to be short-lived and dull and the two of them reluctantly stopped for my benefit.  I can safely say that this would surely be in the top 5 of houses we have shot.


This is where I also developed my fear of open wells and long grass!  I think what is scariest for me is the fact that Colton was with us and wandered through the area before me.  I can not stress enough to be careful.  Reg says to me after we discovered it, “I guess we should carry a rope with us too!”


This truly was a diamond in the rough.  The home is tiny and didn’t appear to have any indoor plumbing.  The doorways were very low, the home consisted of two rooms on the lower level, an awkward staircase ran up the one side of the house right along the window to an area that appeared to be a large open space which I am assuming was more like a sleeping loft.  There were remnants of a smoke stack in the ceiling which would have heated the small home.


Of course Colton and Reg ventured up to the loft and discovered a small white bird and a “dead” mother bird in the corner of the house.  Of course, animal lover that I am advised them to gather up the babies.  Reg found a stick and turned the mother over to discover a few more snow white babies under her except the “dead” mother bird rolled herself back over the babies to protect them.  She was playing possum.  At first the thought was that this was a family of hawks.  The boys came down so that they wouldn’t disturb her anymore but I had to go up and get a photo of this up close.  I have seen birds sitting on top of this house on many occasions when I have driven past it so no one was surprised to find one in there.  When I popped my head up to floor level and got a look at her she had switched her game from playing dead to regurgitating which we later discovered are two of the common defense mechanisms of a turkey vulture.  This was no hawk.


Not a great photo of her but I didn’t want to disturb her anymore than we already had.  You can see her snow white baby with her.

At the entrance of this home, just inside the doorway was a small stove which I am assuming the family used for cooking.  Maybe at one point this was the stove that was in the center of the home and heated it as well.


The yard had what I am assuming was a small granary, a concrete pad which was likely some sort of garage and a building that had collapsed, just the roof was visible.


A few weeks later on my way to Brandon, Momma vulture was sitting on the house when I drove by.  She didn’t stay long and wasn’t thrilled about me and my camera again but I did happen to get a couple shots of her.




Our day started out at the old homestead of one of Reg’s friends.  The family still farm’s in the area but no longer reside in this home.  The ancestors of this family are from Scotland and have farmed this land for 4 generations.

I absolutely love their driveway.


I also found the most interesting gate on their property.


This place was also full of something I truly enjoyed, old ornate door knobs.  Lots of them.



In 1897, the Harrison’s built a flour mill to process grain into flour for local farmers. A year after opening, they added a large stone warehouse.  The mill was operated by three generations of the Harrison family.


Originally powered by steam, the mill was converted to diesel engines in the 1930’s and then electrical current in 1947. An associated workshop enabled the Harrison’s to make repairs on site.  As well, they did mechanical work for others until dismantling the shop in 1955.

In the 1940’s the family purchased a lumber business and built a new lumber yard adjacent to the mill in 1962. They phased out the lumber business in 1972 but continued to mill grain until the late 1990’s.

The two grain elevators were built in 1928 by Federal Grain Limited.  They were moved to this location late 1940s.


The facility is believed to be the oldest mill in Western Canada.

Information obtained through the Manitoba Historical Society.


In the search for a car in the tall grass of a farmer’s field, we came upon a sign, off in the distance, unreadable to the naked eye.  Further investigation, deeper into the bush and through waist high grass, led us to a private cemetery on private property.  We were able to find one marker.


After inquiry at the local town office we discovered that this private cemetery was the final resting place of 14 individuals ranging in age.  The oldest recorded death was 1890.  This is the final resting place of the elderly and unfortunately, the young too.  Deaths were recorded as appendicitis to drowning.   Except for one, markers were hard to find.  So sad.


In 1888, John Menarey (1850-1928) moved to Manitoba from Seaforth, Ontario. Arriving with his wife and four daughters, they settled on a farm near Holmfield, Manitoba. He broke land for growing crops and built a log house and barn on a small hill with a prominent view in all directions. A son and four more daughters were born there, and all would eventually attend school in the area. In 1910, this house, constructed by a local mason was built.  It featured field stone walls and a metal mansard-shaped roof. Menarey sold the farm in 1920 and went to live with one of his daughters in Winnipeg whee he died on January 20th, 1928.

The former Menarey residence now sits abandoned. It is a designated historic site and is listed on the Manitoba Historical Site.

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I can tell you that the current owner of this property is not a fan of trespassers.  We were granted permission onto the property and entrance into the home.  When we went back about a week or two later, he would not allow us to go inside a second time.

This is also where I found my second purse of the day.


This is also where I found out what a terrified baby raccoon sounds like when its calling for its mother!!!  I can tell you that I navigated the steep narrow staircase like a ninja.  I didn’t think I could move that fast on a dirty, narrow staircase.

This is a beautiful old home which is structurally sound considering it is standing out in the wide open of the harsh elements of prairie weather.  Heat, rain, wind and bitterly cold winters.  The metal roof has maple leafs imprinted on each panel.  The detail is amazing.  Each room was painted in a different color.  It had a spacious upstairs and out the windows you could see for miles over the flat prairies.

If you find this home, please do not enter the property without permission.  It is surrounded by a “hot” fence.




The Fairdale School District was established formally in May 1883 and a frame school building was erected in what is now the RM of Killarney-Turtle Mountain.  In 1897, the schoolhouse was moved by a local family to where it last stood and was later destroyed by fire.   It closed in January 1968. Available information suggests the former school building was used as a granary and was present at the site as recently as 2005.  A Manitoba Historian attended the site in October, 2011 but all that was found during the visit were some fire-charred wood fragments and the bricks from its chimney. A rock monument nearby commemorates it.

Among the teachers of Fairdale School were A. L. Davidson (1883), Irene Arnott (1911), and Mrs. Devona Kentner (1967).

Unfortunately, this is all that remains of Fairdale School.




So in April I attended a course put on by Chris Atrell.   He had me take my camera off auto and push buttons.  I sat through the theory part of the course but did not attend the night shoot as I did not have a tripod.  I figured I had taken enough away from the evening and that when I was ready, I would do the course again and learn the night photography part of it.  I went away excited and ready to figure out this camera once and for all.

I spent a few evenings at the beach taking photos of the sunset and the birds.  I could play with my exposure and depth of field and all the other buttons and it wouldn’t matter what happened.  So that’s what I did.  I hauled my bag out and sat there with a good friend who shares the same interest as me but her too, never has had the time to learn the ins and outs of her camera. We bounced ideas off each other and different settings.

If you’ve never been, sit with Chris through one of his courses, his photography is incredible, to me anyway cause he to loves the old abandoned houses. He has so many tricks for night photography and he sure knows how to find all those old abandoned homes. The thing I really like about Chris is that he delivers his information in a way that doesn’t scare you, it excites you and it makes you want to try and do what he does.  He walks around the class, checks to make sure you’re where he is and if you can’t figure it out, he’ll do it for you.  I think the other thing that I liked about him is that I was interested in what he was interested in, the abandoned homes, etc and as I said, he delivers it in a way that is easy to understand.

The course also made me want a new camera.  My SX60 HS is considered a point and shoot camera but it has an amazing zoom lens.  The lens would cost a fortune to buy alone.   That being said, a point and shoot is still limiting in its aperture settings and much more. It’s not a bad camera by any means but I knew a DSLR would hopefully let me go to the next level, if I could get there. I had to see what I might be missing by not having a DSLR.  I found an older Rebel with the lenses I wanted for a good price so I bought it.  I told my husband that I would sell it if it didn’t work for me. Well I like them both and I do find that I use the Rebel more than I use the SX60, sometimes. I think that if you know what your camera can do and you know how to use all the settings, it doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, you can get good shots.