John, from Beauharnois Country, Quebec and Lena from Emerson, Manitoba married in Killarney on December 29, 1899 and raised 10 children together on this land which John acquired in 1898. John earned an income to support his family by farming and running a hardware store in Neelin. He was also a carpenter. Lena was known to be a stern mother who instilled good values and principals. John passed away in 1937 and Lena in 1973.

In November of 1923, newly married Reta & Carl made their home on this land where they lived and raised their family. In 1966 the semi-retired to Killarney. The frugal couple raised two children on this homestead. Reta & Carl were the second family to own this homestead.

Carl & Reta, determined to make a living and “owe no man nothing”, worked from dusk till dawn to make a living and raise their children. It is said that Reta would do the work of a man and did things such as driving fence posts with a maul as heavy as herself. She broke horses, milked cows and raised chickens. She would support her family by trading milk, butter, chicken and eggs for food. If her grocery bill was more than she had in cash or trade, Reta would put the unneeded items away until next time. Reta & John would not hold a charge account. They prospered and made a good life for themselves and their children.

Upon Carl and Reta’s retirement, their son Glenn stayed on the farm and raised Aberdeen Angus cattle. He then raised four children on his own on this farm with his wife whom he married in June of 1955.

In 1982 Glenn and his wife purchased a family restaurant in Killarney while living on the home farm which he purchased from his parents in 1974.

This is a beautiful homestead. The house and outbuildings are very nicely treed in and its not far from your basic needs like food and gas. The homestead is no longer owned by one of the two original families.


Remember the house who was lived in by the little lady whom never married and would ocassionally get on the school bus and go to town for the day and return home on the school bus?  Well her sister married the gentleman who bought this land in 1939. Her nephew still farms the land.

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It was here that Mr. farmed cattle and hogs on the land until his death in 1977. His Mrs. lived on and passed in the home in 2001, the last time this house was occupied.

Mr.’s grandfather was born on July 13, 1883 and moved to Canada when he was in his 20’s.  Here he met and married his wife and together they raised 4 children.  They farmed in Holmfield for many years and moved to Killarney in 1961.

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When I first posted this photograph on Facebook, my post received a comment advising me that as a child, the poster played in this house with his childhood friend.

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Speaking to the new Mrs. of this land she advised me that years ago they had inquired about repairing the roof and replacing the windows in this old family home.  They were quoted an amount near $20,000.00.  I often read people’s comments “oh, what a beautiful home, why don’t they save it?”  I think we forget how much these sorts of repairs can cost. We are working hard to keep our own homes maintained, let alone a century old home that likely needs a new foundation, windows, upgrades to the heating and water systems and likely a host of other issues due to its age. I can’t imagine it’s easy to watch these old home deteriorate beyond repair, especially for the generations of family still here that have fond memories of the home.

This home has been on my to see list for some time.  This weekend I called and after some hesitation, was granted permission to take a couple photos.  I am happy I was able to find and receive some history.  Thank you Mr. & Mrs.



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To me, pelican’s arriving back on the small lake in my community is a sign that warmer weather is truly on its way.  After our cold winter, they were certainly a welcome sight.  During the winter they are typically found in warm, coastal marine habitats.

They breed in large, dense colonies.  Flocks forage cooperatively by circiling around fish or driving them toward the shore where they are easier to catch.  During breeding season, adults often forage at night.  They eat mainly small, “rough” fish with little commercial value.  They will also eat salamanders and crayfish.

New pairs will nest close to another pair who are at the same stage of the breeding cycle.  Nests are typically located on open, bare soil.  Both sexes build the nest which consists of shallow depression surrounded by a low rim of gravel, soil or plant material.  Both sexes incubate two eggs.  The chicks are dependant on their parents for warmth and food.  Unfortunately, the second-hatched chick usually dies.  When the chick leaves the nest they gather in groups called “creches”.  Chicks are fed by the parents until the leave the colony at 10-11 weeks of age.  In the breeding season, there is a laterally flattened “horn” on the upper bill. The horn is shed after the birds have mated and laid their eggs.

The typical life span of a wild pelican is 10-15 years.

In Ontario, the species is listed as “threatened”.


Originating from Devonshire, England, William John (1891 – 1966), along with his father and siblings, followed older brother Samuel to Manitoba. Their mother and sister passed away before the family could be reunited.

After settling in Southwestern Manitoba, W.J. fell in love and married a girl from Chicago.  He bought this property in 1912 and in 1914 after he was married it was here that W.J. and Maude raised their 4 children, 3 girls and one boy. Their grandson’s would later take over the land and farm here until it was sold to its current owners.  The home was rented out but eventually became a hangout for kids in the surrounding town

Will was part of the Oddfellows Lodge and Maude was a Rebeka, a group of women who cared for the elderly in the community.  They were also a musical couple.  Will played the piano and Maude played the violin.  They formed the Sunday School Orchestra.  When I first laid my eyes on this piano last Spring it was in much better condition, even though its been sitting on this somewhat sheltered veranda for many, many years.  In the last year the cover has been removed from the keys exposing it to the harsh elements of Manitoba’s weather.

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The couple loved gardening and had a variety of shrubs, trees, fruit trees and gardens.  People were known to visit the property in the summer time to see the yard and enjoy the beauty of the families yard.  Although the property has been abandonded for many years, you can see the variety of plants and shrubs around the house as well as the beautifully treed driveway leading up to the house.  You just know that the yard was beautifully landscaped.


I have written about this home in the past and I go back often.  I truly do love this old place and I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of it for as long as I am out and about touring the countryside looking for old places to photograph and then searching its history.  When I found out more of the history it gave me the perfect excuse to go back and shoot it again.  This time I walked up the long winding driveway, something I would have never done before because the house is well secluded and jumps out you when you see it for the first time.








I know I’ve mentioned the Long River many times before, for many reasons.  First off, it runs along behind my house and it runs through many farm yards through this Municipality.


Well with the lack of rain this summer it got very low and began to stink, bad.  Then we got rain and snow and so it began to turn green.  So green that it reminds me of a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s.  Its disgusting.  I stood out on the highway and played with my settings to try and capture the actual color of the water.  I gave up and maybe I’ll go back because it really is a sight to see.


The Long River flows right into Killarney Lake!  Yuck.


On the way to a property Reg asked me to take a turn to “check something out”.  Off we went down a muddy, not maintained, gravel, not lets call it mud, road to a barn we could see in the distance.  I’m sure I’ve seen this before but when I didn’t see a house, I didn’t make note of the property.  Its a good thing we had the Jeep cause it was muddy. Well all the mud was worth this stop.


The house was gone and all that was left was the stone foundation, the fridge, freezer, a couple pieces of furniture and many, many knick-knacks.  I found several kettles that day.

In a metal/glass pile away from the house I even found what was left of an old gravy boat.  I found it fitting, considering it was Thanksgiving weekend.


Mr. D. C’s father was born in Perthshire, Scotland in 1856.  They moved to Ontario in 1876.  D was born in 1877 and helped his father farm the original homestead purchased upon their arrival in Manitoba.    In 1926 he married E and they lived on his father’s land for 4 years.  Then in 1930 he purchased this particular piece of land and started building the barn and the other buildings.  D was a member of the Oddfellows Lodge.  He was interested in the education of his children and served as a school trustee for the nearby school district.

A, D & E’s youngest son remained on his father’s farm after his retirement.  He had helped his father farm the land his entire life, even while going to school.  As a youngster is played with the local fastball team as well as the local Linament League.


One of the neatest things about all the exploring I’ve been able to do is when I get home and look over my pictures and then start researching the family only to find that I actually have a photograph that helps solidify the facts that I am reading and researching, like these baseballs.

There were many outbuildings on the property and some old equipment.  And just my luck, an old wooden door knob – I love old door knobs and latches.


I loved this little old building tucked away in the trees.


And of course, this old cart.


A was the second generation to farm this land.  I am told that this original home that stood on that old stone foundation was moved to town when Mrs. left the farm and was put up near our town school.


This is by far the smallest house I have been in yet.  In fact, it is so small that the dozen of times that I have driven by it I was sure it was just an old shed.


Tucked away in a pasture, you don’t really see much except a very small roof.  The view once you get to the house is spectacular.  My pictures don’t do it justice.


There wasn’t a whole lot to see here, the remnants of some old equipment and a gas tank.  I was sure that the house was moved off its foundation and likely served as some sort of shelter.  Regardless we were able to enter it, the roof was pretty much intact but there were no windows or doors.


It was very small and there was no floor, it was right on the bare ground.  The tires on the frame of the care were still completely intact.

Heading off the property we came across this pile of wood, wires and scrap.  I was then convinced that the house had in fact been moved.



I don’t know much more about this land except that it was farmed by two bachelors and is now rented out to another local farmer.


I love this photograph for its simplicity, I think.



Remember a while back when Reg, Colton and I found the “dead” birds in the upstairs of the abandoned house?


Well the last couple weeks there has been a lot of activity on the roof of the old house so today we were lucky enough to get a couple shots.


I don’t know if these are two of the young or Mom and one young but regardless we moved very slowly and ventured closer and closer until they finally figured we were to close and flew away.


Well, only one flew away.


Really neat to see them all grown up.  Hard to believe they were once tiny little fluff balls.


In the back field where we walk our dog its pasture land so there are all sorts of wild flowers out there and every once and a while the dandelions go to seed.  So I thought I’d take the camera out there one evening and play around with the exposure.  Easy, complacent test subject.


Well, Mr. Jealous aka Bauer decided the camera was getting more attention than he was on this walk and started running through the field eating all the dandelion puffs he could see, including this great big one the size of a softball! Dang dog.

It was fun while it lasted and next time, I’ll leave the dog at home.


I tell people all the time, the best way to start getting used to your camera is to take it off auto and start playing with your exposure.  Its amazing how brave you become after you’ve done this.



The Henderson School District was established formally in August 1904.  During the 1940’s, the building was used for services of the Bannerman Church of Christ. The school closed in 1968.

Among the teachers of Henderson School were John Nay (1904), W. W. Metcalfe (1914-1915), Katie McLeod (1915), Lottie Porter (1919), D. Finnen (1919-1920), Bertha Barsky (1923-1924), F. M Bissett (1926-1927), P. McNevin (1928-1929), Louise McPhedran (1930-1931), Edith Elizabeth Nicol (1932-1933), Carl Bjarnason (1938-1939), Freda Miller (1939-1940), Richard Neilson (1940-1941), Franklin Stuart “Frank” Presunka (1941-1943), Miss Luella F. Glock (1943-1944), Harold Wilfred Walker (1944-1946), Miss Annie Neufeld (1946-1947), Angela May Shirtliff (1947-1948), Isabel Jeanette Allison (1948-1949), Esther Kettner (1950-1951), Ruth Elizabeth Rempel (1951-1953), Glen J. Hammond (1953-1954), Mrs. Jean Margaret Jaques (1954-1955), Viola Mae Neufeld (1955-1956), Mrs. Mabel I. Agar (1956-1957), Mrs. Devona Doreen Kenter (1957-1964), and Nellie Irene Friesen (1964-1967).


For some reason I just love this old school.  Nestled safely into the trees and protected but a shelter belt of tall, strong trees, this school is holding its own against the elements. After the school closed I am told it was owned by a women’s group.  The ladies group later relinquished the property to the RM.

Friends of ours that told me about the school told me that his Dad attended this school until it closed when he was in grade 9 and then finished his schooling at the Killarney School.


While we were there some other explorers stopped by.  A lady and two gentlemen.  She was very friendly and she told me that they all went to school at this location as kids.  I offered to take their picture in front of the school.


This board has the names of many people who have visited the property over the years, some even noting the years that they attended.  I love that this place is still open and hasn’t been vandalized and that people of the area can still enjoy the history of the building.





I don’t know much about this property either.  I am told this land was farmed by two bachelor’s.  There is no longer a house, just these couple of bins and sheds and in behind a piece of equipment.  The land is rented and farmed by another family from the area.  These photos were taken from the road and when I posted this shot on my Instagram account the current renter seen the photo and advised me that once the crop was off the field we could go in and have a look around.

I love the simplicity of this photo.



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.


I’ve have visited this location a couple of times now.   The first time was hard as it is Reg’s old home and after his family moved away it was the victim of terrible vandalism.  I can’t imagine going back to my childhood home and seeing it in such disrepair.  So, the first time I was there I did not go inside.  I explored the property with Reg and heard about all the things he built and did as a young man with his Dad, his brother, his dog.  I know which trees he planted as a boy and the tree he calls Grandpa’s willow.  I enjoyed the view of the Long River through the property, winding and weaving and winding and weaving again.  The rock road they made across the river at a shallow, narrow point where they could drive their vehicles across.  That him and his new bride made this home their home for a period of time before they moved away to B.C.

Reg’s grandparents immigrated from Russia in 1926 and began farming in the Holmfield area.  Reg and I have something in common, we are both first generation Canadians.

The second time we went, my family joined us and we explored more of the back country and we just walked and talked.  Again, I explored outside before finally deciding to go in.


There are a lot of neat little places and finds all over this property and you could literally spend days here exploring.  We walked through pasture and along the river, we found beaver dams, lady slippers, driftwood.  Reg pointed out the fence posts he recalls pounding in as a boy. And he showed us the rock where he buried his dog.  The property is holds a dear place in his heart and he speaks with such pride of what it was when he was a boy/young man.


This is also where I have taken some of my favorite still shots of barbwire, old posts, hammered in nails in a granary.  And I now know how he lost the tip of one of his fingers in an auger accident.

When I think about my visits to the Sawatzky Homestead I think of all those things and the photo Reg took of my husband and my daughter crossing the Long River.  What a Dad wouldn’t do for his child.  Makenna slung over Cade’s shoulder carrying her through the water and rocks while holding her “dragon horn” she found on our walk.


Or the photo of my on the old jalopy car he had as a toddler.  He dug it out of a scrap pile and tried to sit inside it realizing the only way to ride it now was on top of it.


Great memories for all.



There is something about these long legged birds.  They are so graceful to watch.


The Blue Heron is one of my favorite birds.  We see a lot of them around here but I usually don’t have my camera or he gets away to fast.  Not this time.  He was a very photogenic bird.  We started our photo session on one side of the bay, he walked across to the other side on the edge of the ice and stayed here until I left.

Spring is a great time to shoot birds in our area.  We have the heron, loon and all sorts of ducks that stop by on their fly over my little part of the South and they make their way North.