Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Alberta

I was sad to hear of the recent devasting prairies fires near Hilda where I was raised in southern Alberta. Many farms and ranches were affected as wildfires, spurred by high winds, raced through acres of land destroying property, machines, stored grain, feed and livestock. In efforts to contain the fires, volunteer firefighters worked tirelessly. One young volunteer, a father of three, lost his life when the water tank truck he was driving overturned. I learned he was the son of a former schoolmate of mine. My heart goes out to his wife and children. Fires are so awful.

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A photo I used as a prompt for my writing workshop in Vancouver.

Our family was not spared, although not to such a great degree.  The house my great-grandfather, Henry Hoffman, built in 1915 soon after immigrating to Canada was destroyed when the fires swept through the homestead. Although the house stood vacant for years it contained many memories. My own mom, Henry and Katherina’s granddaughter, was born in this house almost 89 years ago. By the time I was born, my great-grandparents had retired to the city and it was their son, my great uncle John, who lived in the house with his wife and family. Since we lived nearby and they were our favourite relatives, I spent many happy times sharing meals and playing with my second cousins at this place.

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A recent picture of the Hoffman house taken by Debbie Hoffman Nagel, granddaughter of Henry and Katherina Hoffman.

Over the years, whenever in the area, we would visit the homestead and reminisce. I particularly loved the old barn, built from rocks and clay by my great-grandfather, as it had so much character. Sad to say it was also destroyed by the recent wildfire.

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The barn built by Great Grandpa Hoffman

This was not the first time fire has visited this farm. Back in 1910 when they first arrived at their homestead, a wooden shack was built for Henry and Katherina, their four small children and Henry’s parents to live in. While they were all out digging a well one day, a suspicious fire consumed their shack. Not to be deterred, they replaced it with two sod shacks until the large two-story wooden building was built to accommodate the growing family. Nine additional children were born in this house. Sadly, as often happened in those days, only five survived infancy. The nine surviving children produced hundreds of descendants who remember this farm with fondness.

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What was left after the prairie fire, October 2017

The buildings are gone, but the memories will live forever through pictures and stories from the many descendants of these enterprising people.

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A picture taken in 1927 of  Great Grandpa Henry Hoffman standing outside the house and barn he built.

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Henry and Katherina with their children and some of their grandchildren, taken in 1942.

Note: The pictures are a collection of mine and my cousin’s.

It´s been a year since we launched Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. To celebrate I am a guest on the fabulous blog site Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Guest Post: Amanda in Alberta | Darlene Foster.

Book Description:

Amanda has travelled to some interesting places like the United Arab Emirates, Spain and England. She has always enjoyed herself, in spite of the dangerous situations she has found herself in. This time her BFF, Leah from England, is coming to visit her in Alberta. Will she be able to find enough fun things for them to do? After all it is only Alberta, her home province in Canada.

Read more about the book, a great review and a message from me here. Pop over to the site, make a comment and share if you wish, to help me celebrate.

Thanks so much for the support all of you have given me and Amanda over the past few years. 

Amanda in Alberta is born!

Amanda in Alberta is born!

Faithful supporters at the book launch July 2014

Faithful supporters at the book launch July 2014

 

My biggest fan and official photographer

My biggest fan and official photographer

I just returned from a trip home to Alberta, Canada, where I attended my grandson´s graduation and a large family reunion, visited many friends and relatives and spent quality time with mom, my son and his family. Needless to say I had a wonderful time. I´ll let the pictures tell the story.

Proud Grandma

Proud Grandma

A proud family!

Proud parents and brother

I did it!

I did it!

So glad I could be there for this important occasion.

Calgary friends

Long time Calgary buddies

A friend I haven´t seen for many years

Catching up with a childhood friend I haven´t seen for many years

We worked together 35 years ago.

We worked together 35 years ago. Where does the time go?

Dinner with the grandsons

Dinner with the grandsons

My sweet great granddaughter

My sweet great granddaughter

With my other sweet great granddaughter at the reunion

With my other sweet great granddaughter at the family reunion

my other sweet great granddaughter giving her great great grandmother a ride in the garden

Giving her great great grandmother a ride in the garden

 

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With Mom and her sister at the family reunion

I saw many relatives I hadn´t seen for some time, including my 91 year old great aunt and her husband in Calgary, my dad´s 90 year old brother and my 86 year old great uncle in Medicine Hat. Always good to see them and hear their wonderful stories, some of which I plan to share on this blog.

I´ll write more about the family reunion which deserves its own post.

I’ve been away from blogging for a bit as I took a quick trip back to Canada to visit friends and family in two provinces. I managed to see as many people as I could in a short time. There were many lunches, dinners and coffees/teas with good friends, including a fabulous Easter lunch at my former place of employment. I spent Easter weekend with family in Alberta and was treated to snow Easter morning, which I wasn’t prepared for. But watching my great granddaughter hunt for Easter eggs made up for the bad weather.

Here are a few pictures of my visit.

Spending time with Mom was precious

Spending time with Mom was precious

Easter bunny time

Easter bunny time with a cutie

Mom with a great great granddaughter

Mom with a great great granddaughter

Lunch with my son and rapidly growing up grandson

Lunch with my son and rapidly growing up grandson

Any day spent with my daughter is a special day

Any day spent with my daughter is a special day

 

The west coast was so beautiful with all the spring flowers and blossoms

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Quite a contrast to my three days in Alberta.

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Never mind, it was a good trip and I was so happy I went. I enjoy my new life but miss the special people from Canada.

I’m now over my jet lag and happy to be back in Spain with my hubby as we start moving into our own home. More about that later.

Most of you are aware that I am a big believer in setting goals and always set some at the beginning of each year. Now that 2014 is nearing an end, I need to check how I did. A blogging friend of mine, Beth Stillborn said we should go into 2015 building on the successes of 2014 and I like that idea.

My 2014 goals and the results:

1. Finish Amanda in Alberta -The Writing on the Stone for publication early spring by writing diligently and completing three chapters a month.

I am pleased to report I completed Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on The Stone,  launched July 2014

2. Get rid of unnecessary belongings, prepare the apartment for sale, sell the apartment.

I got rid of more than one third of my belongings, put some things in storage and packed the rest to ship to Spain. This was a tremendous amount of work. We have not yet sold the apartment.

3. Start new writing projects: a picture book, travel articles, another Amanda adventure.

I have written four chapters of  book 5, Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music, have a publisher interested in a picture book and have written more travel articles. I am pleased with this result.

4. Cut back working hours some more, possibly retiring.

I cut back my hours from 5 days a week to four days a week, then to two and a half days a week. I retired on September 26 and was given a fabulous send off. Another goal met but I do miss my job and the wonderful folks I worked with.

5. Take an extended vacation to Spain or move to Spain by the end of the year.

We moved to Spain November 1, 2014!! (I still can´t believe it!)

6. Attend my grandson’s graduation in Alberta.

I did see my grandson in Alberta. He didn’t quite graduate but is working hard to get the credits he needs. We celebrated anyway!

7. Spend quality time with friends and family.

Pleased to say I spent some excellent quality time with friends and family this year.

8. Plan a few small holidays and/or getaways.

I went back home to Alberta three times and had some great get-aways with special people. More about this in another post.

9. Continue going to yoga on a more regular basis.

I did go to yoga fairly regularly but could have done more. Need to find a yoga studio in Spain once we are settled.

10. Pay attention to the signs the universe is sending.

Still working on this one.

I am very happy with how I met most of my goals this past year. Not everything works out as planned of course but you will never reach a goal if you don´t have one.

Next post will be my goals for 2015, built on the successes of this past year.

 

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“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

-Gloria Steinem

Do you set goals at the beginning of the year? How did you do with your goals from last year? Perhaps they went a totally different direction, that´s OK too. The nice thing about goals is they can be adjusted.

A wonderful blogging friend of mine, Debra Eve, has a great blog called Late Bloomer.  I met Debra when we were both guest authors on Gary Doi’s blog, A Hopeful Sign. Recently she posted a moving story about High River, Alberta; a town damaged by the terrible floods last summer.

Debra also has some stories in a recently published book complied by Gary Doi, Inspiring Hope One Story at a Time,  All net proceeds from Inspiring Hope will be donated to the Asturias Academy Library in Xela, Guatemala—a private, non-profit Pre K-12 school dedicated to helping the most vulnerable students in the community.

Inspiring Hope One Story at at Time at LaterBloomer.com

Please hop on over to her blog and read about the town, the book and an update on Momo the amazing cat.

http://www.laterbloomer.com/inspiring-hope

I love my copy of Inspiring Hope and everyone loves Momo!

 

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It is hard to miss this towering edifice as you drive through Medicine Hat, Alberta on the Trans-Canada Highway. Medicine Hat is my home town and I have driven past this landmark many times. This summer my trusty assistant, (also known as my 12 year-old grandson) and I decided to drive up to the Tepee and have a better look. I have no idea why I had not done this much sooner.

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Originally constructed for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, the Saamis Tepee is a tribute to Canada’s native heritage. The colours of the structure are symbolic, white for purity, red for the rising and setting sun and blue for the flowing river. There are ten round story-boards built into the tepee depicting native culture and history. It is the World’s Tallest Teepee standing over 20 stories high, weighing 200 tonnes and capable of withstanding 150 mph winds. It was brought to Medicine Hat by local businessman Rick Filanti in 1991.

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We were both fascinated by the storyboards inside the Tepee, all hand painted by various First Nations and Metis artists.

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This one, The Legend: How Medicine Hat Got Its Name, by Joseph Hind Bull, depicts one of the legends of how Medicine Hat got its name,

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This one, called Circle of Unity-Multiculturalism by Nona Foster. portrays the different races  by different coloured hands.

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This one called, The Plains Indians, by Manybears, shows the relationship between man and nature’s survival.

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This storyboard represents Treaty 7, signed at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877, painted by Henry Standingalone.

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The storyboard on the left, The Blackfoot Confederacy, by Henry Standingalone, and the one of the right, Plains Cree Way of Life, by Nona Foster, depict the two major groups that populated the area and the things that were important to each.

Each storyboard comes with a detailed interpretation by the artist and represents a variety of influences and history of the First Nations heritage.

There was something magical about standing inside the large Tepee on a hot, sunny, prairie day. It made me realize what a rich cultural heritage my country has. I used to think of it as a young country with not much history. I realize how wrong I was.


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