Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Norwegian Days Photos

The following photos are from the first few days of my trip. This time was mostly spent with the men (distant cousins) from Norway.

By the way - we are relatives. The first woman of my family on our family farm Nedre Havn was Rannei Skjenna born about 1760. We are relatives for sure - but a bit remote. - Arne Jorgen Ronningen


Trip to Medicine Hat
The first verse of Eric Clapton’s Alberta captures my sentiments…

Alberta, Alberta,
Where you been so long?
Alberta, Alberta,
Where you been so long?
Ain’t had no loving
Since you’ve been gone.


20120828_to-calgary-plane-window_006Over the Drumheller area. The view was spectacular. This area really needs to be seen from both the air and the ground to get a good feeling for the geology.
20120828_drive-to-calgary_008Driving down to Medicine Hat. I took a whole pile of photos but none of them really captured the vastness of the land. I love the wide open spaces. The drive is a few hours but it flew by. Mom and I talked and talked, and I gawked out the windows savouring the views.
20120828_drive-to-calgary_014The moon coming up over Alberta.


Prairie, Empress and Bindloss
20120829_misc-prairie_006The bridge over the South Saskatchewan river. Just around the corner is a little campground where for $10 a night you get a site along the river.
20120829_empress-ferry_001The ferry outside Empress. The river was so pretty here so we stopped for a picnic.
20120829_empress-cemetary_001The Empress cemetery. It was way, way out of town, perhaps they thought the town was going to grow larger.

I might want my ashes buried here – those that aren’t scattered in the wild grasslands.

I don’t know if the translation of the quotes below are really accurate…

Naturen er ikke bare alt det som er synlig for øyet. det inkluderer også den indre bilder av sjel

From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity. -  Edvard Munch


20120829_empress-cemetary_009Mom and Rolf. He looks like he is directly descended from the Vikings.


Aunty Rena’s Farm
When I was young we used to visit my Great Aunty Rena’s farm every summer. Usually we only stayed for an afternoon, or maybe a night, but for two summers I stayed there myself for a few weeks. It was (is?) one of my most favourite places. I can close my eyes and smell the sweet smells of sagebrush and manure, and feel the warm wind on my skin.

My cousin Dale lives there now.

The house in the photo below is the original house. It was replaced with a new one in 1977, complete with running water and a bathroom. My last stay there was when they were building it.



Buffalo Skjenna Farm
20120829_skjenna-farm_012This is the second house that my great-grandparents lived in. The first was a sod shack. Theirs was a love story that I will tell in another post, but suffice it to say they left a prosperous farm in Norway to come to Canada.
20120829_skjenna-farm_005Skjenna farm inhabitants. I’m in the pink and I have Skjenna gard 3 ; Arne owns the original Skjenna gard in Norway ; the group of people in the centre are occupants of Skjenna gard 2 – Buffalo – Melvin, Uncle Olaf’s son, is standing next to Arne.

I seem to be the shortest Skjenna, or maybe I was just standing in a hole.
20120829_skjenna-farm_009Moon rising over Skjenna.
20120829_skjenna-farm_013They have the most beautiful view out of their kitchen and living room windows. I could wake up to a view like that any morning.


Gas City Campground
Nice campground right in Medicine Hat. It is about 10 minutes from Graham’s house so will be a good base for next summer’s visit.


Echo Dale Picnic
On Thursday afternoon Graham arranged a bbq picnic for the Norwegians. He rented the group camping area in Echo Dale, a park just outside of the Hat. It was lovely.
20120830_echodale-picnic_007Uncle Olaf talking with Arne. They were talking about old times in Norway. I am certain that Uncle Olaf enjoyed speaking in his childhood tongue. He has many stories to share about his youth.
20120830_echodale-picnic_008The feast that Graham prepared. Huge Alberta beef t-bone steaks and all the fixings. No one left the table hungry that’s for sure.
20120830_echodale-picnic_010Mom talking with Arne. Rolf in the background.
20120830_echodale-picnic_012Once in a blue moon…


Artifacts and Interview with Uncle Olaf
20120831_artifacts_003My great-grandfather Skjenna was a trained carpenter/wood carver. I have many drawings done by him. These are examples of his work that Doris (Aunty Rena’s daughter) has. He was very talented.
20120831_interview-with-uncle-olaf_006The three Skjenna farm owners. Arne, Uncle Olaf and myself. I can hardly call my place a farm, but since we once bred Fjordings I guess we qualify.


20120831_elkwater_003The three Norwegians at Elkwater.

We had a wonderful visit – it was great to get to know these distant cousins of ours, and especially the current owner of Skjenna. He clearly loves the place and is doing much to restore and preserve the buildings and land. It is a designated historical property. I saw Skjenna once when I was a little girl… someday I’d like to see it again.

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye.. it also includes the inner pictures of the soul -  Edvard Munch