We called this the Wimborne farm, not because that’s the name of the people who lived here – we don’t know them, who they were or what’s their story. Rather, we simply call it this because it’s located near that small Alberta town.
Like most abandoned farms we stumble across, this one will remain rather anonymous. Sure, we’ll occasionally find our subject in local history books, and once in a while there will be hints left behind in the buildings them self, old papers and the like, that tell us something of those who lived here. Most of he time however we walk away knowing no more than when we arrived. Such was the case here and that’s frustrating.
The buildings are well set back from the road, surrounded by trees, and they were actually easy to miss. On entering the site, we see a modest house, a huge barn, some miscellaneous out buildings and a windmill – all the things one would expect to find in a farm yard. All are in varying states of decay.
Viewing the house, we see it’s in pretty rough shape. It sags and leans, as old farm houses are apt to do, and all the glass in the windows is gone. You know I don’t recall the last time I saw an old farm house with the windows intact – is this due to vandals or something else?
A look inside shows the house is completely empty, at least from what i could see. I don’t dare step too far inside though, as it just looks too dangerous. The floors creak and moan under me.
On the walls and ceilings the plaster is peeling exposing the lathe and there is the always present bird poop underfoot. I look hard, in hopes of finding some hints at who lived here. Maybe an old letter or bill can be found lying about, but I turn up nothing.
Walking around the building, the front porch has collapsed. I peer inside the front door imagining what a busy place it must have been when a family called this their home. If ones stands still, very still, you can hear them. Mom is busy making breakfast. Father prepares to head out to the fields. The kids are getting ready for school. I imagine it’s a happy time, yet it’s strangely sad knowing those days are long gone.
Then there’s silence, and I come to realizing I’ve been stranding still for many minutes, caught up in a melancholy daydream.
The skeleton of a windmill is found nearby. Frozen in time, its work now done, it no longer brings life giving water to surface, for none is needed. It does looking stunning against the blue sky.
Heading to the massive barn, a look inside shows that its empty like the house, save for some rotten hay and bits of miscellaneous junk. The roof is pockmarked with holes and in other places boards are missing, creating an interesting play of light. While sagging a bit, the frame work inside looks reasonably solid (not that I am a structural engineer).
Heading back, I take time to explore some of the out buildings, but all are empty. What did I expect to find in a chicken coop anyway? Some are leaning badly, seemingly reading to tumble down at any moment. A look inside shows some heavy cables stabilizing them and it’s only these that keep them from falling down completely.
Back at the car, we turn around and take one last look at this farm. It’s just like any other I think, then I realize no, it’s a pretty unique and special place.
As is the case with these farm yards, the immediate area is a minefield of dangers. There are gopher holes in the tall grass, and nails and boards and bit of metal everywhere. Watch your step!
We enjoyed exploring this old farm, but I have to admit, I wish I could have come away knowing more about the people who lived there. Research is always ongoing though and maybe, just maybe, something will turn up.
If you’d like to know more about what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: August, 2013.
Location: Near Wimborne, AB.