Connie was scheduled to have a battery of routine tests done at the new South Heath Campus in southeast Calgary (it’s a massive building). Some of the procedures required her to take some medication which could impair her ability to drive, so of course I volunteered to be her taxi.
Not wanting to hang around a depressing hospital for the couple hours it would take for her to be done and most certainly not wanting to pay the ridiculous parking fees there, I made my way east of town to see what interesting things I could find. I know from past visits there are some old farms and such in the area and I though I could spend that time photographing them.
Seemed like a good way to waste an afternoon.
Leaving the city behind, I travel random back roads in and around the town of Carseland and before long I find what I’m looking for. There is an old farm yard with some collapsed sheds, old fences, remains of a house and one dilapidated barn. I’m close enough to the edge of Calgary that from my vantage point I can even see the building Connie was in (how long before development makes it here?).
The day was near perfect and bright blue skies, puffy white clouds and vibrant green grass all contrasted well with the dull browns and greys of the buildings. I wander around aimlessly shooting as I go, all the while doing my best to avoid any barn yard hazards that might be lying in wait in the tall grasses. (typically old shingles with nails in them).
The barn is fascinating, full of holes and partially collapsed and with a sagging roof. In spite of being weather beaten however it stands proud. For now anyway, but I’d be willing to bet it won’t last much longer. Walking around it I was truly worried the next wind gust would bring it tumbling down on me. Even the birds, which seem to be present in every old barn we’ve visited, were no where to be seen. Perhaps even they worried about the integrity of this structure. If one visits here, by no means should you go inside.
The play of light in the building was amazing and I am afraid my shots just didn’t do it justice. The sun’s rays, entering through all the holes in the roof, bounced in and around the structure giving a kaleidoscope or disco ball effect.
Outside of one old piece of farm machinery the building is otherwise empty.
Walking around, I find some old collapsed sheds near an old cement foundation. The latter is clearly where the house stood. Was the house torn down? Burned down? Or perhaps it was good enough that it was pulled off its foundation and moved away to somewhere else.
Right next was the remains of the well, with a broken down windmill and all.
One thing I like doing is imagining what things used to be like here. Let’s step back in time and we’re visiting a successful farm. Family members can be seen working in the barn and nearby fields and kids happily play in the yard. A dog harasses some cows , birds fly about and the farmer’s old pickup, hood up, is being worked on in the driveway. All is well and life, while hard, is satisfying.
Fast forward to today and what was once was full of life is now abandoned and forgotten., There is a melancholy feeling one get when visiting these places, which admittedly I like. What was once full of life is now empty and sad.
One wonders what could have happened here. Did the farmer go broke, or maybe he simply retried? Regardless of the reason it would be interesting to know the story. I doubt however we’ll ever find out, unless by chance we track down the former owners, if they are even still alive, or perhaps their family of friends. One thing I can say for certain, abandoning a farm could never a happy occasion and I am sure the tears flowed. It’s hard to work so hard for something for so long and then give it up. The last look back as they left must have been painful.
To see some other old barns and lonely farms we’ve visited, click the links below…
Abandoned and old part 1 – with Sharpeshots.com.
Abandoned and old part 2 – with Sharpeshots.com.
The lonely old farm.
If you’d like to know more about this place, by all means contact us!
Date: May 2013.
Location: Near Carseland, AB.