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Their Old Prairie Home. by Leslie van de Ligt

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Featured in Great Plains of North America July 18, 2010
While driving Highway 16 West in Saskatchewan , Canada I sighted this abandoned settlers home in the distance. A closer view earned me this shot of a unique structure sitting on the open prairie quite alone. The wind was blowing and it wasn’t hard to envision the hardships endured during pounding rain or a good old prairie blizzard. You would have to be a hardy and hard working pioneer to survive. Even the gray and black colors that it has bleached to seem bent on setting it out of sync with the surrounding prairie. Our prairies are dotted with abandoned structures like this each with their own story to tell.

Canon XSI Lens Sigma DC 55 – 200 mm

The following is an excerpt from a rendition of settler life taken from the internet. It is very accurate for the life lived back in early settler times.

*Picture a space no larger than your living room. Fill most of one end with a stone fireplace. Add two small windows and a door to the south. Lay rough boards across the beams to make a loft and put down split logs for the floor. Arrange a few pieces of furniture around the room-a table in the center, a chest, some straight chairs or stools, a trunk, a low rocking chair, and a pole bed in one corner. Shelves will hold the dishes.

Now, we can let our family move into their furnished home.

The “family” probably will be a large one. First, we see “Ma” and “Pa” and their three children. (It’s their house, according to the land grant locked in the tin chest under the bed.) There are, also, Ma’s sister and her husband and their two (a third on the way). Pa’s brother and his wife and their two are going to stay while the men are building cabins for the other families. For good measure, we should include a grandparent or a maiden aunt. We won’t count the itinerant preacher because he will move on in a week or two.

What time is it?

Nearly noon, according to the sun shining in at the door. (It opens to the south for good reason.) Everybody is hungry-but there is no fire as yet and no back-log for the fireplace although there are chips and other kindling, and of course the trees are not too far away. But Pa, or somebody, will have to walk four miles to the settlement and borrow some “seed fire” in the black kettle. He will walk because he can walk faster than the oxen could-and besides, the oxen need to rest.

Or perhaps the sun is not shining. It has been drizzling and raining off and on for nearly a week. Everything is wet, or at least damp, including clothing and boots and bedding and firewood.

The picture is beginning to emerge. It is too late to ask Ma or Pa what it was really like to live with a dozen others in one middle-sized room, but there still are elderly people who remember things their parents told*

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deserted, pioneer, prairie

I am an amateur photographer from Sherwood Park, Alberta Canada.
Love scenery, wildlife and anything that catches my eye as being unique. Have a Canon Rebel XSI with a 100mm – 400mm Lens that allows me to get some wonderful captures!

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  • Gail Bridger
    Gail Bridgerover 4 years ago

    Excellent find, Leslie!! Outstanding…

  • Thank you Gail. This was such a lucky find. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Mike Oxley
    Mike Oxleyover 4 years ago

    Marvellous capture of this wonderful old home, Leslie. As you say, you had to be tough back then. One wonders why these old homesteads were abandoned.

  • Mike, thanks for your stop and comments. It was so desolate I wondered if they had found a better place or maybe just a bigger place to build. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Sean Jansen
    Sean Jansenover 4 years ago

    Wonderful capture Leslie………love these old dwellings : )

  • Thanks Sean! It has aged so black and white against the golden colors surrounding it that it really stood out as well :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • PrairieRose
    PrairieRoseover 4 years ago

    Very cool capture!
    So well done Leslie……………….

  • Hi Rosie! Thanks ever so much. I appreciate your kind words. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Kay Kempton Raade
    Kay Kempton Raadeover 4 years ago

    Great shot and I would not have wanted to be alone out there!! Would you? I love your story.

  • Kay thank you so very much for your comments. And no I would not have wanted to be out there either. I like my comforts :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Teresa Zieba
    Teresa Ziebaover 4 years ago

    Wonderful image Leslie and I absolutely love your writing that goes with it. It’s exactly how it was or how I imagine it was in those days.

  • Teresa, Thanks you for your kind comments. It’s hard to imagine living like that though. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Judith Hayes
    Judith Hayesover 4 years ago

    This is wonderful Leslie! Those who paved the way did not have it easy. It reminds of of the midwestern prairie homes in Kansas, US – Please consider submitting to Preserving History Also we have a Canada challenge coming up in July you might want to check out.

  • Thank you very much Judith. I happily accepted your generous invitation and have joined your group. I look forward to the July challenge. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • paintingsheep
    paintingsheepover 4 years ago

    A really wonderful find..and excellent look to this!

  • Gena thank you very much for your wonderful comments. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Malcolm Chant
    Malcolm Chantover 4 years ago

    OH I do love these shots of these old Buildings, great work Lesie.

  • Thanks so very Malcolm. This one was intriguing with the roof line being so different. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Antanas
    Antanasover 4 years ago

    lovly done

  • Antanas, thank you for stopping in it’s so appreciated. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

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