After Calgary we continued east, into the land of living skies. Saskatchewan is prairie country at its finest, and we drove alongside never-ending fields of bright yellow canola, wheat, and legumes. As a child, Saskatchewan fascinated me most because of its epic thunderstorms (it’s the only place with thunder so loud I ducked), farms, and abandoned houses.
Farmers have come and gone, town populations swell and subside, and there are endless weathered grey buildings and barns leaning into the wind. Those built with brick still stand solid, but with kitchens invaded by birds and wooden staircases crumbling.
We stopped at one such community which, despite still having a post office, is very much empty. Its abandoned church first pulled us off the highway, and I then (carefully) peeked into some of the houses nearby.
As we went to leave, a woman came out of the post office and asked us where we were from. We told her about our trip, she reminded us (as every mother we meet does) to be careful, and we asked if she knew of any good places up the highway to get good food. She immediately invited us back to her farm for her homemade perogies (she’s the Gloria behind Gloria’s Country Kitchen!) and a cold beer. That tells you all you need to know about prairie hospitality. Unfortunately, we had a long drive ahead of us and had to keep going, but Gloria extended the invite for our way back, too.
Our first major stop in Saskatchewan was Regina, where my brother Mark and his fiancé Deidra live. It felt great to settle in with family, and one day we drove out to Deidra’s parents’ farm for the afternoon.
It’s on rural land past Moose Jaw (a town with not only a wonderfully bizarre name, but also a fascinating possible connection to Al Capone), and sits next to a river where people fish for pike.
The farmhouse is protected from the wind by a towering ‘fence’ of hay bales, and we spent the afternoon eating lunch (including amazing homemade apple pie), visiting the sheep, and sitting in the shade of the trees while Deidra’s nephews cooled off in the pool.
Even though we were 1700km from BC, it was hard not to feel at home in the Saskatchewan. Stay tuned for posts about our visits to markets, farmers, and restaurants on the prairies, and many surprises….
Regina's own Rah Rah: