The Passing Prairie

FTLComm - Swift Current - Saturday, June 15, 2002

Friday afternoon and evening we traveled across much of Saskatchewan, from Tisdale to Melfort, to Wakaw, to Saskatoon, to Rosetown, to Kyle and then to destination of Swift Current.

This is not an accurate crop report or weather observation but rather just an observation.

The recent move into summer like weather has lifted all of our spirits and we in Tisdale who had some soil moisture to begin the year have seen the crops emerging and the pastures disappearing.

The light rain we got in Tisdale and Melfort seems

to have brought along the leaves on the trees and the weeds in the fields. I noticed many fields covered with broad leaf weeds as they are either about to be sprayed or farmers have chosen not to expend the resources on them.

As we travelled West from Melfor to Wakaw these three sky pictures were taken as fluffy friendly cumulus clouds puffed over the country and high above cirrus in the jet stream.

Moisture levels West of Melfort appear to be lower though it is clear from some wash outs that they did receive in some areas a good

East of Wakaw a farmer had put his cattle out to graze on a new field and he was planting another with a great column of dust about his equipment. That same farmer keeps some horse and their pasture/paddock was black completely devoid of any nourisment.

The hills in the Wakaw area are turning green and the same seems to go for the area from Wakaw to Saskatoon. The country side looks pretty much like a normal early May.

West of Saskatoon we saw several tractors in fields, rolling peas, or applying chemicals. Our windshield was somewhat decorated as we moved from village to village toward Rosetown.
We stopped at the 7-11 in Rosetown and I took the picture above of the beautiful and somewhat original design of the Rosetown high school. Below is a composite image of three pictures which shows the three conventional elevators right in Rosetown, there are two or three large inland terminals just East of the town.
From Rostown as we travelled South the country side simply pales as the green becomes less and less apparent and by Eston the ditches only have a little fringe of green right along the pavement.

The picture at the top of the page and these two below show a location near Eston where top soil has migrated from the field into the ditch then been washed with a light rain, then cracking in the sun.

The fields from Rosetown to the North side of the Saskatchewan River Valley are almost uniformly brown. Seeded crops on tilled soil have a touch of green and stuble fields only show patches of emerging grain. The trees are still mostly without leaves and many farm yard trees show signs of the ravages of the lawless wind that has burnt the tops of the shrubs and trees leaving the yards desolate and much like the looked in the fall.

This part of the world has few sloughs and ponds in the best of years but now it is rare to see water anywhere and no water fowl were seen until twenty minutes from Swift Current.

South of Eston a white mustang was working out its frustration as it whirled blackened circles on the pavement. One wonders in a land of such drastic prospects how one could afford to waste the rubber and transmission parts.

From Eston to Kyle there are many stuble fields left clearly the farmers have decided there is little point in seeding fields and those fields will stand empty for this crop year.

The change is very subtle parched to a few bits of green as you pass Stewart Valley and just a few more hints of more moisture on the North side of the Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Landing itself is experiencing continued development as a new golf course is being established in the park and the Saskatchewan River is a mess with flotsam of all kinds swept in from Alberta storms. The twelve feet of rise in the water level is not yet apparent and when it does occur the Diefenbaker reservoir will merely rise to a much more normal level.

Up the South side of the valley the hills sides are turning green and within a mile or two from the valley everything is green. The trees have leaves the ditches are full of growing rich green grass, the pastures are gaudy in their greeness. Clearly the blessing of the recent rains have changed Swift Current with around four inches of rainfall things are looking good.