Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alberta - Sod House at Morrin

What if...? is a common question writers often ask themselves.  It is a great way to develop plots and characters.  But what if you needed to find out about a place or a way of living?  Like, say: What if my character lives in a sod house?  What would it be like?

Well, guess what!  You can visit Morrin, a small town in Alberta, and find out.

Sod houses were common in the pioneer years on the prairies. There is a reason they call this area the grasslands.  So, our industrious ancestors used what they had and built houses out of dirt and grass - at least until they could build a house that wouldn't deteriorate in the weather.

The source I've linked to says these houses were in use mostly "before WWI" - wow, to me that seems to step right into modern times!  It is the same as the era shown in the first season of Downton Abbey!

These houses were not meant to last.  The Morrin sod house is a replica, which was originally built in 1980 to celebrate Alberta's 75th birthday and later rebuilt in 2009.  Unfortunately, the house was closed the day we visited the site, but we did check it out from the outside.  Inside, there are supposed to be items that would have been common in pioneer households, so I'm disappointed to have missed that opportunity.

Here is the sod house.  Isn't it cozy?

This is a close up of the wall.  Yep - sod really means sod. 

Can you imagine moving from a big city in Europe to live in a place like this?  A bit of culture shock, hey?

If you are a writer, how do you research times you can't visit? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Alberta - Dinosaurs!

I am on holiday this week, so while I'm out having some fun in the sun I thought I'd share something fun on my blog too! 

Drumheller, Alberta is a town located in the middle of the Canadian Badlands, which is a fascinating and unique landscape.  (I'll be revisiting this area again on my blog.)  It also happens to be the place where they've found huge deposits of fossils - big ass (and little ass) dinosaur bones.

To celebrate these amazing finds, the town has created a special world of its own...

Isn't he cute?

Do you see the cars in the picture?  This guy is HUGE!
(You can walk up inside of him and view the world from his mouth.)

And then there is this mural...
Do you think Bob Barker knows he's immortalized
on a wall in Drumheller, Alberta?  
A lot of small towns in Alberta have fun tourist themes, so you should expect to see more things like this on my blog.  :)

Does your hometown have something fun or wacky to amuse tourists?