Hello, Diamond Valley. Can you believe it’s October already? Fall is definitely upon us, as the leaves cloak the ground, the squirrels scurry about securing their stashes, and bears fatten up for their long slumber, all in preparation for the winter ahead. But don’t fear; the forecast for the next month or so is for slightly higher than average temperatures, some precipitation (ie: snow), but generally sunny and mild. As they say, if you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes!
Our farmers and ranchers have been happy with the weather this summer, and reports of bumper crops abound. As I write this in mid-September, there is still a lot of hay all rolled up on the farms between Black Diamond and Okotoks. We did have some hailstorms, but they didn’t appear to do too much damage this year, and it seems Foothills had a good harvest this year. The Boys and Girls Club put on a Harvest Festival on September 25 and 26, with support from both towns. They had drummers, dancers, storytellers, a market, carnival, and more, all with COVID-19 precautions. The Saskatoon Berry Farm has frozen their berries and they are available for purchase, check out their Market Garden as well.
A while back I heard of a local Black Diamond man initiating a project in which residents could offer their fruit trees/bushes products for picking. The fruit and berries picked would be by volunteers, and the spoils would be split between the home owner, volunteers, farmer’s markets, and the Food Bank. It’s good to get all the fruit off your trees so that bears aren’t tempted to snack in your backyard, and of course it’s great to not waste such fresh fruit. Anyone still with a pick (no pesticides please) can contact Rob McWilliam on Facebook, and leave him a message there. He said this year wasn’t the best year for picking fruit trees, and I noticed my neighbor’s crabapple wasn’t as full as usual. But such a great idea, and by next year I hope to see Rob’s initiative take off.
The Oilfields Food Bank is providing a small specialty hamper this Thanksgiving season, to those who may not be able to afford the holiday. There is a choice of turkey or ham. Pre-registration is required, submit your request online at unitedchurchinthevalley.com or at 403.612.1291. Hampers will be ready to pick up in the parking lot at the United Church in Turner Valley October 6 from 9-12. Items especially needed for the Food Bank are: flour, tinned tuna and salmon, pancake mix and syrup, cooking oil, toilet paper, and pet food. Cash donations are always welcome and needed for 2020. Food bank donations are gratefully accepted on Tuesdays from 11-2 at the Food Bank, which is located at the United Church. There is usually a Firefighter’s Food Drive in November, I will find out when for you in the next issue.
The United Church is also the home to Jacket Racket! If anyone in the area is in need of warm winter clothing, you can pick up, exchange, or donate on Tuesdays from 1-3 at the Church. If you are donating, clean, gently used winter wear such as jackets, boots, hats, mitts, scarves, and snow pants from babies to adults are needed, no other clothing please. There are also various drop boxes around our towns if you can’t make it on Tuesdays. Jacket Racket runs from October 1 – December 31, for more information, the Church’s number is 403-933-4114. They are located in Turner Valley at 125 Royal Avenue.
Turner Valley Legion has a fundraiser coming up on October 2. They are pleased to present Waygu Steak Night and Silent Auction with live music from the Billionaire Philanthropists. COVID-19 precautions in place of course. Waygu is any one of the four Japanese breeds of beef cattle. They are only raised in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and PEI, and run about $60 a pound. Known for its deep marbling, the Waygu steak is one you’ll never forget for the mouth- watering taste. Doors open at 5 with the dinner starting at 6, for tickets, call 403-933-4564. The chef at the Legion is amazing. Amazing! If you cannot make this dinner or it is sold out, please drop by another day and enjoy a meal. You will not be disappointed, and the prices are very reasonable. You do not have to be a member to enjoy our Legion!
We had a busy summer once things started opening up again. I feel Calgarians made good use of our towns after the long lock down and business was hopping on the nice hot days. Tons of campers too, and motorbikers. Traffic!! Trying to turn left on Main Street in Black Diamond after checking the mail became a bit of a tortuous experience. I started sneaking up the back road to take advantage of the lights instead of waiting for 30-40 vehicles to pass by before I could scoot left. New to our community is a recently purchased Town Minibus which will be offering rides in a variety of platforms. This 8- seat bus is fully wheelchair accessible will be available for group charter or on demand for medical appointments, even in Calgary. A regularly scheduled trip into Okotoks will take place twice a week, and the bus will have very reasonable prices. Check out town.blackdiamond.ab.ca for more details!
Sheep Creek Arts Council in Turner Valley is currently offering classes in painting , mosaics, and quilting. There is a new Beginner class on Portraits in Oil or Acrylic being taught by Judy Moore and starting October 4. Joyce Brown is teaching a Noel Quilt wall hanging class on Nov. 14 and 15, and David Kilter has an in person and/or online Open Art Studio in both October and November. To register or to find out more, visit sheepcreekarts.ca. They are located at 133 Sunset Boulevard in Turner Valley.
Sheep Creek Weavers is a fibre arts guild that was founded in 1974 on private homes, ranches, and farms on the edge of Sheep Creek. The Millarville Racetrack has been their gathering place for over four decades. They meet on the 1st Thursday of the month at 10 am in the Millarville Racetrack Hall, and are doing Zoom meetings also. They educate in the fibre arts such as quilting, crocheting, knitting, dying wool, and sewers. Their annual sale was cancelled this year but please look them up if you are interested in this art form! Guild membership offers the use of their extensive fibre arts library and equipment rentals. More information can be found at sheepcreekweavers.ca.
October is Celebrate your Library month. We are glad the Library is up and running again after the long absence due to COVID-19, and they are doing everything right to remain open. Some of the programs being offered are: children’s programs, book clubs, drumming circle, genealogy group, fly fishing, Bible study, guitar, writing, Qi gong, and more. For more information or to register, visit sheepriverlibrary.ca or give them a call at 403-933-3278, and please support our beautiful library and all they have to offer.
October is also Fire Safety Month.
Change your clocks, change your batteries in your smoke detectors. Your detectors should be tested once a month. Have a fire escape plan for your home, and practice it. How will you get the kids, dogs, hamsters, and whoever else out of your home safely in the event of a fire? It doesn’t take much time to check your detectors and practice your escape plan. Schedule it into your week’s activities now and you can rest easy knowing you are prepared. It is one of those things where you think, oh gee, I should do that just in case. A fire escape plan involves drawing a floor plan of your home, and labelling doors and windows. Identify two escape routes from each room. If there is anyone with a disability, what are their escape routes? And identify a place for everyone to meet afterwards. There is lots online to help you make your escape route easy to plan, so take those few minutes while you’re surfing online today and get that done. Check those detectors today!
So, one of the things I have missed the most with the craziness of COVID-19 is live music. I am starting to hear that it is slowly coming back and musicians and venues are using their creativity in finding safe solutions. Just some of the venues to keep an ear out for are:
Concert Series: Beneath the Arch, Turner Valley, On the Edge ( Red Deer Lake Church), Gift of Music (High River), and; Griffiths Center Choir (Black Diamond), Black Diamond Hotel, Woodstock Hotel (Turner Valley), Foothills Bluegrass Music Society, Big Rock Singers, RPAC (Okotoks), Oilfields Curling Rink Jam, Hard Knox Brewery, Empress Theatre ( Fort Mac), Nanton Hotel, Bragg Creek Performing Arts, and I like to follow the Travelling Mabels, who hosted a backyard concert in September. Please support these endeavors, and many of the Concert Series offer bursaries and scholarships for youth and their music. Music is food for the soul!
Another thing I noticed during these long months was that people were adopting animals from our local shelters, because they had time and wanted company. I was worried that once people started going back to work and school that many of these animals would be returned. So, I did a wee bit of research in September and noticed there were less animals available, not too many dogs and less cats than usual. Let’s keep this up people! Please have your pet spayed or neutered! And for those of you that feel your pet should have a litter, perhaps to teach your kids about the miracle of life, well there are many videos online to show your kids about that. I found a good website from the Charlotte, NC which had some good information in general. The Humane Society of the U.S. estimates that 6-8 milllion pets end up in shelters nationwide. Of that number, 3-4 million will be euthanized, simply because they do not have a home. Instead, use spaying/neutering as a way to teach your children about responsible pet ownership. Also fixed pets have less chance of certain cancers and infections. Cats that are allowed to roam free outside without being spayed or neutered will produce more cats. And those cats will produce more, and so on. These animals may live horrible lives, living under buildings, freezing, starving, along with their babies. Both vets in our two towns offer spay and neuter clinics for those who may not be able to afford spay/neuter, so please please please reach out and get help if you need it, and please don’t add to any animals’ suffering. And if you are thinking about adopting a rescue pet, remember it is for that animal’s lifetime, a true commitment, so the right fit for you and your family is very important in researching which pet to adopt. And next time you shop, pick up a bit extra pet food for the Food Bank. Thanks for listening.
If you have any events happening in November that you would like to see in the High Country News, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear from any not for profit organizations or just any kind of good news in our beautiful Foothills. The deadline for this issue is October 15.
Happy Thanksgiving October 12!