Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Later That Same Day (44)

Later That Same Day
(September 6)

It takes us about four (4) hours (yes four) to get from our place to visit Joe's Mom in Killam. Ergo, it takes about four hours to get from Killam back to our place, which makes an eight hour day for us in the car plus visiting time. It's a long day.

To make things a bit more interesting on the way home this trip, we took a secondary highway for part of the way. As you will see - it was a beautiful evening with still enough light to take some pix.

This is the plumbing shop in Killam - it's on the main highway running through town, so hard to miss. Some creative plumbing/gardening happening here!

The lighting was great for the fields and the colours were excellent - I don't think the pix do it justice, but you get the idea.







Craig and Joe waiting for me while I was taking church pix.

We stopped at the old Diplomat Mine site near Forestburg, Alberta. There is a retired "stripping shovel" called "Mr. Diplomat" and a few other artifacts. These stripping shovels have been replace by draglines (see post 40), which are even bigger. Note Craig is walking up to the shovel (below) for scale. He's six feet tall.


This is a little coal car - OH - I see Traumador is curious about it! :)


Traumador checking out the shovel.


We went across the highway to this spot. You can see the stripping shovel in the distance. This is a very pretty little spot off the highway, so you might be surprised to learn that it is reclaimed from a coal strip mine. Looks pretty nice, eh?


Further down the highway - Canada geese in a field.

Approaching Battle River.

A lonely pelican.


Here is the Battle River power generation plant. As it happens, it is one of the "legacy plants" owned by the company that I work for. No surprise - it's a coal plant and works like the others. It's built on a coal field and this one happens to have a handy source of water available for cooling purposes (again I refer you to post 40).

Joe and Craig were amused by this "tunnel" over the highway. It was built by the mining company that runs the strip mine. The power plant is to the right and the coal that is being mined is to the left of the "tunnel." It allows the workers to drive equipment and other vehicles across the highway without interfering with traffic.
This is a "not zoomed" shot. The dark mound on the right is the active strip mine.
Coal plant is in the distance on the far left here.
This area (near the plant) is "so Alberta." There are hay bales in the foreground (agriculture), the oil pump in the center (oil and gas), power lines and the coal strip mine. All in one shot! When I turned to the left the power plant was there - but I couldn't get everything in one pix - darn!



The dragline in the distance.


Some more bales on a slant (there I go again - it's me, not the ground, folks).

We saw this fellow on our way home, too. Pronghorn.



By this time the lighting was getting pretty dicey, so I put the camera away.
Epilogue:
Publicity for Alberta tends to show the "good stuff" - the wheat fields (in this context agriculture is considered "good" - sort of pastoral), the antelope, mountains, etc. Alberta does have all that stuff and more - it really is a great place.
But we also have to live, and to do that we need something to support an economy. In addition to agriculture, the province is fortunate enough to have a natural resource endowment of oil, natural gas and coal. In a world that is addicted to hydrocarbon fuels, Alberta goes with what it has and has become a world supplier of oil and natural gas.
Electricity is a requirement for urban living and is also heavily consumed by industry in the province. There is several hundred years supply of coal in the ground here so that is what is used to generate electricity.
I want to show the "real" Alberta - the "good stuff" and the things we do to make a living, and remind folks that we need to be responsible in the methods used to develop the resource endowments that we have. This is always a challenge and I think it's done well in some cases, not so well in others. But the good news is that, in my view, methods have improved and will continue to improve. With care and attention, the resource endowments that we have will continue to support the province and the country well into the future.

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