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(This post was first drafted in the fall 2012 and then completed March 2013.) We are deep into the winter blues now and just about every second person you meet is making an escape to somewhere warm. Oh well, a few more weeks and we will actually have the start of the 2013 spring and summer seasons here in Saskatchewan. So hang in there! It is a good time to plan your summer explorations back here at home.
  • Yes it seems summer is over although I still have some of my favourite bluish-purple flowers blooming in my yard. I hear they are Wood Asters. We have had a bit of snow off and on here in my home province of Saskatchewan, but you may still have a travel bug or two that you have yet to work out. If so I have another site recommendation for you. www.goheredestinations.com . They cover everything of interest if your heading to S.W. Saskatchewan sprinkled liberally with welcoming hospitality and humour.
Blue Asters in my yard bloom right until after the first snow.

Blue Asters in my yard bloom right until after the first snow.

  • I had the real pleasure of dining with one of the owners of the company and her family in July when I had my first stint as Guest Artist in Residence at Cypress Hills, Sask. My Sunday duties in the park were fairly light so I decided to take a short drive (about 20 min.) north to Maple Creek.  Ghost Town Blues, a bed and breakfast in the area was serving up their famous “cowboy breakfast” and I didn’t want to miss out! I will blog about this unique destination in the future and the plans I have for visiting it again, but for now this post is about a business and a personal connection that began because of technology!
Food coming out of the chuck wagon.

Food coming out of the chuck wagon.

Ghost Town Blues' Dining Hall is a Restored Church.

Ghost Town Blues’ Dining Hall is a Restored Church.

  • This trip had me finally part with my old cell. I was quite reluctant to make the change as I felt it could make and receive calls and texts just fine with the old Nokia. Yah, yah I know you can stop laughing now! Because I was wanting to be able to use the internet while I was away on my guest artist trips, I started to hunt for a smart phone. Part of the reason I had put off the decision for so long was that there are just too many choices out there, Android, Windows, and iPhones.  Then there are the decisions about the plans and service providers!  Finally I just decided that like many other complex decisions, sometimes it is easier to just dive in and realize the details will become clearer as you go.  Because of my business use of the phone it was recommended that I go with a Windows one. I know I may be opening a Pandora`s box of opinions now and do feel free to comment and share your thoughts on the benefits of your particular make of phone, but this post is more about the wonders of technology and how it actually can bring people together in real time, in person!
  • A volunteer group I have worked with used to regularly make quotes about the isolating effects of technology in this generation and how people were missing out on real life connections with others because of computer and cell phone time.  This is a happy story, one to the contrary.  About a month before getting this phone I had just begun to tweet. You can feel free to follow me on Twitter at nikkisportraits.  I had discovered that if I set my phone location to on (under setting) and then searched the area I was in (at that time Cypress Hills, SK) on Twitter, I would see tweets from folks in the area. (You can do this by using the search option and location or #CypressHills).  I commented on a few tweets by local business folks and those commenting about the park.  I also used my twitter account to send out notices about the arts programming that was available to the public at the park while I was there.  One of the companies I connected with was Go Here Destinations.  We exchanged a few tweets and shared a common interest, tourism in S.W. Saskatchewan.
  • What a surprise it was when I chose a random table at the cowboy brunch that Sunday and found myself sharing real time conversation about fencing, books we were reading, our families and business with my new twitter pal, Gail.  She is one of the owners of Go Here Destinations.  Well our communications continued electronically and during my Sept 2012 stay in Cypress Gail asked me if I would consider writing a guest blog for Go Here.  Her plan was to feature photos of my solo hikes through the beautiful fall hills and include some of my resulting paintings.  Links to these blogs are below.  Thank you Gail and Go Here Destinations for the invite and it was a real treat to meet you and your family while sharing “grub“.  I hope our trails cross again someday soon!

http://goheredestinations.com/2012/07/17/belly-up-to-the-cowboy-brunch-at-ghostown-blues/

  • Please do bookmark their page! It is a very useful resource to your explorations of our beautiful S.W. Saskatchewan. Yes there is plenty to do especially for families and   more than flat plains! So, get off that number one highway and see what the S.W. has to offer in 2013!
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