Posts Tagged ‘Dorset horned’


We’re back from our cross-Canada odyssey. Well, halfway across Canada. We left Union Station in Toronto on Thursday evening, September 11th and rolled into Vancouver on Monday morning, the 15th. Here’s RailGuy, seated in the Via lounge in Union Station as we await the 10:00 PM boarding call.


Since the train leaves late in the evening, the bunks are already made up for sleeping when you arrive. We had an upper and lower berth. The beds were very comfortable and dressed with fresh white linens and a warm comforter. The berths open onto the public aisle and are draped with heavy curtains closed with snaps. Quite cozy.


Here’s RailGuy getting settled in.


In the morning, usually when you go for breakfast, your steward comes by and folds the beds away so that you have a seating area for the day. Several berths share washrooms and a shower.


Cabins are also available. This is the double cabin with the beds folded up. The beds are actually a bit smaller, but the cabin offers a little more privacy and its own washroom.


Here’s the hallway that runs along the side of the cabins. A few times a day, we walked up the train to the Skyline Dome car where coffee and tea and snacks are available, though our own windows offered a good view, and to the dining car.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served at tables for four in the dining car. It takes 3 sittings for each meal to serve all the passengers. The food services staff start early in the morning and work hard all day. The meals were all delicious. A menu is presented for each sitting and you can choose from 4 main entrees. Salad or soup is served with lunch and dinner and the desserts were yummy. I gained 3 pounds on the trip.


Of course, the highlight of the trip is the scenery. Travelling by train certainly gives you a grasp of how very big our country is. As you leave Toronto at 10:00 PM, when you get up in the morning you are in Northern Ontario.


You can often see the front or rear of the train as it weaves through the landscape.


We stopped briefly in Hornpayne and were able to stretch our legs on the platform.


The derelict Hornpayne station is a sad reminder of the bygone days when rail travel was more commonplace.


Once we were into the prairies, I was surprised by the number of little wetlands and pools, sloughs or slews, that dotted the railside. Most featured a pair of ducks or more.


When we arrived in Winnipeg, the train stopped for several hours and we had the option of taking a bus tour of Winnipeg, which we enjoyed. Here’s the new Museum of Human Rights as seen from the bus. We visited Assiniboine Park, saw the legislative buildings, drove past one of Canada’s most famous intersections, Portage and Main, and visited St. Boniface cathedral. Louis Riel rests in the churchyard.


I was surprised by how rolling the land is on the northern plains. Much of the rail line is limited to one set of rails. Freight trains have the right of way, so we were often delayed as we waited on a siding for a freight train to pass.


Here’s a potash facility in Saskatchewan. It certainly stands out in the otherwise agrarian landscape.


In Edmonton, we stopped briefly to pick up an observation car, which offers an enhanced view.


Before long, we were heading into the mountains.


We made another short stop in Jasper, just long enough to check out the gift shops along the main street across from the train station.


The train travels through the mountains overnight, but there was still plenty of time to view the rugged landscape as the train crisscrossed the Fraser River as it flows out to Vancouver.


More mountains.


Here’s the train pulling into Vancouver. We arrived about 10:30 on Monday morning. It was a great trip, fun to do, excellent service, great scenery. I have hundreds of photographs of the latter, but this sampling gives you an idea of the trip. If you’re looking for a different sort of holiday, I can recommend the VIA Canadian journey.


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Outdoor Flock

Elysian Fields Farm breeds fine, registered Dorset Horned sheep. I was delighted to have an invitation from my friend and neighbour to drop by and see their new lambs. On a beautiful, sunny afternoon, I called in for a tour and enjoyed a visit to the ‘nursery’.

Border Leicester Ewe

The first sheep I visited were outside in a pen near the driveway, and not Dorset Horned sheep, but rather a small flock of Border Leicester and Rideau-Arcott ewes.

Rideau-Arcott Ewe

What lovely, curious faces they have. Number 122 looks so gentle and wise, she reminds me of Ma in Babe. These ewes were being attended by Thunder II, a Dorset Horned ram.

Thunder II

We headed into the barn where the ewes with their lambs are lodged.

Dorset Horned lambs and ewes

Here they are! Little Dorset Horned youngsters, born in November and December. They will stay with their moms until about the beginning of March. Meanwhile, they will start eating hay and their own special lamb food.

Mairzy doats

and dozy doats

and liddle lamzy



The little lamb pictured above was having a meal the natural way, but one little lamb rushed over to us, hoping for a bottle. The poor little fellow had got off to a rough start in life. While his twin sibling was coping with the cold night, this little lamb was found cold and still and was brought inside to warm up, and became a bottle lamb.

Little Lamb

Little Lamb

With the help of a heat lamp to keep him warm, he was able to return to the barn and is doing well now. Bottle lambs are not uncommon. If a ewe has triplets, one lamb is raised with bottle feedings. The young lambs need feeding every four hours, a demanding schedule for their caretaker.

These ewes, mothers-in-waiting, looked on from an adjoining pen.

Dorset Horned ewes

After visiting the lambs and ewes, we returned through the barn and saw the junior ram, Woden. He’s still growing his horns. He seemed pleased to have visitors.



Finally, here is Barcus, with his full set of curled horns. The horns sometimes require rasping if they come too close to the ram’s face. I very much enjoyed visiting the sheep. Thank you, Elysian Fields!


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