It's that time of year again, and Santa, aboard the Canadian Pacific line, will be in our town of Didsbury later this week!
The Holiday Trains travel through Canada and the United States, stopping at communities along the way offering free concerts from their boxcar-turned-stage, amongst other seasonal festivities. Over the three weeks of the program, there will be over 150 free concerts all over North America.
These trains not only bring a spark to the holiday season and tradition. They also provide an opportunity to build up food bank supplies in both Canada and the United States. The festivities are free, but you are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items as a donation. Monetary donations are appreciated as well. It is good to note that all contributions in the community stay within the local community.
Since 1999, the Holiday Train has raised close to C$9.5 million and 3.3 million pounds of food for North American food banks. As stated before, all donations stay within each community and Canadian Pacific makes an additional donation at each stop on their route. It has been found that in some places, the Holiday Train program can raise the majority of money a food bank requires for the year.
Click the photo above to detail the Holiday Train routes and stops for both Canada and the United States.
Hopefully, you'll have the chance to enjoy the Holiday Train event, and make it a traditional must-do for you and your family to enjoy for many years to come.
It is through giving that we truly receive which brings joy in our hearts. What a better message for us all this holiday season.
In remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace. Also to commemorate the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany in France for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front effected "on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. "Armistice" means an agreement for temporary ceasefire or a truce.
John McCrae, born November 30, 1872 in Guelph, Ontario, served with the Royal Canadian Field Artillery as a gunnery officer in the South African war, and medical officer with the Canadian Medical Corps in World War One. McCrae's friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed near Ypres by an exploding German artillery shell that landed near him. As the brigade doctor, McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away. It was after that service it is believed that McCrae penned his now famous poem "In Flanders Fields."
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead, Short days ago
felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved, and were loved.
And now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw
the torch; be yours
to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
~ Lietenant Colonel John McCrae, May 3, 1915 Ypres, Belgium
Au champ d'honneur, les coquelicots
Sont parsemés de lot en lot
Auprès des croix; et dans l'espace
Les alouettes devenues lasses
Mêlent leurs chants au sifflement
Nous sommes morts,
Nous qui songions la veille encor'
À nos parents, à nos amis,
C'est nous qui reposons ici,
Au champ d'honneur.
À vous jeunes désabusés,
À vous de porter l'oriflamme
Et de garder au fond de l'âme
Le goût de vivre en liberté.
Acceptez le défi, sinon
Les coquelicots se faneront
Au champ d'honneur.
~ La Gouverne du Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, le 3 mai 1915
Ypres , Belgique
Click the wreath above for The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, "In Flanders Fields"
They shall grow not old, as we that are left to grow old:
Danse Macabre (first performed in 1875) is the name of opus 40 by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. (Click the artwork above to hear in an updated heavy metal guitar version by Joe Parrish-James of Bedfordshire.)
The composition is based upon a poem by Henri Cazalis, on an old French superstition:
Zig, zig, zig, Death in a cadence,
Striking with his heel a tomb,
Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,
Zig, zig, zig, on his violin.
The winter wind blows and the night is dark;
Moans are heard in the linden trees.
Through the gloom, white skeletons pass,
Running and leaping in their shrouds.
Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking,
The bones of the dancers are heard to crack—
But hist! of a sudden they quit the round,
They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.
According to the ancient superstition, "Death" appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death has the power to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle. His skeletons dance for him until the first break of dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.
The piece opens with a harp playing a single note, D, twelve times to signify the clock striking midnight . . . and ends in soulful pianissimo phrases, representing the dawn breaking and skeletons returning to their graves. We love the use of the xylophone in the orchestral version to imitate the sounds of rattling bones. Click the kitty below to hear the more conservative orchestral Danse.
Zygmunt Nitkiewicz, Conductor The Marcin Jozef Zebrowski Music School Czestochowa, Poland (2013)
This video above premiers a first-attempt of tractor music for an inaugural event in Queensland, Australia. These two instrumentalists and their '39 Farmall, aka "Mongrel" were preparing for "Tractor Tattoo 2012," a community arts and cultural project celebrating the transformation of an old tractor into a playable musical instrument in Kingaroy.
Patrick Bell, a member of the Scottish clergy, was an inventor and a famer's son. In 1826, he invented his reaping implement which was the first practical mechanical reaper designed in Britain.
Artist: Sheila Terry
It was mounted on two wheels and pushed by draft horses. The grain was cut and gathered together before the horses could trample it. The modern day combine harvester is based on the combination of Patrick Bell's Reaper and Andrew Meikle's Thresher.
Cyrus Hall McCormick (1809-1884)
McCormick was the eldest son of Robert McCormick, farmer, blacksmith, and inventor, born in beautiful Rockbridge County, Virginia. With limited education, he spent all of his time in his father's workshop.
Cyrus (at 22 years of age) tried his hand at building a reaper in 1831. It was pulled (rather than pushed) by draft horses and consisted of a vibrating cutting blade, a reel to bring the grain within its reach, and a platform to catch the falling grain. The center wheel spun and the paddles pushed the crop onto a moving cutter bar and knife. McCormick patented his invention in 1834, made his first sale in 1840 and moved to Chicago in 1847 to begin large-scale production. He was convinced that the vast fertile land of the Midwest would serve as a better setting for his reaper than the rocky, hilly East. The six million harvesters he manufactured opened the prairie lands to intensive agriculture, a major factor in America's prosperity. In 1902, McCormick Harvesting was joined with other companies to form the International Harvester Company.
Photo: Science Photo Library
Obed Hussey (1792-1860) was born to a Quaker family in Maine. He was a tireless inventor and gained fame when he patented the first working reaping machine in 1833.
Hussey's Reaper (1838-1845)
Lithograph: Ed Weber & Co., Baltimore, Maryland
(Precursor to A. Hoen & Co.)
Manufactured by the Patentee in Baltimore, Maryland, this reaper was, "Warranted to cut fifteen acres of heavy wheat in a day, the grain taken as clean and left in as good order for binding as when cut by the scythe or sickle." Further notoriety followed Hussey due to the long rivalry with McCormick for the improvement and sale of reapers in the U.S. This was a contest McCormick eventually won in 1858.
When the historian of the future comes to speak of the great Americans . . . who have succeeded the best in lightening the burdens of mankind, by the side of Franklin, and Fulton and Joseph Henry and Morse, they will not forget to mention Cyrus H. McCormick. Where the golden wheat rustles in the breeze, the panting toilers under the hot sun will hail him as their benefactor.
~ S.C.P. Miller, In Memoriam: Cyrus Hall McCormick
2016 World Champion Six Horse Hitch
Photo: Show Champions
Today was the final day of the Heavy Horse Show at the 2016 Calgary Stampede. Brian and Colleen Coleman of Eaglesfield Percherons presented the Mark Messenger Memorial Hitch of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Eaglesfield Percheron crew brings the Messenger hitch first place wins in Percheron Team, Percheron Unicorn, Four and Six Horse Hitch, and the World Championship Six Horse Hitch Championship. This year was Coleman's seventh World Championship win.