On deadline

Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.

It’s the mantra of procrastinators around the world.

Wait … let’s get one thing straight. When it comes to work and writing, I don’t miss a deadline. I stare that stone-cold bitch in the eyes and I turn her into a whimpering pile of tears.

But for the last couple of years, I’ve been saying to myself , ‘self, you gotta get back to Lomond and shoot that beautiful yellow farmhouse again.’

I spied the abandoned farmstead from the 531 on a February trip through Vulcan County in 2010. The faded yellow paint was still bright enough to stand out on the prairie hill but the dark holes of smashed-out windows gave away its abandoned state.

I didn’t get a great shot of the house, instead silhouetting it against the brilliant winter sun.

I explored the inside of the house, finding little artifacts left behind.

I promised to return during the summer, hoping for easier access than the knee-high snow Shep and I trudged through.

I didn’t go.

I thought of the yellow farmhouse often, mentally penciling in a visit every time I added a better piece of equipment to my photographic arsenal.

I didn’t go.

Life gets in the way. Other abandoned areas beckon. Trips back and forth to Spokane took up my travel time.

And then I learned I was too late.

My shooting friend Dan drove through the area last weekend on his way to Retlaw. I advised him to watch for the farmhouse the next time he drove through.

It sparked in me a need to hit the road. I started planning my trip last night, starting with the ‘cute little church’ Dan said he found in Gladys and running through Milo, Lomond and Blackie.

My heart fell when I landed on a post on Ghost Towns Canada.


The farmhouse was gone … a smouldering pile of ashes.

OK, don’t give up, I thought. The foundation may still be there, giving the property yet another level of eerie abandonment.

I passed by Lomond and I mentally kept my fingers crossed, hoping something would be there.

Something was.

A new house.

Aye. The old barn still stands.

And the old GMC truck still sits rusting in the hay field.

If it’s possible for ‘new’ and ‘progress’ to tarnish, though, it happened today.

There’s a little less mystique about the property, with the spot where the old farmhouse stood fully bulldozed and covered in fresh gravel.

There’s a little less intrigue as the ghosts of the past seemed to have been whisked away by the future.

And there’s a lesson to be had.

Ghost towns and abandoned buildings have a deadline.

They just don’t tell us what it is.


  1. This reminds me of the bizarre and eerie discovery in an abandoned farmhouse in Pickering, ON. Contractors preparing to demolish the 136 year old house found a confinement room in the basement. No one has lived there since 2006 but apparently the room was made a couple of years ago. I would like to think abandoned homes we drive by in the country are filled with warm memories of family dinners and laughing children. But like every household, there are family secrets to be kept.

    I’m sleeping with my teddy bear tonight.

  2. I’m familiar with the story of that house. Did you know it recently — and very mysteriously — burned to the ground?

    When I’m on these abandoned lands, I try to imagine the lives the people who lived there, who they were, what they wore, how they worked.

    And I always wonder why the left and how they could leave some things behind.

    1. Wow, just found the article about the farmhouse being burned down. The mystery deepens.
      The lone shoe makes me think someone was in a rush to leave, fell and ran away. I watch too many horror movies.

  3. I finally got around to reading your post regarding your trip. A great read, as always.

    Whenever I am in the old houses I always imagine the memories contained therein. I’m really glad to see your pictures from the inside of it, having never been there myself.

    It’s also cool to be mentioned by name and know I had a small part in inspiring someone to take a trip down the dusty backroads. 🙂

  4. I went through something similar this weekend – not one, but two abandoned houses I’d put off exploring were gone when I tried to go back. One was burnt to the ground, and the other had a brand new home sitting in its place. Sad.

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