05-Jun-2002 -- After successfully completing N53° W105° we stopped in Melfort, the "City of Northern Lights" to fill the van with gas. The second confluence visit of the day was east on Highway 3. 37 km from Melfort, is Tisdale, "The Place to Bee", population 3,500. Tisdale is an agricultural based community with the motto "Land of Rape and Honey" because it is well known for the production of Rapeseed (Canola) and honey. On the Town of Tisdale's web site we learned that one third of farmland in this area is planted with Canola and 10% of all honey in Canada comes from this area. To celebrate this fact the town's mascot is the world's largest honey bee. It can be found situated at the junction of Highways 3 and 35 where we turned north on Highway 35 to find the confluence.
The confluence is 17.5 km north of Tisdale. After circling the confluence on roads to the west, then south, then east and north of the confluence we determined the shortest route would be a walk in from the grid road to the west. Two farms approximately one kilometer from the confluence could have been possible owners of the field. No one was home at the first farm so we crossed the road to the second. The elderly gentleman we found working in his yard owns that land with his daughter who lives on a farm along the road east of the confluence. He gave us permission to drive on the dirt trail they use as a shortcut between the two farms. Using this trail we were only 288 meters south of the spot.
By walking along the windbreak, which included Saskatoon Berry bushes in bloom, we were able to reach the confluence without stepping on the newly planted crop south of the confluence field. To the east of the windbreak of trees were orange leaf-cutter bee tents scattered across the field. These helpful bees, that live in hives hanging from the walls of the tents, pollinate alfalfa crops.
The confluence field was "resting" this year. With crop rotation, not every field is planted every year. This field had the remains of last year's crop along with many dandelions. Although this area of the province had little valleys and streams and stands of trees, the confluence was situated in one of the least attractive fields we've seen. In the Northeast there was a build up of dark storm clouds. While taking the pictures we could hear thunder rumbling in the distance through those clouds.
We then drove north 13.3 km to find the town of Armley, used as the reference point for this confluence. Armley is a small village that has seen better days. On the way back to Tisdale we took a short drive off the highway to see the "village" of Runciman, shown on MapSource just 3.5 km from the confluence. Runciman is now a one house village. Many small Saskatchewan towns are dying as people leave the family farm because of tough economic times and the drought conditions gripping the prairies. Young people leave the small towns looking for work in the cities. Older people move to the larger towns and cities to be less isolated and closer to health facilities.
Back in Melfort we had supper then headed towards Regina 277 km south. Our two confluence visits totalled 804 km and 12½ hours. Thanks to the Confluence Project we once again learned much more about another fine area of our province.