Volunteers collaborate to keep crimson in countryside

PINCHER CREEK, Alta. — It’s a lot of paint — 150 gallons of it — and it was all needed to cover the 14,500 sq. feet on the Zoeteman barn during a painting bee Aug. 9-10.

Most of the paint did indeed end up on the barn itself, which is noteworthy considering the job was done by volunteers through the Co-op Communities in Full Colour program.

The colour, of course, was “Ranch Red,” an alkyd outdoor paint suited for farm buildings, according to General Paint sales representative Scott Greaves, who was one of the volunteer painters at the Heritage Acres Farm Museum, where the barn is located.

Clad in white Co-op T-shirts, volunteers armed with paint cans and brushes swarmed the barn despite record-breaking hot temperatures. Activity had to be halted in the afternoons because the paint was drying too quickly to be absorbed by the 80-year-old wood.

“This is an amazing place,” Pincher Creek Co-op general manager Jim Peace said before the event.

“Not many museums have equipment actively working. So if as a local co-op we can help support that and give them some advertising, it’s great. And at the same time, save a barn.

“As a co-op we’re donating paint. And in this particular case we found this is a heritage building and the co-op is all about farmers. That’s what started it. So what we’ve done is, we’ve got the paint, brushes and rollers.”

Stew Postlewaite of Federated Co-operatives Ltd., Calgary region, said the Communities in Full Colour program is run from the company’s head office in Saskatoon with General Paint as a partner. FCL provides money to each of its stores, which then decide which non-profit venture, of a painting nature, to support.

“Then it’s up to the local co-op to get the volunteers going,” said Postlewaite.

The Zoeteman barn was built in 1938 on the east side of Pincher Creek and was moved to Heritage Acres Farm Museum about 16 kilometres north of town in 2014. It has two 110-foot long sections, each 35 feet high.

“When Boss (Zoeteman )was in full dairy production, he was milking about 80 cows, which today isn’t that significant but back then, that was huge,” Heritage Acres executive director Mark Barber said about the original owner of the barn.

“I understand that Boss actually processed milk and delivered milk to Pincher Creek, so it was quite an enterprise.

“What’s so amazing about this barn is that anybody that’s been through it … they’ve never seen that kind of construction before.”

In the early 1960s, the dairy operation and barn were purchased by the Vogelaar brothers, who used it for many years before selling it to Sproule Agro. It was then donated to Heritage Acres to become part of the farm museum.

“The real future of the barn is yet to be determined,” said Barber. “We did bring it in for the display of artifacts, but the community has really embraced it. It has almost become a gathering centre for large community events.”

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