Pleasure and pain, laughter and sorrow, good times and bad, all seemed to melt together into the unfathomable depths of Grandma Clearwater’s dark brown eyes. | Family photo

Role model of stability remembered

A visit to Grandmother’s house may not have brought fawning adoration, but important lessons were learned just the same

Over the sand hill, down across the red bridge, around the corner, and the clump of poplars that sheltered my grandparents’ homestead came into view. As we turned up the lane after a spring shower, I looked back from the rumble seat of my Uncle Clark’s Model A roadster and watched the tire marks unraveling […] Read more

Barb and Dennis McAuley’s family have turned an old grain truck found at an estate sale a few years ago into playground equipment near Wetaskiwin, Alta. The couple started the McAuley Truck Box company in 1974, the year they were married. Dennis thinks this truck box was the sixth one the family made. A ladder up a hole cut through the truck box allows their grandchildren to climb into the box fort and down the slide. Also attached to the play truck are swings, a climbing wall and zip line.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Thinking outside the box

Barb and Dennis McAuley’s family have turned an old grain truck found at an estate sale a few years ago into playground equipment near Wetaskiwin, Alta. The couple started the McAuley Truck Box company in 1974, the year they were married. Dennis thinks this truck box was the sixth one the family made. A ladder up a hole cut through the truck box allows their grandchildren to climb into the box fort and down the slide. Also attached to the play truck are swings, a climbing wall and zip line. | Mary MacArthur photos

Barb and Dennis McAuley’s family have turned an old grain truck found at an estate sale a few years ago into playground equipment near Wetaskiwin, Alta. The couple started the McAuley Truck Box company in 1974, the year they were married. Dennis thinks this truck box was the sixth one the family made. A ladder […] Read more

Bob Buskas has fledged thousands of purple martins on his farm with his specially designed purple martin houses. In his own North Star design, the compartments can be removed easily for cleaning and checking the young. Special entrance holes also deter owls, starlings and sparrows. | Mary MacArthur photo

Farm opens door for purple martins

Alberta producer kicks off a building boom in condominium-style bird houses that sees the species’ population explode

WETASKIWIN, Alta. — Over the next few weeks, Bob Buskas’ eyes will be on his fields as he begins to seed. He also has an eye to the sky as he waits for the purple martins to return to his farm. It takes about two to three weeks for the birds to fly from their […] Read more


Neighbours, family and friends dropped by to gaze at the blossoms and whiff in the fragrance; for a short season, it was the most blossomy yard around. | Getty Images

Multi-fruit bearing crabapple tree was a wonder to behold

Grafting allowed one tree to produce four varieties — the original Nerchinsk as well as Goodland, Kerr and Garland

Every spring, the crabapple tree in my backyard sent forth sensory blessings to the neighborhood —white blooms with a fragrant aroma, a sort of “the white way of delight” as Anne in the story Anne of Green Gables labelled it. Neighbours, family and friends dropped by to gaze at the blossoms and whiff in the […] Read more

Cattle drink from a portable water tank on the Branvolds’ ranch. | Supplied photo

Healthy soil a priority

Cheryl and Trevor Branvold raise registered Angus on their farm in Saskatchewan that’s been in Cheryl’s family since 1888. Over the years, it was a mixed farm with grain and cattle but today the focus is on holistic management, improving the soil with cattle. “Our neighbour down the road is Ralph Corcoran, a holistic management […] Read more


Steve McElroy introduced cattle by buying heifers and introducing them to small parts of his farm. | Supplied photo

Cattle help organic operation save its soil

Steve McElroy started his farm in Hillsdale, Michigan, in 1989 as a conventional crop operation. He became a certified organic grower about 12 years later. He grew organic grains and row crops for 15 years. “Our soil is short of organic matter and wasn’t in good condition to go organic,” he says. “It was becoming […] Read more

Ken Miller shares with other producers how he has adopted holistic management on his ranch in North Dakota. | Supplied photo

Rancher believes in working with nature

Holistic management has made a difference in ranch sustainability for Ken and Bonnie Miller on their ranch in south-central North Dakota, near Fort Rice, along the Missouri River. Ken Miller says holistic management helped point the ranch in the right direction 30-plus years ago. “I went through the training with Allan Savory in the mid-1980s. […] Read more

David and Jean Caldwell say they will miss the Prairies’ wide-open spaces and straight roads when they return to Scotland. | Supplied photo

Man. farmers make decision to return home

On the Farm: David and Jean Caldwell emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1995 — now they’re moving back

For just over a quarter of a century, David and Jean Caldwell of Kenton, Man., have called Canada home. But by their own admission, their Scottish roots run deep, and on April 30, their life will come full circle as they head into retirement with a move back to their bonny homeland. The decision to […] Read more


Aurora Farm founder and owner Louise May visits with riders at the farm. | Andrea Geary photo

Manitoba farm moves to the inner city

Woman works to bring agriculture to a part of Winnipeg where residents have few opportunities to grow their own food

Louise May, owner of Aurora Farm, looks forward to helping Winnipeg’s inner city residents learn how to plant, nurture and harvest produce, and to possibly get acquainted with a goat or alpaca. The inner-city area of Winnipeg can be described as a concrete jungle and a food desert, having virtually no opportunities for most residents […] Read more

Haley Johnston, Tyrell Hopp and their daughter, Avery, are beneficiaries of a treatment called bovine lipid extract surfactant.  |  Sara Miller/Sterling Images photo

Cattle give preemies a second chance at life

Extremely premature babies whose lungs aren’t fully developed can be treated with lung surfactant harvested from cattle


Little Avery Hopp of Birtle, Man., recently celebrated her second birthday. Like most two-year olds, the occasion was marked with much love and celebration from her family and friends as another milestone in her young life was reached. But unlike most other two-year-olds, for her parents, Haley Johnston and Tyrell Hopp, the celebration was a […] Read more