Don Crews’ 1,884 pound site record pumpkin made a great perch for the winning grower.  |  Les Dunford photo

Winning pumpkin sets Canadian record

The 1,884 pounder was recently entered in the Great White North Pumpkin Weigh-off and Fair in Smoky Lake, Alta.

SMOKY LAKE, Alta. — Setting the bar ever higher is nothing new to Lloydminster pumpkin grower Don Crews. At the 30th annual Great White North Pumpkin Weigh-off and Fair in Smoky Lake, Oct. 6, Crews set a new Canadian record and a new site record — again. His pumpkin officially weighed in at 1,884 pounds […] Read more

Eddy Zaychkowsky grew a 2,255 pound pumpkin this year. | Les Dunford photo

Flawed giant becomes major attraction at pumpkin fair

Smoky Lake, Alta. — Eddy Zaychkowsky is on a mission to show everybody that Alberta can grow big pumpkins. That’s what he said before the official pumpkin weigh-off began at the 30th annual Smoky Lake Pumpkin Weigh-off and Fair held Oct. 6. Zaychkowsky is a regular at the annual event and always a strong competitor […] Read more

This is what happens when a large pumpkin is dropped on a car from 45 metres: a split second before impact, left, impact and a split second later. | Les Dunford photos

Pumpkin drop resulted in split-second demolition

SMOKY LAKE, Alta. — There’s something about watching a pumpkin being dropped about 45 metres from a crane onto a car and demolishing both that attracts a lot of people. The pumpkin drop, initiated several years ago at the Great White North Pumpkin Weigh-off and Fair at Smoky Lake, Alta., is the grand finale of […] Read more


A side view of the 50-year-old John Deere 95 combine with much of the tin cut away shows the inner workings.  |  Les Dunford photo

Project offers look inside a 50-year-old combine

Alberta man converts the machine into a demonstration model to show people how the old equipment worked

People driving in the country at harvest time see the big yellow, green and red combines moving through fields of grain, canola or pulse crops, with chaff and straw blowing out behind, and hear the hum of the machine. Some may see them unloading their bounty into grain carts or trucks, sometimes on the go. […] Read more

Jadeene and Rolin Wolfe take a break from seeding.  |  Les Dunford photo

Brother-sister team share a passion for farming

WESTLOCK, Alta. — The Wolff family has been farming in Westlock County for more than three-quarters of a century, and now the fourth generation is working the land and seeding and harvesting crops. Rolin Wolfe, with the help of his sister, Jadeene, was augering wheat into the tanks of a huge seed drill May 14 […] Read more


Jason Wrubleski and Greg Toronchuk work together to forge a regular horseshoe and a therapeutic horseshoe in the two-man, 45-minute event. In this instance, Wrubleski is the main man and Toronchuk his helper. They later reversed their roles for the second two-man event.  | Les Dunford photo

Blacksmithing mixes skill, art

It sounds simple enough: take a flat piece of steel, add heat and turn it into a horseshoe. But as you watch a farrier make a horseshoe, one blow at a time, you soon realize it is a combination of practised skill and art. On Feb. 10, the Ag Arena in Barrhead, Alta., became one […] Read more

Shingling and repairs are underway on the Fluet barn, built in 1933 near Mosside, Alta.  |  Les Dunford photo

Future brightens as barn gets new bones

For more than 84 years, the big, old barn on the Fluet farm just east of Mosside, Alta., has been part of the scenery. It has stood out as a landmark that many people may not give more than a glance. But there is a lot of history to it, some still being learned, and […] Read more

Environmental winner seeks long-term impact

Rancher says his goal is to keep animals and plants healthy 
and water sources clean for the next generation

CALGARY — Tom Thompson is passionate when he talks about his Winding Creek Ranch located about 15 kilometres northwest of Mayerthorpe, Alta., near to where he was raised on his parent’s farm. “I’ve always had a hankering for plants and animals, and growing up, there was something always pulling me into this direction, you know, […] Read more


Don Crews of Lloydminster, Alta., raises his hands in victory Oct. 1 with his winning 1,365 pound pumpkin at the Great White North Pumpkin Fair in Smoky Lake, Alta.  |  Les Dunford photo

How many pumpkin pies does 1,450 pounds make?

SMOKY LAKE, Alta. — This Alberta town really comes alive on the first Saturday of October when the Pumpkin Capital of Alberta hosts the annual Great White North Pumpkin Fair. “We are very pleased with the turnout of people,” said Pat Palechuk, president of the Smoky Lake Pumpkin Growers Association and a town councillor. “This […] Read more

Small breed draws big crowds

The Nelsons of Colinton, Alta., have been promoting their cattle,  including their Dexters, at Edmonton EDMONTON – Regular visitors to the cattle barns at Farmfair International in Edmonton often see familiar faces among those who show and promote their cattle. Probably no couple is more familiar to Farmfair goers than Allyn and Rita Nelson of […] Read more