Krystal Braam, left, Freda Molenkamp-Oudman and Howard Oudman stand in front of colourful supers in the cold storage area at the farm’s honey house. Oudman is mentoring Braam in beekeeping.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Honey producers earn sweet reward

A couple from central Alberta got into the beekeeping business by accident and now they help others succeed

LACOMBE, Alta. — Nestled in the grass near a field of brilliant canola sits a bee yard containing multi-coloured hives, most in shades of green, yellow, pink, red, and coral. The cheerful colour scheme identifies the hives as belonging to Howard Oudman and Freda Molenkamp-Oudman. Stacked among them are a few hives owned by Krystal […] Read more

Steve, left, Max and Nicky Breum operate Gone Green Farms in a long, lush valley near Westerose, Alta., where Steve’s family has lived since the early 1930s. The couple appreciates the versatility, manoeuvrability, and affordability of this Oggun tractor, which they bought last year. It has helped manage their five acres of market garden. They like the fact that parts are available off the shelf at farm supply stores, auto parts retailers and online.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta farm raises produce for food banks

A decline in business prompted the initiative, and more than 31,000 pounds of root vegetables were delivered last year

WESTEROSE, Alta. — Steve and Nicky Breum’s 320-acre Gone Green Farms sits in a long lush valley in central Alberta not far from Pigeon Lake, one of the busiest recreation areas in the province. The couple raise livestock including Highland cattle, pigs, geese and ducks, but it’s their five acres of vegetable gardens that keep […] Read more

Nynke, left, and Lykele Miedema visit ther elk cows near Millet, Alta.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Dutch immigrants find land of opportunity

MILLET, Alta. — It was a chance for a new life, and the Dutch couple knew they had to at least give it a try. “We wanted to go the land of opportunity,” said Nynke Miedema, recalling the hopes and dreams she and husband, Lykele, shared when they left the Netherlands for Canada in 1983. […] Read more


The unveiling of a monumental lure took place June 1 at the annual Kids Can Fish event, where the Len Thompson Community Fish Pond was restocked with yearling rainbow trout. Children had the opportunity to personally carry the young fish down to the water in pails and release them into the water. The Lacombe Fish & Game Association was on hand with a hundred fishing poles to lend to those who wanted to try their hand at fishing. |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta family celebrates fishing lure milestone

From humble beginnings to world records, Thompson-Pallister Bait Co. celebrates 90 years in monumental fashion

LACOMBE, Alta. — Thompson-Pallister Bait Co. Ltd. celebrated its 90th anniversary in a monumental fashion. On June 1, the fourth generation family business unveiled what is possibly the world’s largest fishing lure; a 27.5 foot model of its classic red and yellow Five-Of-Diamonds spoon, the company’s most popular lure. Together with a 14-foot hook, the […] Read more

Joel Martens, riding Quigley, heads out to track the prey after a 20 minute head start.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alta. chase game pits predator against prey

Ranch Tracker contestants must find flags hidden over 150 acres before being caught by a hunter on horseback

RED DEER — For competitive thrill seekers, a game of Ranch Tracker may provide the adrenaline rush many seek. The playing field is 150 acres of heavily treed, gently rolling hills at the Heritage Ranch recreation area surrounded on three sides by the curving Red Deer River. It’s a giant game of hide and seek. […] Read more


Stephen, left, Hayes, Kett and Nicole Poburan at home on their farm. | Maria Johnson photo

Choosing a rural lifestyle, for the family’s sake

On the Farm: Research into holistic nutrition convinced the Poburans that they wanted 
to grow their own food

SPRUCE VIEW, Alta. — Stephen and Nicole Poburan have made a deliberate decision to raise their family on the farm so that they can give their two young sons, Hayes, 5, and Kett, 19 months, a lifestyle the city just can’t provide. On their home at 4Acres Farm they raise Nigerian dwarf goats and kunekune […] Read more

Pendryl General Store co-owner Kim Butters visits with customer Dallas Duffy of Buck Lake, Alta.  |  Maria Johnson photo

History reveals store’s many faces

A booming pizza business has become the latest chapter in the fascinating story behind the Pendryl General Store

WINFIELD, Alta. — Kim Butters recalls the day she and husband Jerry Zimmerman took over management of Pendryl General Store from a shared arrangement with her parents, Marilyn Butters and Emile Snoxell. It was Jan. 13, 2000, a bitter cold day. Kim was doing inventory, tediously counting items of fishing gear. “Mom walked out from […] Read more

The Appelmans keep horses for pleasure riding as well as working with their cattle. They intend to train the Norwegian Fjords to do some riding in the mountains.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Central Alberta operation receives an A for diversity

On the Farm: Angus, Appaloosas and Alaskan husky sled dogs are the name of the game at the Appelman place near Westerose, Alta.

WESTEROSE, Alta. — They call it the A Farm — and for good reason. Hans and Jolanda Appelmans raise Angus cattle, ride spotted Appaloosas and race Alaskan husky sled dogs. However, the farm is not exclusive to animals starting with “A” nor is it exclusively agriculture. The mature Angus cows are bred to a Simmental […] Read more


Cecily Burwash, left, a quilter from Rocky Mountain House, Alta., and her friends, Greig and Colleen Sankey from Calgary, admire Moondust & Midnight by Tracey Brittain. | Maria Johnson photo

Sew amazing

The Central Alberta Quilters Guild held its annual show in Red Deer April 5-6, attracting quilters and art lovers from across the province. This year’s theme — Challenge Yourself-Inspire Others — recognized the Canada Winters Games that were held in the city earlier in the year. Show entrants were asked to select their favourite quilt, which proved to be an extremely challenging task, considering the 220 pieces of stitched art that were entered. | Maria Johnson photos

The Central Alberta Quilters Guild held its annual show in Red Deer April 5-6, attracting quilters and art lovers from across the province. This year’s theme — Challenge Yourself-Inspire Others — recognized the Canada Winters Games that were held in the city earlier in the year. Show entrants were asked to select their favourite quilt, […] Read more

Johnny’s Store, built in 1902, is thought to be the oldest corner store in Alberta. It has been converted from a convenience store to a local vendor market.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Old store reinvented and open for business

The 117-year-old general store in Namao, Alta., was once known as Johnny’s Store; it is now home to a local craft market

NAMAO, Alta. — Johnny’s Store has been a fixture in this central Alberta community for 117 years. Its iconic white, black and red exterior with vintage round metal Coca-Cola signs at the junction of highways 28 and 37 is a well-known landmark. “I remember them being there forever,” says owner John McNeilly referring to the […] Read more