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


The Van Haren family, including Roger, left, Katelyn holding George, Judy, and Erwin holding Brianna, raise bison because of the animals’ self-sufficiency.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alta. bison farm chooses to work with nature

Handling is kept to a minimum but family must provide sufficient feed and minerals and assure a steady water supply

LACOMBE, Alta. — Visiting Frontier Farm makes it understandable why the Van Haren family — Erwin and Judy, and their son, Roger, and his wife, Katelyn — raise bison. “They take care of themselves,” says Roger. Adds Judy with a bit of a smile: “We handle them with binoculars and a hockey stick with a […] Read more

This 1949 scene at the Central Alberta Pavilion was typical of the 4-H shows for many years. Joe Johnson, farm manager at the University of Alberta, was judge, assisted by Howard Fulcher. Joe Biglands, centre with cane, is speaking with Wilf Edgar, a prominent Hereford breeder. Roy Ballhorn is standing beside Edgar.  |  Lacombe, the First Century photo

Alta. 4-H club celebrates 100th anniversary

The East Lacombe Beef 4-H Club is still going strong after 100 years; it is the longest running active 4-H club In Alberta

LACOMBE, Alta. — The East Lacombe Beef 4-H Club will mark its 100th anniversary on June 15, making it the oldest active, continuously running 4-H club in Alberta. Annette Zuidhof, an organizer of the centennial celebration, says the event should prove to be a sort of homecoming for some. “We’re really looking forward to seeing […] Read more


The farmhouse themed room tells the story of an Argentine who is new to the Prairies.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Rural escape house offers visitors history and mystery

The Alta. business is set in an old home and incorporates the area’s early agricultural, military and coal mining history in its theme rooms


NAMAO, Alta. — When is a clock not just a clock? Or a lamp not just a lamp? These are clues to cracking the code and resolving the riddle when working against a timeline to be set free in Locked. The escape house, set in an old home in this central Alberta hamlet, incorporates the […] Read more

Dave Brand is director of Community & Protective Services with Red Deer County. | Maria Johnson photo

Alta. firefighters practice grain entrapment rescue

RED DEER — Grain can be deadly. In mid-October of 2015, three young sisters northwest of Red Deer died in a farm accident when they became buried in canola seed. Earlier that same autumn, a teenaged boy and his grandfather suffered the same fate on a farm in southwestern Saskatchewan. Dave Brand, director of Community […] Read more

Left, the theatre as it looked in 1930. The Majestic Theatre in Bashaw, Alta., looks almost the way it did when it was built in 1915.  | Friends of the Majestic Theatre, Maria Johnson photos

‘Boomtown’ theatre enjoys long life

Concerned residents formed an organization in Bashaw, Alta., in 1998 to save the historic building from demolition

BASHAW, Alta. — The more things change, the more they stay the same. This adage has proven true when it comes to the 104-year-old Majestic Theatre in the central Alberta town of Bashaw. The exterior of the plain clapboard 1 1/2 storey structure looks almost identical to when it was erected in 1915. In the […] Read more


Trudie and Jac Theelen prepare tulips for market. Jac gathers 10 stem bundles and Trudie wraps each in a plastic sleeve. The flowers are then conditioned by standing in water to ready them for market.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Tulip farm offers signs of spring in winter

On the Farm: Jac and Trudie Theelen import bulbs from the Netherlands and grow them into budding flowers

RED DEER — It’s a frigid white world out there. Leafless trees border snow-covered hills and fields. Nature seems at a standstill. So the warmth, colour and earthy aroma of new growth that permeates the air at Jac and Trudie Theelen’s Tulip Farm offers a welcome surprise. The couple is in the business of flowers. […] Read more

Crystal Regehr-Westergard has made the chocolate and peanut bar to be as similar to the original as possible, while continuing to follow Canadian Food Inspection Agency guidelines.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Candy bar rescued from oblivion

An Alta. couple buys the rights to the Cuban Lunch, which was discontinued in 1991; that turned out to be the easy part

CAMROSE, Alta. — An Alberta woman’s foray into the candy industry began with noble intentions. Regehr-Westergard wanted a suitable gift to bring to her mother, Elfie Regehr, 85, when visiting her in a Camrose senior’s facility. “There’s so little I can buy her.” Regehr-Westergard recalled that the Cuban Lunch was her mom’s favourite chocolate bar […] Read more