Bud Taylor and Sharon Musto run a kite shop in central Alberta. Musto made this John Wayne kite for Taylor as a gift. The kite style is Ohashi variant and flies without a tail. It is based on a design by Japanese master kite builder Eiji Ohashi. The couple’s shop is open to the public on an appointment basis, and they follow the recommended protocols, including wearing masks. Note that Taylor’s mask is a made out of a bright kite-themed fabric. | Maria Johnson photo

Go fly a kite: an uplifting passion

BENTLEY, Alta. —Bud Taylor doesn’t have to be told twice to go fly a kite. He’s been passionate about it since childhood. The Kite Guys store and studio he owns and operates with Sharon Musto in central Alberta is the culmination of that pursuit. There are thousands of kites in the 2,500 sq. foot store, […] Read more

Marie Donais Calder has published a series of stories about her father’s Second World War experiences.  | Marie Donais Calder photo

Father’s war experience chronicled

Marie Donais Calder writes about her father’s relationship with a German family at the end of the Second World War

Marie Donais Calder lays bare the struggles faced by her father and one family he decided to help in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War in Europe in her historical fiction series called The Other Side. The 25 books are based on real people, focusing on her father, Edmond Joseph Donais, who was […] Read more

Jayden, left, Calvin, Louise, Jamin and Paige Sargeant farm 2,600 acres of rented and owned land and also raise horses and Simmental cross cows.  |  Sargeant family photo

Farmer convinced ‘this is the best place to be’

On the Farm: Couple considers themselves fortunate to be able to work with their two sons and daughter-in-law

RIMBEY, Alta. — “With the way things are right now, I’m glad I’m a farmer,” says Calvin Sargeant during a phone interview from his rural central Alberta home. He’s referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whole countries are closing up shop on non-essential services and requesting, sometimes demanding, that people stay home. Many workers have no […] Read more

Don and Lynn Burdett in the Prairie Points Quilt Shop on their No Regrets Ranch acreage. Lynn, a lifelong seamstress, was drawn to quilting as therapy when dealing with the death of two of her best friends in 2005. The quilting evolved into a retail business, which was located in nearby Ponoka for five years. Lynn opened the store in her home in 2017.   |  Maria Johnson photo

Untimely deaths inspire acreage move

On the Farm: No Regrets Ranch features a chicken coop, greenhouse, woodworking and quilting shops, and a garden

MORNINGSIDE, Alta. — Don and Lynn Burdett dreamed for years that someday they’d have a home in the country. They’d grow a big garden, raise livestock, pursue their creative interests and provide a refuge for family and friends. “We always had the desire to live simple”, says Lynn. “To live off the land.” It’s not […] Read more

Golden Willow Ranch markets elk meat, breeding stock, semen, safari bulls, hard antler dog chews, elk velvet antler and its Super Dog Treats.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Elk producers find way to add value

A farm family in central Alberta adds holistic pet treats to the list of products they produce from their herd of 171 elk

HAYNES, Alta. — Russell and Joanne Gwozdz, along with their daughter, Rachelle, 23, run a herd of 171 elk at their quarter section Golden Willow Ranch in the rolling parklands of central Alberta. The family is entering its 22nd year in an industry that has seen its share of volatility. They’ve grown attached to their […] Read more

Partners in Doef’s Greenhouses Ltd. include founder Joe Doef, left, Eric Doef, head grower in charge of planning and communication, Paul Doef, labour manager who also does payroll, and Phil Visscher, who handles maintenance, fertigation and accounts payable. They meet regularly and work together to manage issues and make important decisions. | Maria Johnson photo

Dream came true for Alta. greenhouse operator

On the Farm: Expansion is still in the cards for this greenhouse, more than 50 years after a young immigrant arrived in Canada

LACOMBE, Alta. — Joe Doef grew up in the horticulture industry in the Netherlands and knew early on that he wanted to continue on the garden management path. His subconscious agreed. “I had a dream that I was living in a house surrounded by greenhouses,” he says. “I was not yet 16.” In 1969, at […] Read more

Anne Goodwin and Bob Estes have 65 alpacas on their 10 acre farm. Shearing is completed by the end of May. | Maria Johnson photo

Couple turns alpaca fleece into yarn

Anne Goodwin and Bob Estes raise 65 alpaca, run a woolen mill and sell their products directly to customers

LINDEN, Alta. — A & B Fiberworks owner Anne Goodwin remembers the event that sparked her woolen mill career. She and her husband, Bob Estes, had attended an exotic game auction in nearby Innisfail in the early 2000s. She says it was a social outing but also “kind of a remembrance from back home.” Goodwin […] Read more

The brick chimney is a tell-tale sign that this building on Gary and Susana Porttin’s farm is more than just an old shed. |  Maria Johnson photo

Finnish settlers left steamy legacy in Alberta

Saunas were among the first things these early pioneers built when they arrived in Alberta; some are still functional

SYLVAN LAKE, Alta. — Nestled in a bluff of trees in a farmer’s field just west of town on Highway 11A is a small weathered wooden structure. At first glance one would assume it’s an old granary, but the red brick chimney protruding from the centre of the roof indicates otherwise. An up-close inspection reveals […] Read more

Darren Jones works to put emotion into his creations based on the vision conveyed by the client. |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta sculptor carves new life into old trees

Darren Jones is particularly drawn to art that tells a story, which is evident in his carvings that feature multiple subjects

LACOMBE, Alta. — Many people see an old dead tree as having reached the end of its useful life. They knock it down, burn it up, chip it, or chop it into pieces. But not everyone feels this way. Tree sculptor Darren Jones from Ponoka, Alta., sees a valuable raw material concealing beauty within. With […] Read more

Gary, Susana and Ryker Porttin have created a winter wonderland at R Family Tree Farm.  | Maria Johnson photo

Tree farm in the business of growing memories

On the Farm: The family sold more than 225 Christmas trees last year and are also developing other attractions for visitors

SYLVAN LAKE, Alta. — The joy is in the hunt. Bundling up, tromping through glistening snow in crisp winter air, examining it from all angles, is all part of the quest for just the right tree. Then after “the one” is discovered, cut, and packed for the journey home, there’s additional outdoor excitement to prolong […] Read more