Angie McLean stands in the newly opened back section of her Farmstead Market and More store in Kitscoty, Alta. McLean sells products for vendors, many from the local area. She has more than 100 emails in her inbox from vendors wanting to sell their products in her store. | Mary MacArthur photo

Alta. store provides a home for local crafters

More than 126 vendors sell their products in this village business; it is also a destination for those looking for local gifts

KITSCOTY, Alta. — Prairie crafters have found a location to sell and showcase their homegrown, home-raised and home-made products. Angie McLean sells products for more than 126 vendors in her Farmstead Market and More store in Kitscoty. Fifty more vendors are on a waiting list and another 110 emails from potential vendors wait in her […] Read more

Esther Horney connects with her family through Facebook, reads books, plays games and searches for information she is curious about. | Supplied photo

Tablet program saves the day during COVID

Grande Prairie Palliative Care Society loans iPads to seniors in long-term care homes to counter lockdown isolation

CAMROSE, Alta. — A program that loans iPads to people in hospice or long-term care has been a lifeline for Esther Horney. When the doors of her long-term care home slammed shut because of COVID-19, the spry 91-year-old felt isolated and was confined to her Grande Prairie long-term care facility. Through the Grande Prairie Palliative […] Read more

Lesley and Jim Hill of Sylvan Lake operate Hidden Valley Garden with their daughter and son-in-law near Sylvan Lake, Alta.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Farmers take gradual approach to transition

Jim and Lesley Hill and their daughter and son-in-law mapped out a five-year transition plan for passing on the family farm

SYLVAN, LAKE, Alta. — Summers of picking weeds and selling vegetables had left Jim and Lesley Hill exhausted. Their market garden was supposed to be a small retirement project. It had become a full-time job and the idea of selling the farm was attractive. Originally, they thought it might help if they stopped selling their […] Read more


Howard and Susan Jackson decided it was time to retire and travel after 40 years of farming. COVID-19 has delayed their travel plans, but they are happy with their decision to have two of their sons operate the farm.   | Mary MacArthur photo

Couple retired when they were ready

Howard and Susan Jackson didn’t set an age deadline for retirement; instead, they waited until all the ducks fell in a row

MANNVILLE, Alta. — After 40 years, Howard and Susan Jackson have turned their farm and trucking business over to two of their sons and retired. The decision didn’t happen overnight. The search for the best transition for their farm and six children began 13 years ago. “We didn’t have a specific age when we wanted […] Read more

Marv Vassberg of Bawlf, Alta., stands in his shed with some of the dozens of tractors, cars and trucks he has rebuilt.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Keeping busy called key to happy retirement

Retirement didn’t mean idleness for Marv Vassberg, who has rebuilt dozens of old vehicles since he stopped farming


BAWLF, Alta. — The key to enjoying retirement is having something to do, said Marv Vassberg. The retired farmer has spent thousands of hours rebuilding old cars, trucks and tractors, and designing and building blades and scrapers. Years of tinkering and time in the air force, as an electronics technician, gave him the skills to […] Read more


Danny Farkash of Vermilion stands beside his machine that turns agricultural plastic into fence posts.  | Mary MacArthur photo

Alberta farmer turns ag plastic into fence posts

It took 2 1/2 years to build a recycling machine out of old oilfield pipe, an anhydrous ammonia tank, a straw chopper and parts of a swather

VERMILION, Alta. — It took farmer, inventor and recycler Danny Farkash about 2 1/2 years to figure out how to build a machine that turns used agricultural plastic into fence posts. Using old oilfield pipe, an anhydrous ammonia tank, a straw chopper, parts of a swather and other bits and pieces, Farkash built a machine […] Read more

Gord Johnsen said the draw of warm weather and friends in Arizona was stronger than the fear of COVID-19. | Mary MacArthur photo

Finding ways to head south

Many retired Canadians are staying at home this year, 
but some have figured out how to make the trip work for them

CAMROSE, Alta. — Despite COVID-19 and a closed border, Gord Johnsen still flew to Arizona for the winter without the rest of the Canadian snowbirds. The warm weather beckoned, but close friends in the community of Gilbert, Arizona, are the real draw. “I have great friends,” said Johnsen, who has travelled to the Phoenix area […] Read more

Darcy and Ken Davies normally spend November to February team roping in Arizona. Closed borders means the Irvine, Alta., couple will stay in Canada for the winter. | Mary MacArthur photo

Snowbird finds a way to head south

Many retired Canadians are staying at home this year, but some have figured out how to make the trip work for them

CAMROSE, Alta. — Despite COVID-19 and a closed border, Gord Johnsen still flew to Arizona for the winter without the rest of the Canadian snowbirds. The warm weather was a draw, but close friends in the community of Gilbert, Arizona, is the real draw. “I have great friends,” said Johnsen, who has travelled to the […] Read more


Don and Marie Ruzicka sold their farm and moved into Camrose. They don’t regret making the move.  | Mary MacArthur photo

When retired farmers leave the farm

A couple rented a house in a nearby community while looking for an acreage but discovered that they like living in town

CAMROSE, Alta. — It has been four months since Don and Marie Ruzicka moved off their Killam, Alta., farm to retire in nearby Camrose and there have been no regrets. What eased the transition was finding the right buyer for their organic farm and being mentally ready to make the transition from farming to retired. […] Read more

Joe and Virginia Liebl get toget her with friends weekly to play canasta.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Women also retire when couples quit the farm

Some women find more time for canasta, sewing and painting, while others tackle new projects such as canning potatoes

CAMROSE, Alta. — It’s been more than a year since Virginia Liebl moved from the farm into Camrose and the transition has been smooth. “For me, I haven’t had trouble finding new things to do,” said Liebl. On the farm, Liebl spent hours in her large flower and vegetable garden, as well as doing daily […] Read more