Archive for 2021|Yearly archive page

“We Do It Too” a poem by Barbara Villy Cormack

In Alix, Alberta, author, Farming, Flowers, Gardens on May 5, 2021 at 10:00 AM

‘ “We Do It Too” by Barbara Villy Cormack’

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Written shortly after the Cormacks moved to Edmonton in 1950 [after nearly 25 years in the Alix area.]

We’ve been out inspecting gardens,

George and I, just here and there,

Round about the block we live in,

And we’ve found some good – some fair,

At first glance all the lawns look velvet,

And we gasp at glads and roses,

But why shouldn’t they be lovely,

For they one and all have hoses?

And we marvel at the roadside

Beds of gorgeous masses bright,

All unfenced and unprotected, –

For there’s not a pig in sight!

   My neighbour’s on the other side

Just as fine as any man’s-

Trim gay beds, no fault, unnoticed,-

Tidy, bright, like WOLFERSTAN’S.

On the other there is redroot,

Shepherd’s purse, and all the rest, –

But a goodly show of asters,

And some glads, the very best.

But in all the blaze of colours,

Scarlets, russets, golds and tans,

We have yet to find the dahlias,

Up to Alice’s and Anne’s.

Pioneer Household Work

In Alix, Alberta, lye soap making, Pioneer Farming, pioneer food preservation, pioneer household work on May 5, 2021 at 2:57 AM

From “The Pemberton Story – “Things I Remember”- by Ella Jane Jewell

Gleanings After Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1981

Soap Making

Pioneer wives were too busy to waste time feeling sorry for themselves.  One of their duties was soap making. Any kind of fat would make soap.  Some people used canned lye, but if they didn’t have any, they stirred wood ashes in a wooden barrel of rain water, and after setting for a time the water was the same as the water containing lye.  The fat and lye water were boiled together.  I don’t know if they used a recipe or if they just made it. If not boiled enough, it would just take a longer period of time to harden and cure.  I remember it took a lot of stirring as it boiled over quickly.  When the boiling process was done the soap was poured, after cooling a bit, into a wooden box lined with cloth.  After a few days it was cut into bars and stored for future use with the old corrugated washboard. It was hard on hands, but it turned out clean white clothes.

Making Jelly Glasses

One warm summer day I watched Mom make jelly glasses from empty bottles.  Dad had picked them up from the railroad camp.  String soaked in coal oil was tied around them and lit with a match, and as soon as the fire burned around it, the bottle was dropped into a tub of cold water.  Most of them broke off neatly and were used for years.  Of course, care was needed to wash and dry them, but Mom did that herself.  We were trusted with the other dishes, and any little girl old enough to stand on a chair by the table was old enough to help.

Canning and Drying Food

Before Mom had sealers for canning, they dried saskatoons. They were tough and seedy, but people boiled them; discarded the berries, and used the juice. Dried peaches and prunes could be bought, but usually only a couple of trips were made to town in a year, and several days were needed for the long trip to Lacombe.  Money was scarce and saskatoons were plentiful, so pioneers used whatever was available.

Alix and Bullocksville early buildings

In Alix, Alberta, Bullocksville, Business on May 1, 2021 at 5:18 PM

The museum has a large collection of photos.

Flower List from Irene’s Garden

In 1930s Depression, Gardens, Irene Parlby on April 30, 2021 at 7:18 AM

Threshing Time at the Thomas Farm

In Farming, Leedale, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Threshing on April 27, 2021 at 12:56 PM

From “Threshing Time – by Howard and Iona Thomas”

Gleanings After Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1981

A tribute is due all the farmers for all their hard work, long hours, and worry through the spring, summer and fall: their reward being a crop that was in the granary before the first snow fell.

A tribute also to the farmers’ wives, for the extra chores they carried while the husbands were away threshing.  For their long hours of cooking and baking, and making sure that lunch was to the field on time.  Their reward was the thrill of watching strong men devour great quantities of home cooking, and, once in a while, even getting a few compliments. After tummies were full, with a fresh burst of energy, the men would take off for work again, determined to get the crop in before winter caught them.

To a small boy, the best part of threshing was lunch in the field with Dad and the threshing crew! 

To the threshermen, the challenge of a hard job well done!  They always took great pride in their well cared for teams of horses.  The horses were fed first thing in the morning, at noon, and properly cared for at night, before the men had breakfast or supper.  Anyone that would mistreat horses soon went down the road.

We had five young fellows from Leedale District who came to thresh with us for five years in a row. They were the Herringer twins, Harry and Harold, Joe and Ivan Cornforth, and Bruce Johnson. 

Pike and Ella Thomas always raised turkeys, and every year the story went something like this, “That sure is a beautiful bunch of turkeys out there, Ella.  I guess I’ll have to steal one of them some night and have a turkey feed,” says Joe.  “If you can catch that big gobbler, “says Ella, “I’ll cook it!”  To make a long story short, the gobbler always lost his head, and the threshers had a full course turkey dinner.

Join us for this zoom:

In Alix, Alberta on April 23, 2021 at 2:03 PM

Gardening with Irene Parlby, a Heritage Garden

                   “Gardening with Irene Parlby, A Heritage Garden”

Irene is remembered as a member of the Famous 5/Persons Case.  She was also a gardener!

Presented by Verne Williams of VMW Gardener and “Garden Sages”

Tuesday, April 27, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

For more information, or to request the meeting code, please contact

Spring Song – by Minn Thorp

In Alix, Alberta, author, Gardens on April 23, 2021 at 12:09 PM

Spring Song – by Minn Thorp

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

With tomatoes tall on my window sill,

With catalogues scattered nigh,

Tho’ the snow is gone the winds are chill

Yet my spirits soar on high.

I have dreams and schemes of petunias frilled

Of cabbages round and green

Of rows and rows of potatoes hilled

And many a tender bean.

As I sit and dream such rosy dreams

The cutworm does the same

The wire worm so long and mean

Will play his little game.

But to work, to dig and hoe,

For to make our dreams come true

For we must work, if we’re to grow

Our flowers old and new.

For Petunia’s red – There’s the fire chief

In every garden add

New peas and beans may come to grief

But our little fun we’ve had.

Alix Residents of the Past (3)

In Carpenters, Farming, Gardens, Genealogy, Pioneer Medical Health, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Railway, World War !! on April 20, 2021 at 7:48 AM

From “People of Alix – as suggested by Gordon and Flora Wilton” part 3

Gleanings after Pioneers and Progress. Alix=Clive Historical Club, 1981

Page, Floyd and Irene: The Pages owned the corner Drugstore, Floyd was a qualified druggist and Irene Page nee McBean was a nurse….

Peacock and Picard kept the general store on the corner in the late twenties and early thirties.  Later this became the Deen’s restaurant.  Wally Peacock was a god amateur carpenter and electrician.  The son’s name was Harvey.

Shepherd: Lee or “Dad” Shepherd was Mrs. Alex Bissett’s father.  He was a man of many parts.  He had been a member of the Royal North West Mounted Police in his younger days. While in Alix, he was by turns shoemaker and harness repair man, caretaker of the livery barn and town policeman.

Spelman, Harvey: Spelman bought the hardware from Bob Toepfer.  He was very tall and rather thin. At one time he had had his arm tattooed with his name, which was the fashion at the time. …

Sailor, Ted: Sailors lived for a few years on the old Tallman place a few miles west of Alix.  Their family consisted of two boys and two girls….

Woods, Wally: He was one of our most enthusiastic hockey players.  Wally married Irene Straub, who was our chief operator in the Telephone Office for many years.

Dr. Hart came to Alix about 1910.  He lived in the tall old house … on the north side of the railway tracks. Elmer Primus recalls Dr. Hart setting a broken leg for him….

Dweaks had a long underground mine with rails and a coal car for bringing the coal to the surface.  Three of the daughters, other girls remember at school, were Jessie, Loretta, and Dolly.

Prokopuk, Joe and Annie:  Joe came from the Ukraine.  Annie was born in Manitoba, a sister of Jake Pidherney.  Joe was a section foreman for the railway at Joffre.  Then he was transferred to Coghill where Annie passed away. Annie … did all kinds of fancy work, grew flowers and gardened industrially.  They had no children.

Zimmerman: The Zimmermans lived near the Free Methodist camp.  Mr. Zimmerman looked after the railway switch called “The Diamond” for years.  They had a large family of seven children:  Jay, Mandy, Vern, Fred, Sam, Jim, and Jennie. Jennie is now [1981] Mrs. Melvin Ripley, and she has three sons.  Some of the Zimmerman boys worked on the railway.

Wilton: During World War II the three brothers, Rex, Ray and Gordon were all in the services.  Duncan had an injury to one eye as a little boy which impaired his vision so that he could not join up.  Roy Pears and Cliff Brookhart joined up at the same time.


In Alix, Alberta, Gardens, Organizations, Pioneer Farming, School, U.F.W.A. on April 18, 2021 at 5:21 PM

“Children’s Gardens- By Alice Nielsen”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974

Before 4H groups were formed in Alix, I thought of having small gardens for children.  Since I belonged to the local U.F.W.A., I presented my idea to the Ladies and they went along with it whole heartedly.  So in the spring of 1947 we bought packages of seeds and portioned them out in small envelopes. That first year the age limit was 14 years and under but the next year it was lowered to 12 years and under and somewhere along the way it was changed to under 12 years.

The D.A. gave us advice but now [1973] 26 years later plans are being made for improvements in the general set-up.  Last year we gave extra plaques to winners as 25th Anniversary mementos.

The first year the gardens were divided into town and country as the country gardens had so many hazards and no water sprinklers, as the town gardens were so much better.  Some of the country hazards were pigs, gophers, and even a gosling. Of later years the gardens have reversed and the country gardens are of far better quality.

The winners of the first gardens were – town – 1st Ross Lyle, 2nd Hugh Thorp, 3rd Connie Lyle. Country – 1st Larry Primus, 2nd Elaine Primus, 3rd Walter Hopkins. There were 47 children that took seeds, the youngest was Alder Nielsen.  True, he did get weeds and plants mixed up much to his older brother Eric’s disgust.

Seeds have been distributed to as many as 90 children, then in the fall teams of women and children drove around eliminating the poorest gardens so the judges had less to do. After a few years it was decided to have a Children’s own Show with a tea, bake sale, and a raffle to help with expenses, the last week of August. These made them pretty well self supporting. The raffle has been a stuffed toy that the Lacombe Globe gave away with subscriptions, and Mrs. Rouse has kindly gotten the necessary subscriptions.  With the higher cost of seed, it has been harder.  There has always been a set of rules with cultivation given 25 points so an industrious youngster can win more points even if one of its plants didn’t grow.  However, this hasn’t stopped ambitious little folks, all through the times, from going home and planting their seeds period. No one knows just where.

All through the years since 1950, trophy cups have been given to the aggregate winners.  Also shields with the winner’s name for each year are kept for display. In 1964, Alberta Nurseries and Seeds presented the F.W.U.A. with a marble-based, silver rose bowl with nine shields to be used each year.  The winner keeps it for a year and gets the privilege to polish the bowl before returning it. 

Now daughters and sons of mothers and fathers that had gardens earlier have won many prizes in these later years.

[Some of these prizes can be seen at the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum.]

Alix Wagon Wheel Museum Presents a Zoom:

In Alix, Alberta on April 17, 2021 at 1:53 PM

“Gardening with Irene Parlby, A Heritage Garden”

Irene is remembered as a member of the Famous 5/Persons Case.  She was also a gardener!

Presented by Verne Williams of VMW Gardener and “Garden Sages”

Tuesday, April 27, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

For more information, or to request the meeting code, please contact