Archive for the ‘Alix, Alberta’ Category

“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.

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.


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

Photo of Artifact at the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum

In Alix, Alberta on April 12, 2021 at 5:40 PM
Little Potty
Washstand at Dartmoor, Walter and Irene Parlby’s home

Please Join Us for a Zoom

In Alix, Alberta on April 11, 2021 at 1:38 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

Throwback Thursday – Central Alberta Dairy Pool

In Alix Creamery, Alix, Alberta on April 8, 2021 at 1:31 AM

from “Some Memories of My Years in Alix, and Its People” by Alice Whitfield

Art Foster was the engineer in charge of the boiler room and machinery.  Bert Smith also worked there…. Around 1932 Poultry and eggs were added to the business, and in the fall turkeys were loaded onto the dray from the farm trucks or wagons.  They were piled as high as was possible and as many as would stay on. (Very sanitary delivery in those days!) Needless to say it was not unusual for a few to fall off and be spoiled in transit….  I remember Jack Pears, Frank Brooker, and Gene Deen driving the old team with the dray.

One of the girls doing the egg candling was Katie Walper, and you could find her in the dark room looking through the egg against a light to see if it was fresh or had a chicken in it. A lot of the eggs came in cracked, and they tried making what they called Melange from the cracked eggs by beating them and freezing the mixture, but it didn’t work out too well.  Another product was powdered buttermilk which did have a really good market while there was plenty of cream.

When the new mechanical printer was installed, Mary Deen took over and worked there for many years….  The creamery story wouldn’t be complete without the mention of Okey Lundberg, who came with his wife, Ruth, from Rimbey where he had been the manager. He was active in the Alix Athletic Association which was responsible for building the arena…. Ruth Lundberg served as 4-H Girls Club leader for a number of years….

This article is taken from Gleanings, (the follow-up book to Pioneers and Progress), Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1981. Both books are available for sale at Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, Alix Public Library, and Alix Home Hardware.


Butter-flavoured aluminum? Yes, that’s what was left when a fire destroyed the Central Alberta Dairy Pool in 1976. The fire was so hot that it melted the butter and the aluminum vats it was contained in. The liquid then moved into the sewer system and congealed – and we have a piece of it!