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Archive for the ‘Farming’ 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.

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.

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.

John and Muriel Hennel

In Alix Arena, Alix, Alberta, Business, Dairy Pool, Farming, Pioneer Farming, Pioneer tools & Machinery, School, Settlers, Sports News on April 2, 2021 at 5:52 PM

From “John Christian Hennel – by Muriel Hennel and B. Parlby”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

John Christian Hennel was born on April 23, 1909 of Esthonian parents whose country was at that time under the control of Russia.  His father, William, and his mother, Ida Anete, and their seven children emigrated from the city of Tver to Canada and settled to the south of Stettler.  John, the youngest of the family, was only one month old.

After their arrival in Alberta, three more children were added to the family before tragedy struck in 1915 when William died suddenly…. Ida faced the challenge of bringing up all ten [children] as a close-knit family as well as operating the family farm very successfully.  With her help, all her sons were gradually established on farms of their own.

John was educated at Descendo School near his family home….

While living and working on his mother’s farm, John hauled cream to the Central Alberta Dairy Pool at Alix, then under the management of Mr. Nels Larson.

On December 21st of 1935, John married Muriel Knight whose parents were among the Alix District’s early settlers.  In 1936, the Hennels built their first little house in Alix….

About this time the C.A.D.P. purchased a fleet of trucks to collect cream…. John was now put in charge of servicing the entire fleet and operated the shop to the north of the plant.

When the trucks were later sold, John bought the Creamery equipment and went into his machine shop business on his own.  On the first day of December 1945, John moved into his newly built Hiway Machine Shop which the Hennels have operated ever since. [1974]  Muriel has always been his right hand assistant, keeping the books and looking after repair parts.  Muriel was also a car saleslady for Adamson Motors for two years and was top saleslady for her district.

Gradually John obtained first class papers in mechanics and welding so in demand in a country area.  Oil field welding is his specialty.

The Hennel’s daughter, Maxine, was born on July 18th, 1943 and obtained her public and high school education in the Alix Schools.  Later she took a business course in the Key Secretarial School at Red Deer.  Maxine’s skating talent in the carnivals in the Alix Arena will be long remembered.  In 1964 Maxine married Eugene Winchester of Red Deer.

They have three children, a boy, Gerry, Gay and Gid.

Former Residents of Alix (2)

In 1930s Depression, Alix, Alberta, Business, Churches, Dance Band, Farming, Organizations, Pioneer Farming, Settlers, World War !! on March 28, 2021 at 9:54 AM

From “People of Alix – as suggested by Gordon and Flora Wilton” (2)

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

Flemming: Mr. Flemming used to have a tailor shop in the old Underwood Building on Main Street in the 1920’s.  He made suits fitted to order for his customers.

Henry: Henrys kept the drug store on the corner during the 1930’s.  Mrs. Henry was a trained druggist.  This store contained many things attractive to young people….The two sons, Frank and Jack, attended school in Alix.

Hurley, Nora: Nora Hurley came out to Canada with her brothers from Ireland in 1911 and lived with or near them south of Alix.

Jones, Eric: was a veteran of World War I who took up a quarter section of land under the Soldiers Settlement Scheme Board.  He played the banjo to the accompaniment of Tom Bullivent’s piano for the dances. He retired to the coast of British Columbia.

Loney: Mr. Loney drove the bus from Alix to Edmonton via Camrose.  The children attended Alix School.  Everett Loney lives in Blackfalds [1981] and has been Brand Inspector for some years.

Marks: Mr. Marks was Mr. Loney’s father-in-law, Mrs. Marks was very active in the U.C.W.  they lived east of Alix near the overhead bridge.

Matheson, George: George Matheson worked as a mechanic in Lymbery’s or perhaps Holling’s garage.

Monts: Two brothers and their families lived in the old Early house on Lake Streetin the 1920’s.  They were probably brothers of Mrs. Oscar Sims.

Morgan, George: Mr. and Mrs. George Morgan and their family arrived from Britain some time after World War I to take up land two miles north of Alix under the Soldiers Settlement Board.  They arrived in Alix when the creek was in food.  Ulric Marryat met them at the train with his team and democrat.  On the way to their new home the team went off the grade covered with water and they got stuck.  Mrs. Morgan and the little ones had to be carried to dry land before they could continue their journey.  The boys’ names were Merlin, Herbert, and Benny.  Their sister’s name was Enid. Herbert married Isabel Martin and they had two daughters, Shirley and Pat.

Madsens lived near the overpass and not far from the Free Methodist campground.  A daughter, Lydia, became a teacher in Lacombe and is now [1981] on the town council.

Owens:  Mac Owens was born in Ireland and came to Alix in 1930.  He later left to homestead I the Peace River country but found it too hard to break land so returned to alix.  Alex Findlater found him his first job at Tom Bullivant’s.  From there he went to Harbottles.  Later he took up farming on the old Toepfer place.  Then  he sold his farm and moved to Red Deer….

Cuthbert and Margaret (McRoberts) Wolferstan

In Alix Creamery, Alix, Alberta, Churches, Dairy Pool, Famous 5 Persons Case, Farming, Hickling, Lamerton, Mirror AB, Organizations, Pioneer Medical Health, Political Parties, Ripley, School, School Trustees, Settlers, Trails, U.F.A., Wheat Pool on March 8, 2021 at 1:53 AM

From “Cuthbert Wolferstan – by Peggy Wolferstan Purkis”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Cuthbert Wolferstan was born in Plymouth, Devon, England, where he was educated and grew up.  His father was a solicitor (barrister) and had as one of his clients the Rev. John Hall Parlby … whose two sons Walter and Edward had settled earlier in the Buffalo Country.   It was natural then that Cuthbert (Bert) should come out to Canada with a nephew of the Parlbys, Jack Arbuthnott, and that they both should make their first Canadian homes at Dartmoor and Long Valley Ranches.

After working for Edward Parlby some little time, Bert Wolferstan went to work for … Edwin Goater who had homesteaded west of the present site of Mirror.

In 1905 he filed on his own homestead six miles north of [Alix.]

Having proved up on the homestead, he sold his livestock and went to work for a time in and around Edmonton.  It was just then that the University of Alberta was being started.  Bert … was called upon with his team to turn the first sod.  This was done the evening before the official beginning.  The site was carefully ploughed, then the sod was rolled back in place as though undisturbed.  The next day, with Premier Rutherford driving the team and the University President Dr. H.M. Tory at the handles of the walking plough, the first furrow turned over without a hitch.

Bert’s next adventure was an exploratory trip into the country north of Edmonton … and he returned to the homestead.  In December of 1910 he married Margaret McRoberts, who had come from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and was nursing in Edmonton….

It was during these early years that Bert Wolferstan and John Bailey with their teams opened up a wagon trail which wound through the hills to the little hamlet of Alix.

Between the years of 1912 and … 1916 three children were born…: Margaret, or Peggy – now [1974] Mrs. Ronald Purkis- lives on the homestead; Nancy – Mrs. Joe Drushka of Alix; and a son Thomas who now lives in Mirror.

In 1916 Bert Wolferstan became the proud owner of a Model T Ford.  Before he had time to become a practical driver, he took his young family for a little ride. The car was going well but he wanted to stop it and was not sure just how to accomplish this. His solution was to drive it into the soft butt of a haystack.  The car stopped.

Mrs. Wolferstan, as a trained nurse, was often called upon to help in emergencies. She brought many of the children of pioneers into the world.  She nursed with Dr. A.E. Chown.  Dr. McLellan was a very good doctor….

The Wolferstans were always very active community people and members of the Anglican Church. Bert was vestryman and warden, first at St. Monica’s Lamerton (later Mirror), and in his later years at St. Pancras, Alix…. Bert was one of the prime movers in the building of the Hickling School…. later he became a trustee and then Secretary-Treasurer of the Alix Board.

Bert Wolferstan was active in the Farm Movement… and one of the first members of the United Farmers of Alberta…. Working with George Bell, a farmer of the Ripley District… he scoured the country for contract signers for the Alberta Wheat Pool…. With Fred MacDonald and Jack May he spear-headed a drive to organize the Buffalo Lake Livestock Co-operative.

When the United Farmers of Alberta entered politics he became Secretary of the Constituency Association, and was returning officer during the Honorable Irene Parlby’s campaigns. An original member of the Central Alberta Dairy Pool he served on that Board as delegate, and then as Chairman.

FREE ZOOM TALK with MIKE DORION March 17, 2021 @ 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

In Alix, Alberta, Farming, Flowers, Gardens, Soil on March 5, 2021 at 11:55 AM

Alix Wagon Wheel Museum Presents: A ZOOM Talk With Mike Dorion

It All Starts in the Soil

Wed. March 17, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Elaine Meehan is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. (free)

Topic: It All Starts in the Soil with Mike Dorion

Time: Mar 17, 2021 06:30 PM Edmonton time

Join Zoom Meeting Please contact alixmuseum@gmail.com

Meeting ID: Please contact alixmuseum@gmail.com

Passcode:: Please contact alixmuseum@gmail.com

Mike Dorion, Aka the Compost Kid, loves talking about soil.  Starting with a Gardening class put on by the Calgary Horticulture Society, he became immersed. It continued with his Permaculture Design Certificate, SPIN Farming, Greenhouse Design, Compost Facility Operators Certificate, and mentoring in Regenerative Soil Systems and Soil Microbiology. He is currently working on his Soil Food Web Consultant role with the Soil Food Web put on by Elaine Ingham, and sits on the board of Calgary Permaculture Guild.  

It all starts in the soil.  Anyone who has ever grown anything knows this, but do we really have a clear understanding of what is actually going on down there.  Let’s dive into the nitty gritty of it all and learn about how to care for the life in the soil and what they need.  With that in mind we can increase our health of the soil and help mitigate the list of problems that get in our way.

Jerome & Lucy (Underwood) Thomas

In Clive AB, Entertainment, Farming, freighting, Pioneer Farming, Settlers, theft, Trails on February 21, 2021 at 12:21 AM

From “The Jerome Thomas Story – by Howard Thomas”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

Jerome Thomas was born in 1854 and his wife the former Lucy Underwood was born the same year.  Grandfather came by democrat the year before moving up from Iowa to the Clive area about 1901.  His possessions were shipped to Lacombe and then moved out by wagon.  Their homestead is … NW 22-40-24-4. 

Grandma ran a “stopping house” for travellers freighting between Lacombe and Red Willow on the old Buffalo Lake trail.  This trip used to take 3-4 days.  They used to hang a lantern from the peak of the roof out the upstairs window and this could be seen as you came over Church Hill….

One fellow tells how he used to stop for supper at Thomas’ and while he was inside eating, he had a bent pin through a kernel of corn tied to a string and fastened to the wagon outside. An old hen would swallow the corn and when the traveller drove off the chicken led behind firmly tethered by that string pinned in the corn.  Once driven over the hill, ole hen would get her neck wrung. [T]hus the fellow had his next day’s dinner as well.

The Thomas children were all musical.  There were Bert, Jess, Belle, Lorena, Will, Minnie, Jim and Roy.

They played for dances miles around the country and would travel in the winter by sleigh with hot stones to keep their feet warm.

Jerome Thomas died in 1912 and Lucy Thomas in 1918….

Roy the youngest son, never married.  He stayed on the family homestead for many years. His sister Lorena Handley kept house for him.

Vivian (Murdoch) Clarke

In 1930s Depression, Churches, Clive AB, Entertainment, Fairs, Farming, Organizations, Pioneer tools & Machinery, Railway, School, School Teachers on February 11, 2021 at 11:01 AM

From “My Memories of Clive – by Vivian (Murdoch) Clarke”

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

Who could forget the Village of Clive and the people who lived there during the Nineteen Thirties?  The events that took place at the Community Hall, the School Fair, the movies, plays, dances, and the Christmas Concerts?  The skating, the carnival, and hockey in the winter at the rink?  Ditzler’s ingenious toboggan on runners that was pulled behind the car.  The opening of the baseball season every 24th of May, with the parade and the Maypole dance.  The Strawberry Socials, the Swedish Picnics, the Chicken Suppers, the Box Socials, when the ladies’ decorated lunch boxes went to the highest bidder.

Septembers, with Arbor Day cleanup and tree planning ceremony at the school. George Vanderzyl, our Principal from the year I started school until the year I graduated.  Vic McCormack, jumping on his bike at recess, and racing to his Dad’s barber shop for the score during the World Series.  The school picnics at “the spring” on Grose’s Hill.

Mrs. Brereton’s Mission Band, Mrs. Allison and the United Church Sunday School, with its small church replica to receive our birthday pennies; the Baptist Church’s summer Bible School, and their annual Christmas Concert.

The trains, with their steam engines, that flattened small objects we placed on the tracks; and the dray that was always waiting at the station for trains to arrive; in winter; hitching our small sleighs behind the dray or  the farmers’ sleighs that were hauling grain to the elevators.

Watching Mr. Shore at work in his blacksmith shop; the Minstrel Shows, piano recitals, and chivarees.  The list is endless…. 

I can’t think of anywhere I would rather have gone to school or spent my childhood.

Rude-Rottenfusser part one

In 1930s Depression, Alix, Alberta, Business, Farming, freighting, Great Bend School, Hairdressers, Pioneer Farming on February 11, 2021 at 8:59 AM

From “Rude-Rottenfusser – by Mrs. Jenny Rottenfusser” part 1

Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974

My parents, Olaf and Irene Rude, were visiting at the home of his brother, John, and Lena Rude when I was born. John had homesteaded the quarter south of Jim Blades in the Delburne district.  At that time, 1917, they lived in a log house on the bank of the Red Deer River.  In the spring Dad obtained work at Cadogan until a cyclone wiped out the farmer for whom he was working.

We moved to the Millet-Wetaskiwin area and lived there until I started school at Larch Tree.  Our family included Olga, Ivan, and Nels by now.  Dad always wanted to return to the lumber camps in B.C. where he had first worked after coming from Norway.  In the spring of 1925, my parents loaded everything in two hay-racks, one wagon and a buggy, and started south.  They had twelve horses.  Another fellow drove one outfit.   One hay-rack had a canvas over it, and we lived in that, travelling like early pioneers.  It took two weeks to reach Midnapore.  I remember Mom waking Olga and me to give us our first sight of Calgary, a row of lights on the horizon. Going through Calgary, under the railroad track, barefoot ragged kids stood, yelling and throwing things and calling us gypsies.

Dad and his friend obtained work hauling pipe to Turner Valley.  They unloaded the hay-rack beside Sheep River and there we camped for some time.  There were a lot of other people camped also.  Towards fall we lived in a house in Okotoks.  I went to Pine Creek School.  Just before Christmas Dad sold the horses and wagons, and we took the train to Nevis and hired a car to take us to Uncle John’s.  My brother, Carl, was born in March.  In the spring Dad went farming for Arthur Chaffin.  We lived in the district for many years. Gordon and Stuart were born later. We all obtained our schooling at the Great Bend School.

A farmer could work out his taxes by driving the school van, usually at the rate of of thirteen days to a quarter of land.  When I was in High School I drove the van for thirty-five cents a day. When I first started to work out I received eight dollars a month.

I moved to Alix in October, 1942, and opened Jenny’s Beauty Shoppe. There had not been one since Nancy Drushka had closed hers.  Perms were $2.50, $3.50, and $5.00.  When cold waves came in I charged $6.50.  A set was 50 cents, a shampoo and set, 75 cents.  For 10 cents they could get it combed out when it was dry.  I sold out to Jean Cosentino in 1947.