Sturgeon County recognizes its rural legacy and beauty

By Staff

Sturgeon County – Area residents had the opportunity to congratulate some local farm families for a century of farming and two county families for their efforts in beautifying their properties. The Annual Ag Services Tour ended last Thursday night with a dinner and awards presentation at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre.

Two County families were presented 100-Year Farm Family Awards Aug. 4. The Kuchmak Family were the first recipients, a family whose farming legacy can be traced back to 1910 when Stefan Kuchmak purchased land in the Eldoreno area.

Kuchmak not only established a successful mixed farm raising a variety of crops, but he raised 11 children in the process. The homestead passed to his youngest son Paul after he retired. Today the homestead is being purchased by Stefan’s grandson, Ernie, who will, in turn, pass it on to his son Michael, ensuring this farm stays in the Kuchmak family for generations to come. The second 100-year farm family honoured this year was Rodney and Marlene Kluthe who have owned the original homestead that was purchased by Kluthe’s grandfather in 1911. The 160-acre parcel is located north of St. Albert (NE Sec 18 TWP 54 Rge 25 W4th). Mr. Kluthe is the youngest of seven children and he and his wife reside in the original farmhouse on the property.

Beautification awards

Thursday night’s celebrations also recognized two families for their efforts in keeping Sturgeon County beautiful. Sturgeon County’s Farmstead and Acreage Beautification Award recognizes individuals who, through yard maintenance and beautification of their properties, have created civic pride, environmental awareness and municipal beautification.

Bokenfohr Property - 2011 Farm Beautification Winner

This year’s Farmstead Award went to Wayne & Cassi Bokenfohr whom demonstrated to judges that landscaping is more than just a hobby, it’s a passion. In fact, the Bokenfohrs consider their garden a heritage garden because the seeds were obtained from Cassie’s mother, Wayne’s late mother and an aunt.

But the family connection to the garden extends beyond providing the raw seeds. The Bokenfohr’s children helped put in the edging and cut the grass, and Mr. Bokenfohr’s father did a lot of the tractor work. Additionally, Wayne brought rocks from B.C. and Cassie spent considerable time getting to know the habits of plants and putting plants where they would look the best.

The Bokenfohr’s garden is also sustainable. Rain water is collected and goes through underground pipes into their dugout. The water is then used to water their garden and yard.

Luce Property - 2011 Acreage Beautification Award Winner

Elizabeth Luce was the recipient of this year’s Acreage Beautification Award. Although competition for the honour was stiff, Luce’s vibrant roses and lilies made the acreage stand out enough to earn the award.

When Luce and her husband bought their property in 1997, there was nothing but lawn. That was a problem, given Luce’s distaste for cutting the grass. Her husband started the original garden and built a fence around it to keep the deer out. Mr. Luce died in 2001, and because she wasn’t traveling anymore Mrs. Luce started gardening more. Most of the flowers were brought over from her Manitoba farm where she used to live.

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