Farmers put in long, hard hours. They don't just clock out at the end of the day, and rarely take a holiday. They contribute to the community, sponsor events, and support local businesses. Farmers stimulate our economy and put food on the table for all of us.

So to show our appreciation, CJRB and DiscoverWestman.com are teaming up with local businesses to put some food on the table for our farmers! We'll be delivering a meal to two winning farms for up to 10 people each!

To enter, submit your name in draw boxes located at the following local businesses between August 12 to 23rd:

Home Hotel - Chicken Chef Boissevain
Rocky Mountain Equipment Boissevain
Rocky Mountain Equipment Killarney
Du Rite Auto and Ag Boissevain
Southwest Agencies Boissevain
Sunrise Credit Union Boissevain
Killarney Tire Killarney
Steads Farm Supply - Boissevain
Boundary Co-op Deloraine Boissevain Home and Ag Centers
CJRB Boissevain

Folk Festival Ends In Brandon

The 2014 Brandon Folk, Music and Art Festival drew to a close on Sunday night.

This year marked the 30th anniversary for the Brandon Folk Festival. Artistic Director Shandra MacNeill notes the Brandon stop isn't the biggest but it fills a market area that a lot of people like. “We aren't as large as some the big city events but yet we are bigger than some of the small town festivals and that's what our visitors and performers like about the Brandon Fold, Music and Art Festival” said MacNeill.

Attendance was down slightly but organizers were still pleased with how many people showed up at the Keystone Centre grounds for the festival.


The 30th Annual Brandon Folk, Music & Art Festival line-up featured a variety of performers.

  • Martin Sexton (USA)

  • Cold Specks (ONT/UK)

  • Ben Caplan & the Casual Smokers (NOVA SCOTIA)

  • isKwé (MB)

  • Mariachi Ghost (MB)

  • Chez Willi (MB)

  • Kaylee Jay (MB)

  • The DoneFors (ONT)

  • Son Latino Band (MB)

  • Ben Sures (ALBERTA)

  • Wax Mannequin (ONT)

  • shayne avec i grec (BC)

  • Slow Spirit (MB)

To everything there is a season, a time to listen to the messages of life, and of living



by Barb Alston, Melita Presbyterian Church

As I write this, many have been dealing with flooding and flood-waters , for a few weeks. Some I know are dealing with persistent sickness. Others are deep in the valleys of grief after losing family or dear friends. I include myself in the latter. It is ok to admit that we are in the midst of whatever we are in the midst of  . . . . It’s the facing of our own realities.

In the midst of living, whether, flooding, farming, sickness, grieving, or perhaps all of the above.

It would not be unusual to have trouble coping.

Anxiety and depression are realities to be dealt with, not feared, not covered up, but faced.

Grieving, coping, all are a process, and take time. 

Just as the water takes its own time to recede.

A quote I heard both on the radio and in the “Brandon Sun” said by one of the counselors from Farm and Rural Stress line :” When you lose control, you lose balance.”

Those of us who farm have that connection to the land, which sometimes means that we feel its pain as well .

Flooded fields mean no crops, no livelihood and all that means to the economics of our own operations and communities. 

From my Mom, as she faced the deteriorating health of her only son, my brother, Bruce came the saying:  “Do what we can, and then let it go.”

Widespread coverage of the flooding situation in SE Saskatchewan and SW Manitoba, can be very overwhelming on social media, to the extent that it can paralyze us so we can’t even do the little things we need or can do.

A timely message in the midst of all this was Clara Hughes and her conversation about mental health, her bike ride across the country that ended up in her speech to us all on Canada Day from parliament Hill in Ottawa—— to talk, to communicate about where you are at mentally— Keep up the conversation .

Communicate with those around you. 

If you are grieving — whether it is the loss of a loved one, a pet, or maybe even a livelihood, a way of life or a home. 

These deep feelings need to come out, to be recognized to be expressed — or like a wound deep within you, slowly, bit by bit, those feelings will kill you . . . . . .

We face constant changes in our lives 

loss is a part of that change

as is aging 

as is loss of health 

loss of mobility, 

loss of mental sharpness

loss of memory 

loss of land 

loss of home 

loss of farms 

We also at the same time face constant blessing

blessing of family, of friends, 

of the possibility of healing and wholeness once again .

I have lately seen a little poster that talks about 

inner peace — asking it to come, to hurry up — We  don’t have all day  . . . 

We are like that 

we are not generally patient 

we want things to be ok again 

we want to feel ok yesterday , never mind being told that it very well may be a process which means time and waiting.

It is not a time to keep to ourselves.

It is a time to talk with one another, maybe one person that you especially trust, or identify with. 

We can not let go of sadness, anger, or fear, unless we first admit that is how we are feeling .

May you in your moments, take the time to “be still and know that God is God” (Psalm 46:10) Lets take the time also to listen to one another —- just maybe we have all learned something, along the way . . . . that will help someone else.

That is my hope for each one of you this day, this moment and in the coming days.




Barb’s Background Information


"I am a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Melita Manitoba. I came to Manitoba upon graduation from Presbyterian College in Montreal, originally coming from Almonte,(in the Ottawa valley ) Ontario, to a two point charge of Hartney/Melita in 1987. I married Tom Alston of Hartney in 1990 and thus became part of a family that included 3 daughters. Since our marriage, 8 grandchildren have become part of our lives as well  .


In 1995 I became half/time minister at Melita. I have written these articles for a number of years in the Melita New Era."


My husband Tom and I live between Hartney and Souris, where we have a small cow/calf farming operation. I am thankful for being able to experience life, in agriculture and in ministry, and in the words that I write. We enjoy going fishing when we can. We have raised Australian Shepherd dogs in the past, our present one being “Sheena” who often makes her way into my stories and photos.


I have found that I love to share stories and thoughts from nature, gardening and farming, that tell us of the presence and love of God in ordinary life. I am thankful for the opportunity to do this on this website and look forward to hearing comments and suggestions regarding what I have written".


This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  



Ashley Robertson -- Back in Manitoba

We had company this morning -- company with a guitar! Manitoba singer/songwriter Ashley Robertson was our in studio guest, complete with a song that became popular in 2010 -- the Manitoba Homecoming -- It's called Back in Manitoba - and here is Ashley Robertson:

Elexis Penner Blog: My Parents Were Right About Those Movies...

Stained Glass Secrets

By: Elexis Penner


My Parents Were Right About Those Movies…



This is perfect.


I’m at a cottage at the lake, gazing out over the waves, a breeze coming in over the lake. Sun is shining. Birds are singing. Perfect.


I am so grateful for this cottage that my parents have owned and let us use since I was a teenager a few (cough) dozen years ago. It’s better than owing your own cabin, really. Perfect.


My husband, Bruce, and I are here alone, at his suggestion. Maybe most couples are like this, but I tend to be the one who finds it harder to go away without the kids. But I’m thankful he initiated it – couples need that. Perfect.


There is one tiny glitch. The power has gone off. Now, you would say, “That’s not a glitch – that’s an adventure.” And you would be right. If the power stays off, we will be cooking our meal outside and spending the evening by candlelight. On this trip, we happened to bring our food in the Koolatron, so our meat and eggs and beverages are cooling away nicely, compliments of van battery. Perfect.


There is however, one eensy teensy problem. I need to have coffee. I don’t mean want – I mean need. I mean I can’t guarantee the safety of the people around me until I have cup. And by cup, I mean pot.


My plan is to make cowboy coffee over the fire in one of those old-timey tin coffee pots that you see on Bonanza or Gunsmoke. (Kids, just go ask your grandpa about Bonanza.)


But there is one thing standing in between me and my cowboy coffee – the wood pile. Well, not the wood pile exactly, but what lurks inside the wood pile. Have I mentioned that I have a mild, itty-bitty, debilitating fear of spiders?


Now before you go all ‘Oh brother…’ let me just give you some perspective on the size of the spiders that lurk in the wood pile. Picture your fist. OK, whatever – picture a newborn’s fist. I kid you not, I have seen a baby-fist-size spider in that wood pile.


Now maybe it’s because (against my parents’ admonitions) I watched Arachnophobia as a teen. I still remember the funny, funny guys sitting in the row behind us at the Morden theatre (aka The Show), and how we screamed when they touched the backs of our heads, as though spiders had landed on them. That was mean. Funny – but mean.


Or maybe it was the plethora of insect movies that came out in the 80’s – Attack of Killer Bees, Attack of the Killer Ants, Attack of the Killer Lady Bugs?? All I know is that when I head out to the wood pile, all I see is Aragog, a spider the size of a Fiat in the Harry Potter books.


Bruce is out on one of his 50-mile bike rides. Not perfect. Turning into a real problem actually.


This is mostly silly – spiders are more afraid of us than we are of them (Right? Yes? Right?) But this negativity is my gig – I do this all the time. I can have a bucket full of great things going on, and I won’t be able to get past the one thing that isn’t going right.


There are crappy, awful, life-altering things that happen in life, and there is a time for real grief – but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about worry, and expecting the worst, and that little pessimism that sucks the joy right out of stuff.


Sometimes I think maybe this focus on the negative has to do with my view of God. Or rather, my view of God’s view of me. For a long time, I’ve pictured God up there going, “Don’t screw up. The worst thing you could do is screw up. Don’t even bother coming to me if you’re gonna be all like that.” As though His biggest interest in me was the things I was doing wrong.


I don’t think that any more. As much. I see God more as someone in my corner, spending more time high-fiving victories than tracking errors. But old habits and brain patterns die hard, so the process is ongoing.


In his book, ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace’, Philip Yancey says, “Brennan Manning tells the story of an Irish priest who, on a walking tour of a rural parish, sees an old peasant kneeling by the side of the road, praying. Impressed, the priest says to the man, ‘You must be very close to God.’ The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks a moment, and then smiles, ‘Yes, he’s very fond of me.’”


I like this picture of God’s picture of me. It shifts my focus to being grateful. And I can probably make that coffee on the barbecue. We’ll save fear-mastery for another day.