2022 Pioneer Farm Woman of the Year
Minnie Skiba has celebrated 82 birthdays, and has significantly contributed to the farming community all her life. She farms in the Prosperity area, where she has done so since the 60s as a farmer’s wife, but she had also grown up on a farm, so this is a routine familiar for her lifetime.
INVOLVEMENT IN THE FAMILY FARM
Minnie has helped directly in the fields on equipment, in the yard with chores for animals, and has always been an avid gardener and cook.
Minnie has been part of a mixed farming operation: crops, cattle, chickens, and hogs. In addition to working directly on the farm itself, Minnie has taken produce to sell at Long Lake Farmer’s Market. She has gifted so many more vegetables to family and neighbours. She has the greenest of thumbs and consistently cans/pickles, bakes, and freezes goods to last the year.
While Minnie can still be seen around the barn and garden – within her immediate family – today, she is probably best known for her culinary skills. Meals around her kitchen table are precisely hosted at 7:30 a.m. and noon daily for her sons, who actively farm together, and the table always has open seats additionally for her daughters and any partners, grandchildren, family, or friends who wish to drop in.
As with any farm operation, regular and reliable hotshot taxi service for parts and sustenance is needed…to town and the field and is often completed by Minnie when her sons require assistance.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO COMMUNITY
Minnie has been a strong contributor to her immediate and surrounding communities. She has volunteered her time at community halls, including but not limited to Prosvita Hall, Grassland Hall, and Boyle Hall.
Currently, Minnie is a Board Member for the Boyle Drop-In Centre, working bingos and other activities to help keep the Centre going. In addition, she has helped at weddings, funerals, farm sales, and any other time that a community event was in need of kitchen help.
Minnie has assisted with Church and Graveyard cleaning in Spruce Valley. She has been an excellent community member, neighbour, and friend.
PERSONAL EFFORTS MADE
In 1972, as a young farmwife with four children, Minnie lost her husband in a tragic accident. The children were ages 13, 12, 10, and 7; Minnie had to keep food on the table, so milking about ten cows to have cream cheques for groceries was a must.
All the farm work continued with Minnie at the lead, which included caring for pigs, cows, and broiler hens and doing tractor work in the fields. In addition, she sold eggs to Amber Valley and Prosperity residents (and still keeps this up to this day). The garden was always a staple to provide food; excess produce was sold or given to neighbours.
Minnie remarried in 1975 but continued to work hard with farm tasks. Life was a bit easier with another adult on the farm to help grow the farm and fix & maintain equipment. Minnie was later widowed in 2002, but she continued the farming operations with her adult sons.
Minnie’s determination to succeed on the farm may have been slowed down twice during grief and loss, but her fortitude and willpower to continue through the seasons have proven her toughness. No matter how tough times are, experiencing the highs and lows in life on the farm, Minnie remains positive and looks optimistically toward others’ happiness, health, and welfare.