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A seasonal update with timely articles from the Harrowsmith team.
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Hello and welcome to our very first Harrowsmith newsletter. It’s an opportunity for us to keep our readership community up to date on what we’ve been doing, stories we’ve been watching, and things we’ll be keeping an eye on in the future.
 
Recently we released an online edition of Harrowsmith. Included in a subscription to Harrowsmith’s Almanac and Harrowsmith’s Gardening Digest, this electronic edition will provide tips and tricks from fellow readers, gift ideas for the gardener in your life, and a feature on a straw bale home in Ancaster, Ont. that demonstrates the simple beauty of this time-tested building technique.
 
As you read this we’ll be hard at work putting together next spring’s annual Gardening Digest. Packed with information, we hope it will inspire you in your gardening efforts in the coming year.
 
It’s just one project among many. I encourage you to make a trip to our website, 
harrowsmithmagazine.com, a regular part of your web surfing routine. And if you haven’t already done so, Like us on Facebook, where you can post your comments and questions, putting you in touch with our wider community of readers.
 
Happy reading!
Say hello to Harrowsmith Now
 
For those of us who remember the early days of Harrowsmith it's wonderful to see a whole new generation of Canadians embracing its values. Many of today's young people (marketers call them Millennials) care about sustainability, the country, eating locally and value handcrafted products - including beer and coffee. Well, especially beer and coffee. So, to introduce Harrowsmith to them, we've created Harrowsmith Now. Our tagline? Same values. New leaf. 
 
At Harrowsmith Now you'll find a more visual approach to storytelling. We've already featured short video documentaries on dairy and seed farming, alpaca husbandry and even Christmas baking in the 19th century. Plus, just for the holidays, we've introduced an interactive Advent calendar that gives visitors a taste of the season every day. We think Harrowsmith Now is a great way to share our values and great stories with young, keen Canadians. 
 
And, stay tuned for an amazing Harrowsmith Now contest coming in January. We can't say too much just yet, but you’ll want to sharpen your wits when it rolls out. Stay tuned.
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Piebird takes centre stage
 
In recent months we’ve enjoyed getting to know more about Yan Roberts of Nipissing, Ontario. He and his wife Sherry own and operate the Piebird Vegan Farmstay, where they tend their organic farm, sell seeds and host a variety of events, from weddings and concerts to organic gardening workshops.
 
During the recent federal election campaign Yan found himself on stage next to then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Seemed like a good moment to shed his plaid shirt, revealing a grey shirt emblazoned with “Water Not Harper” on it. He was promptly escorted off stage, but not before the national media got a good look.
 
Like quite a few folks in the North Bay area, Roberts is deeply concerned by the proposed Energy East pipeline, which runs through the watershed of Trout Lake. That’s North Bay’s drinking water supply.
 
But we got to know Roberts for an entirely different reason: His farm is also a sanctuary for farm animals. If you’re a farm animal and you end up at Piebird Farm, you’ve won the lottery, and will live out your days frolicking in the fields and never having to worry about being used for food ever again. Among the menagerie are a number of goats, so we asked him about his experience with these quirky creatures. You can learn about Yan and Sherry’s approach to goat care in the 2016 Harrowsmith’s Almanac. And you can also visit the Piebird web site at piebird.ca/sanctuary.
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Staying warm on a cold winter’s night
 
Winter is upon us, and that has many of us thinking about our home heating systems. Along with proper insulation to keep that precious heat indoors, an efficient, cost effective heating system is key to keeping the home fires burning.
 
It’s also an issue many of us tend to overlook until the mercury takes a serious dip for a few days. That clanging, rattling sound of your old furnace coughing to life reminds you that maybe it’s time for a change. If you wait until after Christmas you’ll be into the dead of winter, a time when all you’ll really want is to be sure your firewood is dry and neatly piled, your oil tank is full, or all of the dust has burned off your baseboard heaters. Meanwhile your Christmas gift credit card bill may make you break into a sweat.
 
But the choices can be daunting: Affordability and efficiency often have to battle it out, with concern over the environmental impact further confusing things. Is wood a good choice in your area? Maybe the convenience of electricity fits the bill. What about alternative energy choices like solar, wind, or geothermal?
 
With that in mind we got writer Marc Huminilowycz to take a look at the various heat sources available to Canadians. In the 2016 Harrowsmith’s Almanac he takes a careful look at the pros and cons of each, providing plenty of food for thought on which type of heating source best suits your type of home and lifestyle. Check out Marc’s feature at
harrowsmithmagazine.com
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Green jobs are growing jobs!
 
At Harrowsmith we’ve always been big fans of alternative energy sources like wind and solar. So we were pleased to hear that this year the number of people employed in the green energy sector has, for the first time, surpassed employment in the oil industry.
 
According to a study by Clean Energy Canada, some $25 billion has been invested in clean energy in the last five years in this country, boosting employment in that sector by 37%. That has resulted in nearly 24,000 people now having jobs in the renewable energy sector. Meanwhile plummeting oil prices this year resulted in layoffs in the oil patch, and a dampening in the Canadian economy. Current estimates are that oil prices will stay low through to 2020.
 
For the renewable energy sector, which includes sun, run-of-river hydro, biomass and wind, energy production is up 93% from 2009 levels. Clean Energy Canada says this country could produce all of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2050. A lofty goal, but one the experts say is possible.
 
One area where Canada is poised to take a significant role in the renewable energy mix is wind power. The 2016 Harrowsmith’s Almanac takes a closer look at the nearly unlimited potential of wind power in this country. To subscribe, go to
harrowsmithmagazine.com
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Reviving Canadian roses

Canadian roses are typically easy to care for and disease resistant. They’re also beautiful. And while Canada has produced nearly 600 varieties over the last century, many of them have vanished from view. Call it poor marketing, or call it what you want, some estimates are that over 400 registered Canadian rose varieties have been lost. And once they’re gone, they’re gone.
 
But there is something that can be done for the cultivars that remain: Get out there and start growing! We’ve posted a feature at
http://www.harrowsmithalmanac.com/rose-from-the-dead/ that will provide you with a starting place to start a rose revival in your own yard. It also includes a directory of places where you can get your hands on quintessentially Canadian roses.
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Perils of paint

In the winter a lot of people, faced with more time indoors, start to look for ways to liven up their living space. One way is to freshen up the indoor paint scheme, bringing some fresh colour to your surroundings.
 
While lead hasn’t been a common paint ingredient in paint since the 1970’s, don’t kid yourself into thinking that today’s paints are totally harmless. We may have gotten the lead out, but there’s still a hodgepodge of chemicals in there, including things like benzene and formaldehyde.
 
For most of us, painting a room won’t cause any ill effects. But for someone with asthma, allergies or other breathing problems, painting can provoke serious problems.
 
But there are alternatives, and new formulas are coming onto the market all the time. To learn more about paint safety, go to
http://www.harrowsmithalmanac.com/proceed-with-caution/
 
And if you’re planning an exterior paint job for next summer, you’ll want to check out our feature on that very subject in the 2016 Harrowsmith’s Almanac. To subscribe, go to
www.harrowsmithmagazine.com
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Our mailing address is:

PO Box 90078, 1000 Golf Links Rd.

Ancaster, ON L9K 0B4


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