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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.
 
As you read this, our annual Gardening Digest is being printed. Packed with information on a wide array of gardening topics, from growing backyard berries to trimming that overgrown cedar hedge to the search for the elusive Lady Byng peony. Want to learn about the rich history of garlic? Considering getting into permaculture? We’ve got features on these topics too. We hope it will inspire you in your gardening efforts in the coming year. Harrowsmith’s Gardening Digest will be on newsstands March 3, or you can subscribe and have it sent to your door.
 
Recently we also released an online edition of Harrowsmith Magazine. 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.
 
On a slightly different track, we’ve also launched Harrowsmith Now. Filled with interesting features, Harrowsmith Now is aimed at older Millenials, Gen X’ers and Boomers, folks who may not remember the days of Harrowsmith Country Life magazine, but who share the same values. There’s tons to read, plus audio and video to round out the experience. Check it out at
http://www.harrowsmithnow.com/
 
And if between March 11 and 20 you find yourself in Toronto, be sure to head over to the Enercare Centre for Canada Blooms, the nation’s largest gardening and landscape show. While you’re there, stop by the Harrowsmith Learning Stage, where you can take in workshops on a variety of gardening-related subjects, including talks by our own Gardening Editor, Mark Cullen. If you head to www.harrowsmithmagazine.com, you can get a discount on the online purchase of Canada Blooms tickets. We hope to see you there.
 
I also encourage you to make a visit to www.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 with our wider community of readers.
 
It’s all part of continuing a tradition that began when founder James Lawrence laid out the very first issue of Harrowsmith on his kitchen table in 1976. The world has changed a lot since then, but 40 years later Harrowsmith is still synonymous with country living and treading a lightly on the earth. Thanks for sharing the journey with us.
 
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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 last fall’s 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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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 sector. Meanwhile plummeting oil prices in 2015 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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PO Box 90078, 1000 Golf Links Rd.

Ancaster, ON L9K 0B4


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