Harrowsmith Spring 2020

Harrowsmith is still the reliable go-to for gardeners, weekend carpenters, homesteaders, hobby farmers and urban dwellers with romantic fantasies of country life. Harrowsmith publishes four issues a year in conjunction with the seasons.

Moongate Publishing Inc.
4 Issues

in this issue

5 min
our contributors

BOBBI BURNETT lives in Grey County, Ontario, on her medicinal herb farm with her husband and two children (ages 6 and 4). She can mostly be found filling baskets with herbs from the field, filling the drying room or packing orders. Bobbi also enjoys making products with her herbs, which are featured seasonally as part of the farm’s community-supported apothecary shares. When Bobbi isn’t farming, she goes to the beach, to the forest or camping with her kids. Follow her herb appeal at rebelrootsherbfarm.ca. MARK AND BEN CULLEN Mark is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster and tree advocate and holds the Order of Canada. His son, Ben, is a fourth-generation urban gardener and a graduate of the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at markcullen.com, @MarkCullen4 (Twitter)…

1 min
welcome to the space age

The year 2020. It sounds so space age, doesn’t it? If you’ve used an intelligent “smart cart” at a Sobey’s grocery store, you’ll agree that artificial intelligence and innovation are popping up everywhere. These carts allow you to shop and automatically scan your items while a digital touch screen keeps a running tally. Instead of queuing up in a long line, you simply pay at your cart when you’re finished shopping. While this kind of innovation comes with its skeptics and purists who long for human interaction, the movement toward machine-learning technology is not appearing solely in our grocery stores. It’s in farmers’ fields, your favourite restaurant kitchen and your hand. There are apps that allow you to import recipes and streamline your trip to the grocery store by listing all…

2 min
we have a vision...

Did you know that cats have a total field of vision that’s 287 degrees wide? Humans can see 180 degrees at best, while a woodcock has an unobstructed 360-degree field of view because its eyes are situated on the sides of its head. You may be conjuring up an image of an owl’s head spinning around like an atlas. Their eyes are essentially elongated tubes, designed for sufficiency in low-light conditions. They have bony structures, called sclerotic rings, in their skulls, which hold their eyes in place, so they cannot roll or move their eyes. They can only look ahead and rely on their swivelling capabilities for rear-view-mirror checks. It made sense to run with 2020 as Harrowsmith’s visionary year. The term 20/20 vision describes normal visual acuity (sharpness of vision)…

3 min

CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE I can’t tell you how much info I’m gleaning and sharing from my monthly draw “win” book Climate-Wise Landscaping. I belong to several climate action and gardening groups, and there is no shortage of ideas for workshops in the book. We’ve done or will do workshops on garden pollinators; homemade beeswax food wraps as an alternative to plastic wraps and baggies; and foods for foraging, just to name a few. We even had a workshop on sustainable building in the construction industry. Although our Seedy Saturday continues to grow across the continuum of climate change activists and those who don’t see the need to worry, our own Seedy Saturday event is drawing more and more families with children. Awareness in young minds—that’s where it should start. I’m also pleased…

7 min
a cup of coffee with a local

As a Black Canadian female country singer, Shelley Hamilton is a self-identified unicorn in the music industry. She’s also a beautiful polymath: singer, actor, host, producer and writer. And, she is Nova Scotian Métis. She recently released a collaborative album, Constitution, as part of The Afro-Métis Nation, celebrating her Black and Indigenous heritage. Over a 3-year span, she worked with several notable artists, including George Elliot Clarke, Canada’s Poet Laureate (2016–17), exploring the undocumented history and rich roots of “Africadians.” Hamilton has performed in Dubai and Japan; snagged a Juno; and can shift seamlessly from a cappella to standup comedy. She has belted out the Rolling Stones classic “Gimme Shelter” beside the very legend herself, Mary Clayton. She was awarded 2019 Artist of the Year at the African Nova Scotian Music Association…

5 min
say what?

boiled owl Ham radio operators who kept communication humming until dawn were affectionately known as boiled owls—“boiled” from the heat and radiation of the transmitters while running on a cocktail of coffee and cigarettes. The Order of Boiled Owls is an official order of amateur radio operators in New York. boilermaker Not to be confused with the profession, a boilermaker is a one-two punch of alcohol. Traditionally, a shot of whisky is knocked back and the beer serves as the chaser. However, some non-purists will depth-charge (drop) the shot of whisky into a beer and down both in one go. chaga Found only on birch trees, chaga is a gnarly, black carbonaceous-like growth. While its medicinal properties are not fully proven, it can be made into a tea (powder) or tincture. Enthusiasts…