Strawberry Hill Farm / Blog / Busy Two Weeks including ACORN Conference

Busy Two Weeks including ACORN Conference

Posted on by Tim Livingstone

These last two weeks have gone by quickly and we have been busy.  Last week we burried a new drain line in the barn and worked on our water lines so we can run water from the pond continuously at the barn to keep water flowing through the winter.  Keeping water flowing and clean at minus 20 degrees in our open barn has been one of our biggest winter challenges.  We are looking forward to trouble free water.

We finished our insulated chicken room in the barn and moved the birds inside.  Their body heat keeps the room warm which does three things.

1.) It keeps the eggs from freezing and cracking.  2.)  Water stays thawed and 3.) the hens eat less grain because they are not trying so hard to stay warm.  A nice big window gives them a bright sunny room plus ventilation to keep the air fresh.  There is also a little door to the outside for when the weather gets nice and they want to get some fresh air outside.   It is so rewarding to have a good set up compared to what we have had for the last two years.

Most of the vegetables are now out of the ground and safely in storage for the winter.  Our salad mix tunnel held up better than last year but did not last quite as long as we had hoped so there is only a small amount of salad mix this week.  We have more under covers in the cold frame and in the heated greenhouse for later in the winter.  The only two vegetables outside still are some kale and parsnips.  The parsnips are covered with straw so we can dig if we get a thaw but will be good in spring if we don't get a thaw between now and spring.  The kale is holding up well and we hope to harvest it and put it in storage later this week if all goes well. 

The cows have grown thick full coats for the winter.  They are enjoying their own special kind of kale that we seeded specifically to give them feed at this time of the year.  The kale holds up well in the cold, holds itself up out of the snow, and provides good energy for them in the cold weather.  

Our young calves born early summer and doing well.  They are half Galloway, an old English breed that has and extra layer of fur for warmth.  The cows have a nice sheltered area in the trees for protection from the wind and cold making this a good time of year for them because they stay clean and there are no bugs.


The Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN) hosted its annual conference and trade show last week.  This event is filled with a high percentage of young farmers with lots of enthusiasm unlike many of the more traditional shows and conferences.  Not only was it attended by around 500 people, there were also speakers from the US and other parts of Canada on topics ranging from pasture management to business and bugs to weeding and storage.  Kirsten and I had the privilege and honour of being presented with the Gerrit Loo award for our contribution to organics in the Maritimes.  I'm hoping to post a picture or video of this event and will let you know if we can make this happen.  This conference is always a highlight in our year when we get to spend time and talk with farmers and friends from all over the Maritimes.

  1. Bob and Mary Somerville replied on :

    Congratulations Tim and Kirsten on winning the Gerrit Loo Award, well deserved!!!


  2. Michael Wong replied on :

    Tim and Kirsten, congratulations on winning the Gerrit Loo Award!  Thank you for the blog updates and photos. The Christmas cards are a beautiful addition to your site. Once again, thanks for your dedication and hard work

    ~Michael and Nancy Wong

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