Nova Scotia Christmas trees in the news

About 1.3 million Xmas trees are produced in NS each year, 95% of them exported, mostly to the Americas, but also to Asia. In Nova Scotia, discarded trees are being fed to a herd of heritage goats, keeping them healthy.

Nova Scotia Christmas trees generally hit the news this time of year. Last year, it was about research at the Christmas Tree Research Centre in Truro, their efforts to develop a SMART balsam fir, and their inadvertent discovery that LED Christmas lights are good for Christmas trees.

This year it’s about version 1.0 being ready to go to growers.

View Christmas tree that holds its needles longer one step closer to your living room
Emma Smith, CBC News, Dec 10, 2017

I can’t say I am excited about cloned trees as it seems to be a recipe for a quick take-down by pest or disease at some point. However, I wish it all well.

This story I found more enticing: Goats chow down on Christmas trees from Lunenburg, Mahone Bay by Andrew Rankin in the Chronicle Herald Business section, Dec 21, 2017

It’s the classic living-your-dream in Nova Scotia story. A couple of excerpts:

A little over four years ago the Newfoundland native [Heather Squires] said goodbye to her old home of England and a career in academia. On this 75-acre farm, where a German homesteader staked a claim back in the 1700s, she’s proving how a small-scale farm can be environmentally and economically sustainable…“It’s like Ross Farm, except I don’t dress up and I don’t have a government salary,” she said with a laugh. It starts and ends with her 36 heritage goats.

It turns out that the goats love discarded Christmas trees:

The Christmas trees will come in handy and Squires figures they’ll keep them nourished till about Easter. “What they tend to go for first is the bark. They strip the bark off. It’s very nutritious because all these trees are tapping minerals from deep in the ground. They need a heavy mineral load and that’s why it’s generally better to raise goats on scrub land, with shrubs and stunted trees, as opposed to grass.

“But they have amazing jaws and teeth. It’s nothing to come back after a couple of hours and see a tree stripped completely, from the branches all the way to the trunk. They work together.”

So what better place for Heather’s farm to be located than in Blockhouse, Nova Scotia!

I wish everyone lots of Christmas cheer!

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