Need Eggs? The Little Hen Homestead Delivers!

the little hen homestead

In August I’m thrilled to publish an article in Modern Agriculture featuring a local egg farmer called The Little Hen Homestead.

I don’t remember when but I found this little business on Instagram and was intrigued.

The Little Hen Homestead was started about a year ago, by a little girl who had a vision. She wanted to start her own farm of raising chickens from wee babies and nurturing and watching them grow. Now, she sells the eggs from her beloved birds to people in the Lower Mainland. She is passionate about building relationships with her customers. She believes that while the egg starts with a hen, it goes a long way, feeding families, and developing the local community. Her business is centred around Jesus: glorifying him and sharing the love of Christ through a dozen of eggs 🙂 (source)

When I see a neat story I file it away in my notebook for such a time when I need an article to pitch. So when it was time for a local agriculture with a modern spin…this was the obvious choice.

In my opinion the story is great—it has everything. A young girl with an entrepreneurial spirit, an egg-delivery service…by bike, bird funerals, and the belief she can make a difference one dozen eggs at a time.

She makes me believe I can do it too.

The Little Hen Homestead makes me think I can sell eggs.

Unfortunately, my place came with remnants of an old barn and chicken coop, so it’s easy to picture. The good news is the coop is more like remnants of a once-thriving hen home. Now, it’s a jungle of weeds and blackberries and the place where nettles seem happiest.

But—no problem! Because I’m inspired!



My intrepid niece and nephew showed up one Saturday prepared to battle the weeds. I followed suit and we spent the day clearing the coop.

It looked so nice. For a few weeks. And then time passed. And the nettles came back.

Do chickens eat nettles? Blackberries? How about alders…

Perhaps I’ll stick to writing about chickens.

Check out the article online or sign up for your free print subscription of Modern Agriculture

Five Things I Learned About Rice Farming in Abbotsford

rice farming in abbotsford

It has been a while since I came up with a good top five list. However, rice farming in Abbotsford is such an interesting topic it has inspired my list-making self and I’m back in business.

But first, if you live under a rock and haven’t seen the article yet please go read it on Tourism Abbotsford’s website! It struck a chord and has (to date) more than 450 likes and 250 some shares—so, people like rice farming huh? Me too!

My initial assignment was to cover locally brewed sake (rice wine) but after my pre-interview I had to go a different direction. You see, the sake is made in Vancouver—interesting but not local enough. The great news was the rice for the sake is grown in Abbotsford so I redirected and got to work.

Five Things I Learned About Rice Farming in Abbotsford

  1. First things first, I learned it’s possible to grow rice in Abbotsford. I didn’t know that. And not just sake rice, there is table rice and ornamental rice too. Farmers Masa and Yukiko Shiroki have grown rice behind Sumas Way for the past five years. Now on four acres, they’re expanding their rice varieties and are teaching local farmers about the craft
  2. Second, I learned this is the most northerly rice production region in the world. Also the only rice paddy in Canada
  3. Third, I learned rice is started from seed in greenhouses then transplanted to the fields when the sprouts are about six inches tall. This happens with a specialized planting machine not available in Canada. The Shiroki family imported all their machinery from Japan in order to farm here. The planting machine is quite an interesting contraption. It takes trays of rice seedlings and plants them one-by-one in perfect rows. So cool
  4. Fourth, I learned rice fields are flooded for the entire growing season. Our climate in the Fraser Valley helps (rain, rain, rain) but water must also be added. Beside the field there is a ditch. The ditch water is pumped into the fields when necessary
  5. Fifth, I learned water fowl LOVE rice seeds. Love. They attack the fields just after planting and dig around the mud in search of delicious rice seeds. They can smell them or something. The ducks and geese wreak havoc on the fields but migrate in early summer so are a temporary disturbance. Once they clear out the fields are replanted by hand where the birds clear cut

Visiting this farm and learning about rice growing was an incredible experience. I have never seen anything like this and look forward to trying homegrown rice. And nearby-made sake.

Social Media Mastery Conference Review 2016

Social Media Mastery Conference Review 2016

Social Media Mastery Conference Review 2016

Held at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, this year’s Social Media Mastery Conference welcomed 300 marketing managers, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and social media account managers. The conference promised to equip attendees with the training they needed to up their social media game.

The conference centred around five steps to social media success.

  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Engagement
  • Conversion

The nine-to-five conference packed in back-to-back keynotes with entertainment breaks and time to visit sponsor booths and food trucks. There was an emphasis on participation and networking, which was embraced by attendees.

Speaker, author, and global entrepreneur Shane Gibson delivered a powerful talk on creating an effective and efficient social media strategy. He shared a social selling principal he called The Exponential Influencer Strategy. It consists of five steps.

  • Building a magnetic brand
  • The three elements of thought leadership
  • The five stages of consent
  • The nine immutable laws of social selling
  • Recruiting and connecting with influencers

My takeaway from this talk: social selling is creating an environment where an act of faith can take place.

Since he made his slides available, I wanted to share them here. His keynote was a highlight of the entire day and well worth the read if you have any interest in social selling and social media strategy.

Another speaker highlight was Social Media Consultant Katt Stearns who spoke about social media management. Not a sexy topic but critical to social media success.

She took the daunting task of social media organization and made it seem manageable by breaking down the elements into the most important aspects (content calendar, systems to maximize your efforts, and using the right tools).

My takeaway from this talk: Don’t try to be everywhere. Choose two to three primary accounts where you spend most of your social energy, a few secondary accounts you try on or know you need to be on, and leave it there.

Blogger, web developer, and marketer Matt Astifan spoke on conversion and gave three challenges to the audience to implement right away.

  1. Increase the conversion of YOU
  2. Increase the conversion of YOUR BRAND
  3. Increase the conversion of YOUR ADS

He said focus is the key to success and distractions eliminate focus (meaning email, texts, social media, etc.). To combat this he says we need to be in the active zone, focusing on completing tasks rather than multi-tasking many things at the same time.

The best way to tell if you’re focused or not is to ask yourself “Am I in the active zone or the reactive zone?”

When you’re in the active zone, you will be able to leverage social media to reach your business goals. He suggests using it to create your own reality show (selfie stories) and showing your future clients your personality.

My takeaway from this keynote: Pay close attention to what converts and do more of that while getting rid of the ads that don’t convert. By showing your audience who you are on social media you’ll attract the type of people who will want to buy from you. By using appropriate ads and targeting the right audience you’ll have a better chance of making sales.

As a blogger affiliate for Social Media Mastery Conference 2016 I was pleased the conference delivered what it promised. I left feeling better about my grasp on social media marketing and ready to take things to the next level. Thanks for the opportunity YVR Conferences!

Watch TEDxStanleyPark 2016 Videos

Isabelle Mercier

I loved attending a live TEDx event. So much. But the live portion isn’t even the half of the power of TEDx talks—watch the TEDxStanleyPark 2016 videos and you’ll see what I mean.

Ideas to Action

Every talk at the 15-speaker event had the common goal of leaving spectators with an idea they could apply in an instant. Whether it was asking, “What if instead of a performance review we had a purpose review?” Or deciding we need to start a movement of authenticity, inspiration to take action was abundant at this year’s TEDxStanleyPark.

Jessica Pautsch

There were some highlights, although each speaker was impressive. I found Jessica Pautsch’s talk on the sharing economy motivational. I became a fan of Galya Westler after she accused me of being social media obese. And I am quite convinced Karn Manhas will change the world.

The opening speaker was entrepreneur Dan Lok. He has an incredible story and gave an exciting message on why great ideas are not enough to change your life. You need to change your self-image. Check out his video and see if it doesn’t change you.

Perhaps the most touching talk of the day was from Doctor Gurdeep Parhar who not only addressed the problem of racism but helped us understand our subconscious bias’ and brought the room to tears with his childhood experience with racism. This talk is striking a chord as the video was posted last week and has already accrued more than 40,000 views. Watch it and you’ll understand why.

YVR Bloggers

The videos are being released every Sunday to the TEDxStanleyPark email list and are also available on the TED YouTube channel. Watch all 15 TEDxStanleyPark 2016 videos and let them inspire action in your life. You’ll be glad you did.

As a blogger affiliate for this event I had the opportunity to interview the speakers as they prepared for TEDxStanleyPark. Seeing how far they came in a matter of months is a testament to the hard work they put into making this their best speech yet and to the quality of speakers chosen. This was an incredible experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Photo Credits Flickr

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

A few weeks ago my husband and I were at a home renovation trade show where we signed up for a free air purifier. Free with an in-home demonstration of a premium air purification system of course.

Well the demonstration happened and we sat through the entire presentation in order to receive the promised air purifier. It was a long night. While waiting for our free gift I managed to learn a little something about cleaning products. For example, we spend a lot of money on cleaning products and many of them contain scary chemicals.

I guess I knew this before, but when the opportunity came to try out a DIY window cleaner from black tea of all things, I was educated, primed, and all in.

The kind people at Choice Tea sent me a variety of black teas in order to conduct my experiment and they were delicious. English Breakfast, Wild Forest Black, Classic Black. Yum. They’re organic, fair trade, GMO free, and of course gluten free. So silky. So tasty.

I didn’t want to make cleaner out of the tea, I wanted it all in my mouth.

But I had to know: will black tea really clean my windows?

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner Instructions

As far as DIY cleaners go, this one is on the easy side.

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

What you need

  • Empty spray bottle
  • 3 bags of black tea
  • 1 cup of water

What you do

  • Steep 3 tea bags in 1 cup of water and let cool
  • Pour brewed tea into spray bottle
  • Spray on glass and wipe with paper towel or cloth

I tried it out on my glass coffee table and, you know what? My table smells like tea. Also, it’s super see-through.

Later in the day I brought my husband by the table to check it out. We took some time sniff-testing it and I decided I prefer it to smelling like chemicals or looking streaky when I only clean it with water.

This was fun, and I’ve Pinned 18 ways to use black tea so if I can hold back from drinking this deliciousness then I will have some black tea fun this summer.

And great news, Choice is available in Canada! Use this handy store locator to find your closest distributor.