Blogs | Living the Country Life


September 19, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
Caroline's art class at Iowa State University is building a coffin shaped like an ear of corn. You can read about it here, and watch a video. Once they finish the wood work, another class will paint the coffin and then it will be on display at the...see all
September 15, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
Our pond went over the emergency spillway last week, the first time that's happened. We had 6 inches of rain in 24 hours. Another storm hit us last night. The grass in our pasture has never been more lush in September. Our ewes love it. Our...see all
September 11, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
We had 6 inches of rain on Tuesday and it sent Middle River over its banks and into the mature corn at our farm. It has retreated today, leaving mud, sand, and silt. I hope the crop is still able to be harvested without too much trouble. Bob has...see all
September 9, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
I challenged readers to a "Biggest Tillage Radish" contest this fall. I planted a few seeds in my garden in August. The plants are up and growing. I'll wait until November to pull them for measuring. The goal of tillage radishes really isn't to grow...see all
September 2, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
Janis Gandy, our copy editor, made these delicious apple desserts for the office. Yummy. My harvest this week was butternut squash. Some of them aren't fully ripe, but the squash beetles killed the vines. I will cut them in half, clean out the...see all
August 28, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
My peach tree fell over two months ago during a storm, but didn't die. I propped it up on portable fence panels. The tree was heavy with fruit, so I waited until after peach season and after we got several inches of rain to straighten it altogether...see all
August 26, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
Bob seeded alfalfa with a nurse crop of oats on Aug 14th. It only took a few days, thanks to rain, for the crop to emerge. You can see the difference a few days makes in the photos below. Why the oats? Grasses provide better snow catch and...see all
August 18, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
Last week I visited research farms in Woodland, California, as part of Seminis (Monsanto) Vegetable Seeds Field Days. It was fascinating to learn how seeds are bred, grown, processed, and marketed. I'll share my photos with some veggie and fruit...see all
August 11, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
I took a tour around the ag side of the Iowa State Fair on Friday and then worked with Caroline in the Iowa Sheep Industry Association food stand. Food options included a Greek sandwich with seasoned lamb on warm pita bread, a lamb kabob with onions...see all
August 5, 2014 | Betsy's Backyard
The last time we painted our house, Bob rented a cherry-picker and hired a neighbor to help him. That was probably 10 years ago. It's a big job -- we have a tall house with 100 years of paint to scrape. This time we hired a crew of college kids....see all