Blogs | Living the Country Life


March 23, 2017 | Everyday Gardeners
We have two housecats—Big Fancy Head and Elk Woman (Yes, my kids named the cats.)—who periodically are guilty of tasting our houseplants. This winter, my son Liam and I decided to plant for our cats their own indoor garden, complete with a “pond”...see all
March 15, 2017 | Everyday Gardeners
The Smithsonian Institution’s “Patios, Pools & the Invention of the American Backyard” exhibit is currently travelling across the nation. The exhibit, culled from the American Garden Archives of the Smithsonian, takes a look at how World War II...see all
February 24, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
For the first 20 years we lived on our small farm in Iowa it didn't bother me that our mailbox was on the other side of our road. The only thing across from us was a field of corn and the road wasn't busy. In fact, the area was wild enough that...see all
February 15, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
I was asked to send in a recipe to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Calvert (Maryland) Boys and Girls 4-H Club. They are creating a cookbook from past and present members.  You can tell by my outfit and hair that this photo is from the 1970s...see all
February 3, 2017 | Everyday Gardeners
Our northern winter landscape has been pleading for greenery lately. My cue to stop staring out the window at my brown garden and settle in with a book that rekindles an interest in all things botanical. This hefty collection of books fits the bill...see all
January 20, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
Our farm shop is home to an exciting project this month. We are providing work space for the Des Moines Metro Opera to paint the set for the opera Soldier Songs, to be performed at Camp Dodge on January 27, 28 and 29. This one-act opera by American...see all
January 11, 2017 | Everyday Gardeners
Too often we think of nature as something we have to seek out, a remote place far from the city limits. But nature is, in fact, much closer than we realize. Check out these recently published titles that encourage us to pause for a moment and...see all
December 28, 2016 | Betsy's Backyard
I visited my parents on their Maryland farm at Christmas and helped Dad cover the strawberries for winter. First, he used his Haybuster to blow on old straw.  Next, we covered the rows with white tarp and anchored with sand bags. This is done...see all
December 16, 2016 | Everyday Gardeners
My holiday cacti never bloom when I want them to. Mind you, I’ve tried to coordinate when I bring them indoors from their summer vacation on a ledge of my front porch, but I’m always a bit late and the cooler evening temperatures of late August and...see all
December 14, 2016 | Betsy's Backyard
The first snow of winter is greeted with joy. The tenth snow not so much, but for now we enjoy. I bundled up and grabbed photos of the sheep, who were not fazed by the white stuff and looked at me as if to say, "Where's our fresh hay?" My...see all