Blogs | Living the Country Life


January 26, 2016 | Betsy's Backyard
Bob and I spent last week in Maryland celebrating birthdays and enjoying time with family and friends (the day after we left, the Jonas blizzard dumped 2 feet of snow on the farm). Dad's winter project is organizing and displaying his collection of...see all
January 13, 2016 | Betsy's Backyard
Caroline spent three weeks in Ghana, Africa, with Iowa State University over the holiday break. The small group of students studied Ghanaian indigenous arts and crafts, focusing on the production processes. They also visited historic landmarks and...see all
January 6, 2016 | Betsy's Backyard
Iowa is full of politicians leading up to our first-in-the-nation vote on February 1. If a candidate of either party comes to a coffee shop, pizza place, or pub near me I try to go. Last week, my oldest son, Nowlan, his wife, Daniella, and two...see all
December 29, 2015 | Betsy's Backyard
For Christmas, I gave Bob a turn table called the Spin Doctor, made by Sydell in South Dakota. It was really a present for both of us. In the past, while Bob trimmed feet on the sheep I had to hold their legs from kicking. The task was hard on his...see all
December 21, 2015 | Betsy's Backyard
(Photo by Lisa Tome, Rising Sun Herald) Congratulations to my parents for being named Citizens of the Year by the Calvert (Maryland) Grange! You can read the story here: all
December 16, 2015 | Betsy's Backyard
So far, winter is a muddy mess. This photo was taken before we had 3 inches of rain in a day. Middle River by our farm is out of its banks and the main road I take into Des Moines is shut down all week due to Raccoon River flooding. I guess we...see all
December 7, 2015 | Betsy's Backyard
This moist fruitcake, made by Ruth Ann Johnson (my mom) in Maryland, is delicious. If you think you hate fruitcake, you may love this one. The recipe dates back to 1870 in Mom's family. Her mother and grandmother made fruitcakes each year, usually...see all
December 1, 2015 | Betsy's Backyard
Caroline helped me string lights on the fence around the grove. It takes many, many strands. Most are in knots, even though I bundle them carefully after Christmas. A few strands are burned out each year, so I buy a few more. The lights are a...see all
November 23, 2015 | Betsy's Backyard
It sounded like a scene from Hitchcock's The Birds. The morning before a winter storm blew in and dumped 4 inches of snow on our Iowa farm (a foot of snow in northern Iowa), blackbirds swarmed our place, moving from tree to tree. The racket was...see all
November 18, 2015 | Betsy's Backyard
Caroline came home from college to help me with the annual brunch and bingo to benefit Des Moines Metro Opera. It was a sold-out crowd and great fun. Our small Indianola guild raised more than $5,000 for the opera. A few of my friends and...see all