Blogs | Living the Country Life


November 20, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
Last month my daughter, Caroline, gave me a tour of the Iowa State University Design College where she is a student. One wing houses the architecture department. There, teams of students were swarming around tiny houses. I looked closer. "Are those...see all
November 18, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
My Brussels sprouts are the only thing left standing in the garden. What a hearty crop. I roasted this basket of sprouts with olive oil and salt for an evening snack. Bob spent too long watching football before wandering to the kitchen. "Where are...see all
November 14, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
I love these old postcards from 1908. These are two of hundreds I found in a box in Mom's attic. Enjoy! see all
November 11, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
We turned the ram in with the ewes (he's happy) and tore out his old hut. Bob is building a sheep shed in that spot, using old boards he salvaged from another farm. He seems to know what he's doing. I don't ask too many questions. All I know is the...see all
November 8, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
Caroline is a sophomore in the Design College at Iowa State University. Her paintings, including this self portrait, were selected to hang in the gallery of the Memorial Union on campus this fall. If you visit campus, stop by and take a look! She...see all
November 7, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
Guess the year. I love the guy to the right with the unsnapped shirt. Classy. I want to build a slideshow of your throwback photos to feature on our site. Send them to Thanks! see all
November 4, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
Fall color has peaked on our Iowa farm. I harvested the last few cabbages and made a giant bowl of cole slaw. In the front lawn, in a circle around our sign, I dug a trench and planted 140 tulip bulbs. I did not rake leaves; high winds on Sunday...see all
November 1, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
By Betsy Freese The story of Bob Christensen is tragic in many ways, as is the story of anyone who dies in the prime of life. How his family and his farm business, one of the largest pork production companies in the U.S., reacted to his abrupt...see all
October 29, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
Three years ago I planted three horseradish plants for Bob's birthday. He loves horseradish sauce. On Sunday we dug, cleaned, peeled, and processed the roots. The results are delicious and have perfect heat. Here are some photos. You can also see...see all
October 28, 2013 | Betsy's Backyard
We let the ewes into the cover crop of radishes and turnips yesterday. They didn't know what to make of it. A few looked at us as if to say, "Are you sure we should be in here?" You can see the size of the roots below. I've heard that when the...see all