Blogs | Living the Country Life


May 25, 2018 | Betsy's Backyard
My daughter, Caroline, said she missed my blog, so I'm going to download a few random photos from 2018 in no order. Thanks to everyone who has nagged me about updating this page. Social media, especially Instagram, has grabbed attention away from...see all
March 12, 2018 | Betsy's Backyard
The Living the Country Life Spring/Summer 2018 issue comes out this month. I loved the Swedish Spin story because we raise sheep ourselves (Dorsets) and I grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. My father, Phil Johnson, has Swedish ancestors,...see all
September 1, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
Summer is rolling to a close on a million tomatoes at my place. I've made tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, salads, and salsa. This will continue until frost. The potatoes are stored in the cellar and onions on the porch (for now). Next, I will be...see all
August 4, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
Summer is such a great time to hit the road. Our extended Freese family all traveled to Austin, Texas, for the wedding of niece Jenna. It was super hot, but wonderful. The photo below is from the Ag Media Summit in Snowbird, Utah. Thank you to...see all
July 20, 2017 | Everyday Gardeners
  If you haven’t tried a cordless garden tool, now is the time. Over the last few years, power tool companies—such as Ryobi, Black & Decker, Craftsman, and Husqvarna—have been coming out with their own cordless string trimmers, leaf blowers,...see all
July 13, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
My garden is bursting with produce. The sunflowers have grown another foot since I took the photo below in early July. Mom flew out from Maryland to visit and attend the opera with Caroline and me. Three different operas by the Des Moines Metro...see all
June 26, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
This is the summer of the Big Mow for us. Besides the lawn (small potatoes), we have alfalfa, grass hay, and, new this year, 200 acres of conservation wetlands to mow. Bob mowed weeds on that ground yesterday for 11 hours and still has 40 acres to...see all
June 23, 2017 | Everyday Gardeners
  Kids respond really well to the familiar taste and fresh, perky scent of mint. Even my three picky eaters enjoy the herb and willingly harvest leaves for fruit salads, lemonade, and, most importantly, ice cream. Fortunately, mint is exceedingly...see all
June 13, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
Last week I flew to New York City to attend an awards luncheon. I was honored to be named to the 2017 class of Folio: Top Women in Media. My college friend Janine Stewart, who also works in ag media, came along to support me. She asked about my...see all
May 24, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
Every spring, we create a to-do list of things that need to be done around our small farm. The electric fence charger gave out last fall. The ewes are contained by the vinyl fence around the grove, but the live wire underneath keeps tiny lambs from...see all