Blogs | Living the Country Life


May 18, 2017 | Everyday Gardeners
The humble wire tomato cage has much more potential than simply bracing up a rambling tomato plant. It can have other special roles in the garden. Not long ago, I passed a stack of tomato cages in a garden center. The stack, turned upside down,...see all
April 27, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
Spring is in full bloom around our small farm. My happy place is in a lawn chair next to the lilac bushes. The only problem is the orphan lambs see me sitting there and start bleating for a bottle. Teaching the smallest orphan lamb how to take...see all
April 13, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
We have 25 new lambs and counting this week, so the barn is hopping. Bob makes sure they all get off to a good start by milking the ewes and giving each lamb a belly full of colostrum through a stomach tube. Any weak triplets may get a bottle, too...see all
March 28, 2017 | Betsy's Backyard
Our dear neighbor Bill Hulen died at age 82 last week. Bill and his wife, Sharon, lived next door for 30 years. We moved to our small farm in 1987 and realized quickly that we hit the jackpot. Bill and Sharon were kind, generous, and understanding...see all
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