Using Hops to Shade a Chicken Coop

We wanted to find a fast-growing bine (yes, bine) to help shade our west-facing chicken coop run from the hot afternoon sun. After some research, we went with hops because they are completely safe for chickens, fast-growing and perennial, meaning they come back year after year. I ordered the Top of the Hops Collection from…

Garden Journal 8/23/19

We went on a canoeing and camping trip on the Turkey River this weekend near Alpha, Iowa. We had a great time with friends and enjoyed spending time on the water. If I didn’t have to actually leave my house, I would camp all the time. Just when I think things can’t possibly be any…

Garden Journal 7/28/2019

We have definitely entered the high summer and the summer perennials are thriving. Last week it was brutal and in the 90s all week but this week we are seeing 70s and 80s. Thankful for this break in the heat for the RAGBRAI riders this week. We’ve been at this house for two and a…

Butterflies, Bees and More

The farm is bursting with life. I’m seeing something new every single day. It’s amazing how quickly things change in just a short amount of time. All of these photos were taken within a 48 hour period when I was trying to find as many different species as possible in our yard, I found a…

First Time Raising Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are the most wildly known butterfly in North America, perhaps in the world. Otherwise only living for a few weeks, the last generation of the year being a “super” Monarch generation, journies to the mountain forests of Mexico for the winter. Each spring they begin their migration back to the United States and…

A Natural Shift

My gardening style has changed over the years, sometimes due to environmental factors, like living in an apartment, other times inspired by a certain type of plant, or even a new hobby. However, I’ve noticed a major shift in the last few months that might have irrevocably changed the direction of my garden for the…

How To: Create a Butterfly Habitat in Your Yard

Butterflies add so much to your yard and landscape while bringing it to life. Here are some tips for creating a more butterfly-friendly area in your yard. Host PlantsMost butterflies and moths are dependent on one or more types of host plants, a plant on which they lay their eggs and caterpillars feed on. There…

Garden Journal 06/02/2019

It’s the beginning of June here on the farm. We’ve had lots of activity in the garden and many different visitors in the landscape. Here’s a little bit of what’s been going on this week. I’ve posted about these peonies before and have even made a very similar arrangement, but I’ll never get enough. Original…

Forest Types and Exploring for Native Species

One of my all-time favorite things to do at home to to walk around the very edges of our property, up past the field and into the forest. Using my new terminology from the Master Conservationist Program, our property actually includes all of the “forest types” ranging from prairie and savanna, to woodland and forest….

Peaceful Night on the Farm

Tonight was one for the record books. It was about 70 degrees, sunny and no wind. My is my absolute favorite kind of night. We spent the entire evening enjoying the beautiful weather with a little yard party. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was invited. Here is a little video I made of the yard…

Goat Yoga in the Loess Hills

My friend Danielle, her sister-in-law Chaz and I went to goat yoga today at Honey Creek Creamery, an artisan goat dairy nestled in the Loess Hills, located at 25593 Old Lincoln Hwy, Honey Creek, Iowa. It was a short drive to a beautiful farm completely surrounded by GREEN. The baby goats were adorable, the weather…

Garden Journal 01/13/2019

Several inches of snow came down between Friday night and Saturday afternoon here in southwest Iowa. It made for some pretty views from our house. Walking around our acreage is both a great way to get some exercise and it forces me to take a few moments to truly appreciate the beautiful place that we…

Iowa State University Extension

This November, I was elected to the Iowa State University Extension Council for West Pottawattamie County. As an Iowa State University graduate, I am very honored to hold this position and proud to support the Extension Office’s efforts. Since then, I’ve had a lot of people ask me what ISU Extension does, so I thought…

Let it Snow

We received around seven inches of snow last weekend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. It’s makes for some beautiful scenes around the farm. I’m sure we will have a white Christmas this year as it’s only two weeks away! I loved the way the sunset sunlight was hitting the tops of…

Raising Ducks Part 4

If you missed Raising Ducks Part 1, 2 or 3, make sure to check them out. In this post I wanted to give an update on all of the things we’ve learned since the last post. Male vs. Female You can now really tell the male from female ducks. The males turned completely gray, have…

October Snow

We had our first frost and first snow here in southwest Iowa on Sunday, October 14. I wonder how often the first freeze and the first snow coincide? Makes for some ghostly pictures of flowers. They look healthy and colorful but are definitely toast. I’ve been in denial that this was coming but there is…

Garden Journal 9/5/2018

Vacation. Nine whole days at home on a staycation. Not going to lie, it would be much better if the rain would stop but I am still enjoying the break. I tried to move or cancel all of my commitments this week to truly separate from it all. I’ve done some biking, reading, errands and…

Flower Field Update

The zinnias look absolutely amazing right now and I could not stop taking photos the other night. I love the way the flower field looks with the blue coop in the background! Enjoy these beautiful pictures taken in the heat of August. What’s blooming in your cutting garden right now?

Raising Ducks Part 3

If you missed Raising Ducks Part One or Two, make sure to check them out. Otherwise, to catch you up to speed, only two out of six eggs in the incubator hatched. We have been raising two ducks for several weeks now but I knew we should have a bigger flock. Last Sunday, we went…