Cabin in the Woods

Over Mother’s Day weekend, we met Ryan’s family on the property near our farm for a little grill-out at the cabin. This little plot of land is truly amazing. While we were there, I spotted my first Monarch butterfly of the year. I was so excited I started pointing and yelling, nobody understood what I…

Garden Journal 5/12/20

Each spring there seems to be new birds visiting every single day. Over the last few weeks we have seen orioles, woodpeckers, catbirds, goldfinch, cardinals, a pheasant, turkey, geese, hummingbirds and more. I put out some oranges, grape jelly, suet, bird seed and hummingbird nectar for my little visitors. Definitely a highlight during these crazy…

Quarantine 2020

Well this is not exactly the year that I had planned. Since the Coronavirus spread to the United States, our lives have changed significantly. This has definitely been the weirdest spring of my 35 years! I’ve been working from home for six weeks now and only have barely left my house since Friday, March 13….

The Garden in Winter

It’s beautiful out today with a high of 45 degrees on this gorgeous February 1st. I’m itching for everything to turn green again, the smell of spring and the buzz of insects. Winter does wonders for my appetite for gardening as its come back in full force. I make sure to leave all of my…

‘Unbelizeable’ Belize

This post is a little out of the norm but I thought you might enjoy seeing some beautiful lush island photos as we head full-force into winter here in Iowa. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Belize, specifically Ambergris Caye island (also known as San Pedro, Belize) twice in the last two years. I thought…

Master Conservationist Graduation

Last Saturday, our class graduated from the Master Conservationist program at Hitchcock Nature Center. If you missed my class recaps, find them here: Iowa Ecosystems: ForestsIowa Ecosystems: PrairieIowa Ecosystems: Wetlands The program was hosted by our local Golden Hills RC&D, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Pottawattamie County Soil & Water Conservation, Pottawattamie County NRCS, ISU Extension and Outreach West Pottawattamie over the summer….

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…

Lauritzen Gardens in August

I wanted to get some exercise today and at the same time check out Lauritzen Gardens in the summer. It was a hot and humid day and I went in the middle of the afternoon but it was wonderful once you got down into the shady areas. “Lauritzen Gardens is a living museum of unique…

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…

Iowa Ecosystems: Wetlands

This month, our Master Conservationist class was held at Heron Haven in Omaha, NE to discuss the wetlands ecosystem. Heron Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary. The sanctuary features one of the last oxbow wetlands of the Big Papillion Creek and it is within Omaha’s city limits. You may remember my recap of a Master Gardener…

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…

Iowa Ecosystems: Prairie

The second of three Master Conservationist Program classes featuring Iowa’s Ecosystems highlighted the prairie. If you missed the first recap on forests, check it out here. There are a total of six classes throughout the summer, one Saturday per month. The class is a group effort by Golden Hills RC&D, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Pottawattamie County Soil & Water…

Summer Solstice Lecture: Native Plants of the Midwest

Last night I attended a Summer Solstice Lecture featuring Alan Branhagen at Lauritzen Gardens located at 100 Bancroft Street in Omaha, NE. Alan Branhagen is currently the director of operations at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and is also the author of Native Plants of the Midwest. We learned which natives grow to best suit your conditions…

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….

Iowa Ecosystems: Forests

I signed up for a Master Conservationist Program through our local Golden Hills RC&D, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Pottawattamie County Soil & Water Conservation, Pottawattamie County NRCS, ISU Extension and Outreach West Pottawattamie over the summer. The program is one Saturday per month and is hosted at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. Unfortunately, I…

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…

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

I was in Atlanta, Georgia for a work training at the end of April. During the eight days that we were in class, we had one free afternoon. I chose to spend my free time at the Atlanta Botanical Garden located at 1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30309. I recruited a small group of my…

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…