Bipolar Farming

The emotional roller coaster of raising livestock.

Building Trust with Your Horse

Kellsey Trimble, Assistant Editor of GRIT Magazine, answers the reader-submitted question: “How do I build trust and a relationship with my horse?”

Animal Instinct

I am always amazed by animals' natural instincts.

Looking Back

my mind floated back to 5 years ago when Chad (Super Farmer) and I thought it would be fun to start a little farm with no experience and deceiving thoughts of “I’m sure it will be easy, how hard can it be”??!!

Chicken Rant

This New Englander moves to the country and finds small, tasty adventures in simplicity.

Summer time and the living is easy?

This post is about tips for blogging, the mother of all dandelions, planting corn, first tomato bloom, and building a entry way flower bed.

Lamb-Potato Gratin Recipe

Fresh thyme, rosemary herb and Yukon Gold potatoes added to lamb shoulder yields a delicious Lamb-Potato Gratin Recipe.

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Dried herbs season ground lamb for this Shepherds Pie Recipe with a mashed potato topping.

Chicken Trouble

I knew better than to allow several roosters to remain in our coop, but I was too soft-hearted to eliminate them. The following account is the result of that decision.

Evolution Of a Chicken Coop

Laura tells the story of her first chicken coop and how it has evolved over the past year or so.

Shep, the Lost Dog

Thankfully, when I was a kid, we never had to buy dogs. For one thing, we didn't have the money for that, and secondly, I recall that our dogs always just came to us or someone apparently gave them to us. That was the case with Shep.

That Came From WHERE?????

Hey, poop happens. It amazes me that people are grossed out by natural eggs, preferring instead to eat sterilized and cleaned up store eggs.

The Sport of Fishing

Fishing is not only enjoyable, it's an essential survival skill and one of the easiest ways to find food in the wild.

The American Copper Butterfly

Follow the metamorphosis of an American Copper caterpillar into a tiny, fast-flying and playful butterfly.

How to Treat your Chicken's Wounds

It can be a scary time when you're trying to treat your injured chicken, especially when you aren't sure what to do. In this article, I share directions on how to treat your chicken back to health!

The Work House

Our bad landlord experience leads to new purpose for an old trailer. Join us as we renovate rental space into usable work space! Home school space, brooder room, processing house, and quilting area all rolled in to one.

All Natural Fly Repellents

Natural herbal fly control measures are inexpensive, safe and easy to prevent flies from invading your chicken coop and run areas.

Building a Boardwalk

To deal with a persistently muddy pathway I elected to build a quick, inexpensive boardwalk.

Homemade Lavender Mint Chicken Coop Refresh Spray

As the temperatures rise, your coop might start to smell a bit less pleasant than you would want. This all natural refresh spray will provide a bit of aromatherapy for your chickens.

Keeping Backyard Pigs

Forget the high price tags at grocery stores for pork. Raise your own healthy meat.

A City Girl's Experience Raising Meat

Sarah is a city girl who grew up on styrofoam packaged meat and now shares her views and experiences on raising animals for meat herself.

Coop to Kitchen - 5 Tips to Ensure Clean Eggs

These five simple tips will help ensure that the eggs you collect from your coop are clean and ready to display on your counter or put into the refrigerator - no washing needed.

Egg Eating in Backyard Chickens

One of the worst habits that chickens can develop is eating their own eggs. This post helps the backyard chicken keeper to understand, prevent, and treat this disturbing problem in the flock.

Oregano as a Natural Poultry Antibiotic

Many commercial antibiotics and other medications are not labeled for use in chickens, or have withdrawal periods during which the eggs should not be eaten. Why not try using oregano as a natural antibiotic instead?

Lost Calf Follow Up - Best Friends

Cisco saved this little calf's life by finding him when he was less than 24 hours old, separated from his mama and lost. Now they're best buddies!

How to Keep Farm Dogs Safe

You want to keep your loveable pets or working companions around on the farm. Learn how to keep farm dogs safe with these tips.

How to Make a Fridge Smoker

We took an old metal 50's fridge and turned it into a large smoker. Now we can smoke our home grown meats for less!

Lost calf

When our neighbors' brand new calf went missing, our dogs (past and present) came to the rescue.

GRIT blogs are really back

This post is about the return of GRIT blogs, Nebraska Weather, Terra Nova Gardens neighborhood characters, and Daffodils.

Sheep Herding Tips

Try these sheep herding tips and your flock will be following you like a boss.

Lessons in Maple Syrup Production

Life's lessons are the best way to learn how to do something. On the family farm, the opportunities to learn abound. We learned a lot about making maple syrup this year and we can't wait for next year to do it better!

Prepare a Space for a Deer Feeder

A lot of things can go wrong when clearing a space for a deer feeder. Read about how to correctly cut branches, where to place the deer feeder and more.

Nebaska bipolar weather

This blog describes the bipolar weather in Nebraska, the signs of Spring, the flowers in bloom, and the progress on the garden fence panels.

Why not keep pigs?

Interested in getting pigs this Spring? Here is some information to get you started.

Basic Stone Masonry

Our friend gives us a basic lesson in stone masonry. How to smoothly split a stone into two workable halves.

Frugal Farrowing Pen

How we made a secure farrowing pen for our pig without spending a dime!

Building a Coop, Part 2

Part 2 of the coop building adventure - the coop get completed enough to move the chicks and ducks in to their spacious new quarters.

Moonlight Starlight

As a child visiting my grandparents farm, we would play outside until well after the sun set. Moonlight Starlight was one of our favorites

Feeding the Bees

After a long, hard Michigan winter we give our bees a springtime boost to get them through till the flowers bloom.

Mountain Lions in Kansas

A mountain lion was most likely to blame for the maiming of one of Hank’s young calves.

The Lowdown on Feeding Clover to your Chickens

Determined to find out why clover is often included on lists of harmful plants for your chickens, I did a bit of research and spoke with some experts to find out the lowdown on feeding clover to your flock.

Chicks Are Not Puppies

In a recent chicken workshop, I warned my students that chicks are not like puppies, you don’t want the calm one who is taking a nap when you inspect the litter. Quite the opposite, when you pick out chicks, you want the ones who are most lively and active.

Behold, a Chunnel!

Homestead Redhead solution for those nasty chicken eating hawks.

Building a Coop, Part 1

With 12 chicks and 3 ducklings in the extra bedroom, we knew we needed to hustle and get a permanent coop built.

Goat Kids Galore

The story of this year's kidding experience at Iron Oak Farm.

Kidding Around

Every parent has to share baby pics and videos - we're no different... but with our goat kids!

Pulling a Kid, Part 3

Your goat is in labor and you see the hind hooves coming, what do you do?

Pallet Wine Rack

Free pallet turned into a hanging wine rack! Click through the pics for the easy instructions.

Escape from Alcatraz

The account of what happens when the animals are smarter than you think!

More than One Way to Raise Chickens

Just like raising children, people have many different opinions and styles regarding how to raise and keep a flock of backyard chickens. This post might just might get you thinking about all the available options available.

Making it through February

This blog post is about battling scabies, enduring the snow storms, starting seedlings, and hauling Girl Scout cookies.

Getting Ready for Goat Babies

Our three precious goats are ready to deliver their babies any moment now! Here are some of the changes we've noticed with their bodies, behaviors and personalities as they prepare for this wonderful time.

The Humane Harvesting of a Very Loud Rooster

As a backyard chicken owner, one of the most responsible things you can do for your flock is to learn how to cull a bird. You may never need to do it, but it's best to be prepared.

Pulling a Kid, Part 2

So, your goat is in labor and you think there is a problem. What do you do?

Pulling a Kid Part 2

When a goat is in labor, sometimes the kid needs help to be born. This is Part 2 of Pulling a Kid.

Poultry Sass

Poultry Sass, The misadventures of hens

Introduction to Keeping Chickens Part 5 of 5

Join me in the conclusion of this 5 part series-An Introduction to Keeping Chickens. Broodiness, keeping roosters, chicken diet, egg laying issues and more are covered.

Coop Adventures - Moving Day

We built a chicken tractor type coop for our one surviving chicken, who was more than ready to get out of the brooder. This is the story of Bess the chicken's moving day.

Pulling a Kid, Part 1

Not every birth of a kid goat is a text book delivery. So, what to you do when your doe is having a problem with delivery. Part 1

For the Birds

Dead trees that pose no danger to people or their surroundings can be left in place to provide valuable wildlife habitat. We left some standing in our backyard and are rewarded by daily visits from woodpeckers and other cavity-nesting birds.

Development of a Dairy Goats Udder

So, you have your first dairy goat but do you know what to look for when the udder is developing. How do you know she will have a nice udder for milking?

Introduction to Keeping Chickens Part 4 of 5

Join us for part 4 in our Introduction to Keeping Chickens. Learn about their care during the first six weeks, how to set up your permanent coop and run, feeding your chickens, transitioning outside, and predator proofing.

Now Serving Deer

If you're using free signage on rural roads to advertise your nonprofit's event, make sure your letters are large enough - lest you convey the wrong impression!

Now Serving Deer

If you're using free signage on rural roads to advertise your nonprofit's event, make sure your letters are large enough - lest you convey the wrong impression!

Things I Never Knew About Farming

Living the farm life means constantly learning new things! Here are a few new lessons we have learned since taking on the country life two years ago. Covering dirty pigs, farm smells, cats, and more!

Bacon 'n Eggs

Which came first, the Eggs or the Bacon? Livestock namin' isn't above a little whimsical reflection. I aim to 'keep it real' should I ever enter the wild and woolly world of 4H...

Farmstead Chicken Breeds

Learn all you need to know about meat and laying chicken breeds for the farmstead, including Marans, Old English Game fowl, Buff Orpingtons and Wyandottes.

For the Love of Dogs

We've found great joy in rescuing these great dogs by providing a secure, loving environment where they can recover.

A Cold Lazy Day

It is never too late to do a little gardening - even if it is from the comfort of an arm chair. The critters, indoors and out, keep me company.

Baby Chick Care Made Simple

Raising chicks is fairly easy if you follow a few simple tips. My baby chick care guide will help you get started on the right track.

Making Pork Breakfast Sausage

Homemade sausage is a delicious and economical way to use all the bits of pork meat after butchering a pig. I describe how I made 12 pounds of breakfast sausage.

New Year Plans not Resolutions

This blog is about the door installion of a food storage area, a law suit over patiented seeds, starting seeds inside, and going to the movies.

Top Ten Chicken Posts of 2012

I thought it would be fun to recap the top ten most-read chicken-related posts on my blog from 2012. Popular topics ranged from coop cleaning to making your own apple cider vinegar to sewing totes from empty feed bags.

Tales in the snow

Fresh snow is soon marked by the tracks of animals foraging, playing, escaping or just living. Even if you don't see the wildlife, enjoy learning more about their habits by reading the tales in the snow.

Splitting Wood by Hand

Splitting firewood with hand tools is a skill every homesteader should have. Even if you own a mechanical wood splitter, knowing how to use a splitting maul and wedges comes in handy when the wood is too large or the log splitter can't be used.

Reasons for Missing Feathers on Backyard Chickens

Do you have any chickens in your flock with missing feathers? This post will help fellow chicken keepers get to the bottom of why their chickens are missing feathers. It offers possible causes and solutions. A must read for every chicken keeper.

Sampling Urban Wildlife

Although Americans are spending less time in the wild, nature and wildlife need not elude us. Abundant wildlife can be found in our own backyards.

Ending the year with joy

This post is about the best Christmas gift received this year, glass storge ideas for left over food, and building a wall for a food storage area.

A step back in time

An excerpt from Sarah's Great Grandmother's journal. Shows the food she canned in 1924 and 1925 for her family of four boys.

Reign Deer Games

So you DON'T BELIEVE in Santa? You WILL believe in his reindeer, though...and they have plans far beyond the holidays!

Preparing for the Yearly Pig Slaughter

Providing my family with pork that we have raised ourselves is a wonderful farm skill. To help you in preparing for the slaughter and butcher of your own pig, I have provided a checklist of items to have on hand and a list of things to do.

No Farms, No Food

Climate change is no longer a theory - it is reality. As our rural environment struggles, we must increase our efforts in educating all to nurture our earth. Our farms feed us all and the slogan is true - No Farms, No Food.

Possums and Foxes and Bears...Oh My!

One of the most challenging aspects of raising backyard flocks is keeping them safe from predators. A secure run and coop goes a long way, but being able to identify the specific type of predator can also help a chicken keeper battle the threat.

Small animals on the back roads

Small animals as well are larger ones can be on the backroads both day and night. Watch for wildlife at the roadside to avoid collisions with animals.

Anatomy of an Egg

Eggs contain every nutrient necessary for life except Vitamin C. Read more about the amazing egg.

Back Roads, Where the Deer and the Antelope Roam

Any wildlife may be encountered on the road. The larger species, such as deer, can cause significant vehicle damage if hit. Watch for wildlife and learn their habits to help avoid collisions.

One Door Opens, Another Closes

What is an 'epic fail'?? It's when you build your front door UNDER the overflow pipe: GREAT idea in summer, EPIC FAIL in winter!

Engineer Debuts Geothermal Unit for Livestock Temperature Regulation

In a prototype facility, environmentally and economically friendly geothermal energy is now keeping turkeys comfortable during both cold and hot weather. The geothermal system reduces utilities costs for the farmer, which could bring down the price of turkey meat and keep America as the world’s top turkey exporter. Using geothermal also improves the bird’s air quality.

His Name is Fred...

Sometimes the human attempt to apply a name to the situation just fails...when in doubt, just call it FRED!

Natural Chicken Keeping - First Aid Kit Essentials

Raising chickens naturally means learning how to treat illness and injury using products with no potential side effects or danger if you eat the hens' eggs after treatment. Here are 8 essential items for any natural chicken keeper's first aid kit.

Forbidden Love

Two lost birds far from their flocks: a different kind of Thanksgiving heart-warmer!

Home as Defined by Chickens

This chicken keeper is always learning lessons from her backyard flock. Today, they remind her of the true meaning of home.

Windbreaks Catch More Than Wind

An old windrow might look untidy, but it has real benefit for wildlife and stock. On a good day, nature will show its hand and give you a glimpse of the birds and animals that call it home.

The Three-Minute Story

An adventure in writing and chickens, including a rooster named Abraham Lincoln.

How to Exercise Your Dog

Learn how to exercise your dog and how exercise benefits his mental as well as physical health.

Specialty Goat Toys

A fun post about making toys to keep your goats happy and playful!

Dogs That Guard Our Livestock

The Great Pyrenees is a great guardian for livestock. They don't have to be trained to do their job. They'll guard all kinds of livestock including ducks.

Preparing the Beehives for Winter

Even the bees need a little bit of checking in on as they prepare for winter. Learn what this Cape Cod beekeeper plans for the winter and discovers in her hive on this final fall inspection.

Got Mice in your Chicken Coop ?

As the weather gets colder, rodents start looking for a nice, warm, safe place to bed down for the winter. Don't make your chicken coop the place they choose because in addition to eating feed, they carry disease and can harm your flock.

More Garden Mulching and Nebraska Phil Appears

This post is about the discovery of groundhog Nebraska Phil, continuing to mulch with neighborhood yard waste, planning the garden for next year, and a Happy Thanksgiving greeting.

For Trade: 1 Moose 4 10 Chickens

I'll see your moose and raise you 10 chickens...a suggestion for rural communities and states experiencing too much of a good thing...

The Economical Dairy Goat

The Mini-Alpine is a smaller breed of dairy goat than its counterpart making it economical to have on the homestead.

Tips for the New Horse Owner

From choosing the right horse breed to finding a reliable farrier, these Hank’s Hints for a new horse owner will set you on the right path to equine companionship.

The Daily Tromp

Cochise and I make a daily adventure of hiking up and old mountain road. This little essay describes our special adventure today.

They're Attic Again...

It may be YOUR attic for half the year: but come Winter, the Other Half(s)move in....

Chicken Coop Cleaning 1-2-3

Sometimes a really good scrubbing is needed in the chicken coop, other times a quick cleaning and refresh is all it takes. Here's my quick and easy all natural coop cleaning method as well as a link to the Deep Litter Method to use over the winter.

Taking A Vacation-Who Watches the Flock?

Be prepared the next time you are ready to vacation. Here are some suggestions to help you identify the perfect chicken sitter for your flock and identify their responsibilities in your absence.

Goat in a Hole

Facing one of his greatest culinary challenges and dreams, Andy Sell takes on the incredibly difficult task of roasting a whole animal inside the ground. The tale of his full day experience is illustrated with step by step photos along the way.

Halloween Bones

Animal bones can offer clues to the species living in an area. Sometimes the bones can also tell us how the animal likely died. Look at bones as a mystery that you can solve.

Apple Treats For Your Chickens

Our chickens love apples, so we always share a few from our horses' stash. Here are some easy, fun ways to make apple treats for your flock to help keep them from getting bored.

Falsetto Song

CAUTION: yellowjacket removal should NOT be considered a DIY project. Just buy the canned nest spray, follow directions, and DON'T GET TOO CREATIVE!

The Getting Ready for Winter

Fall is a busy time with harvesting, but you must also get ready for the wilds of winter. Between chores, the Niles family went to a hospital surplus auction to get recyclables for the farm.

Building fence

Building a fence to carve a backyard out of 10 acres isnt' easy, but it sure is worth it.

The New Llama Pen

Mrs. D needs to put up a new enclosure, quickly and easily (without much muscle).

Winterizing your Flock

Chickens are more cold-hardy than you might think, but they will will appreciate anything you can do to make the winter more comfortable for them. Here are a few easy ideas to winterize your flock.

Turning Manure into Profitable Compost

I started working with horses in 1968, and we always looked at what works best for horse stalls as the material composts. It can be a mess to choose what to use, and how to make it pay in compost, as bedding can be expensive.

I found myself in some Tough Grit

This post is about Bradley's birthday, my experience with filming a Tough Grit TV episode, harvesting watermelons, living with groundhogs, and mulching the garden.

Wulf’s Calf Run 2012 Highlights Feeder Cattle Program

Wulf Cattle, hosted the first ever Calf Run event to kick off the fall feeder calf buying season showcasing the recently acquired feeder cattle management and backgrounding facilities at Wulf’s Cattle Depot and feedlot in McLaughlin, S.D.

Winter with Chickens: To Heat or Not Heat the Coop

Heating the chicken coop during the winter is controversial to say the least. Here are 10 ways to help keep your flock comfortable in freezing temperatures without ever turning on a heat lamp.

fall magic...

Crisp weather and brilliant colors usher in the harvest season.

Til the Cows Come Home

Our family had the opportunity to butcher and process our first cow. Utilizing a sharp learning curve, we will be able to feed our family and another for quite a while.

Saving A Little for the Grandchildren

Often individuals do not realize that wildlife exists in a delicate balance of protection and favorable environment. Rather than hunt, I choose to save just a little of that wildlife for my grandchildren.

Herbal Home Remedies for Colds, Flu and Whooping Cough

When sickness hit the Sell household, Becky and Andy turned to tried and true herbal remedies, with a little help from the Internet and some alternative doctor friends. They also came up with a couple recipes that might work in your home as well!

How to Sprout Beans and Seeds for your Chickens

Wondering what you can give your chickens as nice healthy treats over the winter when they can't get out to forage? Try sprouting some seeds or beans for them. It's easy and inexpensive....and a lot of fun!

Pumpkin Power

Clinical studies show that raw pumpkin seeds can be helpful in worming your backyard chickens. Read on for the evidence and mechanism of action.

Doghouse Chicken Tractor

Kasey moves his Blue Splash Marans Chickens into a chicken tractor built from a doghouse.

Laundry on the Line

Although some might consider laundry a mundane task, even this every-man's task can be sustainable, with the right mindset. Becky explains how her family arrived at that through necessity.

Pumpkin Soup - A Natural Wormer for Chickens?

Raw pumpkins seeds are thought to work as a natural internal wormer for chickens as well as ducks, goats and sheep. Why not use your leftover Halloween pumpkins and make some Pumpkin Soup for your flock?

The Deer Chronicles

So, you think you have only ONE deer on your property? Actually they're like rats: if you see one, you can bet there are 24 more in the shrubbery....

Bully Hen

A heartwarming story of how a bully hen finds a forever home.

Nature along a ditec

An irrigation ditch is an interesting place in autumn when most of the water has run down. It is more like a small stream that can be explored and enjoyed.

Favorite Native - Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed provides gardeners late-season blooms and bees and butterflies with a late-season source of nectar.

Fact or Fiction? Barnyard Myths Exposed

Here we talk about a few of the most commonly heard myths these days in regards to barnyard critters. Do alpacas make good guardians? Can you keep turkeys with chickens? Are pigs dirty? Do alpacas spit? And many more!

Fall Work at the Urban Ranch and Terra Nova Gardens

This post is about the yard cleanup after a long hot summer, hauling more hay for mulch at Terra Nova Gardens, putting up a pond fence, building a garden water tower, and tomato take over of the garden.

Country Walks

A daily walk with my dog helps me notice subtle seasonal changes.

It feels allot like fall

This post is about the free seeds and mulch that has been donated to Terra Nova Gardens. The plans for turning a spring into a pond and the development of a water source for Terra Nova Gardens are revealed.

Coons Just Wanna Have Fun

Playful, fun-loving critters or malevolent sources of evil actions: everyone has an opinion on night-time Raccoon Activity in The Back 40...

Beehives in Autumn

This new beekeepers shares her experiences and discoveries of opening her hives late in the summer and prepares for Autumn.

Do Chickens Make Good Pets?

Keeping a flock of backyard chickens will certainly provide you with eggs, but can chickens make good family pets? Here is what one backyard chickens keeper has to say.

Running Porks

There's nothing more satisfying than trying to communicate with farm workers about animal issues. Yes, the common language seems to be English. No, the common denominator isn't necessarily the SAME English...

Easy DIY Wooden Half Barrel Chicken Nesting Box

For an easy weekend project, make this cute portable chicken nesting box out of a wooden half barrel in just a few minutes. A portable nesting box has many uses and your cost can be minimal if you repurpose materials you have lying around.

The Hummingbird Wars

Oh, so you think the bird world doesn't wage war? Think again: OUR local hummingbirds employ the finer art of fencing!

The Pilgrim's Chickens

Heritage breeds of chickens accompanied the pilgrims on the Mayflower. This week we visited Plimoth Plantation where they recreate and relive events of the 17th century.

Cracks in the Land

The record-breaking heat and drought of 2012 compel us to listen to the urgent call of the land and to respond by the millions with immediate agrarian initiatives.

Much more than meadowlarks

The high plains are home to a variety of bird species. Near the mountains waterfowl abound on the lakes and reservoirs. Some species like woodpeckers and hummingbirds are unexpected but welcome in any garden.

Practical Preparedness...

After severe summer storms, it was time to really ask ourselves how prepared our family was. This is the first post in Practical Preparedness where we'll share tips, simple ideas, and easy how-to's for keeping families prepared.

CORN CART TRACKS

New micro herd of Jersy dairy cows in Hampshire, England with all the milk to be processed on-farm and sold immediately to local customers. We hope to encouage the community to buy cows for us to look after.

Feeding Candy to Cows

Questions to consider in light of the recent news that a rancher, unable to afford corn feed, is feeding candy to his cows.

Striking Heritage Breeds

Five striking heritage breeds of livestock such as the Belted Galloway, Nigerian Dwarf goat, Clydesdale horse and more for your small farm.

Snakes in the Garden

Snakes are startling but they are also fascinating. If you spy a snake, be sure you are at a safe distance and identify it. Many times it will be a harmless type that can be studied or if you are inclined, handled.

Caring For Your Eggs

Backyard chickens can produce plenty of eggs. Learn how to store, clean, package and sell the eggs from your backyard flock.

Summer Into Autumn

The transition between summer and autumn is my favorite time of year.

Terra Nova Gardens has water and a gate.

This blog entry is about digging out a natural spring to use as a water source for garden watering; thoughts about gorilla gardening; and building a gate for the fenced in garden area.

Homemade Antiseptic Ointment

Accidents happen and around a farm where bacteria and germs abound, having an antiseptic ointment on hand is necessary. Here is an easy recipe for a homemade ointment that is all natural.

Producer Profile: Matt Beach

He's a 5th generation farmer. He raises hogs outdoors without hormones or antibiotics. His incredible animals have the power to turn vegetable into bacon. Meet Matt Beach!

Chicken Treats Guide. Don't Love your Pets to Death.

Which treats can chickes eat and which should be avoided? Feeding our backyard pets the wrong treats or too many treats can be harmful to their health, stunt growth, shorten their lifespans & interfere with egg production. Don't love them to death.

Osiris: The Original Baad Sheep!

Osiris is the original baad sheep - and provides much fodder for discussion on the controversy surrounding Sheep Intelligence. Case rested here!

The Best Way to Hard Boil Eggs is to STEAM Them !

The one downside to fresh eggs is how hard they are to peel. To me, setting some aside and waiting until they get old in order to be able to hard boil them seems counterproductive, so I was determined to find a way get perfectly peeled fresh eggs.

Not Always Sunshine and Roses

It's not always sunshine and roses. Homesteading has its ups and downs, you just have to make the most of them, learn, and move forward. We are experiencing an abundance of eggs, a skunk invasion, and the loss of a hen.

10 Practical Uses for Eggshells

I normally crush up our eggshells and feed them free-choice to our chickens as an economical way to provide them the extra calcium they need to lay eggs with nice hard shells. But there are other practical uses for eggshells. Here are nine of them.

A Drive in the Country

With just a short drive in the country, you too can 'own' ALL the animals you want! Even a pony...

A Case of Kansas Stubborn

Drought and heat can get a gardener or farmer down, but it can also give us what it takes to survive - a good old fashioned case of Kansas stubborn.

A Chicken Safe Place: DIY Instructions

Whether you have an injured chicken, new chickens to introduce to the flock, or a hen brooding chicks, this chicken safe place fits directly in your coop. It can be built in about 30 minutes and is removable when not in use.

The Purpose of A Horse

When my husband said he wanted a horse, I told him he was nuts. Now that he has a horse, I've finally figured out what the purpose of a horse is.

Backyard Biosecurity

Basic biosecurity measures are important to protect the health of your chickens. Biosecurity is a routine of run hygiene to keep your chickens safe from disease, which spreads easily from infected flocks, but it's fairly easy to reduce the risk.

Manure for Thought

Country living: it's all about the fresh country air. Or, is it?

How to Render Lard

Render lard and revisit the virtues of your grandmother’s secret ingredient.

Vacation & Preparedness...

Summertime is filled with fun & adventure...but it's also a time of strong storms and possible damage. How prepared are we and what can we do to be better prepared?

Can Hens Crow?

She was my favorite hen...and then she crowed.

Black Ruby

What can one do with 2.5 acres of land? Why, the possibilities are ENDLESS...

Poultry Lice

Like mites, chickens can be affected by poultry lice. This post gives you all the information you need to prevent, identify and treat your entire flock including natural alternatives and techniques.

Molt Meatloaf: Much-Needed Protein During a Time of Regrowth

Molting is the process that chickens (and other birds) go through to replace old, broken and dirty feathers with new healthy ones. Help your flock get the added protein they need during this period by baking them up a loaf of Molt Meatloaf.

Garden Survival in the Extreme Heat

This blog explains the anchoring of a picnic table in the bad part of town, shows how well a new garden is doing, and expresses the joy over the first tomato harvested.

No Time to Waste: I Want My Life to Count!

When a friend mentioned he had time to waste, it got me thinking about priorities. I want my life to count! Living a purposeful rural life is extremely rewarding--and it's time well spent.

A Little Heat, Some Hay, & Tractor Pulling

As usual things, something is always going on. The pigs and chickens got there outside runs, hay season is in full swing, and the girls finally got to pull their tractors.

Coop Training New Flock Members- Coming Home to Roost

Stress can cause chickens to become confused about where home is and result in them not returning to the safety of the coop at night. Coop Training is a simple, effective method for teaching chickens to come home to roost.

Beasts That Go 'Bump' In the Night

In the City, it's the sirens. In the country, it's all manner of nocturnal animals. ALL of whom want to come by and say 'hello' - right under the bedroom window. Earplugs are made for those of us who find even Nature a bit too vocal at night.

The Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days of Summer have hit the Niles' farm. Stress due to heat and humidity are taking a toll on the animals and humans on the farm.

Ode To The Toad

Frogs are a leading indicator of garden health.

Vegetable Garden

My adventure helping the hubby build a raised vegetable garden to add to my growing garden collections!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Andy and Becky recap the last three months and all the changes herein. Included are a move, a new garden, jobs and great expectations for the coming months...

Flock Hurricane Preparedness

If a hurricane or tornado were headed your way, would you have a plan to keep your flock safe ? Here is what we did when Hurricane Irene hit unexpectedly last summer.

I Stand Corrected

Usually when I try to say something with authority, I find myself proven wrong.

Spring brings nesting birds

While young birds are charming to watch, they often have short, danger filled lives. I give them the help that I can but many don't live through their first year.

Backyard Chickens and Keeping Honeybees

Backyard chickens and honey bees can coexist harmoniously. This new beekeeper did some research before introducing two honey bee hives on her property.

Egg Bound Hen - How to Recognize, Treat and Prevent

And egg bound hen could die if she isn't able to lay the egg within 48 hours, so an accurate diagnosis and swift treatment is necessary. Learn how to spot, what to do and possibly how to prevent egg binding.

Progress at Terra Nova Gardens

This post is about the progress at Terra Nova Gardens. It's about the experimental methods of weed control.

Joyride: An Algebraic Journey

A quiet joyride in the country observing baby animals leads to some frightening algebra equations on how many will actually FIT on 2.5 acres. Galavanting included.

Incessant Cooing

One person's dove of peace is another's source of incessant cooing...

On Being a Failed Foster Parent of Dogs – Molly

Fostering and adopting rescued animals, in this case, dogs, is a wonderful experience. Watching them change from frightened, shy dogs to playful, happy dogs is rewarding. I was a Foster Mom, now Failed Foster Mom, as one person called me because I adopted all four dogs whom I fostered. (Apparently, this happens to many foster parents.)

Fire Ecology

Fire is a necessary component of sustaining a healthy prairie

Homemade Orange Peel Vinegar Chicken Coop Cleaner

Using harsh chemicals around your chickens is never a good idea. Try this homemade, all natural cleaner instead with the antibacterial properties of vinegar and solvency of orange oil, as well as insect repelling properties of vanilla and cinnamon.

Bison Reintroduction in Montana

Montana reintroduces bison from Yellowstone National Park, causing some farmers and ranchers to express mixed feelings.

Chrysler Critter Carrage

During one cold winter spell while taking a calf to the Veterinary in the family car, My parents found a stowaway nestled in the engine compartment.

Busy Bee Off the Farm

Life is has been busy on the farm and off. We are getting ready to go to the MREA Fair in Custer WI.

No Greater Love

Sharing rural knowhow with others can lead to rich rewards.

Dealing with a disgusted dog

A dog that will not stay home is a problem for all. An invisible fence may be just the solution to keep you and the dog both happy.

How a Chicken Makes an Egg and Why Some Eggs are Unusual

Backyard chicken-keepers can expect to collect both beautiful and bizarre eggs from their hens over time. The following photos illustrate both the pretty and the pathetic with accompanying explanations for how both are produced.

BEAT THE HEAT, Helping Chickens Survive High Temperatures

High heat is dangerous for chickens and measures must be taken by their caretakers to ensure their well-being, particularly when temperatures increase suddenly. Heat stroke, heat-induced stress and death can result when a chicken is overheated.

Raccoons for Sale

When you live 10 miles from the county dump and believe in garden compost, it's NOT a stretch to ALSO believe in Raccoons as Organic Waste Disposal Systems...

Learning the Rural Lifestyle

We've been mentored by many people and learned from countless books, magazines, and websites about the rural life. We remember a pioneer of modern homesteading who inspired us to seek this lifestyle.

Spring Has Hit the Ground Running...Finally!!

Spring has finally arrived in full swing and there is plenty happening. The chickens are enjoying their new home as well as their neighbors, the pigs. Even the garden is planted.

Recycling Your Chicken's Eggshells

In order for hens to lay eggs with well-formed strong shells, they require calcium. Learn how to recycle your eggshells as a source of calcium for your flock.

Growing my own fried chicken

The Niles' family raised broilers for the first time from day old to freezer. There are many steps and mis-steps to doing it yourself from feeding, space, weather and care. Our path was one of learning.

Top Ten Flowers your Chickens will Love

There are so many edible flowers that both you and your chickens can enjoy, why not plant some in and around the run this year as well in your flower beds.

Why Water is Critically Important to Chickens

Water is critically important to chickens; they rely on it to regulate body temperature, digest food, eliminate waste and produce eggs. A lack of water even for brief periods can affect egg production noticeably.

Peppermint Cowpatty

Cow Karma: in a world of Good Cow Bad Cow, there ARE both kinds - and I celebrate BOTH.

Wrens and hooligans just don’t mix

I've been battling with a Carolina wren trying to build a nest where she really didn't need to build. My overgrown flower beds are finally getting attention.

Attracting and Feeding Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds seem to be everywhere--chances are there are some near your home. It's not hard to draw them to your yard or garden and keep them coming back. Here are some tips for attracting and feeding your local hummingbirds.

Plowing With Pigs: Woodland Edition!

Do you have an over grown area that needs cleaning up? Are your woods an eye sore? Find out how we used our pigs to clean up our woods, and re-claim our property!

Egg Osmosis

The magical growing and shrinking egg is a great kitchen experiment to learn about osmosis.

A Moo-Moo Bedtime

When a fire is lit, and everyone is gathered around, the animal story telling ritual is slightly different from humans.

All about Duck Eggs

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between chicken and duck eggs? Wonder no more!

Close Encounter of the Furred Kind

Some women have to contend with The Other Woman. I had to deal with The Other Skunk: a non-stinker residing literally under my very nose.

Trial and Tribulation of Bottle Calves

Taking care of bottle calves is a lot harder that it looks; on your time, patiences and heart. In my blog, I will highlight the steps we took as purchased 3 bottle calves through Craigslist.

The Holistic Trinity - Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic and DE

It's a lot easier to keep your chickens healthy and their immune systems strong than to try and treat a sick chicken. The 'holistic trinity', apple cider vinegar, garlic and diatomaceous earth, will go a long way towards that goal.

The Diva’s Red Velvet Kiss

Meet Chienne, an endearing Great Pyrenees pup; very energetic, smart, trainable and cute, which has saved her from a heap of trouble during the last several months.

Late Nate and Cornflake- Our Little Welsummers

Our first experience raising Welsummers began this past March with two hatching eggs. It has been so interesting to watch our little rooster and little hen grow up side by side and see the subtle differences emerge.

A Checklist for Happy Hens...

What works best for Windy Meadows Farm is a hen house checklist for keeping our little flock's home clean. Broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, and once-a-year cleaning, it's easy to stay on top of the chores...and have happy hens!

Moving Day!!

The much awaited moving day for the chickens has finally arrived!! It's also time to get ready for the arrival of at least 2 pigs and whatever else may find its way here, except for more snow.

Spraddle Leg

Spraddle leg is a treatable condition in chicks that can occur during incubation if the temperature is too high, by a vitamin deficiency or, most commonly, from a slippery brooder floor. Learn how to avoid and remedy this common chick malady.

Hogs Will Play

Hogs are a never-ending source of amusement!

Busy Time in the Gardens

This post is about building a wood border to prevent digging critters, weed control, daylilies in the wrong place, building raised beds with wood chips for garden paths.

Nesting Box Herbs - Chicken Aromatherapy

Fresh and dried herbs have amazing health and well-being benefits not only for humans, but also for chickens and also provide a bit of aromatherapy for your flock.

Egg Season

Ways to preserve the seasonal bounty of eggs

Ducklings Make Their Way

When our family purchased ducklings, we did not expect them to turn into adventurers. Meet Passamaquoddy, Dunk, Drip, Donald, Daisy, Hooey, Dooey, Looey, and Phooey.

All About Raising Alpacas

Learn everything you need to know about raising alpacas, including buying, feeding, breeding and much more.

Rain rain and more rain

This post contains progress on the new garden property known as Terra Nova Gardens; the process for building the critter proof fence; and the wild turkeys checking out the fence with old Tom strutting his stuff.

Almost Hay Season

Hay is a lot of work for grown ups, but it sure is fun for kids!

Snow…in April

A bit of April snow and cold weather puts a damper on the coop, a quick fix for the broiler feeder, are chicks and bunnies good eater presents, and an awesome french toast recipe.

The Late Bloomer

A recent experience at work causes Shannon to apply what she's learned by gardening to other aspects of her life.

Interview With a Livestock Guardian Dog

What is a livestock guardian dog? How are livestock guardians different from other farm dogs? Find out in this exclusive interview with Maremma Sheepdog Augie.

Loving Spring in the garden

This post is about vacationing with family, building a rustic fence, bartering with neighbors, making soap, and loving spring weather.

And our journey begins

An introduction to our family's journey of raising animals, rekindling traditions, and creating new ones.

The Social Lives of Farm Animals

Animal interactions on the farm can be entertaining, touching, and enlightening. Here's a little bit about how horses, cows, and chickens communicate and interact.

Kidnapped!

When a goat makes a mistake of believing to be kidnapped.

Chicken Predators in the Sky

Vigilance and a rooster or two protect against flying chicken predators such as turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks and bald eagles.

Fantastic Redpolls

A little bit about cattle breeds and an update on the DIY dairy room.

Greener Pastures

Warm weather causes farmers to sprint to catch up with spring.

The Howl of the Land

The land is well beyond calling. It's howling. Howling so loud it cannot be ignored. This ear-ringing reality came to the forefront on the front page of The New York Times. loud, unexplained noises are happening around the world.

A Skunk Tale

A tale of how an ordinary evening turns into a stinky situation when dog gets sprayed by a skunk, and a great recipe for getting out the smell.

Secrets In a Horse's Eyes

Can horses read our minds? Do horses know what we say? I use to wonder – now I don't.

Spring Has Come Once Again

This post is about spring time flowers blooming, making ice cream, and cleaning out plugged drains the poor man's way.

Plumbing a homestead

The homestead is coming together, are we're almost ready to be there full-time next month. In one whirlwind weekend, we got our entire plumbing plan installed - thanks in large part to our wonderful neighbors - and our first garden fenced.

Our First Lambing Season

We are nearing the end of our first lambing season! There have been good times and bad lately as we learn about lambing and all that goes with it. From midnight triplets, to stillborn deliveries. Come see some of our newest editions!

What We Discovered Between Jaunary and Now

The Sell family gives an update on their comings and goings, as well as a few near tragedies along the way. All in all, as Wisconsin enjoys unseasonably warm weather, Andy and Becky are hopeful for the future!

Make Your Own Rag Yarn

Repurpose old shirts into a yarn of sorts to knit or crochet many different projects.

Twisters, Flintstones, and Pink Alpacas!

Join our family on our wild and woolly weekend adventure as we race against tornadoes, meet Fred and Dino Flintstone, see a pink alpaca, and visit Beech Grove Confederate Cemetary.

Spinach Egg Drop Soup Recipe

An excellent appetizer course for your dinner party, this Spinach Egg Drop Soup Recipe is also a great choice for a light lunch.

Classic Cooked Eggnog Recipe

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a toast using eggnog, and this Classic Cooked Eggnog Recipe will quickly become a tradition.

Pad Thai Recipe

For a different take on tonight’s dinner, go Asian with noodles, eggs and this Pad Thai Recipe.

The Political Pigs

The monthly meeting of the Pigs, to solve and address any problems that they have encountered.

Angel Food Cake Recipe

An excellent way to use up a large number of eggs, this Angel Food Cake Recipe is a light and dreamy dessert that everyone likes.

Meringue Kisses Recipe

A Meringue Kisses Recipe will make sweet little cookies that are as light as air, and easy to pop into your mouth.

Cooking With Eggs: Recipes for Every Meal

Branch out from mundane breakfast choices with a delicious Ham and Egg Casserole Recipe, or take your eggs to the dinner table in a Classic Flan Recipe for dessert.

Classic Flan Recipe

Learn how to caramelize sugar and bake the Classic Flan Recipe your friends and family will love.

Quiche Lorraine Recipe

This Quiche Lorraine Recipe is great served with a tossed salad and fresh fruit dessert.

A Princess Story

Uffie's version of how we aquired our goats. Told in the form of a bedtime story.

Bees Flying in Winter

On sunny days in winter, honeybees will leave their hives to relieve themselves and pitch out the dead.