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Building a Kansas Homestead

We’ve accomplished much around the homestead this spring and summer, the two most significant tasks for me being building a chicken coop from reclaimed lumber and starting a pretty sizable vegetable garden from scratch. Right now, the hens – seven Buff Orpingtons, seven Rhode Island Reds, one Hamburg and one Dorking – are producing and our kitchen table is overflowing with garden produce. But here’s a look at the progress along the way.

Here’s our old farmhouse. The only thing anyone knows about it’s age is that it’s between 150 and 200 years old, but was recently rebuilt.

First up was the chicken coop.

We were going for barn-door red, and it’s not quite done yet, but as it goes, when you have brooding chicks growing by the day, I had to keep it moving.

Moving those rogue teenagers outside to get used to the coop. We’re employing the deep-litter method of manure management, which I took from Harvey Ussery’s book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock.

Then it was time to build some fence. 

Gone fishin’.

By midsummer, our garden was coming along. Lots of weeds, but producing well.

Our humble corn patch.

And beans, looking healthy. More on that coming in the October Grit Country editorial.

But it was all starting to come together.

Occassionally, you have to throw it all down and cut a little wood.

Or go camping, tent by Paha Que – not bad, though we’ve had some trouble with pole strength in a good Kansas wind. There’s no rain fly on the image because this was our preparation setup/cleaning for a 4th of July camping trip to Melvern Lake, just my wife and I. We knew we were going to be setting up in the dark.

Late summer, the produce starting coming through – just when I thought it would never happen.

One thing about working in an office: There is nothing like ending the workday sweating in the garden, while watching the harvests pile up. Of course, I say the same thing about deer season and sitting in the woods.

First corn of the year.

More corn.

Here’s today’s haul, August 30.

And overall, a ton of blessings.


Caleb Reganand his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on .

Published on Aug 30, 2013

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