Chick therapy

Sometimes in the spring, when the weather is cold and damp, chicks develop what I so technically call “poopy butt”. Usually, as their feathers grow in, it takes care of itself. But once in a while one gets such a buildup on his bum that I feel bad for him and help him out.

This involves soaking his little behind with a warm, wet washcloth and trying to pick that buildup off as gently as I can.

As you can imagine, it’s a thankless job. But the reward is that after a few days I can’t pick this fella out from any of the other chicks. It’s cleaned up and healed up nicely and feathers are growing in.

6 years ago:

How to Cook : Eggs Benedict

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Chick therapy

Run, Rafe, run

Rafe’s first meet of his first season of track.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment for over 12 years now. As soon as he could walk he was running. The soundtrack of his early years is just me saying, “Rafe, slow down. Rafe, don’t run. Rafe, walk please.” on repeat.

And now I’m sitting in the bleachers yelling at him to run.

5 years ago:

Prepare to swoon

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Run, Rafe, run

Taking a moment

Last Friday was finally a gorgeous spring day and a day that I had off work. So I was working in the yard, raking up the detritus of last fall. The sun was so warm, the grass finally green, and the creek was so happily babbling I had to take a moment to just listen to it. I lay down in a patch of that green grass (after checking for dog poop, of course), closed my eyes, listened to the creek, and soaked up some vitamin D.

When I opened my eyes, a couple of these guys were checking on me.

It was nice of them to be so concerned. I suppose I did look like a crazy woman lying there in the grass like that. But the memory of that moment is what is carrying me through this week of being back to cold wind and rain.

4 years ago:

The story of today

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Taking a moment

En garde

Titus has spent a lot of time barking at the creek lately. See that gray long-necked visitor in the creek? It’s that time of year when we see cranes, herons and Canada geese stop by as they migrate. This guy doesn’t seem very bothered by the barking, but I have noticed only a fraction of migrating birds that we usually have.

Normally I enjoy having them, but with the outbreak of bird flu this spring I’m okay with him chasing them off. I’m just hoping he feels that way about hawks this year.

1 year ago:

Titus on Tuesday

Titus on Tuesday 2

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on En garde

Spring Sprouts

This time of year I get itchy to get in the garden and grow things, and I get a hankering for something fresh and green to eat. I haven’t started seeds for a few years now, but this is my year! And when I ordered my garden seeds, I included an order for sprouting seeds. Sprouts give me my early growing fix, and something fresh and green and healthy to eat.

I have a 3-tray sprouter so I started mung bean, alfalfa and broccoli sprouts. You can sanitize the seeds if you like by soaking them in a 1:9 solution of bleach:water for 40 minutes. Then drain and rinse and soak in plain water overnight. Drain again and dump the seeds into the trays. I used 2 Tablespoons of the mung bean seeds, and 1 Tablespoon each of the alfalfa and broccoli seeds, one type of seed per tray.

2 or 3 times a day, pour 2 cups of water in the top tray. It will trickle down through each tray and end up in the well at the bottom. Each time you water, empty the water from the well at the bottom and rotate the bottom seed tray to the top before you water again.

By the end of day 2 I had this:

Talk about instant gratification!

The mung beans were ready after 3 days, the alfalfa sprouts after 4 days, and the broccoli sprouts after 5 days.

When the sprouts are ready I put them in a large bowl and fill the bowl with water. Then I swish the sprouts around in the water to separate the seed hulls. The hulls won’t hurt you, they’re just kind of bitter to eat. But there’s always a few mixed in with your sprouts and that’s okay. After I swish them around I just sort of pick the sprouts out of the water and put them on a paper towel to drain. Then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

The alfalfa and broccoli sprouts are good added to a salad, or use them to top a sandwich. The mung bean sprouts are nice in soups. Tonight I made bean and ham soup and garnished with the mung bean sprouts. They added a nice, refreshing crunch to the soup!

2 years ago:
Snow day

4 years ago:

Nine is

5 years ago:
Spring is coming

Snow day


6 years ago:
Cuteness ensues

Sleeping arrangements

Adventures in cow buying


7 years ago:

I think she’s got it backwards

How to Cook : Ham Steak>

Installment #7

Small Farm Business : Enterprise Budgeting


8 years ago:


Powered, the town version

Mondern art

Sows in snow

The farm where I grew up


9 years ago:

Baby watch

Jimmy, male chicken model

More chicken models



10 years ago:

Maternity ward

Why we do this


Waning poetic

Q&A: Pigs – the Large Black

Spring is in the air

Farm sale

The best things in life are free

More woodchips


The list

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Spring Sprouts

Something new

I know posting has been a bit light as of late. So I thought I’d better let you in on a new little project I’ve got going with one of my forever best friends called “Postcards”. You can find it here:


“Postcards is Susan and Kelli, two farm girls who grew up together in northeastern Iowa.

After college both went into tech careers. Kelli moved back to their hometown. Susan wound up in NYC.

When they’re together they enjoy collaborating on an impressive collection of Pinterest fails. This blog is their way of collaborating on something creative from a distance.”

Hope you enjoy it!

1 year ago:

How to Cook :: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

The Help


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Something new


Since we won’t have pork in the foreseeable future, we wanted to pass on that our friend Wendy Johnson of Charles City has half/whole hogs for sale now! Berk-duroc cross, non-GMO feed, outdoor raised, not given any hormones or antibiotics. She will deliver to local lockers. You can contact her at

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pork

An update, and January delivery

Ava & Titus making sure the front porch is secure

Our first winter delivery to Mason City is set! Thursday, January 22nd at 6 p.m. in the southwest corner of the KMart parking lot. Check out our current inventory, then call or email an order by Tuesday, January 20th.

In farm news, all of our beef quarters are spoken for. This summer we plan to be at the Friday Mason City market as usual. If Osage does their monthly Saturday market again I’m sure we’ll be there as well. We’ll start taking chicken orders in April for June chickens. Haven’t really discussed whether we’ll do more chickens this year than we did last year. I keep telling Matt that we should just fill the whole pasture with chickens, but so far he’s unconvinced. Olivia is planning on having more pies at market this year.

Hope you all are staying warm this winter, looking forward to seeing some of you next week!

One year ago:
Today I am…

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


“The days are long, but the years are short.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

The irony is not lost on me, that my last blog post talked about how quickly life flies by… and now over 4 months have passed since that blog post.

It was a full summer, a busy summer, a really good summer. We were sold out of meat about the first week of August. Chickens were all spoken for before they even hatched.

Olivia started her pie business.

We had a nice vacation in Wisconsin.

We enjoyed our county fair and the Iowa State Fair.

The boy and the dog both grew. A lot.

There was softball, baseball, and flag teams. There was visits with friends and family. A wedding. Just a bit of fishing. School started again. We hosted a farm tour. The garden was mostly a bust. We made a number of trips to Ames. Volleyball and football seasons came and went.

And here we are.

The first of the beef goes to the locker tomorrow. If you haven’t ordered your quarter or half yet there’s still time, but let us know asap.

And I will try not to neglect this space so much.

1 year ago today:

This little piggy

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Irony


We’ve all said it, life goes so fast. I mean, I blinked and my kids went from this

to this

As I walked to the chicken pen one morning to fetch Titus I did something I haven’t done in a very long time – I stopped to take pictures.

I took pictures of the flowers that have started to bloom in the ditches – yellow ones and blue and purple ones and clover – I don’t know their names but I took their pictures anyway with my phone and an app (my big dslr camera sees less and less action these days.)

I took a picture of our house, and of the creek all greens and blue skies.

And in the process of slowing down to look around, to notice the little wonders of my immediate world, the whole world seemed to spin a little bit slower. Is that the secret to slowing down this crazy wonderful life of mine? Stop and look around once in a while?

I’m so used to living life at the speed of blur, full throttle, that the world around me does seem to blur as I focus on the biggest fire that needs put out – laundry, farm business, feeding the family, cheering on or running errands or cleaning up the worst of the mess. But in order for what’s blurred to come into focus I have to slow down, stop even, and notice.

I used to do this all the time, almost every day on my lunch break I’d grab my camera and just walk around the farm to see what was going on. And at first it was the obvious things – cows and pigs and chickens and children and pets. But after the obvious I’d start to look closer and deeper – weeds and hay sworls and new crops and spider webs.

I seem to remember that time as slower than this time. Maybe that’s just the way of nostalgia. I thought it was because the kids were younger and not involved in as many things. And logically that’s got to be part of it. But I wonder if it’s also that you stop noticing the things that have always been there.

5 years ago:

Count ’em

Itchy and scratchy

Birdseye view

Don’t send out the search party just yet


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Noticing