I’m a working mom, a devoted wife, an author and a homesteader. I spend my free time eating lunch.
My homesteading story began 180 years ago, with pioneering ancestors who made drastic changes to preserve faith and values. With each generation the plot repeats: A diligent father works long hours to provide for his family. An innovative mother fills in the gaps while striving to uphold her faith and values. Children follow in their parents’ footsteps, returning to proven methods when modern times fall short on promises of a better life.
Now my husband and I live the lessons taught by our parents, working to support our family through conventional careers in addition to urban farming. We raise chickens and other poultry, rely on large-scale urban gardening, and get through the winter with canning and food preservation. In the spring and summer we grow food; in the fall we preserve it; in the winter we make cheese and soap and chronicle the year’s experiences.
I began the Ames Family Farm blog on a whim, mostly to secure the name in case I took my talents further and started a greenhouse or an educational system. What came to fruition exceeded my own ambitions. Now I share my experiences through Ames Family Farm, Countryside and Backyard Poultry Magazines, other publications, and social media. I speak at conventions and work with school gardening projects, advocating sustainability and backyard chickens in urban settings. Mostly, I offer what I can as friends and acquaintances seek help with gardening or homesteading endeavors.
My current books in progress include Huntsman, the third book in the Tir Athair medieval fantasy series, and a homesteading series to help budget-minded urbanites enhance their living spaces to save money and advocate a healthier, happier way of life. I continue to contribute to Countryside and Backyard Poultry through it all.
I believe homesteading is meant to save money rather than cost more. That gardening enhances health and joy as well as cutting costs, that canning and food preservation are keys to self-reliance when bad times hit. That everyone has the ability to homestead. Even if you live in a high-rise apartment and cannot keep chickens, you can make cheese or sew clothing. Even in a food desert you can budget and preserve food to protect your health and way of life.
I'm a Southern born and raised farm girl transplanted to Northwest Idaho. I love going barefoot in the garden, working with our animals, and all things homesteading. We live as close to nature as is possible for us. Join us on our journey as we share old-timey wisdom for today.
We use organic,non-GMO practices based on the wisdom and skills my grandparents taught me, with a little modern ingenuity mixed in.
Life is often chaotic, stressful, and sometimes painful. We want to be a source of encouragement, information, direction, and strength for all those seeking to live a more self-sustaining, naturally healthy lifestyle.
We've taken up a lesson my grandfather taught me, “There’s as many ways of gettin’ a farm job done as there’s farmers. Ya gotta be willing to listen, help, and learn from ’em, even if it’s just to see what not to do.” We live every area of our lives by this motto. Come enjoy the journey with us!
Janet Garman -
I can’t remember a time in my life where farm animals did not play a huge role in my day. I was “not raised on a farm but got there as quickly as possible” is a quote that could be my story. During High School my best friend moved to a farm and I spent every available weekend there, learning from her family. During college, I majored in Animal Science, worked in the dairy barn, showed animals in the college competitions and studied large livestock farm management. My early career days however found me working as a paralegal but I got back to farming as soon as I could!
It is my mission to share the stories about building a self-reliant farm for our family. While sharing, I hope to encourage people to take steps to live more intentionally, taking back control of your food supply, and to be able to grow, harvest and store fresh food. Using what we learn, sharing what works for us and encouraging others to take steps toward living a more self-reliant lifestyle, is our goal. We raise pigs, cattle, and poultry including ducks, chickens and guineas. The fiber that makes our farm blend yarn comes from our own sheep and Pygora goats. The yarn is processed locally by a state of the art fiber mill, making it a premium product that is garment soft. The yarn is available through our website and purchases of the yarn or fiber help us support our small farm. Coming soon, Fresh Honey from our farm bees!
When not farming, I write posts for the digital publications, Backyard Poultry Magazine, Countryside Magazine, Self-Reliant School and From Scratch Magazine.
Http://timbercreekfarmer.com Read my latest book, Chickens From Scratch, Raising Your Own Chickens From Hatch to Egg Laying and Beyond, available through Amazon.com or http://timbercreekfarmer.com Available in paperback and e-book.
Timber Creek Farm: http://timbercreekfarmer.com
Gail Damerow is the author of The Chicken Encyclopedia, The Chicken Health Handbook, Hatching & Brooding Your Own Chicks, Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Fences for Pasture and Garden, The Perfect Pumpkin, Ice Cream! The Whole Scoop, Your Chickens, and Your Goats. She is co-author of Draft Horses & Mules and The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals, and is a regular contributor to Backyard Poultry and Countryside magazines.
Gail lives in Tennessee where she and her husband Allan keep Nubian dairy goats as well as poultry, tend a sizable garden, and maintain a small orchard and a large woodlot. On their diversified small farm they seek independence and sustainability by growing and preserving much of what they eat and feed their livestock.
Gail’s interest in gardening, canning and food preservation, and keeping poultry originated with visits to her maternal grandmother, who maintained a sizable garden and a large flock of laying hens. As a youngster Gail looked forward to having chickens of her own. At the age of ten she thought she was realizing her dream when a department store Easter Bunny handed her a small carton containing a single chick. At the time she and her family were moving cross-country in a travel trailer, and sharing the cramped space with a chick in a cardboard box did not sit well with her parents.
When Gail came of age she sought out a place in the country where she could indulge her passion for poultry. She has been gardening and keeping chickens and other birds for more than four decades. Over the years she has raised many different breeds of bantams and large chickens, as well as guinea fowl, pheasants, peafowl, ducks, geese, and swans. She enjoys sharing the knowledge she has acquired over the years via her blogs, books, and magazine articles.
I'm a fifth-generation chicken keeper and the founder of the natural chicken keeping website Fresh Eggs Daily®. I am also an author, gardener and aspiring herbalist and live on a small hobby farm in Maine with my husband and an assorted flock of chickens and ducks, a German Shepherd, a Corgi and a barn cat.
I share my farming adventures on my blog and Facebook pages Fresh Eggs Daily and Duck Eggs Daily. My blog was named one of the top ten gardening blogs for 2014 by Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
I had been around chickens for most of my life, but only got back into raising them as an adult about seven years ago. I created Fresh Eggs Daily® to help others learn how to raise their flocks naturally, without using antibiotics or other commercial medications, much like my grandparents did. My advice is largely based on how the old-timers did things, as well as my own creative spin and tried-and-true experiences with my own flock.
Dedicated to raising our animals as naturally as possible, I offer advice and tips to help readers learn to use herbs and other holistic preventives and remedies as well as creative ways to keep their flocks happy and healthy - and show them how to have some fun while doing it. In addition to chicken keeping tips, I also share DIY projects for the coop and run using mostly repurposed materials, natural household products, gardening ideas, and recipes using fresh eggs, vegetables, and herbs. I knit, sew, read, and dabble in canning and breadmaking when not tending to my flock.
Our flock has numbered from just three hens to more than three dozen over the years plus nearly a dozen ducks. I have raised more than 25 different poultry breeds at various times and now concentrate on some of the more rare breeds of chickens such as Lavender Orpingtons, Chocolate Orpingtons, Olive Eggers, Blue Copper Marans and Blue Ameraucanas, as well as Ancona, Saxony, Magpie and Silver Appleyard ducks. I collect beautiful blue, olive green, cream, white and chocolate brown eggs daily from our mixed poultry flock.
I wrote a book titled Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens...Naturally (St. Lynn's Press, 2013) which not only offers basic advice to those just starting out on their backyard chicken journey, but also complies the best from my blog in the areas of the coop, run, nesting boxes, dust bath area, and more, to guide readers on a more natural path to chicken keeping. My second book Duck Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Ducks...Naturally (St. Lynn's Press, 2015) covers natural duck care. My third book Gardening with Chickens (Voyageur, 2016) deals with incorporating your flock into your gardening efforts and learning how to protect crops and landscaping from your chickens.
Follow me here!
and https://www.facebook.com/duckeggs daily
Ryan Slabaugh is the editor of Backyard Poultry and Countryside Magazine and Small Stock Journal, which serve thousands of people interested in poultry, chickens, countryside lifestyles, soil and compost, livestock and vegetable gardening. The Countryside team believes that sustainability and simple living are the best gifts we can give to future generations, and work to positively build awareness about conservation, environmentalism and resource management. Each year, they help hundreds of people start raising livestock for the first times, while sharing lessons from gardeners who range in experience from novice to expert.
Previously, Ryan Slabaugh spent 15 years as a journalist, winning awards for his environmental work documenting the early outbreak of Colorado’s pine beetle epidemic and early signs of climate change, and as a community newspaper editor, helping grow several titles including The Aspen Times, Vail Daily, Sierra Sun, Tahoe Daily Tribune, High Country Golf, and Tahoe Magazine, and working within communities to help make them better places to live. His work in remote, mountain regions gave him a unique look at how environmental and resource pressures can affect a community — for better or worse — and how local communities have rallied together to protect their backyards for future generations.
Away from work, Ryan lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his girlfriend, Catherine, and his dog, Frannie. He also coaches Little League, explores the nearby Rocky Mountains, consults with nonprofits on branding and marketing and serves on the board of directors for the Conservation ReSource Center based in Boulder. He also freelance writes about professional skiers, enjoys playing guitar, running and being outdoors, and has skied more than 45 ranges across the West.
Ryan graduated from DePauw University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in English and member of the Media Fellows Honors Society. He grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and Bettendorf, Iowa.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey, I never dreamed that I would find myself living on a small farm in upstate New York before I was 30. But for the last 13 years, my husband and I have been busy raising chickens for eggs, keeping bees for honey, and gardening, all while raising our son. In 2011, I discovered home remedies for anxiety after conventional medicine didn't work for me, and since then I have been educating myself through formal training and not-so-formal training about creating my own herbal remedies for common ailments. We love living the life of simple homesteading in the heart of the Adirondack mountains. We've dabbled in vermiculture and using worms to create great compost for our gardens, raising ducks for meat, and do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint. I spend my days in the kitchen cooking wonderful meals for my family, writing creative nonfiction and poetry, teaching yoga in a variety of settings, and creating handmade beaded jewelry of all types.
A gift of four Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks from the Easter bunny started my backyard flock. Since then, it has grown and currently consists of various breeds and even a few roosters. I have both hand raised my chickens and also let one of our broody hens hatch and raise her own chicks. I’ve nursed sick chickens back to health, watched as they live long and happy lives, experienced predator attacks and even scared off a few potential predators myself. My chickens free range and return to the coop each night. They do have a fully roofed run attached to their coop where they can safely get outside when we’re not home or in bad weather. Now, our Easter baskets are overflowing with brown, white and green eggs and my children are growing up with an appreciation for healthy food and the world around them.
On our farm we have a lot of forest acreage so we draw lots of local wildlife. Frequent trips to the coop are filled with chickens and nature. In fact, one time a resident hawk fledged right in our backyard. The chickens were curious about the creature hopping around and I was too! We have extensive gardens that we try to keep the chickens out of, and are intentionally planted for the local wildlife. From birds to bees, bats to insects and snakes to frogs, there’s always something to see around my house. And we enjoy tasting and using the plentiful bounty in my herb gardens.
As a journalist by trade, it was second nature to write about my experiences with chickens and poultry, herb gardening, gardening for nature and life in the country. I started Pam’s Backyard Chickens as a way to share my experiences and connect to the poultry community. And, as the digital content coordinator for Backyard Poultry and Countryside magazines, I have a great time working with a wonderful group of contributors and editors to bring the print magazines to life online and create a community where we can stay in touch and learn from each other. It’s fun and each day is a treat!
Steph Merkle is the Audience Development Editor for the Countryside Network. She lives along the foothills of northern Colorado, with her husband, two young kiddos and a feathered flock of Ameraucana chickens.
As a Colorado native, Steph spent her childhood in the remote San Luis Valley along the base of the towering Sangre de Crisco Mountains, just a stone’s throw from the Great Sand Dunes. Growing up in the valley made Steph appreciate the scarcity of water in a semi-arid climate and the mounting demands on this limited resource. Steph spent her summers working as a landscaper focused on xeriscaping practices as well as lending a hand on her grandparents’ tree farm. From a young age, Steph learned to appreciate nature, and the importance of living a sustainable, holistic life.
Steph has a degree in English, with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She’s spent her career in digital media, with a special focus on building new online audiences, social media management and teaching digital best practices. She can’t imagine doing anything else with her professional life. The ever-evolving nature of the digital space always presents new challenge, and she thoroughly enjoys how easily and quickly it is to share ideas, solutions and feedback online.
Steph is thrilled to be part of the homesteading heritage of Countryside Publications, and to help build an online community around topics that matter to her: Raising backyard chickens, growing her own food, supporting natural solutions and home remedies, and teaching her children how to respect the earth.
In her free time, you can find Steph tending to her raised bed vegetable gardens (she grows a mean crop of Brussels Sprouts), transforming her thirsty lawn into a pollinator’s paradise, and traveling as far and wide as her work schedule and pocketbook allow.
Jeremy Chartier started his foray into the world of farming at the age of 12, and has never looked back. Growing up in rural Northeast Connecticut, Jeremy was raised on a small homestead with tractors, trucks and farm animals being part of everyday life.
Jeremy spent his early years exhibiting goats and chickens in 4-H, along with shadowing his father while building barns and chicken coops, fixing tractors, and creating cool contraptions out of scrap metal or spare parts. Experience being a great teacher, Jeremy learned the skills of a self-reliant farmer such as welding, mechanical repair, fabrication, fence and gate installation, hydraulic systems, how to operate common farm tools and a myriad of other useful things. Needless to say, he's been driving a tractor since he could reach the pedals.
Since his interest in livestock began at a young age, Jeremy enrolled in an Agricultural Education high school program in lieu of the usual scholastic route. Being exposed to agricultural mechanics, natural resource management, livestock and plant science classes, he had the opportunity to learn a broad scope of useful things. As part of this high school program, Jeremy raised chickens and turkeys for his supervised agricultural experience project, and was active in the FFA youth organization.
Jeremy continued his agricultural-centric education through the Ratcliffe Hicks School Of Agriculture at the University Of Connecticut, graduating with an associates degree in Animal Science, while being an active member of the UConn Poultry Science Club. Jeremy later joined a program run by the University Of Maine to be trained as a Poultry Service Provider, so he could offer basic poultry diagnostic and troubleshooting guidance to fellow poultry farmers and backyard enthusiasts.
Jeremy is also a 4-H poultry showmanship judge, volunteer Fire Fighter and avid entrepreneur.
Jeremy is now happily focused on helping the backyard chicken keepers and rural homesteaders of the world through his work with Countryside Network, and through his own website Henclass.com.
Maat van Uitert is a poultry, livestock, and homesteading expert and author who helps everyday people achieve independence by teaching fans how to raise chickens, learn traditional skills, and become more self-sufficient. She is the founder and editor at her website FrugalChicken, which gives homesteading and livestock advice. As a sought-after chicken and homesteading expert, Maat speaks at summits and seminars both online and in person, and shares her knowledge on podcasts and radio shows for the homesteading community. In 2015, Maat published her first book, Chicken Nutrition: Feeding Your Hens From Chick To Layer. Based on the popularity of that book, she began formulating an online course about chicken nutrition titled Feeding Your Hens Right, which is due out in January 2016, and has already pre-sold many copies. With her ever-growing flock of poultry, as well as her herds of goats, pigs, rabbits, and horses, Maat is kept busy on her 10-acre rural homestead. As a traditional skills expert, Maat is also a soap making nut, with her own line of goat milk soaps, produced right on her homestead from her herd of wonderful (but mischievous) milking goats, and shares her goat milk soap with the world on FrugalChicken and in an Etsy shop that will open next spring. A fermenting fanatic, Maat also is a sought-after expert in preserving food by fermenting, and loves to make probiotic and fermented condiments to liven up every meal. She is also interested in cheese making, and began that pursuit after moving to an area where good goat cheeses are impossible to find. Not one to accept that fate, Maat began teaching herself about gourmet cheese making. You can catch up with Maat on her website FrugalChicken, as well as on her weekly chicken-centered podcast What The Cluck?!: Raising Chickens For Fun & Self-Sufficiency available on iTunes now.
Kenny Coogan, CPBT-KA is a freelance writer, author and permaculturist in Florida. He has more than 15 years of experience as a poultry owner, and has trained birds professionally at zoos and aquariums for seven years. He has cared for pigeons, penguins and porcupines. His all-time favorite animal to work with and care for are sloths.
He wrote weekly pet columns for three newspapers in New York State for three years. Archives can be found at his column’s Facebook page: Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan.
Coogan has a B.S. in animal behavior and is a certified professional bird trainer through the International Avian Trainers Certification Board. His children’s book titled "A Tenrec Named Trey (And other odd lettered animals that like to play),” is an eight story anthology regarding bizarre but real exotic animals. He is a regular columnist for Backyared Poultry, Countryside and Florida Gardening magazines.
In addition to growing annual vegetables from seed in his greenhouse and then transplanting them into one of his six raised vegetable beds, Coogan is transforming his homestead into a permaculture landscape. Free tree trimmings are used as mulched pathways, 70 year old oak trees serve as trellises for passionfruit and loofa vines and a half dozen rain barrels store valuable rainwater for supplementing the vegetable gardens. Edible trees, including various bananas and citrus, Moringa, Chaya, katuk (Sauropus androgynus), loquat, pomegranate, jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), peanut butter (Bunchosia argentea) and miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum), now grow where sandy soil once laid unproductively. He shares his one acre Florida homestead with two cats, eight chickens, six ducks and a 26-year-old female Moluccan cockatoo named Buddy.
We live along the Texas Gulf coast on 1.5 acres where we raise chickens and bees, have a large garden and a growing orchard. We try very hard to live simply and to be producers and not just consumers. We journal our adventures at SchneiderPeeps.com
We share our simple living journey on our website SchneiderPeeps.com to encourage others in their own simple living journey. Each week we share posts about what is happening on our homestead - it might be our successes (or failures) in the garden or orchard, cooking from scratch, preserving the harvest, diy craft tutorials or reviews of encouraging books we've been reading.
In between homeschooling the last three of our six children and helping with our little homestead, I write for digital publications such as Countryside Network and The Biblical Herbal Magazine. I also have several printable ebooks, The Gardening Notebook and The Wellness Notebook, available for purchase at SchneiderPeeps.com/ebooks.
Website - http://SchneiderPeeps.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/schneiderpeeps
Pinterest - https://pinterest.com/schneiderpeeps
Etsy - https://www.etsy.com/shop/SchneiderPeeps
I am a teacher by trade but have always found joy in making things with my hands. I come from a long line of gardeners. My grandmother had a tiny city lot in Cleveland where she utilized every square inch of land to grow something edible: pears, currants, tomatoes, peppers, apples, melons... Some of my fondest memories of visiting her as a child include steaming pies and choosing which cans to take home with us from her cellar. The two things I always grabbed were canned peaches and currant jam.
In every house I’ve lived in as an adult I’ve found a way to incorporate vegetable gardening into my environment. From my first apartment in Philadelphia, where I planted some tomatoes in pots behind the building, to my first house on my own where I got a corner lot with a nice big yard and planted a huge raised garden with berries, kale, corn, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, cabbage, squash, and more.
When my husband and I settled into our new home on 4 acres in Batavia, Ohio, I decided that I wanted to continue this legacy, by growing and making food to share this feeling of home with others. Unfortunately, I was too young and too far removed geographically to learn about canning and food preservation from my grandmother, so I had to learn it on my own by trying out recipes and reading about procedures and tools. I have a good friend who has been through many experiments in the kitchen with me, as it was in the old days – women working together in the kitchen and enjoying each other’s company. Now I sell some of my canned goods as well, so that others can savor the taste of home, even if they don’t have the time, tools or skills to can.
Here on Phillips Farm, we are also raising birds: a mixed flock of Ameraucanas and Rhode Island Reds as well as three Pekin ducks. We are learning much about chickens, ducks and poultry in the process! The girls are so interesting to observe, and it is such a joy to go out and find their lovely eggs waiting for us. When our sons come home from school, they always want to run out and check what the chickens are up to and if they have laid any eggs. This combined with picking carrots, beans, tomatoes, corn and more straight from the garden for dinner - what a wonderful experience for them to connect with the natural world and to see exactly where their food comes from!
I hope through my blogs that I can share some of our lessons learned, as well as some interesting, silly and fun moments along the way!
Just Fowling Around is a working Poultry farm, with over 20 years experience, however we are relatively new to the digital representation. We have customers throughout the United States, including Alaska, that have purchased our fertile hatching eggs, or visited our farm for our heritage and rare breed chicks and laying hens. We are a brother and sister team here at Just Fowling Around, best known as Bro and Sis on our Facebook page. Bro does all the manual labor, hatching and raising over 500 chickens year round. Sis writes all the articles related to poultry, and keeps our website and Facebook page up to date with current information, photos and chicken breed profiles. We invite you to visit our website and Facebook page, and welcome your questions and comments. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Fowling-Around/365743116845352?ref=hl http://justfowlingaround.weebly.com/
Happy-Days-Farm is a joint effort of Penny Ausley & Brittany May. We have 11 hens, 1 rooster, 7 Guinea Fowl, and 3 Lionhead Rabbits on our ever expanding backyard farm.
Together, we have a combined thirty-eight years experience raising and using herbs, and Brittany is a certified herbalist through the New England Herbal Academy. Since starting Happy-Days-Farm, this love of herbs has turned into an opportunity to learn how to apply natural and herbal prevention and treatments to our animals to keep them healthy.
I was lured into the world of backyard chickens when I discovered that I could buy chicks in the poultry department of a farm store. I talked my husband into getting six chicks and before the end of the week, I had six more. Now, I have 27 backyard chickens in four coops! They accumulate fast!
I decided that I wanted to raise them as naturally as possible because we wanted healthy and delicious fresh eggs. As we set about to take the best care possible of our chickens, we became more aware of the foods we were eating and wanted healthier foods for our family. We built four raised bed gardens, and added some container gardens to our deck and planted fruit, vegetables and herbs. Our first foray into gardening had some ups and down, but we learned so much that we're confident that this year our garden will give us a bumper crop!
Along the way, I began writing the story of our efforts on my Facebook page, "The Eggs and I". From obsessively checking on our chicks, to taking care of an egg-bound hen, to rooster rehab, I write about every aspect of our adventures with our backyard chickens from a humorist viewpoint.
I'm a retired registered nurse, a writer, artist and photographer. I'm also the mother of three beautiful children who do not share my interest in poultry! I live in Southern Indiana near the Ohio River on a beautiful piece of property in a subdivision. I've already infected the neighborhood with backyard chicken love and now several neighbors have taken up backyard chicken keeping!
In my spare time, when I'm not writing about poultry, or spending time in my raised bed gardens, I enjoy crocheting and sewing. I also paint chicken art! My work can be found at www.Etsy.com/shop/roosterteeth.
Chickens are a passion of mine. I have kept chickens as pets for over 20 years, even some as house pets. You cannot live day in and day out with an animal without gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of them. I have experienced beautiful friendships and heartbreaking failures, but through everything, one thing has remained true; that without them there would be an inconsolable void in my life. Today I live on a 10-acre suburban farm estate with my husband and ex-husband. It is an unconventional, but functional relationship. We share the responsibilities for our chickens, turkeys, peacocks, guineas, pheasants, ducks, pigeons, and doves. Many of our efforts center around sustainability. In my orchard, vineyard and gardens I grow as much of our food as possible and preserve the excess the way my grandmother taught my mother and my mother taught me. My experience in construction has aided in building and continually developing of our state-of-the-art coops and runs. In addition to my writing for BYP, I actively maintain my blog, Rooster Hooch, which was inspired by the overwhelming interest in the story of our rooster who broke into the homemade wine and nearly lost his life to inebriation. I am currently working on a book that combines my photography with years of funny, inspirational and even poignant stories about our birds. My initial education was a BA in Fine Arts with dual concentration in Textiles and Photography. Today I am a Licensed Massage Therapist in private practice and embrace as holistic a lifestyle as possible. I have been a teacher for 20 years in various subjects and vocations including Anatomy & Physiology and Pathology as an adjunct at a local college. I am an educator at heart. Through my photography and my writing, I hope to foster awareness of the amazing attributes of poultry and educate people about their care. I strive to see that as many birds as possible have the best quality of life through my own personal effort and by educating hobbyists and owners. I believe that we all have the moral responsibility to provide the best quality of care through diet and lifestyle, health care and environment to any animal that we bring into our lives.
Blogging at http://www.sunnysimplelife.com/. I share how in my small city yard, right outside of Los Angeles, I organically raise much of our produce and fresh eggs right in our own garden. Our site is full of frugal tips and delicious recipes. Come by for a visit.
I grew up on a farm in North Central Illinois and it is important to mention that as the lead for my introduction given how that piece of earth defined a good portion of my life and who I am. My great-great grandparents fled Poland, which was Prussia at the time and came to America where they eventually bought the farm my family still lives on and works today. In my generation, my three sisters, parents and I, ran a produce business where we grew vegetables from A to Z on that farm. We also had beef cattle, chickens, ducks, geese, and even raised New Zealand rabbits. My younger years were spent driving tractors, bailing hay, harvesting vegetables, and traversing the ravines of our fifty acres of woods. When other kids were off at summer camps or sports programs, my sisters and I were picking sweet corn, banding calves, "walking" beans, and mending fences, all the while trying to kill each other. My mother used to make some of our clothes, and I managed to absorb some of that knowledge and still sew regularly to this day. I was able to add crocheting and knitting to that crafty repertoire along the way, although I will never likely be an expert.
You can take the girl off the farm... There was an appeal of adventure growing up on a farm, as well as a sense of duty, and I feel that led to my decision to join the Army in my early twenties. I served five and a half years on active duty. I deployed to Iraq and when my service ended, I returned to Iraq and then Afghanistan to conduct similar work as a civilian. A military colleague told me one day as we stood in the war zone that he yearned to hear the sound of crickets and I thought how I couldn't agree more. I returned home to the nurturing, peaceful farm I had left behind and began to fulfill another lifelong dream - writing. I published my first fiction novel, The Weeping Books Of Blinney Lane in 2015. My thumb is still and always will be green, but I apply it much more often to the pen now, continuing to write novels, short stories, and articles. I maintain the way of life that I was raised in, canning jam, preserving vegetables, and experimenting with my landscaping. My mother is retired, but still sells some produce at farm markets and on days I help her I stop to think how I don't miss all those days of hard labor...but also that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in this world that I have been lucky enough to traverse across. As we say in my part of the woods, "I'm on the right side of the dirt."