Blog Archives

{Book Review} The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

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Rodale offers a free trial of this book, click on the pic

The Backyard Homestead, edited by Carleen Madigan

I got this book because I wanted a nice, well-rounded introduction to producing food, livestock, and other edibles on my property, regardless of the size of my property, and I wanted it to appeal to someone who really didn’t know much about the topic.

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[Activity] Make a Nesting Materials Hub for Birds

I never forget to feed the birds. Every time I go outside, my muscle memory moves my eyeballs to the feeders to see if they need to be refilled.

But what I do forget is that, judging by how vocal they’re becoming, they’re getting into the mood for finding a mate and building a nest. The daylight clings a little longer, and all the trees – I just know it – are starting to stir. So this year I wanted to add another element to the backyard: a little depot for nesting supplies. Now most birds are going to use natural goodies, like twigs, moss, and (if you’re a hummingbird) even spider web silk, but birds are opportunists and if they decide yarn or dog hair would benefit the nest, they’ll certainly use it.

Cross the jump to see what I did this year!

nesting materials

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The Milkweed & Monarch Situation – Links & Resources

Butterflies feed on lots of different plants, but each species need a particular plant or group of plants on which to lay their eggs. Monarch butterflies need Milkweed (Asclepias species) for reproduction, and these lovely indigenous flowers are in decline – between agricultural practices, roadside chemical sprays, and everything else that puts native species in decline, milkweed species, like many other plants that support native wildlife, are in trouble.

I wanted to take just a quick minute to assemble some resources and links that will help you gather all the necessary info on this topic, and the exciting movement happening in backyard gardens to protect the gorgeous, famous butterfly we call the Monarch.

Female Monarch on clover, by Kenneth Harrelson on Wiki.

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Weekly Photo Wunderbar

Hello friends. You can tell I’m stuck on summer (even as the heat comes on in the house above my head) because I refuse to get outside and take photos of autumn-type things, but maybe that will be this week’s task… le sigh. Oh, how I hate to see summer go!

Here’s some lupine leaves from my garden – I planted a 1 gallon plant that was maybe 12 inches tall. In one season it grew to about 5 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. I’ve never seen a lupine (or any other plant that isn’t a noxious weed) explode like that, but I guess it liked the spot where it was growing. They have some of the most beautiful leaves in the plant kingdom (imo) and it somehow managed to keep its leaves all winter, despite the fact that I’m almost positive the species I have is not evergreen. Ah, lupine. What an awesome, poisonous plant you be!