Growing Potatoes: The Lazy Bed Method + Improvements

Growing Potatoes Collage via Better Hens and Gardens

Note: Several readers have requested posts on topics that have already appeared here - this is one of those posts that has been updated and republished. Since originally writing on how to grow potatoes using this method, we've made a couple of changes that gave us much better yields (see "Growing Potatoes: The Lazy Bed Method - IMPROVED!"), so I've incorporated those options into the method outlined below.  Potatoes are such an easy and … [Continue reading]

Making French-Style Cream Cheese

Making French Style Cream Cheese collage via Better Hens and Gardens

It's very easy to make this soft cheese; and it can be used in so many ways - it's the one homemade cheese that I think anyone with dairy animals should know how to make.  It can be used in any recipe that uses cream, farmer, or other soft cheese; and it freezes well so you can make cheese when milk is plentiful and preserve it for use when there's no milk.   It can be made with milk … [Continue reading]

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop 5/23/15

Dillinger Simple Saturday

Join us for ideas on living a Simple Lifestyle and being Self Sufficient!   Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop! This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all … [Continue reading]

Hillbilly Beans

Hillbilly Beans via Better Hens and Gardens

I like to make most things from scratch; but this is a quick, put-together dish that's great for so many potluck or party situations.  Everyone always seems to love it.  It can be varied infinitely and there are many versions out there - we use Stephanie's version. I find that this dish works in almost any situation or season, it always disappears! Whether it's a main dish or a side I'm not sure, but I guess … [Continue reading]

More 2015 Nigerian Dwarf Kids!

Cally's Kids Collage via Better Hens and Gardens

At about 5:30 Friday morning, Buttin'Heads Calligraphy freshened for the first time, and delivered Quads! That's the first time we've had a first freshener deliver quads, and we're very proud of her. All of the kids were healthy, and they were all smaller kids (2 lbs. or a little less) so she seemed to have a pretty easy time delivering them.  I believe they would all be classified as black caped buckskins with white overlay and … [Continue reading]

Fresh Rhubarb Crisp

Springtime Treat Fresh Rhubarb Crisp via Better Hens and Gardens

It's a sure sign of spring when the rhubarb pops up; it's a perennial and is the first thing we can really start harvesting fresh each spring.  This is a very simple but delicious way to use that first spring rhubarb, and the recipe can be varied endlessly with other fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, cherries, etc.  Simply substitute 1/2 of the fruit quantity with whatever other fruit you'd like to … [Continue reading]

7 Important Questions To Ask Before Getting Bees

7 Question Before Getting Honey Bees via Better Hens and Gardens

Thinking of adding honey bees to your backyard?  Here are the questions to ask before committing to beekeeping (we didn’t necessarily think of all these before adding ours): Have you considered the flight path? Bees act like airplanes in flight, so it’s important to make sure the garden, pool, etc. are not in their takeoff or touchdown flight paths.  If you put a six-foot fence or hedge around the hive; however, you can cause … [Continue reading]

Basic Goat Care After Kidding

Basic Goat Care After Kidding via Better Hens and Gardens

We've been very fortunate that our Nigerian Dwarf does have kidded with very few difficulties, and are very good mothers too.  I’m always amazed at the way they care for their kids – as newborns, waking them every few hours and encouraging them to nurse – as they grow older and they want to nurse all the time, regulating how often the kids nurse but still encouraging the weaker ones to nurse frequently.   Even if they don't need help … [Continue reading]

5 Steps for Controlling Potato Beetles

Controlling Potato Beetles via Better Hens and Gardens

Every gardener growing potatoes is likely to run into this beetle, as it’s a devastating pest of potatoes.  Both the yellow, black-striped adult and the black-spotted, red larvae feed on potato leaves, and can completely consume them thereby greatly reducing tuber yields and even killing plants.  The potato beetle can also be a serious pest on tomato, eggplant, and pepper (all also members of the nightshade family); and the damage … [Continue reading]

3 Steps For Building Beautiful Garden Borders

Building Beautiful Garden Borders via Better Hens and Gardens

I really admire beautiful mixed flower and foliage borders like the top photo here (confession - none of mine look like this), but have difficulty creating borders like this around our home.   As the seasons progress; there's either too little foliage, too few flowers, the colors don't mix, or the textures don't work together.  To combat the problem, last year I started with a new improvement … [Continue reading]