Best Birdhouse Plans and Ideas

Birdhouses Plans amd Ideas

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Birdhouse Plans and Ideas – Do you love seeing birds fly in and out of your yard? For many homeowners, a birdhouse is a good addition to their yard as it provides a safe haven for their feathered friends.

It’s also a place for birds to raise their young.

Birdhouses, using or not using a birdhouse kit (see examples here) can also be a good do-it-yourself project; something that even a person with limited DIY skills can pull off with the best birdhouse plans.

A testament to how easy it is to put up your own birdhouse is the fact that there are many kid-friendly birdhouse plans available.

Yes, that’s right, even a grade schooler can build his or her own birdhouse given the right tools and instructions.

Building a birdhouse is a fun activity to do with your child.

Building a Raised Garden Bed Cheaply

Best Birdhouse Plans

Whatever design you intend to have for your birdhouse plan, there are several things to keep in mind.

Types of birds

Find out what bird species are in your area.

This is essential. Different areas and climates attract different types.

From there, think about the kind of birds you actually want to attract.

Perhaps you are hoping for colorful cardinals or fascinating hummingbirds.

Maybe you want to attract birds that eat mosquitoes.

Keep in mind the birds you want when you are considering how large or small to build your birdhouse.

Building your birdhouse accordingly will increase your chances that the birds you want will find your birdhouse.

Size of the birdhouse

Be sure the size of the house is appropriate for the type of birds you want.

The inside dimensions must also be large enough for the adult bird and the growing young.

Birdhouses Plans amd Ideas
Birdhouses Plans amd Ideas

The size of the entrance hole is equally important.

If it is too small, the bird won’t be able to get inside the birdhouse.

If it is too big, then there’s the risk that predatory birds and animals could get inside the birdhouse which could spell trouble for your feathered friends.

Birdhouse materials

As for the material, wood is the best.

It provides the best insulation.

Other materials such as plastic and metal may not be able to insulate the nest, which can make the eggs or young birds overheated in sunny weather or chilled in the cold.

Use galvanized nails which won’t rust.

If you choose to paint the birdhouse, use dull colors to easily blend in with the surroundings.

As fun as it is for a child to paint a birdhouse in their own creative way, keep in mind predators when you paint birdhouses and nest boxes with colors.

Building Birdhouses

Regardless of the style you come up for your birdhouse, you would want it made from materials that can stand up to the weather.

Wooden birdhouses

As mentioned earlier, wood is the best material for a birdhouse.

It’s natural and won’t overheat.

You can opt for cedar which is affordable, readily available at home improvement centers, and can last for years even when left outdoors.

Pinewood is another excellent option.

Birdhouse flooring

For most birds, the floor of the birdhouse should be at least 4 inches by four inches.

Bluebirds, meanwhile, need a slightly larger floor measuring five inches by five inches.

Birdhouse entrance hole

The entrance hole should be at least 1 ½ inches, which is of the right size for native birds to enter but small enough for European starlings and house sparrows to come in.

The entrance hole should be at last five inches above the floor of the birdhouse.

Birdhouse roof

The roof, meanwhile, should be over-sized.

It must extend over the house so that it can shed rainwater away from the entrance.

There is also the likelihood that rainwater will still find its way inside the nest box even with an overhanging roof.

So you should put drainage holes in the bottom of the birdhouse.

Along with narrow gaps under the roofline, these holes will also keep the birds comfortable during warm weather as air circulation should be good inside the nest box.

Hanging the birdhouse

Another important consideration in building a birdhouse is hanging it at the right height.

The general rule of thumb is that the birdhouse should be at least five feet above the ground.

It must also be placed several feet away from bushes where predators like cats can hide.

best birdhouse plans
Birdhouses Robins

The birdhouse should also have several food sources for its tenants.

It would be great if you place it in a yard with native flowers and shrubs that produce seeds and berries.

Or add plants in the garden that can attract insects which the adult bird and its hungry young can feed on.

Handmade Birdhouses

Novice and experienced woodworkers can also make their own handmade birdhouses.

The beauty of birdhouses is that you can use recycled or scrap lumber along with tools such as hammer, nails, and a drill (or cordless drill).

Building a birdhouse steps

Step 1 – Get a pinewood board that measures 18 inches in length and two shorter boards that are cut at an angle.

This would be for the roof that will have a downward angle, letting the rainwater to drain off.

Step 2 – Next, cut two pieces with identical lengths and attached these to the backboard using an air-powered nail gun.

Alternatively, you can use hammer and nails to attach the side pieces to the board.

Step 3 – After attaching the two sides to the board, attach the bottom part of the birdhouse using two nails.

This would secure the two sides to the bottom piece as well.

Step 4 – Once you attach the sides and bottom to the board, you will install the roof next. 

As mentioned earlier, it should be slightly wider than the body of the nest box so that the animals will be protected against the rain.

Step 5 – The final element of the birdhouse is the circular entry door.

An opening of 1 ½ inches in diameter should be enough for finches and bluebirds to get into.

It would also be small enough to prevent predators and hunters from entering.

Use a hole saw for this.

Birdhouse Kits

But if you’re really not confident with your carpentry and wood making skills then you can look for a birdhouse kit.

A birdhouse kit (many to choose from) has everything you need to build a nesting place for your feathery friends.

It includes the wood pieces as well as the tools you need like paint brush, nails, and glue.

Moreover, you will get detailed instructions on how to build the nest box.

In fact these birdhouse kits are very easy to build that there are models designed particularly for children as young as five years old!

What’s also good about buying a kit is if you like it, you can make others like it using it as a guide.

When shopping for a birdhouse kit, you must also look into the inclusions of the product.

One would be the mounting device as it is easier to mount the nest box if there is a bracket or hanger for pole mounting or hanging.

This would save you time and spare you of the hassle trying to figure out how to install a mountain hardware into the birdhouse.

Also, the birdhouse should have one side that opens.

This would give you two benefits.

One is that it will make it easier for you to access the interiors, which is important for cleaning out the birdhouse once the birds have left it completely.

Also, you can look at the inside the box whenever you want.

Birdhouse Ideas

There are many nest box ideas that you can look online for the birdhouse that you are planning.

You can go for the traditional box house with a slant roof, a round hole in the front, and peg perch.

This birdhouse design can house any kind of birds.

What makes it attractive to birds is the size of the hole, so you should cut a hole that is comfortable for the animal to get in.

A platform or open box is a simple to build birdhouse.

It’s a three-sided nest box that can be hung in the backyard, attracting birds to come and raise their young ones.

Then there are the decorative birdhouses that are used more for aesthetic purposes.

This type of birdhouse isn’t really designed to attract a particular type of bird.

While a decorative nesting place can enhance the look of a garden, it can also be infiltrated by unwanted species like rodents.

The birdhouse design may also be affected by the birds that frequent your backyard, or are rampant in your area.

For instance, a woodpecker would likely stay in a box that is filled with sawdust or wood chip.

The house for this type of bird also known as Northern Flicker should be placed high on the tree trunk, and placed in direct sunlight.

Doves, meanwhile, love to settle at birdhouses with twigs, weeds, and grass.

The nest box should also be placed high, at least seven feet from the ground.

It should be with partly open sides to attract doves.

It’s also not uncommon to see flinches.

This type of bird is common in cities and towns.

These birds aren’t picky when it comes to birdhouses, as they can settle in open platform designs as well as enclosed boxes.

But you should place some extra wood at the entrance or mounting on a pole to provide a safer and attractive nesting place for the flinches.

Wrens are probably the species that prefer to nestle in a place closer to the ground.

If this is the type of bird that mostly frequents your area, then you should construct a birdhouse that is less than 1 ¼ inches in diameter.

You will also have to consider if you want sparrows in the birdhouse.

If not, you may want to make it even smaller.

Best birdhouse plans

Indeed, a birdhouse is one great addition to your backyard.

Whether you intend to build your own or buy a birdhouse kit, you won’t regret putting one in your garden.

It’s a fun project and perfect for kids to help with.

Oftentimes park districts or nature centers offer a class to make your own birdhouse.

This is geared generally for children but adults can learn as well. 

Whichever birdhouse design and style you choose, the most important thing is it will provide for a safe space for the bird’s eggs and chicks as they grow.

In turn, you get to look forward to birdwatching.

Rural Living offers many kinds of greenhouse kits Chcek Prices, bird houses Check Prices Here, mini greenhouse kits.

Best Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting

Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting

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Birdhouses for Birds – Nestbox, from the name itself, is a man-made box or enclosure that is used as a place for animals, such as specific mammals and birds, for nesting.

Birdhouses for birds are different-sized nesting boxes typically made from wood, and sometimes metal.

These boxes are built to look like small houses, and are made creatively using different colors and embellishments.

These birdhouses (examples) are oftentimes found in gardens or outdoor spaces to attract and house different various types of birds.

Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting

Aside from that, it can also be used as decorative pieces that add extra charm to any space.

Strategically placed birdhouses can beautify various areas while giving birds a safe space to nest and interact with other species of their kind.

Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting
Birdhouses for Birds and Nesting

It can also help maintain or increase the population of bird species in a certain area.

Birdhouses can be made a different number of ways, depending on the kind of bird you’d like to attract.

Below are the different birdhouses most suitable for cardinals, finches, and robins.

Birdhouses for Cardinals

Cardinals are oftentimes characterized by their bright red plumage.

They are called as such because their color resembles the red robes donned by cardinals of the Catholic Church.

They are considered one of the most desirable “backyard” birds, because of the beautiful songs they sing and their vibrant colors that never fade or change.

These large birds are quite easy to attract as they do not migrate, and can be backyard visitors all-year-round, especially when you’ve got a reliable source of food, water, shelter and nesting areas available.

How to attract cardinals

To attract cardinals, one must know that they prefer shrubby areas and thick vegetation.

They have strong and thick bills that are best for eating large seeds such as sunflower and safflower types.

You can also attract them with cracked corn, peanuts, berries, and apple chunks placed in big and spacious feeders suitable for perching.

Also, it is best to steer them clear from reflective surfaces, as they are pretty aggressive, and can get very territorial especially during breeding season to the point that they will even attack their reflections when they see it.

Cardinals are not what you might consider cavity-nesters; they create open cup-sized nests made from various plant materials such as twigs, stems, bark strips and such.

Since cardinals are large birds, enclosed birdhouses will not be suitable for them.

They prefer open nesting areas that give them enough space to perch, build their nests, and freely move around.

You can do this by creating nesting platforms instead.

Nesting platforms are open on all sides, and is built with corner posts that allow roof support that can offer protection for the nesting cardinals.

It is best to mount or position these platforms on the ground or near walls where there is thick plant cover and shrubbery.

The ideal height of a wooden nesting platform, including the roof, would not exceed four feet from the ground up.

It is important to place nesting platforms for cardinals near areas where they can gather suitable materials for creating their nests.

Birdhouses for Finches
Birdhouses for Finches

Birdhouses for Finches

Finches are one of the most common birds that you will see in your backyard.

They are pretty sociable creatures that enjoy visiting well-stocked feeders (great feeders) and interacting with their kind.

Also known as “house finches”, these small birds are just about the size of sparrows.

Males are seen with red-orange chest marks, while females are usually plain and un-striped, with heavy streaks on the body.

It is best to attract finches with plant food.

They also enjoy eating some insects and feeding them to their young.

Their natural diet, however, consists of fruit and weed seed.

During winter, they get the seeds from winter berries.

How to attract finches

It is easy to attract finches with different types of food such as various birdseeds, fruits, crumbs, suet, and nectar to name a few.

Just also make sure that you provide a clean source of water, as well as the most suitable nesting areas for them.

When it comes to housing, finches prefer open spaces compared to the regular enclosed birdhouse.

They would much rather choose a nesting platform or basket-style shelter with an open top.

In building a finch birdhouse, always remember that these creatures are quite small.

The ideal dimensions for the birdhouse are as follows: 6 inches in width, 12.5 inches in height, and 8.5 inches deep.

It should also have an opening that is 1.5 inches wide, plus a predator guard that will protect these birds from unwanted visitors.

It is best to place these birdhouses or basket in a tree that’s at least 8 feet tall, giving the birds more space to enjoy around their nesting place.

Birdhouses for Robins
Birdhouses for Robins

Birdhouses for Robins

Robins are large songbirds that have round bodies as well as long legs and tails.

These birds are the largest among North American thrushes.

They are characterized by gray-brown plumage, with orange marks and dark-colored heads.

But among males and females, the latter has a paler head compared to its counterpart.

Just like cardinals, robins prefer open birdhouses.

They are not cavity-nesters so they prefer a nesting shelf or platform that is either open an all sides or has a three-sided enclosure.

It is important to mount these nesting shelves in a natural habitat that is abundant with trees and grass, that’s best for hunting earthworms.

For Robin birdhouses (check prices here) is it best to use dimensions measuring 6x6x8 inches.

Make sure it has an open front, with the color of the house preferably in earth tone.

Remembers birds’ basic needs

When creating birdhouses, it is important to remember the most basic needs of birds.

You must make sure that you know the behavior of the species you’d like to attract.

Prepare as much food and water, and place your nesting shelves and birdhouses in the most strategic of places.

This will vary depending on the type of bird you are trying to attract.

When building birdhouses for birds, it is best to use durable wood and corrosion-resistant screws, plates, and other materials as you will be placing these boxes outdoors, exposed to various elements and weather conditions.

Also make sure that these birdhouses are well-made and will be able to protect birds from predators.

Installing a predator guard is important as there are many other creatures lurking in forests and various natural habitats.

Homestead House Plans and Designs That Are Captivating

Homestead House Plans

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Homestead House Plans and Designs ~ It is wonderful to experience life on a homestead.

You live life so much closer to nature in a healthier and natural way.

The happiness indexes are of the charts for people who make the initially difficult choice of homesteading.

The reason for this choice can be many.

Conduct a through and complete due diligence when buying rural farm, property or ranch.

Some people want to do it as an environmentally conscious decision, other want to do it because they feel their skill set is more suited to that type of living and still others chose to look at it as an adventure worth embarking on.

Homestead House Plans and Designs

It is necessary to have a proper homestead house plan before you take the decision to purchase a land as this will help you estimate not only how much land do you require but also what is the kind of land you are looking for.

Things to Plan for your Homestead

The homestead house plan should be made keeping in mind the particular skill sets you possess.

For example if you plan to make a living of your homestead primarily by gardening then your homestead should have an adequate amount of land that will allow you plant a large number of plants and vegetables and should be ideally be free of too many rocks and trees so that you do not have to waste too much of money on clearing the land for your garden.

Also, if you plan to rear livestock then adequate space for keeping the animals, feeding them and letting them roam free should be kept in mind.

You also may have to invest in a pole barn to house the livestock.

All of these things are important to keep in mind when the plan is being designed.

After the plan is designed then you should make sure that the construction is of a high quality and something that will weather the test of time.

You want this move to be permanent so skimping on building quality and material is not a good idea.

This will be your primary dwelling place and just because you have moved to a rural landscape does not mean that you should live without any luxury whatsoever.

Make sure that your living quarters have everything what you need and some things that will make your life easier and fun.

Legal Registration of Your Homestead

Legal registration of your homestead declares that this is your primary place of residence and protects it against foreclosure by the bank in certain situations.

The forms can be filled yourself although it is advisable to take the help of someone who is well versed in reading and explaining to you the finer points of the document.

Homestead Designs and Homestead House Plans
Homestead Designs

Make sure you do the due diligence before you decide to invest in your homestead and then follow all the legal guidelines while building the homestead as well as registering it to enjoy the protection offered to your homestead by the law.

Homestead Designs that are Captivating

When you own a house, you would probably want the best of designs to generate your dream home.

There is a growing popularity with homestead designs for modern homes that would operate with maximum efficiency.

It is not necessary to take up a home design or architectural course to appreciate strategic property designs for the desired homestead space.

Homestead houses can be very unique and captivating with the right designs to make each home very modern and contemporary or otherwise depending on the preference of its owner.

You may wish to have a laid back home with a cozy cottage design instead of a glass double story bungalow.

The vast countryside is excellent for homestead designs that offer style, luxury and comfort with energy efficiency and security features.

A dream country home is not impossible for those who plan well with smart savings and investments, although some meticulous research on homestead designs would translate the dream into reality.

It is important to understand the perimeters of building a homestead property with more than basic data and tools.

Each homeowner has vastly different expectations and preferences that may be influenced by a lot of other factors such as budget, time and family needs.

If you have big dreams of a captivating homestead, you would need to check out what is in the market to formulate what you want for your home.

Building Your Homestead

Every homestead is different with different building approaches and tools applied.

Although a detailed homestead plan is helpful with the range of designs that you may have prepared, it is possible that some parts of the blueprint may be tweaked or thrown out of the window even before construction takes place.

Hence, it is wise to take your time in identifying the best of homestead designs that would give you your dream home as it can be a costly activity building a home the way you want it.

The location is a primary factor for a successful homestead.

The blueprint for your homestead must be clear with the various components to be included; this refers to barns, garages, sheds, guest rooms or cottage, servants’ quarters and extra storage.

Some homestead owners would want a large garden, backyard, court, patio or porch.

A homestead design depends also on the functionality of the property to accommodate the living conditions of the occupants.

The best homestead designs for your dream home would be that from your heart instead of leaving it to the experts in the market.

These may offer some excellent ideas to generate an exquisite and luxurious home but the design may not satisfy you or fit your character and lifestyle.

Homestead Land

It is important to make good use of the total land for any homestead instead of letting the remaining land be left in ruins which would mar the overall look and feel of your homestead.

There should be a proper management of the land to ensure a positive outcome of your investment.

Modern technologies with the latest homestead design software are available to produce the best of designs to bring on the most captivating and beautiful home you can ask for.

There is a lot of research on homesteading for beginners and homestead house plans and designs.

Do your due diligence before determining if this is a lifestyle for you and your family.

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Moving to the Country Start of the Journey

cars stuck in all lanes of traffic

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Moving to the Country Start of the Journey – It was a dark and stormy night…. Really, it was!

That night started my journey to move back to the country.

As I was coming home from work in early evening, snow was swirling everywhere.

I could barely see.

I had actually left work early, as I had heard that the snow was coming.

Of course, I wanted to get home before the worst of the commute hit.

Silly me.

I had seen so many times before the effects of heavy snow during a commute on a freeway, and quite frankly I was too tired to deal with it again.

On a normal day, I would be home in 40 minutes, resting from a hard day at the office.

Every day.

Twice a day I entered into the chaos and maze we call “the commute.”

I didn’t know that this particular night would be so different.

Moving to the Country Start of the Journey

Once I was on the freeway it became clear that this would be no normal commute.

Buses were stuck in all lanes of traffic.

Semi-trucks were jackknifed in every way imaginable.

A very fancy and expensive Mercedes was spinning alongside a concrete barrier, bouncing against the hard surface as it tried to regain traction and move forward.

The car lost the battle.

I would stop and then move forward a bit.

Once in a while I’d creep along an inch at a time.

After a couple of hours, I’d traveled only two miles.

I wondered if I would ever really get home that night.

Or even get home safely at all.

About this time traffic funneled into one lane, zig-zagging around stalled and stuck cars, trucks and buses.

The chaos was brutal and it reminded me of several scenes in the Terminator movies.

Many people abandoned their stalled cars or just pulled over to the side and went in search of warmth, food, and a place to sleep.

But some of us wove our cars in and out.

And finally, after many more hours, I arrived home.

I was safe.

I didn’t know that awaiting me was an email that would change my life and take it in a new direction.

Direction I had dreamed about, but had never made any steps to realize.

It started with an email

After a nice dinner with my wife, I fired up the computer and there it was.

Not just one but quite a few emails, as I hadn’t checked them for a couple of days.

Most of them were from our grown kids—group emails bouncing back and forth.

Now you need to know that our kids are all very different, but they also are very close.

Together they have 11 children–now I am dating myself–that I am very proud of.

I think the message thread started with an email from our son, and the others responded back and forth.

The gist of the discussion was this:

Do you guys remember growing up on the five acres?

Do you remember the rope swing?

Do you remember the horse ‘Nick’ that just showed up?

Do you remember our two cows that seemed to get out all the time?

Do you remember playing with the other kids on the property?

Note to readers: They were referring to the home I’d built years before on five acres abutted to two other five-acre parcels developed by family and mutual family friends.

The Property Search emails continued…

“Why are our kids growing up in the city??” and then, “Why don’t we get some property and move to the country and live on our own farm or ranch?”

As I kept reading the emails, it was clear that my kids were all in agreement that this was something they wanted to do.

As one of the highest compliments they could jointly give their mom and dad, they continued, “and let’s ask Mom and Dad to come too!”

That’s how Marie and I got included in the conversation.

Let the property search begin

And so the journey started.

First thing was to search and find that perfect piece of heaven.

And that is what these kids did.

Every day, the emails flew back and forth, each showing real estate listings for farms, ranches, and lots of raw land.

We looked at listings from Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and California.

This continued for virtually months, with ongoing discussions of the pros and cons of different property listings.

During this time, it became clearer what we were looking for (what we learned will be in a different post here) and that most pieces of property listed had some kind of fatal flaw eliminating them for our needs.

At least in our eyes.

As this continued, I became numb looking at these listings.

They all started to blend together.

Our daughter seemed to be sending listings for us to all look at on a daily basis.

“You need to look at this!”

“Look at this one!”

It took a lot of time and effort on everyone’s part to really look hard at all these listings.

Then one winter day, we all received an email, “I know I said this before, but THIS ONE YOU REALLY NEED TO LOOK AT!”

Moving to the Country – Is this the Right Property?

I had looked for property many times before, both for family homes and for business projects such as resorts and office campuses.

I had purchased raw land and purchased existing homes.

There is a huge difference between looking at rural property and looking at houses for sale on smaller lots.

When looking at land, the key before starting is to quantify exactly what you want to do on the property.

Or, in one word, PLAN.

One of the abilities I seem to have is “visualizing” how things could be.

That has helped me in various areas throughout my life and my career.

When I built our first house on five acres, the land was essentially a forest.

We knew what we wanted to build, and I determined the perfect site… with the forest still intact.

Couldn’t “see” it so she just had to trust me that it would look right and be a good fit.

Fast forward to the email I received.

Here was the “perfect” piece of land.

It did look nice, with pretty pictures, but it was fairly expensive and it was over 100 acres!

I was thinking in the back of my head of a nice quiet five acre piece somewhere where my wife and I could retire.

Even with our large extended family, what would we do with 100 acres?

Just to walk around it was over two miles!

I realized that I hadn’t done step one when we all decided to look for property.

We hadn’t done any clear PLANNING.

Property Search Planning for the big picture purpose:

Find a farm or ranch where our family could live, work and raise young kids in a rural environment.

And to do it together.

The listing sent was intriguing enough to go take a look, so off we went to see it.

One of our other daughters and her husband were able to go with us.

We met the listing agent and visited the property along with other parcels in the area.

Right Property
Right Property

It was late winter, with a bit of snow on the ground, but the weather was beautiful.

This land had a lot going for it.

It had pasture, thick forest, thinned forest, and a large pond.

It was at the end of the road, and yet was only 20 minutes from the nearest town.

At one point on the property, you can see for miles.

I saw a couple of deer by the pond with an eagle gliding overhead.

I took out my cell phone, and my goodness–I saw four bars!

Still connected to the world!

As we tromped around this property, it became very clear that as a family (with five family units) we could do almost anything we wanted with it.

After our visit the family had many discussions about it, sharing photos and impressions with those that weren’t there.

Should we get this?

Or keep looking?

As our discussions continued, it was clear we all had ideas and plans.

And they were all varied, but it was clear this land would meet our initial goals and fit our reasons for this purchase.

The planning continued.

In my mind, the piece of land just seemed so big, but as I saw the seriousness, passion and excitement in the faces of my kids and felt the stirring in my own heart, I concurred that this was the place.

To assist myself with this pending life transition, I turned to BetterHelp (click here), which helped.

So it was decided that we would put an offer on this piece, giving ourselves some time to further research the issues or potential issues that could arise.

In the development business, this is called doing your “due diligence.”

I have done this many times for projects I have developed so I knew what to look at.

So now to the next step in realizing our family dream of moving to the country!

But, my goodness, 100 acres???

Is this the right property?

So our journey from the city to the country continued.

Was this really happening?

We had been talking about it for a while, but now we had found the perfect property for us.

At least we thought it was perfect.

After we walked the land with another son and discussed it at length with each of the kids, we put an offer down on it.

Actually, quite a bit had to happen to make it all come together, but the journey starts with these first steps…so we started.

Our offer was one that was contingent on many items.

It was very important to us to make sure that we could do everything we envisioned doing on our future piece of land.
Caution Tape

Rural Property Due Diligence

To start this process, I had to truly divorce myself from my emotional feelings and excitement about the property.

This was really hard to do, as I was pretty jazzed and I really wanted this to work.

If I kept this mindset of excitement, it could cause me to overlook some potentially very serious issues that could stop all our plans for the property.

So it was crucial to do my serious “Due Diligence” to ensure that this indeed was the right property for us.

The investment was considerable, so I approached this like I approached my other business projects.

First off I compiled a due diligence checklist of important issues that needed to have questions answered.

My “Due Diligence List” is part of a package available as a FREE download as a bonus for subscribing to our mailing list.

If you are interested, you can subscribe to the mailing list by clicking here.

Not all of the questions on the list will get answered–sometimes no answer is available.

In that case, you have to determine specific potential outcomes and the risk that each of them brings to the project.

Rural Property Due Diligence example:

In our case, there were no water wells on the property.

Obviously water would be needed to develop the property into our farm and ranch.

But can we get water?

As I looked into this, I contacted some neighbors and found out that the land in the area had a history of very poor wells.

State records showed the same.

Local well drillers had a rosier picture, but no guarantees.

So there was a very significant risk that water could become an issue.

I didn’t want to invest $6000 to drill one before we closed on the purchase deal.

So…put that one down on the “unanswered questions” list.

Buying Rural Property issues to look into:

Water access, water easements, easement, power, legal access, telephone, road construction, county building requirements, master planning…and the list continues.

In our case, I was able to quantify the cost and issues for each of these items, and they resulted in no more real questions.

It looked positive…except for water.

Maybe we should just buy an established farm?


We had looked at several.

But this piece of land seemed so perfect.

I formalized my findings, and we had another family meeting discussing the added costs to develop this land.

Should we still buy it and assume the water risk?

After much discussion and prayer, we decided to buy it and take the risk.

But we did it with our eyes open.
Is this really the right property? Flying Kites on the Farm

How to know if this is the right rural property to buy?

So with much celebration, after our due diligence, we bought the property and our family farm/ranch became a reality!

Challenges lay ahead, but we were all pretty darn excited about this.

The whole family gathered on the property for a big “homestead party” and land blessing.

Marie helped each of the grandkids make a little “land stake” flag, which they decorated and put in the ground.

Interestingly, this land project has brought our family even closer together.

We seem to be tied together and to this land in a way that we can only describe as “being tied together the right way.”

snow over hill and dale
snow over hill and dale

Who knows what the future holds?

We know it is in God’s hands, that he loves us and has a great plan for us.

In the meantime it is time to build a playground for the grandkids.

And PS: We have water!

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Working Remotely Doesn’t Have to Mean Working from Home

Working Remotely at Community Work Spaces

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Working from home is a great option for those of us who don’t work well amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy office.

Even with all the great benefits, there often comes a time when you need to pick up your laptop and get out of the house.

But without an office to go to, you might be wondering where to go and we are here to help you solve that dilemma.

What to Expect When You Work From Home

Working from Home at Your Favorite Coffee Shop

A coffee shop makes a great alternative work space because it’s somewhere you can be around other people but not be bothered by them.

Being around other people can also help stimulate creativity and ideas in some people.

Most coffee houses have Internet access readily available, but they don’t come with coworkers asking questions or bosses hovering over your shoulder.

Starbucks offers high-speed Google Internet in all of its shops.

Even if you’re not a fan of that particular coffee conglomerate, most cities have local shops with Internet access too.

Working from Home at Coffee Shop
Working from Home at Coffee Shop

Community Work Spaces

Some cities have community work spaces, and they are becoming more common across the country.

These work spaces are available for rent by the day, week, or month, and they allow you to recreate an office environment, but with people who aren’t your coworkers.

You get the office setting without actually being in one.

Working Remotely at Community Work Spaces
Working Remotely at Community Work Spaces

Theses shared work spaces are wonderful resources for entrepreneurs who crave a buzzy environment and noise while they work, but who don’t want to interact with others unless they choose to.

And if you’re looking for an outside perspective or a group to bounce ideas off of, many have setups where you can do this as well.

Working from Home at The Local Library

Libraries are great places to work remotely because they have everything you need.

In fact, 90 percent of public libraries provide free Internet access to local residents and sometimes guests.

Libraries also have tables, chairs, and rooms to work alone in.

Most importantly, libraries are generally viewed as quiet areas.

You can go to the library, find a desk, and hunker down for hours of work without dozens of people chatting around you.

If you choose to go this route, be aware that around 41 percent of libraries don’t have Internet speeds fast enough to meet their patrons’ needs.

However, this can be a good thing.

This will help you avoid losing time to YouTube videos and social media when you should be working.

Working From Home at Local Library
Working From Home at Local Library

Work Outside

It can be hard to be stuck inside on a beautiful day, especially if you’re in a position to work from wherever you want.

Don’t let work stop you from enjoying a good breeze.

If your phone doubles as a hotspot, or if you own a Mi-Fi device, hook them up to your laptop and choose a nice spot in the park to settle down.

Research shows that people are less happy with their jobs when it’s sunny out.

To combat this, get out and enjoy that sun, along with all the happenings going on around you.

Find a park bench and soak up some Vitamin D while you type away on your keyboard.

Just remember to stop and listen to the birds.

It turns out nature actually inspires us to be more creative.

One-size-fits-all solution to work remotely

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for where to work remotely.

In fact, the best idea might be mixing it up.

Choose to spend a couple of days working out of the library and another at the coffee shop.

Or you can mix them up in the same day.

Rent out a shared work space for a Monday morning and then head to the park in the afternoon.

A change of scenery throughout the day might help inspire creativity.

Due to the nature of having the home and work space in the same area, remote workers often struggle to maintain a proper work-life balance due to lack of boundaries.

Working out of the home can help you achieve this by separating the two on a more consistent basis.

Take time to try different areas and choose the one, or ones, that work best for you.

If you prefer a more secluded, quiet setting the library might be a great place for you.

If you’re the type who likes to simulate an office environment, you might do best in a community work space.

Spend some time exploring your town and seek out new and effective rural living places you might feel comfortable working and give them a shot.

The In-Office and Work from Home Balance

For many people, working from home is a dream come true.

It means more flexibility in your schedule, fewer distractions while you power through projects, and less overall stress in life thanks to the peace and quiet of solitude.

However, there are benefits to working in an office and being surrounded by coworkers, including the process of collaborative brainstorming, the rivalries that fuel you to perform, and the simple pleasure of socialization.

If you’ve been in either of these environments exclusively, and are now transitioning to having a hybrid work environment, there is a lot to consider to making sure you balance these two worlds.

Work from Home Balance Face-to-Face Interaction

There really is no substitute for face-to-face conversations and, when you work in an office filled with peers, this happens all the time.

Whether you’re in the conference room for a big meeting or you bump into a coworker by the coffee machine, you’re always talking to people at work.

But when you’re at home, you have to proactively reach out to achieve meaningful contact with coworkers or clients.

Thanks to video conferencing and screen sharing software, it’s easier to get the same experience when you’re home.

To make this as effective as possible, make sure your home Internet speed can stream that much data.

Make sure to regularly conduct Internet speed tests before planning a teleconference session, as it’s frustrating, embarrassing, and ineffective to have to deal with technical difficulties while trying to be professional.

Work from Home Balance
Work from Home Balance

Important Resources for Work from Home Balance

Your chair (or couch) at home may be more comfortable than the one you have at the office, but what about the rest of the equipment you use?

If you’re going to be working from both locations throughout the week, check with your manager to see if you can have a company laptop to use.

This way, all of your information is stored in one place and you don’t have to use your personal items for professional purposes.

Also, if you can, plan to print things when you’re in the office so you can use the high-quality printer in your copy room.

This way you don’t use the ink you buy on your own dime for company purposes and you’ll likely get a higher quality product on the office printer anyway.

Schedule Control

In most offices, even a diehard workaholic can’t spend time at the office after business hours, and that’s probably a good thing.

It’s important to maintain a good balance between your work and personal life.

If you’re working from home, make sure you set a schedule for yourself so you don’t have a 15-hour workday or a 5-hour workday either.

You also don’t want to be working at all hours, nor do you want to spend the majority of your day watching TV or doing laundry.

It can be a larger challenge to get motivated when you’re working from home, so make sure you set a time you have to start on work materials.

Stay consistent with your hours and when it’s time to be done with work, be done.

Regardless of your work habits, as long as you have the motivation to get the job done, you’ll be better able to find a strong work-life balance.

Work from Home Balance Interruptions and Interactions

While meetings are great for getting ideas off the ground, many studies support the often-groaned sentiment that they’re not very productive.

And while chatting in the halls or over cubicle walls can be fun, it’s also not the way to get work done.

When you are working from home, especially when you are working on a complex project that will require a protracted period of time and effort, peace and quiet are simply better than the hum of an office.

If you are someone who thrives with more action around you, consider a coffee shop; no one will directly interrupt you as a coworker might.

There are a lot of benefits that come with working both from home and in an office throughout the week, so if you’re taking on a hybrid role, you’ll enjoy the benefits of both.

Make sure you keep your world balanced, so you get to enjoy all the benefits to the fullest.

What to Expect When You Work From Home

Opportunities to work from home are rapidly expanding, and that’s good news for people who want to enjoy the perks of rural living without sacrificing their careers.

A report by Global Workplace Analysis indicates telecommuting in the U.S. rose almost 80 percent from 2005 to 2012, and in a recent survey, 34 percent of business leaders said more than half their organization’s full-time workers will be working remotely by 2020.

Remote work opens doors for those who live in rural areas where good paying jobs, or jobs that fit their skills and experience are hard to come by.

For people who want to move from an urban or suburban environment to one of America’s best rural communities, working from home can make the transition possible.

With all the perks telecommuting offers, it takes a bit of getting used to.

Whether you’ve recently started telecommuting or you’re just thinking about it, here’s what to expect when working from home, and tips to help you succeed.

When You Work From Home
When You Work From Home

Work for a company that’s telecommuter friendly

Aligning yourself with a company that encourages and supports telecommuting is the first step toward establishing a rewarding virtual career.

Many companies that promote the fact that they offer flexible schedules may also very well allow telecommuting.

And even if they don’t, it doesn’t mean they won’t be willing to consider it.

Don’t be afraid to ask!

Tip: A few of the best work from home companies include Xerox, Humana, and

Separate work and living space

Working from the comfort of home is a major benefit of telecommuting, but because your work and personal space are no longer separate, it is also one of one of telecommuting’s greatest challenges.

Ask any veteran virtual worker and they will tell you that dedicated office space is essential to success as a telecommuter.

Tip: If you can’t find a quiet place to work at home, then consider relocating to a shared or collaborative workplace.

If your community doesn’t have a shared workplace, why not establish one?

Benefits of a Clean and Hygienic Workspace

Set your alarm earlier than you used to

When you work from home you could be tempted to sleep in and stay up late.

But studies have shown morning people are more proactive and productive than evening people.

So set your travel alarm an hour earlier than you used to and get a jump start on your day.

Hack – If you’re a night owl, try going to bed and getting up 15 minutes earlier than you typically would until you’re comfortably waking up an hour early.

Set boundaries, and abide by them

When you work virtually, it’s important to set parameters that help you establish and maintain a schedule.

Everyone’s lifestyle is different, but boundaries could include telling friends you can’t accept calls during the workday, or letting your employer know that Sunday is dedicated family time.

Time Tracking App Hack

Use a time tracking app to monitor how you spend your time and help you develop a healthy work-life balance.

Stay connected to colleagues

When you move from a traditional office to a virtual one, it’s not uncommon to experience feelings of isolation.

In fact, for many virtual workers, overcoming loneliness is one of the most challenging aspects of working from home.

To stay in the loop with your office bound coworkers, consider regularly scheduled video chats, instant message from time to time, and if possible, poke your head in the office and attend company events.

Communication Hacks

If your supervisor hasn’t talked with you about how you two will remain connected once you start working from home, discuss possible communication challenges (and solutions) before you start telecommuting.

Switching from a traditional office to a home office can be a bit overwhelming.

Use these hacks to make the transition smoother, and you’ll soon settle into a routine that works best for you and your lifestyle.

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Living in the country ~ Best rural places to live

Living in the country

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Living in the country – Dreaming of a different way of life?

Many people seek solitude or just more of a back-to-the-basics type of lifestyle.

Whether you plan to relocate from a large city or suburbs, you will find country life very different.

Learn about living in the country and best rural places to live.

There is nothing more breathtaking than living in the country with its lush greenery, minimal pollution and natural beauty.

There are many advantages to living a quieter life.

Perhaps you will pursue more self-sustaining habits, including composting, gardens and orchards, beekeeping, or a hydroponics system.

Rasied Garden Beds
Rasied Garden Beds

Maybe you will consider raising backyard chickens.

And if that isn’t all exciting enough, some venture into raising miniature cattle or Pygmy Goats complete with a livestock guardian animal.

The opportunities for learning and new hobbies are endless!

You won’t need to do everything right away.

That’s what rural living is all about — learning to live at a slower pace — but it is worth considering adopting modern homesteading practices.

Living in the country could be for you

There are many advantages to rural living in the country:

You are automatically integrated into the community.

While some young families that have moved into the countryside may feel that long-time residents take awhile to get to know them, there are things you can do to help you assimilate faster.

There are local events which bring the community together.

Nothing is more effective at helping one join the community than volunteering at the many local events which take place there.

Get involved and meet your neighbors.

Peace and quiet in rural towns

Moving to a small town and rural living is much sought after by senior citizens, retired couples, and others who seek solace.

The lack of traffic and other city activity is welcome.

In addition to a less stressful environment, you will probably have some beautiful views and wide open spaces.

You will see more stars at night as the city lights won’t interfere.

Going at a slower pace, with less bustle and stress, you can take time to watch the sunset and be up early to enjoy the sunrise.

You may find you are able to enjoy more time outside as you garden, tend to animals, or set up an irrigation system.

You will be able to enjoy the quiet and be more in tune with your surroundings, even as you are doing work around your homestead.

Limited entertainment options in country places

While major shopping, tourist attractions and entertainment venues may be a big drive away, you are likely to find fun and entertainment closer to home, in simpler activities.

There’s a ‘We are all in this together’ idea.

School, sports, church, local craft fairs, perhaps some car groups and crafting clubs are often popular in smaller communities.

You will likely see a fish fry, weekend barbecue and festivals.

If there’s a high school in town, the community may come out to support the football games on Friday evenings.

There is a tremendous sense of community, especially when someone needs assistance.

Disadvantages to living in the country

Other aspects of living in the country may pose a problem at the initial stages for people.

Some of these include power outages, the presence of wildlife and insects, and the transition it may take for those not used to living amid rural surroundings.

You may need to “rough it” more than you did before.

Also, depending on where you moved from, you may have downsized or may have moved into a home that needs repairs.

Or maybe you aren’t used to having to maintain land.

It may take awhile to get used to being more isolated from neighbors.

During natural disasters or storms, it is common for those living in the country to be technically and geographically cut off from the world due to power outages, no Internet, fallen trees and other issues.

The time taken to restore functionality will be greater since they are away from service outlets and have less homes and population to restore.

Electrical companies and other service providers generally go to the denser areas first.

In exchange for a more relaxed lifestyle, your country home may be a great distance away from healthcare providers, hospitals and urgent-care facilities.

This might be a problem in the event that you require medical attention.

Best rural places to live for modern homesteading

The cost of building a sustainable home is much higher in urban areas due to the stricter building codes, zoning and other housing regulations.

Many readers dream of a simpler, healthier life in rural areas where there are few or no building codes and costs are far lower.

But what are the best rural places to live in?

The United States is experiencing a rural resurgence as families are leaving urban areas and seeking out communities where crime is lower, good schools are present, and life is simpler overall.

Best rural places to live
Best rural places to live

Homesteading is also becoming more and more popular among people with the charm of living a life close to nature.

We’re seeing a definite trend of people choosing to live in the country rather than in urban areas,” says Jack Odle, editor-in-chief of Progressive Farmer.

“And we wanted to celebrate that.

We’ve come up with a unique list of some great areas that may be somewhat under the radar.”

Best rural places to live

Here are some of the best rural places to live in United Sates of America.

All of these places have the common values of providing land at a good value and having vibrant local communities which have a flourishing local commerce scene.

  1. Fauquier County, Va.
  2. Oconee County, Ga.:
  3. McPherson County, Kan
  4. Callaway County, Mo
  5. Grafton County, N.H
  6. Gillespie County, Texas
  7. Sauk County, Wis
  8. Wilson County, Tenn
  9. Eagle County, Colo
  10. Rankin County, Miss

These areas are good places for someone to raise a family as the crime rates are low, there is plenty of fresh air to breathe in, and vast areas available to run around.

There are good schools in all the localities that have been listed.

It is important to have the availability of good schools and hospitals in the area where you want to settle in as these add a lot to the value of the community and provide social comfort as well.

The trend to move out of crowded cities and live in rural areas is becoming more and more widespread.

Best rural places to live include:

  • Anna, Illinois and it’s nearby neighbor, Cobden, IL (Learn more about the area with its wine trails and more.)
  • Vail, Arizona
  • Cassopolis, Michigan
  • Jerome, Arizona
  • Ellsworth, Kansas

According to, there are rural areas that will entice you to move there.

Consider Ellsworth, Kansas.

With a population under 3,000 people, it’s one of ten Kansas towns which offers free land for retirees and others to move there.

Remember, on many publicized lists, there are small towns that feel more like large cities.

If you are truly looking for a rural existence, you will want to note the difference.

Consider if you want to move to a rural city, town or rural village.

Using less resources

Moving to a rural area could be a boon for the environment as well.

A number of studies have found that people who are living in rural areas are utilizing much lesser of the resources per capita and living a much easier sustainable lifestyle.

There are also a number of people who find that they are more suited to the hands-on approach to the rural lifestyle.

You will have more opportunities to use your skills in different ways, especially when you live off the land and from your talents and hard work.

The above mentioned list is by no means comprehensive and only serves to provide a starting point for which to begin your search for good rural places to live in.

Declaration of Homestead

The homesteading movement is spreading all across our nation.

There are a variety of reasons for which people are taking the decision to live a rural life off the land giving up their city lives.

These reasons vary from wanting to move to an area with lower crime, taxes and better schools to making the environmentally conscious decision to utilize less resources and try to be self sustaining in lifestyle.

Whatever the motivation to set up your homestead may be, it is important that you fill up the legal form for the declaration of homestead.

This is necessary as the law provides certain privileges to your homestead that can protect it from foreclosure because of debts to creditors under certain conditions.

declaration of homestead
Declaration of Homestead

A Declaration of Homestead requires you to prove that the homestead is your primary place of dwelling.

In certain states, just proving the homestead as your primary place of dwelling is enough to provide you with the same legal protection.

These laws vary by state and make sure you are aware of your legal responsibilities before taking the decision to set up your own homestead.

Declaration of Homestead form

Filling the form is fairly straightforward.

You can do it without any legal help.

You can download them online.

The form has to be notarized before submission, for which the legal fees have been capped by the government to a maximum of $25.

Rural living classes

The homesteading lifestyle is not for everyone, and it is advisable you look into what you are taking on closely before you commit.

There may be options where you can attend hands-on workshops at functioning homesteads.

You can also seek out community outreach and conservation centers, nurseries, nature and special-interest clubs, libraries and community colleges.

They often offer classes on specific topics throughout the year.

These places can be great resources to learn about living off-the-grid.

Many teach about may teach about rainwater harvesting, attracting pollinators, planting native plants, preserving food, growing fruits and vegetables, wind and solar production, composting, prepping, and much more.

This will allow you to get an idea of the activities that you can do.

You may well find some new hobbies and friends.

You can learn skills that will help you earn a living as well.

Even if you don’t plan to earn money from your venture, you may save money and/or live healthier by growing or doing it yourself.

It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the life you are considering.

Choosing to move to a rural location

Be sure you are making an informed decision and not just following a trend when you decide to set up your own homestead.

The environmental benefits are a draw as the resources that you consume and the strain you put on the environment is much less than those people who live in the cities.

Be sure you to follow all your legal responsibilities when you are setting up your homestead.

This includes building your homestead to code and filing your declaration of homestead to avail of the legal protection that the law gives you.

Earning a living homesteading

Can the homesteading lifestyle provide an income too?

We think it can.

So the question we are attempting to answer is what are the homesteading skills that will help you survive and even earn a living?

Number of ways you can earn a living off your homestead.

Grow fruits and vegetables and sell them at the local farmers market.

You can preserve food by canning and dehydrating to sell.

You can raise bees and sell honey.

Many people rear livestock and then use them as a source of income.

Sell milk and then meat from miniature cattle.

Sell eggs from backyard chickens or ducks.

Best Chicken Coops (Check prices here)

Make money from timber

If you have purchased a piece of land that is heavily wooded, that in itself is a huge opportunity to earn money.

Timber companies will pay you good money to come and clear your land for you.

All you need to do is inform them that you have standing timber which you are ready to sell.

This sale can be either to large companies or individuals.

There are always people looking to purchase firewood and you can cater to these people.

Earn money selling rocks

If your land has a lot of rocks then that can too be a source of income as there are people who are interested in buying all kinds of rocks.

You can set up a simple website to advertise the rocks you have to sell.

You may see a surprising amount of interest in what most people see no value in.

Raising livestock for a living

Again, you can raise livestock for meat and cows for milk.

There are auctions in most small towns for livestock of good breed.

You can raise them and then sell them for profit.

Depending on your space, you can also consider small cows instead of full-size.

You can have ducks and chickens on homesteads.

Chicken and duck eggs are always in demand wherever your homestead may be.

This can be for food as well as income.

You may be able to raise quail along with chicken and ducks.

You can sell quail eggs for more money than chicken eggs.

Rent out equipment

Often you will have equipment you aren’t using regularly.

You can rent out tools, a generator, tractors, or heavy equipment to make extra money.

Earn money from your skills

Once you are skilled in these various jobs, you can earn money for them.

You can offer classes and workshops in town teaching any number of things.

From there, you may want to hire yourself as a consultant, helping people get started in a new hobby, craft or trade.

You can be the expert in rainwater harvesting, milking cows and preserving milk, bird watching and building birdhouses, beekeeping, cultivating organic seeds, making cheese and butter, growing berries and making jam, or building furniture.

There are endless opportunities when you are living in the country.

With your skills, you can help others get started and grow your business.

Best Birdhouses for Birds

Best Birdhouse Plans

Modern homesteading skills

Homesteading is spreading across the United States.

More and more people are interested in acquiring the necessary skills that will let them live off the land in a wholesome and self-reliant manner.

There are homesteading schools in certain parts of the country.

Taking a class can often be easier than trial and error, and you will often find success faster.

All kinds of people attend these homesteading schools and workshops, not necessarily beginners.

A number of people took the plunge into homesteading and then realized that there are some skills that they needed to polish or learn from scratch.

These schools have started receiving help in the form of fiscal support as well as access to facilities by corporate players in the field.

Modern homesteading skills
Homesteading Skills

Pole barn insulation

Having a pole barn on your property is a cost effective way to have some sizable storage space.

Depending on the use of the barn, insulating it may be necessary.

Proper insulation provides a number of advantages.

It make the barn safer for the animals inside by helping to regulate the temperatures.

It also makes the structure a more comfortable place for the people that work there and even help prolong the lifespan of the structure as a whole.

What insulation helps with

Insulation helps combat the two main problems most commonly faced with pole barns: extreme temperatures and moisture.

Any pole barn that is going to house animals should contain reflective insulation.

This will help to protect the livestock and poultry from excessive heat.

An increase in the heat stress on the livestock has a direct effect on their milk production, fertility and may make them more susceptible to disease.

Reflective insulation controls indoor temperatures.

It reflects heat away from the building.

It also helps control condensation.

By using spray foam insulation, you can prevent water and moisture when insulating the pole barn.

An important thing to consider is to avoid using pure urethane for foam insulation as this can ‘rot’ when exposed to excessive water.

Most new spray foam insulation formulas are designed to avoid degradation that can occur over time.

Another way to combat this moisture buildup is to use a heavy duty plastic sheet in between the insulation and the metal side of the barn.

The only downside is that the metal can rust due to the trapped moisture if left undisturbed for a long period of time.

There are a number of different types of methods that can be used for pole barn insulation.

Fiberglass blanket insulation

This is commonly found in steel buildings and it may be housed in vinyl.

The advantage with this type of insulation is that it does not require additional support on installation.

The fiberglass sheets are easily available at the hardware stores.

These are fixed in place with the help of steel nail guns.

Fiberglass board insulation

This is probably what most people associate with when they think of pole >barn insulation.

This kind of insulation requires the addition of a vapor barrier alongside.

The fiberglass board should be installed with a custom cut to ensure that it fits tightly.

Spray foam insulation

This is the most widely accepted way to insulate a pole barn today.

You will be hard pressed to find someone who does not agree that this is the best method for pole barn insulation; however, it turns out to be fairly expensive.

If this falls within your budget, then it is a viable solution.

There are many options that you can use to insulate your pole barn.

This is a great investment when you move to a rural location.

It can seem like a lot of work but the pay off in lower electricity bills as well as increased productivity is worth the trouble. 

Maybe you will consider a generator or a solar backup generator.

Living in the country

Making the decision to move from a busy and bustling city life to the comparatively quiet and peaceful country, might seem like a radical decision.

However, once you start living in the country, it will hard to imagine anything different.

You will likely thrive living a rural existence.

When you start thinking of homesteading and rural activities that will interest you, you will like it that much more.

Life in the country

If it is too intimidating to move out of state, consider options closer to where you are now.

Many major metropolitan areas have outlying areas several hours away that are very rural.

Perhaps you get acreage outside of the county limits.

Consider your options and make it happen.

When Living in the country, You will want to consider homesteading, including declaration of homestead and modern homesteading skills to be successful.

Modernizing Your Rural Home Upgrades to make more enjoyable

Goal zero back up generator

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Modernizing Your Rural Home – Just because you’ve chosen to live away from the hustle and bustle of the city doesn’t mean you have to forego all modern-day amenities.

In fact, the technology of today has made it so you can enjoy almost all the things of urban life.

Maybe even more without compromising the simple one.

Modernizing Your Rural Home Upgrades

Take a look at these modern upgrades that will make your rural home living more enjoyable and more satisfying than you ever imagined.

Some might even save you money!


If you’re in a position where you can change the cosmetics and interior of your home, you may consider some upgrades on that front as well.

Even simple things, like adding skylights, help bring in more sun to heat up the home.

Plus, they make for great star-filled night sky viewing!

Moreover, there are many green building modernization today, including eco-friendly insulation, flooring, framing, roofing, siding, paint, and more

All designed to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, while reducing your carbon footprint.

And like the alternative power sources, they can save you money in the long run.

Upgrading Your Rural Home with solid real wood flooring

Modernizing Your Rural Home with solid real wood flooring is something that will add to the value of your home, make your indoor space more attractive and even improve your health and quality of life!

There’s a very good reason why solid wood flooring is the preferred choice of those who understand how to strike the right balance between functionality and style.

At Lifestyle Flooring, our solid wood floors are 100% natural, with each plank coming from a single piece of tinder.

This gives you a uniform look, while still keeping a lot of visual interest.

Why Should I Upgrade To Solid Real Wood Flooring?

Modernizing Your Rural Home with solid real wood flooring will give your house a timeless elegance and appeal.

It Will Increase The Value Of Your Home

If you are ever thinking about selling your home, upgrading your flooring is a great first step to raising the value and allure of your house.

Since everyone knows the value of solid wood floors, they will be an excellent selling point for you and could even increase the bidding price for your property.

If you are not planning on selling your rural home, you will be able to enjoy the floors yourself!

Solid Real Wood Flooring Looks Classy And Modern

There are few things in this world that are more versatile than really great flooring.

You will be able to strike the right note with wood flooring because it will complement any other different decor that you might have in your home.

It looks just as wonderful in a streamlined, modern home as in a rustic and cozy one.

Real wood flooring is the perfect canvas that allows you to do all of your other decorating.

Wood Flooring Is A Breeze To Clean

Carpets tend to trap dust and dirt inside them.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how often you clean them; they just have a tendency to soak up all of the debris in your house.

Wood flooring is a breeze to clean, and you won’t miss a spot.

This keeps your home looking great, but also keeps your health at its optimum peak.

We all know that hazards like dust and mold can really take a toll on our airways, so having hardwood floors can seriously save us some trips to the doctor.

You Will Enjoy Better Acoustics

Love to play your stereo or entertain company?

Real wood flooring gives you some of the best acoustics that money can buy.

Your music will sound clean and bright, without being tinny or over amplified.

Since real wood flooring absorbs more sound than other types of hard flooring, like laminates, your music will never be overpowering.

Your guests will be able to enjoy a nice conversation while taking in some of the background music.

If you want to take your home to the next level, you should seriously consider an investment in real wood floors.

It’s a simple thing that can make a huge difference.
Modernizing Your Rural Home Upgrades

Alternative Power

A nice benefit to living in the country is the availability of alternative sources of power for your home.

Resource that our city-dwelling brethren typically don’t have access to.

Using eco-friendly sources, such as solar or wind, to run electricity in your home can not only save you a ton of money in electric bills, but also greatly reduce your carbon footprint.

What’s more, the set up process isn’t all that difficult.

There are plenty of online DIY resources and how to guides to get your power sources up and running in no time.

Generate enough power and you might even be able to contribute back to the grid, with a nice paycheck awaiting you from Uncle Sam.

High-Speed Internet

It’s amazing how many rural homes are still connecting to the Internet via dial-up access numbers.

The result is slow internet that doesn’t let you take advantage of all the rich content found online, not to mention fast home networking solutions (see Home Wireless Network, below).

Though you may not be able to get cable Internet where you live, as most cable providers only service major metropolitan areas, you can still get your hands on high-speed Internet.

No, not DSL.

The solution is satellite Internet.

Satellite internet has become such a popular channel for rural high-speed Internet that the government even subsidized the service for some time just a few years ago.

What’s great is that it’s super easy to set up.

All you need is a satellite dish and service, both provided by a satellite service provider, and a clear view of the southern sky.

Everything else works just the same.

It is important to note, though, that most satellite Internet providers do have caps on how much you can download in a day.

And, you may not be able to do certain things like stream movies from Netflix and Hulu.

But you can still download other media, like YouTube videos, music, and pictures—much faster than you typically can from a dial-up connection.

Another option you may have is cell phone tethering.

This is when you use a cell phone network to create a connection to the Internet that you can then in turn use on your home computer or any other Internet-ready device.

And it’s very easy to set up.

The problem with tethering is that it’s 100% dependent on having reliable cell phone reception, which may not be the case if you’re pretty far out in the country.

Home Wireless Network

Once you have your high-speed Internet connection established, you can then take advantage of a home wireless network.

This removes this hassle of having wires running throughout your home.

Plus, it gives you the convenience of being able to do things like stream content media from your computer to another device, such as your smart TV.

Having a home Wi-Fi network also makes it convenient for guests to access the Internet when they are in your home.

They don’t have to attach a cable to get on the Internet, which may not even be an option for them anyway.

All you have to do is give them the password to your network, and they’ll be able to hop on in a flash.

Setting up WiFi in your home

Setting up a home Wi-Fi network isn’t as complicated as it sounds.

All you need to do is purchase a router that connects to your Internet modem.

Many of the routers come with quick and easy setup discs that will get you going in a matter of minutes.

From electronics to the very framework of your house, these solutions are a great way to start modernizing your rural home.

Put one or all of them in place, and you’ll quickly find that country living can be even more rewarding than you anticipated.

And you’ll be sure to impress your city friends!

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Advice on Property Development that can hurt you

newly built barn

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People have often asked me my best advice on property development.

it is: “What you don’t know is the thing that can hurt you the most.”

That statement is true for many situations in life, but is especially true as you embark on finding the perfect rural home or retreat.

The thing you don’t know will not just cost you a little more money and time.

It might mean the difference between meeting or missing your ultimate goal.

Let me explain.

Advice on Property Development That Can Hurt You

Let’s say that after looking for a while, you found the perfect ranch, farm, or property to develop.

You and your family have a list of things to look for, and on the surface this one piece of property looks perfect!

It is a beautiful site.

It might even have an old barn on it.

So you quickly buy it and want to start building your home.

Advice on Property Development That Can Hurt You
Advice on Property Development That Can Hurt You

You call the local well drilling company and they come and meet with you.

After looking around, they tell you the news: there isn’t any water to drill for.

The ground is shale, which doesn’t hold any water.

You become a bit numb.

What did he say…no water?

There is a slight possibility that they can use new technology to fracture the shale and perhaps get  a little bit of water.

The bad news is that this all could cost you upwards of $25,000 …and that is something you don’t have.

Also, there is no guarantee that you will even get water.

So what do you do?

You ask yourself…how did i get in this mess?

Why did I buy this?

Without water, no house.

And you are now proud owners of a place that has no water.

Gee…could that be the reason why the property was so cheap and no one had purchased it?!

Property Access – Do you have an Easement?

You found this same perfect place.

It was a good fit.

Everyone told you it was perfect.

You noticed that access to the piece was through another parcel.

The road was there and everyone said it was the official access to the property.

So you bought the property, but the next time you went to see the place, the road was blocked.

Really blocked.

The neighbor whose property the access road went through said he didn’t have to give access legally, and with a change of ownership he decided to stop it.

So now what do you do?

Enter a costly legal battle?

You are proud owners of a place that you can’t gain access to!

How did you get into this situation?

These are two very real-world examples of what can happen if you haven’t done your  “due diligence” prior to closing.

Due diligence is the process where you resolve all issues and questions regarding use of the property in the way you plan to use it.

But don’t be discouraged–there is no reason to shrink from developing your new farm or ranch even with these potential issues.

Regardless of size, each project has a start, and from then on it is a step by step process.

It is both exciting and nerve-wracking.

But it achieves something very special that is bigger than ourselves.

It is leaving a legacy for those that will follow after us.

And experiencing a common goal and outcome brings family together.

Is it an easy process? No.

There are lots of things to consider, but each development/construction issue taken individually can usually be resolved with a positive outcome.

If you have ever purchased a home, you know that part of that involved a “house inspection.”

This inspection resulted in an objective opinion of the pluses and negatives of the house, as well as present and potential future issues.

This kind of “inspection” is different for land /farm/ranch purchases, but the principle is the same.

You just want to know what the whole situation is and don’t want to stumble into an unanticipated web of problems and issues.

These can involve county planning requirements, legal issues, water/utility issues, and many other factors.

Many things can be investigated quickly, while some issues may require more involvement.

But in any case, the resolution of your concerns prior to purchase will give you peace of mind and maintain the development momentum you’ll need as you move forward.

Even a negative resolution is a positive thing if it keeps you from purchasing a parcel that will be nothing but a headache.

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Holiday Gift Ideas From Rural Living Today

Holiday Gift Ideas From Rural Living Today

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Holiday Gift Ideas – Is it that time of year again? Our family truly enjoys this special month of December.

We celebrate Christmas in many ways, from a birthday cake for Jesus to special holiday menus, from stockings on the mantle to a fragrant Christmas tree.

But our favorite facet of the month has to be the warm and festive gatherings with family, friends, and neighbors.

And some of those get-togethers involve gift giving.

Though we try to be kind and generous all year round, there’s something about celebrating this season by giving something special to those we love.

In our family we exchange gifts including coupons for services and outings, personalized tree ornaments, practical packages under the tree, and fun gift bags passed around in those silly gift exchange games we just can’t give up.

Holiday gifts for individuals or families?

Here are some suggestions from our house to yours.

Rural Living Today Holiday Gift Ideas Four Holiday Wish Lists

Rural Living Today have compiled some lists of practical and fun items we use or would like to have…and that we highly recommend to other homesteaders.

So here we have lists For good measure, we’ve added a list for the youngest homesteaders in our lives.

We’ve included links to some online stores so you can see the products or order them if you wish.

But we also encourage you to support your local merchants by shopping in your own neighborhood.

Rural Living Today Holiday Gift Ideas
Rural Living Today Holiday Gift Ideas

Rural Living Today Holiday Gift Ideas

Carhartt Long Sleeve T-Shirts

I could never have too many of these–I live in them all winter.

Marie and I both like to wear them alone or layered under other shirts, depending on the temperature.

These Carhartt T-shirts are heavier than most Ts, well made, and reasonably priced.

They come in several colors that still look good after lots of washing, and Carhartt’s short sleeve T-shirts are great for the spring to fall months.

Celebrate Carhartt with Amazing Deals on Apparel & Accessories

Extra batteries for battery-driven tools

You can never have enough extra batteries.

There are few things more frustrating than running out of power in the middle of a project.

Keep a battery charger in the garage, one in the barn, another in the garden shed.

I like these combo sets of interchangeable tools.

I have a drill, handsaw, and flashlight that use the same battery pack.

Speaking of flashlights, you can never have too many!

This year I bought a giant one that will even shine on coyotes hundreds of feet away.

And we have several of these little LED headlamps around; we keep a couple in the truck so we can see the gate lock when arriving home in the black of night.

Check your local stores for specials on these–we found a pack of three headlights with batteries.

Best Tools for the Farm and Homestead

Framing gun, finish gun, finish brad and staple gun.

The last is great for attaching wire cloth, screening, and chicken wire when building chicken tractors and coops.

There’s no substitute!

Nice air compressor with air driven tools

Here’s a combo set with air compressor and tools.

Good quality chainsaw

I recommend a farm-sized chainsaw–not a small startup saw.

I’d get a Husqvarna Rancher chainsaw (Check Prices Here) or the Stihl equivalent.

Make sure you have extra chains and lots of 2 cycle oil additive on hand.

Weed whacker

Either a Husqvarna or Stihl trimmer.

Get a good heavy-duty one with a support strap to hold the weight of the tool while you work.

Remote wireless thermometer

Summer and winter, the first thing I want to know in the morning is the outdoor temperature.

It tells me how the livestock and the garden might be faring and helps me plan my day.

BUT especially on frigid mornings I’d rather not go outside to check the temps.

With a remote weather station you can have several wireless weather station (Check Prices Here) around your property reporting in to one central reader located in the comfort of your home.

I have my eye on this one that can read three remote sensors up to 330 feet from my house.

Good Laptop Computer

A good laptop computer for research, record-keeping, etc.

Brands and formats vary but it’s important to have something you’re comfortable with and that suits your preferences.

Depending on your needs, a tablet may be enough.

Apple peeler – Apple Corer – Apple Slicer

I may be an outdoor kind of guy but hey.

I can find my way around the kitchen!

This fall we spent hours peeling and coring apples the old-fashioned way.

Then I found out about this manually-operated Apple Peeler gadget that will speed things up like crazy next year.

Holiday Gift Ideas Favorites
Holiday Gift Ideas Favorites

Rural Living Today Holiday Gift Ideas Favorites

Jolly Garden Clogs


If I could recommend only one thing (or one pair of things) to my friends, it would be Jolly Garden Clogs (Check Prices Here).

They are durable, very comfy, and easy to slip on and off.

Their sturdy cork insoles support my flat arches and are removable for cleaning.

I wear my red Jollys all year round all over our farm as long as the snow is not deeper than they are tall.

They also disappear from our mud room all the time and can be found on the feet of my daughters and granddaughters.

Men can wear them too!

Jollys come in two men’s styles and two women’s styles.

Adobe oven for our backyard patio area

An Adobe Pizza Oven is on our wish list every year, just waiting for it to rise to the top of the priority list on our developing family farm.

We’re thinking about building something like this.

But for now we will stick to our BBQ Grill.

Can you imagine baking bread, roasting meat, or cooking a homemade pizza in one of these?

Ninja Kitchen System or similar appliance

One of the most important tools in the kitchen!

We use our Ninja Pulse Blender multiple times daily for grinding coffee and herbs, grating cheese, making smoothies, mixing, kneading, and all sorts of other things.

So handy not only for everyday cooking but when there’s lots of garden produce to process.

Kitchenaid Mixer Fruit and vegetable strainer attachment

Our hand-cranked food mill does the job (and without electricity), but for large quantities of applesauce and tomato sauce, this Kitchenaid strainer attachment is a real hand- and time-saver.

Homestead Food Processing Projects and Canning Equipment

I have a large kitchen, but the counters always seem to be full of processing foods, trials, and testing projects…and the endless canning supplies.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a separate bowls of bread dough, jars of kefir, crocks of fermenting vinegar, bowls of soaking grains and nuts,dehydrator, canners, etc.?

I’m planning to get a separate set of canning utensils to keep aside for canning only.

Speaking of kitchen projects, I recommend every homesteader kitchen be equipped with both a water bath canner for high-acid foods and a pressure canner for meats, vegetables, and other low-acid foods.

I use some of them all year, but at canning time I spend too much time trying to find them around the kitchen.

Big food dehydrator

I have a small round Nesco dehydrator (Check Prices Here), but oh would I love to have an Excalibur dehydrator (Check Prices Here)!

When I’ve used my daughter’s, I really notice that the Excalibur not only holds more food and has more height flexibility, but also dehydrates everything much faster!

Vacuum Sealer

FoodSaver rounds out the food preservation equipment list.

Vacuum sealing prevents freezer burn and just keeps things fresher, plus it consolidates packages so they stack nicely in the freezer or pantry.

We have a basic model, but the larger models have more capabilities.

Reading for Leisure Time

All this talk of equipment for working makes me want to sit down for a bit to read.

For me that includes reading about working (Getting Started on a Food Supply Plan: Sourcing, Preserving, and Storing Food for Tomorrow’s Uncertain Times), you can buy it here.

Here are some great magazines to read about the homesteading life and more mad scientist experiments to try!

GRIT, Mother Earth News, Hobby Farms, Backwoods Home.

I’d love to sit down and reminisce through the new 40th anniversary edition of The Encyclopedia of Country Living, the book that inspired our homesteading hearts.

Holiday Gift Dream List

Kindle eBook reader

One thing that is extremely handy is Kindle e-reader.

It isn’t just for reading fiction, you can store thousands of great, informative, and educational books on one.

Making them a great tool to keep with you, whether you are working in the shop, the garden, or learning new skills.

I’ve been wanting one for about three years and this year I am finally getting one – very excited!

Pullover Sweater

A nice thick pullover sweater for chilly mornings before the fire warms things up.

I like sweatshirts but one thing my dad Jim can attest to is that I am a big sweater fan.

I’ve been stealing his sweaters my whole life!

Travel mugs to keep my coffee hot

Contigo mugs are bar none the best, although I’ve got a few others sitting around.

I am a creature of habit, and as a creature of habit I love my routine of coffee in the morning and afternoon.

A good travel mug will keep it hot if I don’t finish it in time, which is handy with little ones underfoot!

Kitchenaid Mixer

This is probably one of my most favorite and useful tools.

Kitchenaid is an absolute workhorse.

There are some days I use mine multiple times in the day.

It not only is good to have as a mixer, but it has lots of attachments to do whatever you want, from an ice cream maker to a food strainer (which I use quite a bit!).

You can use it to grind your meat, mix in the seasonings, and then extrude the sausage into links.

A very useful tool!

Shelving Systems – A nice shelving system for canned goods is a good thing to have on hand for anyone who does their own food preservation.

One thing that is difficult is when you don’t really know what you have on hand.

Personally I’m no good at keeping an inventory.

Having a shelf that keeps everything right in sight is hugely useful for planning meals or knowing when it’s time to stock up.

Garden wagon

Wheelbarrows are really nice but if you have a good sturdy garden wagon/cart, you can haul so much more and it is much easier to use than a wheelbarrow.

If you garden at all, this is a hugely useful item that makes life a whole lot easier.

Automatic feeders and nipple Chicken waterers

Available for chickens, hogs, and more

These are something that will also make life much easier when caring for livestock.

At our old house when we had our chickens I loved the fact that my chickens could have plenty of food and water at any given time.

It really came in handy during those busy days running errands, canning marathons, or anything else that might “help” me forget to feed or water my birds.

Large feeders can be found easily online and in feed stores.

We made our nipple waterers similar to this, but you can find ready-made ones at Avian Aqua Miser and The Garden Coop.

Insulated hooded zip-up sweatshirt

My favorite is one I got from North 1 (which is very difficult to find) – it is thermal insulated on the inside and so warm.

I love having the convenience of a hoodie with the warmth of a coat for quick trips outside to grab more firewood, compost pile or to wrangle the animals.

I know Carhartt has some really good ones, too, and they are easier to find than North 1!

Set of cast iron cookware

I would be so lost without my cast iron.

When seasoned it cleans easily, cooks evenly and food somehow tastes better when made in it.

I have several skillets in various sizes and a dutch oven and they pretty much have a permanent residence on my stove.

On my wish list this year is a set of cast iron bread pans.

I have one made from stoneware, and it bakes so much nicer than the thin nonstick one I have.

Indoor/outdoor slippers

Since I don’t have a pair of Jolly Clogs like my mom (and yes, I DO steal them when I visit) I love my slippers that have soles.

They are just sturdy enough that I can run outside for that trip to the woodpile or compost pile and not have to worry about putting on regular shoes.

Holiday Gift Ideas Fun for Younger Homesteaders
Holiday Gift Ideas Fun for Younger Homesteaders

Holiday Gift Ideas Fun for Younger Homesteaders

Fisher-Price Little People Farm

We have to start with this old favorite of our family.

Bethany still has the old 1970s version that our kids all played with.

Of course this one is all modernized, with animal sounds…and does the barn door still “moo”?

Melissa and Doug Farm Friends Floor Puzzle

We love the quality of Melissa and Doug products, and this floor puzzle looks like tons of fun!

Look at all those farm animals and the big red barn.

Pieces are large enough for young children to handle and put in place.

Farm Cube Puzzle by Melissa and Doug.

Remember the kind where each side of each block is part of a different puzzle?

Kids can spend hours rearranging these cubes to discover their favorite farm animals looking back at them.

Lace and Trace Farm lace up cards.

Generations of kids have enjoyed lacing perforated cards with yarn.

These farm animals are adorable (and yes, they’re from Melissa and Doug and we really don’t get paid for advertising their products!

But quality speaks for itself).

My First Farm set for LEGO fans

These duplo blocks are for the young ones, but I know some older kids who would love to build this and play with it too.

My Collage Farm

Four cute little animals and a bunch of goodies to decorate them with.

Little ones need help but older kids can let their creativity fly.

Holiday Gift Ideas Little House on the Prairie books and DVD sets

I’ll never be too old to read about the pioneer life of the Ingalls family.

We used to read the books every year, and now our grand kids are avidly reading them.

The DVD’s they’re among the best for entertaining young people while accurately describing life for the original homesteaders.

Do you have an avid craftier in your family?

My Little House Crafts Book includes instructions for 18 projects that Laura and Mary actually made in the Little House stories.

My Side of the Mountain trilogy

These books were some of our childhood favorites.

They inspired our dreams of self-sufficiency and aspirations to live the life we live today. Prepping gives you options on the road adventure

You can be sure our own children will be reading them in the years to come!

Holiday Gift Ideas Farm Science Set

Farm Science set for older children.

A fun way to learn about how farms work with all sorts of educational and fun activities from T.S. Shure.

Storey Publishing’s game and puzzle books for preschoolers and older kids

These look like so much fun I’m thinking of putting them on my own wish list!

Barnyard Games and Puzzles, Pony Play Games and Puzzles, Chicken Games and Puzzles and Horse Games and Puzzles each include more than 100 brainteasers, word games, puzzles, jokes and riddles.

Badland Winches and Trailer Tongues for Your Vehicle

With safety always being a priority, we have put together information on two products for your vehicles, depending on your situation.

It is not surprising to have off-road vehicles get stuck in the mud or some challenging terrain regardless of their tough mechanisms and dynamic designs meant for such situations.

This is when Badland winches would come in handy to extract the vehicle from uninspiring positions in the outback or dense forests.

The market offers 12000 lb Badland winches with an automatic load-holding brake to get stuck off-road vehicles out of their predicament easily and quickly.

The dynamic winch can offer plenty of power in any heavy vehicle recovery using a cable tensioner that pulls out the stuck vehicle quickly without damaging any component.

If you frequent adventurous trips using 4×4 wheel vehicles in remote terrains, it is wise to bring along one of these 12000 lb winches as an unfailing companion when needed to get out of a tight situation.

Badland Winches
Badland Winches

Badland Winches for off-road fun

Badland winches exhibit great power in not just recovering stuck vehicles; they can haul timber over a great distance or be loaded onto a container.

A boat can also be loaded with this powerful winch which uses a series-wound motor.

The winch enjoys a 3-stage planetary gear system that spurns a fast speed line to get the job done.

Its load-holding brake is an automatic feature that is designed for extreme safety in any off-road adventure.

Modern technology ensures that all Badland winches are designed with dynamic components that offer features to benefit the extreme adventurer with maximum safety.

The winch’s motor stays cool even when in long pulls while the free spooling feature ensures a fast line out.

Its cable tensioner is specially designed to prevent any tangling of the cable.

The winch has a 12-foot remote control that is ergonomic in shape for a smoother hold and grip.

Its roller fair lead comes with nylon bushing and tough wire rope of aircraft grade to give durability and strength at every pull out job.

It is easy to attach the winch onto the vehicle easily and securely to ensure that the vehicle would be pulled out of the challenging terrain.

Holiday Gift Ideas buy Badland Winches

Veteran off-road adventurers have no hesitation in investing in a quality Badland 12000 lb winch from an appointed supplier that provides fair pricing and friendly customer services.

Such products come with a lifetime warranty that assures consumers of material defects or substandard workmanship.

An extended guarantee can be secured to enjoy better services from its distributor.

Certain distributors may even allow a return of these winches for any reason.

Costing just a couple of hundred dollars with a lifetime warranty, Badland winches are a strong necessity for adventurers as well as heavy vehicle repair shops, manufacturers, tool enthusiasts and building contractors who have specific uses of the winch.

The wide number of suppliers and distributors for winches makes it easy for customers to get a unit for their vehicles.

The internet is a powerful platform that allows easy search and online purchases of these tools, such as

Trailer Tongue

At first look, Trailer Tongue sounds like something a dentist might be interested in or maybe something a stand-up comic dreamed up of.

However, hold your laughter as a trailer tongue is a very real thing and for people who love to carry their mobile home along with them as they head down the road, a trailer tongue is a serious thing.

Trailer Tongue
Trailer Tongue

Technically it refers to the forward portion of a trailer where the coupler is mounted.

Now why would one worry about this contraption or even give it a second thought?

Tongue weight

Well first of all, as they say in trailer circles, always know your tongue weight.

It is something that you will need to aware of if you intend to hitch a trailer to your car.

Most people who are familiar with all things towing say that the tongue weight should be around 9-11% of the gross trailer weight.

This is crucial with respect to safety while towing your trailer.

If the tongue weight is too light then not enough downward pressure is applied on the attachment point and can result in something that is called as trailer sway.

This is unsafe as it makes the trailer difficult to handle and can it can even come off under severe stress.

The other thing is if the tongue weight is too heavy.

This causes an undue strain on the car pulling the trailer affecting the gas efficiency as well as making the trailer very difficult to maneuver specially around turns.

There are some fixes that can be made if the trailer tongue weight does not fall within the correct weight limit then simple fixes can be made.

These include shifting the cargo weight inside the trailer to help compensate as necessary.

If the trailer weight is too light then all that needs to be done is to shift the weight forward and if the weight is more, then some weight needs to be shifted toward the back of the trailer.

This helps in balancing the trailer weight and helps in maneuverability.

This however is a distant second fix as compared to changing the actual trailer weight.

Calculating tongue weight

The next logical question is how to calculate the tongue weight?

Well the first step is to know the total weight of the trailer so that you can calculate what weight range you need to be within.

If you do not already know this then a trip to the public scales and a small dollar investment will provide you the answer.

To calculate the tongue weight you can either use a small bathroom scale (for lighter tongues) or you can purchase a specific tongue weight scale which will help you find out the exact scale of the heavier tongue weights.

For newcomers, both the information on Badland winches and trailer tongues for your vehicles may sound intimidating but with your research, you will need what you need to in order to buy accordingly.

10 Things to Love About Rural Living

Ten Things to Love About Rural Living

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Things to Love About Rural Living, After living for a long time in urban and suburban environments, I am now living a rural lifestyle.

Is this for everybody?

Maybe not.

But I sure do enjoy rural living 52 weeks a year in a place where I used to vacation for 2 weeks a year.

Things to Love About Rural Living

Apart from a few years that I spent as an urban dweller many years ago, I have lived most of my life in the country.

For me, it is the only real choice. 

If you’re like me, then you know what I’m talking about.

City living doesn’t have a lot to recommend it.

The noise, the stink, the pollution and the excessive number of people, all of these things are enough to drive me crazy. 

My life in the country is different in virtually every way.

Surrounded by the soft sounds of nature, I have plenty of opportunities to contemplate my thoughts or carry on a conversation.

The air is crisp and clear.

When the sun goes down, I feel like I have a front seat in the audience for viewing the entire Milky Way. 

I sometimes go for days without seeing another person except those who live with me, yet I’m never lonely.

There’s just so much to see and do.

My garden always needs tending, and I have animals that make for incredibly good company. 

Of course, one of the best things about country living is being able to be so close to nature.

During my years in the city, I felt nearly cut off from nature.

All of my walks involved asphalt and concrete.

Seeing some grass, let alone walking on it, was rare.

The trees I saw tended to be less than impressive, and flowers were nearly unheard of. 

Things are incredibly different where I live now.

For miles around, I can explore pastures, meadows and forests.

The gently rolling landscape is just perfect for enjoying a healthy walk, and you can bet that I’m out there pretty nearly 365 days a year. 

I will admit that as I have gotten older, the terrain has become a little more difficult to handle.

It’s only natural that after many years of activity I would experience some joint stiffness and other mild complaints.

Plus, sometimes I feel like I’m just not as surefooted as I used to be. 

Now, I have never been accused of being a quitter, and I don’t intend for that kind of mindset to take over at this point.

I started looking around for a solution.

A friend that I regularly run into at a store in town suggested that I look into getting a walking cane, so I started doing some searching on the Internet.

Twisted Sassafras Turned Knob Walking Cane

That’s how I discovered the Brazos Walking Sticks Company.

It’s a US company that’s located in Texas, so I feel like they really understand my fiercely independent lifestyle.

The fact that each of their walking sticks is fashioned by hand, one at a time, was also incredibly appealing. 

I mean, who’s heard of that kind of craftsmanship in this day and age?

Most products are turned out by the dozen on mechanized assembly lines located in some other country that isn’t the US.

However, I feel like this is one company that’s really doing it right.

They genuinely care about their products and what people think of them. 

I spent quite a bit of time on their website before ultimately deciding on the Twisted Sassafras Turned Knob Walking Cane.

Its appearance is really eye catching.

The shaft is made from sassafras with some of the bark left on for added appeal.

In fact, the bark forms the “twist” around the shaft, and it looks amazing. 

As good as the pictures online are, seeing my own walking cane from Brazos Walking Sticks Company was something entirely different.

The piece has a really beautiful sheen, and the orange and red colors are gorgeous.

I’m impressed by how lightweight this stick is, yet it appears to be amazingly durable.

No matter the terrain or the weather, I know that my Twisted Sassafras Turned Knob Walking Cane is up to the task. 

The wood that is used to create this stick is incredibly well polished.

It feels so smooth and comfortable in my hand.

Available in two lengths, I was able to get the size that is perfect for my height.

Additionally, it’s possible to add all sorts of personalization and accessories to these walking sticks.

I added my monogram and the combi-spike tip so that my cane would be a true go-anywhere accessory. 

If you like, you also can add a cane strap or other embellishments like an American flag medallion or a pewter star.

Brazos even offers a thermometer, so if you’re concerned about the temperature, that might be a sensible addition for you. 

One of the things that I find so appealing about this cane is that it has so much personality.

I’ve seen plenty of people walking around with a plain, impersonal cane made from metal or another less-imaginative material, but it’s rare to see someone with such an outstanding and unique accessory in their hand. 

I guess what I’m saying is that I appreciate that this cane was made from a material that once was a part of a living tree.

In some ways, I feel like it’s an extension of nature, and that fits in well with my lifestyle.

Plus, anyone can see how sturdy and dependable this cane is in addition to being well made.

This is probably going to end up a family heirloom for my country-loving relatives. 

Initially, I had planned to only use my walking cane while going on my long rambles through the countryside.

Now I take it pretty much everywhere I go.

When I bring it into town, people are always impressed with it, and I can’t stop myself from telling the story. 

I also tell them, only if I’m asked, how much I paid for my stick.

It never fails to astound people that this impressive and functional piece of art costs so little.

I think it just might be the smartest purchase I’ve ever made. 

I have no intention of ever giving up my independent country lifestyle.

My walking stick is one more tool that makes that possible.

Oak Wood Derby Walking Cane With Oak Shaft And Brass Embossed Collar

If you are looking for a handsome, durable walking cane, look no further than the Oak Wood Derby Walking Cane With Oak Shaft And Brass Embossed Collar from Fashionable Canes.

This cane is as functional as it is beautiful.

The secret is in the derby style handle, which is both easy to grip and balances like a dream on the edge of any table.

No longer will you have to worry about your cane slipping to the ground and embarrassing you during a fancy dinner out.

You also won’t have to tuck it away and run the risk of forgetting about it!

Your cane will be right where you left it, securely clamped on to the table.

The handle also makes it easy to maneuver around with.

Many canes will slip right out of your hands at the first disturbance or slippery ground, but not the Oak Wood Derby Walking Cane With Oak Shaft And Brass Embossed Collar!

The derby handle keeps it right by your side, no matter what kind of terrain you are up against.

The design also allows you to keep up with others who might be walking briskly without the aid of a cane.

You will never worry about falling behind again!

This cane is also lovingly carved from oak, which gives it a beautiful appearance as well as makes it sturdy and largely immune to many different types of wear and tear.

The oak is honey-colored, but the grain is darker, giving the cane a sophisticated appearance that contrasts the darker grain against the naturally light color of the wood.

The result is striking and sophisticated; the perfect complement to any outfit.

This is a cane that could accompany you to the most prestigious occasion and fit right in perfectly.

Such a fabulous cane needs some incredible ornamentation, which is exactly what this cane gets with a solid brass collar that connects the derby handle to the staff of the cane.

This simple collar is subtly marked with the Royal Canes Company logo.

It is muted and understated sophistication, the last word in class.

This cane can be customized to your weight and height, although some maximum limits to apply.

The cane itself weighs in at just under a pound, which is great for users who need a lightweight cane that can still stand up to the rough and tumble nature of life.

This cane is also reasonably priced as well.

You can get your hands on it for under $40.

It’s a small investment in your overall happiness and mobility, and well worth it!

I would recommend this cane to anyone.

It’s handsome but simple enough to go with any different outfit, and it is able to stand up to different types of terrain and wear and tear.

Best of all, the derby handle will keep the cane right where you need it; by your side at all times.

10 Things to Love About Rural Living

I don’t have to spend 10% of each day commuting.

For years I did it in the morning, and then I did it at night, and I repeated the cycle five days a week.

What a waste of time, energy, and emotional well-being.

Nowadays, my vehicle of choice is a tractor and there’s hardly any traffic!

I am happy when I wake up.

I don’t dread a new day.

Each day is a new one full of adventure, projects and challenges.

The old routine called the “daily grind” is history.

I live in a safe environment.

I leave my keys in my truck.

My house is unlocked.

My dogs are the best doorbell I’ve ever had!

Ten Things to Love About Rural Living
Ten Things to Love About Rural Living

I know the history of much of my food nowadays.

No more worry about food scares and where my food is coming from.

My food doesn’t have unknown additives, hormones, enhancers, and other stuff that just isn’t good for you.

I will live a longer life than if I had stayed in the city.

My food has flavor, too.

Just try one of my tomatoes and compare it to one from a supermarket.

Mine has flavor…

Things are growing all around me.

I am surrounded by real life—living things.

I can look at my garden and watch my own livestock from my kitchen window.

On my way into town one day, I saw literally hundreds of deer and wild turkeys.

I really enjoy watching the eagles soaring above me as I work on my property.

10 things child gardening
10 things child gardening

My kids are learning about life.

They know where their food is coming from, and they are responsible for some of that.

They are able to follow their desires and passions, whether it is growing food, flowers, or animals.

Their world is unlimited.

They run around and play and I don’t have to worry.

They have become much more self-sufficient and confident.

They are no longer addicted to the Social Media, text messaging, or video games.

My family is somewhat protected from potential issues in the future.

All is not well in the economic, political and global environments.

Unemployment, home foreclosures, civil unrest… are things really getting better?


The civil consequences of all of this will be hitting the urban areas much more than the rural areas.

I can be out hunting in five minutes.

I can be catching a fish in thirty minutes.

Couldn’t do that in my suburban neighborhood.

I know my neighbors.

They are ready to help me with a phone call and when we pass on the road, they always make time to stop and say hello.

In my last neighborhood, I barely knew or even saw my neighbors.

And the top reason I love rural living: The Importance of Family Traditions

I love rural living: The Importance of Family Traditions
I love rural living: The Importance of Family Traditions

Long, long ago, December 25 was designated as a day to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus.

Over the years, other cultural and personal traditions became a part of Christmas celebrations.

Our family embraces both the sincere appreciation of Jesus in our lives and the joy of participating in many fun and meaningful aspects of the season.

We stretch our celebration into about six weeks, from the day after American Thanksgiving in late November into the first week of January.

Each year we attend some new events, try some new recipes, and make some new decorations.

But the basis of our celebration of the season is a cornerstone of family traditions.

Sense of belonging

Family traditions give a family a sense of belonging, routine, and anticipation.

They provide a cohesiveness that can bring everyone together no matter what the circumstances.

If a teenager is feeling like an outsider or wondering which planet his parents came from, family traditions can bind everyone together in shared history and memories.

Someone going through a tough time can relax and be reminded that he or she is not alone.

Newcomers to the family can be invited to introduce some of their own traditions as the family melds together.

A new family being formed by remarriage can encourage the family blending by incorporating traditions from each merging family and then creating new traditions together.

With turmoil all around us in the world and even in our communities, there’s something dependable and faithful and even comforting about participating in a family tradition.

It means something to count on, something to anticipate, a feeling that “I’m a part of this family and this family is a part of me.”

Traditions also promote expectations, which can be good or bad.

In our family we try to focus on the positive ones and eliminate or adapt those with heavy strings attached.

We’ve also kept an eye on interests and abilities as years go by and people change.

Some traditions just die of old age or are replaced by more appropriate or comfortable activities.

Family traditions, old and new

In the past decades, as we shaped our own family’s winter holiday traditions, we carried over a few from our own childhoods.

Each of us had always gotten a tangerine at the bottom of our Christmas stockings.

We both had fun memories of annual visits from “Santa” as part of Christmas Eve preparations and Christmas morning surprises.

Holiday music was played in both of our childhood homes; local concerts and Christmas Eve candlelight services were special events.

On the other hand, we dropped with a thud the traditional fruitcakes of our childhood.

We tweaked the typical Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus of our parents and grandparents.

We added activities like our annual trip to a rural tree farm to select and cut down the “perfect” tree.

Family Ice Skating
Family Ice Skating

We made our own set of traditions and our own memories as we raised our children.

Today they do the same in their homes, keeping some of our traditions alive and adding others that fit their families.

The four younger families in our nuclear family have developed their own traditions.

Each family has maintained some of the parents’ childhood traditions and initiated new ones tailored for the family members and the changing times.

And even those traditions are fine-tuned as the children–our grandchildren–grow older, bringing home their own ideas and indicating their favorite traditions and the ones they could do without.

Nowadays, three generations of our family celebrate the season together.

First a flurry of family emails goes around with discussions of when and where to gather together, what food to share, what type of gift exchange to have.

Then we start the “doing.”

We bake cookies and share special holiday food–both old favorites and new recipes.

We have enjoyed making tree ornaments and other decorations like painted plaster Christmas village houses and decorated graham-cracker “candy houses.”

Some of us even watch sappy holiday movies; Jim and Marie’s annual favorites include It’s a Wonderful Life, The Christmas Story, Christmas with the Kranks, The Santa Clause series, and our most recent additions, Mrs. Miracle and Call Me Mrs. Miracle.

It’s never too late to start initiating family traditions.

Any favorite activity, project, or food your family enjoys is a candidate for a tradition.

If you’re short on ideas, ask friends about their traditions or search blogs, magazines, and books for others.

Here are a few of our own special customs.

Tree ornament collections

Tree ornament collections
Tree ornament collections

We gave each of our children a tree ornament every year so that when they left home as adults they had their own sets of decorations to start with.

We still give each family an ornament most years and give each grandchild one as well.

Some of the ornaments have been purchased, but most were handmade.

Usually the ornament has some significance either for the individual child or for the family.

Our kids’ collections have included their favorite animals or pets, college logo ornaments, symbols of that year’s family vacation, and a shiny key to signify the first driver’s license.

Last year Marie made felt hens for the grandkids, using the color of each child’s favorite chicken in our flock.

This year our farm kids will have little piggy ornaments to signify the new farm project of the year.

Over the years we have brought home small tokens from vacation spots for our own ornament collection.

If they weren’t already tree decorations, a bit of ribbon or other adornment was added to what was originally a fridge magnet or key ring.

Nowadays our tree is like a walk down memory lane that evokes wonderful memories from years gone by.

Celebrating Christmas as family

We encourage each of our four young families to spend a leisurely Christmas morning at home, so our extended family gathering is usually on a weekend in December or even early January.

It’s not unusual for some families to stay overnight, and we may even have a “Christmas Eve” and a “Christmas Day” over two days so we can fit in all three of our favorite holiday meals.

As the family grows, the gift-giving changes.

Some years the adult kids draw names among themselves.

We usually have some kind of silly or serious gift bag exchange so Marie can direct whatever new pass-and-steal game she’s discovered for that year.

And there is one gift that keeps on giving–we never know from one year to the next which of the women is going to receive the 80s style hot pink shoes!

Christmas Eve appetizer buffet

Though we have a sit-down dinner on Christmas Day, we like to keep things simple on Christmas Eve.

We can graze and eat when we’re hungry, there’s always plenty for friends who stop by, and best of all–preparation and cleanup are fairly simple.

Everyone brings some type of appetizer to contribute.

Nowadays we enjoy this buffet as the main meal of our family gathering.

Our favorite must-haves include slow cooker sweet and sour meatballs; veggie trays with pickles and–of course–olives for fingers; pigs in blankets made with refrigerated tubes of croissant dough and cocktail wieners; and other specialties introduced over the years.

Our kids who married into the family have added their favorites from their own family gatherings.

And oh will there be Christmas cookies, including old traditions like spritz, Jan Hagel, and frosted sugar cookies; more recently acquired favorites; and some nostalgic holiday treats we adopted during the years we lived in Germany.

As our children developed their own styles in the kitchen, we discovered who had a flair for this or that.

Now the oldest grandchildren are beginning to contribute their specialties.

Let’s just say there’s never a shortage of delicious and appetizing food at our gatherings.

Birthday cake for Jesus

We start our Christmas morning breakfast with some kind of a cake, with candles and all.

Over the years we had coffee cake and yeast rolls.

We finally settled on our now-traditional “cake” of homemade cinnamon rolls in a large pan.

We sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and blow out the candles for him.

Time-saving Hacks

Days before Christmas, Marie shapes the cinnamon rolls and freezes them unbaked.

On Christmas Eve, she sets the frozen rolls out to thaw overnight.

In the morning she pops them in the oven and they’re fresh and hot for breakfast.

Sharing the joy

When the kids were young we also had neighborhood birthday parties for Jesus.

Each guest brought a toy for the town’s giving tree or groceries for the local food bank.

This gave the children a sense of reaching out to others as well as a reminder of the focus of the season.

Other ways of giving to the community include taking children’s names from a “giving tree” and selecting gifts.

Sharing groceries or prepared food with a local family; and caroling in the neighborhood or at a special care facility.

Reindeer cookies with Grammy

Reindeer cookies with Grammy
Reindeer cookies with Grammy

One of our traditions is just several years old.

It involves Grammy and all the grandkids, though Papa and parents are allowed to watch and help little ones.

Grammy saw a fun cookie in a magazine before she became a grandma and filed the idea away for later.

Now the grandkids from toddlers to teens look forward to baking day.

We try to get as many of the grandkids together at one time; this year we made the cookies on Thanksgiving after dinner dishes had been cleared away.

You may have seen reindeer cookies in various colors and forms.

Here’s how we make Reindeer cookies

Round slices/cutouts or flattened balls of brown cookie dough (gingerbread, spice, peanut butter, etc.)

Small pretzel twists for antlers

Colored candies for facial features–including red for noses

Separate baking sheet or labeled parchment paper for each child

Imagination, a good sense of humor, and flexibility as the kids create some interesting “reindeer”


Special apron for each child; AbbyKate Designs will embroider names on cotton aprons.

Don’t forget one for Mom or Grandma!

Family traditions may be deliberately developed or spontaneously adopted.

They may be serious or funny, simple or complicated, old-fashioned or modern and trendy.

The important thing is that they are valuable to your family in some way and they evoke warm memories as years go by.

And by the way, family traditions are not just for Christmas!

Any holiday, birthday or other annual occasion can include traditional aspects, and other special days can be “invented.”

Maybe you serve green pancakes for St. Pat’s, or hunt for pumpkins in October.

Do you have a special end-of-school year party?

Jump-in-the-fall-leaves day?

Snow pudding with the first good snowfall?

Tradition is tradition!

This December many families all over the world are grieving after tragic losses.

Others are struggling to make ends meet and navigate an ever-changing economical climate.

In the midst of it all, we are ever mindful of the true reason we celebrate Christmas.

Jesus is the reason for the season, and our hope for navigating the future is in him.

We all wish you a warm and fulfilling holiday season.

Our blog may be quieter than usual while we spend time with family and friends, but we have more helpful posts and something new planned.

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