Country Living Series

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Silence and the lambs

Sorry for the blog silence over the last week! I just returned from speaking at the Northwest Preparedness Expo in Prosser, Washington.

I gave two talks at the Expo. The first, "Prepper Gardening," is also an ebooklet, if anyone's interested. The second talk, "Self-Sufficiency as a Prepper Strategy," will be posted here on the blog this week.

I didn't take many photos while there, with one exception. The lovely people who kindly gave me a bed for the weekend have a variety of livestock, including sheep.

I haven't spent much time around sheep, so I'm always entranced by lambs, which are every bit as cute as the stereotype implies.

Twin lambs from one ewe weren't able to nurse, so they're being bottle-fed. I ask ya, have you ever seen anything so darling?


I don't have any particular desire to get sheep, since I assume the "cuteness" factor of the lambs is not a sufficient reason.

But they sure are fun to hang around with.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The burning of Notre Dame

I was devastated to read that Notre Dame is burning, even as we speak.

Notre Dame is literally the most famous cathedral in the world. I'm crying inside to think it is now destroyed.

I can't imagine there are many people left with the skills to duplicate the mastery that went into this iconic landmark, from its famous rose windows to the majestic spire.

What a horrible, horrible tragedy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Dear readers, we have momentous news: We're moving. After 16 happy years here on the Rural Revolution homestead, we are ready to move on.

Why? Because with just the two of us, the house is simply too big. This is a home for a growing family, not a couple whose children have grown and moved out.

This means our property will be for sale by early summer. Currently we're remodeling, getting rid of junk, and generally cleaning things up. Our goal is to fix it up inside and out and make it shine like a pearl. I'll be posting photos as we go to illustrate our progress.

The next logical question is, where will we be moving to? The answer is: We don't know. We're searching through six counties in northern Idaho, from the Canadian border to south past Lewiston. We still want a farm (just with a smaller house), so if anyone knows of 15+ acres with a fixer-upper house for sale, please let us know.

If you're looking for a self-sufficient homestead in the country, consider making our home yours. At this point, we plan to sell the property ourselves ("for sale by owner") and anticipate having it ready to put on the market by early- to mid-June. (Please note, we cannot carry a mortgage for anyone.)

Here are some of the amenities the property offers:
  • 20 acres, fenced and cross-fenced (roughly two four-acre pastures on one side of house, seven acres in partial woods on the other side of the house, a half-acre wheat pasture, about an acre fenced garden area, three acres around house/barns/driveway)
  • 3600 square-foot home (not counting an inside loft of another 300 sq. ft.)
  • Four bedrooms, two baths (additional bedrooms could be created from existing spaces currently used as offices)
  • On-demand hot water heater
  • Propane appliances (range, washing machine, dryer); electric fridge
  • 30 gpm well, 610 ft. deep (static level 450 ft.); brand-new 5-gpm well pump installed June 2017
  • Wood and propane heat
  • Beautiful new Baker's Choice wood cookstove installed December 2015
  • 500-gallon propane tank
  • Large fenced yard for dogs
  • 36x48 ft. barn with attached livestock awning, feed boxes, and 45x45 fenced feet lot
  • 22x55 ft. bull pen with two-pen shed and feed boxes (attached to barn)
  • Three-bay machine shed with gravel floor
  • Three animal pens attached to machine shed with gravel floor
  • 32x70 fenced corral adjacent to animal pens
  • 25x30 ft. shop with concrete floor and double exterior doors attached to machine shed
  • 10x25 ft. insulated shop room with concrete floors and heater attached to machine shed
  • Two-room chicken coop (10x20 ft.) with adjacent 6x10 ft. shed
  • Hugely productive quarter-acre tire garden
  • Mature pear trees
  • Young 1/10-acre orchard (4 peaches, 4 apples, 4 hazelnuts, 2 plums)
  • 50x50 pond, 14 feet at deepest end, adjacent to garden
  • Garden, orchard, pond (7/10 acre total) surrounded by eight-foot deer fence
  • Terrific neighbors, with an automatic invitation to our legendary neighborhood potlucks
  • Off-road privacy, 1.3 miles down private road
  • One hour from both Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Spokane, Washington
We ask for serious inquiries only (no realtors). When the time comes to put our homestead on the market, we'll have a dedicated website available with loads of photos.

If interested, please contact us at

Monday, April 8, 2019

Swans on the lake

If there's one beautiful thing we can anticipate in early spring, it's swans. Specifically tundra swans, which come in every year to nest in the marshes.

These magnificent, majestic birds arrive by the thousands, filling the air with their hooting as they engage in courtship rituals and search for food.

It's just something else, to see so many at one time casually going about their business.

It's almost better to photograph them from higher up (as opposed to the water's edge) because it's easier to see the sheer number.

Yes, sometimes it's good to step back and remember how beautiful God's green earth is.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Birdbrain behavior

Early this morning, I heard a tap-tap-tapping sound. Tracing it, I climbed halfway up the stairs and peered at the glass door leading to a tiny second-floor balcony.

I saw a (presumably male) robin perched on the balcony rail.

He was engaged in a long-term attack on his reflection in the glass.

This went on for hours. As I post this, he's still at it. It must be exhausting. He even looked like he was panting when I snapped these photos.

Ah, testosterone. What a birdbrain.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The sight no one ever wants to see

Yesterday in the early afternoon, I heard the sound of a large truck rumbling up our road. I stepped onto the porch and saw it was a firetruck, no siren but with lights ablaze.

The truck went beyond our driveway, where only two other neighbors have property. Don and I looked around but saw no smoke, so we speculated perhaps it was a medical emergency.

Oddly it wasn't until another neighbor called that it was confirmed the truck was following smoke. Our neighbor's vantage point was clearer than ours, even though we're closer, because trees blocked our view. I walked down our driveway and saw this:

This was definitely one of those heart-in-the-throat moments as I imagined our neighbor's house burning. Additional trucks came in, more and more of them.

The cows were intensely alert toward the smoke.

As I trotted down the road toward the neighbor's a quarter-mile away, I was surprised to hear what sounded like gunfire. Could it be ammunition exploding in the fire? In fact what I heard was simply the sound of the fire itself. I'd never been this close to a full structure burning and it was noisier than I realized.

As it turns out, it wasn't our neighbor's house, it was their barn. It was a small barn, more like a large shed, and it was completely gone by the time I got there.

One of the neighbors said she had started a burn pile the day before, and the wind ignited the embers and started the structure on fire. Thankfully no one was hurt and no animals were in the barn.

It does illustrate the need to be responsible with burning. Right now the fire danger in our area isn't high since we're just out of winter, but it's still critical to keep burn piles contained and away from buildings.

I'm just thankful it wasn't any worse.