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Monday, August 14, 2017

Can a Duck Drive a Truck in the Muck?

New children's book just released! Available in print and on Kindle!

Bud and Sis explore rhyming in the outdoors. They ask many silly questions and learn about the outdoors and rhyming. This funny interactive story with Bud and Sis is one you don't want to miss.

Get a copy here!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

15 Things to Consider When Building a Chicken Coop

Months after writing 10 Things to Consider When Building a Chicken Coop, I realized there is really 15 so here are 5 more things to consider. After losing one of our chickens to a neighbor dog we modified our coop to keep unwanted guests out. The neighbor dog charged through 1/4 inch hardware cloth that was nailed under the coop and grabbed a chicken, our favorite chicken. We thought our coop kept predators out, but we were mistaken. Here is what we changed about our original design.

Buried Hardware Cloth 

First it's important to use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. Weasels and other small predators can sneak through chicken wire and it is not as strong. We also buried it and folded it in the back.

Barrier to Keep Predators Out

Plastic, shingles, cinder blocks filled with rock surround the coop to keep out predators. Two dogs were spotted in our yard this morning and couldn't get in the coop.

Sand in the Run

Mud was too muddy, straw too messy, so we are trying sand. The chickens love taking dust baths and playing in the kids' sandbox so I decided to make their run a sandbox. It's important that they have somewhere to take a dust bath, and sand is easy to clean with a kid sized rake.

Vaseline to Connect PVC Pipes in Feeders

PVC waterers and feeders need to be cleaned out so the best way to connect them is to use Vaseline. After cleaning reapply Vaseline to connect the bottom cap. See more about PVC Feeders.

Plywood for Easy Cleaning

I added a sheet of plywood covering the floor and nesting box for easy clean out. It's easy to lift the plywood out and dump in the neighboring compost bin.

See 10 Things to Consider When Building a Chicken Coop For 10 more things to consider. What other considerations do you have? We'd love more ideas.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

PVC Pipe Chicken Feeders and Waterers

Chicken chores have become easier after we installed a PVC pipe feeder and waterer.  We cut a hole in the roof about 3 3/4 inch in diameter on each side of the coop.  We then installed flashing for a tight seal. We put a PVC cap on the top of each feeder to keep rain and debris out. They can be taken off to refill and clean the feeders.

PVC Waterer

We ordered water cups from Beak Time.  We drilled into the PVC pipe and screwed the cups in.  The pullets caught on quickly and figured out that if they stick their heads into a cup their beak will hit the dispenser and dispense water into the cup.  I was worried about leaking, but it has been working great with no leaks.  We sealed the bottom with a PVC Cap sealed with duct seal.  Then we rested the bottom on two of 2 x 4s.  To prevent scum I pull off the cap and clean the pipe out as needed.  I can then seal it back up with more duct seal.  This has been awesome because we don't have to walk into the coop to fill up the waterer, and it doesn't need to be filled up every day.  It stays full and clean for a week although I check it daily just to make sure.  

PVC Pipe Feeder

We used two pieces of 3 inch PVC pipe connected with an elbow and caps on each side.  We cut a trough into the bottom pipe.  We sealed the elbow and pipes together with duct seal, and we put a few pieces of 2 x 4s underneath for extra stability. My son loves his chicken chores more than ever, and the girls always have plenty of food and water.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bud and Sis are Coming Back Better Than Ever

My children love learning the alphabet with Explore Outdoor ABCs with Bud and Sis and can't wait for Outdoor Rhyme Time to be published. I realize that they are biased because I'm their mom, but they are part of the reason I started writing outdoor children's books.

Thank you for all who have supported my first book. If you have a copy feel free to write an honest review. You can now order Explore Outdoor ABCs with Bud and Sis on Amazon for print or kindle for $2 off list price.  I have many books started, and plan to have the next published and ready to purchase by September 1st.

I'm looking for reviewers that want to review Outdoor Rhyme Time before it is available for purchase. If you have any experience reviewing books and would like a free copy to review please email me at

Outdoor Rhyme Time incorporates humor and rhyming in the outdoors. My preschoolers gave it passing reviews (I know biased), but I need more adult reviews. I hope to inspire children everywhere to love the outdoors and reading.

We will have limited copies available for pre-sale at a discounted price. Please contact me at if you'd like to reserve a pre-sale copy.  Thank you!

Monday, July 10, 2017


Looking for a cheap unforgettable outdoor vacation? Consider taking a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Here are some pictures of our last trip. No phones, no motors, no distractions. We also had great luck fishing.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Backcountry Brook Trout

Deep in the woods of northern Minnesota through the mosquitoes and deer flies lives one of Minnesota's most beautiful fish. Don't let their size fool you. They put up a good fight and taste delicious.  Speckled trout, also known as brook trout, are amongst my favorite to catch. It's an adventure finding them, and they are fun to catch.

Since childhood I've been trout fishing in creeks in northern Minnesota. Most of the best spots are difficult to get to by vehicle. If you cast into a slow pool in a creek, leave the bail open, hold the line, and wait you will feel many little tugs. They put up a fight as they skip across the creek. They are the softest fish and easy for kids to take off.


We gut and gill them stream side. They taste great pan fried with onion. We cook with the bones in and head on. Sometimes we bread them. After cooked the meat peels easily off the bone.


Don't forget the right gear. Bug spray is a must. We also find a head net helpful to protect our heads from mosquitoes. It's best to wear neutral colors.  Make sure to wear hip boots or waders because many of the best spots involve wadding in the creek.

Catching brook trout isn't complicated if you can find a creek. The best way to catch speckled trout is with a hook and worm. We've tried flies but have had the best luck with a plain hook. I use a small spinning real with an ultralight rod. Like a lot of trout they are usually found in pretty places and worth the trip.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Wildflowers and Milkweed

Not only are wildflowers beautiful, they also serve a vital purpose in nature. Often roadsides and gardens are cleared without taking into account the important purposes of wildflowers. Milkweed often is looked at as a weed and removed. It serves as an important nourishment for hummingbirds, caterpillars and butterflies. Milkweed attracts the monarch butterfly.

Looking for an outdoor activity for kids to learn more about the outdoors and wildflowers? Check out The Tales and Trails Nature Hike at Richardson Nature Center on July 12, 2017. It's a free event for families. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce your children to the outdoors. There is story time after too. Your children will learn about wildflowers, animal tracks, and much more. Details are at L.L Bean Tales and Trails Hike.