Miss February

Today the doorbell rang and the UPS guy handled me an unexpected envelope. What?

I opened it to find a dozen USDA calendars inside. The 2016 calendar was apparently a special promotion biosecurity for backyard chicken flocks. I looked for a letter, found none, and still I had no idea what this was about. Okay then, I thought it was a mistake and I would take them to the local farm store and donate them. On the way to the store I looked inside and imagine my surprise when I spotted my photograph of Snowball as a pullet. I was published!!

I had taken a series of images using a tree stump when the Cochins were about 6 weeks old and in what I think of as their funniest stage. I trained them to jump up on the stump using meal worms as a treat.

Funny chickie babies 4 FBcollage jpeg Funny snowball on stump USE

Then it all came flooding back. There was a “Submit Your Photo” contest and I’d sent in my image. Now my funny and quirky Bantam Snowball the Cochin/Phoenix Mix is Miss February! My photograph was one of thirteen images used on the high-end, four-color calendar.

This calendar is considered Program Aide No. 2171 issued October 2015 and is titled Backyard Biosecurity: Keeping Your Birds Healthy. It was published by the Animal and plant health Inspection service Division. You can find out more detail on the piece by visiting http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov. You can also order calendars on-line from this site as well.

2016bfbcalendarad biosecurity calendar 2015 USDA

You just never know what surprises the mail carrier will be bringing!

Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna


Our coop in the Backyard Poultry Magazines Photo Contest

Our Chicken Chalet chicken coop is among the top 40 coop submissions in the Backyard Poultry Magazines “Coolest Coops Contest 2015.”

BPM issued a call for “Creative Ways to House Poultry” this winter so I submitted our mostly repurposed chicken coop that we built last summer.

Coop walking into run USE THIS as ONE

Our mostly repurposed Chicken Chalet chicken coop.

Then the wait began…

Today, Backyard Poultry Magazine put the coops and the place to vote on their on-line website.

Backyard Poultry Cover

Backyard Poultry Cover

It’s a photo contest and if we could win we could win $100.00 gift card. So PLEASE go on their site and vote!!

Coop-galnanized-duster-flagjpeg USE gate slightly open interesting jpeg Run fence and coop USE Flag and galvanized watererrtjpeg

We are coop number 34, so if you feel so inspired please vote for us and our coop.

If you want a source for more information on raising urban or rural backyard chickens you can subscribe at www.backyardpoultrymag.com/subscribe.

Website at: http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/

If you wish to “like” their Facebook page you can do it here: http://www.facebook.com/BackyardPoultry

Thank you!

Small House Homesteader, Donna

I am Being Published in The New Pioneer magazine

Double tanks water

Two 275 gallon food grade totes repurposed into a water containment system.

I received word from The New Pioneer magazine recently. They are buying a written piece and three of my photographs with plans to publish them sometime during 2015.

This magazine, if you are not familiar with it, is a homesteaders to self-reliant living. It is published quarterly with a subscription cost of $24.97. More information about this magazine, its articles and columns can be found on its site, http://www.//newpioneering.com


An example of a front cover of The New Pioneer magazine.


Brown downspout and brown tubThe tote is connected to the pole barn roof using a flexible hose and downspout.

They are buying a piece I wrote about our homesteads rain water collection system along with at least three photographs! Isn’t this great news? We have two 275 gallon food grade totes that captures the rainwater that pours off of our pole barn and collects it during the rainy season for use during the drought times. This article outlines how we created this system, found our wood base along side of the roadway and just how this system works for us.

We have sandy soil on our Small House Homestead property which perks through our soil and runs to the ditch drainage system.  I have always felt that this water was simply being wasted and could be used more effectively for our vegetable and perennial gardens, animals and shrubbery. Now that we have captured water we use every bit in our watering using a simple hose and gravity feed system.

White pipe with faucet

A PVC pipe and turn on/turn off valve allows me to use a hose or a bucket.

In years past I wrote and published a lot of newspaper and magazine feature articles, photographs, essays, book reviews and more and it’s been fun to get back into the writing gig again this winter. I have missed it.

I sent along three digital photographs with my 900 word piece which apparently they felt fit their market and audience.

I’ve filled out the paperwork and am waiting to hear when it is going to be published. I’ll keep you posted when it is published. Even though over the years I’ve probably sold hundreds of freelance pieces, each new one is still a thrill.

Small House homesteader and freelance writer, Donna




Sold a Photograph to Living the Country Life

It was a great mail day today!

I received word today that one of my photographs titled, “The Pool Shack” that I submitted to Living the Country Life magazine (a sister publication of Better Homes & Garden magazine) has been purchased and is going to be used in their magazine during 2015. It will be used in the “Country View” section of the magazine and website.

Pool shack decor in snow USE

This winter view of our homestead was purchased by Living the Country Life magazine.

When the paperwork arrived I realized that they selected it as the “Editors Pick” which means I’ll be paid $100.00 for it. I’m thrilled, not only because it will be published but because I have been saving up for a longer lens for my digital Cannon EOS Rebel T31 camera and this will help.

The image they selected shows the back of our homesteads pool shack that I decorated using a “roadside rescue” (meaning it was free and on the side of the roadway) vintage screen door I painted sage green and used as the centerpiece of my design. It was fun to play with this and even more fun to win the “Send us Your Outbuilding Photographs” contest.

To see the publication or to request a free subscription go to livingthecountylife.com

 This is what I wrote for my submission:

“The back of our pool shack is a canvas that I have decided to use to add some color and visual interest to our garden. The round painted piece is part of a back of a chair and sits inside of a rusty barrel ring. The three brown items on the left hand side are rusty tools parts. The screen door was a “roadside rescue” that I found along the side of the roadway. I brought it home, painted it sage green and hung it on the cedar frame to add interest and color. I am always happy when I walk that way and see this 3D collage.”

This sale takes me back to my publishing roots when I use to take photographs and write human interest feature stories for newspapers.

That was a fun job that I always loved. Who would not love being paid to travel around our beautiful state, meet new people, get invited into their homes and lives and use words and pictures to tell their story. Kind of like keeping a blog, right? 

Thanks for reading and for following.

Small House Homesteader, Donna