VIDEO: How To Grow Corn In The Home Garden

How to Grow Corn For Your Home Garden

I was lucky enough to get to eat supper at Jon’s parents’ house tonight. I say lucky because the company was good, and also lucky because Janice’s cooking is delicious. Tonight’s meal included beans and also corn on the cob, both from Ralph and Janice’s huge garden out in the backyard. We also had sliced tomatoes, but for some reason they can’t figure out, all of their tomato plants are dying this year, and so they’ve had to buy most of their tomatoes this summer from Pratt’s in Fountain City, where they’ve both lived their whole lives. (In Fountain City, I mean, not inside Pratt’s store in particular.)

The corn we had tonight was especially tasty, and the corn still out in the garden looks really good this year – extra healthy and straight and tall, so I asked Ralph to take a minute or two to tell me on camera how he and Janice have perfected growing corn in their home garden, since corn seems to me to be sort of an intimidating vegetable to take on in a garden, especially for beginners like myself. It needs so much space, and it can be knocked down so easily, etc, etc.

Here’s my “How to Grow Your Corn Better” chat with my father in law tonight. I apologize in advance for the fact that I was like a stalk of corn swaying in the breeze myself with the way I was waving the camera around as Ralph was talking. Perhaps, however, you can close your eyes to avoid the poor camera work, and just listen to what Ralph has to say.

Wanna Visit My Store?

If you look over there to your left, you;ll see a new link up that reads “Visit My Store,” and if you click on it, you’ll be taken to my brand spankin’ new Amazon store, something I’ve just set up today.

Basically, it’s a running list of real, actual stuff that I use or have used that I actually like and recommend. And I’m pulling it all together in one place – more flea market or bazaar style store than super organized department store style – to share with any of y’all who may be interested. And if Amazon ends up ringing any sales through my blog, I will be credited with a percentage of that sale. I think that with most sales, the average is 4%, which is pretty good, and is one main reason why so many bloggers continue to work with Amazon on their blogs.

I’ve already been having fun this afternoon pulling together the first twenty or so items for my tiny general store, and tonight after the little girls are in bed, I’ll likely get back to it, and add some more items. I’ll let you know any time when my store has been updated significantly with a quick blog post. Right now, though, I have to run over to Jon’s parents’ house for supper with them. On my feet at the moment, I’m wearing this exact pair of Sloggers, which I also have listed for sale in my Stuff I Like store.

They are some comfy shoes, lemme tell ya. I wouldn’t wear them out to dinner at just anybody’s house, because they’re shockingly close to Crocs, but they’re cuter-enough that I’m telling myself they’re acceptable enough for supper at the grandparents’ house…

Meet the BYF101 Flock: Emily the Silver Duckwing Phoenix

Silver Duckwing Phoenix

This is Emily, our Silver Duckwing Phoenix. Emily is small (she probably only weighs 4 pounds), sweet-natured, and very pretty. She hatched on February 1 of this year, and we acquired her from the neighbor with the cool pallet-built henhouse.

When we got Emily, we thought that she was a Dorking chicken, because that’s what the guy who had her told us she was, but after doing some research when we got her home, we realized that we actually had a Phoenix pullet, not a Dorking pullet. The big giveaway was that Dorking chickens all have five toes, not four toes like Emily has (and like almost all other chickens have. the 5 toes thing is pretty much unique to Dorkings as I understand it).

I didn’t really care one way or the other what kind of chicken we had, although maybe someday we might like to have a Dorking. But we are very happy with our little Phoenix hen.

Here’s another look at her.


One of Emily’s eyes doesn’t work as well as the other; it’s sort of blurrier looking than the other one, and she often tilts her head to one side to see better with what I think is her “good” eye. She manages just fine, though.

I don’t think I’d ever want a Duckwing Phoenix rooster around because as gorgeous as they are, their tails must be a huge pain to care for.

See what I mean? (photo courtesy of Feathersite)


That’s a non issue since we aren’t allowed to have roosters of any kind anyway. But for folks who raise Phoenix chickens on purpose rather than accidentally (we fall into the latter camp, with how we acquired Emily), those amazing, ornamental rooster tails are the whole point: Phoenix fanciers want to have them as long and flowy as possible. I think it’s kind of like the poultry equivalent of raising orchids. But as with most ornamental breeds of chicken, the hens aren’t nearly as showy looking as the males. Still, I find Emily quite pretty. She looks sort of like a quail… A quail that acts like a dog that will follow you around the yard.

Emily and our six year old daughter, C are especially fond of one another, and Emily always looks for C to pick her up and hold her. C is the one who named Emily, and the name suits her sweet, calm temperament very well. I always thought that small, flighty-looking ornamental breeds like Emily would have flighty personalities to match but in this case, that’s just not so. Emily is mellow in the extreme, and very good with kids.

Now I can’t wait ’til she starts laying to find out what kind of eggs she produces…

RELATED: Meet Gladys Kravitz, Our Wheaten Marans Hen.

No Cantumbers or Cucaloupes Happening Here

As you can see from this photo, my cantaloupe vines (on the left) look nice and full and healthy. They’ve also got lots of flowers on them, so soon I hope we will have little melons where the flowers are now.


On the right, growing up the red tomato cage are my cucumber vines. They aren’t looking quite as good, but they do have plenty of flowers, so I hope that we’ll have some cucumbers soon. As I’ve mentioned before, I put my garden in late this year, so while friends of mine already have salad bowls full of cucumbers, mine won’t be ready til August.

But anyway, someone I know saw that I’d planted my melons next to my cucumbers and warned me that I might end up with some kind of cross pollinated, frankenized cantacumber rather than individual melons and cucumbers.

Really? No way! Was this actually true? Was this yet one more thing that we beginner veggie gardeners needed to learn/worry about – accidentally creating frankenized hybrid veggies through accidental cross pollination?

Well it turns out that while cross pollination can be something that can occasionally occur within the same vining species, like two types of squash, it can’t and won’t happen between cucumbers and melons because although they both grow on similar looking vines, they’re dissimilar species. However, the myth that these two garden faves CAN interbreed persists, and is apparently quite common.

This is a big relief to me. I’d very much like to get the hang of growing plain, old melons and cucumbers before attempting any crazypants hybridized versions of those two tasty items, or of anything else in my garden, for that matter.


I’ve had a hard day today. Maybe you have too. Here are some flowers from my garden to cheer us both up.



Candy stripe Zinnias






Pink Zinnia


Purple Rose of Sharon


Orange Milkweed


Scarlet Dahlia


The Bravest Silkie In The World

White Silkie ChickenIt’s no secret that we love Silkie chickens around here. They are simply THE coolest little creatures. Last winter at some point one of the members of the BYF101 Facebook page pointed out this awesome little video titled “The Bravest Silkie In The World,” on You Tube, and I wish I could remember who it was who introduced our family to the video because it’s become such a hit with my two youngest. Whomever it was, thank you!

Now I have to admit that it took me a time or two of watching it with the girlsto get past the slightly maudlin intro to the video before I realized what a totally sweet and wonderful story it actually is – for little kids and big kids alike…especially if by “big kid,” you mean my little kids’ mother. My four year old will watch this video five times in a row if you let her. She never stops clutching at her breast in mock terror at “the scary part” even though she knows how it all ends.

If you’re in the mood for something super sweet and happy with just a touch of drama – something that you can watch on You Tube with even your littlest children or grandchildren, you’ve gotta check this out. Plus, it’s about chickens!

Debo Mitford, George McGovern, and David Sedaris

Even though I now read more than half of the books and magazines that I still devour endlessly in a digital format – on my iPad mini or even on my iPhone – I still seem to perpetually find that my nightstand is cluttered neyond all reason with actual books…lots and lots of books, and not always the ones I am actually reading. But here’s what I am reading right now – all of them in bits and pieces here and there as the mood strikes. For example, sometimes I just can’t pick up Lament for a Son” target=”_blank”>”Lament for a Son,’ and would much rather read some Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” target=”_blank”>David Sedaris, whereas there are other times, when it’s 2 am and I am pacing the house in tears, and everyone else is asleep, and reading what Nicholas Wolterstorff has to say about losing his own son is the only thing for me to do right at that moment.

Everything on this list is something I am enjoying a great deal at the moment. It’s all good. I haven’t included anything that I’ve picked up and started reading and then put back down without ever picking it back up again. My favorite in the bunch by far at the moment is “Wait for Me!” by the Duchess of Devonshire, one of the infamous Mitford sisters. “Debo” was the youngest, and undoubtedly the most sensible, and she’s had a life like no other in this century. She’s funny and smart and SO self-effacing. She wrotes as well or better than her “writer” sisters Nancy and Jessica, and now that she’s in her 90s, she’s got plenty to say.

Here she is out feeding her chickens on the grounds of Chatsworth, one of England’s greatest architectural treasures, which it can be argued that she singlehandedly saved from complete ruin by openimg it to the public for the forst time and turning it back into a semi working farmduchess of devonshire with some of her chickens,.

I bought all of these books myself to read for myself, but you should know that I do have an Amazon affiliate account, so should you decide to order any of these titles through my blog, I’ll receive a small commission of some kind (I honestly don’t know how much it would be because in ten years of blogging, I’ve never received one from Amazon!)

Muddy Feathers Make Everything Trickier

Chickens Eating Breakfast Well, the weather forecast said it was supposed to rain all day Saturday and Sunday, so in hindsight we probably should have waited ’til at least Sunday afternoon to migrate our chickens and duckies around, just to at least see whether the weather would dry up before the weekend emded, right? But alas, we didn’t.

We decided to move forward with our plan for this weekemd to migrate the Silkies and ducks over to the BYF101 Annex(es) and at the same time bring some of our laying hens home because both Jon and I have busy weeks ahead this week, and we needed to get it done over the weekend. So we decided that rain or no rain, we were gonna go for it. Besides, how hard could it be to wrangle up a few friendly, muddy ducks and chickens, put them in boxes, and drive them over to a couple of relatively nearby that I visit often anyway, right? WRONG.

If you take anything at all from the error of my ways, let it be this life lesson: wet feathers make even the simplest job much less simple. < <<<--- WORDS TO LIVE BY.

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The Land of the Lost

After several days of pounding rain, the clouds broke this afternoon and I was able to get out and see what all that water had done to/for the garden in the middle of July. And the answer was, a whole heck of a lot. Everything is now about twice the size that it was before, kind of like the plants in the land where Marshall, Will & Holly found themselves that one time.

Marshall, Will and Holly on a Routine Expedition

Marshall, Will and Holly on a Routine Expedition

Here are a few examples.

The dahlias continue to grow ever more enormous.


And I’m pretty sure that the elephant ears are now bigger than real,,actual elephant ears.


Our watermelons are seeming to double in size every 48 hours now.


And the chikdren are all well above average.