Heritage chicken breeds may not reach the egg or meat production levels of commercial hybrids, but they are often healthier and hardier, not to mention more attractive. For a free-range situation, heritage breeds can’t be beat.
The Livestock Conservancy has a very helpful and accurate chart to assist new poultry keepers in choosing the best breed for their circumstances. This chart displays key characteristics of each breed in an at-a-glance format: Read More
Over 120 historical markers dot the Kansas landscape, telling the story of our fascinating state.
If you are looking for the Kansas historical markers, the Kansas Historical Society offers a complete listing organized by county. Each entry provides the full text of the marker, along with its address and GPS coordinates. Read More
Homestead on the Range has come a long way since we launched our website almost five years ago. Our site was originally self-hosted, but about a year ago we moved to WordPress.com, and we haven’t looked back.
If you are considering launching a new website for your farm, small business, or personal enjoyment, or if you have been dissatisfied with your current arrangement, you might want to consider hosting your site on WordPress.com. Here’s why:
- Security. No site is immune to being hacked, and maintaining the integrity of a self-hosted site, especially one that uses a database, can be an absolute nightmare. Our previous setup was an amalgamation involving WordPress.org (the free open-source version), a theme, and a multitude of plugins. In short, a patchwork quilt of sometimes incompatible pieces, all regularly requiring updating and all regularly breaking when updated. WordPress.com is a complete package, and it updates in the background. No supervision required. (And no vetting of plugins to sort the good ones from the malware!)
- Intuitive design process. The WordPress.com interface is incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. You don’t have to know anything about coding in HTML or CSS to get started (although learning these two languages will give you greater flexibility). Pick a theme that looks nice to you. Then use the drop-down menus and drag-and-drop widgets in the Customizer to change fonts, select a color scheme, upload a header image, and set up sidebars and footers. It’s really that easy.
- A plan for everyone. WordPress.com offers four plans, so there is something to fit every budget. The basic plan is free. For a custom domain name (e.g., myfarmwebsiteexample.com instead of myfarmwebsiteexample.wordpress.com) or for a little more flexibility about how your site looks, select from one of the paid plans. The highest package offers almost total control over all aspects of your website.
- Excellent documentation and support. Have a question? WordPress.com offers extensive and easy-to-understand documentation to guide you every step of the way. Plus, if you get into a real bind, you can browse the support forums or contact their extremely responsive staff.
And then there’s a whole host of nice features we use daily and love, such as the diverse selection of themes, the built-in share buttons and contact forms, and the attractive gallery feature (check out this page from our gallery). The entire system is novice-friendly and super easy to use.
Looking for an extensive depository of digitized primary source material related to the turbulent territorial days of Kansas? Try Territorial Kansas Online, a project developed by the Kansas State Historical Society and the University of Kansas.
Territorial Kansas Online displays a wide range of artifacts dating from 1854 to 1861, including:
- Legislative acts.
- Meeting minutes.
- Sheet music.
There are several ways to browse the content of the site:
- Search by keyword or author.
- Filter materials by county.
- Explore broad topics ranging from border warfare to the national debate on Kansas.
- Browse an alphabetical list of specific topics beginning with A. Hoen & Co. and ending with Israel Zimmerman.
There is also a helpful timeline of major events in Kansas territorial history along with links to relevant materials.
Please note that this impressive collection of documents represents a wide range of perspectives, some of them unthinkable or offensive to the modern reader. However, studying primary source materials is essential for an accurate understanding of history and of the events that unfolded in Bleeding Kansas. Territorial Kansas Online is an excellent, easy-to-use way to experience these primary sources.
It’s Christmas time once again!
Thank you for another great year at Homestead on the Range! We are looking forward to bringing you even more helpful country living information in 2018.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for some helpful resources to start the new year right or just for a little interesting reading, allow us to make a few recommendations.
Best of 2017
From Homestead on the Range
Looking for a good way to keep up with daily agriculture-related headlines? Give Kansas Ag Connection a try!
Subscribers to On the Range, our weekly country living update (read more), may already be familiar with this site as a source for some of our headlines. There’s a reason for that. Kansas Ag Connection is a clutter-free aggregator of news stories and press releases of interest to farmers small and large across the state.
Kansas Ag Connection offers a way to keep up with the latest stories on:
- USDA news.
- Updates from the governor and state legislature.
- Health issues currently affecting Kansans.
- KU and K-State research on health, nature, and agricultural topics.
- Press releases from Kansas-based companies.
- State and regional crop and weather reports.
- Conferences and workshops coming to Kansas.
- Ron Wilson’s Kansas Profile column, featuring Kansas entrepreneurs with rural roots.
Links are also provided to more headlines from neighboring states, across the nation, and around the world.
Looking for the right cover crop? Give this Cover Crop Decision Tool from the Midwest Cover Crop Council a try.
First select from one of the following states:
Then choose options that take into account your growing conditions:
- County (for frost/freeze date estimate).
- Planting and harvest dates.
- Drainage situation.
Finally, fine-tune your choices by noting your goals:
- Increasing nitrogen levels.
- Building soil.
- Fighting erosion.
- Fighting weeds.
- Creating a new source of forage for grazing or harvest.
- And more!
Once you’ve found a cover crop or two that meets your needs, click on the name of the crop to learn more about about its pros and cons, as well as its planting and termination requirements.
An easy-to-use way to choose the right cover crop for your unique growing conditions!
Every writer has a preferred modus operandi, including diverse details such as when we write, where we write, and what we use to write.
For those of you who write in a research-intensive style or genre, here are a few tools that can make your life easier:
- Microsoft OneNote. And its equivalent, Evernote. You will doubtless have your own preferences about the connectivity of the software you use that will determine which version of which program works best for you. In any case, there is nothing like this note-taking tool to organize everything from new book ideas to outlines to project to-dos.
- Scrivener. For really big projects, we cannot recommend this organization assistant heartily enough. Import research documents, take notes, write your manuscript—all in one place!
- Zotero. And if you need a bibliography, let this free database program do the hard work for you. Just enter the necessary information about your source. Zotero comes preloaded with several useful citation styles, and more can be added. Works seamlessly with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, or LibreOffice.
- Newspapers.com. For those of you with a historical interest, there is a searchable goldmine of information just waiting for you here. You may be able to access the database through your local library. If not, try the free site Chronicling America from the Library of Congress.
- ALT Codes for Windows. Depending on what you write about, you may have occasion to use a lot of strange foreign characters. Penn State offers tables to help you find keyboard shortcuts for some of the most common. Accent codes for Mac are also provided.