Tag: Top 10

Top 10 Marguerite Henry Books
The Lifestyle

Top 10 Marguerite Henry Books

Top 10 Marguerite Henry BooksWhat horse-loving child hasn’t devoured one of Marguerite Henry’s books? Henry wrote with enthusiasm and feeling, making her stories timeless masterpieces that are sure to touch the heart.

While she has written many books that we could heartily recommend for readers of all ages, we have whittled down the list to ten of our absolute favorites. Looking for some summer reading? Try these.


Justin Morgan Had a Horse10. Justin Morgan Had a Horse

A schoolmaster accepts a fine colt in payment of a debt, only to end up with the colt’s runty little brother. Little does Justin Morgan know that the runt will someday more than prove his worth! This book tells the story of the Morgan breed, embellished enough to capture a child’s imagination, but still close enough to fact to be of interest to the adult horse lover.


9. Misty’s Twilight

Even grownups can dream! At long last, Dr. Sandy Price gets to visit Chincoteague on Pony Penning Day, and she brings back some ponies of her own. One of the ponies has a filly, Twilight. Dr. Price knows that Twilight has what it takes to make a great performance horse—but will horse trainers take the splashy pinto pony seriously?


8. Cinnabar the One O’Clock Fox

One might think that a fox would be terrified by a fox hunt, but not Cinnabar. Cinnabar has a reputation for punctuality that he is bound and determined to maintain. But can he outwit George Washington himself?


White Stallion of Lipizza7. White Stallion of Lipizza

Hans is captivated by the famous and beautiful Lipizzaner horses of the Spanish Riding School at Vienna. However, actually attending the riding school seems like an unattainable goal for a poor baker’s son. Young readers will not only root for Hans as he learns the discipline he needs to live his dream, but will learn quite a bit about Lipizzaners and the amazing feats they perform.


6. Black Gold

The true story of how two dreams converged when a boy who longed to be a jockey laid eyes on an underestimated horse with spirit. Henry retells the bittersweet tale of Black Gold with sympathy and compassion.


5. Stormy, Misty’s Foal

Paul and Maureen Beebe are anxiously awaiting the birth of Misty’s foal, but it seems to be arriving rather late. When a devastating storm hits, the Beebes must evacuate, leaving Misty to her own resources…in the family kitchen. Stormy is based on the true story of the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962. While some of the details have been altered to make a cohesive Misty series centered around Paul and Maureen, Misty really did weather the storm in a kitchen.


Album of Horses4. Album of Horses

The perfect first book on horse breeds for a young reader! The Album of Horses offers an engaging presentation of 24 of America’s favorite horse breeds, from the Clydesdale to the Shetland to the mule. The descriptions are written in story form and beautifully illustrated by Wesley Dennis. Read our full review.


3. Brighty of the Grand Canyon

Brighty lives a peaceful life in the Grand Canyon with his prospector friend—until one day the prospector is murdered, leaving the brave burro with a mystery to solve. Suspense and narrow escapes are around every corner, right up to a thrilling climax in a snowbound cabin.


Misty of Chincoteague2. Misty of Chincoteague

The classic story of the most famous Chincoteague pony of all! Paul Beebe joins in on Pony Penning Day to capture the elusive Phantom and unexpectedly discovers the foal at her side. A must-read for every horse lover. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tends to dismiss Henry’s story of the wrecked Spanish ship, but there is interesting historical and genetic evidence to support it.


1. Dear Readers and Riders

A great read for every child who has questions about Henry’s books. Learn more about favorite characters and the true stories behind the stories. Along the way, you will find out more about Marguerite Henry, her approach to writing, and her thoughts on horses and horsekeeping.

Top 10 Books for Beginning Farmers
The Farm

Top 10 Books for Beginning Farmers

Top 10 Books for Beginning FarmersJust getting started?

Whether you are still in the early planning stage or are trying to overcome your first obstacle, one of the best things you can do is to read extensively. Many others have walked the path before you. Why not smooth your own learning curve and take advantage of their experience?

While there are many excellent books we could recommend (just check out our bookshelf), we have picked out 10 must-reads to get you going.


10.  Wildflowers & Grasses of Kansas

Need to identify a plant in your pasture? Start here. Although a little technical, it is well organized and supplied with a glossary and illustrations for ease of use. The plant descriptions include useful notes on suitability for livestock where applicable. (Not from Kansas? Search Amazon for a guide tailored to your state or region.) Read our full review.


9.  Insects in Kansas

To solve problems with insect pests, you must first be able to identify the culprit. This guide offers descriptions of 850 species, liberally illustrated with color photos. Bonus: It includes a section on beekeeping! (Not from Kansas? Search Amazon for a guide tailored to your state or region.) Read our full review.


Starting & Running Your Own Small Farm Business8.  Starting & Running Your Own Small Farm Business

How to start a farm business in 10 steps. This is a concise introduction to the questions you will have to answer as you get started. Learn how to write a business plan, find funding, choose venues, price products, meet legal requirements, market effectively, and more. Helpful resources are provided each step of the way. Read our full review.


7.  HomeMade

Need equipment for your farm? See if you can build what you need before you buy something. This book offers ideas for projects useful around the farm, the garden, and the house alike. Whether you need a fence, a compost bin, a simple animal shelter, or just an easy way to bale hay on a small scale, you’ll find plenty of inspiration here. Read our full review.


6.  Veterinary Guide for Animal Owners

Great starting point for animal health research. Covers the basic care of cattle, horses, goats, sheep, swine, poultry, rabbits, dogs, and cats. Each chapter begins with the basics of animal housing and feeding specific to the species in question, and then moves to a discussion of the symptoms and treatment of the most common health problems. Advice on home vet care basics, such as first aid and administering medication, is also provided. Read our full review.


Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening5.  Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

Is a garden or orchard part of your plan? Make sure you have this encyclopedia on your shelf. If you have a question, whether about the needs of a specific plant or about implementing a sustainable gardening practice, you will find a concise answer here. No wonder this book has stood the test of time! Read our full review.


4.  Stocking Up

Whatever type of food you need to preserve, it is almost certain that you will find directions in one of the editions of this classic. The original edition offers good old down-home cooking, while the third edition was made for the health-conscious crowd. Both include substantial information on making the most of your harvest, whether it be fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk, or meat. Read our full review.


3.  Kansas Crop Planting Guide

If you intend to grow field crops in Kansas, this one is not optional. (Good news—it’s free!) Multiple charts tell you when to plant and at what rate. (Not from Kansas? Check your local extension service to see if they offer a similar resource.)


Building a Sustainable Business2.  Building a Sustainable Business

This one is a must! Even if farming is your hobby, you can still benefit from the valuable planning tools provided in this book. In five straightforward steps, learn how to write a business plan that you will actually use. Identify your values, recognize your current position, develop your vision, examine your options, and choose your path. Worksheets and examples help you through the process. Highly recommended—and it’s free! Read our full review.


1.  You Can Farm

Need inspiration or ideas? Give this one a try. Joel Salatin shares valuable tips for successful and profitable farming, drawing from his experience along the way. Learn how to choose enterprises that will work for you, then develop your farming philosophy and dive into direct marketing. You don’t need a large land base or a well-filled wallet to get started. Salatin demonstrates that it is your mindset that makes the difference. A must for all beginning farmers! Read our full review.

Top 10 Kansas Towns
The Sunflower State

Top 10 Kansas Towns

Top 10 Kansas Towns

Historic courthouse in Cottonwood Falls

Many Kansas towns have charm. However, a few stand out as delightful places to visit and explore.

Allow us to share 10 towns that we feel are must-sees.


10. McPherson

A larger town with a busy but inviting feel, named for Union General James McPherson of the Civil War. Enjoy the attractive architecture, particularly the stunning, castle-like county courthouse. Keep your eyes open for murals.


9. Lyons

For a quieter neighborhood, try this one. Impressive architecture, such as the courthouse and the middle school, is present here. The highlight, however, is the Davis Walking Trail on the east side of town. The trailhead is across the highway from the Celebration Centre.


8. Yoder

Amish country has a unique charm. When you’ve enjoyed the rural scenery a bit, stop at Carriage Crossing for a cinnamon roll or piece of pie. Or shop for food and gifts at Yoder Meats and Kansas Station near Kansas Highway 96.


7. Madison

Now for another truly small town! The historic Santa Fe Railroad depot on 3rd and Boone is an attractive building, well worth visiting and photographing. The most memorable part of Madison, though? Just spend a little bit of time driving through town, preferably from south to north. The hills are rather impressive.


6. Cottonwood Falls

If you like limestone, this is the town for you.  Start at the historic and beautiful bridge over the Cottonwood River. Then follow Broadway right up to the spectacular Chase County Courthouse. This 1873 structure is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture.


5. Atchison

Top 10 Kansas Towns

International Forest of Friendship in Atchison

Atchison is an incredibly interesting town—we’re just scratching the surface in our recommendations. If you enjoy history, start your trip at the visitor center and county historical museum on 200 S. 10th. If you like architecture, you could probably spend a whole day perusing the streets. If you want to get out of the car and walk around, head southwest out of town to enjoy the scenery of the International Forest of Friendship. And, whatever your plans, drive over the Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge on U.S. 59. The 1938 bridge is unfortunately no longer with us, as it was too narrow for modern traffic demands. Still, the new bridge provides a spectacular view of the Missouri River well worth seeing.


4. Concordia

This town has quite a bit to offer! Brownstone Hall and the Brown Grand Theatre are both worth seeing, as is the elaborate Nazareth Motherhouse. Outside of town is Camp Concordia, where German prisoners of war were kept during World War II. Joler Park at Peck and Crestview offers a chance to get out and walk on a shredded rubber path. On the quirky side, be sure to stop at the courthouse and contemplate the sight of a granite ball weighing just under a ton rotating slowly in a fountain.


3. Peabody

Step back in time with the bright, well-kept downtown of Peabody. The historic buildings enhance the small-town charm. Looking for a specific recommendation? Just drive through town on Walnut Street and enjoy the ride.


2. Scott City

Scott City has an open, spacious feel. Check out the stately county courthouse, then drive around to admire the town. Don’t miss the sculpture titled Cattleman’s Harvest outside Security State Bank.


1. Council Grove

Top 10 Kansas Towns

Madonna of the Trail in Council Grove

History, architecture, food, and scenic walkways—this town has it all! There is too much to pack into this brief paragraph, so keep your eyes open as you drive. Many of the historic landmarks of this Santa Fe Trail town are well marked. Must-sees include the beautiful downtown, the Kaw Mission, the Madonna of the Trail, and the gorgeous walkway along the Neosho River. When you’re done exploring, stop at the Trail Days Cafe and Museum for a fascinating combination of good food and over 150 years of local history. Little wonder that Council Grove is listed as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History.


Helpful Resources

Need help finding the murals in McPherson? Find addresses and summaries here.

Madison Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Depot
A substantial amount of information from the National Register of Historic Places registration form.

Welcome to Yoder, Kansas
Good place to start planning your trip.

Council Grove & Morris County
This brochure will guide you to 25 historic sites in and around Council Grove.

Kaw Mission
Find out what you’ll see when you visit this stop in Council Grove.

Trail Days Cafe and Museum
Learn more about the amazing and varied history of this landmark in Council Grove.

Top 10 Sights to See in the Smoky Hills
The Sunflower State

Top 10 Sights to See in the Smoky Hills

Top 10 Sights to See in the Smoky Hills

Badlands near Castle Rock

Looking for a taste of the Smoky Hills? We have pulled together ten of our favorite destinations.

Some of these stops are along I-70. If you are just passing through, by all means, take a minute to stop and see what Kansas has to offer. You’ll be glad to get out and stretch your legs!

But this list is far from comprehensive. To see more, drive the dirt roads along your way, and spend a little time in the nearby small towns. Keep your camera handy! Read More

Top 10 Bluegrass Songs You Should Know
The Skills

Top 10 Bluegrass Songs You Should Know

Top 10 Bluegrass Songs You Should KnowSo you’ve got your new instrument and you want to know where to start. That is a hard question to answer, because there is such a wealth of excellent bluegrass music waiting to be played.

However, some good old songs have formed the core repertoire of countless artists since bluegrass began. You can’t go wrong with these tunes.

We have whittled down the selection to ten of our favorites, the songs that we think every bluegrass musician, amateur or otherwise, should know.


10. “Arkansas Traveler”

From old-fashioned dance music to state historical song of Arkansas, this fiddle tune has been through quite a bit, sometimes played as an instrumental and sometimes as a vocal arrangement. The original lyrics, regarding a traveler’s attempt to ask directions from a less-than-helpful fiddler, were probably narrated rather than sung. No one really knows who wrote this version, but credit typically goes to a wealthy Arkansas planter named Colonel Sanford Faulkner, who may have based the story on his own experience with the local backwoodsmen sometime around 1840.


9. “Old Joe Clark”

This is an old fiddle tune that every beginning bluegrass musician learns. As a result, some people hate it. A talented instrumentalist can make it sound worthwhile, though, so be creative.


8. “Cripple Creek”

Nearly all beginning bluegrass musicians are introduced to “Cripple Creek” pretty early on, usually as an instrumental. It’s an old fiddle tune; some suggest that Cripple Creek is the stream by the same name in Colorado, but there’s a good possibility that the song has its roots near the Cripple Creek of Virginia.


7. “Blackberry Blossom”

One of the more involved tunes, but a fun and rewarding piece to master. This one is a real favorite with guitarists. The relatively unusual chord progression gives it more depth than many of the other standards. More than one version has been played in the South over time.


6. “Sailor’s Hornpipe”

If you’re new to bluegrass, you might be a little surprised to see this song on the list. Yes, it was a traditional dance tune for sailors; but it also introduced a whole new style of banjo playing to the bluegrass world. Bill Keith, one of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, earned this song a solid place on the list of standards when he used it to showcase his flowing “melodic style,” which became the foundation for the work of such innovators as Béla Fleck.


5. “I Saw the Light”

Originally a country gospel song written by Hank Williams, this classic has earned a well-merited place in bluegrass music, too. The melody and chord progression are very simple. It’s an excellent song for beginners to practice on, but the message makes it valuable for all levels of experience.


4. “John Henry”

A familiar African-American ballad about a man who died with his hammer in his hand rather than be beat by a steam drill while working on a railroad tunnel. This is quite possibly a true story of work on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.


3. “I’ll Fly Away”

Written by Albert E. Brumley in 1929 while picking cotton, this standard has been recorded many times since. If you’re looking for a fast, upbeat gospel song to learn, this is a good choice.


2. “Wildwood Flower”

Although usually associated with the Carter family, “Wildwood Flower” actually goes all the way back to 1860, when it was first published. It’s a beautiful song, and a favorite with flatpickers. Take your time—this tune responds well to finesse.


1. “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”

Earl Scruggs wrote this instrumental, and it was first released in 1949. Since then, it has been the song that just about every new banjo player aspires to learn. Hard? Definitely—at the speed that Scruggs played it; few players since then have been able to match his pace without sacrificing his brilliant tone and clarity. Start slowly and take it step by step. You’ll find it much easier that way.


Helpful Resources

50 Tunes for Guitar50 Tunes for Guitar
50 Tunes for Mandolin
50 Tunes for Banjo
50 Tunes for Fiddle
50 Tunes for Bass
While we don’t recommend limiting yourself to the songs that you can learn from tablature, the excellent arrangements on the online audio that comes with this series make it a worthwhile tool for beginners. Includes “Arkansas Traveler,” “Old Joe Clark,” “Cripple Creek,” “Blackberry Blossom,” and “Sailor’s Hornpipe.”

I Saw the Light“I Saw the Light”
From a gospel album by Bill Monroe.

“John Henry”
Live version featuring Earl Scruggs’s banjo picking and Hylo Brown’s characteristic singing.

“I’ll Fly Away”
This song is performed by Ralph Stanley.

“Wildwood Flower”
Beautiful instrumental arrangement performed by David Grisman and Tony Rice on instruments from 1936.

“Foggy Mountain Breakdown”
And who else would we recommend for this classic besides Flatt and Scruggs?