Good Neighbors Blog

From quirky extras that didn’t make it into the magazine to behind the scenes looks into the making of Country – we’ve curated photos and stories we think you’ll enjoy. Won’t you be our neighbor?

Friday Funny Photography: What’s Cute With 8 Hooves?

Friday Funny Photography: What's Cute With 8 Hooves?

Our Country Friday Funny Photography snapshot for November 21, 2014 was sent to us by Tamara Cook of Boise, Idaho. She wrote, “This is my horse, Maximus. He is 17.1 hands tall. My baby goat, Piper, started riding him on her own when she was three months old. She jumps onto an old  stump, and Max walks over and she jumps on him. She rides him all over the pasture. Max loves her. Piper is half feinting goat and half Nubian. I have never seen her faint yet, but if she ever does, it will be a long fall!”

Who wants Tamara to film this? (Two hands up here!)



Dec./Jan. 2015 Country



Subscribers should have the new issue of Country in hand now or should be receiving it very soon! If you’re not a subscriber to Country, here’s how you can be!

As always, we’re happy to offer our online readers a few of our favorite stories from the current issue. Let us know which ones you enjoy the most!

Wild Horses in Colorado

Beauty of Canada’s Rocky Mountains

Ralph Proved Dogs and Their Owners Form a Special Bond

Neighbors Helped Neighbors at This Small-Town Store

Sheep’s Starring Role in Live Nativity 

Boy Was Bursting With Song and Childhood Joy


Recommendations of What to do in Canadian Rockies

Recommendations of What to do in Canadian Rockies

Recommendations of What to do in Canadian Rockies


Photo and List By Mike Grandmaison

Alpine Skiing / Snowboarding:
Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park
Lake Louise in Banff National Park
Sunshine Village in Banff National Park
Mount Norquay in Banff National Park
Panorama Mountain Village in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, British Columbia
Cross Country Skiing Tours in Jasper National Park

Ice Walks:
Assisted by professional guides, you can hike the along walls of Johnston Canyon near Banff, the cascading icefalls of Jasper’s Maligne Canyon or explore the Grotto Canyon in Canmore.

Waterfall Ice Climbing:
A select number of waterfalls have been identified for ice climbing. A couple of books about the subject include: ”Waterfall Ice: Climbs in the Canadian Rockies” by Joe Josephson and “Ice Lines – Select Waterfalls of the Canadian Rockies” by Brent Peters.

Hot Springs:
Banff Hot Springs (Banff National Park)
Radium Hot Springs (Kootenay National Park) – my personal favorite
Miette Hot Springs (Jasper National Park) – closed for the winter
There are also Dog Sled Tours, Snowmobile Tours, ATV Tours, Cave Tours, Snowshoe Tours.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Afternoon Tea with spectacular views of Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier.
Bear’s Paw Bakery in Jasper National Park for cinnamon buns & coffee and European-style specialty pastries. This is my first stop before the sunrise shoot!
Japanese Restaurant Miki in Banff National Park for a nice dinner

Banff Boundary Lodge near the entrance to Banff National Park
Spacious, comfortable stay at fair prices. I have stayed here on numerous occasions.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. I spent a few days here on a couple of occasions while leading a photo workshop. I was impressed with the lakeside cabins as well as the incredible food we were offered!

Read Mike’s story about photographing the Canadian Rockies!

North Carolina Homesteading with Sarah Toney

North Carolina Homesteading with Sarah Toney

North Carolina Homesteading with Sarah Toney

North Carolina Homesteading with Sarah Toney

North Carolina Homesteading with Sarah Toney

North Carolina Homesteading with Sarah Toney

North Carolina Homesteading with Sarah Toney

    By Mary Dolan
    Associate Digital Editor

    Sarah Toney calls 10 acres in Western North Carolina home, and she blogs about the homesteading adventures she experiences with her husband and five kids on her website, She regularly posts recipes, tips for achieving success in the garden, helpful hints for taking care of goats and chickens — and just about everything in between! We asked Sarah a few questions about her busy life.

    What is it about your homesteading lifestyle that you love most?
    This is a hard question, and I am not sure I could pick just one thing. The garden is something I love. I love growing new and interesting things and the pride that comes from taking a tiny seed and turning it into something that feeds my family. Overall, maybe it is just the self-sufficiency of it all —  the knowledge of how to produce your own food, your own household items and some of your income from your own land.

    Can anyone lead this kind of life? Do you have to live in the country and have a big piece of land?
    All you need to lead a homesteading lifestyle is the heart for it. When we first started out, we lived in a subdivision. Our lot was pretty large (just over an acre), but we had a huge garden, 25 chickens, a couple ducks, five goats. Plus, our household pets of 4 dogs and 5 cats!

    There are tons of urban homesteaders out there — some living on less than a 1/10th of an acre. You can garden anywhere — city to country. Chickens are being allowed even inside city limits these days. If I had waited to live my dream until we had the land in the country, I would have been waiting a long time. Start small and do what you can in your current situation.

    Do your kids enjoy it? Do they help out?
    I think my children enjoy their life very much. They are kids of course, and grumble sometimes about the chores, but for the most part they happily help out with almost all aspects of our lifestyle. My four boys (ages 7 to 13) are almost solely responsible for the chickens. The feed them, water them, spoil them. Those chickens are to them what dogs are to most people in terms of pets. They each have their own loves about this lifestyle.

    My 11-year-old son has a passion for growing huge vegetables (like 50 lb squash and giant pumpkins!); my 13-year-old loves growing oddities like serpent cucumbers, white tomatoes and orange watermelon. My 3 -year-old daughter loves caring for the baby goats — especially if we bottle feed them. I wrote a post about all that kids can do to help on the homestead, which covers most of what my own kids do to help around here. But the simple answer is everything. Every job we do, they take part in some way to the best of their ability.

    How much of what you consume do you grow/make yourself?
    That varies from year to year. This year we lost out entire tomato crop to late blight (300 plants), so it wasn’t a good year in terms of that. The goal we are working towards is 70-80%, with the remaining being locally and seasonally sourced. We get all of our eggs from the chickens; and nine months out of the year the goats provide us with milk, though we are working on getting year-round breeders…

    We try to eat seasonally from our garden, and I am subscribe to the “eat what you grow” school of thought. Lots of people will tell you to grow only what you like to eat, but if I did that we’d still be using the grocery store far more than I’d like. We grow kale and cabbage not because it’s a favorite food, but because it is easy to grow and is pretty cold hardy, meaning we get it when the tasty summer crops are done. We freeze and can a lot of our produce and have a large store of winter squash and sweet potatoes in the basement. We visit local orchards for peaches and apples in the summer and fall in order to can our fruit for the winter. Our farm/homestead is still a work in progress, but we are making steady progress toward our goal.

    Why goats? Are goats less challenging or more challenging to raise than people think?
    The goats are my personal favorite. They have such huge personalities! Chickens are the easiest animal to raise, but for m,e goats are ranked #2. If you go for small breeds, you can raise them on a very small amount of space, they don’t need a fancy barn, are pretty hardy and they reduce the amount of mowing we have to do. You do need a good fence for them since goats are notorious for thinking the grass is greener and will definitely test any fence.

    They are loving and entertaining to watch. If you breed them you get milk in an easy-to-handle quantity. I think they are easier than you would expect — certainly no harder than owning a dog. But I do recommend reading a lot or taking to a goat farmer before purchasing them, so that you are knowledgeable about their needs and care.

    Farming, homeschooling, an Etsy shop – you stay busy! Do you ever have down time? What do you like to do in that time?
    I think the thing about homesteaders is that they almost always completely enjoy their life. I love my goats, I love being in my garden, I love being at home with my family. My hobby is my garden; I pour my heart and soul into it. It is my stress relief.

    Homeschooling is something that is in my heart; it’s not always easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love to create and make things, so my Etsy shop is just an extension of that. These activities are what I would choose to do with my downtime. But, for myself, I love to read — anything from novels to non-fiction. I am an aspiring writer. Most of my writing is in the form of my blog, but I also have a couple of children’s picture books and a young adult novel in the works that I hope to have published one day. Our quiet times are mostly in November and December; the gardens are done, the goats aren’t due to start kidding until January. So I use this time to write, plan next years garden, read, etc. Yes, I am busy, but everything I have to do has been an intentional choice. I don’t see it as work as much as living my dream.

    What are some ways people can incorporate homesteading lifestyle components into their own lives?
    If there is a will there is a way. I firmly believe that everyone can and should grow some of their own food. There are so many options: container gardens, rooftop gardens, community gardens. You can grow your kitchen herbs on your windowsill. Make room for it, make time for it. It’s important. There are little things you can do to become more self sufficient, such as making your own soaps and cleaners or making food like bread from scratch.

    I’d also urge everyone to choose to eat locally and seasonally.  And read. Read about what interests you and learn about how to raise goats, chickens, pigs. Read about organic gardening. And if you only have time for a couple books, read these:  Barbara Kingsolver’s ”Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and Joel Salatin’s ”Folks, This Ain’t Normal.” Those two books, in particular, really spoke to me about what is really possible if you just put your mind to it and I think that everyone should read them.

    Want more?
    Visit Sarah’s site for regular updates on her homesteading adventures!

    Friday Funny Photography: Meow Do You Do?

    Friday Funny Photography: Meow Do You Do?

    Our Country Friday Funny Photography snapshot for November 14, 2014 was sent to us by Nancy Friend of Lynchburg, Virginia. Maybe we can all just get along.