A Homesteading Blog exploring Tears and Celebrations of Life - Gypsy's Wanderings!

A homesteading blog of one woman's life experiences where she gives homestead tips and advice as learned through her happy wanderings along the path of life. This blog is about simple living and getting on with the job of honest homesteading. It's about working with the land, and the animals. It's about hardships and tears, joys and celebrations. Follow her regular contributions by visiting often and we wish you all happy reading!

Gypsy’s Wanderings as told through her Homesteading Blog

Hello and welcome to my wanderings homesteading blog. Like most who deal with livestock I spend most of my life, wondering why I’m doing this, and the other part, wondering how I am going to do it. I hope to share some of what I have learned, with you.

I'm the owner of One Sky Ranch in SW Iowa. I named it One Sky because there truly is One Sky above us all, all people, all creatures, no matter how different we think we are, we only need to look up, and remember there is but one sky, and one heart to all of us.

I came to this place when I was 27 years old, with 2 young boys and the shirt on my back. The first thing I did was trade my mule for goats. We could eat goat meat and drink goat’s milk, which is more than I could say for that mule! I learned how to make cheese and eventually opened up a chevre’ and chevron business with milk soap as a sideline.

Eventually I bought sheep, a cow and learned how to make over 300 kinds of cheese. I learned what plants I could use when I ran out of rennet, and what flavored the milk the best. Hand milking 120 goats a day, every day was not what I really wanted to do, so I did it until I could go back to my profession. I was, and am a horsewoman. I even went to college for it. Yup! Read the books and everything. So I saved my money and bought thin junk horses, fattened them up, broke them to ride and re-sold them, always buying better until I got where I wanted to be. I now have Andalusian, Lusitano and Criollo horses; and love them.

Somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to be a cowgirl. Trust me when I say it’s a far cry from the hunt to an 18 hour day in the saddle with no one to talk to but your horse. I loved that job. It was the highlight of my life. It ended one day when we were sorting cattle on foot and a steer ran me into a gate. I was paralyzed. I cried harder about having to leave that life, than I did about having to pee in a bed pan. I missed the badger cubs playing in the corn fields, the hawks when they were on the hunt. I missed seeing every thing no one else ever sees. I still miss it. This is when a friend taught me how to work leather and in 1999 One Sky leather works was born. But that's another story.

One day, a friend of mine called me from his cell phone from my drive-way. He told me that there was a thin cow in my corral that was abandon in a sale barn and hadn’t eaten in 3 weeks. I had better get out there and feed her. I know why he called me from the drive way. I would have liked to have killed him. I told him to "Take her back, I can’t walk." she would surely die if he left her there. He said no, he knew me better then that, and, "Oh, by the way, there is a walker on your back porch." The corral is about a 1 minute walk from my back door, it took me 45 minutes with the walker, but I made it. Come spring the cow had a calf that I then sold to pay Dale for the cow, and I was walking.

Over the winter I had a lot of time to get on the phone and track down her brand, so by spring the cow was also now a registered Longhorn. I took her to get bred to a Longhorn bull and the following spring I still wasn't walking well, but good enough I was there for the birth of that calf. You will recognize him in my photo below.

A longhorn steer called Freedom

Gypsy with her steer at One Sky Ranch, Iowa

Because of that calf I kept going and soon learned to run. He and I started the International Riding Steer Assn., and later I wrote the book "The Complete Book of Riding Steers" that has sold world wide. Freedom is now 8yrs and I'm still running out to greet him.

Another tragedy in my life started a new and wonderful chapter as well; rabbits. My horse, the one I cowgirled with was killed on my birthday in a freak accident. The following birthday my son took me to buy a Flemish Giant Rabbit; it was love at first site. I'm still showing Flemish and now getting involved with rabbit agility and rabbit hopping with my young granddaughter.

I had had rabbits as a child, my sons showed rabbits but if not for the death of my horse, my granddaughter would have missed that wonderful experience. You don't have to ask me if I believe that something good comes from something bad. I do.

It's been twenty years since I started this farm with one mule and a suitcase of clothes for me and 2 boys. Through learning to garden, using the animals to work for me, not me for them, and doing every little thing myself, One Sky Ranch has become the place of dreams come true.

It is my pleasure to get to share those experiences and knowledge learned with you now, through this homesteading blog.

If you would like to contact Gypsy writer of our homesteading blog, please do so. We love hearing from our homesteading blog readers. Just fill in the form below and she will get back to you as soon as possible.

This homesteading blog will be regularly updated, so make sure you visit often so as not to miss out on the great tips and advice that you will learn along the way.



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Laying Chickens & Hatching Eggs

How to Caponize Chickens

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Edible Wild Plants

Farm Life - Who Said Farming was Easy?

Breeding Rabbits; Rabbit Breeds, Cages and Pens

Bot Fly, Cracked Heels and Sumac

Deer Hunting Season

Homemade Yogurt or Sour Cream and Stinging Nettle Rennet

Glass Storage Jars

The Danger of Animal Activists for Farmers


Basic Survival Skills

Cheap Seeds

Spring Planting

Seasoning Cast Iron Pots

Urban Farming

Solar Flares

Keeping Goats, Geese and Snakes in your Garden

Using Poisonous Plants

Eat Weeds

Japanese Beetles

Butchering Chickens


Winter Garden


Navajo-Churro Sheep

What Affects the Quality of your Sheep Fleece?


What to Plant in an Indoor Garden during Winter

Best Dog Food for your Farm Dog

How to Milk a Goat

The Livestock Guardian Dog for your Farm

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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You Made me smile today.....thank you ! 
Hi Gypsy, I read your story today, and you made me smile today. What a wonderful touching life story you have. My Goodness! I'm not sure where …

What an incredible journey! 
Hello Gypsy, This is the only blog that I have read that truly touches my soul. It's wonderful to read about your journey. I was brought up and …

Amazing Lady! 
What a lovely story you have told. I loved reading this and your other stories, and I really like the way you write - like it is. I'm sure you've …

Capon behavior 
How does a rooster behave after caponization? Do they still crow and become aggressive? I would appreciate any information that you can give me on this …

Wow! Great Homesteading Advice 
I must know everything you know about starting and working a homestead. I was born poor and have been scratching my way up this mountain side called …

Gypsy's Wanderings A Bit Eclectic 
Just came across you and your blog "Gypsy's Wanderings", on the Countryfarm-Lifestyles website. I love this site, as I myself make homemade soap, …

An Inspiring Story 
How inspiring!! A sad but beautiful story. What a strong woman you had to be. I know a little about being strong due to my own life and you make me …

Elise Notbusch 
Thank you for your writing. I have a disability and haven't slowed down in my heart yet but you are an inspiration to me to keep me going. I wonder …

Unsuccessful at caponizing 
I purchased 6 chicks from one store this year and 5 of them ended up being roosters. I have re-homed two of them, so still have 3. I would like to re-home …

Apple Cider Uses on the homestead! 
I read your story and was so happy for you. Recluse Spider Bite.Poisonous snake bites {copperhead},scorpions, hornets,bees, anything that stings. Apply …

Apple Cider vinegar to encourage female offspring ? 
Hi Gypsy, I have just enjoyed reading one of your articles, you mention "I also used Apple Cider vinegar to encourage female offspring but that's …

it's just life 
Hidey ho Gypsy Your story is uplifting indeed. I remember the times where I was injured and still got out to take care of the cows on crutches, and …

Glad I found your blog! 
I discovered this blog by accident and I'm so glad I did. Looks like something that hubby and I can use since we bought a little 5ac farm in the middle …

Thank you 
I wanted to thank everyone for YOUR inspiration. Thank you for your encouragement and support.

Dhia Dhuit Gypsy !  
Great looking site, like visiting home, all the best to you on your projects, they parallel mine and I am hoping to add a Longhorn steer to the mix this …

Your Homestead Blog is an Inspiration 
As a new homesteader who is disabled... THANK YOU... you are wonderful! This is such a great inspiration for me!

Gypsy you are Inspirational! 
Hi Gypsy, i must say after reading your story of wonderful endeavors you have truly inspired me, to get on with it!!!! I live in France, and have …

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