About Me

IMG_0394Welcome to my backyard farming blog, where you will find my articles on various homesteading topics, such as backyard chickens, gardening, and permaculture. This blog also features some posts on wildlife tracking and camera trapping, which have since become my main interests, and now the subjects of my new blog, Winterberry Wildlife. Feel free to browse the archives here at One Acre Farm, but my current activity is over at Winterberry. In addition to my blog posts, you will find information about my wildlife tracking walks and talks. Most are day long adventures in the Quabbin Reservoir area of Massachusetts. People of all levels of tracking experience are welcome to join us, so check out what I’ve got on the schedule and register for programs here.


As a Massachusetts native, I admired the flora and fauna of my suburban surrounds from an early age. A seventh grade teacher inspired my interest in life sciences, which I pursued in a variety of ways over the years. I have a Medical Degree and practiced psychiatry for 10 years before leaving due to a medical illness and desire to raise my children full-time.

As a stay at home mom, I founded and led a 4H Birding and Nature Club, and set up and monitored a 30 nesting box Cavity Nesting Project. In 2004 I launched Animal Trackers of New England (formerly Nashaway Trackers), a group of wildlife enthusiasts who track for fun and occasionally provide data to local conservation organizations. I’ve led many walks for both adults and children, and have given several presentations on wildlife tracking and camera trapping. In 2013, I completed a master’s degree in Conservation Biology, and in 2014 I earned a Level III CyberTracker certificate.

I am currently writing a book on wildlife tracking and camera trapping, and I still garden for food and for wildlife, keep a flock of about 15 chickens, and forage for edible wild plants.

Updated November, 2016


About Me — 27 Comments

  1. Hi Jan,
    We have more in common than I thought. I am a psychologist and did my
    dissserttin at MMHC. Also a gardening addict, I DO keep a birding life
    list. Nothing pathological about it! We did meet once – Id like to do it again.


  2. Hi Jane,
    Yes, I remember attending your birding walk at Bolton Flats a few years back. I did not know you were a psychologist…I guess we do have quite a bit in common. And I think it’s great that you keep a life list! If you’re free on Thursday mornings, Carol G. (con com) and I are going to be leading walks on conservation land on the third Thursday of every month. Just general nature watching. Let me know if you are interested, and I’ll make sure you get a schedule.

  3. Hi Janet,
    Your one acre farm sounds like a dream. That is what I want some day. I grew up in Maine but now live in Idaho with our young family. Hopefully in the next few years we will be able to start our one acre farm:) I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  4. Hello Janet, you do not know me.I am trying your goat milk ice cream recipe. I live in rural Minnesota and without having to wait over a week, do not have access to the powdered goat milk. Can I substitute something or omit this ingredient still with good results? Thanks for your response.

    • Hi Jennifer. The easiest thing to do would be to use powdered whole cow milk. That should be easier to find. If you can’t find that either, I’d use nonfat dry cow milk, which is pretty widely available. But, since that adds protein and not fat to the ice cream base, I would add an extra ounce or two of cheese, and/or use 5-6 egg yolks instead of whole eggs. This will change the flavor and texture, though.

      If you want to keep it free of cow milk, then I’d probably add an extra 1/2 to 1 cup whole goat milk, increase cheese to about 3 oz, and use 5-6 egg yolks instead of whole eggs. But again, flavor and texture will be different.

      I’d love to hear how it comes out, however you make it. Also, it would be great if you could leave the message in the comment section of the goat milk ice cream post, so other people looking at that recipe can see it. Thanks!

  5. Hi Janet –
    my name is Scott Arnold and I handle the marketing for Tarter Farm & Ranch Equipment. We are looking to work with content creators like yourself. We like your site and let me know if you are open to working on other projects!

  6. Stumbled on your site (meandering really). We probably don’t have much in common. I see a Psychiatrist if that counts. Funny thing, now that I am on antidepressants, I no longer fear bugs and other creepy crawlies. We have five acres and I have begun trying to make something of it. (One square foot at a time). My parents always had a garden but I was afraid of lady bugs so I never learned the art of growing things. I’m happy to add your blog to my resource list.

  7. Hi Janet,

    Love your blog on the Sunflowers. Very informative. Question for you…I live in Flagstaff Arizona, elevation 7,000 ft. I am looking for a hardy, sturdy Sunflower that produces a relatively large head to grow in my short growing season. Does any variety come to mind? I do have rich composted soil.
    So far, I have been looking at Sunzilla and Titan….not quite sure if I’m going to go with these.

    • Hi Melody, those two varieties are quite tall, which means they are likely to take longer to reach maturity, despite what the seed packets say. For lots of big seeds in a short season area, I’d try Royal Hybrid. They grow big seed heads on 6-7 ft stems, and in my garden reach maturity much earlier than taller varieties. Also, you can direct seed a few weeks before the last frost date, to give them a head start. If you have more questions, please ask on the page of the sunflower article. That way it will benefit other people who read the article and might have questions similar to yours. Good luck with your sunflowers!

  8. Hi Janet, I am just starting to explore your blog and have found it so helpful. Thank you! I live in Alaska and our family started having layer chickens last May. We are enjoying them have discovered we have ermine and hawks in our area. The info about predator proofing the runs has been great. I love gardening and last year we added a greenhouse to our raised bed area. What fun! Keep your articles coming!

  9. Pingback: Predator Proof Your Chicken Coop And Run

  10. Hi Janet, Excited to find your page. My husband and I have an acre in the Osceola Forest, in north Florida, and are just the this year getting to where we can spend our full time here. We recently got the chickens, 8, that we’ve been wanting for years, and could not resist, two tiny ducklings, temporarily named Daffy and Daisy, till we learn their gender. The chicks are all female, as we wanted eggs for the kitchen, but after a while, may get a rooster. We’ve named them after famous women, 2 of each kind; 2 Americano, Betsy and Elinore, 2 barred red rocks, Henny, and Penny, 2 red sex links, Thelma and Louise, 2 black sex links, Lavern and Shirley. The adventure begins!

  11. Hi janet fist i love your website i got many many new idea i am from Ethiopia i have 100 hectar of land for several years i do have farming on sesame, mungbean, sorghum ,but after a month i want to plant hybrid sunflower can you help me?

    Thank you.

  12. Hi Janet,

    Love your website. My 5th grade daughter’s teacher loves autumn berries. I was wondering if you would have any seeds I could buy to give as an end of year gift? Thanks so much.


  13. I have raised show birds for many years,bumblefoot is caused by chickens roosting on something other than a round roost, a.roost that
    they can wrap their foot around should be wood not metal. Regards George

    • Hi George. Bumblefoot is an infection. For a bird to get this infection, something has to break the skin. That could be a sharp edge on a roost, or something sharp that the bird steps on. Then if the bird’s immune system does not successfully kill off bacteria that enter the wound, bumblefoot results.

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