high hopes gardens
logan township
marshall county

Mark – Technical writer by day, Dad and farmer for all the rest.

Linda – Biology teacher and Program Coordinator for diversified and entrepreneurial agriculture program by day, Mom and farmer for all the rest.

21 thoughts on “About

  1. Stumbled upon your blog while doing a google search. I grew up in State Center and Grinnell, went to college at ISU and work in Ames when I’m not on active duty with the National Guard.

    I’ve been reading up on your blog- I miss being out on the farms.
    Keep up the good posts!

  2. I came across your blog looking for sites about sustainable agriculture. I think I found the best one. I bought 16 acres with the hopes of raising my 5 kids in a better place and teaching them about nature, hardwork, and the rewards they offer. I am not a farmer by any means, just a 26 year old railroader. I could not explain the type of life I wanted at the new home. I have got my wife reading your site from start to finish, and have even started using some of your methods and plan to start using more of them as time and money permit. I think you have done a great job with the site and hope to continue reading for years to come and maybe some day soon join you with a small sustainable farm.

    Again great job with the site, and thank you for giving me something to start my own with.

  3. Hello Family High Hopes,

    I have been checking in on your blog for a little under a year now and I thought it important to let you know that your efforts are admired and make a difference. There is a great value in an active observance of daily life and the gifts and challenges it presents to us.

    Keep up the good work, good health to all and I wish you the best for the future.

    A happy follower.

  4. Wow, what a website. We have 35 acres and would love to get back to raising things like
    when I was a kid. I have tried starting apple trees, rasberries and strawberries. I
    could use some help if you don’t mind me asking questions. I have all the equipment for
    canning as my mom use to do this, but I have not much experience canning. I use to do
    alot of cutting corn off the cob, picking tomatoes for canning and lots of peas and green
    beans. Our biggest crop when the six kids were together was over 200 tomato plants. That

  5. Deniese,

    I’ll try to answer your questions! To get started, I highly recommend the USDA home canning guide. We have it in a tattered three-ring binder and use it continuously in the summer/fall. it provides safe recipes, provides some logic when deciding to pressure vs boiling water canning. I found a free online copy at http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html

  6. Hello!

    I wanted to let y’all know that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the wonderful information available on your site. We recently purchased a home with a few acres and we’re looking forward to having chickens and a few Barbados sheep. Your site has been a wonderful source of information and encouragement.

  7. Hi Linda,

    I’m getting married in Marshall County in September and I’m hoping to do an All-Iowa Meal. Can you help?

  8. You might enjoy the site of Wisconsin’s favorite
    cheesehead, Michael Perry. sneezingcow.com is where he
    shares snippets of his life much as you all do. Check
    out his book ‘Population 485 – Meeting your
    neighbors one siren at a time’.

    Be well.

    Yes, I’m that Mark who’s dating Julie.

    Mark from Kasson.

  9. Great blog! Will check in now and then. I was searching for a picture of that goose who hangs out with goats in news that’s strange when I came upon High Hopes. Love the pictures and cheerful attitude. Keep it up.

    Carl in St. Pete, FL

  10. Mark & Linda,
    The July 7 & 14 New Yorker has an article “Island in the Wind” by Elizabeth Kolbert. Samso Island in Denmark is populated by 4300 people and they converted to sustainable energy use, including wind turbines.
    I’ll send you the web address for a slide show showing their innovations.
    We enjoyed your pic of Reggie playing his dulcimer at the art show!

  11. Hello High Hope Gardens,
    Just stumpled upon your blog while searching for goat milk’s soap. Just love seeing all the pretty goats, kid and all. They are in good hands! Thanks for sharing a part of your lives with all of us. Keep up the great job!

  12. Hello,

    A friend with Iowa connections sent me a link to your site. We have just embarked on a similar small farm journey. It is exciting and inspiring to read about all your accomplishments and adventures–gives us High Hopes for our own little farmstead!

  13. Good Day,

    I am Ahmet Korkmaz, co-owner of the website agricultureguide.org and a green enthusiast.

    We are trying to spread organic farming / gardening in order to create a more self-sufficient world by writing guides about these issues.

    Our point is not to be as academic as possible, our belief is that too much information only scares the aspiring gardeners so we try to remain understandable while being accurate.

    As of now, our website is really new but we’re trying to upload content as much as we can, this is usually an article of about 400 words every 24 hours because of our situation as students.

    I only as that you visit and take a look, tell us how to improve ourselves and perhaps if you’re willing; give a link to us so we can get some recognition. Granted, we’ll probably never be able to become as popular as some other websites on this subject, but I think we deserve a bit more traffic with the work we’re putting into this.

    I am looking forward to hearing your advice and impression for our humble beginning. I’m sure you won’t miss the opportunity to help youngsters out. ..

  14. Hello, I don’t know how I ended up on your “blog”, but it looks great! I actually was looking for combination stock panels and where to buy them- you spoke of them and how they were at the bottom of the pile furthest back at some store- can you tell me some retailers that carry these?
    Thank you and I hope to read your on going story- It has my heart!

  15. Katie,

    Any farm store should carry them – like Theisen’s, Orschlen’s, Farm and Home, Tractor Supply, depending on what’s in your area.

  16. Mark and Family. John Koski here, from the yesteryears of Camp Miller. Hello after many a year, since that BB King Concert in Des Moines. I was just listening to a Tom Petty song and thought of all the great music I learned about as a teen under the tutelage of my “elders” and thought I’d search for ya. Imagine my surprise when I found your farm blog.
    I’m married and living with my wife and daughter in Chicago. I moved here 10 years ago to study art therapy, then I attended Cordon Bleu and became a chef instead. I’m quite active in regional/seasonal, and sustainable foodways as a life style and not a simple buzzword so you can my delight to find your blog. I’ll be browsing your blog some more, but I wanted to say hello old friends. Happy Spring!


  17. I grew up on a working farm in central Ohio and frankly, I couldn’t wait to escape. Now, 35 years later, the farm remains in the family, but when my ailing father passes, it will be sold and I’ll feel a great sense of loss. I’ve been enjoying your blog for several years now. Your photos bring back so many memories. I forget when I finally realized how lucky I was to grow up on a farm. Keep up the good work

  18. Also saw your Midwest Living triumph. Great to see that you are still at it and things are going well. SFCC just started a Sustainable Ag program- so there must be some hope. Unfortunately the only farm implement you need here is a pick– at least in the Ozarks. Kathy * Gary Baker

  19. Came across you blog looking for the Mtown garden club. I found the blip about your daughter doing a presentation to them. Do you know how to get in touch with them? My husband and I are looking for some like minded people, such as yourself, to help us along with our garden questions. Our friends and family think we’re crazy for having such a big garden and actually wanting to can and save our food, so it would be nice to have some people to encourage, rather than to poke fun at! 🙂 Feel free to email me if you can help our search.
    Its great that you’re doing what you are; the pictures on your blog are beautiful! I’ll definitely come back to your blog!
    Lisa and Kyle

  20. Your family is so inspiring. I’m one generation removed from the farm, but hoping to transfer our family in the next two years. I sure wish I could intern with you and learn what I’ll be getting us all into! We also wish there was a Unitarian Church closer to Avoca, Iowa. Thanks for providing such uplifting and practical updates. It’s keeping my dreams alive!

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