Thursday, June 1, 2023



Don’t let summer be a bore! Help inspire your children’s natural creativity with these fun country-style summer activities

Summertime is here!!!!   Many parents are starting to hear those dreaded words:  "Mom/Dad...I'm bored!"

What’s a parent to do?

On the one hand, experts tell us boredom is an essential character-building experience for children, one that forces them to flex their imaginations and get creative.

On the other hand, children—especially young children—often need some structure and a little help getting started on an activity.

This is where unstructured or semi-unstructured opportunities for play meet both needs: they give kids a starting point while encouraging their creativity and imagination. Add in the inherent opportunity for fun in a country or rural backdrop, and you’ve got a recipe to beat summer boredom.

Here are 15 fun rural summer activities for kids to ride out the summer.

#15: “Paint” The Barn, Fence Or Farmhouse

This is especially geared to younger children.

Give your children buckets of plain water and paint brushes or small rollers and tell them you need the entire barn or house “painted” with the water.

You can even throw in some water balloons to make “spatter paint”. This will keep toddlers or preschoolers busy for hours.

#14: Inspire Young Naturalists With The iNaturalist app

No, open-ended or unstructured play doesn’t typically involve technology; but this nature-based app will definitely inspire your child’s curiosity and creativity. As we learned in our story on preserving wildlife on your land, iNaturalist is an educational app that helps children and adults identify and record what they find or observe in nature by connecting them with the naturalist community.

Once they enter their findings into the app, they’re shared with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, to help scientists learn about what’s happening in your local area. 

What can they record and get feedback on? Anything! From a butterfly or bug to trees or even weeds. 

#13: Make Homemade Faberge Eggs

Have your kids collect some eggs or visit a neighbor to get a dozen.

Next, hollow out the eggs by inserting a needle or safety pin and blowing out the white and yolk.

After that, you can dye the eggs using an Easter egg kit or paint them whatever color paint your children choose. Secure the eggs for painting by placing in an egg cup or putting a bamboo skewer through the shell to make a handle.

Next, provide jewels, glitter, stickers, ribbon, markers, etc. with glue and let your kids create their own masterpiece.

#12: Set Up A Campsite

Living on acreage offers a perfect backdrop to set up a family campsite, and your kids can help or do it all themselves.

Have them start by clearing off a space for the campsite (raking leaves, pulling up brush, choosing a spot for the tent, etc.). Next, they can build a fire pit with rocks, haul over some wood for seats and collect kindling for a fire later on. Then depending on their age, they can either build a primitive shelter out of big branches, etc., set up hammocks or even pitch a tent.

Complete the day with a hot dog roast, s’mores party and fun family camp out. 

#11: Let Them Make Their Own Fishing Flies And Go Fishing

Fly tying definitely takes practice and skill, but it’s a great challenge for teenagers with time on their hands. For example, we were fortunate to feature an award-winner teen fly-tier, Tradd Little, in: Teen Masters the Art of Fly Tying.

To start, help your teens get inspired by checking out the article (Tradd started tying his own flies at age 11!) and visit Tradd’s website for some awesome beginner tutorials and demonstrations.

From there, purchase the supplies they need and leave them alone to get creative. Once they’ve completed a few flies reward them with a fishing day-trip and/or let them loose on your own pond or stream.

#10: Set Up A Dirt and Mud Kitchen

This is so fun for little ones, and all you need is some dirt, water, old aprons, sandbox toys and a few old kitchen tools.

Have your children dig up some dirt and place it in a plastic tote, water table or stand-up sandbox.

Fill a second tote with water.

Set up some sandbox toys and old kitchen tools like muffin tins, Bundt cake pans, silicone molds, etc. and let them get creative.

To make their cakes “set” place them in the freezer or leave them out in the sun.

#9: Host A Slip And Slide Party, Country-Style

What’s a country-style slip and slide party? One where your children make their own slip and slide!

Why bother? 

It gives the kids a fun project, plus (as all parents know) store-bought slip and slides tend to wear out after just a couple of uses, whereas homemade slides can last for years.

You will need to provide them with a few materials, like a tarp or heavy-duty plastic, a sprinkler (if you don’t have one), biodegradable baby soap and maybe landscape anchor pins, but that’s as easy as a trip to your local hardware store.

We like this option from which involves heavy-duty plastic, pool noodles, peel and stick Velcro and a sprinkler hose or you can browse Pinterest to find one that suits your needs.

Once it’s done, it will make for hours of fun.

#8: Ride Bikes Through The Sprinkler

For a fresh take on sprinkler play, let your kids ride their bikes, trikes or scooters through your sprinkler. 

For some reason, this can be even more fun than running through the sprinkler and sparks some fun, healthy competition (just make sure they use appropriate foot ware, helmets, etc.).

#7: Plan A Star Gazing Night

Star gazing is a somewhat forgotten pleasure for most people. But, there’s no place better to enjoy the vast beauty of the universe than out under a big country sky..

All you have to do is put out some blankets or lie out on a trampoline, provide some jars for firefly catching, then sit back and enjoy the stars.

You can also use a stargazing app to make the night more educational...or not.

#6: Have Fun With Hay

A hayloft can be a source of endless fun for country kids. From climbing up hay bales, to building forts and playing hide and seek, the possibilities are endless.

No hayloft? No problem. You can find hay at your local craft store (or from your neighbor) and use it for fun art projects like scarecrow art, wreaths, making brooms, building structures or using hay as a paint brush. Just browse Pinterest for loads of ideas for children of all ages.

#5: Build A Path for Walking Or Biking

This can keep older kids busy for hours. Have them choose a spot where you need a path OR where they would like to have a “secret” path for walking, exploring, biking, etc. then let them build it.

This may involve clearing away brush, digging up grass, laying down mulch or gravel, decorating the path, etc. 

#4: Have Them Pack Their Own Picnic

Children in those middle-years (6-10), and even preschoolers are always looking for opportunities to be independent. What better way to foster this than letting them pack their own picnic to enjoy outdoors?

All you have to do it help them plan by asking them what they’d like to make and ensuring the food they need is available and at their level. From there, they can prepare their sandwiches, etc., pack up a picnic basket or backpack and head out on the property for a kids-only picnic lunch.

#3: Set Up A Treepod (no building required)

Treepods are a really cool invention which give kids all the fun and freedom of a treehouse, without hammers, nails, wood, etc.

They’re kind of like a hammock, tent and treehouse in one, they set up in a matter of minutes and your kids will love hiding out in them to play, read, relax, make believe, etc.

#2: Set Up Fairy Gardens Around the Property

A fairy garden can be made with pre-bought fairies and accessories, made entirely out of materials found in nature or a combination of both.

For example, you might provide your children with some fairy figurines then let them get creative setting up a home with moss, planting flowers in tea cups, building little fairy homes out of sticks, creating a fairy path with rocks or shells, painting a fairy door on a tree or carving one into a stump, etc.

Once they’re done, make it even more magical by stringing up some sparkling lights around the fairy village...they’ll love it!

#1: Just Kick Them Outside And Let Them Figure It Out

Providing inspiration and open-ended activities are great, but one of the biggest blessings of living on acreage is the safe space it provides for outdoor play.

So, the next time your kids say “I’m bored” don’t be afraid to kick them outside and let them find their own fun!

We hope you have enjoyed the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners blog post.  Please feel free to contact us with any of your rural real estate needs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023



Don’t let horse allergies hinder your riding plans this spring.

From skin to respiratory, being prepared for different horse allergies will help you head off more serious problems.

We’ve all been there. It’s a spring day of good weather, perfect for a ride. As you amble to the barn to saddle up, you hear coughing. Turning the corner, you see the coughing culprit is your horse.
In another barn, a rider grabs the grooming kit to brush her horse in preparation for the saddle. As she runs her hand over his neck, she feels, and then sees, numerous bumps, some of which have merged to form large bumps.

A Teeming World of Horse Allergies

Unseen by the naked eye, the world is abundant in proteins and substances that can incite an allergic response. These allergens may be inhaled, ingested, or may affect a horse through topical contact. You’ll be tipped off to signs of trouble when you notice your horse has itching, hives, or breathing problems.

Allergies are common throughout the human and animal world, and horses are no exception. Usually, horses manage in their environment just fine without developing obvious signs that microscopic compounds are affecting them. Horse allergies happen when a horse’s immune system overreacts to a foreign protein, goes on the offense and becomes over-sensitized.

Sometimes it takes months or years of accumulated exposure for a horse to become hypersensitive; sometimes the response is more immediate and acute. Whatever specific protein causes the reaction, it sets up a cascade of inflammatory events that release prostaglandins and histamines to create obvious skin or respiratory allergic signs.

Skin Allergies in Horses

Horse allergies that manifest in the skin may result from topical contact, but also may develop from oral ingestion or inhaled particles. Aerosolized dust, mold, pollen, bedding, and insect bites are just a few of the sources that can cause itching and/or hives.

A major cause of itching starts with the bite of insects called Culicoides, also known as midges or no-see-ums. While the midges tend to feed on the abdomen, a horse displays an allergic response to the midge saliva by aggressively rubbing his tail, hindquarters, neck and mane due to intense itching. Those areas become raw, crusty, and inflamed, with substantial hair loss.

Some breeds and lines of horses tend to be particularly allergic to midges, such as Morgans, Icelandics and Arabians. The solution relies on moving the horse away from areas favorable to midge breeding, like ponds, wetlands and slow-moving streams.

Fly sheets are important, but they should have belly bands of netting material. Bringing a horse inside at dusk and dawn also helps to reduce midge exposure, as that is their preferred feeding time.

In contrast to an itching reaction (pruritus), hives aren’t typically itchy but herald a definite sign of exposure to some kind of allergen. Hives tend to be soft swellings that indent when you push in with your finger, called pitting edema.

They may be variable in size, sometimes coalescing into one big welt when several are close together. Inhaled allergens also can cause hives, referred to as atopic dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis is also not unusual. One example that occurs fairly commonly is hives from contact with pine bedding. If there is a suspicion that bedding is a problem, substitute paper bedding or a different source of pine bedding to see if the hives resolve.

Some shampoos or fly sprays can cause skin irritation and hives, as can laundry detergent residue or dirt on a saddle pad. On rare occasions, a horse with a fungal infection called ringworm may develop hive-like reactions around a fungal lesion.

Hives can develop acutely and disappear just as quickly. Sometimes they persist long after the allergen is removed from the environment. In difficult cases, it may be necessary to medicate the horse with a short course of a corticosteroid like dexamethasone or prednisolone, which are effective anti-inflammatory medications.

Certain feedstuffs can set off a skin reaction, although food allergies are not that common. If it is a food allergy, however, it’s often a challenge to determine the exact food or oral substance that is the culprit.

This may need to be done through a process of elimination: eliminate all food and supplements and start by feeding only grass hay, although diet changes may need to be done slowly. Check with your vet. After a couple of weeks with no signs of hive lesions, add in one more food element and wait a week or two before adding in another. This may help pinpoint the cause.

Supplements tend to be the likeliest culprit, far more than hay or feed materials, although alfalfa has been known to cause allergic reactions.

Respiratory Allergies in Horses

Respiratory allergies can affect horse performance by impacting breathing and comfort, especially during exercise. A horse with a respiratory allergy often has a dry cough or wheezing that amplifies when he is eating or exercising. There may be a chronic or intermittent nasal discharge, as well.

Respiratory health is at risk when horses are placed inside barns, especially those with poor ventilation, and/or are exercised in indoor arenas. Many toxic compounds are aerosolized to circulate in the air in those environments: endotoxin (part of the cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria) in manure, ammonia vapor from urine-soaked bedding, mold spores from hay, or hay dust filtering down when stored in lofts above the stalls or arena. Arena footing can also contribute to respiratory irritation.

The best solution is to minimize a horse’s time indoors and instead turn him out as much as possible. Better yet, arrange full-time outdoor living with run-in sheds to protect against inclement weather. Soaking or steaming hay before feeding helps tamp down dust and mold.

If barn living is all you have available, then implementing good ventilation is very important. Use appropriately placed fans, open windows, and open barn doors to keep fresh air circulating. Store hay in a building separate from horse housing.

Another important strategy for respiratory health is to keep your horse on a regular immunization schedule, especially against respiratory viruses. Equine influenza virus is known for causing long-term respiratory damage, including development of equine asthma. Discuss an appropriate vaccine schedule with your veterinarian.

Once a horse develops equine asthma, a variety of medications, including inhaled and/or oral bronchodilators, can help improve his comfort and ease of breathing. It is much easier and more effective to apply an ounce of preventive strategies for respiratory health than a pound of cure to treat after the fact.

Equine Anaphylaxis

In an instance where a horse’s immune system develops a profound and severe reaction, a horse can experience life-threatening anaphylaxis. With that in mind, it’s important to contact your vet immediately when seeing signs of an allergic response, particularly if your horse is having difficulty breathing and/or there is swelling of his face and muzzle or limbs and belly.

If your horse has a known allergy to a medication, such as penicillin or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like phenylbutazone or flunixin meglumine, it’s critical to place caution signs on the horse’s stall door and paddock to prevent accidental administration of potentially deadly drugs.

People with allergies wear neck tags or bracelets to convey this critical information, but for horses, it’s necessary to post signs in obvious places. Advise your barn manager and staff, friends and veterinarians who may deal with your horse.

Allergies can be troublesome to resolve, so observe and monitor every facet of your horse’s environment. With knowledge about potential problems, you can deter allergic problems before they begin.

We hope you enjoyed today's blog.  Feel free to call the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners for any questions you might have or if you are interested in buying or selling rural property.  We would love to help!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023



There comes a time in every relationship when an honest evaluation is needed, and that includes your partnership with your horse. Think about your interactions on a regular basis. Sometimes, a horse doesn’t know how to respect personal space. Does your horse do any of the following?

◆ Pushes against you when you catch him.
◆ Walks so close when you’re leading that he shoves you from behind with his head.
◆ Has stepped on your foot when you’re leading or grooming him.
◆ Will swing his body into you when you’re grooming him or working with him while tied.
◆ Moves so close to you that sometimes you have to step out of his way to avoid being bumped or stepped on.
◆ Rubs his head on you if he has an itch.
◆ Gets very pushy when there’s a treat in your pocket or hands

Who’s the Boss?

If you recognize more than one of these behaviors, your horse is telling you how he views your relationship. If this is his normal behavior, he sees himself as being in charge.

“If a horse is being dominant on the ground, it’s going to translate to when you get on his back,” says trainer and clinician Lynn Palm, who is based in Ocala, Fla. “If he pushes you once, next time it will be harder. If he moves into you and you have to take a step away, the next time you’ll have to take three steps.”

In addition to her own impressive performance record in the show ring, Palm’s teaching has helped countless horse owners understand how horses communicate through body language.

Palm finds there are two basic reasons that a horse is pushy and disrespectful on the ground:
◆ He’s a young horse that hasn’t been educated about boundaries, or
◆ He’s a horse that doesn’t see you as the leader in the relationship.

You might be thinking that you don’t want to be your horse’s boss—you want to be his friend and partner. But no matter how you view it, the horse’s brain is hardwired to have someone in charge.

Understanding Why

It all goes back to the fact that as prey animals, horses instinctively trust a leader to keep them safe. Palm urges owners to watch the herd dynamics of horses at pasture.

It doesn’t take long to identify the “boss mare” or “alpha” horse. She or he is the horse that all others defer to. If a horse don’t show respect to the alpha, the leader demonstrates dominance by getting in the personal space of the other horse and quickly makes him move away.

If you say, “That’s just horses being horses,” you’re right. But, your horse will treat you like another horse if you let him. He’ll do this with dominant body language, such as the actions listed earlier. A horse without personal space can be dangerous to people.

“Because of the horse’s size and strength, safety has to be No. 1 in horse ownership,” says Palm. “When horses don’t have manners, they can become unsafe, even if it’s not intentional.”

Correct: Lynn Palm’s right hand is at the middle of the horse’s head to touch and move him away, as well as keeping him straight and not leaning into her. With assistance from the whip, she is in a good forward position. The arm’s-length distance from the horse prevents him from walking into her. Photo courtesy Cynthia McFarland.

It’s up to you to teach your horse without personal space to respect you and to see you as the leader.

“On the ground, don’t allow the horse into your personal space unless you intentionally invite him in. You have to establish and maintain the boundary.”

Change It Up

Teaching this starts with the most basic interactions with your horse: catching, leading and grooming.

“If the horse is used to taking charge, initially you might have to be assertive in making him move away,” says Palm. “We’re talking manners, not punishment or making the horse afraid of you. But you have to draw a line, and the horse has to be obedient to your commands.”

When a horse doesn’t respect her space, especially if it could become dangerous, Palm uses her hands to make a firm shooing gesture toward his head and uses a stern tone with words such as “move it,” “no,” or “away.”

As soon as he moves out of her space, she stops the hand movements, softening her tone as a reward. She repeats as needed, just as the alpha horse shows dominance as often as necessary.

“What matters is the tone of your voice, not the word,” explains Palm.

How Are You Leading?

Many people slip on the halter and start walking without putting any thought into how they’re leading their horse. Leading correctly is a clear way to assert leadership.

“Never let the horse walk behind you—it’s not safe,” cautions Palm. “He can push you with his head, or if something startles him, he can jump right into you.”

As Palm explains, the horse should walk beside you, and no closer than an arm’s length away. Your shoulder should be parallel to his throatlatch or the side of his head, which should face straight ahead, allowing you to easily see his eye and ear and where his attention is focused.

Incorrect: Pulling on the lead gives the horse the opportunity to lean and resist, as shown here. Photo courtesy Cynthia McFarland.

“Too many owners are always underneath their horses’ heads,” says Palm. “They’re too close and pull the horse with their hand on the lead right under his head. The more you use the lead to pull on the horse, the more you give him the opportunity to lean on, push or pull you.

“That’s why you want to control his position with your body position and voice commands,” she adds. “Your touch should give direction rather than pulling on the lead.”

When teaching any horse to lead, Palm uses a cluck sound to move forward, and an in-hand whip directed toward the hindquarters.

“If you need forward movement, step back to his shoulder and direct the in-hand whip to his hip to send him forward,” she says. “When he responds, move back into position, walking with his head parallel to your shoulder.”

She uses “whoa” for stopping, but owners can choose different commands, as long as they’re consistent. Instead of pulling back on the lead, put the in-hand whip in front of the horse’s face like a stop sign while giving your “stop” or “whoa” command.

“If he gets too close, use a pulsating touch with your hand to direct him away,” suggests Palm. “Touch the side of his head—midway between his eye and nostril—and use the pressure of a pulsating touch to move him away. Don’t release this pulsating pressure until he turns in the direction you’re asking. When he takes even one step that way, release the touch and reward him with your voice.”

Palm encourages you to practice leading and turning on both sides of your horse and in both directions.

What About Treats?

Do you have to forego feeding treats for your horse to respect your space?

No, says Palm, but she emphasizes to treat the right way, at the right time, and for the right reasons, and not as a “bribe.” She warns that over-treating can lead to pushiness, and your tone of voice should be used more than treats.

“Remember that praise from your voice and touch is often enough reward,” says Palm.
She notes that if you really want to give a treat after a good ride, don’t do it as soon as you dismount or when you’re grooming.

Don’t treat your horse as soon as you’re done riding or while grooming. Wait until you’re ready to turn him out or put him back in the stall. Better yet, put the treat in his bucket. Photo courtesy Anna Elizabeth photography/Shutterstock.

“Wait until you’re completely done and turning the horse out or putting him in his stall,” says Palm.

If you find yourself backing up when offering a treat because your horse is on top of you, this is a clear sign you need to rethink how you’re handling the treat scenario.

“You should invite your horse in for affection or a treat; he doesn’t get to demand it,” says Palm. “A better way to give a treat is to put it in the horse’s bucket instead of hand-feeding.

“When a horse is mannerly and obedient, you’re setting the precedent of having safe, enjoyable times with that horse on the ground and when you’re riding,” she adds. “Your horse will be a better friend if he respects you with manners and obedience.”

We hope you enjoyed today's blog.  Please feel free to contact the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners with any questions you might have or any suggestions for a blog subject and also feel free to check out our website- RURALKC.COM.   Have a great day!

Article by Cynthia McFarland

Monday, May 15, 2023



Even though home prices have moderated over the last year, many homeowners still have an incredible amount of equity. But what is equity? In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between the market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how your equity grows over time:

“Housing wealth (home equity or net worth) gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage.”

How Your Equity Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

The equity you build up over the years can be used to your advantage when you sell your current house and buy your next home. If you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or it’s possible you have too much space and need something smaller. No matter the situation, your equity can be a powerful tool you can use to help you make a move in today’s market. That’s because it may be some (if not all) of what you need for your down payment on your next home.

And how much equity you have may surprise you. A recent survey from finds many homeowners today estimate they’ve built up a significant amount of equity:

The latest data from CoreLogic helps solidify why homeowners are feeling so good about the equity they’ve likely gained over time. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, says:

“While equity gains contracted in late 2022 due to home price declines in some regions, U.S. homeowners on average still have about $270,000 in equity, nearly $90,000 more than they had at the onset of the pandemic.”

How a Skilled Real Estate Agent Can Help

If you’re looking to leverage your equity to boost your buying power in today’s market, having a trusted agent by your side makes a difference.

A real estate professional can help you better understand the value of your home, so you’ll get a clearer picture of how much equity you likely have. As a recent article from Bankrate says:

“Hiring a skilled real estate agent can give you a realistic estimate of home prices in your area and how to price your current home. Using that figure, you can calculate how much equity you have and what your net proceeds will look like, so you can apply that money toward the down payment and closing costs of your new home.” 

Having a solid understanding of your equity is key when it comes to making decisions about buying or selling your home. A skilled agent can help you navigate the often-complicated process of selling your house and ensure the transaction goes smoothly.

Bottom Line

Today, many homeowners are sitting on a substantial amount of equity, and you may be one of them. The Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners can help you estimate how much equity you have and plan how you can use it toward the purchase of your next home.  Just give us a call at 913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2023


 If you’re looking to buy a house, you may find today’s limited supply of homes available for sale challenging. When housing inventory is as low as it is right now, it can feel like a bit of an uphill battle to find the perfect home for you because there just isn’t that much to choose from. If you need to open up your pool of options, it may be time to consider a newly built home.

 According to the latest data from the U.S. Census, there’s positive news when it comes to new home construction. When you look at the first three months of this year, you’ll find:

  • More new homes were completed and are ready to sell. This gives you more move-in-ready options for your search.
  • Builders broke ground and started construction on more single-family homes. This means there are more homes intended for one household in the beginning stages of construction, allowing you the opportunity to customize one to your liking.
  • The number of permits for building new single-family homes ticked up. This shows builders are ramping up to start on even more home construction soon. 

And, while this is all good news for broadening your options for your home search, there are other perks that come with considering a newly built home.


When you buy a new home under construction, you can tailor it to your unique needs and taste. Bankratesays

Building means customizing. . . . instead of wishing your home had a certain kind of flooring, a sunroom or some other special amenity, you’ll be able to tailor the property to your exact needs. 

Brand New Everything 

Another perk of a new home is that nothing in the house is used. It’s all brand new and uniquely yours from day one.

Minimal Repairs

And, because everything is new, you’ll likely find there are fewer maintenance and repair needs up front. As explains:  

“. . . if something does go wrong with your new home, not only are there likely some manufacturer warranties in place, but many builders also include additional home warranties . . .” 

Energy Efficiency 

Lastly, building a home gives you the opportunity to incorporate more energy-efficient options that can help lower your costs over time – which can feel especially important when inflation’s raising many of the costs around you.

Bottom Line

If you’re having trouble finding your dream home in today’s market, it may be time to consider newly built homes as an option. Partner with the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners to learn more about what’s available in your local rural area.