Ryder Family Farm- Southern Illinois | Talina
We to a big leap of faith, quit our jobs are moved to the the heart of the Shawnee National Forest to follow our dreams of self sufficiency and to make a go of living off the land… Can we help you feed your family?
Southern Illinois, farm, CSA, Goat Milk, Soap, Eggs, meat, local food
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Author:Talina

It’s unfortunate when you “golden shower” yourself… Right?

Someone has popped two top teeth through and is getting quite active, so active that the worn out velcro closures on my five year old cloth diapers aren't doing the job anymore. Must make time to covert the velcro to snaps, ASAP! Last night when I heard a tiny baby cough coming from the bedroom I went in all concerned. Has he been sleeping so long because he is getting a cold? I peek in on him and see exposed penis...

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It’s hard to control a limp teat!

We are almost a week into goat ownership right now and we are loving it. We got our milker, Poptart, on a slightly later milking schedule so we aren't quiet as tired as initially in the first few days. Yay! As newbie goat owners, we've had a few scares. The first one was when Clay, our buck, knocked his scur off on the fence...

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To Celebrate our one month anniversary with farm life…

A month ago today we crammed all our things, our animals and our kids into vehicles and we drove two hours to our new country home in southern Illinois. We've been here a month now and things are becoming more routine. Farm life is going well and we've been making adjustments to better fit our new life. One of the major adjustments has been stocking the house with food. I've always stocked up on foods because I'm lazy and I dread shopping trips, so stocking up and avoiding multiple grocery trips is always my goal- finances permitting. Plus, stocking up has it preparedness advantages too! Now that Nathan is home for lunch every day, we are having a formal lunch and eating more food over the course of the week than...

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On crashing and lessons learned during the first week of farm life.

We've officially completed our first week on Tanglefoot Ranch. Its been a major whirlwind of activity but its been really great. Speaking of Tanglefoot, are you on our mailing list yet?Seeds have been sowed, our future chicken/ garden space is being readied. I've taken over care of the 40 meat birds. Nathan learned to drive a riding mower, he helped repair electric cattle fencing, he has helped with tractor mowing. A dining room is being constructed near the farm's big kitchen garden. There has been weeding, snake killing, tomato trellising and raspberry picking. We've learned the weighing of juvenile shrimp, Nathan and Everly have moved LOTS of juvenile shrimp from the nursery pools to their permanent ponds while a crew from RFD - TV shot some footage of the process.  We've...

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We’ve made it to Tanglefoot Ranch.

It was a steamy, stormy day but we we loaded a trailer, a stock trailer, a van and two cars with our stuff and drove two hours away to make a new life in the country. The Tanglefoot crew came out and helped us load our lives up and make the trek. They are a thoughtful and welcoming bunch of people. We are uber blessed to have crossed paths with them. They've even made us food (including fresh baked gluten free brownies) while we've been busting butt to get moved in. How thoughtful and surprising is that?  The girls woke us this morning at the butt crack of dawn saying "we need to get an early start to the day guys, there is cherry picking to do!" Here is them out picking cherries...

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Tales from the backyard flock: Are they cooked or do they have chicks in them?

For the last week, maybe two, we have had significantly fewer eggs each day from our six laying hens. Initially I thought that the hens that were not laying had nutritional imbalances since they’ve been eating chicks starter food (against our wishes). We’ve recently integrated our baby chicks to our adult flock, our Rhode Island Reds much prefer eating chick starter it seems. Chick starter has a high protein content and adult birds shouldn’t be eating it but I’m not standing out there and shooing the hens away from the chick feed, three times a day, right now… so those stinking hens are gorging themselves. 

Also, my new chicks are integrating to the main flock right now and we are preparing to move in just a few days so our chicken coop situation is in transition. I also figured the stress of the transition was possibly impacting the egg output from the hens.

Today there was quite a squawk fest out of the chicken coop and my girls anxiously ran out to collect the eggs. However, there were no eggs to be found. So we went about our garden and backyard chores. I opened the compost bin to get some fresh compost for one of the plants and I left it open for the chickens to scratch around in since were getting ready to move and we have no intention of taking cooking compost with us. I had the compost bin open earlier in the week for the same reason but husbands who work outside the homestead (he has just 3 work days left!) miss lots of strategic decision making and close the compost bin back up thinking they are being helpful.

Anyway, after a while we went back inside had some cold water ate breakfast and we heard the chickens squawking again. We went out to try to collect eggs and once again there were none to be found.

They always say if you’re missing eggs, go on an egg hunt.

Updates on the massive poultry flock in the tiny suburban backyard.

Before I became a turkey owner: I wasn't prepared for how social they'd be towards people. I didn't believe that they were truly NOT smart creatures. I hadn't realized that they fight, like roosters do. I didn't expect to be treating the wounds and checking on them as vigilantly as I do with my kids. Right now our turkeys are too large for their brooder, but too small to live out with the chickens...

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Goodbye Evansville, Hello farm life…

The countdown has begun! We are moving away from city life and going to live in the country in 9 days. Things are wrapping up, Everly’s got her last three days of Montessori school this week and Nathan only has 8 days of work left. We are squeezing in last minute health appointments, play dates and running lots of errands all while trying to pack up our house.

The girls have been loading up on the perks of our current living arrangement. Time with friends, visiting their favorite places and soaking up all the joys of our current house. We have a bunch of tadpoles that we hatched from eggs in the sand table right now… they were caught from the pond out back and they are growing fast.

Everly has also been hoping to catch another turtle or two from the pond before we move. We initially caught, measured, observed, numbered and

We DID it, we are farm bound. An unconventional beginning farmer story.

We’ve been working hard to up our farming/ self sustaining situation. Even before we bought our house we were looking at farmhouses on some land. If you know anything about the area we live in, then you know that land isn’t cheap to own here. Most of the time you see really huge portions of land or really small ones for sale. Also, most farm land also happens to be unsustainably farmed and is often times GMO and pesticide laden.

Places we’ve looked at (and tried to buy) have been between $3000 – $5000 per acre and in most cases the houses that are on the land aren’t in great shape. We want the land (several acres) and do need a livable house right off the bat since we have three kids under the age of five. Throughout 2013 we’ve made offers on places and we’ve done lots of tours that amounted to much of nothing.

At the beginning of 2014 we resolved to put our feelers out for unconventional farm acquisition options, anywhere that they may be. We’ve been keeping an eye on farm opportunities nearby and we’ve also reached out to our connections all across the USA for info on farm opportunities. We wanted to be open to any and all chances that might suit us.

Introducing new chicks to your existing flock or “And then there were two, flocks.”

You may have caught the news in passing here or over on Nathan’s blog. We grew our flock of chickens this spring.

“We ended up bringing home a dozen chicks: 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 White Leghorns, 2 Black Sex Link, 3 Amberlinks, and 3 Golden Laced Wyandottes. That will certainly grow our flock of 3 Araucanas and 3 Rhode Island Reds and hopefully really step up our waning egg production this year. Or, we’ll end up with a freezer full of roosters by the end of the summer…”

We got a screaming deal and added 12 chicks to our menagerie of homestead animals for next to nothing cost wise! If you want to know the details click the link above and read all about it on Nathan’s blog.

We are kind of “counting our eggs before they hatch” in terms of planning for space for all the chickens right now, our fingers are crossed that this house sells ASAP. Our existing flock of six plus the 12 new chicks brings us 18 chickens! Plus we just got 6 turkeys. Things might start getting real crowded with 24 birds if we don’t get out of here in the next few months…

When your backyard flock grows. From chicken rearing to turkeys!

We were out of chick starter so a trip to the local farm supply store was on the agenda for the day. When visiting the farm supply store we have to visit the baby chick area if the kids are with us because kids LOVE to see baby birds and rabbits (even though the backyard is already full of them). Did I mention that we got 12 additional baby chicks at the start of this spring? We did! They were on rebate at our local store, we got 10 for free. Can't pass up free chicks! But we didn't just get them because they were free...

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Infographic: The Straight Poop & Musings on toilet training

I’m elated! Adalyn has had two dry nights in a row! Yep, this is a post about toilet learning.

Adalyn has been on the road to being diaper free for quite some time. She’s 2.5 years old now and is mostly dry and clean during the day. She’s only had a few accidents while out and about and those were mostly our fault :/

During the day here at home she has this bad habit of holding her pee till she can’t hold it anymore… then she has accidents on the sprint to the potty once she’s realized she CAN’T hold it anymore.

Owned parents: Leaders of the crazy train and sometimes the best birth control ever!

I’m normally pretty good at solo parenting outings but they really don’t happen often. We all very much prefer to stay home in our PJs… After you read this you’ll understand why.

My kids are experts on “packing their bags” with necessities and snacks for outings. Everly is such a pro at it that if you don’t oversee her she’ll pack up enough snacks to feed an army. This morning I packed a small handful of gluten free crackers and two oranges but Everly packed up her extra pancakes from breakfast along with a giant container of water with a puppy and her blankie… Adalyn packed up her blankies, a penguin.

The rain is pouring outside so the girls are given a kid-sized cow umbrella to share, I heft my diaper bag/ backpack on my back, I’ve got my Moby wrap tied around me, car keys in hand, I pick up Mr. Grayson, his blanket, I grab my water and an umbrella to protect me and Grayson and I shooo the girls out the door in front of me.

Of course two young girls sharing an umbrella in the pouring rain while hefting their bags move incredibly sloooooowwwwly. Grayson and I follow behind them prodding them along to the car…

Butter, oh butter

Making butter is quite easy but for some reason I’ve always viewed it as wasteful and unpractical. I guess I just assumed making butter requires you to use raw milk in it’s entirety (and raw milk is quite the commodity!). Plus, only a small portion of butter results from the whole gallon of milk and I was under the impression the liquid left over once the butter separates is a waste product.

I’ve never felt inclined to make butter myself. Yet I LOVE me some raw butter and as of late it’s been pretty hard to come by… and it so good for you.

The most healthful raw butter is a springtime commodity in the milking world.

Cows fed on rapidly growing spring grass produce milk that contains high levels of beta carotene and five times the amount of CLA, an essential fatty acid that has a strong anti-cancer properties. 

Big changes are in the works for this homestead!

Over the weekend we got a TON of outside work done here on the half-acre homestead because we just put our house on the market! That’s right, we can’t put it off any longer. Our house is in less that perfect showing condition and is VERY lived in with the five of us crammed in here but we have to at least give selling a try.

If you want another baby…

Life with kids sure keeps things entertaining! I’ve always heard others mention this but you never really understand it until your kids are blowing your mind…
My favorite line this month is…

“If you want another baby you guys can lay together and connect your parts…” Everly casually informs us over dinner when her baby brother was barley 5 weeks old at the time.