Ryder Family Farm- Southern Illinois | personal stories
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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personal stories

Canning Fairytale Pumpkin and Sweet Meat Squash

We drove up north last week to retrieve our award winning produce from the Duquoin State Fair. Nathan wanted the experience of entering stuff in the fair so that we could show our daughters what it is all about (they have been eager to enter stuff at the fair but have only recently become of age). He entered four different produce categories and placed 1st in three of them, he got 2nd place for eggplant and first place for his Fairytale Pumpkin, his pickling cucumbers and his hot peppers. We realized just before getting the prized pumpkin home that we've exhausted our frozen abundance of pumpkiny goodness from last year and *gasp* in our blur of activity this growing season I've overlooked planting pie pumpkin! Actually we didn't even plant the...

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Meeting Winnie, running over a lamb and shock fencing…

Last week was a roller coaster, we are still reeling from it.

You see we were pointed in the direction of a homeless livestock guardian dog. We’ve known we needed one since our beloved family dog lost her life last fall.

Luckily we’ve only had one farm predator issue since losing our farm guard dog, Dixie. You might remember my post about the mink killing my birds just before Easter.

We still have our herding dog that we are trying to train (she might be pregnant!)

Our goat herd grows…

We found ourselves another milk goat, one in milk! I was getting pretty panicky after getting a confirmatory negative pregnancy test on our Alpine dairy goat recently. Buttercup, our new goat, found her way to our home a week ago. Her two newborn kids also came along! I happened to see a craigslist post for a bred dual purpose goat who was about to kid...

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And then there was one…

For months a certain someone has been begging to go to her sister's school. You see we read in the newspaper about how PreK screenings were being done before the holidays and at the mention she was insistent on going. I was open to the possibility but very sure she'd change her tune as soon as it came time to leave my side. You know, as I I write this I'm remembering how eager she was to go to Montessori School with Everly back in Evansville right around the time Grayson was born.  Anyway, we humored her and off to the screening she went. She was practically a mute! The screener had to work very hard to engage her and could hardly get a whisper out of her...

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It’s oddly quiet…

Things are in transition again. It's very quite here in the mornings and oddly, I'm feeling a touch of calmness. Could it be that we are forging a new yearlong routine? Is it just that I'm down to juggling two kids during this time? Is it because needs are being better met in our new arrangement? It's probably a combination of everything. My oldest, Miss Everly, is a Kindergartener. Her first day of school was Friday, today was her first day on the school bus. All summer I've been back and forth about school. For the preschool years she was in a Montessori coop type setting with a 3 hr class in a fellow mom's home several days a week. We also pull from the Montessori method where home education is concerned and have several...

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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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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.

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…

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.

How does anyone with an actual job have time to do all of these crunchy things?!

stay-at-home-momA while back I was the target of some crunchy flaming, as some of you know. Apparently people don’t believe I actually do all the crunchy things I’ve written about and shared here on the blog and it became this debate/ venting session for all of them. Anyway, one of the comments made was…

Does she work or is the blog her full time gig?  How does anyone will an actual job have time to do all of those things? All I do is cloth diaper and I feel like it takes 9 million hours a month (it doesn’t. It just feels that way). I can’t imagine doing all of those other things, too.

The post where I realize it’s been six weeks!

Six weeks seems like a long time when you are in that half-asleep-half-awake state following the arrival of a new baby. Yet it seems such a short time when you think “wow, I’m six weeks pregnant, only eight and a half more months to go”.

And no, I’m not pregnant again! What I mean is my baby boy is six weeks old and it has been six weeks of hibernation for me, both in real life and here online. Heck even my next door neighbor feels like she hasn’t seen me in ages (and she hasn’t!). Of course the arctic weather has only encouraged my hermit behavior.

My husband was blogging the other day and linking back here to my blog regarding the birth of our son and our wedding and he mentioned that he felt better after visiting my blog. He hadn’t blogged in like four weeks, I’ve been offline for about six now so I’ve been the bigger slacker apparently!

Things are going well, I know the lack of posting leaves many to wonder though 😛

Taking the month of December to really focus on my little (not so little anymore) family was really the right thing to do for me.

2013 was truly a year of letting go for me, in many ways. Much was no longer in harmony with my core desires and intentions and it was just time to let those things fall away. Many weights have been lifted in a sense making room for the new possibilities…

Grayson Prescott is born

December 4th 2013

After a morning of laboring at home and carrying on about our day we thought it wise to head towards the hospital. Here is the rundown of how the day went…

Myself, Nathan, my girls, my doula and a lovely friend who was helping to look after the girls during labor all arrived at hospital registration at about 3:40/ 4 pm. I was found to be at 4 cm with fluids intact and debated weather or not to stay at the hospital or to head back home.

Since everyone deemed me a “wild card” in terms of birth predictability and also because I tend to quickly go from minor dilation to transition we thought it best to stay at the hospital and to get settled in a bit while things continued to progress.

I am in labor now!

Yes, I’m blogging in labor.

nSwbv9a9While I’m not live streaming the birth this time (hospital birth remember?), I know everyone is waiting to hear about the labor developments so I’ll update you while I am here at home laboring before we head to the hospital.

Labor began this morning (39 wks & 3 days pregnant) as I was getting the girls on track for heading off to school. I was having back to back, painful contractions and back pain. My water hasn’t broken.

I even remarked to my husband “gosh, am I in labor or what?!” at one point while prepping their breakfast but with the many contraction spurts that have gone nowhere since before Thanksgiving I was just over paying attention to things I guess.

So, Nathan went off to work and I continued to get the girls ready for school while drinking my coffee and waking up. By the time I needed to drive Everly to school I knew things weren’t quite like my previous, lame contraction spurts. Anyway, I drove Everly to school with 6-7 min spaced contractions, cam back home with Adalyn and got a bunch of our crap ready for the hospital. As I write this things are about 4-5 min apart.