Farm Happenings

The island of orphaned farm animals & more…

The girls are both at school today (well they were, then one came home sick!) and I’ve amazingly had a few spare minutes so I figured I’d sit down and try to write a blog post! Terrible intro huh?! Lets try again…

There’s lots going on here at Homestead right now. One of the most exciting things that we have going on is that we’ve decided to take up Maple sugaring! 

Initially we had planned on maple sugaring to sell syrup, as one of our first family farm projects. We wrote the business plan, had sugar shack building plans, went shopping for evaporator tables and set out to try to get financing so that we could tap the trees this year. Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time to line the financing and equipment up before the syrup started running. Maybe we’ll launch the project next year?! Well, we decided as a family that we simply could not live without Maple syrup this year and that it would be easy enough for us to make a few gallons for ourselves as a warm-up to our possible future business venture.

So, we bought just a few cheap taps & spiles and we rustled up some milk jugs & various containers around the house. Nathan grabbed his drill and went out and tapped the two trees at the house and some sugar maples that were a ways away from the house. Right away the sap was flowing. 

The other excitement we have going on here at the homestead is that our kitchen is currently a rescue for orphaned animals. Lambs specifically. You may remember back right before the new year when we shared pictures and talked about how we had taken on an orphaned lamb. Since then we’ve taken on 2 additional lambs. The second lamb we took in is male and he is about 12 days old right now. He was the second born, a twin, and was very malnourished and cold when he came to us. Right now he requires a little bit of physical therapy due to muscle atrophy from laying around and being nursed back to health, in our kitchen. Here he is:

The third lamb we took on didn’t make it past the first 24 hours, it too was a starving, very cold, a second born twin. I think it had pneumonia, poor thing.

So, we’ve had our hands full with livestock, especially newborn livestock!

I’ve also got several chickens in my garage in a brooder growing up so that they can soon join our chicken flock outdoors. Lastly, I have 36 bantam eggs finishing up incubation right now, bought online at the beginning of the month. It seems like about 14 of the incubating eggs will hatch in a week. This is good news to me since the entire first batch of eggs I bought online didn’t remain viable once shipped to me. Next I want duck & turkey eggs.

Things have been certainly busy around the homestead where animals are concerned, just how we like it. I don’t expect things to die down anytime soon since were still working on having goat babies 😉

We’ve also decided that we’d like to give ourselves a shot growing some produce for other folks in the area. We already grow food for our family and tend a fairly large garden in the summer and fall months and we have lots of family farm dreams that we like to achieve… Unfortunately, funding is a roadblock where these dreams are concerned. And we hate to take out a loan and overextend ourselves.

We hope to raise a little bit of “seed money” for projects with a tiny CSA this year. Ideally, our dreams of maple sugaring and dairy goat raising can be made to happen gradually as we’re able to trickle money in with our various projects. So like any farm family, we are always dreaming and always busy with something but we’re having a blast.

If you are in Pope or Johnson County in Southern Illinois (also Paducah, Kentucky or Evansville Indiana are possible delivery locations) and are interested in subscribing to our CSA click here for more info.

<p>A city girl turned farmer. Yes women do farm ;) Owner and operator of direct to consumer, Ryder Family Farm in Southern Illinois.<br /> Wearing many hats I'm also a mother to 3, a wife, a yogi, a farmer, a 4-H & Girl Scout leader & hospitality manager.</p>

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