Keith & Cheryl Zacek – Family Farm in North-Central Illinois.

April 12, 2016On Saturday, April 2, I went to my friend’s place to help with building a cob oven.  My friends are Mike and Deborah Boehle, of
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February 12, 2016Whenever we have a nice day, I think of these words from Winnie the Pooh.  Especially in the winter, when the sun is shining, and
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March 13, 2015Spring has FINALLY arrived in central IL!  We went from 20 to 40 in two days then up to 50s and even 60 in a
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February 6, 2015This is going to be a short update on our mushroom growing adventure.  The top picture is of the portabellas I harvested 2 days ago. 
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January 2, 2015Here it is:  The WISH LIST.  Four pages, three of which are covered front and back.  After going through the Baker Creek Seed Catalog, this
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We are a very small – tiny, even – family farm in north-central Illinois. We moved to our 90-year-old farmhouse from the Chicago suburbs in 1998 with 4 children and a dream to raise some chickens for eggs, goats for milk, rabbits for meat and have a big garden for some fresh produce. Since then we’ve had 4 more children and gone through many changes as we try to fix up the old house and cram as much self-sufficiency into our acre-and-a-half as possible while homeschooling and trying to teach the children a solid work ethic (and trying to develop one ourselves. Maybe that only really applies to me…)

We’ve started big in almost every area, only to get overwhelmed and cut back or quit different things now and then, and then start over a year or two later. One year I even begged to sell this place and move into town. Having been raised in the suburbs in a small house on a small lot, I never had a lot of work to do – and rarely was it hard physical labor. The constant need to take care of the animals twice a day year round, weed the garden all spring and summer, preserve what the garden produced, in addition to homeschooling and housework and childbearing and rearing was exhausting and I just wanted my easy life back. But, underneath all that I knew we’d come here for a reason that I just couldn’t ignore. So I didn’t plant a garden the next year and I sold the goats and kept only a dozen chickens. And a year or so later we started up again – slowly. And after 13 years I’ve finally realized that this is the lifestyle I really love and can’t imagine living any other way – even though I get tired sometimes. In fact, our new dream is to be able to purchase enough land that we can grow most of the food for our animals, as well as ourselves.
So this site is the story of our ongoing journey through homesteading and homeschooling and all that that entails, as well as a place for us to sell some of the fruits of our labor as it’s available.