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

A pigloo entrance
July 10, 2017Over the course of the past week, you’ve seen posts of me selling off goats.  I’ve not made a public announcement about my plans, but
Read More
May 19, 2017Goat kids, that is   We have four kids ready to go to new homes – one buck, three does.  In July we’ll have 2
Read More
April 18, 2017Time to clean up the barn from the winter!  The goats made a huge pile of hay and poop in their stall over the winter. 
Read More
April 14, 2017Spring is finally feeling like it’s here to stay.  Some brief warm-ups in February tricked us, then some more cold and even snow brought us
Read More
January 23, 2017I don’t remember when I first heard about permaculture.  I want to say it’s been about 4 years, but don’t hold me to that.  Nearly
Read More

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.