ALL ABOUT OUR FARM OR DOES ANYBODY REALLY READ THIS?
Our little slice of Heaven was once part of a shallow sea that covered the Earth eons ago. During this time, the dolomite limestone that characterizes this area was formed, along with pockets of galena lead. When the waters receded and the Ice Age glaciers advanced across North America, for some reason this part of the world was spared the leveling effects of the megaton ice flows. Through three successive glacial advances, our area maintained its topography, which is why we’re one of the only “hilly” areas of Illinois.
In the 1700’s, trappers and miners began making their way across the continent and up the Mississippi River. There once were a lot of beaver and muskrat in Northern Illinois, but the real boon to this region was the discovery of the lead deposits. Before the construction of locks and dams, all the rivers feeding into the Mighty Miss were much deeper, including what become known as the Galena River. As could be expected, a port was built to handle the budding commerce, and as a matter of course, a town developed. Named after the lead that prompted its construction, Galena became a major hub for furs and ore. With the advent of reliable transportation, settlers were able to move farther and farther into the surrounding countryside.
In 1838, William Campbell of Scotland filed on a large parcel of land between Greater and Lesser Rush Creeks, and deeded it to his father, Robert Campbell, who worked for the Hudson Bay Fur Company. Robert moved from Galena to his property several years later, and became known as a breeder of fine horses and cattle – his family came to hold almost a Section in Derinda Township, and built trading posts and schools for their employees’ families. The red building that you see in the photo is one of the schoolhouses: Our original house was built on the foundation of the local trading post. In subsequent years, the Campbell empire was divided into smaller and smaller parcels – we own one of the smallest at seven acres of rolling pasture and three acres of hay ground. Over the years we’ve tried raising every conceivable (and some inconceivable) types of livestock, with varying rates of success. Although our area looks pretty civilized to the naked eye, someone forgot to tell the “critters”, so we are constantly trying to discourage ‘coons, skunks, weasels, ‘possums, coyotes, and hawks from making our animals into an Old Country buffet. This is why Yzma and Cronk have become such valuable members of our family (more on them later). We have raised sheep before – about 12 years ago, we had a lovely flock of Clun Forest sheep – so when circumstances dictated that we make our property pay for itself, we chose to raise sheep again.
My “discovery” of Icelandic sheep was totally unplanned – Search Engines on the Internet can really open doors if you’re looking for one to walk through. The brief description and the photos in “Sheep Breeds of the World” sparked my interest, so I went to the ISBONA Home Page, fell in love, and the rest is history being made.