Our Farm


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.

7 thoughts on “Our Farm

  1. Chris Terzich

    I spoke with you today at the Territory Market.
    You asked me what kind of sheep do they have in Croatia.
    That sparked my interest, does Parmenka and Ruda sheep sound like an individual breed, or a class of sheep? They mentioned thst depending on what hill in Croatia they were raised, gave them a different name.
    They also stated that they slaughtered the lambs as soon as they were weaned, without givinv them any other nutrition.
    I enjoyed our short conversation, and look forward speaking with you, and purchasing your lamb.

    P.S. The web page I was looking at also mentioned that the Icelandic breed was one of the best flavored meats.

    Thanks again,
    Chris Terzich

    1. Administrator Post author

      glad you enjoyed our talk – I will have to look up pictures of the Croatian sheep on google – not familiar with either one. Look forward to seeing you at the next market!! Thanx, Holly

  2. Julie Banigan

    My husband and I spoke with you at the territory market in fall of 2014. We bought some breakfast sausage and Brats. It was delicious. I also bought 3 dryer balls. They are WONDERFUL! I have sheep also and am now very interested in selling my “mutts” and purchasing some Icelandics in the spring (2015). Will you have any lamb ewes for sale at that time?

    1. Icelandic2014 Post author

      Happy New Year, Julie! We will have TONS of lambs this Spring, both purebred Icelandics and cross-bred Linclandics. This year I promise to get the lamb photos posted as soon as they are born – this will give you a chance to see the wide variety of colors and patterns available. This will also give you a chance to decide whether you want horned or polled (hornless) sheep. We’ll keep in touch!

      All my best, Holly M.

  3. Julie Banigan

    I can hardly wait! We are excited to make the change from our mutt flock to icelandics. My husband says “definitely with horns!”

  4. Jillayne Pinchuk

    Thank you for the delicious breakfast sandwiches yesterday at the Dubuque Farmers Market.

    I look forward to talking with you about the horns and skulls that you are preserving for decoration. I was looking in a magazine last night and saw a table-full of curly horns made into candle holders. It was very striking. Lots of possibilities!


    1. Icelandic2014 Post author

      Hey Jillayne, Thanx for the kind words! I will have Tom take some pictures of the skulls we currently have almost finished, and that will give you a better idea what you might like to do. See you on Saturday!


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