Ryan Hanning Ph.D
Ryan Hanning
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Family Blog

The Hanning Homestead

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Family Update #9 - Christ is Risen!!!

Spring has arrived and the forest is now full of life. Lent took on a new tone this year as the cold weather (relatively speaking) and early evenings made work colder, darker, and more somber. Now the dawn has broken and the triumphant hymn of Christ’s resurrection resounds throughout the newly greened forest and the buttercups in the meadow (which are poisonous to sheep and goats, but they look lovely). With the warmer weather and the ground wet from early Spring storms we have finished several projects and begun new ones. Treehouse; done. Sheep; sheared. Rabbit; delicious.


No lambs, but lots of wool.

So, ends up that Dorothy, our Icelandic sheep, was not pregnant. This means we’ll have to find a ram this Fall. Now that the the weather warmed up we sheared the sheep. Considering it was our first time shearing, it went pretty well. Using hand shearers, we got beautiful fleece that we’ll process into yarn…eventually. Which means skirting, cleaning, picking, carding, spinning etc. All of which we have no idea how to do, but then again we never sheared sheep either.

In addition to shearing the sheep, Sr. Noelle blessed us with more ducks. We provided a few fertilized duck eggs to Sister to hatch at the school, but only 1 made it. She purchased an assortment of friends to keep it company and now all 5 are happily at the Hanning Homestead. Our chicken flock is also expanding with more laying hens and chicks. The rabbits moved indoors, allowing the ducklings and chicks to fill the vacancy in the rabbit tractors. The ducks got an upgraded coop made from old pallets and feed bags.

Last but not least a rabbit update. A wonderful family has been sharing their rabbit knowledge with us and has given us a new start with Rex rabbits. This breed is known for its soft fur and good meat production. We ate our first rabbit and are making something with its pelt. More on this later.

Tree House

The tree house is now finished. Using some additional wood from the forest as well as from a neighbors’ old treehouse that we took down, old windows we found in the forest, and old barn wood. The project came together and is now home to the kids during the school day and other critters during the night. Incidentally, it gets wifi and better cell phone reception than the house.

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