Amid clucking chickens, bleating goats and roaming dogs, Orna Clum and her husband, Jerry, work to get their farm ready for another spring.
The one-acre farm on their nine-acre property in Scott Township is home to more than 30 chickens, 11 goats with kids on the way, two dogs and various cats, ducks, turkeys, pigs and bees. It all started in 2006 when Clum received a call from Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, asking if she wanted to foster a goat named Eddie.
“I must’ve said something about goats there one time, because, for some reason, they had my name written down with ‘goats’ next to it,” Clum said. Her next stop? The bookstore to buy “Goats for Dummies.”
Clum kept the farm relatively small when her children were younger, but started to expand in recent years once they moved away from home. Caring for animals helped her become happier in her life.
Her passion for her hobby farm also comes from her desire to keep learning. Every year, the Clums try to implement a new addition to the farm. Clum’s focus this year will be growing zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and garlic.
“I learned how to nurture animals from birth on, but I couldn’t grow a pepper to save myself,” Clum said.
In prior years, Clum took up beekeeping and making maple syrup. The couple even built a sugar shack — for making their maple syrup — from all recycled materials.
Clum’s life has been busy from the time she was a teenager. Growing up in Israel, she was required to join the Army after graduating high school.
After finishing her service at the age of 21, she came to the United States to live with her sister in Philadelphia. Then, Clum decided to attend East Stroudsburg University, where she majored in hotel, restaurant and institutional management. It’s also where she met her husband.
After graduating and working in hotel management for a few years, she wanted a change. She asked her father-in-law to enroll her in an H&R Block income tax course. She worked at H&R Block for nearly 10 years before opening her own tax preparation business, Summit Mobile Tax and Notary Services. She also owned a commercial sprinkler installation service with Jerry, Advantage Fire Protection Design.
During her time at H&R Block, Clum also worked at Marywood University’s School of Continuing Education. There, she coordinated the non-credit personal enrichment classes, including painting, art and languages.
“I really have a great life because I do everything I’m interested in and everything I like,” Clum said.
Aside from her businesses, Clum enjoys cooking, crafting, doing yard work, making Christmas cards and reading the occasional romance novel when she isn’t tending to the farm and its residents. She also finds time to volunteer at The Greenhouse Project in Scranton, an organization that works to educate people on how the foods they eat affect personal and public health.
“If I won a million dollars, I would be a farmer,” she said, noting she also loves doing taxes during the winter months, when the farm is quiet.
Of all of the creatures on her farm, the goats she raises have definitely stolen her heart, especially a younger one named Lucky. Of all the animals, the goats are the funniest to watch, she added.
“If goats had thumbs, they would rule the world,” Jerry Clum joked.
Some of her animals’ names include Thor, Lucky, Vivi, Yoda, Huff and Moose. A few are even named in pairs — Mike and Ike, Beauty and Beast, Prim and Rue and Jack and Diane.
“The deal on the farm is if you have a name, you don’t get eaten,” Clum said.
While she recognizes how happy she is in life, there is one thing that would make her much happier: a mini donkey. She admits it will likely be a dream she never realizes. Donkeys have a long lifespan and keeping one would require renovations on farm to ensure its proper care.
Clum said she will probably just stick to getting more chickens and goats, instead.
“There’s chicken math and there’s goat math,” she said. “You go from having one to having 20.”