Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
The high schoolers had a good day and have place over 50,000 cans on the ground. The structure is really starting to look like hands. The plan is for the construction to continue tomorrow while the family harvest festival is going on at Wagner Farm. If you are in the area you really should stop by and see how neat this project is!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The students worked hard today and have about 18,000 of the 60,000 cans placed. So far the effort has been to construct the main structure in the center that is to represent a can of food. The crew is hoping that by tomorrow they will be able to start working on the hands that hold the big can. Check back often as I will keep updating the blog and adding pictures.
The high school kids have started building the can structure. The idea is to have two hands outstretched holding a single 8' tall can. The Engineering Club has taken the lead on todays construction and figured out that if they place a can a second it will take 16 hours to build the model that they have designed.
Wagner Farm is partnering with Glenbrook North and South High Schools to help with a massive effort to bring awareness and food to the Northfield Township Food Pantry. The plan was conceived by Bob Dunne to not only get food for the Pantry but to try to break the Guinness Book of World Records in the attempt. The current record is held by a group from New Zealand with a structure containing 57,000 cans. The Glenbrook students decided to raise the bar and go for 60,000. Today we unloaded the truck with the cans (2,500 cases!) needed to break the record. Thursday the students will start construction!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Today was a huge highlight for me. When I started at the Farm I wanted to do a program that would go out to the schools and not only promote Wagner's programs but also introduce kids to agriculture. In 2004 or 05, I can't remember anymore, Pete Noll, Sarah and I started planning an outreach program but bigger. Our program would be more "doing" and less "talking". Today it finally happened. All the parts were finished, the program written and it was time to hit the road. Jim, Carlin and I headed off for Locke Elementary in Chicago at 7:00 am. We set up three stations that the students would rotation between. Carlin demonstrated cider pressing, Jim ground wheat and I took the kids for a wagon ride. The overall theme of the program was how fall is harvest time on a farm. Farmers either harvest fruits and vegetables or grains. Then the tractor was key to the demonstration of the use of power on the farm and how it has changed over time. We saw all 5 sections of Locke's first graders so the program took the entire day to get through. I have to say that it was so much fun. These kids loved the program. We got to take something to a group of people who had little exposure to the subject. I actually had to start my part of the program by introducing them to what a tractor is. Farming and the pieces that are associated to it were a foreign concept or at least things that they had only seen in books. This program hit the mark dead on and for an educator it was a dream come true. A thousand teachable moments. I got something else out of going to Locke that I haven't gotten before, hugs from the kids. Really, what a great day.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
We didn't let a little rain slow us down yesterday. With the help of Andy the four piers for the legs of the windmill got poured. The trickiest part was all of the supports had to be precisely the right distance from each other or else the tower will not have a place to bolt into once it is stood. While the concrete was still wet we gently seated the metal supports in just the right location. I'm not sure how the concrete is curing since it has done nothing but rain since.
Friday, October 23, 2009
In 2005 Julie from the marketing department created a metal event sign for the site that gave more information on the happenings at the farm. It was a big hit so every year we have new one made up. After the first year I wasn't sure what to do with the old one so I decided to hang it in the stairwell as decoration. Now the wall is full it means a lot more to me than just decoration. Each one of the events on the posters has a story. A little something that makes it stand out, worth remembering. There was the dairy breakfast that was so cold that we couldn't keep the food warm from the tent to the benches. Of course, the next year was so hot that we had to pass out water to the folks standing in line. This year's breakfast will go down as the year the farm looked more like an island with all the flood water standing around. There was the first bonfire in 2007 that went a little crazy. We made up zip lock baggies with s'more supplies for 300. For a first year event we thought that would be plenty. When the gates opened that night and the line stretched into the parking lot we figured we were in trouble. I grabbed everyone I personally knew and sent them out for more supplies. I drafted Glenview Park Board members, Chuck the Executive Director, spouses of our staff, even my poor wife who was dispatched to buy every last Hershey bar in all Glenview and Northfield. Despite the chaos it was so much fun. At the end of the night we had seen almost 1,500 people. I remember last years barn dance because I actually wasn't there. I was back home in Iowa with my Dad while he was fighting the devil's disease. After 8 years and over a quarter of a million visitors I have to say it has been a blast. The heavy lifting has been worth it. Sometime we get wrapped up in looking at these events and programs and only see the numbers and the costs. The other day I was checking out a blog by a friend of the farm and it really helped put into focus the real goal. "My son (22 months) and I are * addicted * to the farm LOL and tromp down there about once a week! We love each event and have made every one the past two years!" If you are reading this blog you likely have something to do with the farm and I want to thank you for what you do.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
For the whole week leading up to the event the weather was nothing but rain. In this business, just like in farming you are so dependant on the weather for success. At 4:30 a.m. on Saturday the rain finally lifted. Other than the mud the day was just great. Our visitors got to pick corn from the field, do crafts and press cider. We also did wagon rides with both horses and a period tractor. The 4-Her's helped out the Northfield Township Food Pantry by raising over $500 in their haunted maze in the basement of the heritage center.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This one is for the bird lovers.
When I first came to Glenview in 2001 one of the animals you were sure to hear in the trees around the farm were the crows. There were thousands of them. Then West Nile hit and they totally disappeared along with the blue jays. Yesterday on my way back to the office after a meeting I looked up to hear the "cawing" of a crow on top of the heritage center. My phone doesn't have a zoom option so the it is hard to see but if you look at the top ridge of the building one the left side you will see our new friend. Welcome back to Glenview
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Here's a fact I bet you didn't know. The first treadmill was made around 1875. Of course it wasn't meant for people but animals. When the critters would walk on the treads it would make a line shaft rotate and that could then power a belt that would be hooked up to machines like butter churns. Some treadmills were so big that they could take a team of horses that would drive threshing machines. For our outreach program in the spring we are going to focus on livestock and how they were used on a farm. To illustrate their use in supplying power we found a mint condition treadmill. I wanted to see if my dog Carly could power it but she is no Astro Jetson so it was bust.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
One of my favorite programs we do at the farm is the Pastport offering. It takes a little long and cost a bit more but for what the kids get to do it is just so neat. The program is targeted at the mid to upper elementary age group. When they come to the farm we have them imagine that the bus was a time machine that took them back in time to 1920. They now have to do the chores that would be expected of a family member on the farm. The class divides up into 3 groups and each gets to tackle a task. From milking cows to washing clothes to making their noon meal the kids get to really take part in the work not just hear about how it was done. One of the strengths of living history is the opportunities for hands on activity and this program is chock full of great experiences.