Friday, January 28, 2011
One of our most popular exhibits would have to be the milk cow. She's less intimidating and a lot cleaner than the real ones. Kids literally spend hours practicing their milking skills. With all that use, things are bound to break. Old Bessie has just been put back in service with a new water pump. The cow is set up with a neat water pumping system that recirculates the water from the bucket up through the cow's leg and then around to her udder. She's good as new and ready for you to come and try hand milking.
As for the real milk cows, look like we might be back up and operational by the middle to end of February. During the winter we take any of the cows that are in lactation up to a neighboring farm to help us out. With the flood of school group calls we'll need to be back to milking soon.
Here's something special for our Wagner Feed blog friends. The main advertising for the dinners programs is coming out in the next week. This year we aren't going to be doing as many as in years past so they will likely fill quickly. If you are interested in booking one of the February dinners give Sarah a call at the Farm. Mention the coupon for the discount. Thanks for following the blog and we can't wait to have you over for dinner!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Once a year the entire WF team comes together for a day of training and planning. We cover topics ranging from loss prevention to dispute resolution and a hundred issues in between. While that might sound pretty fun I think the highlight of the day was the time we spent doing team building. This year we played a game where each person put in some little known fact about themselves. We divided into two teams and had to guess which person matched up with the story from the other team. Ends up we had someone who knew Chevy Chase and Bozo the Clown. We have a champion axe thrower, a professional calligrapher and even a stunt pilot. One of our friends was a former cover girl and another was the daughter of an actual Knight. Of course there was the person with the secret tattoo. What a great team we have at Wagner Farm!
Monday, January 24, 2011
This afternoon when Mike stopped by the Farm he noticed something out in the hayfield. Upon further investigation we found it to be a handsome and very curious coyote. While this isn't blog-worthy for a lot of the country it is interesting at Wagner Farm. Growing up I actually lived in a place that still had a bounty on "vermin". The damage a pack of coyotes could do on a new born calf is easy to imagine. To see a lone hunter out in the middle of a hay field foraging is a flashback to a time long ago when this place used to be "wild" too. Now it seems so foreign to see something untamed like a coyote in our midst.
Early in January of this year we tasked Andy, Carlin and Lindsay to help fix up the classrooms with a new coat of paint and wainscoting. After 5 years of serious use the walls were pretty marked up and in need of a face lift. The outcome was so fantastic that it was only logical when we had some left over material to continue the project. The team moved to the office wing and did their magic once again. Not only did the wainscoting and paint freshen up the walls it gave them character. Very much befitting a farm.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
On the long list of things we in the twenty-first century take for granted where would refrigeration place? From keeping your soda cold to preserving our food we don't think much about how it was done less than 100 years ago. So how did they keep the cold stuff cold? With the use of an ice box. Where did the ice come from? Usually it came from a river or lake and was harvested and stored for later use. (In the teens there was also a way to mechanically freeze ice)
A couple of WF staff members visited Jim over at Kline Creek Farm in Du Page county to see first hand what harvesting ice is all about. To my knowledge, Kline creek is one of the few historic sites that still cuts ice every year.
Thanks to Carlin and Beth for sharing their pictures of the event.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Imagine you are an animal. While you are well equipped to handle most situations there is one that eludes you...how to pick your toes. Yes, this isn't the most proper of topics but have you ever thought about how lucky we are to have hands? Case in point, one of our girls (bovine that is) got a rock stuck in between her hooves. With hands, this task would have been simple. For her we needed a specialist, so we called our hoof trimmer to come take a look. Once a rock gets "in there" it actually can really irritate and start to embed itself into the surrounding tissue. That was the case here. With a little work the rock came out and now she is on some R and R. So, if you get a rock between your toes and need a specialist to get it out, I have a name for you to call.
That's about all the news around here. Plus 1 degree right now. Brrrr.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I realize the last thing on a lot of people's minds this time of year is the summer farmers market. In this light, I thought I would give a little progress report. The dates for the Glenview Farmers Market have been set. We will open up on June 25th and it will run until October 8th. Right now staff is working on revisions to the vendor's contract budgetary planning (that is Roxanne working hard on the new contract). We anticipate having a full roster of at least 20 plus farmers and artisans. Also returning for the year will be the guest chef table and the green table that highlights that highlights environmental stewardship and good ecological practices. We also have a free booth that is opened to any non-profit community organization to come and tell the world about themselves. If this is something you are interested in please contact me at the farm. It is a first come, first served opportunity that goes fast. You can reach me at email@example.com
Bring on the spring!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
This past weekend we kicked off the historic dinners program. It is a nice change of pace from the winter work that we find ourselves occupied with. I look forward to the program and meeting the folks that come and spend the evening with us. For this weekend we did a one dinner of pot roast and another with turkey and all the fixings.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
This morning on the Eric and Kathy radio show (101.9 is a really popular Chicago FM station) a listener called in and was talking about how she had always wanted to milk a cow. To which Eric told about his milking experience at Wagner Farm in 2009.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
So here's the first post of the year. I've been a little slow getting back on the horse, to use a farm-ism.
Late in 2010 the Farm was awarded a grant from the Illinois DNR for some site work. One of the steps we had to complete before getting the funds was to submit to an archaeological survey. With the recent break in the snow cover we set up a meeting with Dr. Kevin McGowan and his team from the University of Illinois to do some digging.It was a bit amusing when we put the drill bit to the ground and it went no where. Yes, obviously there was frost but we had hoped that the mighty Bobcat would punch right through. After a couple of experiments we finally found that running a hose with hot water from the milking parlor gave enough warmth for the drill bit to penetrate the hard ground. Ends up the frost line is at about 9".
After the holes were dug the team sifted the spoils and documented the soil levels. It ends up that our site has been disturbed greatly through the century plus of agriculture. One interesting historical fact that Kevin brought up was the fact that it is believed that Native Americans had a camp site at the southeast corner of the farm.