Autumn 2020 Newsletter| Schumacher Farm Park  (Photo: Amanda Sweno)
Dear Friends of Schumacher Farm,
Greetings! Fall at Schumacher Farm Park has kept us busy with a host of great things happening...that we could do while trying to remain safe during this virus.  

We've held small and very informative meetings with our newly created Advisory Board. Many terrific ideas, including possibilities of a Farmers Market at SFP, trail expansion, and conservancy creation, to name a few. Read more below about the Advisory Board and what they'll be working on in the next year. 

The grounds are looking a little different these days. We moved some farm equipment that was in storage to the park for display with informational signage prepared by the Historical Committee. Notice the old wagon that's been returned, close to the driveway on the lawn. In October, we also had a Halloween-themed StoryWalk through the prairie for our little ghosts and goblins. 

There's been lots of other activity too. Plantings have been completed around the water retention ponds. The Heirloom Garden fencing is getting upgraded (picture of new posts recently installed below).

Photo: Amanda Sweno

Thanks to our great staff, we've been able to safely host workshops on Rag Rug Weaving, Barn Quilt Painting, and Wreath Making. We finished up our popular Line Dancing Lessons in October and plan to offer this again next year. 

Even during the pandemic, Schumacher Farm Park remains an active place to experience farm life of the 1920s. Stop by to see the new signage on the outdoor farm equipment displays, or come walk our trails on a crisp fall day and enjoy nature at its best. Fall is a great time to visit, and we hope to see you soon.

Dale Otradovec, President
Special Mention
 Here's a short list of in-kind donations over the past several months. As always, there are also many small but extremely thoughtful acts done on a daily basis at Schumacher Farm Park that don't go unnoticed. We're all fortunate to be part of such a tremendous community of people. Much gratitude to all of you that support the park and staff in various special ways and keep the hive humming!

Connie FemritePhoto notecards, dill seed
Nancy KellerHandmade quilt
Mary ManeringStoryWalk books
Steve RobertsonFace masks
Rosa RopersDCP pollinator window cling
Ruth StrassbergGrape jelly from Schumacher grapes
Ray Statz
Fence posts for heirloom garden 
Chicken Program in times of COVID
This was quite a year full of unexpected surprises. We started the year reluctant to receive the chickens from our benefactors, Paul & Karen Hellenbrand of Lodi, out of concerns of the coronavirus. The chickens did finally arrive and stayed longer than usual, leaving just last week. Everyone practiced mask wearing, social distancing, and good hand hygiene to ensure we did not spread the virus during chicken wrangling duties. 

This year we had six hens and one very nice rooster with one chick, whose mom is definitely a Brahman breed. The chick is being raised by a Road Island Red mom (pictured right), whose nest she had just moved into before being relocated to the nursery. A lot of movement happens up in the hen house during the 21 days for egg incubation, with the hens shuffling about quite a bit. Never seem to be quite happy with the same nest. 

Above right: Nursery coop with chick. Photo: Elise Mallin. 
Above: Respite time with the chickens. Photo: Steve Robertson.

The chicken wrangler season was extended into mid-November this year for several reasons. The farm has continued to serve as a wonderful get-away and educational experience for the community, with a number of people and families stopping up regularly to visit with the brood. Furthermore, the wranglers themselves have all enjoyed caring for the chickens as a peaceful distraction from the current worries of a world pandemic, and the weather has cooperated with many extra nice days in late fall.

Anyone interested in becoming a chicken wrangler next year, please contact the park office.

Historical Collection Machinery Displays
The Historical Collections Committee (HCC) has been busy this year. Gravel pads with wood frames were added around the property to display machinery used during Marcella's early years on the farm. Signs were funded by a grant from the Schlecht Family Foundation to help explain the history and function of the machinery. The example below shows the sickle mower display from the Marcella Schumacher collection and the new sign. 

Above: Marcella's sickle mower display. Photo by ADusick Below: Close-up of display sign.

Additional signs were posted to highlight the orchard, windmill, and horseshoe pit. Members of the HCC and office staff researched the history, secured period photographs, wrote the copy and designed the signs. A group of volunteers and staff (Tim McConley) installed the posts and mounted the signs. Take some time to wander around and check out the new signs the next time you visit - you'll be glad you did!

The HCC has also been busy developing displays in the granary to include laundry, dairy, gardening and summer kitchen themes - we hope to share more detail in the next newsletter. The committee also keeps up with the ongoing work of evaluating and accessioning donated artifacts.

HCC members include Barb Johanningmeir, Rosa Ropers, Bob Forbess, Sue Manske, John Zimm and Rosemarie Hodulik.  We are fortunate to have such a dedicated team with a love for history!

Mark Pelton
Historical Collections Committee, Board Liaison
Advisory Board Convenes
In March of 2020, the Friends of Schumacher Farm Board of Directors was reduced from 9 to 5 members. At that time, the new Board committed to the formation of an Advisory Board, which was determined to be a 20-member group of park ambassadors. These changes were made to help the Board of Directors operate more nimbly and to bring a broader perspective and expanded set of resources to the table.

The Advisory Board was officially formed this summer and had their first meeting via Zoom in August. Then, Advisory Board members met in small groups in September to tour the park grounds and provide us with their feedback on what they love to do at the park and what they would like to see offered or improved in the future.

Screen capture of the August virtual Zoom meeting with new Advisory Board members.

Our next steps are to reconvene a few committees that have been inactive, including the Events Committee, the Education Committee, and the Community Outreach Committee, and to create a new committee tasked with helping us explore the possibility of hosting and coordinating a new Farmer's Market at the park starting in the spring.

The Advisory Board and our Board of Directors are volunteer-based. We're incredibly grateful to everyone for sharing their time and talents with us to expand opportunities at the park and cast a wider net into the Dane County community. If you have any interest in volunteering your time to one of the committees noted above, please send an email to We're always looking for new faces and fresh ideas!
Coming up:

Friends' Winter Restoration Work day: 
December 11th from 10am-12pm 
Drop-in. Bring your own gloves and water. Volunteers will be assigned varied tasks to continue invasive species clearing in the savanna and prepare for brush pile burning work days.

Dane County Parks Brush Removal day at Schumacher: 
December 29th (RSVP required)

2021 Calendar:
We'll be adding our 2021 events to the website calendar soon.

Have a safe & HAPPY HOLIDAY Season!
In This Issue
Quick Links
Artifact Corner
Pictured in the summer newsletter, Steve Keip identified Mystery Item #3 as a minnow net. It would have been used at fish hatcheries or bait shops to scoop minnows from larger tanks.
Mystery Item #3 from Summer 2020 Newsletter
It's that time of year when the Sears-Roebuck catalogues would have been delivered and kids would spend hours pouring through them for Christmas gifts. In case any of you saved them, the Historical Collections Committee is looking for old Sears catalogs from before 1940.
Vintage 1930's Beckwith pump organ. H: 52" L: 53" W: 22 ½"
Original top replaced with one modeled after a similar organ. In working condition, sold as is. Asking $100 or best offer. Buyer responsible for transport. Call 608-849-4559 or 608-206-3234 for inquiries.
Vintage organ for sale.

Barb Johanningmeier, Historical Collections
Membership in 2020
We are so grateful for our members to help with overhead expenses during this unusual year. Total memberships for 2020 were 116 members, with revenues of $5,930. 
A quick reminder to look out for membership renewals that will be sent out at the end of the year.

Dennis Petzke, Treasurer
Tax Change for Donations
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created several incentives for people to help nonprofits, including a charitable deduction of up to $300 in 2020, even if you don't itemize. 

This special CARES Act provision now gives a tax incentive to all taxpayers to give $300 or more in donations during 2020 because t
he tax deduction standard amount has increased so much that many people use that instead of taking itemized deductions. 

Your donations help us survive and thrive, and are especially important now when we have been unable to hold our large events that draw many visitors to the park and serve as a source of revenue to continue operating as an educational and ecological resource to the community.
New Kiosk
The kiosk by the farmhouse has been removed and replaced by a large 3-sided model by Dane County Parks, which is now located closer to the Center for Rural History, just south of the main prairie trailhead.

Take a look at the items there next time you visit; the upgraded, large information poster and park map provided by Dane County Parks, Friends' membership and park rental info, volunteer project updates and ongoing volunteer opportunities.
Photography Video
Many of our popular workshops were cancelled this year, including Rona Neri's Nature Photography class. You can, however, still get a sneak peek of her photography tips with a video she did for the Create
 series in August. If you feel inspired after this video and want to get more information, Rona will be offering her workshop at Schumacher again in 2021.

Also check our Facebook page for some of the incredible images that people have been capturing at the park this year.
New Volunteer Opportunity
The November
 StoryWalk®  book,  
 Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber, has been installed on the park grounds. Stop out with your family to walk the trails and learn about tree leaves, shapes and colors with this fall-themed book.

We inte
nd to maintain the StoryWalk® with a new book every month and are looking for volunteers to help out with this fun project. 
If interested, call or email the park office.
All photos, except where credited to others, provided by 
Rona Neri-Bergmann of 
You can make an impact while you shop for Black Friday deals! 
Simply shop at and AmazonSmile will donate to Friends of Schumacher Farm Inc, at no cost to you.

Schumacher Farm Park | (608) 849-4559 | |