Dear Friends of Schumacher Farm,
This summer has brought a number of enterprising and challenging endeavors to Schumacher Farm Park, all of which have rewarded us with growth and potential to take advantage of future opportunities. In this newsletter, you'll find reports of many of these activities and partnerships, but I invite you to stop out for a visit soon to get your own take on the progress. So many of you have contributed in a multitude of ways to ensure the success of this park, not only recently but also over the span of years, and each individual act increases the value of our bigger picture.
Your support makes this farm park a true sense of place. I am struck by this sentiment daily, when someone stops in to say hello or offers to help with a project, or I receive a phone call from a member about a positive exchange they had on the land with a new visitor. Our combined efforts are motivated by bringing people together to share memories and find their own stories and meaning with the land, and how relationships are built within those stories. We will strive to continue to be a resource for those connections and welcome you in creating new memories here. We are proud and grateful to be part of this engaged community. Thank you for all you do to make it happen.

As for the new office, I am enjoying the space to stretch my legs and still in process of organizing everything to my satisfaction, but it's coming along slow and steady!

Amy Jo Dusick
Park Administrator
Center for Rural History Grand Opening
Current and former board members and staff line up for the ribbon cutting to officially open the Center for Rural History. Photo: Trudi Leder

We greatly appreciate everyone's efforts that went into making the Grand Opening of the Center for Rural History such a huge success.  About 200 people joined us for the event and the weather was even relatively nice, albeit a little warm. For more photos, take a look at the wonderful article in the Waunakee Tribune, thanks to Roberta Baumann. 

Speakers for the event included: Darren Marsh, Dane County Parks Director; Dave Ripp, Dane County Board Supervisor; and Jim Ableidinger and Rosa Roper representing the Friends of Schumacher Board. The Waunakee Community Band provided entertainment. 

Special thanks goes out to Steve Keip, Jim Ableidinger, Rosa Ropers, Amy Jo Dusick and Tim McConley for going beyond expectations to make the event even more than we hoped for! Coming soon to the website will be a page dedicated to facility rental and community use information, as well as a reservation calendar.

The five lucky winners of the raffle during the Grand Opening were Nina Smithbeck, Judy Borke, Trudi Leder, John Krug and Carol Radtke.  We hope you enjoy the recently published book, Marcella and the Schumacher Farm Park, compiled by Roger Bindl.

-Board members; Carol Bleifield, Jim Ableidinger and Rosa Ropers
What's Happening in the Coop
Last year we had a flock of eight hens and one rooster. We had competition among several broody hens that resulted in some broken eggs and only one healthy chick hatched.

This year we have nine hens and one rooster, again generously provided by Paul & Karen Hellenbrand of Lodi. As always, we want to duplicate the experience Marcella Schumacher Pendall described in her story "The Independent Hen". The chickens include an assortment of feather colors, with egg colors ranging from pale green to dark brown. The rooster is an especially attentive and friendly addition to the flock.
Around June 1st , one of the hens decided to sit on her eggs 24/7. In the dark of night, we transferred her and 12 eggs to the safety of the nest box in the "nursery". She has adjusted well to her new home, and the eggs should hatch about 21 days after the onset of incubation. UPDATE: Since this article was written, nine  healthy chicks have hatched and already grown quite a bit.

Above: Hen and chicks of this year's brood. Below: Close-up of inquisitive chick. Photos by Rona Neri.

Volunteer families or 'chicken wranglers' are now taking care of the chickens. They can be viewed anytime. The volunteers let the chickens free-range, usually late afternoon or early evening. Each volunteer individual, family, or group, will be responsible for one day of the week. Responsibilities include cleaning, feeding and watering the chickens and gathering the eggs, which the volunteer for that day takes home for good eating. 

Anyone interested in being a "Chicken Wrangler" next season, please contact the farm at 849-4559 or email at

-Bob Bennin, Head Chicken Wrangler
Americorps and Eagle Scout Projects

This spring, we partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and Lakeshore Nature Preserve to bring a crew from the  National Civilian Conservation Corps (Americorps) to assist with on-site community projects and receive on-the-job training. The crew members were young adults, aged 18-24 years old and hailed from Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Illinois, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine and Florida and each had their own skillset they brought to the work. They spent a total of eight weeks in the Madison area, with one of those weeks concentrated at Schumacher Farm Park during the last week of May. Their main tasks involved the continued expansion of the north savanna restoration, removal of invasive plants along Schumacher Prairie edge and south hillside, maintenance and planting in the heirloom garden and installation of a pollinator demonstration garden.

They were a collaborative and enthusiastic team who worked well together and with Schumacher staff and core volunteers to complete assigned tasks. All in all, they put in around 250 hours of service here at the farm and it was a delight to have them here. Board members provided a farm-style cookout on their last day with all the fixings and dessert. The crew has a number of project assignments across the North Central region of the country and this was their second stop in their 10-month journey. We wish them all well in their future roles.

 Some of the Americorps crew members posing in front of the pollinator garden; (left to right) Cooper Lyons, Natalie Proctor, Cece Garcia, Kyle Sainio, Alyssa Duany and Cedric Wyche.
Photo: AJ Dusick

Eagle Scouts

The Eagle Scout troop 46 of Waunakee were also busy at Schumacher Farm this summer, updating the horseshoe pit. The previous pits were hard to locate and unsuitably positioned across an access trail to the prairie. The project was initiated by Creighton Starbuck, who thoroughly  researched and developed a construction plan for reinstating the horseshoe pits, as well as raised the funds to purchase all necessary materials. 

The troop finished the entire project in one day, complete with a covered post for hanging the horseshoes and a bench. It is a vast improvement on the previous layout and enhances the functionality of this area for visitors. Many thanks to this group of scouts for their determination and cooperation, and to Creighton for his leadership 
Photo left: Eagle Scouts installing the horseshoe pits in north farmyard. 
Photo above: Project lead Scout, Creighton Starbuck, next to completed project bench and horseshoe stand. Photos: AJ Dusick
throughout the project process.

WaunaFest Parade

Schumacher Farm Park participated in the WaunaFest Parade this year, with the help of Bernie Statz, driving his tractor and Van Brunt grain drill. Also present to help  carry the banner and pass out flyers were  Sally Leong,  Carl Leder, Katie Leder, Luke Leder and Jim Ableidinger. Photo provided by Trudi Leder.

Damselfly on plant stem in Schumacher Prairie. Photo: Rona Neri

In This Issue
Quick Links
Heritage Fest 2019 Sneak Peek
A short preview of activities happening on Sept. 8th:

Antique tractor show
Threshing demo & steamed corn 
Horse-drawn wagon rides
Cupcake walk
Heritage breed showcase
Barbershop quartet
Fiber arts exhibition
Root beer floats and much more!!

Volunteers welcome.
If you'd like to be part of the action, take a look at the volunteer sign-up.

Hope to see you there!
Artifact Corner
Summer was a time to play outdoors, but when the weather was bad, inside games were in demand.  The featured item this month is a Trik-E-Shot game, developed in 1936, and an early version of a modern pinball machine. 
A marble was launched from a shooter on the side to the top of the game board and then roll backwards toward the player, bouncing off the pins and landing in any of several scoring pockets with various score values.  The player tries to shoot the ball harder or softer to help control where the ball drops. There were no flippers, ramps, lights or sounds on this game. The highest score wins! The game was a donation by Greg Sylvester of Waunakee in 2006.  

-Barb Johanningmeier,  Accessioning Committee
Chat - n - Chores Group on the Farm & in the Community
The Chat & Chores group continues to support the farm's activities in many ways. Members chose to organize and assemble silent  auction items for the Music Festival, plan for the 2020 garage/plant sale to make it even better, present Schumacher artifacts at community events and help out at Heritage Fest.  When opportunities arise, each member may choose to help out according to their talents and time schedule.  This lively group meets the second Wednesday of each month at 10:00 at the farmhouse. Please join us for some good company and a little volunteering. Email at: for more info.
Members of the Chat-n-Chores group, Carol Gieck and Sandra Hartwig, presented a well received program to about 20 individuals at the August Memory Cafe gathering. The theme of this gathering was "Toys From The Past". They showed articles from the Schumacher collection, many of which are still enjoyed today, such as Chinese checkers, pin ball machine, doll dressed in 1920's attire and of, course the stereoscope. All these items brought family and friends together as they enjoyed the camaraderie in the early 1900's.  Special thanks to Barb Johanningmeier and Rosa Ropers for their help in gathering the items.

-Rosa Ropers, Board Member
Hit and Miss Engine
Our great thanks to George Shook for his donation of a 1919 Hercules 1.5 horsepower hit and miss engine.  I took everything apart and cleaned it up. Replaced the rod and main bearings. One of the main bearings had to be poured and fitted.  Also replaced the fuel check valve and the mica tube to the igniter. Thanks to Aron Kershaw who is a diesel instructor at Madison College for his help and knowledge.
Instructor, Aron Kershaw, working on hit and miss engine. Photo: Dennis Petzke

This restored engine will be on display at Heritage Fest on Sept. 8th. Stop out and take a closer look.

-Dennis Petzke, Board Member and Treasurer
Blooms & Bounty of the Heirloom Garden
If you stopped in at the farm recently, you may have seen some impressive sunflowers marking the southeast end of the heirloom garden.  With the help of farm volunteers (some from France!) and new gardener Eliza Gutierrez, a variety of heirloom vegetables and flowers have been making their debut this summer. An energetic group of Americorps helped to plant heirloom beets, kale, peas, beans, carrots, and squash.
Heirloom variety, Lemon Queen sunflowers, growing in the garden. Photos Eliza Gutierrez.

We have also experimented with watermelon radish (pictured above), eggplant and Brussels sprouts amongst the tomatoes (grown by Waunakee High School FFA). The herbs, rhubarb, strawberries, and currants did very well and we are patiently awaiting the appearance of cantaloupe, watermelon, and some ornamental gourds over by the trellis. Come on over to the garden to see what's new, you might just leave with some fruits and veggies to have for dinner. Contact us if you're interesting in lending a hand in maintaining the beautiful grounds and landscaped beds at Schumacher. 

-Eliza Gutierrez, Gardener
All photos, except where credited to others, provided by 
Rona Neri-Bergmann of 

Annual Heritage Fest: Sunday, Sept 8th
Steam engine, tractor show and rural farm heritage demonstrations, food samples, tours

Planet Party Night Outing: Friday, Sept. 13th
Telescope viewing of the night sky, night walk & activities

Afternoon at the Farm: Sunday, Oct. 13th
Family-focused, farmyard fun with period games of the 1920s & 1930s, seed collecting in Schumacher Prairie and garlic planting in the heirloom garden. 

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