Sleepy pigs from Heritage Fest 2015.
Summer 2020 Newsletter| Schumacher Farm Park
Dear Friends of Schumacher Farm,
We hope this newsletter finds you in good health. Due to the unwelcome arrival of COVID-19 earlier this year, we have had to cancel most of our spring and summer events, and regretfully have made the decision to cancel our annual Heritage Fest this fall. We are scheming up new ways to bring small numbers of people together safely at the Park. If you have an idea for a specific activity or class, or if you have expertise or skills you'd like to share with others, please contact me so we can make plans. This is a great time to think about what the Park can offer now during this historic time of social distancing and in the future when we are all able to safely gather together again.
At a time when many summer activities are cancelled and favorite attractions are closed, visiting the Park is a great way to get outside and explore. Nature is always an adventure! Our trails are open every day of the week, so take a stroll and see how many flowers you can identify or how many butterflies you can count (see Bioblitz section below). Join us for an organized outdoor activity, like an upcoming Chicken Wrangler Workshop or Prairie Work Party. Check our 2020 calendar  for a list of upcoming activities and to see the status of future events.
While we are unable to connect in person, sharing with each other virtually is the next best thing. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we post information about upcoming activities at the Park. Tag us on social media if you visit the Park or post a picture of a memorable moment.
One final note; thank you to those of you who notified us about the windmill squeak this spring. We have put a maintenance schedule into place that we believe will proactively address the issue before it becomes a nuisance again, but we'll keep closer tabs on it from here on out. Your patience is appreciated!

Happy trails,
Amy Jo Dusick, Park Administrator
In-Kind Donations
Member dues and sponsorships are important donations that keep the Friends going strong from year to year. Just as important, but usually not as noticed are the in-kind donations that people provide throughout the year to boost their favorite park program, to supplement a detail during an event, or just help out with something when they see it's needed. Here's a list of our in-kind donators so far this year. Thank you to all, as I'm sure some of you are not on the list. We are fortunate to have such generous people take interest in what's happening here. And a special thanks to those of you who bring treats for staff -- we're very grateful for the extra attention!

Carol Bleifield
Flowers & pianist for Valentine's event
Jim & Jean Elvekrog Re-designed bed around marquee sign (plants, labor and edging); also sedum plants for rock bed around Center for Rural History
Earthscape Curb & Mulch, LLC Edging for marquee garden
Connie Femrite Flowers for butterfly garden, marigolds for heirloom garden, planter bags
Steve Keip Green Mountain heirloom onion set, organic sprayer for orchard
Sally Leong Nesco cooker, sponsor for Valentine's event
Steve Robertson COVID face masks for visitor center
Rebekah Temple Admission stamps
Waunakee High School FFA Heirloom tomatoes, green peppers and kale plants for heirloom garden
Waunakee Rotary Club Charbroil gas grill
Butterfly Bioblitz - your input needed!
Although we decided to cancel the July bioblitz with our Summertime at the Farm event, we are offering visitors another option to learn about the butterflies and insects at the farm park. A bioblitz is a set period of surveying that ecologists, scientists and naturalists use to try to record the number and variety of biological species at a particular site. You can help us get our first bioblitz baseline established, focusing primarily on butterflies, but other insect observations are welcome as well.

Here's what to do by August 10th:
  • Hike the prairie or farmyard and take photos of butterflies you see (or moths or other insects, if they're easier to find). 
  • Take your best shots and send them to the park office email ( with heading "Bioblitz Pics." Amy Jo will compile all the photos we receive into one album. 
  • We'll then invite you to tune in to a special Zoom identification session with retired UW-Madison entomologist, David Hogg (August date to be determined). He'll review your photos, name the organisms found and talk a little bit about them. You'll also have a chance to ask questions during the session.
See my photo efforts below during a very quick stroll through the prairie recently. There were many more insects, but I didn't take time to get a good photo. Some are fast and some are good at camouflage, so it may take a little patience. That's why we need you! Help us collect photos of what you see to get us a bigger picture of who calls this prairie home.

-Amy Jo Dusick

 Above: Butterfly on brown-eyed susan flower. Below: Widow skimmer dragonfly on grass stem. (A. Dusick)

Garden Good
Jim and Jean Elvekrog donated and installed a new garden display around the road sign at the entrance to the park. The Elvekrog's have been dedicated supporters of the park for many years, and we appreciate this gift of the plantings and garden bed edging, which adds some much needed color and beauty to the park entrance. Thank you for your time and talents!

Jim and Jean Elvekrog stand in front of the new marquee garden they designed and installed.  (Photo: A. Sweno)

The Heirloom and Herb Gardens are also looking great! Our gardens would not be as productive and beautiful without the help of our volunteers. Thank you to the following returning and new volunteers for all your hard work and dedication this year!

Returning gardeners: Ken Kokesh, Rosa Ropers, Steve Robertson, Bruce Hoesly, Rosemarie Hodulik

New gardeners: Candice Welsh and Samantha Moorehead

Bruce, Steve and Rosa have been working in the Heirloom Garden. Candice has been helping with the Herb Garden, and Ken has been tending to the perennials. Bruce and Rosemarie have also been maintaining the Pollinator Garden and Woodland Wildflower Trail.

Finally, thank you to Connie Femrite for donating more plants to enhance the butterfly garden and for keeping it looking so beautiful.
Our Little Heirloom Orchard
It's come to my attention that not many people, not even members, know about the heirloom orchard on the east side of the visitor center. Over the past decade, Steve Keip has been doing an excellent job of tending this group of special trees. There are 20 heirloom fruit trees, mostly different varieties of apple, along with a few cider and plum varieties, a couple of pears and a cherry tree. The major tasks are pruning and pest management. Steve prunes in late winter for form and in more recent years, for fruit production. The first substantial fruiting occurred in 2013. He also uses an organic spray in late spring, after petal drop, and integrated pest management when necessary. 

Thanks to Steve's efforts, the tart cherry tree produced bountifully this spring, the pears are coming along nicely and we look forward to seeing the apple crop in early fall. 

Keip spraying fruit trees with an organic application in late spring. (Photo: A. Dusick)

Visitors are welcome to sample the fruit, but we ask that you check with the farm office before collecting larger quantities, as we like to use some during our fall events. Look for new signage and updated tree identification tags to be installed in the late summer to early fall.

Also, thanks to Connie Blau this year for the help with mowing in and around the orchard area.

If you'd like to learn more and how to grow fruit trees, contact us to be put on a volunteer list for 2021. 
Workshop Update
Many of our workshops have been cancelled this year, but we plan to offer a few workshops this fall. We hope to have a couple dates for the Rag Rug Weaving on a Loom in early fall and we're trying to organize a few others. Check our calendar or social media pages for more information. 

As something new this year, we're offering Line Dancing Classes on August 11, 18, and 25 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Lessons will take place in the shade on the blacktop parking lot by the Center for Rural History with dancers maintaining social distancing. We'll have more details available soon!
In This Issue
Quick Links
Artifact Corner
What's that for?

The artifacts are still rolling in and we have three that need identification help from our members. If you think you know what any of these items were used for, send an email to Amy Jo in the park office with your best guess.

The pail in #2 appears to weigh about 15 pounds. 
Mystery artifacts.
Photos: B. Johanningmeier

Outdoor displays

The Friends of Schumacher Farm are currently working on setting up outdoor displays of our antique farm machinery on gravel pads around the farmyard. At present, the items on display along the entrance driveways are: a Superior grain or seed drill donated by Bob Forbess; a dump or hay rake and a horse drawn single moldboard walking plow from Tim McConley; a McCormick-Deering two-horse, row-crop riding cultivator from Dale Mayer; and an Allis-Chalmers two-bottom moldboard plow (donor anonymous) pulled by a tractor by the chicken coop. Coming soon will be a McCormick-Deering Big-6 sickle mower.

Thanks to assistance from our new Accessioning Committee members, Sue Manske and John Zimm, as well as support from Board Liaison, Mark Pelton.

-Barb Johanningmeier
 Accessioning Committee
Office Administrator Hire
Hi everyone,

I'm Amanda Sweno, the new Office Administrator at Schumacher Farm Park. I live in Waunakee with my husband, Josh, and our two dogs, Rose and Emmie.

My first introduction to the park was an Afternoon at the Farm event a few years ago. I am drawn to the outdoor areas of the park, as I enjoy hiking and camping. I studied science journalism and sustainability (and music), so my goal is to offer my communications and marketing skills to promote the park, and to be part of a space in Waunakee that embodies environmental conservation and sustainability.

In addition to my job here, I also work part-time at UW-Madison in the Division of the Arts as a Digital Marketing Specialist, and I teach piano lessons at Arboretum Music School in Waunakee.

I am happy to be a part of the SFP family and I hope to meet all of you soon!

Bluebirds Get Home Renovations
Thanks to a grandfather / granddaughter volunteer team, our bluebird houses are getting repairs and updates. John Kessler and Grace have experience doing bluebird surveys and offered to give our bluebird trail some much needed attention.

They started by repairing some of the damaged nesting boxes and cleaning out empty boxes. After some early success with fledgling bluebirds and tree swallows, the sparrows did start to take over some of the nest boxes. As a result, they will be checking the boxes more frequently to evict the sparrows or other birds. Please note: it is unlawful for park visitors to disturb nests in the boxes. 

Bluebird nesting in 2018. Photo: Rona Neri

No doubt we'll have happy bluebirds return to the roost soon with the knowledge and help of John and Grace. New maps and number boxes will be posted on the trail soon.
Financial News
We are a nonprofit organization run mostly by volunteers. Donations of time and money make a big impact toward maintaining our buildings and equipment, and supporting our education programs and events. Although our big events are cancelled this year, there are still a lot of programs in progress. The following areas are in need of your time, talents, or monetary donations. Please let us know if you have any interest in helping or supporting these efforts. 
  • Special projects (August native planting project, garden repairs, interpretive signage)
  • Funds to offset ongoing operational needs (building upkeep, grounds maintenance, employee salaries, etc.)
  • Education & outreach programs that require novel formats and approaches 
  • Processing of recently acquired artifacts
  • Continuing volunteer programs: Chicken Wranglers, Gardeners and Natural Area volunteers
Paying membership dues through the Friends of Schumacher Farm is another excellent way to support the farm park, especially for ongoing needs and activities.
All photos, except where credited to others, provided by 
Rona Neri-Bergmann of 
Upcoming events:
Prairie Work Party (August 8 from 9 am - noon)

Chicken Wrangler Workshop (August 17 from 4 - 5 pm)

Line Dance Workshop (August 11, 18, and 25 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm)

Rag Rug Weaving on a Loom (Moved to early autumn - date TBD)

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