Winter 2018-2019 Newsletter| Schumacher Farm Park
Dear Friends of Schumacher Farm,
The love of history and nature and the opportunity to learn, explore and volunteer is what first perked my interest in Schumacher Farm. The farm and it's buildings, surrounding prairie and grounds brings back a nostalgic feeling of bygone days. How important is it to share the way we convey that knowledge to our visitors, especially the younger folks? What is the best way to share the love of our past with future generations? Technology is one way, but the human touch with visits to historic places such as Schumacher Farm enhance feelings of interest and connection that only hands on can produce.
Have you ever thought about what brings you to our historic farmstead park ? Why do you come? What feelings do you get as you walk amongst the historic buildings, heritage gardens and along the pathways that were used many, many years ago? Who were those people and what were they like? What connection do you have with their ways, their beliefs, their struggles and joys! What lessons do they teach us? What are their stories? What are your stories?
Like all the years before, 2019 promises the realization of goals that will be actualized.  We have looked forward to inviting you to the Center For Rural History scheduled to be opened this summer. The main office will be located in the Center and will provide the staff with accommodations necessary for them and our visitors to engage with the activities in our park. The interior of a gathering area will display items of bygone eras. When fully finished, this gathering area will provide a background for educational, social and meeting groups. Please keep us in mind if you are planning a gathering, meeting or small wedding or just searching for a family activity.
Your support is and always will be an important part of what makes Schumacher Farm great. Remember, as a Dane County Park, it is your park and the staff and Friends of Schumacher are here to follow the mission of restoration, education and the environment. We sincerely appreciate your input. Visit our website to learn what staff has planned for 2019.
What brings you to Schumacher Farm?
Rosa Ropers, President
2018 Artifact & Educational Item Donors
Hats off and a s pecial thank you to our 2018 artifact and educational object donors:
  • John Birkinbine  (Birkinbine Farms) :  DeLaval cream separator
  • Carol Bleifield:  Yarn spools, milk stool, linens, toy steam engine, Shirley Temple paper doll book 
  • Kathleen Engel-Hunt:  Miscellaneous hand farm tools 
  • Gary Forbess:  New Holland hay baler and restored Wisconsin VE4 engine.  Financial donations by Jim Ableidinger, Bob Forbess, Doug Windhorst (NE).
  • Kevin Gehrmann, Student desk
  • Steve Keip:  Copper boiler, pan, spring scale, pulleys, ladle
  • Gary Knott:  Cookbook
  • Jerry Koch:  Potato digger
  • Neil & Sharon Kruschek:  Restored 1905 buggy (pending storage space), American adding machine
  • Lexi Kust:  Framed cover of 1930 Successful Farming magazine
  • Tim McConley:  Crescent sprinkler head, tobacco crusher
  • Joyce Millett:  Linens, lace collars, child's porcelain tea set in wood chest
  • Rosa Ropers:  1922 Farm & Fireside magazine, baking powder canister, hair tonic bottle, book by Jerry Apps
  • George Shook:  Hit and miss engine (pick up in spring 2019)
  • Alex Schmit:  Miscellaneous farm tools
  • Ron Schuler:  Books, pamphlets on machinery, 2 framed prints of tractors, puzzle, Mamod steam tractor model
  • Joseph M. Severa:  Mink drying boards, sickle
  • Eugene Theis:  Cultivator shoe, whippletree, cream separator handle
  • Bob Weber:  Miscellaneous hand farm tools
  • Peg Whiteside:  Grapple fork
  • Nolan and Chad Wopat:  1903 International Harvester tandem disc    
Much gratitude to the powerhouse behind our well-documented list of items -- the members of the Accessioning Committee, an experienced and detail-oriented group who maintain artifact records, do the background research, determine appropriate archival storage for items and develop educational displays. 

Accessioning Committee; (L-R) Barb Johanningmeier, Rosemarie Hodulik, Rosa Ropers, Bob Forbess.  Not present, Nancy O'Neal.  (Photo: A. Dusick)

Barb Johanningmeier and Rosemarie Hodulik are both retired librarians from the DeForest Area School District, DeForest, Wisconsin. Nancy O'Neal is a retired Spanish teacher from Deforest Middle School and currently works at UW-Madison Extension. Bob Forbess is retired Assistant Dean and Administrator of the UW-Madison Department of Chemical Engineering, as well as a former board member of the Friends of Schumacher Farm. Rosa Ropers is the current President of the Friends Board,   r etired elementary school teacher from Lancaster, Wisconsin, and a former docent at the Grant County Historical Society. 
Volunteer Summary of 2018
The graph below shows a distribution of reported 2018 volunteer hours by program and activity, for a total of over 4,200 hours. About half of the total hours are attributed to administrative and committee duties, which are not shown on the graph for scale reasons. A significant number of those administrative hours were contributed by board members  for behind-the-scenes planning.

Compilation of volunteer hours in 2018. Administrative hours not included. (Graphic made in Canva by A. Dusick.)
Hours on the graph include not only individual volunteers, but also a number of community groups:
  • Mendota Recreational Therapy Program
  • Boy Scouts of America Troop 101
  • Operation Fresh Start
  • Edgewood High School
  • Hike It Baby
  • Blackhawk Church
  • United Way of Dane County
  • Waunakee High SchoolFFA
  • Village Center of Waunakee
  • Waunakee High School; Future Farmers of America, Gay Straight Alliance and Pay It Forward
  • Rotary Club of Waunakee
  • Waunakee Lions Club
Also, a special recognition of those individuals who logged well over 100 hours in 2018 (that were reported); Bob Bennin, Barb Johanningmeier, Ken Kokesh, Steve Robertson, Ray Ropers and Mike Shucha. It's likely there there are a few more of you out there who are not on this list, but should be!

Our volunteers bring vitality to programs and events with their enthusiasm, initiative, talent and cooperation. An excellent group of people that we enjoy working with throughout the year. Many hands and hearts invigorate this community.  To those who work in acres, not hours -- kudos to all of you.

-Amy Jo Dusick, Park Administrator
Savanna Restoration Making Progress
The restoration of the north woodland unit to savanna continues this winter, with the removal of invasive shrubs. Aggressive exotic shrubs would eventually take over and be a dominant presence in these woodlands without control efforts. The cut woody debris is burned in brush piles on site during appropriate weather conditions, which are determined by Dane County Parks policy.

You may wonder, why restore to a 'savanna'? A savanna is an open woodland, with scattered trees that allow dappled sunlight to the ground floor. Historically, oak savannas were common and occurred naturally as part of the prairie ecosystem landscape. Today, less than 1% of the original savanna acreage remains in southern Wisconsin.  By removing the exotic shrubs, more sunlight and resources will be available to the native wildflowers and oak trees so they can thrive in this space once again.

Lead volunteer, Mike Shucha, tending a burning brush pile during winter of 2017-2018. (Photo: A. Dusick)

The native plant populations have already started to respond to the improvements. Following the work done last winter, we noted several patches of spring blooming native wildflowers, bloodroot (see below) and trout lily, popping up in the newly cleared areas. As we continue to push through the invasive brush and allow a little more light to the ground, we anticipate more wildflowers and young oak trees to make an appearance, just waiting for their chance to smile in the sun.

 Dozens of native bloodroot flowers that bloomed next to a brush pile last spring. (A. Dusick)
If you'd like to lend a hand in bringing more native plant diversity to the savanna, there will be a work party with Dane County Parks volunteers on Friday, February 15th, from 9 -12 p. Register now.  And for those who would like to help with prescribed burns, RSVP here for a orientation session in March. You can also call the farm office for more info.
In This Issue
Quick Links
Artifact Corner:
What is this? Update

Mystery artifact. Side view.
 (Photo: B. Johanningmeier)

The history mystery has been solved by unanimous vote -- there were several responses and all said the implement in the above photo is a hand potato planter. 
Many thanks to John Statz, Fred Pumper, James M. Horsfall and Walter Holthaus for providing your memories and expertise on the subject. We very much enjoyed reading the responses and have included your comments in our artifact notes to display with the item.

All participants were included in a drawing for 2 tickets to this year's Heritage Fest. Fred Pumper was the winner. 

-Barb Johanningmeier
 Accessioning Committee
Members News
Tell us what you think! 

Will you spend a few minutes to give us your opinion and insight about the educational programs and events offered by the Friends of Schumacher Farm? Your responses are very important and will help guide our future. Go to this link for for the on-line survey. Call the park office if you'd prefer a hard copy.
Renewals for 2019 Friends' membership were due January 1st. If you have renewed, "THANK YOU!" If not, please do so soon. We updated our membership administrative system in December and the upgrade seem to be working well. However, if you are having problems renewing your membership or have questions or concerns, please contact Amy Jo Dusick, Park Administrator at 608-849-4559.
Barn Quilt Project
'Prairie queen' barn quilt created by Emma Laufenberg.

A barn quilt is a piece of painted wood in a particular design, which gets mounted on the side of a barn. We were fortunate to be approached by a Waunakee High School student, Emma Laufenberg, who wanted to do a barn quilt for her senior project. We provided Emma with our preferred design and she finished the barn quilt in late fall of 2018. The quilt design 'Prairie Queen' was chosen to commemorate Marcella's love of the prairie. It will be mounted on the south side of the Center for Rural History in the spring. The wonderful bright colors will be very welcoming as guests enter the park. Thank you, Emma, for an incredible job.
Activity in the Orchard
Pruning Practium: Fruit trees are traditionally pruned while still dormant, as late in the winter as possible. Tentative dates for 2019 are Saturday, Febru ary 23 or March 2nd or 9th at 2:00 pm, with inclement weather dates being the Sunday immediately  following.
Only three spots are available and you must provide your own pruning shears. Loppers and pruning saw will be ava ilable  to share. There is no charge for this workshop. Please contact the farm office to register. 
Final decision
on date will 
be made by Feb.  20, weather dependent and subject to change.

Heirloom Orchard Tour: 
Heirloom variety fruits are not commonly found in the grocery store, as the fruit can be oddly shaped or too delicate for machine picking and processing. The most hardy and cold resistant varieties, however, are the most resilient types for growing on Wisconsin farms. The Schumacher orchard is a mix of apple, pear and cherry heirloom trees.  Steve Keip will provide a brief Q&A tour of the heirloom orchard at 3:00 pm, following the pruning workshop. Final date will be posted to the website when determined.
On the Finance Side
Equipment Improvements
We recently received a $4,500 grant from Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation. This included $2,500 towards restoring a 1958 Allis Chalmers D17 tractor, and $500 each for putting better seating on our four wagons used for various events on the Farm. This local Waunakee company is a terrific example of a business that gives back to its community. They attempt to be balanced in their giving, providing resources to such things as education, technology, business, environmental issues, the arts, and human services.
Schumacher Farm Park is
especially grateful to receive this grant.

Website Upgrade
Our new website was launched late in December, contracted with Face Websites, a local Dane County company based in Verona, WI. We were fortunate to get a Grant from NEEF (National Environmental Education Foundation) to enable us to invest in this endeavor.  It will be ideal to work with a local company on our website concerns to customize functionality for our needs.

-Dennis Petzke, Treasurer
Annual Garage Sale
May 9-11
If you are moving or just cleaning our closets of unwanted treasurers please consider donating them to Schumacher Farm Park for their Annual Garage Sale. Items can be brought to the park anytime between April 22nd-May 8th. Please call the park if you are unable to bring items or if you need help unloading them. We can be reached at 608-849-4559.
Proceeds from the garage sale will be used by the artifact committee to restore, repair, display and purchase storage and items for our collection.  If you have questions please email Rosa Ropers : or call the above phone number.
Annual Meeting Invite
Please mark your calendars for the Frien ds of Schumacher Farm, Inc. annual  meeting to be held on  March 14, 2019.  More information will be available closer to the date.

Three board members  will be elected by our 2019 members present at the meeting. Please attend and help select our leaders.
2019 Job & Apprentice Postings 

Administrative Assistant:
Paid, part-time position for a qualified candidate to assist with general operations of the farm park office, outreach, marketing duties and other tasks as needed. See the website for more info or contact the farm office.

Seasonal Gardener:
Paid, part-time, seasonal position to maintain heirloom garden and landscaped areas around farmyard. See the website for more info or contact the farm office.

Heritage Food-ways Apprentice
Opportunity to work alongside Steve Keip on the Wood Stove Cooking Workshops, Holiday Teas, and Heritage Fest. Position purpose is to have a second person who can conduct additional workshops, and possibly create new ways to show off the wood stove. The right individual would be a reasonably good cook with excellent organizational and planning skills. These workshops don't just happen, there is a lot of planning that goes into a successful one.  If you think you have what it takes, contact Amy Jo at the Farm to set up a time to talk.   
All photos, except where credited to others, provided by 
Rona Neri-Bergmann of 
Upcoming events:
Afternoon at the Farm - Snow Day (Sat., Feb. 2nd, 1-3 pm)

Woodstove Cooking   (Sat., Feb. 16th)

Maple Sap Workshop (Sat., March 16th)

Beginner Cheesemaking (Sun., April 17th)

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