2 heads of lettuce
Mini Green Bulb Onion
2 heads of lettuce
Mini Green Bulb Onion
First born of Rich and Mary’s children Jessica Ellen Haucke came into this world the day after Christmas in the year 1976. A gift of joy for the new parents, little Jessica came out ready to take on the world and let it know who was in charge. From day one she had a will to move mountains and a foundation of character as stable as the earth from which she came.
At a very early age Jessica became a working part of the farm. As a four year old you would find her in the barn with mom or dad helping to milk the cows. All the lady bovine at Keewaydin Farms had names; there was Nora, Janet, Jay and Julie, all sixty plus girls and their babies. Jessica knew every one of them as well as their mothers and daughters for generations back.
With two little brothers added to the family in 1978 and 1980 Jessica became crew leader and farm director. She would keep us on task when it came to doing our chores and was always looking out for us whether we liked it or not. Now some of you have kids of your own, as I do, and maybe you’ve noticed a very distinct difference between boys and girls. Aside from the obvious physical aspects there are other attributes that vary. I think boys and perhaps even men go through life in a bit of a daze. When we are little we bounce from event to event bonking our heads and bruising our elbows learning things the hard way, leaning too far out over the ledge or jumping into water that really isn’t deep enough or if we can’t swim is too deep. Girls on the other hand are thinkers right from the beginning. They take the time to analyze the situation, develop a plan and are a bit more conscious of potential bodily harm. Jessica was constantly having to rain in her two brothers and I think thanks to her watchful eye we came out of childhood with all of our body parts and very few if any broken bones.
As we all aged I for one found myself drawn to hang out with her and I’m sure drove her nuts because I was always around. Her friends became my friends, I went to all of her basketball games and when she graduated in 1995 I was left with one more year of school and no sister to annoy. To this day I know I can confide in her anything. I can present to her any sort of issue I may be having in life and she will deliver to me sound, simple advise. Like a coach talking to her team she will give you her time, deliver her opinion, then send you back into the field of play ready to face your task at hand. My sister has always been a person I have looked up to and who I’ve know my whole life has had my back and with someone like that in your corner you can’t help but successful.
All the trees on our hillsides have shed their leaves accept those tough old Oaks. Wisconsin’s mountain country, it seems, is a couple weeks ahead of other places in the southern part of the state. At the end of Haucke Lane the Keewaydin crew will pack the last CSA box of the regular season completing a twenty week journey of seasonal eating. Through the highs and lows, the dry and heat, weeding, weeding, planting…..watering…..weeding….planting we tended our gardens. A huge thank you to the Keewaydin crew for showing up day after day so often in a good mood ready to bend and stoop and sweat, packing boxes to fulfill our daily obligations, it cannot happen without them. Thank should also go out to Mother Mary for tending her flock of chickens with loving care, I get a kick out of listening to her cluck and converse with her birds as if they were all sitting down around the morning breakfast table having coffee and discussing the daily plan. “Would you care for a few bugs or some kitchen scraps to eat, how about dirt to scratch?” “Yessss….please! Eggs, anyone?” Finally thanks goes out to all of you who joined us for the season. I’ve heard from more of you this season then all the years combined and you don’t know how much that means to me. I know that some of you CSA members both new and old will not be back next year but I still love you for giving us a try. For those that do come back next year I promise the year will be better, more variety, more staples, more fruit, more everything.
On Sunday I returned to the farm after a week of travel that took me through the heart of the heart land, as far west as Omaha and as far east as Detroit, visiting with people working to reshape the food scape. Every day more and more people are waking up their taste buds, choosing food grown on farms in their neighborhood by people who care about their wellbeing. Driving back into Haucke Lane on Sunday I was filled with a mix of longing to see more and the pure joy of being back on my little slice of heaven. I lit a fire in the Kickapoo wood stove, kissed and hugged my girls then walked with them down to Mother Mary’s home for the Packer game. The next morning I was up early, 5 am, in the crisp darkness the stars where shining so bright you could almost reach out and touch them. Not a sound, not the slightest of breeze disturbed the moment. I walked the fields out to Horseshoe Point then sat and watched the sun come up. Slowly the world around me revealed itself; there was a light fog in the valley, frost on the ground but warmth in the air. After breathing deep the fresh morning air it was time to see the girls off to school and get the coffee brewing, another great start to a Wisconsin morning.
2 butternut squash
In 2003 I was living in Winter Park Colorado and had been there for around eight years. In the winter I would work various ski resort jobs and in the summers do a mix of jobs in Wisconsin, Michigan or Colorado. One spring in my early twenties I began work at what I consider the only real world job I have ever held. It was the local lumber yard and I was a load builder, truck driver and eventually supervisor of the yard and delivery crew. My name is Yon Yonson I come from Wisconsin and I work in a Yumber yard 'der……or Colorado! It was at this job that I began to seriously contemplate a life on the family farm. I would day dream about gardens full of colorful food and a pantry full of hearty goods. I devoured books on organic gardening and tried to figure out how to write a business plan. I love the dreaming and planning part of farming probably as much as the actual growing. Humans are amazing creatures in our ability to take dreams and make them reality; all the varieties of plant and beast have come from human interaction with what was at one point something wild. Breads, beer, liquor, cheese, the list goes on, these all came from people tending to life year after year while at the same time dreaming about how they could do it better when the cycle came round again. Now it is our generations turn to play a role in the game of dreaming then growing, over and over again until we pass the torch on to the next group of foodies. Our growing game this year at Keewaydin found us finally adding that first patch of asparagus, I learned how to bud graft apple trees and have planted three of them in the ground, started a raspberry patch from plants collected out of my aunts garden that I hope to spread over the next 10 years and topped the year off by planting several thousand Chestnut and Hazelnut trees from our permaculture friend across the ridge. These perennial plants are in addition to the rhubarb patch that we planted last year and Sunchokes that have gone from a row in one of our fields along Haucke Ln to filling the entire field. Our CSA season has two more weeks of deliveries before it wraps up but that doesn’t end our growing season. With a hoophouse full of spinach and another soon to be planted in chard and kale the growing continues and is complimented by carrots, beets, celeriac and winter squash tucked away in storage bins so that even as the gardens shut down and we moving into dreaming about next year we will be fueled by the fruits of our past labor.
How many of you attended 4H on a regular basis, anyone? Go ahead raise your hands. Okay great, so how many of you were members of the Register Holstein Association and would spend your Saturdays on some farm with a group of kids you vaguely knew learning how to judge a quality milk cow? Anyone show any cows at the county fair? How about use dairy farming as an excuse to not do your homework? Oh the endless activities and excuses available to dairy kids. Its fun looking back on the life my brother, sister and I lived growing up on a dairy farm. Of course growing up you don’t realize how different a life it is until you’ve been out in the world. I can remember coming back home for the first time from College at UW Whitewater and really taking it all in. The view, the darkness…..the smell, it had all been here my whole life but it was like I was experiencing it for the first time. Over the years I would bring friends with me to the farm rediscovering again and again through their eyes this place I now call home. In my college days we would pack in the car and hop on interstate 90 to Madison, then take a major 2 lane highway west. After an hour or so we would come into Richland Center, the last outpost before you were in the wilderness. Right outside of town you would find yourself on a lesser traveled highway, then a county road, and finally a gravel road leading to Haucke Lane. By the time we hit the gravel road it was usually dark and some of the newbies who hadn’t been to the farm yet would voice a bit of concern, like “Who’s going to hear me scream?” NO ONE, HA, HA, HA……oh just kidding you’ll be fine. Once the new day broke and the world around them opened up it was all good, there would be fresh eggs for breakfast, fruit from the garden, maybe a glass of raw milk if they were gutsy and plenty of land to stretch their legs.
My farming passion is vegetable but I hold on to some fond memories of being a dairy kid. Letting the cows out on pasture for the first time in the spring was always a sight to see. They’d kick up their heels and run like crazy teenager cows stopping abruptly to take in mouthfuls of fresh grass, and then do this hop kick jump thing with all four feet leaving the ground on their way to the next mouthful. This would be repeated until the girls ran out of energy or became content with their lot in life. As a young kid I would curl up in the manger surrounded by a bunch of cow muzzles munching fresh slices of hay, in the winter they would let off great billowing clouds of steam from their nostrils that would fill the barn. Another was watching my brother play the game of how long can he ride on the back of that cow, it turns out it kind of depends on the cow you choose. Oh the stories dairy kids can tell go ahead just ask, I’m sure they would be willing to tell you all kinds of funny or gross stories, just be ready cause it’s probably going to be something you would never even imagine possible.