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Wagner Tales Life and Work on a 1920s Dairy Farm | Summer 2014

Ready for Fall? Join us for autumn events on the Farm. See a list of upcoming events on page 13.


In This Issue




From the Directors Desk

Pg. 4

The Farm’s Massey-Harris 33

Pg. 6

News From the Classroom

Pg. 8

Q&A With the Farmers’ Market Manager

Pg. 10

A Difficult Year for Honeybees

Pg. 12

Upcoming Events Pg. 13

Wagner Tales is a publication by Historic Wagner Farm Forward any comments or questions to Jena Johnson at 3

From the

Director’s Desk

It has been quite a summer at Historic Wagner Farm. There have been 4-H successes, busy gardens, tons of visitors to the farmers’ market and plenty of fun at the summer camps. One of the parts of summer I will remember is the weather. For the summer of 2014 we only had 24 days that saw over 90 degrees and no days over 95. When the Glenview fireworks show started on the 4th of July, is was 61 degrees! For the “corn belt” that just isn’t right. I was relating this story to Ron Bernardi, of Sunset Foods, and he made a really interesting comment. He said:

If people got their way with the weather, it would spell the end of mankind.

I started noticing how people would mention how much they liked the weather this summer. I even had a few conversations with participants in our community garden who gave both positions of how poorly their garden was doing but how much they have enjoyed the weather. What would a world with little rain and temps that range between 55 and 90 degrees in the summer give us? Not much to eat is the answer. There is a small irony that 101 degrees and high humidity is miserable for us but perfect for raising the crops we eat! There are a few additions to the Farm that you might want to check out on your next trip. First, we have our new feeder hogs in for the fall programs; the Farm was loaned two Landrace/Duroc cross breeds named Taylor and JD. It is neat to see hogs of a different color as they are spotted with a red tint. We have also added lighting on the Farm grounds. We previously used many of the trees around the Farm to “roost” our light fixtures. With the demise of our Ash trees, we lost all our natural light poles. Northshore Electric has helped set three new poles and seven new lights were added to keep the barnyard area lit. 4

With the good weather (for people that is) our attendance reached an all-time record in July when 8,284 visitors came to the heritage center. This broke the previous record by almost 1,000 people. More people meant more business for the Soda Fountain and they increased sales by 33% from last year. Not bad at all. One reminder, this fall we will not be hosting the Ice Cream Social or Barndance. Instead, both events have been combined on September 20th from 4-8 p.m. in the Smoke, S’mores and Squares. This change was due to a conflict of schedules with the church. Looking forward to seeing everyone at one of our upcoming events. Have a great fall!

Todd Price

Director Historic Wagner Farm


tractor talk

The Farm’s Massey-Harris 33 Tractor Talk is a recurring column written by ScottAllen Barber I wish I could report our Massey-Harris 33 had all sorts of history with the Wagner family and their property, however, it does not! As it is one of our few tractors that has running lights for evening operation and thus might be used for the Smoke, S’mores and Squares event on September 20, this seemed a appropriate time to profile this implement and the company’s history. The company had its beginning with Daniel Massey, who founded the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufactory Canada West in 1847 in New Castle, Ontario. The firm’s early days consisted of repairing items, making simple implements and custom casting. The company enjoyed rapid growth and produced some of the world’s first mechanical threshers. By 1870, the name was changed to the Massey Manufacturing Company. Two factors that contributed the firm’s rapid growth were an acute labor shortage and Canadian tariffs, which pretty much prevented U.S. firms from competing in Canada. In 1857, Alanson Harris purchased a small foundry in Beamsville and began producing tools such as hand rakes and pitch forks under the name A. Harris, Son & Company, Ltd. The company was very successful and expanded rapidly, eventually making farm implements such as a “flop-over” hay rake, the Kirby Mower and Reaper, the Osborne RakeReel Reaper which rivaled the Ketchum Mower manufactured by Massey, and an open-end binder. The Massey-Harris Company competition over reaping machines led to a merger of the Massey Company and the Harris Company in 1891, creating the Massey-Harris Company, Ltd. which represented the largest agricultural equipment maker in the British Empire. The firm produced reaper-threshers, combines, plows, discs, wagons, manure spreaders, etc. which were sold worldwide.

Never really known as a firm of invention, they acquired production rights from other companies or by purchasing the companies outright. Such acquisitions included the J.I. Case Plow Company in 1928; I previously covered the 1942 Case Tractor the Paul Wagner purchased in my column in the spring 2014 issue of Wagner Tales. A 1944 Case joined the outdoor static display by the 1926 Fordson next to the Farm’s Heritage Center earlier this summer. Massey-Harris merged with Ferguson in 1953 to form the Massey-Harris-Ferguson Company. This resulted in the company selling two competing lines of tractors. The company was renamed the MasseyFerguson Company in 1958 and remains an active player in agriculture to this day. The last “true” Massey-Harris tractor ended in 1958, with the end of the two-line policy. Our Massey-Harris Model 33G1RF was actually a gift from The Grove, whose director Steve Swanson spotted this tractor “For Sale as is” while passing by a farm near Sturtevant, Wisconsin, at least 15 years ago. They came to terms for less than $1,000 and Steve oversaw its restoration with Chuck Gorski. It has a heavy-duty, industrial, 201 cubic-inch L-head, four-cylinder Model 201 Continental gasoline engine which can produce 35.5 HP at the drawbar and 39.5 HP at the belt-pulley. Ours is configured for row crops and sports a five-speed transmission, fenders, a 6-volt electrical system including a starter, generator and running lights. The model 33 was in production between 1952 and 1955 with the standard version we have believed to be a 1955 which originally retailed for around $2,095. A total of 11,607 model 33s were produced. If you join us for Smoke, S’mores and Squares, you will quite possibly see our Massey-Harris 33 pulling wagon or hay rides in the west pasture as evening falls, headlights blazing! 7

News from the Classroom Written by Sarah Hagye “If I could be camp every day that would be my definition of heaven.” Summer - or what we in the museum business like to call it, summer camp season. How many of you remember your summer camp experiences? For some, it meant leaving home for weeks at a time, being thrust into a group of new kids, sleeping under tents, and waking up to morning dew covering your sleeping bags. For others, it was a summer spent at day camp playing Capture the Flag, going swimming, and visiting other museums and theme parks on field trip days. And then there are the numerous neighborhood backyard camps, sports camps, theatre camps, even computer camps! Here at Historic Wagner Farm, our kids experience farm camp. The summer of 2014 marked the 8th season in a row for our All in a Day’s Work summer camp. We have had 170 kids spend their summers cleaning out animal stalls, milking cows, driving tractors, grooming horses, making ice cream, planting vegetables... the list goes on and on. Many of these kids have gone on to spend repeat summers with us. They have also become active 4H members. Some are even part time employees. August is a bittersweet month as these camps wrap

up and children head back to school. Camp brings an exciting energy to the farm, an air of exploration and imagination that only summer camp can create. One of the biggest gifts of camp, though, is seeing how a child’s confidence and sense of self grow throughout the weeks. A child who, at first, was nervous around a cow, is the very child leading that cow up to the milking parlor at the end of the summer. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hard work and dedication of the many camp counselors who have worked here throughout the years. These are the people who make the biggest impact on a camper. They are there the first day at drop off when mom is leaving and a child is feeling shy around a new group of kids. They are the ones helping a child learn how to hold a chicken. They are the ones who allow the kids to douse them with water during a water balloon toss, and laugh right along with them. And, they are the ones who our campers will talk about and remember years later when they think back to the fun they had at Historic Wagner Farm. I could go on and on about the experiences these campers have had, but perhaps these are better expressed in photos. Now, onwards to looking forward to autumn! 8


farm fresh

Q&A With the Farmers’ Market Manager Reprinted with permission from the Glenview Lantern, written by Roxanne Jungé As the farmers’ market manager, I am approached every week by curious customers. It’s one of my greatest joys to answer these questions. I’m a teacher by profession, and so each question gives me an opportunity to convey a little more of the mission behind the good food on the tables.

Q. I see new blue signs at each vendor’s booth this year. Why are they there?

A. The signs identify the name of the vendor’s

farm or business and where they are located. Customers will now plainly be able to see where their food is coming from. We implemented the usage of these signs at our market because we were aware that it will be required by law very soon, and in fact, it became a legal requirement for farmers (not all vendors) to do so just last month. To quote from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s press release, “On June 21st Governor Pat Quinn signed into law HB5657, an important new piece of legislation that sets in motion a number of reforms that support farmers market and Illinois farmers... The legislation... includes a number of provisions aimed at supporting and sustaining farmers markets and the farmers and vendors that attend them: [One of them is the] Product Origin and Transparency Provision - Consumers at farmers markets may assume that products sold at these markets are locally grown, but there are some vendors that are actually resellers, selling the same [non-local] product as most grocery stores. HB5657 requires

farmers market vendors that sell unprocessed produce to have a label that states the address where their products were physically grown. If the vendor can’t disclose that, the vendor must list where it was purchased from.” This transparency allows customers at farmers’ markets to make the choice whether or not they want to buy locally grown produce from the farmers they know, or not. Before this, many customers assumed that all produce found at farmers’ markets was grown by the farmer selling it. At the Glenview market we support our farmers who grow all their own market offerings as well as farmers who collaborate with other farmers they know in their area, in order to bring an expanded variety of produce, so their signs will list their partners. (By the way, I go visit all the collaborating farms too.) But we went a step further in making signs for all our vendors, not just the farmers, because we wanted to show that they are all local businesses. There are a couple of exceptions, such as coffee and spices, which may be packaged locally, but are not available locally.

Q. What is “slow food”? A. It’s the opposite of fast food. It’s being willing

to buy the ingredients and make your own, instead of buying the finished product. It’s valuing the process of making the food as well as the product. It’s recognizing that there is a connection between 10

the freshness of our food and our health. It’s making choices to buy from farmers who protect the land and nourish the soil, even if this means that some fields need to lie fallow for a season, and cattle will grow more slowly without being fed growthpromoting hormones. At the Glenview Farmers’ Market we offer you both the raw agricultural products and some of the finished products. Most of the “finished products” however, make use of locally-sourced raw agricultural products. I am always having conversations with them about what they are doing to increase this practice, making the effort to call the farmers, make the connections, and work within theirs and their customers’ means to offer great products at a fair cost.

My hope is that you, as consumers, will increasingly become “slow food” advocates. If our farmers’ market remains nothing more than just a fun place for you to go grab a cup of coffee and browse the free samples, we will have failed in our mission. Please support local farms, bring your grocery lists, fill your pantries and refrigerators with local food, and enjoy it... slowly. Visit for more information on the Glenview Farmers’ Market. Have a question about the market? Contact Roxanne at: 847-962-4073 @locavorelive

Image by Wilmette Life, Sun-Times Media


A Difficult Year for Honeybees Written by Robin Forde The honey bee is a prehistoric miracle, developed in concert with the equally ancient flower upon which she depends and serves. Those seemingly frivolous petals and that tiny creature, each fluttering and tossed by the gentlest breeze seem so fragile, but their mutual attraction weaves the world as we know it together. As a honey bee works through flowers, she is gathering nectar with a special structure in her head, not unlike an elephant’s trunk. She is also collecting pollen with her body. Research has shown that honey bees accumulate a slight positive charge as they fly through the air – the friction of the breeze on the golden fuzz that covers most of her body creates a static charge. The pollen adheres nicely. She has specialized structures to sweep the pollen and push it to her back legs, where more structures produce the familiar little yellow, white, cream, or even blue saddlebags of pollen.

This past winter was a hard one for honey bees in the upper Midwest. The Polar Vortex brought colder winter temperatures for longer periods, and kept our spring along the shores of Lake Michigan cooler and cloudier than usual. The fruit tree blossoms were few. Most “chose” survival over fruit-bearing. Where blossoms did appear, the chilly days kept to bees at home so fruit harvests were reduced, sometimes to none. Even all these millions of years later, the flowers still miss the honey bee and the bees falter without their flowers. We are feeding some of the Wagner Farm bee hives to ensure their survival through the 2014/2015 winter season and at this time, we do not plan to bottle any honey for the Wagner Farm store. We hope our thoughtful management will keep the bees in good shape for a productive 2015.


Upcoming Events Fall Sales

September 20 - October 31 Get into the spirit of fall at the Farm! Mums, pumpkins, cornstalks, Indian corn, gourds and more for sale.

S’mores, Smoke & Squares

September 20 Join us for live music, campfires and s’mores under the autumn night sky. Admission is $5 per person.

Build Your Own Scarecrow

October 4 Bring the kids and some old clothes and we’ll provide the know-how! $5 buys you a pumpkinhead and straw.

Fall Harvest Festival

October 18 Experience harvest time from an earlier era! Join us for wagon rides, harvest food treats and arts & crafts. Admission is $5 per person.

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Historic Wagner Farm

The Glenview Park District’s Historic Wagner Farm is one of the last working dairy farms in Cook County and is open to the public for recreation and learning.

Wagner Tales Summer 2014  
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