- Van Wert
Diary of Bethann Niederman - Niederman Family Farm Week 2-April 4-11, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Finally some warmer weather despite the sprinkles and possible passing thunderstorms it feels good outside. Spring fieldwork is right around the corner! The warm weather is just what we need to get ready for our farm tours. This is one way we have diversified our operation to generate funds to pay the bills, feed the animals and raise our family on the farm. Every year thousands of school children, home-schoolers, boy scouts and girl scouts come to the farm to learn about agriculture. We introduce them to Farmer Bob, Grandpa Bob, new baby animals and much, much more! Considering the average consumer is 2 generations removed from the farm, we have a lot of work to do. Our goal is to help the kids (and parents) understand where their food comes from and that we need all our farmers to feed the world. Our guest will also learn that farmers take care of their animals, the environment and their families on the farm. We might not be big farmers in the county, but we sure hope to have a positive influence on the next generation of consumers, and that will benefit all of us involved in agriculture.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Kids off to school, chores done and now time for our "busy work" with running a diversified business. Numerous phone calls, e-mails and letters need to be answered. All of this gets done around and in-between our regular farm work. I can multi-task with laundry, dishes, and cooking with returning calls and e-mail, but it is much harder for Bob because he is outside working and it's not so easy to stop and return calls. With help we have added a website, facebook and e-mail account for the farm. This has been a big help because our guest can get a lot of info and questions answered without even talking to us. A farm is a place where a family lives and works together. Our family all pitches in to help depending on the season. During spring tour season they become tour guides and hayride drivers. Paintball requires them to be on a cash register or running games. Corn maze season means building bonfires or picking pumpkins. The Christmas display means putting up lights and serving hot chocolate. Needless to say, we never get bored on our family farm.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Writing about all the work on the farm makes it sound like we never have fun. Of course our kids might say we don't have enough fun…. But we really do. Actually leaving the livestock and farm requires planning and someone responsible to take over their care. Again that's where family comes in to help, we have great extended family support! A farm is a great place for kids to grow-up… creeks to explore, kittens to find in the hayloft, new baby animals to care for and acres of woods to explore. When our older kids were in their teens, their favorite game was hide-n-seek after dark. This added a pretty good twist that created many good memories. First they would invite all their cousins over and ask them to bring their own 4-wheelers. Then our kids would get our 4-wheeler, dirt bike, lawn mover and bicycles to ride. All the kids found something with wheels and took off. One person would hide somewhere on the farm in the dark on whatever they were riding. The rest of the kids would then ride around until they found them. We all enjoyed our families version of "Cat and Mouse"!
Thursday, April 7, 2011
People like to come to our farm for many different things. One of the favorite things to do is playing games. The paintball field on our farm gives teenagers and adults a chance to play like kids again. Every time they come they get to play tag and hide-n-seek in the fields or out in the woods. Then years ago we opened Paintball Country on our farm. Our guests come with corporate events, family activities, church groups or birthday parties. Everyone enjoys the aggressive, adrenaline filled games. A farm is a business fun by the whole family and maybe some of our kids will operate our farm someday. That is why it is important for them to know about all the different jobs at Niederman Farms. With this warmer weather and the grass growing, it is time to start mowing the grass on all the paintball fields. It is a full-time job just taking care of the grass and weed eating.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Spring is a beautiful time on the farm. After months and months of snow, ice and colds days, every one is excited to be outside. The farmers start planting the seeds for all their crops they grow on the farm. When the ground is warm enough, corn, soybeans and pumpkins will be planted here. I enjoy planting a small garden to have fresh food of our own. My parents and grandparents had big gardens and knew so much about planting and growing things. My grandfather would plant his garden by the stages of the moon. The Farmers Almanac was his source of information. I didn't inherit any of their green thumbs, but I do appreciate and understand the hard work that our farmers go through to provide fresh produce. It is so interesting to see the renewed interest in gardens, community gardens and Farmers Markets. That renewed interest is also creating an increase in the market for canning and freezing supplies. I think I should have paid closer attention to my grandparents gardening and canning skills!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Started the morning out slower than normal. The kids enjoy mornings like this because we have pancakes, sausage and scrambled eggs together as a family. It does feel good to use eggs from our own chickens and sausage from our own hogs. The kids don't really get to nostalgize about where their food comes from, they just like to eat it. In addition to our own hogs and chickens, we raise our own beef. Once a year we take a steer to the processor and they package and freeze the meat for us. The rest of the year we enjoy roast, steaks and hamburger.…. all from our farm. Sometimes I will can green beans and tomatoes from the garden, but most of the time we enjoy them fresh. It has been a challenge to find the time for canning recently. So I shop at the grocery store one-two times a week. The one vegetable that we do "put-up" is corn. We love farm fresh sweet corn in the middle of winter. It is a family affair. Grandma & Grandpa, aunts and uncles, and cousins all come to pick, husk, cook, cut, bag and eat our homegrown corn. Don't for the butter….
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Nothing exciting happening this morning. Normal Sunday morning rush to get out the door and not be late to church!Came home for a quick lunch and homework inventory. The kids all do a really good job with their homework and schoolwork. But I always ask Sundays during lunch…. "Ok… who needs what for this week?" Helps me plan a little bit better once we get into our busy season of spring tours. Every year we have thousands of school kids visit our farm to learn about planting seeds, caring for animals and how farmers feed us. It is important for everyone to understand that we need our farmers. Agriculture is important to the State of Ohio. Many people have jobs that help get the products we need to the store and markets for consumers. Cashiers, butchers, veterinarians, truck drivers, cooks, grocers, food scientists, restaurants owners, food manufacturers and farmers; all work together in jobs related to agriculture. We are excited to be a part of Ohio's leading industry… AGRICULTURE!