This has been a magical spring. As Jim’s daughter, I have always known farm life in some way. We lived on the farm when I was born, but the 80s were a tough time and, like so many, we did not stay on the farm. The farm stayed with the family though and now I’m experiencing livestock on the farm for the first time, along with my husband and little boys.
This year is made all the more special to me because I have my own baby who was born in January. Each time Dad calls me to tell me there are new kids, I think of the mother and I’m reminded of my own experiences. And it is because of this connection that I am in awe of the work my dad and Linda must do.
Sometimes one of them goes out to the shed and finds the kids born; everyone doing well. Other times, the doe has a hard time and needs a little assistance. It is in these moments that Dad steps in as a ‘midwife’, with Linda his able and willing nurse. These are the times that make it evident how much they care for these goats. Each birth is a life that they helped bring to this world. A precious small life that they nurture and feed. Occasionally, they take a moment to play with these exuberant little jumpers and climbers.
And did I mention they’re cute?
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We have enjoyed a very busy summer and have many new projects to report on. The weather was rather humbling and taught us to spread our risk over other areas of the farm.
The spring was cold and wet and then June 20th hit and and it turned hot and dry. July was so hot not many plants put on fruit or vegies, but we had eggs! We ran water to our plants most days and we kept things growing. August hit and we had great weather for our crops. September was cold and dry, but things kept growing and we had produce for our Membership program and the market. We picked our first Pristine apples and learned we need to plant more of that variety. September 1 we purchased 125 day old pullets to mature right after the holiday. Then the big change!! We (Jim, that is) purchased two milking goats. This started a new time in the life of Wesley Acres Produce.
Our first two does came from Lynne Davis of Antioch IL. Daisy and Reilly are great quiet little gals and have started us on the road of milk production. What a great venture. We picked up two more Alpines from Boone Iowa. Libby and Loretta joined us on October 2. We purchased two Toggenberg does from Linda DuShane of Lynn Center. What a great time here at the farm. We will start kidding in February and we look forward to many of you coming out to see the little one. Our grandson Will and our granddaughter Rhianah have both enjoyed time with our new livestock and we will have them here when the babies start coming. Here are some pics of you new girls. Thank you for the great year!
Jim and Linda
Today was another typical day at Wesley Acres Produce, filled with work from both Jim and Linda Johansen of Wesley Acres, and from a group of Augie students, who are involved in the Environmental Conservation Learning Community at Augustana College in Rock Island.
Thursday’s work began with the morning routine of milking goats, a new addition to Wesley Acres, and which provide delicious and creamy milk for the Johansen’s. Jim, being a regular was able to keep a steady rhythm when milking the goats, as were a few Augie students who lent a hand and learned the tricky process of goat milking. The goats themselves didn’t seem to mind the new hands, as long as there was plenty of sweet feed and apples for dessert. Thursday is also time to fill and package Wesley Acres CSA food orders. This sent a number of the Augustana students into the field to harvest green beans, patty squash, and tomatoes. The students enjoyed a break from picking green beans with freshly baked cookies from Jim’s mother, who also lives on the Acres. An early morning drizzle picked up right as the students filled their buckets full of colorful and fresh produce, ushering them indoors to begin processing invoices and filling food orders. The Johansen’s kitchen was teeming with activity; students were washing produce, weighing out lettuce and okra, itemizing and packaging the day’s orders. The work went by surprisingly fast, due in part to the large turnout of Augie students who enjoyed the day’s work, and who look forward to more of the same here at Wesley Acres Produce.