Hopefully we have returned to ….
Hopefully we have returned to more normal late-summer or early-fall temperatures. It was a bit chilly to say the least when we found ourselves with temps in the 40s, which according to the weather people was about 15 to 20 degrees below normal.
I can only say it was better now than next winter when the average is down around 10 degrees and suddenly we see some 20 below normal temperatures. At least it didn’t get cold enough to freeze any flowers.
Since last week was written a bit early for the Labor Day early copy deadline, I thought this week it might be nice to do a little extra special. I call it the Farm Tech early tour. It was just 15 years ago since Clark County hosted Farm Technology Days and the site was the Malm farm northwest of Loyal. In 2022, it will be back and this time just a mile south of town on the Dennis Roehl farm. So this is a little tour that I took this afternoon.
Starting from town, I drove north on Highway K, crossing the Loyal/ Beaver town line, crossing Rock Creek and turning left on Maple Center Road. Up a small hill and down another. Then crossing a small creek and coming to the intersection with Park Lane Avenue where I kept to the right.
At the top of the hill the Malm farm came into view. First the Bob and Sally farm with its white pasture fence. Beyond that I could see the rest of the Malm farm and the huge field where all the action took place.
Turning right onto 153 Road I drove right by Bob and Sally’s farm buildings and what I believe was the Art and Bev Olsen farm, before the Malms bought it.
Then 153 Road makes a turn to the west and right on the corner is the new home of Mitch and Michelle Malm, along with their milking parlor, and other farm buildings. Just to the west stands a lone building left from Farm Technology Days, sitting between a corn and hay field.
If my memory holds true, that was also the huge exhibit area. It also contained a number of food stands, as Trinity Lutheran Church had a stand where Florence and I helped out each day.
The road continues westward toward Owen Avenue and passes by a historic site. I believe it was a cheese factory at one time, but the sign says it is Schilling Station on the Fairchild & Northeastern railroad which operated from 1898 to 1928.
Arriving at Owen Avenue, two large dairy farms greet you. One is the Turnquist farm and the other is the Bruce Elmer farm which has been in the Elmer family since 1902.
A mile or so south, I picked up Maple Center Road again and turned to the east. This, along with a swing to the north, then back east, took me along the Malm farm again, planted there with soybeans.
When I got to Park Lane Avenue, I turned right at the site of a new home being built. I would assume the owners will have a good view of the unnamed creek that carries field runoff into Rock Creek, just below the hill. As you swing around the creek you get a good look at Rock Creek and where it used to be a giant swimming hole for anyone that wanted to take a dip.
A bit further and I’m back at Rock Creek Road and I can join Highway K again and drive back to Loyal.
Heading south out of town, I had to take a slight detour on Chickadee Road. Just a mile east, where it intersects with Pelsdorf Avenue, I have been spending the summer watching activity in the southeast corner of the intersection. This was once property owned by Jim and Jane Wangen and was sold with all the other properties in the area that they owned. Some Amish have purchased it and their first project was to divide the land into four large pastures, where a large herd of livestock are rotated as they graze on it. Now a new house has been built and last week a real building bee was there.
At 26 Road, I turn right and soon I was out to Highway K. As I swung unto the highway, the 2022 Wisconsin Farm Technology site came into view with the Dennis and Suzanne Roehl farm just ahead. Three big blue silos and an old cement block silo stand next to the old traditional red dairy barn.
Out of my right eye I spotted Erlin and Bonnie Roehl’s red barn on Miller Avenue and across the road were two Amish farms with big red barns and their familiar white farmhouses. This truly fits into the 2022 theme, “Where Tradition and Technology Meet”.
Driving west on 26 Road I’m soon going by Bill and Luann Rueth’s farm where several old IH and AC tractors can be seen. Bill is a great collector.
Next you are at the driveway of Roehl Acres and their old familiar red barn where all the milking takes place with the cows exchanged at each milking while the unmilked ones take the place of those who had just been milked. The huge field to the south will soon be planted for the big days ahead.
Next comes an intersection with Miller Aveune and you swing north to drive by Erlin and Bonnie Roehl’s farm on the left. As you get closer you see that something is different. Since they dropped their milking herd, the barn has gone through a few changes. It is now called Rustic Occasions and I recall my visit there a few years ago at a June Dairy Month Breakfast.
The barn is not just a barn, but a work of craftsmen who seem to make it just a little better. The Roehls, aided by their son Doug and daughter-in-law Kim Fricke-Roehl, have changed it from a place to keep cattle to a place for wedding receptions, class reunions or any type of get together you could think of.
The crop land will be incorporated with that of Dennis and Suzanne for the special days of July 12-14, 2022.
From there it is just a short drive to Highway 98 and I’m back home again, having just traveled 23.2 miles.
When I learned, several years ago, about the Roehl farmsite being selected, I recalled my old high school friend, Otto Becker, telling me that Loyal is a great farming area.
Had we not turned up Miller Avenue and gone ahead on 26 Road we would have gone by the home of Lowell and Velora Roehl, parents of Dennis. Just to the west is the farm of Lawrence Esselman, another old family farm that had been around for many years.
Next is the old North Star Cheese Factory, operated by Clem Esselmen, and the 26 Road from there to Highway 73 is a mixture of typical Clark County farms along with some Amish farms.
The farmland, going south from Roehl’s Farm on Highway K to Granton, is all great agricultural land as well that would be suitable for another Farm Technology Days activities in the future.