My husband Paul and I farm together with my brother and sister-in-law, near Mazon, IL. Our farm is located about 75 miles southwest of Chicago, which is a perfect location because we are close enough to enjoy all the opportunities Chicago has to offer and far enough away to enjoy the more solitude life rural America can provide. We have two sons, Stephen and Thomas. Stephen, our daughter-in-law and our 5-month-old granddaughter live in Chicago…the most important reason to visit the city often! Our younger son lives on the farm although, currently, his job involves living in Decatur during the week. Off-farm jobs keep the boys busy but they are still involved in our family farm, spending free weekends helping whenever they can.
Paul and I love to have friends, new and old, visit the farm. Living so close to Chicago has given us the opportunity to welcome many folks to our family farm from all over the world. Just Monday, we had eight visitors from Japan. All of these men and women work with farmers and companies that help to provide food for the Japanese people. It was most interesting learning about their lives in Japan. We took them to the fields to see corn and soybeans growing. We showed them the machinery that we will use to harvest the corn and beans, beginning in September. We talked about walking through the fields to “scout” or check for diseases and insects that may harm the corn and soybeans. They told us about working with farmers in Japan who grow cattle and pigs and chickens. One man was a professor at Rakuno Gakuen University. He works with Japanese farmers who raise dairy cows for milk and cheese. After two hours of walking around our farm, our guests joined us for a supper of Italian Beef, chicken, baked beans, broccoli and cauliflower salad, tomatoes from our garden, fruit salad, and chocolate cake. We visited another couple hours and then our new friends had to return to Chicago, where they are staying until they fly home on Wednesday. It’s always fun and interesting to meet new people. I hope through the Illinois Farm Families Blog, I can get to know a little more about you. And you about me. And I look forward to answering, or at least, trying to answer all of your questions about how we grow your food. Or anything else you may wish to ask a farmer but didn’t know a farmer to ask!
Remember, we are only a short drive from the city. We would love to sit on our porch and have a conversation with you anytime!
P.S. In case you were wondering, none of our visitors today lost family members due to tsunami issues. One young man said his family lived close to the nuclear power plant that was affected but that all his family is now safe.