Home, sweet homestead
Wisconsin is home to many longstanding family-owned businesses, family trades, & traditions with one of the most well-known associations to our good, old piece of land here in the mid-west, rests on the prodigiously broad shoulders of farms.
Here in the “Dairy State”- our expansive acreage is often referred to as ‘ back country’ or ‘the back 40’. For those who don’t know, according to Wiktionary- ‘the back 40’ is a term that was coined sometime in the 1860’s during the ‘Homestead Acts.’ “The back 40” is indicative of the ‘back side of the farm’- which refers to portions of owned acreage granted to farmers. Farmers were granted quarter section pieces of land, equating to 160 acres with a full section equating to 640 acres. The quarter sections were often subdivided into four quarter- sections which made up 40 acres each; two front 40 & two back 40. Eureka! Now you know where the term was born.
One of those long-time, family-owned & operated farms happens to sit just outside of the Milwaukee city limits. Homestead Animal Farm sits tucked away, just outside of Merton Township down WI-83. If you are feeling up for a lazy Saturday drive, this day trip won’t disappoint. On your way to the farm WI-83 will wind you through tree canopied roads, adorned by views of Beaver Lake that can be seen through untainted lush Wisconsin foliage. Just before you come around the bend to arrive at this Wisconsin gem, you will find yourself coming through Merton, down through the tree line & out over a small, narrow crossing bridge that seems to have maintained the historical essence of the tiny town. As you venture through Merton & round one more bend after a large structural overpass, you will end at the entrance of a gravel driveway leading to this old family farm, showcasing a sprawling collection of acreage, one that is meritorious. Upon arriving at the Homestead, you will notice the classic farm style agricultural fence, a proudly displayed American Flag, & a beige colored stable shelter. Here is where you will find the common space, where the Homestead’s furry ‘Barnyard Stars’ run, play, eat, & live together.
The Homestead Animal Farm, or The Sullivan Farm– was originally owned by Dennis Sullivan of Wisconsin, who has carried, & passed down a family legacy that dates back all the way to 1877. This year the Sullivan/Homestead Farm celebrates its 140th anniversary. The Sullivan farm donned 160 acres of abundant farmland where they raised & kept sheep. The original location of the family farm used to exist a few moments down off of Highway CW, not WI-83. Unfortunately, the original farmhouse no longer exists as it was burned down in the 1980’s.
Upon Dennis’ passing; his last will & testament announced for the Sullivan Farm to be left in the care of his three children- Mary, Jack, & Nellie. In the later years it is known that out of all three of the children carrying ownership of the Sullivan Farm- Nellie Guilfoile was the last to own the property.
History repeats itself! Dating back for generations; a thriving farm-way of life is a true Sullivan family tradition!
Helen Daley & Ruth Harmann- rightfully inherited ownership of the Sullivan family farm in their mothers (Nellie) passing. In due course, the pair of daughters would follow in the footsteps
of their antecedents; passing the farm to their own kin as each generation before them had done. Helen Daley’s children came to a decision to sell their portion of the farm which was purchased by a developer. Ruth Harmann kept her little piece of family farm tradition, which is now owned by her son Mark & his wife, Barbara Harmann.
Upon my travels to the farm to visit the location- I found myself welcomed genially by Mark & Barbara Harmann who were outside together getting things ready on the farm for the quickly approaching harvest season.Mark, & Barbara are carrying on 140 years of tradition everyday on the Homestead Animal Farm!
The backstory of the family history on the farm truly illustrates the extensive chronicles of how it came to be. Family tradition is a notion requited in a day & age of such technological advancement!
At Weather Tight, we know what kind of work & dedication go into building a dream, but also what goes into maintaining that dream- To always find the passion to be bigger, better, & innovative- but to always stay humble in the process & remember why we started & where we came from.
given our shared ethical standards & backgrounds, it was an easy decision to team up with The Harmann/Sullivan Family for a day out on the farm! The Harmann/Sullivan family knows a thing or two about good, ethical, successful business practices, as they are 110 years our senior! We know just how special it is to celebrate an anniversa
ry this big (ok maybe not THIS big..:) ) but big enough!)
We want you to come out for Weather Tight’s Happy Harvest Event! Join us in celebrating a prominent Hartland family & their historical contribution, the the agricultural growth, & development over the last 140 years!
Bring your family & friends out & enjoy some of the many kid-friendly activities that will spark the wonder of the child in all of us! Barbara, who is a kindergarten teacher- has put together interactive activities throughout the premise of the farm that promise fun, & bring in the element of creative learning!
There is a ton of stuff for everyone of all ages in the family! Challenge yourself to a game with a busy brain strategy puzzles, relax on a hay-ride across “the back 40”, or perhaps you prefer to spend your day chasing your tail around with Whitey the stow-away kitten from neighboring farm. Weather Tight will be there to help you enjoy games, prizes, fuzzy, furry animals & even harvest goodie bags! We are giving away a few more surprises- but you will have to get out to the farm Saturday, October 28th from Noon-5pm! For more information visit The Happy Harvest Event page on Facebook!
Oh yea- how could I forget- Weather Tight has a special offer for you when you stop out on October 28th to see us- make sure you come get your $1 Off a Pumpkin Voucher so you can enjoy some pumpkin carving just in time for Halloween!
Bring your families for a day of fun at the farm at Weather Tight’s Happy Harvest Event & celebrate 140 years of Sullivan/Harmann family dedication, & tradition at the Homestead Animal Farm of Hartland!