Balloon Lift off September 27th 2014, Corn Maze wagon rides and a whole lot more.


September 11

Lots of hot air!

Lots of hot air!

We open our Corn Maze in Mid-September but our Balloon Lift has grown into our sort of unofficial Kick Off for the fall harvest season. It takes a few crisp mornings and few trees changing color to get people thinking about a trip to the pumpkin patch or corn maze.

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

Our balloon lift started over a dozen years ago when I asked a neighbor who owned a balloon if he would get a few friends together and take off from our farm. It has gotten to be a fall tradition. We launch between six and eight balloons from the meadow up back near our corn maze and campfire site area. Folks are welcome to get a up close view of the balloon crews at work as they prepare to take to the skies.

Grab a seat wherever you can!

Grab a seat wherever you can!

You can bring a blanket a lawn chair or grab a seat wherever you can! Our giant hay/straw crawl is a favorite place to relax as the balloons unfold and inflate and take to the skies.

Or just keep crawling!

Or just keep crawling!

Kids just love to climb on things! One thing we learned over the years is if it sticks up out of the field, Kids love to climb on it so we just go with it. We try and build as many farm theme consistent safe and fun fresh air opportunities to get out and have fun!

Wide open spaces!

Wide open spaces!

One unique thing about our farm is the setting. We sit up on a nice gentle hilltop surrounded by fields. The field we launch balloons from we make hay off of.

Somebody left their "sippy cup" unattended!

Somebody left their "sippy cup" unattended!

Some people ask can you have alcohol at a “family event”? We say yes you can. There are three to six hours worth of activities depending upon your level of abilities and interests. Folks can easily enjoy our wines or now new craft beers responsibly and be safe going home.

Did I mention kids like to climb?

Did I mention kids like to climb?

We encourage parents to get out and have fun with their off spring! We have lots of places for fresh air and exercise. So come on out September 27th, visit the balloon lift link on our web site for more information.

Corn Maze Disaster!! Oh my what a birthday present!


September 5

It was my 50th birthday and I’m REAL hard to buy for so my wonderful wife planned an awesome trip over to the Finger Lakes wine country in Western New York state. It was a great time, we took our camper just the two of us and I made place to haul my motorcycle on the back. We had a blast, we spent a few days riding around the area then headed back home on my birthday July 10th.

And we are ready to roll!

And we are ready to roll!

On our way home we drove in pouring across 90. It got so bad I pulled off as I was afraid I might get rear ended because visibility was so bad. We got through it and drove home. As we got close we heard Akron had huge flooding and it stormed pretty hard but didn’t think much about it. The next day I went out and checked the fields not expecting what I’d find.

What was 5 feet tall yesterday was 1 foot tall today

What was 5 feet tall yesterday was 1 foot tall today

We got about 2.5 inches of rain in about a half an hour with heavy wind gusts that bent the corn over to the ground.

Flattened near the observation tower.

Flattened near the observation tower.

Corn is a tough plant and I’d seen it blown over before and stand back up but not when it was this tall. Much of this field was over five feet tall and it was bent and broken just a few inches above ground level.

The flattened corn fell into the maze paths

The flattened corn fell into the maze paths

The flattened corn had fallen into the maze paths I had proudly cut just a few weeks earlier and made me uncertain would I be able to still craft a maze into this field. I still needed to roto-till these paths yet, and I wasn’t sure what I had in the way of design left. The soil was saturated and if you tried to pick up a stalk it snapped off at the ground.

What to do with this mess?

What to do with this mess?

So I took the advise of my father in law Kay and my buddy Dave from Iowa, walk away and come back in a week.

About 10 days later this is what I found!

About 10 days later this is what I found!

I came back and this what I found…..It mostly stood back up, at least enough to make a corn maze!

Bent at the base but still standing!

Bent at the base but still standing!

The stalks were “Goosenecked” and bent but the plants had mostly righted themselves. The field sort of shifted over about a foot but it all moved in a relative fashion so the paths I had mowed earlier were maintained.

Roto tilling went well!

Roto tilling went well!

Tilling the paths went well and we were able to clean up the edges nicely and it made for a great aerial photo.

2013 LoCo Motion final photo

2013 LoCo Motion final photo

We ended up getting a great picture and had a record year for the fall. And best of all when we harvested later in November the field yielded over 140 bushels to the acre even with all the paths cut out of it!

Craft Beer, Cask Beer Grand Opening Monday Sept. 1st 2014 10:00am


August 31

Monday, Labor Day 2014 we are set to embark on yet another new adventure at Maize Valley. If you enjoy Craft Beer please come and join us for our Grand Opening of Maize Valley Craft Brewery. But WAIT there is more!

We will be tapping a Cask of Stout too! What does that mean, I asked Jake our Brewmaster and here is a description:

Cask Beer is a traditional method of conditioning and carbonating ale before the advent of pressurized forced carbonation.

A modern Cask

A modern Cask


After primary fermentation, ale is transformed to it’s serving vessel with the addition of priming sugar or unfermented sweet wort. The residual yeast still suspended in the beer eats the sugar and CO2 stays in the beer solution.

Permeable plug used to release excess pressure before tapping

Permeable plug used to release excess pressure before tapping

Casks were traditionally kept in tavern cellars to keep the cool and pumped up to the bar with a beer engine. Cask Beer is a living beer that changes over time.

Tap that will be pounded into the Cask

Tap that will be pounded into the Cask

It takes a skilled cellarman to ensure the quality of the ale at time of serving. If done right, it should produce an ale that has a creamy head and soft carbonation.

Our "Itty'Bitty" bright or carbonation tanks

Our "Itty'Bitty" bright or carbonation tanks

Above are our “Itty-Bitty” carbonation tanks. Starting out we are not even a Micro-Brewery but rather what they call a Nano-Brewery. But that is okay we want to learn how to crawl and then see how the walking goes.

Craft Beer, More of the “More” to what we are


August 30

Well maybe we need to change this Blogs name? It is hard for us to get across the marketing message that is Maize Valley. We span a lot of different things.

Here we grow again

Here we grow again

Briefly “Maize Valley Farm” was began by Kay and Donna (Rohor) Vaughan my wife Michelle’s parents in the 1960′s. Kay’s ancestors were the third settler’s in the township dating back to the 1800′s. Donna’s parents moved into Marlboro township in the early 1900′s. After graduating from Kent State Kay and Donna were married and started the farm and family. They taught school and farmed as many as 6,000 acres. The farm included grain crops and dairy with their son Steve as well as other livestock over the years.

Michelle lower left, Breanne upper left, Donna upper right and Brett

Michelle lower left, Breanne upper left, Donna upper right and Brett

In the late 90′s the farm changed again selling the cows and some equipment and adding a produce market and agri-tourism venture including pumpkin picking and a corn maze. As houses closed in more in 2005 a winery was added and now in 2014 a craft brewery is set to open on Labor Day, September 1st 2014. Today we still farm about 600 acres, with a wide variety of crops ranging from garlic to green beans to grapes to pumpkins and hops.

Harvest 2014

Harvest 2014

Todd Vaughan is the wine maker and overseeing the beer production with the help of brewmaster Jake Turner. Michelle (Vaughan) Bakan manages the market and food service with the help of main staffer Scott Mann and a whole host of great employees. Bill Bakan is the Fun TSAR in charge of most all outside operations from grounds maintenance to all things “Corn Maze” and such.

Marlboro Madness our Pumpkin Cannon

Marlboro Madness our Pumpkin Cannon

Stay tuned as we work at using this blog to give “The Rest of the Story” of what goes on and how we try and manage folks expectations. We hope we do well for you. Thanks for stopping by.

Hot Chicks, Breanne and Cara Bakan at Maize Valley

Hot Chicks, Breanne and Cara Bakan at Maize Valley

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Ohio Corn Maze Cutting the design part 7


August 29

In past blog posts have talked about what we do to get the corn growing in the field that we use to create a corn maze. Now it is time to bring the field to life you might say!

Our 2013 Corn Maze Aireal Photograph

Our 2013 Corn Maze Aireal Photograph

The above photograph is of our 2013 “LoCo-Motion” corn maze adventure. Each year we theme our mazes to reflect an idea we think our guests will find enjoyable. Inside the maze are games and activities to do that reflect the designs theme. We have done NASCAR, the BIG FOOT monster truck, the Pony Express and more over the past 13 years. At first we cut the designs by “hand” with flags and grid paper. Later we hired it done by a professional maze carver. Two years ago we purchased our own Global Positioning Satellite guided system to guide us as we cut the corn. Yes we plant the corn first as discussed in a previous blog post, then we carve the design into a solid field of corn.

Maze design in file form on computor

Maze design in file form on computor

The above pic shows what we start with. We hire a graphic artist to design a cool design and put it into a share able file that we can load onto software on a laptop that we connect to a specially designed GPS system. The the design for 2014 features a Sea Turtle and the trivia games in the maze will be Sea Turtle related as well.

The 2014 Design displayed on my laptop

The 2014 Design displayed on my laptop

The GPS system is very accurate so you need a machine that is very maneuverable to take advantage of the detail in the designs. We do what we call “Art Mazes” for a reason.

Commercial Toro Zero Turn Mower with GPS system mounted

Commercial Toro Zero Turn Mower with GPS system mounted

You could say you cannot tell what the maze looks like when you are in it and you are mostly correct. But we do more we wrap a whole game and experience around the maze and the photo needs to reflect that. We take pictures and hang them on the walls of our winery/brewery for people to look at all year long, people love to stop and stare and take in that we can actually take the design and actually transfer it to the field so well.

Path right after cutting

Path right after cutting

The above photo shows what the paths look like right after we cut them. We do not stop there. About two to three weeks later we go over the entire design with a roto-tiller to kill any remaining corn, grind up the cut off stalks and level the paths better for strollers and power or wheel chairs.

Paths after roto-tilling

Paths after roto-tilling

The above photo shows the paths after roto-tilling. In order to get the proper look to the design we sometimes take our wider sections of corn. The below pic is what it looks like before we hit it with the tiller.

Pre-rototilling, a lot of corn survives the mower!

Pre-rototilling, a lot of corn survives the mower!

Following the mowed paths

Following the mowed paths

Click Here to watch a video I made using my Go Pro as I cut the maze.

Now we wait till a few weeks before opening day to come back in and set the games and activities portion of the corn maze. It usually takes about an hour to complete the game sheet and find the various trivia questions and other things to follow along with if the guest choose to do so. The corn maze at one time was all we were about along with picking pumpkins. Over the years we have evolved into a unique fall harvest destination with a winery and new for 2014 we will be one of Ohio’s newest craft breweries also.

Corn Maze, planting the field part 6


August 20

Since the fall harvest season makes up a huge part of who we are and what we do we spend some time talking about it. People ask us many questions about how we create some the designs. From a produce market and pumpkin patch with a corn maze we have grown into a winery and now a craft brewery. This summer’s weather has been very challenging. In fact we got about another 2-3 inches of rain again last night.

Sweet Corn field

Sweet Corn field

This blog post about our Ohio Corn Maze shows how we actually plant the corn. We are “old school” by modern agriculture standards in the sense our planter is about twenty years old but it gets the job done.

John Deere 7200 Corn Planter

John Deere 7200 Corn Planter

The corn planter plants six rows at a time each row is 30 inches apart. Our planter can plant No-Till or conventional where you till or work the soil from plow to field cultivator as discussed in past posts. Click here for tillage information Our planter is a vacuum planter.

Seed box for an individual row

Seed box for an individual row

What that means is we use the tractors hydraulic pump to run a air vacuum pump like on a floor sweeper that draws the individual seeds against a depression with a small hole in it positioned around the rim of a circular planter “plate”.

Seed box removed, black disk top of photo is the plate.

Seed box removed, black disk top of photo is the plate.

One bag of seed plants about 3 acres.

Bag of seed corn

Bag of seed corn

Seed corn in planter seed box. We “drop” or plant, between 24,000 to 35,000 seeds per acre (an acre is approximately the area of a football field) depending upon the type of corn, and the end use. For corn mazes I shoot for the low end because we plant the field twice at a right angles to each pass.

Seed corn in planter seed box

Seed corn in planter seed box

A individual planter “Plate”. Plates come in different sizes depending upon crop and seed size to be planted. The larger the seed the larger the “cup” in the plate, you also adjust your vacuum if the seed is heavier to hold it in place as it travels around the until it is dislodged by the brush.

Planter plate below seed box

Planter plate below seed box

A chain drive turns the plate and as it rotates once a revolution it comes in contact with a brush that pushes it away from the plate.

Chain drive

Chain drive

The seed travels down a tube and into the soil where another part of the planter creates a trench and then closes it after the seed is deposited. Row wipes lead the way directly in front of the seed disk openers. Which are located under the above mentioned planter boxes.

Row wipes are mostly used for No Till planting

Row wipes are mostly used for No Till planting

A Fertilizer Disk opener is positioned two inches to the side of the seed opener and a depth of two inches below the seed. “2 Down and 2 Over it is called. This helps to ensure the fertilizer is where the plant needs it when it needs it and is not wasted.

Fertilizer Disk opener

Fertilizer Disk opener

A closing wheel travels last closing the seed trench to ensure good soil to seed contact.

Closing wheel

Closing wheel

When planting you try a drive as straight as possible, it is a matter of pride and it also helps to maximize field area and yield. Our planter uses old style row markers. An arm extends from the side of the planter towards the side of the field yet to be planted. At the end of the arm is a disk that leaves a small trench that you line up the center of the tractor on. Today’s modern planters use a Global positioning satellite system to do this. Many tractors have this tied into their steering systems such that the computer/satellite actually drives the tractor.

Row marker trench you follow

Row marker trench you follow

The difference when you plant a corn maze field vs. a normal field is you make a second pass at a 90 degree angle to your first pass thereby creating a grid. This makes for a denser field of corn with great vegetation coverage which makes for a better corn maze experience.

View looking back toward planter from tractor seat.

View looking back toward planter from tractor seat.

If you have good weather and soil temperatures are good your corn should emerge in about seven to ten days.

Corn coming up in rows!

Corn coming up in rows!

We wait now about five to six weeks to start the maze carving process where we carve the corn maze design into the field from a solid field of corn. We like to have the corn be large enough a mower will kill the majority of it but not too tall to make cutting difficult.

Cutting the paths that make up a corn maze design

Cutting the paths that make up a corn maze design

Coming soon the “nuts and bolts” of how we create those crazy Maize Valley Ohio Corn Maze designs!

Ohio Corn maze building part 5 seedbed preparation


June 2

Seedbed, maybe you never thought of it that way but but making a nice cozy place for a seed to germinate is very important. Keep in mind planting corn for a corn maze is different that planting corn just to raise to harvest to sell. We spend a bit more time and money getting this field prepared than a “normal farmer” would.

Planting Corn Maze "No-Till"

Planting Corn Maze "No-Till"

In past years we planted the field “No-Till”, that is we would just plant into the field as we left it after harvest the previous fall. The planter has what are called “Row Wipes” that push aside the “Trash” (leftover organic matter and other plant material) left from last year and the row unit has steel disks that open up the soil, place the seed and close the seed trench. It worked fine but we wanted to start using cow manure as fertilizer and we needed to work it into the soil. This required we go “old school” and back the the moldboard plow.

Four bottom Moldboard Plow

Four bottom Moldboard Plow

At one point in time the Moldboard plow and it evolution through the 1800′s was as technologically advanced as Global Positioning Satellite systems are today. Click HERE to read it’s history. Advancements in design and materials changed the face of agriculture and thereby our country.

Disk

A picture of a "Disk" field working tool

After we plow the corn maze field we follow with what is called a “Disk”. Timing can depend on soil moisture, time of year or equipment availability. It has a series of disk shaped blades mounted on a shaft or an arbor. They are positioned at a slight angle to the direction of travel and to each other. There are usually four arbors with disks mounted on them. This is called a gang that is mounted to a frame via roller bearings that allow the disks to rotate as the tool is pulled across the field.

Field Cultivator

Field Cultivator

Again as I’ve mentioned building a Corn Maze in Ohio and planting the corn for a corn maze we do things a bit different than we would just planting a “regular” corn field. This corn has to not only yield but also be part of an experience for our guests. After the disk we work the ground with a field cultivator. It has small shovel-like tools mounted on a spring loaded arm and steel bar that runs from one side of the tool to the other. The purpose of this tool is to level the soil bed. It fills in ruts left by the disk and knocks down high spots as well.

Cultipacker

Cultipacker

The last pass across the field before planting we use a cultipacker to further level the soil and also break up some of the dirt clods some more. We want to provide a firm but not overly packed soil bed for the seed. You want the soil fine enough to get optimal seed to soil contact without packing the soil and compacting it to the point it can crust if and when you get a rain. It is a judgement call. You can plant right into disked ground but again for purposes of the corn maze we do things a bit different.

Corn Planter

Corn Planter

In out next post about planting a Corn Maze we will talk about the planter itself and how we actually place the seed in the soil.

Corn Maze (part 4) or Grapes the right type and timing of fertilizer counts!


May 15

At Maize Valley We Make Great Wine…FUN! Special events are a big part of that. This blog post number four in a series of blog posts about how we build a corn maze. In part three we talked about weathering, freezing and thawing, applying cow manure and plowing. This time we talk about putting down some fertilizer to help the plants that make up the Corn Maze grow best.

Hoopes Fertilizer Plant in Alliance Ohio

Hoopes Fertilizer Plant in Alliance Ohio

As mentioned in an earlier blog post we test the soil to determine the needs for next years crop. We also know a great deal about what is needed by the yield of the previous years crop. If you remove so much material it also removed known amounts of nutrients. We begin our manure applications based upon that number and supplement with other fertilizer to fill in the gaps to our best approximation based upon soil test report. I say “best approximation” because weather ultimately determines the crops potential.

Loading a blend of Ammonium Sulfate and Pelletized Lime

Loading a blend of Ammonium Sulfate and Pelletized Lime

I like to use Ammonium Sulfate and here is why. Ammonium nitrogen (NH4+) carries a positive charge and is adsorbed onto soil particles. In this chemical form, leaching of nitrogen does not occur; however, NH4+ is changed to the NO3- form by bacteria. This process occurs rapidly (beginning within 2 to 3 days) as the soil temperature climbs above 50°F. Complete conversion from NH4+ to NO3- occurs within about a month of application. source We will plow this field before it reaches 50 degrees, thereby trapping the nitrogen underground until the plant needs it. Sulfur in necessary in the manufacture of proteins in the plant and you need as much of it as Phosphorus.

Ammonium Sulfate

Ammonium Sulfate

This information is to let you know that before we started planting corn mazes we used to farm a fairly large number of acres. In fact we used to farm over 3,000 acres before we evolved into the winery and soon brewery aspect of agriculture. I also blend in an equal amount of pelletized lime. Pelletized lime is made by granulating finely ground agricultural (ag) lime. It may be dolomitic or calcitic depending on the nature of the original limestone. Some questions have been raised about recommended rates of this material and the speed at which it reacts compared to standard ag lime. Source

Pelletized Lime

Pelletized Lime

I blend in the lime as both a calcium source and to help balance the the acid formed when the Nitrogen breaks down into Ammounium Nitrate. One disadvantage of Ammounium Sulfate is it can lower your soil pH below optimal levels if not accounted for.

Spreading the blend on the field.

Spreading the blend on the field.

We apply the blend at a rate of 400 pounds per acre, (43,560 ft. sq.) or approximately the area of a football field. That may sound like a lot but consider that half of that is pelletized lime, and the ammonium sulfate is only 21% nitrogen. This works out to only 42 pounds of actual nitrogen evenly distributed over and entire area the size of a football field. Picture the volume of a large bag of dogfood and try to imagine how thinly spread that is. Still this one load cost over $500.00 so we are very careful how we use it and do not use too much.

White pellets are fertilizer granuals

White pellets are fertilizer granuals

The while pellets are the fertilizer granules. The brown lime pellets have already dissolved into the soil. The fertilizer will do the same and attache to the soil particles since the fertilizer has a positive charge and the clay particles in the soil have a negative charge. When temperatures warm and bacteria become active Denitrification will begin. Denitrification is a microbially facilitated process of nitrate reduction (performed by a large group of heterotrophic facultative anaerobic bacteria) that may ultimately produce molecular nitrogen (N2) through a series of intermediate gaseous nitrogen oxide products. This makes the nitrogen available to the plant. Source . All forms of nitrogen both commercial fertilizers or natural or “organic” sources undergo this process. Plants don’t really care the source is as long as the soil is healthy and in balance.

Corn coming up in rows

Corn coming up in rows

So way before we get this, there is a lot of preparation to do to bring a corn maze to life. Stay tuned next time we will talk a bit about how and why we prepare the soil the way we do.

And Now a word FOR our PINK Party sponsors!


April 29

Well I’m not sure “sponsors” is the right word, Maybe supporters or just friends trying to help us make a big difference. A lot of hard word goes into doing charity fundraisers. We have participated, hosted, organized and created many of them for a variety of causes over the past years. Some have been for Veterans, some for Developmentally and mentally delayed individuals and this one for Breast Cancer. One thing I have learned they would not be possible or what you could consider successful as in actually raise money if not for the generosity of people willing to help in the form of donated, time, money or “grease”. The kind of grease that gets the ball rolling and others motivated to be multipliers.

Big ones like Bank of America

Big ones like Bank of America

You have “BIG” sponsors you see like Bank of America which is a National Sponsor for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day. I use them as an example. They help bring the “Big Show” to the road. What I’m talking about for this blog post is those special folks who step forward and help us reach our goals both monetary and awareness, by helping to get the event “greased”. And Boy do we have some really cool grease.

Sawovski Crystals and jewelry are in the well stocked list.

Sawovski Crystals and jewelry are in the well stocked list.

Ok ladies I hear these are really cool?! See I’m a “typical guy”, I understand parts that make my motorcycle go faster or my Jeep climb higher. I call items in the picture “fishing lures” as I’ve noticed they have the same effect on the ladies and a really good shinny fishing lure does on a fish! But the same can be said for the guys if the jewels get the ladies noticed. All kidding aside Sawarovski jewelry is the bomb and we have some wonderful connections true to our cause that see fit we have several items with the Sawarovski name on them in our Auction.

I dream of Genie!

I dream of Genie!

Now you are talking something I understand! So if your lady is decked out in that fine Swarovski jewelry she doesn’t want to have to get off the motorcycle to open the garage door for you does she? Well heck no so all you have to do is be the high bidder and…..Problem solved! Well maybe one of them?

Pro Football Hall of Fame Passes WITH a personal guided tour PLUS some HOF-SWAG!

Pro Football Hall of Fame Passes WITH a personal guided tour PLUS some HOF-SWAG!

Among the many friends and “family” Maize Valley has our lots of local folks who work with really cool places like the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ann Wood lives just up the street and works at the Hall of Fame and put together a truly special one of a kind package. Gary and Francis Jervis have donated a complete Fine China set NEVER out of the box! I don’t have a picture of it because the box is over three feet tall and full of packing peanuts and shipping container packaging.

A Personal Trainer Makeover

A Personal Trainer Makeover

My wife Michelle (pictured on left) and I are the reason for this party, we are raising the funds for the Susan G. Komen walk but Michelle’s Mom Donna is also a Breast Cancer survivor. After her surgery and treatment, exercise was prescribed and that brought her to Joyce her personal trainer. That was over 5 years ago and Donna still works out and Joyce is here to help in a different way by donating her services as well as that of some of her colleagues and friends also. Donna was always fit, lugging milk to the calves at the dairy farm but at 75+ years young Joyce has been a great help in keeping a healthy body and mind going forward.

Oh, did I mention there were more Fishing lures! ;-)

Oh, did I mention there were more Fishing lures! ;-)

Well, I wish I wrote better when it comes to English and grammar. Sorry but I crank these posts out in between managing our family farm businesses social media marketing efforts and fixing truck beds and driving tractors. (See my last two posts about this event here and here.) But the key is family, we work together here at Maize Valley. We do things like corn mazes, wagon rides, pumpking picking, wine tastings, and soon to be a brewery. But we couldn’t do it by ourselves, we need and appreciate the help of others. So on that note, Please join us for the PINK Party on May 7th if you can. Thank you our sponsors for all you do, because everyone deserves a lifetime!

A Farmer’s Promise


April 23

This time of year we talk a lot about our Bra-Vo Bra Decorating Contest and our PINK Party both designed to raise funds for Breast Cancer Charities. In our case we focus on the Susan G. Komen 3 day, and here is why. This is a follow up to the last blog post about what the PINK Party was about.

3 Day opening ceremonies

3 Day opening ceremonies

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has raised more money for breast cancer research than any other single charity. They have had some setbacks the past couple years I will agree, they probably have not made the best decisions in all instances, maybe they got too big, I don’t know. What I do know is I have witnessed at many levels the 3 Day 60 mile walk do so much more than raise, spend or do whatever with simply money. It is also about “The Promise”, I’ll get to that later.

Just a "Civilian Cheerleader" along the route, you never knew the stories behind "why...."

Just a "Civilian Cheerleader" along the route, you never knew the stories behind "why...."

I have seen it change lives, personally I have had it change my life such that I have been a motivated to become a “multiplier” for the cause within and separate from the SGK 3 Day. What is that worth? Again I don’t know nor does anyone else. The SGK 3 Day “rolls large” it moves people physically, mentally and spiritually. Let me say I mean no disparagement to any other event or charity in saying these comments I am simply stating what I’ve experienced and why we support the SGK 3 Day. It is a unique event when you string 3 days together over 60 miles it moves people beyond their comfort zones, it requires a big commitment in many ways not just the few days of the event. This really makes it “Special” to me.

Michelle in front of the Pink tent city her first year the walkers and crew

Michelle in front of the Pink tent city her first year the walkers and crew

It takes an army of “crew” to support these walkers, it isn’t cheap. As a farmer I know how to move large things, deal with weather and understand logistics a bit, this is a big deal to pull off. They provide medical care, they feed them well, the AWESOME porta-jons, actually pretty nice showers, and safety is quite a play to orchestrate.

Portable shower rigs, boy they feel good at the end of 20 mile walk on a 90 degree day!

Portable shower rigs, boy they feel good at the end of 20 mile walk on a 90 degree day!

I think for the outcome they do a great job. As a farmer I know when I grow a crop some weeds are going to grow too. I just have to do my best to minimize that part and drive the positive aspects to the top. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop farming because some weeds will grow if I do. I’ve got a job to do, as do the folks of all motivations that volunteer and make a career out of running charities. We are better off with their efforts than without. That is why we walk the 3 Day, also because it’s HARD!

I was a member of "Route Safety" Crew in 2011 "The Pirates"

I was a member of "Route Safety" Crew in 2011 "The Pirates"

Our motley crew on motorcycles and bicycles watched out for walkers safety in multiple ways. We were there to watch for medical conditions and get help if noted. We kept people off their phones when walking, we escorted the walkers at “tough” intersections within traffic laws, we told really bad jokes when people needed a smile. After a while only so many things rhyme with ARrrrrrgH!

Promise Me

Promise Me

Again I keep coming back to what is motivating me to write this. It’s the “Anti’s” as they are called now, those who can find fault in practically anything for whatever reason good or bad. But it is easy to throw stones at a glass house after someone built it. When “The Promise” was made we didn’t talk openly about breasts, make jokes about boobs or practically even acknowledge this “thing” existed. I promised my wife I would always be there for her in this journey, it was a small promise compared to one promise a sister made to another back in 1977.

Nancy and Susan

Nancy and Susan

In 1977, breast cancer was still shrouded in stigma and shame. Nobody talked about early detection and mammograms. Nobody could even say the words “breast” and “cancer” together in polite company, let alone on television news broadcasts. With Nancy at her side, Suzy endured the many indignities of cancer treatment, from the grim, soul-killing waiting rooms to the mistakes of well-meaning but misinformed doctors. That’s when Suzy began to ask Nancy to promise. To promise to end the silence. To promise to raise money for scientific research. To promise to one day cure breast cancer for good. Big, shoot-for-the-moon promises that Nancy never dreamed she could fulfill. But she promised because this was her beloved sister.
I promise, Suzy. . . . Even if it takes the rest of my life.

Me and my Survivor

Me and my Survivor

So this the “why” we are grunts in the fight against Breast Cancer and why we have chosen the Susan G. Komen 3 Day as our path. We ask for your support at the PINK Party or anyway possible. If you can’t help there we encourage you to look around for other opportunities that also exist with other groups that are also in the fight because everyone deserves a lifetime!

Looks like we will walking the streets and paths of Michigan in 2014!  Zero to 60 in 3 Days...We got that!

Looks like we will walking the streets and paths of Michigan in 2014! Zero to 60 in 3 Days...We got that!


 
 

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