A long overdue update

It has been a long time since an update was published. There are no excuses except to say, that my day starts early, ends late and I’m getting older. The whole Peterson farm project has given me my fair share of gray hairs, but I can honestly say it has been worth every one.

The Peterson farm restoration work started almost five years ago with a three-year capital fundraising campaign. The Jeffris Family Foundation had offered to give us $250,000 if we could raise $500,000. Our campaign had hardly started when Covid hit, making it hard to ask for funds when food shelves were hurting. Foundations that had once met our giving criteria now turned us down to focus on the food shelves. Out of respect, we shut down our fundraising for several months.

I could go on for an extended period about fundraising during COVID-19, but suffice it to say, we ran very close to failure.  But I, our Board, and many other supporters were not willing to give up until the time limit, given to us by the Jeffris Foundation, expired. With just a month or two to spare, we succeeded in not only meeting our $750,000 goal but ended the fundraiser at just over $1.1 million. Out of the five organizations the Jeffris Foundation had given the same challenge to, we were the only one to succeed.

Today, two years after the fund drive ended, we are nearing the completion of the farmhouse rehabilitation. We will be finished at the beginning of June 2024.

What is next? The granary begins its rehabilitation in a week. It will include the addition of a handicapped ramp!

There is so much more to come, and in relationship to the past five years, it will be coming soon.

There are a lot of photos posted on our Facebook page. You can reach it by clicking on this link: https://www.facebook.com/historicandrewpetersonfarm/

In August, I travel to Germany and Sweden.  In Sweden, I will meet with officials from the area Andrew immigrated from and show them the work we have completed and what we have planned for the near future.  In Germany, I will escort home some Wendelin Grimm artifacts we loaned for an exhibit there.

One final note.  The Swedish Andrew Peterson Society is offering a two-week scholarship to someone who would like to learn about Peterson, Swedish agriculture or Swedish architecture.  You would be expected to return to Carver County to share the information you have learned.

Until sooner, rather than later,

Wendy Petersen Biorn

Executive Director

Carver County Historical Society




Construction Begins

The large appropriation from Carver County not only completed our Capital Fund Drive but also gave us $355,000 to use toward the development of the farm. In short, we had two pots of money. One was designated for the farmhouse and the other for other development needs on the farm. On the surface, that sounds like an awful lot of money, but it pales when you start breaking down the costs associated with the various needs. It also became clear immediately that since we had been so visible with the drive, inflated bids and overly aggressive contractors were the results.

Anyone who has tried to hire skilled construction labor in 2021 and 2022 has experienced trouble finding skilled labor to do the work.  I was asked repeatedly if it is hard for us to find the workers we need.  Our project is a unique one.  I found that professionals were very receptive to working with us, especially once they learned we were working with Miller Dunwiddie and had the construction drawings in hand.  The literal excitement to work on the project became even more obvious when they learned all cash was in hand- no grants were involved.

After talking to several general contractors, we decided to hire Miller Dunwiddie to work with me to oversee the work on the farmhouse.  A very important part, maybe the most important part, of the project was to document all the layers of change in the house.  We did not want to bring someone in who would just demo, without saving all the layers of wallpaper and take photos along the way.  Enter Professional Construction Services. Believe it or not, they are from Kansas and were hired to demo the porches and remove all the modern material in the house.

The demo part of the house was completed very slowly.  I spend many hours in the house each day of the demo making sure samples were saved and photos were taken.  We found many surprises, all of them good.  The house was in great shape.  You can view the photos of the demo by clicking on this link. The link will take you to the photos taken by Professional Construction Services.


In the next blog, discover the secrets of the house and the messages left 140+ years ago. Talk about a time capsule!  Yes, I will include more photos. 🙂

Part 2 How are we going to raise $500,000- Saving Andrew’s House.

We kicked off the fund drive on July 1, 2019.  An event was held that fall at Charlson Meadows, with Swedish food, lovely piano music by Carolyn Spargo, and a speaker from Rethos. The program focused on the importance of preserving historic properties and the significance of the Peterson farmhouse and why we needed to save it.  Over the next few months, I presented to the Lions, several Rotaries, the MN Swedish Genealogical Society, and the American Swedish Institute, and was invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Colorado to speak to the Swedish group there.  Funds were coming in. As we approached the holidays in 2019, we had made a good start. Then, Covid hit.

There were very few people or companies that were not affected in one way or another. Foundations that had previously voiced support for our project changed their giving priorities to food shelves.  The CCHS was shut down completely for over a year.  The Jeffris Family Foundation was contacted to ask for an extension.  It was turned down due to legal reasons.  Making things even harsher, was the knowledge that our feasibility study showed we could raise the funds but needed the foundations and grants to do so. A year and a half into the campaign, the CCHS Board of Directors made the hard decision to pause the Peterson farm capital campaign for three months.  How could we morally ask for funds to restore a building, when people were in need of the basic essentials for life?  At the end of 2019, we had raised about $177,000, and it was time to start thinking out of the box.

Rereading the contract with the Jeffris Foundation, I realized that we had a couple of options.  People didn’t always have money to donate, but they did have skills and items they could donate that would count toward the total.  An unusual item that came in was period appropriate gutters.  Skilled labor would count IF the person donated their skill toward the project.  An example would be an electrician who donated time to install lights.  A carpenter, an electrician and architectural firm agreed to donate their time.  These donated services added up to just over $50,000.

In 2020, I wrote a Legacy construction grant for the farmhouse, granary and south barn.  The portion for the farmhouse amounted to $60,230.  The draft was submitted that summer and the final draft that fall.  The day the grant went before the HRAC board I was on pins and needles. There was a lot on the line.  Scanning from the bottom up, I held my breath.  Our grant landed in the top tier. It was approved by HRAC in a matter of minutes.

The end of 2020, we had raised $225,902.  it sounds like a lot, but in fact we were now halfway through the drive and were not yet halfway to our goal.

Timing is always the hardest part with a challenge grant, doubly so when another grant is in the mix.  Per the Jeffris rules, the Legacy grant could not be approved prior to the start of the Jeffris campaign.  It also needed to be approved by all parties and needed to be designated by MNHS toward the challenge campaign.  A separate bank account was needed for the Jeffris money, but the construction drawing grant checks were for all the buildings on the farm.  Keeping accurate and complete records was imperative.  Lawyers on both sides needed to agree to the terms.  In this case, MNHS and the Jeffris attorneys were wonderful to deal with, since our goals were the same; save the farmhouse.  The cost for the farmhouse construction drawings and hence money for the challenge campaign was $60,230.  The drawings were completed on 4/16/21 and subsequently approved by the grant’s office.  That same year, with MNHS approved construction drawings in hand, I applied for an exterior construction grant for the house.  Due to the time limit, we had one more shot with Legacy, if we missed it would be too late to reapply.

Knowing grants are never a certain thing, we hired a company to compile a list of foundations that matched our needs for the Peterson farm.  I started sending Letters of Inquiry/introduction.

In December of 2021, our construction grant came before the HRAC board.  They commented that the construction drawings were incomplete, therefore the grant was declined. I was devastated.

At this point, our fundraising committee and many on the CCHS Board of Directors felt we had failed.  Tom Jeffris called me numerous times to cheer me up and lend his support.

The end of 2021 we had raised $320,094 in large part due to several GiveMN yearly events where an anonymous donor pledged to match donations.  We had six months to go and $180,000 to raise.  Do you lay down and die or do you look farther outside the box and refuse to give up? There was no option, we had to give it our all.  The thought of losing the $250,000 Jeffris money was one we couldn’t let go of.  We had six months and we all agreed that either we would win this campaign, or we give it our all until we ran out of time.

After taking the holidays to lick our wounds, the fundraising committee met in January to re-examine our options.  Several of us had seen Covid funds floating around and we discussed options about how we might tap into those.  A letter arrived from a foundation that made it clear that they couldn’t help as they had changed their giving criteria to giving to food shelves.  It was the ammunition we needed.  The CCHS had also received Covid funds due to our mandatory shut down, giving us the flexibility to request that the County designate our Q1 appropriation to the Jeffris campaign.  All campaign funds required a signed pledge form to be counted for the campaign.  I made the call to the County and made the sales pitch.  It wouldn’t cost the County anything to designate our quarterly appropriation to the campaign, as it was already in the budget.  Then the fundraising committee voted to go one step further.  We felt we could raise an additional $40,000, so we would ask for an additional $85,000 using the letter we had received that stated the change in giving priorities due to Covid.  This made the argument that Covid had indeed horribly affected our campaign. We also made note that this campaign had raised seven times more than any time in the CCHS history of fundraising. The letter was written, sent off to the County and a date set for us to present in front of the Carver County Board of Commissioners.

Before the day arrived for the presentation, we struggled to dig for the remaining $40,000.  Several donations came in dropping the amount needed to $18,000.  A donor called and said he would donate $14,000, IF we could raise the other $4,000.  A check for $3000 came in then a check for $650 and finally a $400 check and the donors $14,000.  Now, if only we could get the requested amount from the County.

The day came.  The majority of our CCHS board showed up. More people showed up remotely, including our friends in Sweden.  Letters of support came from the Swedish Institute, our Swedish Andrew Peterson Society, all previous CCHS directors, and Representative Jim Nash.   I presented.  This was it, either we received the requested funds and get the additional $250,000 from the Jeffris Foundation, or we would be done and have to do as much work as we could with the funds raised.

A motion was made to approve the appropriation. All commissioners were in agreement, THEN, Commissioner Udermann spoke up making a motion to get the project really moving. He motioned to appropriate $500,000.  A discussion took place with all Commissioners agreeing that they wanted to support the project but moving ahead as motioned had never been done before.  It felt like a half hour but was probably 15 minutes.  Finally, the motion was made and Commissioners Udermann, Fahey and Workman voted in favor of the $500,000 with Lynch and Degler against, noting that they supported the CCHS, but felt the larger amount should follow the proper procedure.   Motion passed.  We had the funds we needed to complete the campaign and then some.  I was in shock.

The $500,000 campaign goal was verified by the Jeffris Family Foundation three weeks ago.  Last Saturday, a check with a lot of zeros arrived via certified mail.  I held it and looked at it for a long time.  Monday, I deposited the $250,000 check, then stared even longer at the amount in the bank account.  Now, work can begin to save Andrew’s house.

Four other organizations started a capital campaign the same time we did, with the Jeffris Foundation.  During 2020, because of Covid, two of those organizations threw in the towel.  As of this date, I have been informed that the last two organizations most likely will not hit their goal.  That makes us the only one to do so.  I was asked to present with Royce Yeater of the Jeffris Foundation at the State Preservation Conference this fall.  The answer was a no brain; a solid yes.  Now, finally after almost 10 years, construction can start.


Next:  Construction begins

Part 1 How are we going to raise $500,000?- Saving Andrew’s house.

We are officially two months from the end of our three-year-long capital challenge campaign to save the Peterson farmhouse.  It has been a rollercoaster, especially since November of 2021.  This blog will chronicle the ups and downs of the capital campaign and where we are at now, as we face a deadline that will make or break the campaign.

It is very rare that you will see me write from the heart.  Usually, I work very hard to not use the “I” word.  To quote a famous fictional detective, “Just the facts, mam.” The Peterson farm is very different.  It’s massive historic nature and a promise made to its donor, to make his dream a reality has always been the focus.

It was the spring of 2016, and my Legacy grant for a Historic Structures Report (HSR) had just been turned down.  This was the document required to start the process of restoring the buildings on the Peterson farm.  The MNHS staff had recommended its approval, but for some reason, the HRAC board had turned it down.  I was devastated.  I gave myself the weekend at a remote state park to feel sorry for myself, then returned on Monday with a determination to save Andrew’s farm buildings.  I reached out to the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, (now Rethos) and asked if they knew of any places that might fund an HSR.  They recommended the Jeffris Family Foundation (JFF).

The Jeffris Family Foundation was established in 1979 by Bruce and Eleanor Jeffris, and their son Tom.

Bruce Jeffris was born of a pioneer family that immigrated to Wisconsin from Kentucky in the 1840s. He joined the Parker Pen Company after World War I and retired as Chairman of the Board in 1960.

The Foundation focused on the rich architectural heritage of Wisconsin’s small towns and cities. In 2009 the Foundation expanded its reach to small towns and cities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio.

In short order, Royce Yeater from the foundation, contacted me and asked to visit the farm.  Following the visit, the JFF offered to pay for half the cost of the HSR if we would raise the other half.  The other condition was that we would have to commit to a larger capital campaign to raise the funds to do the construction work.

The bid we had received to have the HSR completed for the middle barn, south barn, granary and the house was $100,000.  Up to that point the most the CCHS had ever raised was $50,000. The deadline to raise the funds was December 2016.  It was September.  With these figures looming, it would have been easy to say, “It’s not possible”, but that was never an option.  It wasn’t even considered.  The question I only considered was, “How are we going to do this.”

McDonald Mack completed the HSR on November 22, 3017. Funded through many private donations, the Community Foundation of Carver  County, the Jeffris Family Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Thomas C. and Lois L Sando Foundation.

With the HSR in hand, the CCHS Board of Directors next needed to decide which building we would focus our fundraising on.  The house was the most expensive by far, but the house was also the most critical for interpretation of the property. A feasibility study was commissioned.  The results showed that we could raise $500,000 IF we utilized grants in addition to foundations and donors.

In June of 2019, we signed the documents with the JFF agreeing that if we raised $500,000, they would give us $250,000.  A fundraising committee consisting of board members and several volunteers was formed. The beginning of July 2019, we kicked off the drive.  As you may remember, it was only six months later that Covid hit and foundations changed their giving priorities to food shelves.  The question became, “How can we ask the public for funds to restore a buildings, given the horrible conditions of Covid?”

End of Part 1

Peterson Farm fun(d)raiser October 1

Andrew Peterson Farm update

By Wendy Petersen Biorn,  Carver County Historical Society, 

Executive Director


The Carver County Historical Society is now in our final year of the Jeffris Family Foundation challenge campaign for the Andrew Peterson farm. Knowing this, people are asking how we are doing and what we are doing at the farm, so it feels like a great time to bring everyone up to speed.

If you have driven by the Peterson farm lately, you may have noticed many dead trees laying in the field just south of the main house.  The trees that were cut down, surrounded the foundation of Sarah Peterson’s house.  Sarah Peterson (no relationship to Andrew) owned the property after the last of Andrew’s children died.  She built a house along the driveway just south of Andrew’s house.  When Ward Holasek purchased the property, he wanted to build a new house on the north end of the land.  Due to zoning rules, he was forced to choose between tearing down Andrew’s or Sarah’s house.  He chose to tear down Sarah’s, saving Andrew’s, even though Andrew’s was much older. When Sarah’s house was torn down, the foundation was left intact, making it a danger for visitors.  A few months ago, staff literally stumbled upon a cistern by the foundation, which we were unaware of.  The cistern had a lid, but over time it had shifted, leaving enough space for one of our staff to step into.

In addition to the cistern, we had an arborist assess the trees around Andrew’s house and the foundation of Sarah’s.  Many of the trees surrounding the foundation of Sarah’s house were either very old or in the process of dying. With the knowledge of the cistern and the condition of the trees, the decision was made to fill in the cistern, remove the foundation and remove any dying trees.  The process produced a level spot which is now safe.

Many of the trees around Andrew’s house are very old and are in the process of dying.  In fact, one ash is 140 years old!  Several cedars are visible in an 1885 photo making them at least 136 years old.  The hardest part of the arborist’s assessment was the realization that the emerald ash bore is a year or two away from arriving at the farm.

With the coming of the Emerald Ash bore, we realize that more trees will have to be removed in the next few years.  We have put into place a plan for removing trees and replanting. What you will see is more ash being removed and more apple and sugar maple trees planted.

In the next year, you will also see major changes to the house.  The porches will be torn off and new porches matching those in the 1885 photo will be built.  The metal roof will be removed, and wood shingles installed.  The house will be stripped of the old lead paint and repainted the same color as it was in 1885.

The Jeffris Family Foundation challenge campaign will end June 30, 2022.  We have raised $300,000 toward the $500,000 needed by that date.  If we reach the $500,000 goal, the Foundation will give us an additional $250,000.  The funds will be first used for the farmhouse, with any remaining funds to be used for the granary and the south barn.

We will be hosting our first fundraiser at the farm on October 1st.   The event is sponsored by Melchert Hubert Sjodin, Thrivent, MidCountry Bank, Chaska Machine & Tool, Inc., Peterson Company Ltd and Beckett Realty.  The event will include a catered BBQ dinner from Iron Tap, dessert from Bakery on Main, wine from Parley Lake Winery, and music from Traveled Ground.  Activities will include a silent auction; wine pull and a program with a full update on the vision of what the farm will become in the future.  The event will be held in the loft of the middle barn, which will be the first time you will be able to see the vision of what the building will be used for in the future, be it weddings or conferences. Tickets are $50 and are available on the CCHS website or by giving us a call at 952-442-4234.

Maple Syrup Time! Coming events and a Fundraiser Update

A couple of days ago, the temperatures reached into the 60s.  It broke the record for a high temperature going back to 1878.  Being curious, I went back to Andrew Peterson’s diaries and checked to see what he had written in March of 1878. By March, Peterson was already tapping the maple trees indicating warmer day temperatures and cold nights, which is what is needed to facilitate the flow of the sap.

March 7, 1878  I began to bore into the maples. Today, I bored into 100 trees. Today, the school has ended its winter term.

Once 40°F hits, trees releases the starches in the form of sap/sugar. However, one must act fast before temperatures within the tree reach 45°F since sugar production will decrease once the tree’s enzymes have recognized the need to produce excess sugar has ceased. From the ideal sap collection temperatures, we can infer that Peterson experienced warmer weather without him having stated as such in his journal.

Were we not to have this useful sap collection record, we also have the State recorded temperatures for the days in Peterson’s diary.  A glance at the DNR’s historical recordings detail the following highs and lows:

March 7, 1878:  57 High, 30 Low

March 8, 1878: 61 High, 47 Low

March 9, 1878: 61 High, 50 Low

March 10, 1878: 59 high, and 45 Low

March 11th, 1878 55 high, and 41 Low

While not always in the ideal range for sap collection, temperatures would have often kept within the desired collection range necessary for collection. Should the temperatures have remained at a consistently high enough measure, ~60°F, to start mass bud growth, then sap production would have ceased.

March 8, 1878: Today I plastered in the molasses kettle and we started to cook syrup. The boys are hauling stumps up in the field. The night before last, a couple of Irishmen stopped overnight with us.

Noting that Irishmen overnight-ed with Peterson, emphasizes the melting pot of Carver County. Pre 1900, Carver County immigrants were composed largely of Swedish, German and Irish settlers.

March 9, 1878: I grafted [bound plant tissues together for shared growth] the whole day and finished them all. The boys fanned wheat and oats.

Grafting was a common practice to propagate apple trees.  It still is.  Peterson often refers to using and buying scions (cuttings) via mail and traveling to Chaska to purchase them.  The scions were grafted to the trees to develop a preferred characteristic.

March 11, 1878: I bored 190 maples. The boys chopped wood in the clearing.

Carver County was part of the “big woods”.  Clearing trees for fields was an ongoing process. Often stumps were left in the ground to rot and later removed.  Chopping wood to use for heating a house in the winter was a never ending process.  Can you imagine heating your house with just a cook stove?

Jeffris Challenge Campaign update

For Andrew Peterson, like all of us, spring means work.  You may not make maple syrup, but most if not all of us have spring clean-up. On this note, we are pleased to report the successes at the halfway mark of the Jeffris Challenge Campaign for the farm and invite you to join us as we plan for 2021 and a plethora of events at the farm.

We are currently at just over $228,000 in pledges and donations. We are still on target to reach our goal of $250,000 by the end of March.  Every pledge or donation, no matter how large or small, is very appreciated. Payments for pledges may be spread out between now and the end of June 2022.  This plan helps both the donor and the CCHS plan.  Donations of your professional skill or a physical time we can use for the rehabilitation of the farmhouse can also count.  For more information contact Wendy at the Historical Society.

The Construction Drawings are DONE!

We are thrilled to announce that the Construction Drawings for the house, granary and south barn have been approved!  They will be presented to the public as soon as the final report is approved.  Expect to see them in the next six weeks. This project was funded by a Legacy grant.  We are greatly appreciative to the people of the State of Minnesota for approving the Legacy fund.  Check in on this blog, social media, or our website to learn when you can pour over these eye-opening materials.

Tourist season on the farm

As many of us have found ourselves working from home and yearning for new sights during the indoor months of Winter, this Summer offers a wonderful opportunity to place yourself in the explorative mindset of a late 1800s immigrant, seeing this county’s early days in a new perspective.

Depending on the mud level at the farm, the tentative opening for scheduled farm tours is May 1.  Enjoy the warm weather by scheduling a visit to the farmstead, taking advantage of a tour outlining the meticulous and sometimes surprising decisions that went into constructing and maintaining the property.

Coming Events at the Farm- Save the date

October 1- FINALLY, our first fundraiser for the farm!  Friday, October 1st at the farmstead.  An evening event not to be missed.  Running between 6:00pm and dark, we will feature wine/beer tasting, the band Traveling Ground, a silent auction, farm tours, and a barbecue meal. Be the first to enjoy an event in the large loft of the dairy barn. Take a tour, walk the historic farm that Andrew Peterson wrote about and Vilhelm Moberg used as a primary source for his Emigrant book series, bid in the silent auction, and learn first-hand about a Legacy worth funding. A limit of 200 tickets will be sold- more details to come. This is an over 18 only event.

October 2- Harvest Festival- Family FUN with the Scott Carver Threshers meet farm animals, games, food, activities and so much more.  Stay tuned for more information

Follow us on Social Media to keep in touch with our upcoming events. Peterson’s impressive 48 year diary is available here for FREE.

Wendy Petersen Biorn

Executive Director

Carver County Historical Society




Donate Online

Donate by Mail

Donations to the Jeffris Challenge grant farmhouse restoration matched!

Your donation toward the Peterson Farmhouse is now doubled AND will  count toward the Jeffris Family Challenge grant!

All new donations/pledges received via Give MN in 2020 will be matched up to a total of $5000. Your donation will become part of the larger challenge grant offered by the Jeffris Family Foundation. The Challenge grant started on July 1, 2019 and runs for three years. If we raise $500,000 by June 30, 2022 we will receive an additional $250,000 from the Jeffris Family Foundation. As of October 2020, we have raised $196,000.

All donor names will be displayed on our giving tree which will be installed initially, at the CCHS. It will be moved to the farm interpretive center, when the center is complete. More information and a private tour are available by calling the CCHS at 952-442-4234. Ask for Wendy.

The below link will take you directly to the GiveMN website where you may make your donation.





“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”           -Jimmy Dean

Change.  That one word describes succinctly what has happened over the last four months.  We went from an active successful economy and business environment, to being closed, to being open by appointment. One could argue that the more appropriate word would be stalled, “the inability to move forward or backward.”

“Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.” -Walt Disney

The Jeffris Challenge grant is continuing despite COVID.  They are not extending our deadline. We still need to meet our fundraising goal by June, 2022.  We continue to be in a good position, but we felt that public events were inappropriate at this time, due to the layoffs caused by Coronavirus.  Realizing this is temporary, is important.  Almost as important, is the need to constantly focus on the future of the where and why we have the fund drive in the first place. The Farm is not just about a Swedish immigrant. If you view the farm only as a Swedish property, you are missing the horticulture and agriculture history. The property was placed on the register for Peterson’s horticulture work with apple trees.  The farm is an agricultural property that will soon be an island in a sea of houses.  It is a symbol of all persons who settled Carver County.  It is an education center for agriculture and a place the public can go for events.  To not raise the funds needed to win the Jeffris Foundation $250,000 donation, is to lose focus on the agricultural future of the farm, and Carver County.

We received almost $190,000+ in pledges. We still have two years to go.  We can do this, but it does take all of us focusing on the future to accomplish the goal.

Donations from an IRA – A Great Way to Support CCHS and the Jeffris Family Challenge Grant

One of the most effective strategies for many seniors over 70 ½ to help a non-profit like CCHS is to make a Qualified Charitable Donation (QCD) from their traditional IRA.   Unlike other withdrawals, the QCD incurs no taxes and is not impacted by whether or not the donor itemizes charitable contributions. QCDs require funds to come from the donors IRA trustee directly to the charity or non-profit.  The process need not be difficult. CCHS has received funds in this way and can help inform prospective donors how to get started.

Normally a QCD can also count towards the donor’s required minimum distribution (RMD) although for 2020 RMDs have been suspended by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The RMD requirement is expected to resume in 2021.  Those turning 70 ½ after 2019 may also delay their RMDs until they turn 72 as a result of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019.   Consult your tax advisor for more details.

Closing in on $200,000

You would have to be on a desert island, not to have the massive changes taking place in our world, affect you in some way.  The CCHS and fundraising committee are very conscious of how the pandemic has affected everyone.  For this reason, we decided to temporarily pause fundraising events and active solicitations, while everyone focuses on keeping their family safe.

The good news is that we were within a rock’s throw of hitting $200,000 and were on schedule to hit the half way mark by our one year anniversary.  The bad news is that the clock will keep ticking. Meaning that while we will be hitting the pause button for fundraising, we will not receive any additional time to raise the money. For anyone who is wanting to or is able to donate to the drive, give me a call.  We have a beautiful new brochure which can be mailed to you. Remote tours are available via Zoom.  In person tours will be available on June 1 for one or two people IF social distancing is observed.

The changes caused by the coronavirurs have affected us as well.  It goes without saying that Springtime on the Farm was postponed, with hopes of have a Fall Harvest Festival instead.  Only time will tell if a fall event occurs, but we can hope.

The middle 1914 dairy barn will be completing the stabilization process within a week or two.  If you are interested in visiting the building you can email me at wbiorn@co.carver.mn.us.  The barn will be our interpretive/education center.  The upper level can be used for a variety of events including weddings, programing, farmer’s markets or even craft shows.  The lower level will be used as a welcoming center with classroom space.  Stay tuned, of the building will be coming soon.

Miller Dunwiddie has begun working on construction drawings for the remaining three buildings.  Plans are to have the drawings done by the end of the year.  As you can expect, with businesses shut down, it will probably take longer than a year to complete.

It has taken 160 to build the farm.  It is still here and will be here in another 160 years.  We are just taking a short silent pause.

Better Late than Never

It has been a while since I wrote the last blog.  Looking back, I realize it has actually been a very long time since the last blog, four months in fact. I could give all kinds of excuses, but the truth is, that the end of the year is simply a very busy and productive period.

There are so many exciting things going on at the farm.  It is hard to say one is greater than another.  I often think of an old bible verse I learned as a child, that stated; no body part is more or less important than another.  With that in mind, let me bring you up to speed on all the exciting news at the farm.

Jeffris Family Foundation Fund Drive

We ended the year with close to $178,000 in pledges and donations.  This is after six months of fundraising. Donations and pledges have arrived in amounts from $5 to $60,240.  Each pledge or donation, no matter how large or small, is so very important.  Pledges are contracts between us and the donor which can extend the full three years of the fund drive. The donor fills out the form and notes how much they will contribute each year, and when they want to be invoiced.  This helps us greatly as we plan for the final goal of $500,000.  This is the amount we need to have in hand by June 30, 2022 to receive the additional $250,000 from the Jeffris Family Foundation. Some people have chosen to donate per year, but not pledge for the full three years.  This is perfectly fine as well.

Donations have been received via Give MN, Facebook fundraisers, and via our website donation button.  The website donation button is extremely helpful for our overseas friends, as they are able to use a credit card to donate.  We also have wiring instructions if preferred. The website donation button is designated for the fund drive.  All donations must be designated for the Jeffris Family Foundation fund drive to be included.

Grants are another source of revenue for the drive.  There are however, specific requirements that must be met with both the Jeffris Family Foundation and with the grant source.  In December, we were awarded an $111,400 Legacy grant which will be used hire Miller Dunwiddie to prepare construction documents for the farmhouse, granary, and the south barn. Of this amount, $60,240 was approved by the Jeffris Foundation to be applied to the fund drive.  The amount is specific for use toward the farm house, as required by the Foundation. Other restrictions applied, but conditions were approved by the Foundation.  Construction document preparation has already begun and plans are to have them complete by the end of 2020.

Donor Tree

Mark Smith has been working on the donor tree for the farm.  As of today, the below is the design we all like.  Large donors will receive an apple in either a blush, red or green color, depending on giving levels.  Leaves will have donor names.  The leaf colors will be in gold, silver and bronze colors.  As with the apples, the color will depend on the donor level.

The Middle (1914) Barn

Several years ago, Representative Nash led the charge to get us an Earmark grant of $160,000 from the Legacy fund.  These funds are being used to stabilize the middle (1914) barn. The barn will be used as our interpretation/education center. Work is nearing completion with great results. The stone foundation has been re-tuck-pointed, LVL beams have been installed alongside cracked beams, and rotten floor boards on the loft level have been replaced with new boards sawn from the trunks of several trees removed from the property, due to age. Your chance to see the work completed on the middle barn will be at the Springtime on the Farm event on May 16th.  The rain date is June 27th.

The new interpretation of Andrew’s diaries, continue to sell well.  You can either purchase a copy of the 750 page book, or you can find it in a word searchable document on our website.  Either way, take a look.  Reading his diary really bring him and his family to life.  It is also something special to read a first-hand account of what it was like to settle in a new land.

A final Good Bye to a Good Friend

One final note: for those who knew our volunteer Rocky Bye; he passed away last fall. He was very special to us. He spent many hours working in our shop.  He will be remembered at a celebration of life ceremony in May. At the request of his family, the event will be held at the CCHS.

As always, feel free to contact me about donations, volunteer opportunities or just to say hi.  We are all part of one body, working toward a final goal.

Wendy Petersen Biorn