This farm was homesteaded and in the VanVleet family since the Indians. It was all woods and wetland. Early settlers thought only land cleared of trees could grow crops. John Deere had not yet invented the prairie plow. All buildings on the farm were built by the family. Many other barns in the area were built by the VanVleet's over several generations. The barn was built in 1901. We purchased the farm in 1978.
A farm stand at our farm on Big Timber was just a natural for us. Both of us grew up with a farm background.
Carol's great grandfather, Jelte Westerhoff, got off the boat from Holland in the 1870's in his wooden shoes, which we still have, and settled in Riverside, IL. There he farmed and his part-time job was lighting the street lamps. From Riverside, the family moved to Broadview where hot beds and cold frames, orchards, strawberries, sweet corn and pumpkins were grown. In the 1930's lilacs sold for 10 cents a bunch. Life on the farm was fun. Carol's family was the last farm in Broadview, IL.
Lane's family settled here in Kane County just after the Black Hawk Indian War of 1830's. Two brothers each bought 40 acres in Plato Township, which is less than 10 miles from where we are today. They paid $3.50 per acre. They raised pigs, beef, dairy cattle, did butchering and a lot of hard work. It was the best place for a boy to grow up.
Today, our son Martin is at home, there are 16 grandchildren in our family, and Carol's dad turns 100 this September. Life is Full.
Blessings - and thank you for your interest in our farm life.
Lane, Carol and Martin Burnidge