About the Fitzpatrick Farm
It all began with David Fitzpatrick who migrated to Illinois from Waterford county Ireland. His Son Patrick Fitzpatrick was my Great Great Grandfather. I still need to research more on their lives but I do know that one of them helped build a church and traded cattle.
Below is a picture of the next 4 generations after Patrick that would become Illinois farmers. From left to right is Raymond, Danny, James, and Francis.
Raymond always used to say that you wouldn’t hear any money jingling around in his pockets, whenever he had any of that he would buy an extra cow or chicken or invest in something. With a lot of hard work and a lucky investment in the Peobody Coal company he made enough money to assist with the purchase of several farms for his children. These farms were bought from banks by simply agreeing to pay the property tax. I can remember many fond Christmases at Great grandfather’s house where I would play the trombone and my dad would play the fiddle. It’s a huge mansion like house and really beautiful inside. My great aunt is still living there. My uncles recall his depression mentality and tell me that when Raymond used to visit he would find all the bent nails on the farm and make my uncles straighten them and put them in a jar.
Francis was the next generation of farmers. After a fight with polio many of the farm chores were delegated to his six children. Uncle Ray once said as long as you were out of the house by 6 AM it didn’t matter what you did, but you had to be out. The exception was my dad who had to wake up earlier to milk the two cows. Regardless of the crippling effects, Francis still farmed and rigged all of the machinery with hand controls. My uncles still complain about how stubborn he was and many times I hear people talk about how he inspired them with his strength.
Then there was James, the oldest son and the one who got stuck doing most of the work. My dad still does most of the farming and it has only been in the recent years that he has allowed me to take over the home farm. My parents moved on the farm when I was born. Dad raised a lot of pigs and geese and of course planted corn and soybeans on the home farm as well as on some of my great uncles and aunts farms. Now he is living in Mendota. He also does carpentry, flips houses, and drives truck. Mom is a lawyer for the state of Illinois.
I (Dan Fitzpatrick) am the sixth generation of farmer of the Fitzpatrick’s. I teach 5 subjects of high school science and do farming and beekeeping on the side. I love living out on the farm and plan to spend the rest of my years out here. For livestock I raise chickens and bees. I plant corn and soybeans but also have started some small orchards and gardens.
About our honey
Our honey is so good because of the wildflowers on our farm. Over 200 acres of it is in the government set aside program and has been planted in all manner of wild flowers and prairie grass. You can enjoy pictures of the fields in different seasons on my picture page. I don’t pasteurize or blend my honey. This means that you will get to taste the essence of the flowers for the different seasons and also that it will taste different every time. In the spring, I see bees eating honey locust, dandelion, flax, sweet william, and honey suckle. In summer it can be thistle, cone flowers, black raspberry and clover. There are also flowers in fall that make a darker tangy honey but I usually let the bees have those for their winter stores. All of our bees are untreated with chemicals. I believe that letting them make their own natural sized cells and capturing swarms of local bees is the best treatment. Finally, all of the boxes for our hives use lumber that is either recycled or scrap.