Anna Desimone, author of “Welcome to the Agrihood” recently published a great article in Iconic Life. The article offers a glimpse into the various agrihoods around the country, including Serosun Farms.. A wonderful review of the many options for a healthier, happier lifestyle. Click below to see the full article.
The Fritz Stickland & Family Brain Injury Journey
“July 28, 1997 was the date that changed Fritz, Jane, Alex and Allison Stickland’s lives forever. One single moment in time and place that would alter the course of a marriage, a successful career and a family structure.”
That’s what I remember in the beginning…wishing that there had been just 2 minutes difference that would have changed that near fatal experience where I almost lost my entire family in one horrible car accident. I can still remember arriving home to a dark house after a long day of work and riding my horse. I had an ominous feeling as I entered our home which should have been a flurry of activity with two young children ages 2 and 7 and their father cooking dinner. I still can hear the kids crying in the background on the answering machine as a man at the accident scene was trying to contact me two hours prior. The panic I felt not knowing the condition of my husband and having enough information to know they had been in a very bad accident with a semitrailer. The mental control that was necessary to drive to the hospital safely. Arriving to find my kids with a social worker who desperately needed their Mommy.
I think most people who have experienced the effects of traumatic brain injury to a family member or loved one will always hold those memories of before, during and the new normal after. It is a life changing moment that begins with fear and prayers for survival, wishing it had never happened and then acceptance and hope for the future.
Brain injury is very unique to each survivor as the trauma that occurs is caused by a specific accident and no two events are exactly alike. In Fritz’s case, he and the kids were sitting on a bridge stopped in traffic when a semi traveling too fast in the opposite direction neglected to brake soon enough and jackknifed directly into our Camry at the driver’s side. The truck hit Fritz with such force that he experienced brain sheer and a subdural hematoma. After emergency brain surgery which included removal of dead brain tissue due to the hematoma, it took two weeks before Fritz was stable enough to be sent to Marianjoy for rehabilitation. He had to relearn to sit up, eat, talk, walk and regain the most basic physical and mental capabilities that were second nature in his prior life.
Acute rehabilitation lasted four weeks and he was able to come home while continuing outpatient rehab for another six months. Due to the care and support required to manage Fritz’s recovery, attending to the emotional scars that my young children experienced and managing our home and finances without a partner, I lost my job. Brain injury has many victims. At 39 years of age, Fritz had been a very successful sales professional who sold very technical Cisco networking solutions to CFO’s and CIO’s of various companies. Since that time, he was never able to maintain a job of any kind due to the deficits from his injury. He has to be on several medications to manage his behavior and treat epilepsy caused by scar tissue in his brain. He has been back to Marianjoy for rehabilitation twice due to falls that resulted in additional brain damage.
The family held together through all of this change and created a new life by pursuing a dream that Jane and Fritz had always wanted. They purchased property in Hampshire, IL in 2001 and built their equestrian business called Serosun Farms. Working outside doing farm work and taking care of horses was very therapeutic for all. Giving Fritz a safe place where he could still work in a supportive environment. A happy place for the kids to grow up and thrive.
It has been a long 20 years, but we keep moving forward. Fritz has still maintained a positive attitude despite the limitations he endures. His outgoing personality that made him the life of the party and always the top salesman wherever he worked still remains. His love and knowledge of the NFL has kept him competitive in his Fantasy League as his friends can attest! His children have grown to be compassionate adults who understand the challenges life can bring as they’ve seen their father live with disability.
The reality and challenge for most TBI survivors is financial difficulty. The costs associated with ongoing care, physical rehabilitation, medications, psychiatrists, neurologists, hospitalization, etc. is great and can be overwhelming. Everyone deserves a quality life and we support fund raising for organizations devoted to helping TBI survivors and their families. The more help and rehabilitative support as well as social programs for this population can restore hope, capabilities and happiness. We want to help others to thrive as this has been our life’s work for Fritz.
Thanks for reading our story.
Jane Stickland (Fritz’s wife)
New Equestrian Services coming soon!!
Serosun Farms Equine Services is excited to announce the launch of a new wellness program at Serosun Farms Equestrian Center. Ultimate horse care and welfare has always been the goal for Jane Stickland throughout her forty four year equestrian career.
From managing a barn and show team in high school, to running a horse sales and training business in various locales and in 2001 building the Serosun Farms world class equestrian facility, she has always pursued excellence in horse care and management as the basis for competitive success.
Jane’s experience was focused on hunters and jumpers in the 1970’s, eventing in the 1970’s to 2000 and importing jumpers from Europe since 2001. Her experience in training numerous horses over the years has given her diverse challenges as no two horses are exactly alike in physical and mental capacity. “It’s the old saying of if I had the tools and knowledge that I have now back in the day!” per Jane. “Keeping event horses sound in the old three-day format and jumpers at the low/high/grand prix level requires a lot of knowledge and attention to detail. The technical level that the horses need to reach is the same but the path to get there has to be tailored to the individual horse. These horses are essentially professional athletes and need to be managed accordingly because the availability to continue training is required to reach the upper levels. The more time the horses are sidelined with injuries sets the program back and ultimately can limit how far they go.”
So to get to the crux of what would be ideal is they don’t get injured in the first place. This really applies to all horses, competitive or not because people make the investment to own a horse to enjoy the riding experience and if all your doing is spending money on vet bills, it’s not much fun.
Jane wanted to have success and longevity with her horses in competition but always believed she would inevitably reach those goals if her horses were foremost happy and healthy in their job. So to get to where Serosun Farms Equine Services is today is the constant search for better ways to manage supportive equine therapies that are non-invasive, drug free, stress free, targeted and most effective.
The time has arrived to share the knowledge and expertise we have brought together through our new Cutting Edge Laser Therapy Services (www.celasers.com) and the collaboration of our Equine Wellness partners. The three general pillars that laser therapy provides great benefit to the equine athlete are:
- Accelerate the rehabilitation and healing of many common lameness disorders.
- Maintain the peak performance with any equine athletic discipline.
- Prevent the occurrence or recurrence of athletic injuries.
One of the most important aspects of equine sports medicine includes the maintenance of these athletes at their highest level of performance. Deep-tissue laser therapy is an invaluable tool for this endeavor. All athletes have to endure the rigors of training. This training results in pain and soreness. Periodic therapeutic laser applications allow these equine athletes to recover faster and therefore train more efficiently.
The ability to use laser therapy to prevent injuries is often overlooked or even considered non-efficacious. How important would it be to establish blood flow and elasticity within the tissues of the suspensory tendon, in an equine athlete that is predisposed to stress in this anatomical area, before a competitive event? Deep penetrating laser therapy accomplishes this goal as well as providing muscle tissue therapy to support the joints and keep the horses moving at their optimal level.
An analogy to this application is currently being used by athletic trainers. A high percentage of Major League Baseball pitchers are having a therapy session applied to both shoulders and elbows before their scheduled start. This preventive application technique has allowed them to warm up more efficiently and perform at a higher level. After the game, these same pitchers receive additional treatment to allow them to recover faster and stay in the starting rotation.
In summary, Laser therapy is a very effective and safe therapy and is cumulative in effect. Each treatment is complementary to the last on a cellular level. Each case is unique and a therapeutic goal/plan will be established setting realistic expectations for the owner or trainer. Proper shoeing, dental care and saddle fitting are imperative to achieving optimal results. A few of our wellness partners include a top class chiropractic practitioner and long line rehab and training services.We are currently using the laser now with amazing results. Jane has received her MLS laser therapy training and certification and is actively treating horses at this time. There is a grand opening educational event and celebration with wine and appetizers taking place on Thursday, June 28 starting at 5:00 p.m. There will be guest speakers, demonstrations and representatives of the Cutting Edge Laser Therapy product attending as well as Serosun wellness partners. To find out additional information about these exciting services or to attend the event, contact Jane Stickland at 847-922-9809.
Here is an interesting article on one of the new faces of agriculture – regenerative agriculture. There are a lot of interesting things happening and organic may not be the “be all end all” in terms of turning our food system and farm system around.
Hey all you millennials. Here’s your opportunity to live on the farm without the work. Check out Serosun Farms Real Estate at www.serosunliving.com
The Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers just published their Fall Newsletter. There is a great article about Agrihoods and mentions Serosun Farms. Click here to view the article… ASCE Article
Great Daily Herald article by Sherry Giewald about energy saving building practices. Swainson’s House at Serosun Farms is used as an example of a high performance luxury home. Click here to read more…
The Design Team
In building a sustainable home, the work starts with the architect and builder designing the home. The architect/builder design team plays a critical role in successfully implementing a sustainable home. There are three key areas that they need to address:
- Efficient design – An efficient design makes the best possible use of space and building materials, and reduces the ongoing need for energy and water in the operation of the home.
- Effective design – Effective design of the living space accommodates the lifestyle of the owners and creates a comfortable space in which to live. An effective design also optimizes the use of the home site and integrates sustainable components into the building’s design.
- Flexible design – Design in the home that is flexible to give it the ability to accommodate changes in the owner’s lifestyle and to adopt new technologies and approaches to sustainable building in the future.
It is important to have the home design reviewed by green building experts and technology vendors to help ensure that the sustainable elements can be easily and successfully integrated into the home and that effective cost/benefit decisions have been made. Because our team has these experts, and because they have an established working relationship, we can do this quickly and efficiently.
The Construction Team
Beyond the initial design, the Builder plays a key role in successfully creating a sustainable home through its construction. Many of the most cost effective elements of a sustainable program revolve around good building practices, which we must rely on the builder to implement. The builder is also responsible for selecting and managing the core subcontractor trades that implement the many sustainable elements of the home. The builder and these trades must be educated and experienced with sustainable approaches, and must be able to work well with each other and with the vendors of the green products and technologies that are being integrated into the home. These subcontractors include the trades involved in site preparation, framing and carpentry, roofing, plumbing systems, electrical systems, and ducting. Our green team ensures builder and subcontractor awareness of our sustainability requirements and facilitates effective cooperation of all of the contributors.
Our sustainable building partners, or Green Building Team, include a number of consultants, contractors and vendors that provide the expertise, technology, products, and services to implement the various sustainable elements of the home. It is important that these team members work closely with the architect, builder, and trades since these elements often require changes to traditional building practices, have to interact with multiple other elements of the home, and have special requirements which, if not appropriately addressed, may lower the performance of the home.
Quality Control is important in ensuring that the systems are properly installed and functioning optimally. Testing, inspection and validation of construction work is important to ensure that the home systems are performing effectively. While this is generally a good building practice, it is critical in this instance to ensure that a high-performance home is working as it should. We require that a third party vendor reviews all design plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the design and its expected performance. We also require that a third party vendor inspects the implementation of the building elements, with onsite inspections during construction, and inspection and testing of the building at the completion of construction, to ensure that the building performs to expectations.
A key factor in the success of a high performance home is its operation. Owners play an important role in the sustainable home by the choices they make in the design phase as well through the practices that they adopt in living in and maintaining their homes. At Serosun Farms we help ensure success of the homeowner through education and awareness, but also by making it easy to maintain each high-performance home. To get the most out of your high performance home you need to understand how to effectively set up and control its many features. We require that the builders educate the homeowner on how to operate, maintain, and maximize the benefits of each sustainable and high-performance element of their home. The home automation systems we require in our homes allow its green systems to be more easily controlled. Because many of the key elements and products are common among the homes on the Estate at Serosun Farms, our homeowners association can use master maintenance contracts to efficiently and cost effectively manage the ongoing inspection, operation, and maintenance of many of the home elements such as septic systems, water systems, geothermal systems, solar systems, and landscaping maintenance.
Management of the Sustainable Building Program at Serosun Farms
The Serosun Farms community is a farm estate with many residents living amongst a sustainable farm, equestrian center, and natural open space. The community is managed by the Estate, which controls the development and ultimate operation of the community and farm. Estate operations are managed by the Serosun Farms Estate Board and Estate Manager. The estate has a number of tools it uses to implement its sustainable programs. These include the Serosun Farms Sustainable Community Plan and its Green and Sustainable Building Plan. The estate controls the Estate and Residential CC&R’s as well as the Serosun Farms Design Guidelines, and it selects the Serosun Farms Design Review Committee that manages these guidelines. These CC&R’s and Design Guidelines control all building on the estate. The Design Review Committee reviews and approves the plans for all homes built on the estate and evaluates them for their adherence to the Design Guidelines. Through these guidelines the sustainable elements of the green building program are specified and goals are set for home performance. The Guidelines are flexible to allow for the ongoing advances in sustainable and high-performance home building technology.
Sustainable home building is most successful when you have an integrated team designing and building the home. Serosun Farms has created a Green Building Team that is managed through a central program designed to provide the latest in tried and tested products and technology. This team includes Master Builders, architects, tradesman, and vendors who work together to design and build high-performance homes consistently and economically. They have been selected because they are the leading providers of these products and services in the Midwest and their products are both well designed and cost effective. Ask your sales person for a listing of the Serosun Farms Green Team members and the services, technologies, and products they provide.
The Estate also has established the Serosun Farms Builders Council. The Builders Council drives the Green Building Program and the selection and management of the Green Building partners. The Builders Council also reviews and approves all builders that work on the estate. If a lot owner selects a builder that is not already part of the Preferred Builder Program at Serosun Farms, they must first be reviewed and approved by the Builder Council and understand and agree to the green building program at Serosun Farms. This ensures that all homes on the estate are completed by builders who can not only deliver homes with the level of quality expected, but who are also capable of adhering to the sustainable building program design elements and practices.
Serosun Farms also utilizes several outside organizations for guidance, education, and support in its Green Building Program. These include the US Green Building Council and its LEED program, NAHB and its Green Build program, US EPA and its Energy Star Program, Conservation Foundation’s Conservation @ Home Program, and others. While we don’t require homes to be certified under these programs, their guidelines are very helpful and homes meeting the Serosun Farms Green Building Program requirements should meet their certification requirements at the highest levels.
We will be building several homes over the course of the development that will be used not only as models, but also as homes that will demonstrate the ease of use and effectiveness of our sustainable building elements. These efforts will also help us to continue to develop and train our team, as well to provide an opportunity to try out new technology, techniques, and products to ensure that they meet our standards for performance and cost effectiveness. These models also will serve as educational centers for sustainable building practices.
The Core Elements of Sustainable Home Building Design
We organize our approach around four core, interconnected areas that should be considered in designing, building, and operating sustainable homes: Resource Conservation, Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, and Environmental Quality. Many of the products, technologies and building techniques that we have selected address multiple areas within this list.
- Resource Conservation – Resource conservation focuses on reducing the demand that home construction and operation have on resources in general and, in particular, on non-renewable resources that are used to build and operate the home. This means reducing both the amount of resources used and the waste generated by manufacturing the materials used to build and outfit the home, by the construction process, and finally by living in and operating the home. Specific areas of focus include:
- Efficient Design – Design efficiency means creating homes that are right sized for the resident’s needs and that are efficiently designed to minimize the amount of materials, such as wood and concrete, needed to build the home.
- Use of Resilient or Durable Materials, Durable Design, Durable Construction Techniques – A durable home lasts longer, requires less maintenance, uses less materials over the life of the home, and generates less solid waste by reducing the need for replacing and repairing worn or failing components.
- Use of Materials and Material Manufacturers who employ the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Green building can reduce the resource load of the house on the environment by selecting materials and products for the home that come from manufacturers who utilize the 3 R’s. They have reduced their consumption of resources by reducing the amount of materials incorporated in their products, reusing materials, and/or incorporating recycled materials and other waste streams as inputs into the production of their products.
- Use of products from renewable resources – The selection of materials and products that utilize renewable and rapidly renewable resources, such as wood from sustainably managed forests or rapidly renewable resources such as bamboo. These materials generally do not contribute to the depletion of our natural resource pool.
- Use of locally or regionally sourced resources and materials – The use of materials and products that are produced within 500 miles of the site reduces the energy requirements for transportation and helps support local businesses and the local economy.
- Waste reduction and recycling – Reuse and recycling of waste materials generated from the construction of the home and from the operation of the home lowers the solid waste burden on landfills and provide a source of materials for use in new green products.
- Energy Conservation – Energy conservation focuses on reducing the energy consumed by the home and its inhabitants as well as substituting clean and renewable energy sources for traditional ‘dirty’ energy sources. There are several concomitant benefits that include a smaller carbon footprint for the home and its inhabitants, less air and water pollution generated by the home, and the improved comfort and health of its inhabitants. The elements of energy conservation are generally applied in the following order:
- Passive Design Techniques – Passive solar design elements take advantage of sun and shade to heat and/or cool the home and include building orientation, window and eave design and placement, landscape design, and the use of thermal masses to store and radiate heat.
- Thermal Efficiency – Thermal efficiency starts with the shell of the home and includes the selection of improved traditional or advanced framing systems, insulated foundations, advanced insulation systems, along with thermally efficient windows, doors, skylights, and roofing systems. It also includes good, quality building techniques and materials such as adequate caulking, moisture control systems, etc. These elements are cost effective and can reduce heating and air conditioning loads by 40-60% over traditionally-built homes.
- Energy Efficient Elements – Use of high efficiency lighting, appliances, and other electrical systems to reduce electrical loads of the home, energy efficient water heating systems and The use of management systems such as home automation and automated lighting systems can optimize the use of energy by lighting systems, home heating and cooling systems, and other appliances and energy-consuming elements in the home.
- Alternative Energy Sources – The integration and use of clean, renewable energy sources available on the site including geothermal heating and air conditioning (ground source heat pumps), solar thermal (hot water) and photovoltaic (solar electric) systems, and small scale wind generators.
- Water Conservation – Water conservation includes reducing the amount of water consumed by the home and its inhabitants. It also includes reducing the homes impact on the local watershed and aquifer.
- Efficient Water Use – Low flow fixtures, water efficient appliances, efficient irrigation systems, and gray water systems all aim to reduce the overall consumption of water.
- Water capture/reuse – Rain harvesting systems that capture rainfall for reuse in irrigation reduce storm water runoff and increase water infiltration. Gray water systems similarly capture useable wastewater for irrigation.
- Water Quality management – High-efficiency water purification systems for potable water and use of a variety of techniques, from high-efficiency septic systems to landscaping elements, can be used to clean water infiltrating into the aquifer and water discharging to the watershed.
- Storm water management – Managing the storm water runoff from the home means improving both its quality and the timing of its release into the watershed to more closely match the characteristics of the natural runoff cycle. Landscaping elements such as rain gardens, permeable surfaces, rainwater infiltration systems, and other approaches turn water that would normally become surface runoff into a resource that waters trees, recharges groundwater, and provides a longer-term water source for streams. These approaches function to improve water quality by removing some pollutants from the runoff as it infiltrates the ground.
- Environmental Quality – This broad catchall for a variety of micro- and macro-environmental goals focuses on reducing or eliminating the impact of housing and house building on the natural and human environment. These include:
- Indoor environmental quality – Improvements in the environmental quality of life for people living in green homes may arise from improved indoor air quality, improved ventilation, etc. Approaches include the use of low VOC materials in home construction and finishing, solar/natural lighting systems, automated ventilation control systems, etc.
- Pollution Prevention/Reduction – The goal here is to limit the pollution that the home and its inhabitants create either directly from the operation of the home (e.g., energy use) or indirectly from the production of the products used in home construction.
- Habitat Protection/Development – Backyard habitat programs, the use of native plantings in landscaping, and other mitigating efforts can not only limit the impact a home has on the natural environment but can even improve local conditions.
- Soil and Water Conservation – The impact of the construction and operation of the home on soils and watersheds can be reduced or eliminated by limiting erosion, improving rainwater infiltration, and cleaning all runoff from the home site before it is discharged into the watershed.