Bloom Where You're Planted Farm

  (Avoca, Nebraska)
A family-owned educational farm & pumpkin patch near Avoca, Nebraska
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2014 already?

Where does the time go?  It was September the last time I blogged, and we were counting down to our 9th pumpkin season.  Now all that seems long ago and we're already planning for 2014, working on taxes and looking forward to upcoming shows and conventions.

We had a very good fall season.  The weather was nice through most of it, which makes a difference with both attendance AND our attitudes.  Let's face it -- sitting outside at the admissions counter or driving the hay rack ride is much more enjoyable and easy on the body when it's not cold or raining!

The pumpkins did very well and we sold more of our own farm-raised, big, gorgeous Jack-O-Lanterns and heirloom varieties than ever.  We did run out of most of our squash varieties due to some problems with where they were planted, so we'll work to remedy that for next season. 

If you visited this fall you probably noticed that we added a lot more antique and vintage merchandise to the store, as well as decor and displays around the farm.  This new junkin' adventure of ours (we hosted two "Rural Route Rust" vendor markets, the summer Barn Sale, and were vendors at 4 shows) has been a lot of fun for us and extended the amount of customers we reach, both here on the farm and as we travel.  We hope it's been a fun addition for our farm visitors as well.  Our next Rural Route Rust sale on the farm is April 12th.

We'll be doing some traveling soon, as we head to the NAFDMA (North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Assoc.) conference for our first time -- this is the granddaddy of all agritourism conferences and we're excited to finally be able to attend.  We look forward to bringing tons of great ideas back with us for 2014 and beyond.  We're also taking Rural Route Rust on the road to a couple of shows in Missouri later this month and in February.

Thank you for your support of our business.  We wish you a happy, healthy New Year!

 --Teresa and Terry

 


 

 

 

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Counting Down!!

Our ninth-annual Pumpkin Festival begins in just over two weeks!  On Saturday, September 21st we open the doors for another pumpkin season. This week I've been working in the store, shopping for supplies, marketing, and getting the Schoolhouse Cafe ready to go.  Terry has been tending to the animals, building a porch swing, doing farm maintenance and helping out at his parents' farm as his dad is out of commission for awhile. There is quite a bit on our to-do list, but as of right now it seems manageable.  

That can always change, though, as it did the year a big hail and wind storm hit five days before we opened for the season.  You just never know what will happen when the success of your business is largely dependent on the weather!  Thankfully it has been a good year for growing pumpkins and we are excited by what we see in the patch.  There are some huge, beautiful orange pumpkins as well as lots of different and interesting heirloom varieties (white, red, tan, blue/green, flat, warty...it's hard to pick a favorite!)

We're looking forward to a fun season and can't wait to see you SOON at the farm! 

 

 

 
 

Late summer on the farm

August and September are two of my favorite months here on the farm. Being in the pumpkin patch business I love October, too, but it comes with mixed emotions of the season drawing to a close.  August and September are busy and sometimes stressful, but I love the anticipation of another Pumpkin Festival approaching.

August begins with the county fair, which is going on now.  I harvested our first pumpkin of the season yesterday to take to the fair.  Cutting that first stem of the season and carrying the "prize" back to the house is still exciting and very rewarding.  The pumpkin, squash and gourd vines grow visibly every day and the fruits are forming nicely.  It's been a little on the dry side, but we were lucky to have rain last week and it is WAY better than last summer's drought.  And, we planted more ground than ever before so are hoping for a big harvest.  

August also brings lots of planning and to-do lists.  We start working a little harder and faster to get everything done as our Sept. 21 opening day draws closer.  We've been doing a lot of weeding out in the U-pick patch.  I've been ordering merchandise and looking for vendors selling local crafts.  And, I've been talking to our seasonal employees and working out their schedules for the season.  

With the start of school we'll soon be hearing from teachers booking field trips and groups booking campfire parties.  If you're thinking of scheduling something it is never too early to contact us -- be sure you get your preferred date and call soon! 

Things are coming along, but there is always something to do.  Once we hit September it really becomes crunch time, so I'm trying to get as much done this month as I can and enjoy the process.  Pumpkin season is what we live for and I'm trying to savor the anticipation.    

We look forward to seeing you soon at the farm! 

  

 
 

Early Summer Adventures

May and June have been a whirlwind and it is hard to believe July is just a week away.  This has been a busy and exciting time on the farm as pumpkin planting time just ended.  We started planting May 24 with some of the longer season hardshell (big green) gourds.  They require about 120 days to mature, and we always try to time our plantings out with opening day of pumpkin season, so things are ripe just in time but not too early/late.

The bulk of our planting was done on June 3.  It was a long day with the tractor and planter.  Terry's parents were generous enough to let us plant a big plot on their farm and we're excited about what this land can yield for us if nature cooperates.

Final planting of shorter season squash and the tunnel and walls in the gourd garden was finished last week.  Everything is coming up beautifully and we're very thankful for the rain and warm temperatures which have been perfect for pumpkin germination and growth.  We planted a total of 39 varieties of pumpkins, winter squash and gourds and look forward to a lot of variety this fall.

Our junkin' adventure continues, too.  We did a little flea market festival at Christ Lutheran Church on June 8.  We had a good time at this very well-run event and made good sales of our farm relics/vintage/antique/"junque" merchandise before we were rained out late-morning.  June 14-16 was Junk Jubilee West in Lincoln, NE, our first big show.  We set up a 12 ft. by 22 ft. mini-store for three days and really enjoyed all the customers and other vendors we met.  We handed out a ton of cards advertising the Pumpkin Festival and our second Rural Route Rust Sale scheduled for Nov. 2 & 3.  We continue to "pick" and search for more great merchandise when we're not busy tending to the crops and farm animals.  The barn this fall will be stuffed with new-old stuff as well as our usual selection of seasonal gifts and decor.

JULY 13 is our Barn Sale.  8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  Shop for vintage items, antiques and GOOD JUNK. Come out to score that perfect piece for your home or yard. There will even be a rough room/sale area. Hot dogs, chips, cold drinks & baked goods will be available.  Also enjoy the Kids Corral, swings, and farm animals.  Admission is FREE.

We hope to see you soon on the farm! 

 A bit of our booth at Junk Jubilee West...

 

 
 

Rural Route Rust & Spring on the Farm

About three weeks ago we hosted our first Rural Route Rust sale here at the farm.  We had an absolute blast as fourteen vendors joined us for a celebration of rusty gold.  Vendors brought their antique, rustic, vintage, upcycled/repurposed, primitive, and handmade merchandise, and although we didn't get an exact count we estimate around 750 shoppers turned out for the sale.  As we plan our next events (the Pumpkin Festival begins Sept. 21, and the Fall/Holiday Rural Route Rust Sale is planned for Nov. 2-3), I wanted to share some photos of the spring sale, plus a shot or two of our beloved farm animals enjoying the Springtime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 * * * * * * * * * * 

And now some animal goodness...

 

 

 

"Do you ever get that feeling like you're being followed?"

 

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Bring on Spring!

We survived the long winter, and although we're still melting from a surprise snowstorm over the weekend we know Spring is just around the corner!

We had a very successful fall 2012 season.  So many new friends came to the farm and we are thankful for each and every one!  We were also thankful for each and every pumpkin after a summer of drought.  As of today we are just over 6 months from doing it all over again and although it might be another dry year, pumpkins are pretty resilient and we have high hopes. We're waiting on one more seed catalog and should have our ordering done soon.  Late May/early June is planting time for our pumpkins, squash and gourds, and we can't wait to get out in the dirt again.

We spent the winter building a different part of our business, one which has always been in the background but is stepping to the forefront for our off-season.  If you've been to our gift shop or in the pumpkin barn you know we love to collect farm primitives, antiques, and fun rusty stuff (like the clawfoot bathtub we keep our mini pumpkins in, or all the old farm tools and signs hanging around the barn).  We've always kept a small inventory for sale in the store, but we've been collecting and searching all winter and now have a big, fun pile of "good JUNK"!  

On April 13 & 14, 2013, we're opening the barn doors and farm gates for our first-annual Rural Route Rust sale. Besides for our own selection of primitives, garden junk, "man-tiques", vintage textiles and kitchen goods, repurposed lighting, industrial accents, and leather cuffs handmade from vintage belts, we've rounded up about a dozen other vendors that share our love of this kind of merchandise.  There will be a great selection of vintage, antique, repurposed, upcycled and handmade goodies and we're excited to support our fellow small-businesspeople while providing a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for our visitors.

We'll be holding our annual spring open house in conjunction with the sale.  The Schoolhouse Cafe will be open, serving chicken salad sandwiches, soup, hot dogs, pie, brownie sundaes and other homemade yummies all day long, and the young and young-at-heart can explore the farm and visit the horses, goats, chickens & cows.  Admission is free all weekend, and hours are 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.  

We're currently booking field trips and parties for fall 2013, so contact us anytime to be sure you get the best dates.  Whether in April for the Rural Route Rust Sale & Spring Open House, or in September for the Pumpkin Festival, we look forward to seeing you soon at the farm! 

 
 

Just a few more days!

Our 8th annual Pumpkin Festival starts this coming Saturday, Sept. 15!  We had a very long but productive weekend working on some of the last-minute things that need to be finished before we welcome visitors.  I spent most of my time in the gift shop and as of a few minutes ago it is ready to go.  I'm excited about our new merchandise including a cute selection of owl-themed fall decor, a line of scented mug mats and matching flour sack towels, handmade scarves, baby hats and girls' hair clips and accessories, and new flavors of the popular Nebraska-made HR Poppin' Snacks flavored popcorn -- Camo is fun, and the Kandy Korn is almost too pretty to eat.

Terry spent a lot of time with his power washer today, cleaning the corn crib, picnic tables, and hay racks.  There's such a list of little things like that which we do so the farm looks tip-top for our visitors.   Attention to detail is very important to us and we take pride in keeping everything neat, tidy and well-maintained.  Terry is almost done with the new corn stalk teepee and hay climb with slide, and the rubber duck races are now set up, too. 

Tomorrow we'll finish cleaning out the Pumpkin Barn to give us a place to put all the pumpkins, squash and gourds we'll be harvesting later in the week. In a couple days we'll head to Missouri for our beautiful mums, and then continue crossing every last item off the to-do list.

We hope to see you soon on the farm!  Don't forget that opening weekend, Sept. 15-16, is our Early Bird weekend.  The Early Bird gets the worm -- free gummy worms, that is -- plus will get first-dibs on this year's crop, 10% off gift shop purchases, and can enter a drawing for free tickets for a return trip.  All attractions will be open, so be here and be the first to enjoy them!

We hope to see you soon at our Nebraska pumpkin farm!

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Counting Down...

When we get into the month of August we usually start our countdown.  How many days until opening day of the pumpkin patch season?  How long do we have to get everything on the "To Do" list finished?  There's a list on our refrigerator door with the days written out and we cross one off each night....30...29...28...27...

As of today we have 26 days to go.  Anything under one month really starts to feel like crunch-time.  The weather has been nice lately (that's one positive aspect of not getting any rain!) so we've been accomplishing a lot.  There's always some maintenance/fix-up issues to tackle, as well as building of new attractions, cleaning, mulching, painting signs, more cleaning, marketing, phone calls, arranging employee schedules, setting up the gift shop, planting flowers, etc.  As we get down to the last 10 or 14 days we'll start decorating around the farm, setting up attractions like the duck races, wheelbarrel maze and corn box, moving fences, getting the nature trail in shape, buying groceries and supplies, picking produce...

It's a lot to do but definitely exciting for us.  After the trying summer we've had, filled with record heat and worry about the drought, we're thankful fall is almost here.  We work all year for the moment when we get to open our doors to our wonderful customers once again.  So, see you in 26 days, and counting!

 

    

 
 

Late Summer

Despite how terribly dry and hot it has been this summer, our pumpkins have survived and seem to have fruited pretty well.  The drought continues but the temperatures have finally cooled off so they continue to bloom and grow.  We did lose some plants as we always do to bugs--and maybe drought--and the pumpkins may not be quite as large this year, but we will certainly be thankful for each and every one!  We continue to pray for rain to help them finish strong. 

It feels like fall this morning so I headed out with my camera to document their progress.  Our 8th Annual Pumpkin Festival opens September 15th...just over a month away!  There's much to do but we love the excitement that comes with getting ready to finally open our doors to our beloved visitors!

The gourd garden has new wood chips and is coming along nicely!

 

Bees are busy pollinating the pretty pumpkin blossoms...Did you know squash bees wait inside the flower for the blossoms to close, then stay there until the next morning when it's time to do more pollinating?

       

These photos show just some of the varieties we are growing:  Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins (a few which are ripening already), Black Futsu squash, Butternut squash, Cheese pumpkins, Hooligas, and mini bottle gourds which are new this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have lots of favorite varieties, but it's always fun when last year's cross-pollinated seeds "volunteer" in the patch.  You get some really unique results which are always popular with shoppers.  Here's an example:

 

See you in just over a month at our Nebraska Pumpkin Patch!

 

 

 
 

Mid-Summer

Mid-July already?  What??  I can't seem to believe it's this time of year already, although the signs are all there.  The cicadas are singing, we ate our first BLTs yesterday with our homegrown tomatos, the corn is all tassled and the pumpkins are blooming and starting to fruit.

Here are some photos of mid-summer on the farm.  65 days until the opening of our eighth-annual Pumpkin Festival!

 

First Gourd Harvest of the Season!  This one grew as a volunteer on our burn pile.

Our first effort at broom corn looks like it will be a success! 

Dave and Buster moved in with Gabby and they're getting along well.

 

 

 

Vines are starting to cover the gourd tunnel.  That's a 'Silver Edge' pumpkin (a new variety for us) growing in front.

New planter around the sign at the end of our driveway

 

 

 

 

Have a great summer!  Hope to see you soon on the farm!

 
 

Photos from Last Fall

Going through my Fall 2012 Pumpkin Festival photos and thought I'd share a few -- with the 100+ degree weather today we need something cooler to think about!

 

 

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Early Summer

I'd better start this post with a little prayer of thanks for the 1.5 inches of rain we got Sunday night.  This was the driest its ever been at planting time, and we desperately needed a rain to wet the soil so the pumpkin seeds could germinate.  Pumpkin plants can tolerate pretty dry conditions, but without moist soil the seeds won't sprout.  Now with the rain our seedlings should be popping out in 5-7 days!

We planted 35 different varieties of produce:  orange (Jack-O-Lantern & pie) pumpkins, heirloom pumpkins, small gourds, large hardshell gourds, and squash.  We always try to add a couple new varieties and I'm excited about this year's additions.

The pumpkins we planted in early May are doing well.  These will hopefully yield some beauties to take to our county fair.  The broom corn is also looking good and should be a cool addition to our fall decor.

A.J. the calf and our four new chicks are growing and thriving.  Check out our Facebook page for their latest photos.  www.facebook.com/bloomwhereyoureplantedfarm

On June 9 we drove near Yutan to pick up two new goats.  They're pygmy/fainting goat crosses, males about five months old.  They're super cute but not very fond of humans yet.  We'll have to bribe them with food until we're able to pet and handle them better.  By fall they should be very friendly and happy to eat out of visitors' hands!  We're having a naming contest on Facebook.  Submit your suggestions, we'll put them up for a vote, and the winner(s) will receive free admission to the Pumpkin Festival!

Watch for us in the Weeping Water Limestone Day and Murdock 4th of July parades.  Have a great summer, and we hope to see you soon on the farm! 

 

 
 

Young'uns

In the past five days, our farm family has grown by as many members. On Thursday evening our heifer Alice had her first calf, a little bull.  Alice had some trouble "letting down" her milk -- although her udder was full, the little guy wasn't getting anything, no matter how hard he tried.  After a few bottle feedings for Junior and a drive to the vet's office for a shot for Alice, we're back in business.  We let the pair of them out into the big pen this afternoon and he was running around, kicking up his heels in the sunshine.

 

On Friday I drove to Elmwood-Murdock elementary school where my niece Grace is in preschool.  Their class had incubated some eggs and the chicks hatched on Monday.  By Friday they were ready to go to their "adopted" homes.  We got four chicks, all different types.  As of today they're one week old.  It's funny to watch them scratching and pecking in their bedding looking for lunch, and pecking at dirt specks on the walls of their tub in case they might be bugs.

Besides our furry and feathery new additions, we have some other exciting young'uns on the farm.  We planted our first pumpkins last week, and the seedlings have emerged.  These are just the first of many thousands we'll plant this year!

 

 

 
 

And It Begins...

Yesterday was a milestone for us -- the first planting of the year!  We started a new garden spot out near our chicken house, and planted two types of tomatoes and sweet red peppers.  We also planted a couple rows of the broom corn seed that I bought last year but couldn't find a spot to plant.  I'm excited about the broom corn and think it will be a nice addition to the fall decorations we sell at the pumpkin patch.

In the same garden we planted a row of Big Moon (giant) pumpkins and a row of my favorite Jack-O-Lantern-sized variety.  The Big Moon need 120 days to grow, so need to be planted early in order to be ready by pumpkin patch time.  We haven't had the best of luck with these the past couple of years.  Hopefully with a new garden spot where we can watch more carefully for bugs and other problems we'll get some this season.  The Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins only need 95 days but we're planting early in hopes of having some ready to enter at the Cass County Fair in August.

In the raised bed in our gourd garden area we planted strawberries.  We've been planning to do this for the past couple of years and haven't succeeded until now.  This long, warm Spring really has been helpful, giving us extra time to get things done before the rollercoaster of pumpkin planting and tending (AKA weeding) begins.

As Terry said last night, after we came in with the season's first dirt-filled socks and shoes and pant knees needing "Shout" to remove the dirt stains,  "And it begins...".  But, these are the times we wait for all year long and we always look forward with hope for a good crop we can share with all our wonderful customers this fall!

 

 
 

We're Still Here!

Well, I'm ashamed of myself, but I haven't written a new blog entry since summertime!  I've missed it and am glad to be back.  We'll blame my lapse on a busy fall season and some fairly uneventful winter months. 

We have had a pretty incredible winter here in southeast Nebraska.  Terry and I went to a nearby state park and hiked on New Year's Eve in mid-50-degree weather!  And that was just the start of some unseasonably warm weeks.  This winter has been much easier to take than some, and now that the geese are starting to return (and my bulbs are even pushing foliage up out of the ground!) we can look forward to springtime and the promise of good things to come.

We appreciate every single customer that visited during our seventh-annual Pumpkin Festival, and have some fun ideas up our sleeves for 2012.  I've actually made one new gift shop merchandise order already, and have a goal of choosing and ordering this year's pumpkin seeds before the weekend is over.  The first auction of the season is Saturday and we're looking forward to finding some goodies to add to the collection of antiques and primitives we've been buying for the gift shop throughout the winter.

We hope you're all well and look forward to keeping you updated about our plans for the farm.  Think Spring!

 

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