Bloom Where You're Planted Farm

  (Avoca, Nebraska)
A family-owned educational farm & pumpkin patch near Avoca, Nebraska
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Family Time

One of the best things about running our pumpkin patch business is that every fall we become the place where our families and friends tend to gather.  We have places to entertain (without even needing to clean the house!) and lots of folks who we don't see very often usually stop by this time of year.

This was the case last Sunday when we celebrated my grandma's 85th birthday.  We took a hay ride, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire, and ended the evening with cake in the schoolhouse.

My niece Grace helps Grandma blow out the candles. 


We really had a neat mix of relatives and near-relatives all together that day.  Not only were the Jacobsons gathered for the birthday celebration, but my Aunt Cathy's mother (not an official family member, but I've called her "Grandma Stine" all my life) and Cathy's sister Ellen were there.  Our brother-in-law Greg (married to Terry's sister), niece Zoe and newphew Luke happened to come by at the same time.  Everyone was on the hay ride together, and I realized how special that was and felt fortunate that we could have that experience.  Just a perk of the job, I guess! 


Grace (aged 3 1/2) gets a ride from Luke (20 months) - -what a little stud! 


P.S. -- I'm SORRY it has been SO long since my last blog entry!  It was a busy couple months getting the pumpkin patch ready for our Sept. 18 opening, but things have settled into a pattern now and I hope to blog more often.  This Sunday is our Fifth Anniversary Bash, celebrating the day we first opened to the public (Oct. 1, 2005).  Here's a complete listing of our upcoming events.  The Pumpkin Festival continues through Halloween.  Hope to see you soon at the farm!

Oct. 3 – Five Year Anniversary Bash! Celebrate the fifth-anniversary of our opening day with free treats, face painters, and a jump-in from the Lincoln Sport Parachute Club!

Oct. 9 – Doggy Day. Bring your canine friends (on their leashes, please) for a day at the farm.  Doggy admission is $4.00 and proceeds will be donated to the Capital Humane Society.  Volunteers from the CHS will be on-site from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with adoptable dogs and information. Dog treats and water dishes will be provided.

Oct. 16 – Ag Day.  Get up close and personal with agriculture!   We will again be partnering with the Conestoga H.S. Future Farmers of America (FFA) to bring you a day filled with agricultural demonstrations, fun farm-themed contests and activities, lots of animals, and many hands-on learning opportunities!

Oct. 30 – Goblin’s Egg Hunt.  The fun begins at 10:30 a.m. with our third-annual hunt (open to children ages 12 & under).  Be there early as the hunt will begin promptly at 10:30. Bring a sack or basket and join the fun!

Oct. 31 – Halloween Party. Children in costume receive a Trick-or-Treat goody bag.  HUGE pumpkin sales and season-end specials in the gift shop! 





Time to get busy again...

Our family took its first "grown up" family vacation last week.  We went to the Manitou Springs, Colorado area with my parents, brother, sister-in-law and niece.  My mom turned 60 in April and this was her belated birthday trip.  It was lots of fun and we enjoyed some quality bonding time.  Here is a photo taken at Eleven Mile Canyon State Park near Lake George, CO.  Terry and I are on the right, in the red and orange.


Now its time to get back to work preparing for our sixth-annual Pumpkin Festival.  Our first order of business will be building a big trellis/tunnel for the Kids' Gourd Garden and planting the gourds.  We've been having nice rains these past couple weeks, and the pumpkins (& unfortunately the weeds, too) are responding well.  There is always some weed or bug control to see to, and every year we have lofty goals to keep on top of it better than the last season.  Will that happen?...?  We'll keep you posted! 

It is never too early to plan your fall party or get-together.  We also do summer field trips and campfire parties -- please let us know if there is anything we can help with.  Hope to see you soon at the farm! 


Twenty-Three Days!

Its just twenty-three days until we open for our fifth pumpkin patch season!  Things have been moving along surprisingly quickly this week, thanks in no small part to my father-in-law, Richard.  A full-time farmer, Richard used to and still does work occasionally as a carpenter.  Both these skills/occupations have been a God-send to us since Terry's accident, as Richard has been putting up our hay and helping Terry build our new hay racks.  Now we have big, round hay bales ready for the kids to play on (and later for the horses to eat), the first hayrack is nearing completion, and as I write this the contractor just pulled in to trench a water line over to the Schoolhouse Cafe!


We're really excited to finally offer hay rides to our customers and think it will be a lot of fun for us as well.  A hay ride ticket will be included with our base admission fee.  The ride will take customers out to our southern pumpkin fields which will now be "U-Pick".  I'm especially looking forward to this, because it will mean less pumpkin picking for me!  :-) 


Here's a glimpse at how the pumpkins are coming along.  They're starting to ripen and are looking forward to going home with our happy customers!


Remembering Grandma

I always seem to get reflective and nostaligc this time of year.  My grandma, who lived on this farm for over 55 years, passed away two years ago this week at the age of 92.  Her name was Florence (Meisinger) Brandt, and she and my grandfather Bill bought this farm in 1944.  They'd been married for several years, and grandpa was anxious to own and work his own land, rather than working for another farmer as he had been doing.  They started their family here, raising my mom and her older sister on the farm. 

Grandpa died in 1973, but Grandma stayed on the farm until the late 1990s when she moved over the hill to my parents' house.  Terry and I bought the acreage a few years later, and Grandma was thrilled to have us living in and caring for her old home.  She didn't even seem to mind that we gutted the whole place and made it completely different than it was.  She realized we needed to make it our own, although she did think we were a little crazy to expose the old ("cold") pine floors rather than recarpeting.

Having grown up just a mile from Grandma's house she was a huge part of our lives.  We almost never had a babysitter -- we went to her house or she came to ours.  She had more faith and love of the bible than anyone else I've known.  She loved music, children, cats and dogs.  I wish that every child could live over the hill from their Grandma's (and/or Grandpa's) house.  It was a great way to grow up.

I learned to be frugal from my grandmother, although not nearly as frugal as someone who lived through the Depression as she did.  As we cleaned out the cupboards and drawers of her house in anticipation of moving in, we found sacks full of old bread bags, piles of used twist-ties, a bag full of slivers of nearly-gone bars of soap, and tons of buttons, zippers, fabric scraps and rags, all kept around "just in case."  It gave me a new appreciation for how lucky we are now.

Living here in this house makes me feel close to her.  Her handwritten sign "Please Close Door Tightly" is still stapled to the back of the basement door.  She loved cats and dogs, but HATED mice.  :-)  I miss her and think of her often, and that sign always makes me smile. 

Thank you for letting me share these memories with you.  Have a great weekend, and stay warm! 



90th birthday, September 2004



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