Bloom Where You're Planted Farm

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

 
 

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!

 

 

 
 

Pumpkin Planting is Done!

As of yesterday, there are just 3 months left until opening day of the 7th season here at our southeast Nebraska pumpkin patch!  I can't believe how fast time can fly.  We've been very busy on the farm and finally got all our pumpkins, squash and gourds planted just a few days ago. 

The weather has been perfect--lots of warm sunshine with just the right amount of rain for the seeds to sprout quickly.  We had some issues with mice and/or voles actually digging our seeds out of the ground and leaving nothing but several seed-sized holes in dozens of hills.  They seemed to particularly like the squash and white pumpkin seeds.  Using traps, poisons, cellophane bags tied to sticks, and repellents, we seem to have that problem licked (we hope!)  So, after re-ordering seeds and replanting, we can move on to the next phase, watching the seedlings sprout and grow while trying to protect them from bugs and keep the weeds under control.

We've started work on several projects including repairs to the barn roof, rebuilding and painting the loading chute (the ramp kids climb on to reach the big round haybales) and fixing fences.  We have all the materials on hand to start building an overhang on the south side of the barn, where we'll move the admissions counter and pumpkin weighing station.  Today we made a trip to Lincoln after landscaping blocks to improve the fire pit.  And, I've started ordering new merchandise for the gift shop.  Its a very busy but exciting time as we work to make the farm and pumpkin patch the best it can be for our fall visitors.

Speaking of visitors, yesterday we hosted a field trip for Sandee's Place daycare out of Lincoln.  There were about a dozen 1-4 year olds who really seemed to enjoy their visits with the horses, goats and chickens.  Their morning ended with a hay ride and sack lunch at the picnic tables.  You can check out the photos on our Facebook page.  So, you don't HAVE to wait until fall to come and visit -- we welcome groups of all ages for field trips or campfire parties in the spring and summer too!  Our website has all the details.  Hope to see you soon at the farm!

 
 

First Spring Photos

I like to document the changes of the seasons here at Bloom Where You're Planted Farm.  Here is photographic proof that spring has arrived!

Jasper and Emmett are enjoying the warm weather from atop their climbing tower.  They've grown a TON since last fall and are starting to shed their thick winter coats.

 

The gourd garden is cleaned up and ready for this summer's crop.  Notice Sully in the distance, wondering what I'm up to now, and if I have anything to eat...

 

Last fall's gourds are drying nicely.  It will still be another month or two until they're completely cured.

 

Frannie discovered a tiny snake sunning himself on the warm cement.

 

 
 

Snow Ponies

Our snowstorm last week brought around 12-14 inches of snow, followed by bitter cold temperatures and single-digit highs.  While the cows, cats, dog and humans around here have been staying inside being lazy, the horses are having a ball.

Here are some photos I took during the heaviest part of the snowstorm:

 Sachi (left) and Sully

 

Sully, just after having a good roll in the snow.

The whole gang out for a run

 
 

Kids Club Visits The Farm

Well, we survived a very hot and humid field trip yesterday!  48 students from the Tara Heights Kids Club, part of the Papillion-LaVista school district, visited the farm for our first-ever summer field trip.  They were a nice bunch of kids, ranging from first through sixth grade, with a few high school-aged helpers along to supervise. 

The kids ate sack lunches in the shade of the big Hackberry tree in our yard.  After lunch, we split them into two groups.  One group stayed back and played, explored the farm buildings, and visited the horses.  This was Abbie's first exposure to a large group of kids.  She was safe behind her fence, but it freaked her out a little when twenty-some bright green clad youngsters all ran toward the pen at once.  After that, she took it all in stride.  She'll be an old pro by the end of our first fall weekend.

We took the other group on a farm tour, talking about the field corn on our way to the pumpkin patch.  We came back on the nature trail, where the kids got to see deer and racoon tracks and water striders on the creek.  As a born-and-raised farm girl, it continues to amaze me how horrified and/or fascinated kids can be by bugs...and poop.  One of the horses took a poop while the kids were watching, and you'd think the world was coming to an end!!

We gave the second group a tour, and after the kids filled up their water bottles and took a trip to the restroom, they were on their way.  It all seemed to go by too quickly -- there was much more about the farm which we would have liked to share.  But, it was in the lower 90s and extremely humid.  One little girl told me "Kids don't get hot"... however, teachers and teenaged helpers do. 

It was a lot of work to get ready for the visit, but we had a good time.  Hopefully the kids learned something from us and took a little knowledge of farm life back to the big city with them.

 

 

 
 

Fences

When you have horses or other livestock and you don't want to feed them hay and grain all summer long, you're always putting up or taking down electric fence.  This was the case with us last night. 

The horses had polished off most of the grass in their latest pasture and needed to be moved.  We're in the process of fencing off a big meadow on my parents' property, but in the meantime there is some lush grass in the windbreak that we wanted to take advantage of.  So, we quickly put up some electric fence so they could spend a couple days "mowing" that area for us.

 

With most of our fencing projects, you work with the old...

 

and the new.

 The end result is always happy horses! 

 
 

Birthday Girl

It is hard to believe that it was a year ago already that our filly, Dash, was born.  She came into the world on Memorial Day evening, May 26th, 2008. 

Most of our animals are adopted and we don't know their actual birth dates.  So, I got a little carried away and stopped at the store to pick up some party hats to celebrate.  I knew it would make for fun photos, and let's face it -- I'm a dork.

Nearly everyone on the farm (Rocket, the cats, the cows, and two out of four horses) took their turn to be humiliated.  Here are a couple of the highlights:

 

Sully

 

 

Molly

 Dash and her mother, apparently the two smartest of the bunch, wouldn't let the hat anywhere near their heads.

God bless my patient animals and husband for humoring me! 

 

 

 

 
 

Like father, like daughter

I'm so sorry I haven't written a new post in so long.  Terry, Rocket and I just got back from a great trip to our favorite place, the Rocky Mountains.  We stayed in Amarillo, TX; Taos, NM; and Estes Park, CO.  It was a great trip, and I'll try to write more about it soon.

For now I wanted to share with you this photo of Sully and Dash.  Like father, like daughter!

 Dash is getting so big that it is hard to tell she and her dad apart when they're a distance away and we can't see her white forehead spot.

We got the horses' new fence done before we left, and this weekend Terry got the pumpkin patches all tilled up.  We're refreshed and revitalized and ready to tackle our to-do list.  It will be pumpkin plantin' time in about three weeks!

 
 

The softest stuff on earth...

The horses are really shedding their winter coats now.  Our nearly one-year-old Dash has some of the softest, fluffiest fur I've ever felt on her neck.  And look, she's becoming such a young lady, with a long mane and everything!

 

 I'm usually happy when the shedding is done and everyone is looking glossy and shiny.  This year, I think I may be a little sad...

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A Happy Easter

We had a happy Easter here at the farm and hope you all did, too.  Terry and I hosted sixteen members of the family (my side) for Easter dinner, the first time we've had a big indoor gathering like that since moving here over six years ago.  It was cozy, but we all fit.  I made rolls from scratch, another first for me.  They were a success and I kind of enjoyed it.  I like baking when there are other people to help consume the calories!

We have three little girls on that side of the family.  My cousin Kris has two daughters, Tenley and Whitley, and we have one niece, Grace, who recently turned two. 

The girls' dads hid eggs after dinner, and we all headed outside to watch the fun unfold. 

Tenley spots an egg but can't quite figure out how to get it...

  

 Dad to the rescue!

 

 

The Three Musketeers after a successful hunt 

 

Abbie and Sachi wanted in on the Easter action

 

We were a little worried about rain in the forecast, but the few sprinkles we had held off until evening.  All in all it was a fun but tiring day.  Hope you all had a special day filled with family and friends!

 
 

Blue Jeans & Dreams

Terry and I went to a really neat event this past Saturday.  "Blue Jeans & Dreams" was a benefit for the Heartland Equine Theraputic Riding Academy (HETRA) and was held at Five Star Stables near Bennington, NE.  Here's a little bit about HETRA, taken from their website: 

   "Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy was started in 1989 by Steve and Janet Henthorn of Omaha, Nebraska. The program started with one student, one horse and three volunteers. We have grown significantly over the last 16 years, we now have 13 wonderful therapy horses, 13 NARHA certified instructors, and over 90 students. We also offer services in Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Carriage Driving. HETRA is a non-profit 501c3 organization, and was the first NARHA Premier Accredited Therapeutic Riding center in Nebraska!

HETRA serves a variety of clients including Children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head injuries, blindness, autism, and strokes. Last year HETRA served 90 riders (both children and adults) per week and our goal is to continue to expand the program this year. Also, in 2008 we completed 2841 individual student sessions and volunteers donated 12,576 hours.

Our students benefit from therapeutic riding in a variety of ways. The rhythmic motion of the horse at the walk helps to relax tight spastic muscles. Sitting on the horse encourages students to hold themselves up which strengthens neck and trunk muscles. Riding also stretches hip and thigh muscles, and improves balance. Interaction with the instructor helps students follow directions, extend their attention span and work on concepts such as right and left. Interaction with the horse allows the students to develop a bond with the animal that improves self-esteem and builds confidence. Each student rides for approximately 30 minutes one time per week, and most students are assisted by a leader and two sidewalkers throughout their session. Two of our instructors are Occupational Therapists who monitor the students progress throughout their participation in the program."

The benefit was a lot of fun.  Dinner was catered by Skeeter Barnes Barbeque.  Following dinner we watched a demonstration by Mark Lyon and his mustang Christian, winners of the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover.  Christian is an amazing horse who just a year ago was untouched by humans.  Mark, who is from Elkhorn, NE, had just 90 days over the summer to train Christian, and they ended up winning the whole competition.  To learn more about the competition and Mark's win visit www.extrememustangmakeover.com.

 

Mark Lyon, Christian, and John Knicely, WOWT6 anchor and one of the announcers for the evening.

 

One of the tricks that helped win the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition

 

Later, some of the HETRA riding students demonstrated some of the therapy they do from horseback.  This is Kelly riding Skippy who was chosen by the students as "Horse of the Year." 


  After the demonstrations there was a live auction, silent auction, and dance.  We were told that 665 people had registered for the event--the place was packed!  To learn more about HETRA, please visit their website
www.hetra.org.

 

 
 

The Ups & Downs of Life with Horses

Interacting with horses creates more happiness and/or more anxiety for me than anything else I do.  I’ll admit I’m a bit of a novice so probably take these ups and downs more personally than a more experienced horsewoman would.    When I’m working with them and something goes well – like a great ride, or the first time I got skittish 2-month old Dash to let me pet her – I’m on Cloud 9.  When something goes bad – like a bad ride or a health concern – I’m miserable. 

 

There were some ups and downs in my horse life this weekend.  Saturday was a beautiful day and we enjoyed some quality time watching the horses frolic in the warm sun.  Then, on Sunday, we finally went to get our mare Sachi from the horse “trainer” (I use this term very loosely).   It had taken him eleven weeks (that’s 77 days) to complete his promised 30 days of working with her—not a good sign.  This fella had been recommended to us by a friend, and was less expensive and much closer to home than the great gal we took Sully to for his training.  So, we took the gamble.  Long story short, when we picked her up she was no better trained than before and in a worse state of mind.  We had wasted our money (we paid up front, of course!) and had an unpleasant “discussion” with the guy, who was resentful of US for expecting him to call us back when we called to check on her status after two months.  (Weren’t cell phones invented so busy “cowboys” could stay in touch with the rest of the world?)  All that aside, we’re thankful to have her home with her family and we’re all trying to put this whole thing behind us.  There was some good news when we got home and discovered that she and our other mare, Abbie, could cohabitate fairly peacefully.  Both are used to being the “boss lady” and we had been worried about how they would get along together.

 

The really good news in my Horse World is this:  I write a weekly newsletter for our community website (http://www.avocanebraska.com), and a couple weeks ago ran some information about a local family looking for a good home for their horse.  “Freedom” had a joint problem and could no longer be ridden strenuously or by anyone heavier than a child.  She needed occasional medical care, and the family was hoping someone would adopt her as a pasture pal and allow her to live the second half of her life on Easy Street.  I learned this morning that she has indeed found a new family, and that news did wonders to dispel my bad feelings about our bad trainer experience.  There are good people out there who love and care about horses as much as I do, and I thank heaven for that!

 
 

Horsin' Around

Happy 2009!  Now that the holidays and the first week of the new year are behind us, our thoughts begin to turn toward this fall's Pumpkin Festival.  There is so much to do in the next 9 1/2 months!  We have lots of plans, and although much of it can't be started until warmer weather arrives, there are plenty of office-type tasks to keep me busy inside.  Sales tax, income tax, insurance quotes...  Besides our farm business, Terry is a self-employed building and remodeling contractor and that makes for even more fun and exciting recordkeeping duties.  Although these tasks aren't my favorite, it sure feels good when they're done! 

The weather this morning was sunny and relatively warm, without any of that good old Nebraska wind that seems constantly with us in the wintertime.  So, I grabbed my camera and headed out to visit the horses.  They were enjoying the weather and feelin' downright frisky. 

Did you ever wonder what horses do for fun, when they think no one is watching? 

 

...

 

 

They walk around on two legs!  Or maybe Sully was just raring up, I can't be sure. 

They also enjoy a good roll in the hay ... literally.

 

I hope you find plenty of time in this new year for horsin' around!

Teresa

 

 
 

Christmas Wishes from Our Farm to Yours!

Merry Christmas from Bloom Where You're Planted Farm!

I'm getting ready to start my Christmas cards today, but first I wanted to write to wish all our customers and everyone at Local Harvest a wonderful holiday season. 

This is a peaceful time of year for us at the farm.  All of the pumpkins are gone, the fields plowed, and everything put away from the fall.  Although we probably could get to work in the shop building some of the projects we have planned for next year, that can wait until January.  For now, we're getting caught up on our "real jobs" (the ones we still rely on to pay the bills!) and enjoying having some free time on the weekends.  Most of our shopping is done, and we've been trying to get out to see some of the holiday sights around Omaha, Lincoln, and our nearby small towns. 

For those of you who have visited the farm and befriended our animals, here's what's going on in their world.  Molly, our bigger heifer, is visiting my in-laws right now (specifically, visiting their young bull, in hopes of producing a mini-Molly next year).  Our younger heifer, Fern, is becoming friendlier all the time and is really loving the leftover pumpkins -- you should see her go at them!  Our "baby" horse Dash isn't such a baby anymore.  She's growing all the time and we have her halter-broke and are able to lead her around now.  Her dad, Sully, is a big brown teddy bear with his heavy winter coat.  Mama Sachi is currently at the horse trainer's and I'm looking forward to finally getting to ride her when she comes home after Christmas.  And, as if we didn't already have enough horses, we bought a new mare, Abbie.  She's tall and black with a wavy mane and big white blaze on her face.  She's very friendly and usually the first one to the fence to greet you. 

Rocket is enjoying lots of quality time in his dog bed in the house, and like the rest of us is trying not to over-indulge on all those tempting Christmas treats.  We'll all need to go outside and exercise after the holidays!  With the way this past year has flown by, the time to get out there and start working toward next fall will be here before we know it.  Until then, we're trying to slow down and savor the season, and I hope you will be able to do the same.  We wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas.  See you in the new year!

Teresa

 

 

 

 

 

  

 
 
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