Wednesday, June 7, 2017

It Started With a Pumpkin

Many people ask me, "How did Grandma's Pumpkin Patch start" or "Is there really a Grandma?".  Yes, there really was a Grandma, and we happen to stumble onto pumpkins.

Grandma Sandow doing laundry
Grandma Sandow, my Grandmother, the mother of my father, was the Grandma of Grandma's Pumpkin Patch.  Her name was Delia Joan Sandow.  Her maiden name was Owens and she was a remarkably strong person.  She was born in 1922, grew up during the depression, assembled machine guns at the AC Delco plant in Flint during the war, and was a wife of a returning solider, mother to five children, and the person who held everyone together.

All her life she was taking care of someone or something.  Her husband worked at Dow Chemical and she tended to the kids and the farm while he was at work and had dinner on the table when he got home.  Grandma's Pumpkin Patch was originally a pig farm and had over 200 pigs, chickens, cows, horses and other farm animals to take care of.  Grandma Sandow tended to the farm and helped with the crops in the field.  She was always working and was grateful for the opportunity to have a farm.  After the depression, she didn't take anything for granted.  Even in her 80's she was still saving pieces of soap to mend into a larger piece of soap.  Soap was a luxury in the depression and she never took a luxury for granted.

Grandma & Grandpa Sandow around 1950
When her children grew up and married Grandma then started taking care of her grandchildren, along with the farm.  He husband passed away in 1984 and she continued to care for the farm.  Although our family no longer raised crops after Grandpa's passing, we always had animals on the farm.

Once the grand kids became old enough to do the chores, and drive, and take care of themselves Grandma started getting ill.  We thought she was going to pass away, and were concerned about Grandma.  It turned out Grandma was not sick........she felt useless.  Her whole life was focused on caring for others and now she felt she wasn't needed.  He son Al had an idea....that just might work.

Al challenged Grandma to a pumpkin growing contest.  Pumpkins are one of the longest growing crops, they need roughly 120 days to mature.  We plant them around Memorial Day and harvest them in September.  Al planted a pumpkin plant back by the barn for him to tend to and one in Grandma's back yard for her to take care of.  Grandma was determined to win this pumpkin growing contest!  Back in a time before the Internet and box book stores, Grandma went to the local library to look up pumpkin growing tips and the local hardware to talk to the garden specialist. She found all sorts of trick from ph levels to pouring milk on the vine of the pumpkin.  She tried them all and ended up with a 500 pound pumpkin.  Al mysteriously only had a 2 pound pumpkin.
Grandma and her winning pumpkin

One pumpkin plant can produce up to 10 pumpkins.  Al and Grandma had too many pumpkins and started selling the extra pumpkins at a stand in Grandma's front yard.  This was no ordinary stand, it came with full customer service.  With her farmer hospitality, Grandma would invite customers into her house for cookies and a snack, and sometimes even made them lunch.  She truly enjoyed being able to talk to customers stopping and to help them pick out a great pumpkin.

Word spread quickly about this very cute 'grandma' that sold pumpkins out of her front yard and the stand became busier and busier.  The following year Grandma enlisted the help of her two children that lived in the area, Al and Suzie, and their families.  Pumpkin planting became a full scale operation with the family planing by hand in assembly line form.  One person would poke a hole in the ground with a rake handle, the next person placed the seed, the next covered the seed, and the last person watered the seek.  Two acres of pumpkins were planted by hand for years, eventually moving up to a one row 1938 John Deere planted.  The only problem with a planter is the discs turning inside the planter to place the seed were too small and crushed the seed.  That meant someone had to ride on the tractor hitch and place the seed one by one in the planter.  Al put a 2x4 on the hitch for the kids to sit on and gave them a "hot seat" for cushioning.  If someone was over 5 feet tall their feet drug on the ground.   It was a labor of love.

Eventually the family was able to move up to a pneumatic one row vacuum planter so we would no longer have to place the seeds by hand.  This was such an exciting event, the youngest grandchild was allowed to skip school and go with Al to go pick up the planter in Grand Rapids.


Grandma's road side stand grew in popularity but people started asking to see the animals she had on the farm, so the family added a petting zoo.  The following year a tent was added to the stand.  Then one of the grand kids suggested adding a corn maze, and the road side stand kept growing to become Grandma's Pumpkin Patch.  We were founded on the principles of a good value, farmer type hospitality and a great family experience.







Grandma's Pumpkin Patch was founded in 1994 and has been a part of the Midland community for over 20 years.  We are proud that generations of families can enjoy our pumpkin patch!  Grandma Sandow passed away in 2013 at 91 years of age.  She was the soul of the pumpkin patch, and we continue her tradition of the family farm.

about Grandma's Pumpkin patch with naration3 from Amanda King on Vimeo.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Last Minute Valentine's



So my daughter is in pre-school.  Her Valentine's party was on the Friday before Valentine's day, and I wanted to do something other than candy.  She is only 4 and they get soooooooooooooo much candy.  She is an only child so she doesn't have siblings to pawn the candy off on, and it sits in the house until someone eats it.........meaning me.   I did not want any more candy in our house! Oh and I should mention, I didn't start this project until the day before the party.

I went to Target and strolled the toy isles until I found something different.  And I was struck with inspiration!  I wanted something farm related, but settled on this tub of wild animals.  



Now let me just say, this is not a sponsored post in any way, but if Target is reading this I would not be opposed to writing one : )   I decided to write out little sayings related to each animal on card stock.  I quickly created the design in PicMonkey which is an amazing web site to create designs, again not sponsored, but I LOVE PicMonkey!  




I wanted a design that would appeal to both boys and girls, without being too pink yet still feel valentinesish.  I decided to do an ombre pink for the saying at the top and then a deep red for the "Happy Valentine's Day" part.  I then saved all of the pictures on my computer and created a document with four of the sayings to a page.  I printed them on card stock and cut them out. 


 Once they were cut out, I wrote "From: Ella" on the back and let her write a personal message too.  
Ella writing her valentines

Then I bent the card in half, and used a hole punch to create two holes in the card.


  I used left over twine from another DIY project and tied a knot around the animal and tied the animal to the card.  


 And we were done!   Super easy!  


The longest part was cutting all of the cards out....no wait, it was waiting for Ella to personalize each card.  She was very detailed in her messages to her friends. Mostly a lot of circles and her name written really large on the card.


Here is a link to the PDF file for the cards.  I added a faint grey line for you to follow when cutting out the cards.

I tried to make a saying for each animal, but what is an appropriate saying to write about a camel for 4 year olds?  I could not think of one, so I just used the "I'm Wild About You" card.

Hippo: Hippo Valentine's Day
Gorilla: I'm Bananas About You
Zebra: I Like You From A to Zebra
Bear: I Can't Bear To Be Without You
Tiger: I Think You're Terrrrific
Giraffe: You Are Heads Above The Rest
Moose: I Moose You Valentine
Lion: Roar! I'm Wild About You
Leopard: You Are Spot On Valentine
All The Other Animals: I'm Wild About You

The most expensive part was the animals, I believe they were around $6.00 and I had all the other parts around the house.  I figured it was well worth spending $6.00 to not have any more candy in the house!  

Happy Valentine's day!!!!!!


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Thank You Letter To My Lab

Lady the Lab came to live with us two years ago.




My brother got her as a puppy.  When he got her, neither of us were married, and we were renting a house together.  I have known Lady since she was a pup.  I taught her basic obedience commands, sit, stay, down, and that was all she had the attention for.  She is a stereotypical lab.  Her personality is "hey look at that!" always happy and always getting into things.

I wanted to make sure Lady wouldn't be afraid of the blow dryer so I used to haul her into the bathroom and pet her while I blow dryed my hair.  Lady is going on 10 and she still remembers this.  If she hears a blow dryer you better believe she is coming to get pet.  As time passes situations change.  I moved out of our rental house and got married, and my brother also got married.  Lady stayed with my brother and stayed an excitable lab.

My brother got married and has two kids under the age of two.  He had a lot going on, so I offered to take Lady for a while.........and I never gave her back.  She blended in too well and my daughter fell in love with Lady.  This is my letter to thank Lady for putting up with our crazy life.

Thank you Lady for following me room to room, just in case I decided to have a snack and need the crumbs picked up.


Lady ready to snack


Thank you Lady for tolerating a toddler who loves to jump on you, "brush" you by assaulting you with a dog brush, and drag you around the house by your collar.  You are never mean to her just give her little bites with your front teeth on the top of the toddler's ears when you have had enough.  I assume this is a move a mother dog would do to a young, persistent puppy.





Thank you Lady for accompanying me to every room I go to, including the bathroom.  Even when I thought I was being "tricky" by containing the baby in her car seat while I quickly showered, you managed to muscle your way past the door and join us in this fun endeavour.

Party time while Mom showers


Thank you Lady for teaching me that even when you are in a scary situation, there is no need to act out.  I took you to the vet's office because you had an ear infection.  The whole way there, you were excited.  And I mean EXCITED!  Looking out the window, sniffing everything when we got there, wagging your tail, very excited.  When we got inside the office I thought you would get nervous, but you were enjoying the experience and trying to get everyone that walked in the door to pet you.  You were a peach for the vet when he looked at your ears, got our medicine and were on our way.  You stayed positive in a new situation and I thank you for that reminder.





Thank you for teaching me that life is short and sometimes you just need to run through the puddles.....even if it means taking a shower afterward.




Thank you for reminding me it is important to be comfortable when sleeping.








Thank you for being my workout buddy and cheering me on, although sometimes I think you are just trying to trick me into petting you.




Thank you for reminding me that sometimes you just need your best friend.  



Thank you for always being available for affection, even when I least expect it. 



Thank you for being the best dog a family could ask for.  We have had our challenges adjusting to a big dog, like the time you snuck into the food pantry and ate most of the dog food in one day. But we couldn't imagine life with out you.



And most importantly, thank you for tolerating a toddler.........




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

30 Day Exercise Challenge For People Who Don't Like to Work Out

It's that time of year..... the end of the year parties, get-togethers and over abundance of tempting food.  The time of year everyone indulges, splurges on food they love, or just snacks on items because they are in front of them.  To add insult, the TV advertisers feel this is a perfect time to start making you feel guilty about your pants being snug and advertise all their weight loss options.  Every other commercial is a weight loss gimmick or program or the latest and greatest piece of exercise equipment.

I used to jog
Then on top of that, due to holiday season all of my social media is flooded with all the direct sales programs for losing weight, working out, or a way to balance your diet, and pro-biotic health of some sort.  I am gonna let you guys in on a little secret.  I say if these things work for you, then I give you a lot of credit because  I'm cheap and lazy when it comes to my health.

I hate buying exercise equipment because I'll use it for a week and then it will collect dust in my closet somewhere.  I'm also cheap, I can't justify purchasing something I need to sign up for auto-refills on or need to keep in touch with a sales person to order.  Along with being cheap, I'm secretive.  I don't want to have to contact someone every time I need to order a product.  I want to go to the store, use the u-scan machine and get on with life.  I don't want to contact anyone to purchase anything.  I guess you can say I'm complicated when it comes to my health and working out.

What I need is accountability. I used to jog and run 5K races.  I spent a whole year training to run and competing in local 5K races and even ran an 8K race.  But I had a friend I met with to work out.  I need someone to compete against when working out.  I need to be able to work out with someone else in order to get me there every day.  But going back to my statement about being cheap, I don't like to go to the gym.  So I realized unless I motivate myself to get in gear, I am never going to do anything about it.

I decided to do a 30 day work out challenge.....but which one?  Do I want to focus on my butt, abs, gut, or arms?  So I thought, since I'm doing one challenge, how hard can it be to do all of the challenges?  I decided to merge together three challenges to make a total body work out challenge that didn't require the gym, exercise equipment, or leaving my house.  Now, let me just say I am not a fitness expert, I have no idea if this will work, if it's healthy, or if it's a good idea.  I just want to try it, and am making an accountability group to help with with actually doing the work out.  So if you want to join me, consult your doctor prior to doing the exercises and if at any time these are too much for you, by all means, stop doing the work out.  But if you are game for a crazy adventure, lets work out together. And from now on I will be using exercize with a z, because we are snazzy like that.

Join my facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1888512898036946/


Monday, April 4, 2016

Leap of Faith

Sometimes in life, you just have to take a chance.  Recently I took a really big chance.  

Our family owns three businesses.  Larkin Food Center, a rural store, Grandma's Pumpkin Patch and an excavation company, Earthmovers of Midland.  These businesses keep us hopping.  My family purchased Larking Food Center in 2010 and I quit my corporate job to be a manager of the store with my mom.  I also have been managing our seasonal business, Grandma's Pumpkin Patch since 2007.  Last year an opportunity came up for me and I have also been working as the Director of Fund Development at a local non-profit.  It was a fun filled year with lots of growth opportunity both personally and professionally.  By working at the non-profit I gained experience in management, learned to work with a Board of Directors, gained exposure in the community, and developed experience in sales.  The past year was a busy one, and also a stressful one.


My mom taking selfies with her Dr.
In November of 2015 my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She is a fighter, and is determined to get through this experience, and I have no doubt she will beat her cancer!  However, as a family we wanted to make sure she could focus on the battle ahead and not be weighed down with added stress.  The family businesses are a priority, along with family.  When something goes wrong were are a "circle the wagons" type group.  We all gather together and help each other.  My sister took over the book work side of the store and Earthmovers so mom doesn't have to worry about it.  My dad, husband and sister's boyfriend help with operations as they can and I quit my job at the non-profit.   I will be focusing on the daily operation of the store and maintaining Grandma's Pumpkin Patch.  Everything will work out, and the main concern is getting mom healthy again. 
 
Through this process we have been looking to utilize resources we already have.  In the family store we had a large empty warehouse....maybe a better description is a warehouse not being used for it's potential.  This place was not empty, it was filled with stuff.  Along with a warehouse, we have beautiful property.  Grandma's Pumpkin Patch is our family farm and we are blessed with beautiful woods, natural landscapes and a wonderful fall setting.  These two locations got me thinking and I decided to open MI Studio.

It even had a flash!
I LOVE the art of photography.  Always have.  I was taking selfies and pictures of my friends back in the 90's with disposable cameras.  Now I use my dads's fancy DSLR Nikon camera and have been collecting props and trinkets through the years.  I thought, why not utilize what we already have and open a photography studio.  However, the thought of taking someone else's photos terrifies me.  I would have anxiety over them not liking it or the criticism. MI Studio is a studio for photographers to use.  

Many people have the talent and the equipment but not the space for a studio.  We have the space! MI Studio is a full photography studio with a graffiti wall, back drops, Savage seamless paper backdrops, a brick wall stage, and an area that looks like the inside of a barn.  The studio also has lighting equipment and many, many, many props.  The property at Grandma's Pumpkin Patch is available as an outdoor studio with great natural settings and landscaped settings including an antique truck.  MI Studio offers a meeting area as well.  This space is available for rent for parties or to host classes, meeting space and if you have a membership to MI Studio you can use the space to meet clients.  Half of the battle of starting a business is having a space that you can present your brand professionally and MI Studio can help with that.  

MI Studio is my leap of faith that has me excited and nervous all at the same time. I hope the community enjoys the space as much as I do.  To learn more about MI Studio please visit our Facebook page.



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Crafted Market



 Spring is approaching and with that comes farmer's markets.  This year at Grandma's Pumpkin Patch we would like to bring the farmer's market experience to our area.  


Hue Got It doing henna, photo by photolodico

The Crafted Market will feature many local artists displaying their original works of art, re-purposed items, and shabby sheek flea market flip style creations.  We will also have local farmers selling seasonal produce, and will be cooking the famous Grandma's Pumpkin Patch donuts.

Come to the patch, enjoy the warm summer air, shop local produce, and discover treasures from local artists and vendors.  

Dates of the markets are 






Interested in being a vendor? We are looking for produce vendors, honey, baked goods (must comply with all cottage food laws), artists, repurposed artists and more.  Contact us with questions at:
Amanda, 989-513-5222
grandmaspumpkinpatchmidland@gmail.com

DOWNLOAD VENDOR AP HERE

Hope to see you at the market!