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 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.........