There’s lots of ways to know it’s August in North Dakota, and there are some sure-fire ways to recognize the month at Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. Top on the list is that the pumpkins are turning orange!
Most of the flowers that will be pollinated and turn into fruit on the vine are now set. That means the fields are filled with all sizes of pumpkins, including the early birds who are now starting to turn that amazing color we all love to see in the fall.
You can notice it’s August in other ways, too. The broom corn, known for it’s decorative and colorful tassels, is starting to head out. By late August and early September, we’ll begin to see the heads turn all sorts of brilliant fall colors and create almost a fan-like shape at the end of the stalks.
In August, Papa and the family also begin to finalize the location for all of our pumpkin patch activities, and we begin the “sprucing up” of the farm: wagon repairs, paint touch ups and two or three dozen other things.
One thing’s for sure — we want to be ready for all of our guests when we open the pumpkin season on Sunday, Sept. 13 at noon!
Papa is REALLY excited about a new addition to the pumpkin patch this fall. In fact, he’s so excited he’s jumping up and down…literally…on his new ginormous jumping pad!
Think Olympic-sized swimming pool with room for you and all of your friends, young and old, to play at the same time. Papa started researching his idea for a massive jumping structure last winter and found a company that had one the size he wanted — REALLY REALLY BIG!
It weights well over 1,000 pounds. Papa was glad he’s got the equipment for moving bales to build his giant bale castles; it worked perfectly to get his newest play place off of the delivery truck and into position to roll out and blow up.
Papa’s Pumpkin Patch will open for the 2015 season on Sunday, Sept. 13 and be open daily from 12-7 pm through Saturday, Oct. 24, weather permitting. We hope you will plan to join us this fall and if you do, be sure you bring lots of extra energy for jumping on Papa’s brand new jumping pad!
Nothing beats an early morning walk in the summer. The air is crisp and fresh; the temperatures cool enough that there’s a heavy dew that sparkles in the sunshine all across the fields. And this morning was made extra special by the North Dakota summer sounds: pheasants,morning doves and Papa’s favorite, the meadowlark.
The Western Meadowlark is North Dakota’s state bird and we haven’t seen or heard from as many of them in recent years and we remember in years gone by. Growing up, it seemed Papa could hardly get out the door on the farm before the meadowlarks were talking to him.
The fields are the best place to see the meadowlark. Papa caught a glimpse of one (or more) yesterday while he was cutting hay. They seem most content to sit on a fence post or grab onto a wire, singing to all who will listen.
This morning, Papa checked on the pumpkins and the broom corn. There’s no question all of the rain we’ve had gave a wonderful start to the crops. A week of full sunshine will cause everything to shoot up; you can bet the corn will be “knee high by the Fourth of July” like you hear farmers and gardeners always say.
Here’s hoping you make time to enjoy the sound of the birds in your back yard, and that the sun shines full in your neighborhood.
Folks who know Papa well know that he gives most everyone and everything a nickname. Take lawn mowers for example. We didn’t have the newest lawn mower for a day and Papa already was introducing him as “Husky.”
Husky joins Marlys and Dixie as the primary caretakers of the yards around Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. We’ve had the perfect combination of rain and sunshine this spring and early summer, so every where you look you can practically watch the grass grow right before your eyes!
It was usually about the middle of June when Mrs. P, our master gardener for many years, would start to say things like, “You stay away with that fertilizer or I’ll raise your lawn mowing fees!” Or, “It’s so thick out there, I need a baler hooked up behind Dixie!”
In honesty, it’s been a bit of a challenge for the family this spring when it comes to lawn mowing. Mrs. P was called last fall to “greener pastures” or “better lawns” as the case may be. In her absence, it’s like Papa’s family has had to re-learn how to care for the acres of lawn that create the backdrop for Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. While it’s a bit melancholy, we’ve had great fun reminding one another of Mrs. P’s favorite sayings when she was mowing, or teasing one another if the mowing job isn’t up to her standards.
Papa added Husky because he was concerned that Dixie and Marlys might need a break once in awhile. And, as you would expect by his nickname, Husky should be able to handle the larger, more open areas with a bit more efficiency than the smaller mowers. Fingers crossed, Mrs. P will approve!
Kids are great at marking time by how many more “sleeps” they will have until a special day, and Papa is taking their lead. In case you are counting, there are 98 more sleeps until Papa’s Pumpkin Patch opens for the 2015 season! The 2015 season will be Sunday, Sept. 13 through Saturday, Oct. 24, and Papa’s will be open from 12-7 pm daily.
Said another way, 14 weeks from today, at 12 noon, Papa’s Pumpkin Patch will be open and Papa, his family and the tremendous team of volunteers will be ready to welcome you!
In fact, taking a look at the forecast for today in Bismarck, we’d love Papa’s opening day to look just like this: calm, sunny and a high of 80 degrees.
Mark your calendars with us throughout the summer. As of now, we’ve only got 98 sleeps left before pumpkin season is here!