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!
Each spring, it creates itself anew, practically before our eyes. This spring is no different, and the rain the last couple of days has certainly helped it along. Papa is talking about the beautiful tree tunnel that arches over Sandy River Drive, one of the main roads to Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. It’s the best country drive around town this time of year.
We used to think that when guests come to Papa’s each fall, their visit would begin as soon as they arrived at our front gate. Not so. The visit actually begins about two miles before Papa’s entrance…when you first start north on River Road.
How do we know this? Because it’s one of the main reasons Papa’s papa and Mrs. P moved to the area in the first place, over 40 years ago. The drive out River Road takes you away from the city and puts you smack dab in the country. The sort of narrow, kind of windy road is lined with all variety of trees, bushes and grasses.
Practically every time you go to town you will see pheasants or turkeys or deer; sometimes there’s even an emu or a peacock (one of the neighbors raises them and on occasion, they go for an unplanned walkabout!).
All of this is to say, it’s springtime at Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. And one of the ways we know summer is just around the corner is by our tree tunnel. The big cottonwoods are starting to fill in with green leaves and soon the archway will completely cover the drive. That’s when it’ll be the best country drive around town, all over again.
Here’s something fun: Papa’s Granola is now available at three retail outlets in Bismarck, ND. That’s right! You can get a little bit of that home-grown goodness you love about a visit to Papa’s Pumpkin Patch, all year round. (Check out this story on KFYR TV.)
Papa’s Granola is a happy accident just like Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. It began nearly 10 years ago with a granola recipe from a friend. Papa’s sister loved it but she was the only one eating it. With suggestions from the family and friends, today we have fresh-baked granola you can grab and go, and everyone in the family enjoys it!
There are currently four flavors of Papa’s Granola, including Blueberry Surprise, Hawaiian Delight, Midnight Cherry and Caramel Apple.
As much as possible, we use North Dakota products. That’s easy when it comes to the oats, flax meal, wheat germ or sun seeds. It’s a bit harder when you consider the dried fruits like pineapple, cherries or blueberries and the Ghirardelli chocolate.
Why granola? Papa has a family of entrepreneurs. At Papa’s Pumpkin Patch, we provide an outdoor enviroment for families to make memories and have fun. With Papa’s Granola, we have a wholesome product that keeps families on the go energized and ready to play.
If you happen to pick up a package of Papa’s Granola, let us know what you think on Papa’s Facebook page.