It's a rainy Friday morning here at the Patch so I thought it would be a good time for an update. The corn maze, Indian corn, and popcorn were planted in a very timely fashion early last week. Late last week I tilled my rows for the Patch on a nice sunny day. I probably could have planted last Saturday but Claire wasn't home from ISU yet and decided to wait til Monday. Monday was a beautiful day to plant!
Claire and I started at 9AM and finished planting punkins at 1PM. It wasn't as windy in the morning but really a nice warm day. There are 65 varieties this year. I planted 10 new varieties including some new white ones (9 whites total) a yellow punkin, and some new unique squashes. I can't wait to see how they turn out! I usually give a new seed two chances and then decide if I will keep planting them.
So now it's 45* and we got an inch of rain overnight. This is almost a rerun of last year's planting. I hate having the seeds sitting in the cold ground but I have to plant early for the Iowa State Fair and Clay County Fair.
Now we move on to the Fireworks. I've been working in the store stocking and rearranging shelves. We have added so many more fireworks and can't wait to show everyone around! I feel confident that you will find lots you like at a great price! Look for an opening weekend special and don't forget our demo of Fireworks on the Farm on June 22!
We really enjoyed selling fireworks last year and I just finished up my license renewal for 2018. We learned a lot and will have around 250 items with lower prices. I didn't know a thing about fireworks when we started, I just knew it would be a good addition to the patch store. I feel like I'm able to help customers so much more now with descriptions and details of the fireworks.
Last year we went to a demo and I referenced that many times throughout the season. We decided it is a great way to explain safety procedures and to showcase our products. So on June 22 we are going to have our first fireworks demo!
We are going to do it at the east end of the farm by the grain bins. There is lots of room for parking there and it's not too close to the store. We have lots of details to work out yet but I know I will hand out a sheet with the list of things we are going to demo and you will be able to do your own evaluation. There are some many effects in fireworks and I like some more than others, this way you can decide before buying something.
Photographers are welcome!
So keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages for more updates!
I have had lots of jobs over the years. Of course you know about the punkins and fireworks, but I also do a few other things. I am a substitute teacher and have been for over 20 years. Right out of college for a few years I coached and subbed and then from 1994 to 2000 I sold cars for my in-laws right where I live. I still have people tell me they bought a car from me or even see a few Solsma Auto Sales stickers on the trunk of a vehicle. I started subbing again in 2000 and have ever since.
I also help a friend occasionally cutting out leather and hide pieces for show awards. it is fun work seeing all the creative things she comes up with and the one down side is I am covered in hair by the end of the day!
I also am the substitute church secretary and will be working a lot soon as there is a baby due today!
I will help deliver Beck's Seed when (if? it's been a long winter, right?) planting starts and be a general go-pher.
So I have a varied schedule that is really nice. I'm glad I have that flexibility as my Dad's acreage is selling in two weeks. The last time I moved was 22 years ago so I had forgotten how much work it is to get a place cleaned out. My parents lived there for over 50 years and now that my mom is gone it was just too much for my dad to manage.
My sisters and I have gone through every cupboard and nook and cranny. We reminisced over pictures and prom dresses packed away in boxes. It's a little surreal seeing the house stripped of our memories but I'm glad to know someone else will be able to make wonderful new ones there. I always refer to my Dad as the Great White Hunter and as you can see, there was a reason for it. I hope the new owner either has a lot of hats or likes hunting, or both, because these antlers are staying!
A few days ago I attended the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers meeting in Ankeny. It is an event for people like me that grow things like I grow. Even though I've had the patch now for 19 ! (holy cow) years, I have never attended. I've known about it but it never worked out to go.
So this year I did go and it was very interesting and worthwhile. I attended sessions on pest, weed, and disease management and social media. Claire was able to sit in on the social media sessions so that was nice. We were able to get new insights on marketing. There are going to be a lot of changes to Facebook soon and it was good to talk that over with each other. A couple speakers that told us how their farm works. It was interesting to see how other people approach management and innovative ideas.
I met growers from around the state and even a couple from the Brookings, SD area. There were booths from the seed companies. It was nice to put a face with the people I had spoken with many times. There were various extension type booths too and I found a couple fun things that I will be able to give to schools when they bring their littles to visit the Patch. All in all, a fun learning experience.
Hello friends. Yikes. I am quite tardy on my blogging, aren't I?
So let us get caught up.
Long fall with weird weather and another successful Patch season. I love the new store! I was happy to get lots of new consignors and their wares in the store. It's gratifying to see all the neat local products sell and lots of happy customers.
We have lots of school groups that visit the Patch. Most of those visits looked like this, cloudy and cool, but I hope they learned something and they had fun.
Winter season of fireworks was next. We had to completely clear out the store and clean and polish the floors. That took a while but it looked great when done.
Next was unpacking box after box after box of fireworks and getting them all arranged. We didn't really know how the winter season would go. Most Iowans are smart enough to stay inside in the winter so asking them to shoot fireworks was a tall order.
We had fun with daily giveaways and the die hard pyros were happy. We are fast becoming pyros too and when it was fit we would shoot off fireworks. Nice thing about winter fireworks? It's dark at 5 and people can't complain about it being too late in the day. We shot a bunch off in Sanborn at our family Christmas party. Lots of people mentioned that they saw them the next day at church. HA. It was a beautiful night and we shot for 25 minutes.
New Years Eve was -20* but we still shot some around 9:30 pm. A couple cars stopped on the side of the road to watch. We didn't last long though, too cold.
Now I'm under my blankie and perusing seed catalogs and looking at fireworks videos deciding on the best items for 2018's season. I'm excited for 2018! Let's make it a great one!
there is Always someone worse off than you.
We had quite the storm on our anniversary night. I thought we were going to miss it but we caught the edge of a big storm. We got some pea to quarter size hail for about 5 minutes (seemed longer) and it quit. Thought we were off the hook. A few minutes later it started again and this time it meant business. Ping pong balls of hail were bouncing all over for another 5-10 minutes (seemed way longer) as we helplessly watched. We had at least five cars on the yard riding out the weather.
After all was said and done we got .65" of rain and the worst damage in the patch in my 18 years. I can only remember one time where I had a tiny bit of damage.
Now all hope is not lost my dear readers! Surprisingly, there are quite a few unscathed so I will still be able to pick some of my treasures. It is just interesting to walk through the patch and see the havoc some ice cubes can cause. It was definitely worse on the east end than the west end. Time will tell how fruits recover. Lots of bruises.
This is the imprint of a hail stone left in the mud. They are all over.
Last observation. In 2000 I broke my tibia and fibula gracefully falling down the stairs. Ended up with two plates and 13 screws in there. I never had much empathy for a person on crutches until I was on crutches. It's pretty easy to feel sorry for yourself and I kinda did. There are things I can't do anymore and that stinks. But in the course of my rehab I came across another gal that was way worse off than me and I realized I will be fine. She most definitely was not going to be. So with that in mind, I am once again reminded of Who really is in charge, it ain't me and everything will be okay.
it's a good thing punkins love hot weather. Things are growing like crazy here at the patch. Here are a couple of goosebumps, a unique, warty novelty variety, that is a fun one. Pretty soon I will be able to do the personalized pumpkins that are very popular. Let me know if you would like to have one done for a person, a wedding, or a business. I can personalize on a variety of punkins but my favorite little pie punkin works best. They are bigger than a softball and smaller than a volleyball.