September 30th

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

We made it back home this afternoon to a wee bit of chaos.

Good chaos, really good chaos actually, but chaos none the less.

Our pumpkin patch looked like it had been swarmed. Racks were half-empty, pumpkins laying on their sides, small wagons scattered all over the patch. Paul and I both sat in the truck for a moment and took everything in.

Let me add some context to this. Our opening date depends on how the first of October falls. We like to wait until October to open, but this year, it just made sense to open the last weekend of September.

“But you were gone for the weekend,” you may be thinking, “isn’t that risky?”

Usually not. Our opening weekend is usually our slowest weekend. We have a few adventurous families that come out, but our sales really don’t start to pick up until mid-October, usually around MEA time.

We had a bit of an inkling that we may have more business than usual this year because I made an event on Facebook, and had to cancel the promotion I launched through Facebook Advertising because we were reaching too many people. Over 1,500 people said they were attending or interested our opening day, in fact. Last year, our event had a response of 300 people. Spoiler alert: While we had a great growing season, we don’t have enough pumpkins for 1,500 people and their families of four.

We may have been on the verge of panic.

But we talked ourselves down, saying that a lot of people say they’re interested, but end up not following through, it’ll be fine. Not everyone wants to get their pumpkins this early. We’ll be fine.

Well, we were fine, great in fact – we had the largest opening weekend, sales wise, that we have ever had. By at least four times. We’ve already made enough to pay for all of next year’s expenses.

AND THERE ARE STILL HUNDREDS OF PUMPKINS IN THE FIELD.

We are completely flabbergasted. And we have had so many people “recommend” our patch through Facebook, boosting interactions on our page. Families have been messaging us pictures, saying they had the best time, thanking us for having our patch, saying they’ll be back and will be telling everyone they know about us. We had a mom do a live video from our patch, and that was SO FUN to watch! It’s been so amazing.

Depending on how the rest of this month goes, we may have to go bigger next year. Which is an amazing feeling; the fact that we can share the season with so many people is so motivating.

So if you’re reading this and you’re thinking you want to come out and get pumpkins – this is your heads up: Do it sooner rather than later. While we still have lots of pumpkins, we only get busier as the month progresses, so it’s very likely we’ll sell out.

On top of all the chaos and joy our patch brought us today, our neighbor’s apple trees are ready, so we were invited to come pick apples! I photographed their blossoms this spring, so it was fun for it to come full circle as we loaded our bag with fresh produce. Bring on the apple crisp and applesauce!

September 29th

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

It’s here! Today’s the day!

Some of you may not believe this, but my camera never came out of my bag today. My phone came out for a few quick snaps this morning, but then was packed away for the rest of the day. I was present with my best gal all day, and it was wonderful.

I kind of wish we would’ve taken another selfie once my makeup was done (they did such an awesome job!), but this will have to suffice. 😉

Can we all take a moment to admire how drop-dead phenomenal my girl is?! Not only appearance-wise, but from this inside as a lovely human as well. I mentioned in my Matron of Honor speech this evening that I don’t have enough good things to say about both Kya and Tim. They are amazing people, inside and out, who deserve each other full-heartedly. While maybe a bit stubborn and a wee bit competitive (I say that with love, haha!), my Kya has a heart of gold. She embraces everyone she meets, and like I said to the makeup artist when she asked if I had met the other girls in the bridal party before –  when you know Kya, you know and love every one of her friends even before you meet them. If you’re friends with Kya, you’re bound to be friends with all of her friends; she’s just that kind of person.

I’ve always joked that there are two things Kya has always had more of than me: Fashion sense and confidence. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders when I said I wanted to quit my job and pursue my own dreams and ambitions. Actually, let me rephrase, when I stood at the edge of my cliff, wondering if I should jump, she came up behind me and pushed me. That first summer, she took one of her summer weekends to help me run my booth at an art fair Paul couldn’t be at. She knew very little logistically about my art, but she actively pursued customers with me, charming them into opening their wallets. She shares every single post I put out there on my business Facebook page, she buys my art for Christmas gifts for family, and validates my dreams every chance she gets.

She is the friend I strive to be both for her and for others.

As I’m thinking about it, let’s even back up 12 years. She was the first person I shared my feelings for Paul with. “I think I really like this guy, but so do a couple of my other friends. And they’ve openly talked about it – I can’t just sneak in there and say ‘Me too!’. I don’t want to make waves, I’ll just stay quiet.” She thought that was preposterous, and told me that “if you like him, who cares what other people think? If it’s meant to be, everyone else can -and will- get over it. Don’t compromise your happiness for a sense of comfort.”

I listened to her, and I can honestly say it was the most influential advice I’ve ever received in my life. Kya, I may or may not owe my incredibly beautiful, joy-filled marriage to you. Thank you, friend.

Kya, I love you. Paul and I absolutely thrilled to do this day with you and Tim, and we can’t wait to continue to live each new day, new experience, with you both. We treasure you. Cheers to YOU, Mr. & Mrs. Wilson!

 

September 28th

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Do you ever have those moments when you feel like God has hit you over the head with clarity?

I know that may sound strange, but let me explain. Today, when I was least expecting it, I looked around at all of the people around me, the laughter we were all sharing, the purpose for our gathering, and it was like *BAM* God put glasses on me, bringing it all into focus.

Like He was saying “Look at all the love, nourishment, community, purpose, and belonging I’ve provided you with. I’m all around you; look at these blessings!”

A best friend who has stuck it out with me for 20 years, her beaming love for her soon-to-be husband, the families on each side that embraced us as honorary members as we celebrated. The joy that was so so evident, even as we all stood in the 40 degree, rainy weather during the rehearsal. The unity of the bridal party – so much support, laughing and joking like we’d all been friends forever.

As we gathered for a meal, and my cheeks hurt from smiling.

Paul making jokes with Kya’s dad, Tim’s sisters laughing at the other end of the table. Tim’s best man quietly hoarding all the drink tickets as Kya distractedly kept handing them to him (thinking he was passing them down the line) as she was talking with the restaurant manager. Kya’s brother jokingly passing the veggie pizzas all down to Tim’s family as he kept the meat ones for us. Pizza for dinner, doughnuts for dessert. Just like the bride- and groom-to-be, a lovely combination from all angles.

A day we’ve all been waiting for, anticipating, for over a year is finally here! I’m going to do my best to hold it together…wish me luck!

September 26th

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

The saying goes on the farm that it doesn’t matter the day of the year – holiday, birthday, or anniversary – if work needs to be done, it gets done. Most years, this applied for doing first cutting of hay on my birthday every summer.

Today, same goes for when you’re sick.

I’m feeling better today, but can definitely tell I’m still experiencing muscle weakness. Pumpkins seemed to weigh 3x what they should have, which was frustrating, as I love picking pumpkins, but that’s the way it goes. Paul stepped up without complaint to do all of the heavy lifting today.

We had a method – I searched them out, cut them off the vine, and Paul hauled them out of the field.

It felt like it took longer than it should have, but it was all worth it – take a look at this beautiful ornamental wagon!

Over 100 Jack Sprats, hundreds of gourds and Casperitas, 40+ Jarradales, and 30+ Wartys. We’ve never had a full ornamental wagon, and we’re loving it!

And behind me when I took this picture is our “normal” wagon – pre-picked $5 pumpkins for those who don’t want to pick from the field.

The sun was shining, and you can’t ask for more than that…

Except when you can.

Paul and I had just finished putting everything together, organizing, pulling down carts and clippers, posting signs, and we had a car pull up. Out they came, out to the field.

We aren’t technically open until Friday, but people are READY. We were obviously out of town last weekend, but multiple people messaged me saying they stopped out “just to make sure” we weren’t open yet.

We waved to the family as they walked out to the field, laughing to ourselves because we felt like we were being stalked a bit. And we couldn’t stop smiling, because you can’t help but feel the joy of the season. Especially when you watch the kids race out to the field, screaming with laughter.

We looked at each other, shrugged, and said “The customers have spoken. I guess the ‘OPEN’ sign is going out early.”

So, friends, we are indeed OPEN! Now through Halloween, anytime during daylight hours. We can’t wait to see what the weekend brings!

September 25th

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Well today did not go anything like I expected it would.

At 2:30 this morning I woke up with an upset stomach. I went to our bathroom, stayed there for an hour, but nothing changed, so I went back to bed.

At 4:30 this morning, I ran out of bed and to the bathroom, and emptied the contents of my stomach. Four times.

My sweet husband heard me in distress and came to sit with me, helped clean me up, and put me back to bed.

I was hoping I’d wake up feeling like my usual self, but that, evidently, was wishful thinking. Extreme nausea all day, severe headaches, sensitivity to light – the definition of no fun.

For most of the morning I laid in our tub trying to soak the gross away; it helped a little, but not enough for me to be productive today.

At least I’m sick now and not going into the weekend for wedding #2. I’m hoping I sleep well tonight and wake up feeling better tomorrow.

September 24th

Monday, September 24th, 2018

With wedding #1 down, Paul and I are spending this week getting the patch ready for opening on Friday.

I was walking the field picking Casperitas and gourds when I heard a bird chirping. This isn’t abnormal, as many birds have nests and take cover  in the patch. However, this bird was following me and was very insistent in its chirping.

I looked up and was pleasantly surprised to see this sweet male Downy Woodpecker. I stood up and watched him for a bit, and he was just as interested in me and I was in him.

The only camera I had with me was my 24-105mm, not ideal for birding. That lens is much better suited for landscapes, not for zooming in on pinpointed subjects. You have to be relatively close to your subject for them to fill the frame.

With wild birds, that’s pretty much always a no-go. They never let me get that close.

However, I got ten feet away from this guy, and he wasn’t concerned. He simply hopped from sunflower stalk to sunflower stalk, continually chirping at me.

It was so neat!

September 23rd

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

A full weekend led to a full heart and a full moon (officially the full Harvest moon is tomorrow, but who’s judging?).

After packing up camp this morning, Paul and I drove Corn and Hip to the airport before heading home. You know you have great friends when it hurts a little to see them go.

Big bear hugs all around, and off they both went, back to the west coast.

Then back home to our kitties, who were thrilled to see us. So many purrs, head bunts, and slow blinks.

It’s good to be home!

September 22nd

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

This place is amazing.

Camp Foley holds camps for kids all summer, and rents out the facilities to weddings in the fall.

The cabins, chapel, cafeteria (also acts as reception hall). The lake, big mature trees, hiking trails. I was never one for camp as a kid, but I would’ve been all about this.

The cafeteria is a large log structure with an expansive covered front porch. Last night, Andrew’s family set up a couple of long tables  on the porch, and we ate family style looking over the lake out in the beautiful fall air. A couple of does walked into camp and it was so peaceful. As we ate, they also ate.

So this morning, I wanted to see if we could find some deer; Paul and I got up early and did some hiking before wedding festivities.

The trails were beautiful; the fall color was just starting to turn, and the air was so clean. We did see four deer and one sassy red squirrel who threw some acorns at us.

With all of the food and fellowship of last night, I can’t wait for the wedding tonight!

September 20th

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

We made it home!

It was a busy day of just running, but my heart is full.

Paul and I met up at the airport this morning, walked over to another gate to meet up with our friend Pat (AKA Hippie) coming in from Seattle, then packed up the truck, swung by home and switched bags, then made our way to Brainerd to start the weekend.

Andrew and Katy get married this weekend, and it’s really going to be a “the gang is back together” kind of weekend. Nick (Corn Dog) came in from San Diego where he’s based, Hippie came in from Seattle, Clint and Hannah came in from Minot, Bryce and Megan from Mandan, Andrew and Katy from Iowa, and Paul and I from Minnesota.

The last time we were all together was for Corn and Katie’s wedding in Bismarck two years ago, and a lot has transpired since then, so it’ll be good.

Before everyone got to Katy’s parents house tonight, she took us on a tour of their farm, and they had the prettiest hayloft. We’re camping and doing lots of outdoorsy stuff this weekend so this just felt like a good image to start the weekend.

We’re all staying in The “Glamper” (pop up glamour camper) tonight at the farm, and cabins with wood burning stoves tomorrow and Sunday night. Basically 24/7 togetherness, and it’s going to be awesome!

September 19th

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Up and at ‘em again early this morning (5am van ET, meaning 4am CT). 

Tampa to Raleigh, Raleigh to Boston. 

And heeey-o east coast!! I had seen the Atlantic Ocean while studying abroad in Scotland, actually lived on an island in the ocean for a couple of weeks, but I’d never seen it stateside. 

I don’t know what it is about water and sand, but it captivates me. The sounds, birds, textures in the sand. And it was beautifully overcast, and was exactly what I imagined the northeast to be. 

Revere Beach was where we had walked to from our hotel, and it was the first public beach in America. No joke, it seemed like there was history everywhere. 

Paul and I walked through the sand, and I giggled the entire time. I think he got a little tired of me saying “WOW look at that!!” after about the sixth time I said it. But he kept smiling and nodding – thanks babe 🙂

I was captivated. 

Paul finally pulled me away, and got busy crossing another first for me of my list – we rode the subway downtown! 

There’s a self guided tour, called Freedom Trail, that you can follow downtown that goes by some major historical sites in Boston. It was pretty neat! 

A 300 year old building (that now houses a Chipotle!), the site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s grave, Benjamin Franklin’s parents’ grave, churches, government buildings, it was really fun and informational. There were also many people dressed up as colonial people along the path (some were famous people like Ben Franklin), so that was a fun additional to help create a picture of the city a couple hundred years ago. 

We ate at a Wharff-side restaurant famous for their New England Clam Chowder soup, and it really was delicious. Paul and I both order a cup of it, and it came in an actual coffee mug. It made me wonder how big the bowl of soup was, ha!

Tomorrow I head straight back to Minne, and Paul finishes up a leg to Norfolk and then back home. I rarely go with Paul to work, mainly because he usually flies a lot and has short overnights, but this trip was perfectly structured and so fun. On top of that, every flight I flew this week was wide open; I never worried about making a flight, which took the stress and uncertainty right out of it. 

Paul and I have a map at home that he puts silver pins in to places he’s flown to, and we have black pins we put in for places we’ve flown to together. We have three new pins to place when we get home!

I’ve felt so thankful for this week! What a treat to be able to go to a couple new cities stress-free and explore. Memories that we’ll both treasure, that’s for sure. 

September 18th

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Our flight to Raleigh this morning was a gorgeous one. So many distinct layers of clouds, pretty ground fog, and flying into the sunrise. 

Also, who knew that North Carolina had so many trees!? That sounds like a silly observation, but the trees went all the way up to any water I could see, you couldn’t see the actual roads but could see where they go because they had to cut down thick forests to make them. At one point, I don’t think I could see any open ground, just treetops, for miles. 

From Raleigh we flew to Tampa for the night. We got in at 11:30, which was nice because we had the entire afternoon to ourselves. You guys, I know Florida is hot, but it’s mid-September and the temperature was 95, felt like 106. Paul and I walked to a spot for lunch and we were both a sweaty mess when we got there. So after lunch we went straight back to the hotel and jumped in the pool. 

After a little swim, a very light overcast layer of clouds moved in (which made the heat so much more tolerable) so we both napped in some lounge chairs poolside, and it was so lovely. After that, I am now fully ready to transition into fall weather once we get home.