The Old Millpond Pumpkin Patch has a special significance. It brought us our first pumpkins and, more importantly, a new friend.
In our early dreams of grandeur, Simone and I had envisioned our first pumpkin patch to spawn the new world record holder, include a chicken and goat petting zoo with tractor rides along the Musconetcong River, and hot mulled cider.....dream on!
As it turns out, with the many farming challenges overcome along the way, we are really happy to have gotten a modest harvest of sustainably-grown beauties. And this wouldn't have been possible without the help of our good friend Bob, who keeps a meticulous 120 acre grain/egg/and cattle farm up the road. Everything Bob does is perfect.
We first met Bob when he stopped by puzzled over what we were doing with our little farm and the little 2 wheeled Italian blue contraption I called my "tractor". After all the tree planting in the spring, I was desperately behind in planting my summer crops and had all but given up hope of getting them in the ground. Bob assured me that I still had time explaining that many farmers in the county plant pumpkins around July 4. And without the slightest hesitation, he devised a plan for getting our pumpkin patch planted.
Bob is a true "gentleman farmer" and a master of using machinery on the farm. Seeing the work ahead of me, he graciously offered to drive his 50 horsepower John Deere tractor 3 miles down the road to chisel plow and disc our land. He kept his tractor on the field for 2 weeks and came down the hill each day to plow a bit more. Eventually, the hard packed "Gladstone Gravelly Loam" soil coughed up the boulders that would have mangled my "Blue Bomber" tractor and gave way to its loamy potential.
And so it was with Bob's help and advice, that we were able to plant our peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, delicious sweet corn and, of course, pumpkins by mid July. The pumpkin patch opened on Oct 1, 2013.
And for next year? A campaign for the new pumpkin world record? Chicken and goat petting? Hot mulled cider? With neighbors like Bob, anything is possible!