The Johnstown Farm has been transformed by snow! The hay slide changed quickly into a snow slide which started up by the house, and after much fine tuning, ended up past the horse corrals. Of course, we also went sledding Kansas style – pulling sleds behind the 4-wheeler!
We put our pumpkin patches to rest this past weekend by burning the fields. There are a few reasons to burn a field after a crop. One of the most important reasons for us is to kill the squash bugs that like to overwinter down in the soil. We choose to use as few chemicals on our fields as possible (pesticides, herbicides, etc), but when it comes to squash bugs, there is no great organic solution that has been offered to us to control the nasty bugs over acres of pumpkin fields. We use field rotation in an attempt to “outrun” the insects, guinea hens to eat the live bugs, and field burning to kill the overwintering insects. Despite these efforts, there are times when we need to spray, but these measures do help. If anyone has any suggestions on efficient and effective squash bug control PLEASE let us know!
“Agriculture is the process of preparing the soil to raise crops and livestock!” Just ask any 2nd grader from Washington Elementary, St. Joseph, or Elyria, and they will tell you. These were the three schools whose 2nd graders participated in our “In the Class and On the Farm (ICOF)” program for 2012. The program was made possible largely through grants and donations from Kansas Farm Bureau. Several local businesses also partnered with Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch to sponsor the agriculture education program – Krehbiel’s Specialty Meats, Kiwanis Club of McPherson, Artshirt, and Tractor Supply Co. Due to the increasing tightening of school budgets, we are so thankful that these businesses and community groups value ag education!
My family has been greatly blessed to grow up with personal access to a farm. We realize that this is not true for a growing number of students, even within McPherson county. Statistics show that, on average, the elementary student is two generations removed from the farm. Along with this gap, comes a growing disconnect between the field and the table for most students.We believe that everyone deserves to be informed consumers of all products (food, textile, etc). We also believe that to be an informed consumer, one must be made aware of true agriculture. What better way to teach than on the farm?
The curriculum is two-fold. Angie and myself, both Kansas certified teachers, go into the classroom to teach the basic “what, why, and so what?” about Kansas agriculture. We begin by posing the question, “Who in here has been affected by agriculture today?” We are usually met with 3 or 4 hands per class. Most responses include petting or feeding the family pet, seeing a cow on the way to school, or dreaming of barnyard animals. The next couple of hours are spent defining agriculture, learning how each and every person is affected by agriculture every day, and learning specifically about Kansas’s Top Crops. All of these lessons are hands-on and align with state teaching standards.
The second part of the ICOF program is a day of common core lessons taught through the lens of agriculture that takes place on Johnstown Farm during the pumpkin harvest season.
These were some packed full days – certainly some of my favorites from the season. We hope to see all three schools back next year, and also be able to extend the program to other 2nd grade classrooms. Thanks again to Kansas Farm Bureau, Krehbiel’s Specialty Meats, Kiwanis Club of McPherson, TSC, and Artshirt!Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012 – McPherson, KS
I can hardly believe that this weekend is the final chance for families to come out to celebrate autumn at Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch. Somehow the past 5 weeks have flown by! We have enjoyed meeting many new families and students this season. Join us for one last hurrah this weekend! There are still pumpkins waiting to be chosen, train rides to be taken, pumpkins to be smashed, and family memories to be made. Sundance Farm will have Scotty out to pull the wagon on Saturday, so bundle up and come on out!
This weekend should be a great one to get out to the patch! Today’s wind is blowing in some nice weather for Saturday and Sunday.
The Johnson’s Strings will be providing live music out at Grammy’s. Check out their website at http://www.johnsonstrings.net
Kurt Krehbiel will also be out Saturday with his potter’s wheel throwing all kinds of creations.
We are looking forward to Sundance Farm bringing Scotty out on Sunday to pull the horse wagon again. I’ve been meaning to get a good picture of him pulling.
On Sunday, Nick Mourn, our pumpkin carver will be working on some crazy creation. Here is his pumpkin from last year:
Of course, there are still lots of pumpkins to choose from so you can carve your own at home!Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012 – McPherson, KS