Senior Connections Senior Connections Nov. 2018

Connecting Seniors Through News, Information, and Advertising November 2018 VOLUME 1 | NO. 4 Senior Connections HJ.COM GRAB ONE - FREE! The pumpkin patch – a family affair DEB COX-JOHNSON Correspondent The pumpkin patch on the north side of Highway 12 between Howard Lake and Cokato is a familiar sight to area residents and many enjoy watching the season progress. As the pumpkins grow from blossoms to round orange spheres, and then get bigger and bigger, it is a colorful and cheerful reminder that fall is coming. The pumpkin patch started more than years ago and while it might look mostly the same from year to year, a lot has changed over the years. Then ... Dan Nyquist and his wife of 59 years, Helen, originally started the pumpkin patch as a way to fund their children’s college. All three of their children worked alongside their parents every step of the way. Originally, there were four or fi ve varieties grown, and the pumpkins were a small part of the much larger farm. ... and Now Today the “patch” includes two and one-half acres of pumpkins, squash, gourds, seed corn and decorative corn.. Every year, between 40 and 50 varieties are planted. Some of the pumpkins are custom grown for specifi c destinations. These include giant-size pumpkins about 4 feet high for displays in public and civic locations. Nyquist works closely with Harris Seeds, one of the premier suppliers of specialty seeds. Nyquist and Harris consult before planting and throughout the growing season. Harris Seeds values Nyquist’s feedback and Nyquist can stay better informed about new varieties and the latest trends. In addition to the pumpkins, squash, gourds, and corn, visitors can also buy raw honey. The honey is produced by approximately 80 beehives located elsewhere on the property. Nyquist stated that one of his favorite times of the year is spring and summer, when he can see the pumpkin fi elds fl ooded with happy, buzzing bees. One thing that hasn’t changed is that the pumpkins are still very much a family affair. These days, it’s not just the three adult children, but spouses and grandchildren who work the pumpkins. And the funds still go to support one or more of the eight grandchildren’s current college expenses. Some of the grandchildren have already graduated, but they continue to work in the pumpkin fi elds. They are paying it forward to the younger ones who are currently attending or have yet to attend college. The shared joys of pumpkins, music, and books Pumpkins awating future display. PHOTO BY DEB COX-JOHNSON Nyquist has found the biggest joy of all is simply working alongside family. He stated that there is no more satisfying adventure than sharing the planting, tending and harvesting with family members of all ages. He recently lost his wife, Helen, shortly after their 59th anniversary, but continues to treasure life with family. Nyquist and his wife met at a skating party in Cokato. He was home on leave after being drafted into the Army after the Korean War. She was there from her family’s farm in Hector. They married soon after he was discharged. For many years, Helen worked as a nurse at the Senior Connections Dan Nyquist in the pumpkin fi eld. PHOTO BY DEB COX-JOHNSON Buffalo hospital and Dan managed the farm, which included a dairy and crops. He once calculated “sometime in the ‘60s” that, according to the previous “Minnesota Farm Accounting System”, he had worked 440 ten-hour days in a single year. Their lives were very full, but they always found time for books and music. Their daughter, Naomi, learned to play the violin expertly at a very young age. The sons did not, but all eight grandchildren either learned or are learning to play early in life. The Nyquists developed a collection of violins ranging from the smallest child size through adolescent-sized More PUMPKINS on Pg 11 is distributed to: Annandale | Buffalo | Cokato | Darwin | Dassel | Delano | Glencoe | Howard Lake | Hutchinson | Kimball | Lester Prairie Litchfi eld | Loretto | Maple Lake | Maple Plain | Mayer | Montrose | Mound | New Germany | Norwood Young America Rockford | Silver Lake | South Haven | St. Bonifacius | Waconia | Watertown | Waverly | Winsted