Perryville Pumpkin Farm

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014Bob Campbell did a story on the Perryville Pumpkin Farm in the September 28, 2014, Missourian. When Friend Shari and I wrapped up our business at the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum, I suggested we head up the road to take a look at it.

I had never seen so many different colors, shapes and varieties of pumpkins and squash. They aren’t ALL orange and round, children. Bob’s story said the farm raises 146 varieties of pumpkins. There are some that have long necks like swans; others are covered with “warts” and look like brains.

Rides, mazes and more

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014We got there late in the afternoon, so we didn’t take advantage of a lot of the things the farm had to offer like rides out to the fields, the one-mile corn maze, the pumpkin slingshot or Sophia the simulated cow. I couldn’t even convince Shari that it would be fun for her to crawl through the straw tunnel while I photographed her head sticking out from time to time.

We bought some small items

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014We both bought some small, colorful pumpkins and squashes to take back to our mothers. It’s little things like that that keep you listed in the will (sorry Brothers David and Mark).

Shari was kitty-captivated

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014

Shari, who is owned by two cats, fell in love with this kitten. Mom Meckler said they were overstocked on kittens, noted how Shari was “the only one the cat would allow to pick her up,” and brought out a cardboard box for her to take it home to St. Louis. I tried to guilt her into taking it, but she called that evening to say she was going to have to pass this time, and to find the critter a good home.

Curator Jessica saw this photo and said she wants the black and white cat. She’s coming to Cape in November, so maybe it’ll find its way back to Ohio.

Pumpkins in the semi-wild

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014One of the farm’s pumpkin patches bumps up against the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery. It’s a bit disconcerting to look in one direction and see hundreds of pumpkins, then look over your shoulder to see hundreds of tombstones.

How to get there

Here is the Perryville Pumpkin Farm’s website. They are open 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., from September 1 through October 31.

If you want to make a Perry County day of it, stop by the Altenburg museum for the new exhibit, Revision: Recovery, Repair, and Transformation by artist, Kurt Mueller of Minneapolis. Mueller is the fifth generation descendant of the 1839 German-Lutheran immigration to Perry County, MO This extraordinary exhibit consists of sculptures, paintworks, and assemblages including detailed narratives of the artist’s journey.

The opening reception is Saturday, October 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is free and open to the public. The exhibit will be shown from October 4 through November 7, 2014. If the exhibit is half as impressive as its catalog, it’s going to be worth a scenic drive to see.

 

Treat Me Like A Tractor

Farm equipment on Rt C near New Wells 11-13-2013I’ve been burning up the road between Cape and Altenburg interviewing people for my Last Generation project – trying to capture the last generation of East Perry county residents who spoke German as their primary language.

There are a lot of crops being harvested right now – primarily corn and beans. I was southbound on Rt. C near New Wells when this monster machine appeared in front of me doing about 20 miles per hour.

The driver did a masterful job of keeping the high center of gravity vehicle going while dodging mailboxes and shoulder drop-offs when he had to get over in his lane for oncoming traffic.

As the cars backed up behind me, I could only think of how many people would be honking and writing letters to the editor about how bikes don’t belong on the road if I had been on my Surly Long Haul Trucker. (For the record, this is one of my favorite bike routes. I’ve always been treated with courtesy on it. It’s only when you get close to Cape that you run into drivers who are jerks.)

So, when you see me on my bike with my Slow Moving Vehicle triangle on my back (just like this guy’s), treat me like a tractor. And, if you are going too fast to slow down without hitting me, you’re going too fast to keep from hitting the Monster Machine or the many deer I’ve seen alongside (and crossing) the road.

Heartwarming Americana

Athens County school buses 10-11-1968I was trying to make a left turn out of a nursing home in Perryville where I had been shooting one of my subjects – a 103-year-old Altenburg woman.

A school bus dropping off kids had traffic backed up about a dozen cars deep. “Oh, man, I’m going to be here for a long time,” I thought.

Reminding me that I was back in the Midwest, a car about four back slowed down to create a gap, then the driver motioned me out. Yep, we’re not in Florida anymore.

I didn’t mind the delay

The bus driver must have made at least six or eight stops, with the line of cars growing longer and longer behind me. I didn’t mind the delay, to be honest. I really enjoyed watching the grade school kids hop off the bus loaded down with their backpacks and dash to the house where a parent would be waiting at the door.

One middle school kid stopped at the mailbox, grabbed a letter from it and went running up the hill to his home. He seemed excited. I wonder what was in the envelope?

The driver finally got to a spot wide enough for him to pull off to let the line of cars go by. I was kinda disappointed. Since I wasn’t watching the clock, it was nice change of pace.

P.S. I was too far back to get a good bus shot, so I had to dip into the time machine to pull up this Athens County bus from Oct. 11, 1968.

Snow in St. Louis

St. Louis Snow 01-31-2013I decided to stay over in St. Louis Tuesday night because it was snowing a little and I didn’t want to run into icy conditions on the way south. Ironically enough, it was snowing harder Wednesday afternoon than it had the night before.

I was running low on gas, so I stopped to fill up before getting on the road. While watching dollars get sucked into my tank, I noticed white pellets on my dark coat. This isn’t too bad, I thought.

It was coming down a little harder when I spotted the store on the right. Wife Lila has a birthday, Valentine’s Day and the anniversary of our first date coming up in February, and I saw something that might get me off the hook for being in Missouri all of February. It’ll be our secret, though. Don’t tell her.

Snow filled my mirrors

St. Louis Snow 01-31-2013While I was parked at the store, the wind and snow were blowing up from behind the car. I came out to find my rearview mirrors packed with snow and the snow starting to stick on the ground. It was also clinging to the sides of the trees. (Like always, click on the photos to make them larger.)

Hoping school would be called off

St. Louis Snow 01-31-2013Seeing the school bus pass made me remember the old days.

Many a night I’d get up to look at the sky against the streetlight outside the bedroom window to see if a predicted snow had arrived. School officials back then, knowing that most of the students walked to school uphill and barefooted, figured we were tough enough to handle two or three feet of snow, so classes were rarely cancelled.

Of course, that would set me to stomping around the house railing, “What are they trying to do, kill us?”

Not quite sticking to road

St. Louis Snow 01-31-2013Even though the snow Wednesday was wetter than Tuesday’s, it wasn’t sticking on the road yet. I saw salt trucks out later, but they may have already made a pass.

Swirling snow

St. Louis Snow 01-31-2013The strong side wind and the rush of traffic made the snow slither and swirl making me think of a ghostly white snake running in front of me.

Gee, no kidding

St. Louis Snow 01-31-2013The helpful highway sign suggests that we “Watch for Changing Road Conditions.” Like we’d never have thought of that on our own.

The snow stopped at Pevely, just like someone had thrown a switch.  There was quite a bit on the ground around St. Genevieve, but the middle of the trip was precipitation free. About 35 miles north of Cape, around Perryville, it started coming down hard again and continued all the way into Cape. That’s funny because Perryville was always the weather system dividing line: if there was snow in the region, it usually STOPPED at Perryville.

I’d have shot more pictures, but I had forgotten how cold weather will drain camera batteries. I can usually shoot 500 or 600 pictures between charges, but not on this trip.

 

 

 

 

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