Built in 1908, the chicken coop housed chickens full time until the latter 1960s when my parents switched to growing squash and pumpkins. They installed a kerosene heater on the lower story, providing warmth needed to cure and thicken rinds of the winter squash. The extended shelf life of the winter squash and pumpkins enabled my parents to sell the produce to area grocery stores during the winter. I vaguely remember area school children peering into the chicken coop (during the fall farm tours) and inquiring about a squash house. My British mother had dubbed the chicken coop, the Squash House. The name stuck.
My great grandmother, Jessie Lathrop Ploss, at Hickory Hurst Farm, summer, 1922
(chicken coop, background)
We donned our manure-cleaning gear, including dust masks, straw hats, barn boots, and shovels; and scurried to open windows so we could heave the dusty black gold onto the black raspberry patch below. Dust radiated from our hair and soot flew from our nostrils when we finished mucking out the manure. Needless to say, the raspberries grew twice in size and the surrounding grass grew quite lush. Eventually, we transplanted the raspberries to an adjacent field, then created the Squash House cutting garden a year ago.
|Squash House Cutting Garden, Summer, 2012|
|Squash House (former chicken coop), 2012|
This year finds a larger cutting garden at the Squash House packed with more flowers than ever. By the grace of Mother Nature, we hope to be picking cut flowers for our scheduled opening next Saturday, 27 April 2013. Gather some posies from our farm stand and make your own bouquet. Or, have us make the floral arrangements for your special event. In that case, heed the farm sign. Go Back, You Forgot the Flowers! See you next weekend at the farm stand.