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 A Pumpkin Tree tale

Hi, we're Brendan and Caroline! We met online in 2016 and within a year of dating, we started gardening! Brendan was so excited to be living in a house with a yard big enough to garden. He built raised beds in the backyard. That fall we shoveled horse manure to fill the new beds. And in that first season, one of our pumpkins grew into a tree! We dubbed that pumpkin, "tree pumpkin". Since then we've grown pumpkins in our garden every year. 

In 2018, we got 6 egg-laying chicks. Three ameraucanas, two silver laced wyandottes, and one ancona. All but one (one turned out to be a rooster that we couldn't keep) live very comfortably in the coop we built in the backyard. We were really starting to feel like a little urban farm.

Both of us were familiar with "barn quilts". An outdoor decoration farms hang on barns that look like a quilt square. More recently this trend has been applied to people's homes. So when Caroline got the opportunity to take a workshop to make our own barn quilt, she designed a custom barn quilt called "pumpkin tree". Brendan hung it on the front of our house.

When we got married in 2019, it became clear to us that we saw a future where we expanded our interests in farming. We decided to start documenting our urban farming online as "pumpkin tree farm."

Caroline and Brendan standing under a tree with a pumpkin growing in it.

Us under the pumpkin tree in 2017! Photo taken by Caroline's mom.

Six pumpkins sitting up against a wall.

First pumpkin harvest in 2017.

Brendan hiding in the pumpkin patch.

Our first pumpkin plants were big!

Brendan holding a small chick in his hand.

Brendan with our little chicks!

Chicken coop partially built.

Chicken coop in progress.

Red chicken coop.

Chicken coop complete!

Three egg-laying chickens sitting in grass and leaves.

Chickens all grown up!

Caroline holding a barn quilt at a workshop.

Caroline finishing the pumpkin tree quilt square!

Brendan hanging a barn quilt on peak of blue house.

Brendan hanging the pumpkin tree quilt square!

Hobbyists & Makers 

The biggest thing we bonded over when we were dating, was the fact that we both had many hobbies and interests. Brendan showed Caroline how to weld on our second date. Which led to her taking a college welding class. We're always excited to learn new skills!

We both work in education full-time and are glad we get to share our love of learning. Brendan is a biology & chemistry teacher at Penn High School in Mishawaka, IN. And Caroline works in the admissions department at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, MI.

Brendan's main hobbies (outside of keeping chickens and gardening) include carpentry and fish keeping. He is now a member of Michiana's Aquarium Society's board.  Caroline's interests (outside of keeping chicken's and gardening) include fine art, sewing, graphic design, photography and videography. She has worked for many organizations in Wisconsin and Michigan mainly using her multimedia skills. Get in touch with us if you or your organization want to partner for a project!

In summer of 2021, we took our hobby farming to the next level and kept meat chickens to sell locally. This is not Brendan's first time raising meat chickens, and Caroline is excited to have learned a new skill! Big thank you to everyone that has bought chickens from us since!

Brendan sanding wood on work bench.

Working with wood.

Caroline holding up camera while taking a picture.

Nature photography.

Brendan welding on a work bench.

Brendan working on a welding project.

Metal rose with ring sitting on top.

Brendan's handy-work: welded rose and matching engagement ring.

Selfie of Caroline in welding class.

Caroline in welding class.

Selfie of Caroline and Brendan in blacksmithing class.

Our first time blacksmithing!

Brendan's hand holding up a container of rice fish.

Brendan's orange rice fish.

Colorful lighthouse linocut prints

Caroline's hand-carved lighthouse prints.

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