––– End of a season, end of an era ---
The Future at McNab's

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It’s the end of the season, and perhaps the end of an era

Posted 22 November 2023

A field of corn is silhouetted in front of a setting sun, symbolising the end of McNab's Corn Maze

2023 marked the first time that we have not had the corn maze for over twenty years, since 2001. This was a tough decision to make. It was hard to watch most of the 7 acre field where the maze had been sit idle this year.

And as summer turned to fall, and the pumpkins started to turn orange, we were informed by our insurance broker that coverage was not going to be available for the farm for the 2023–2024 season. For this reason, as many of you already know, we were not able to offer any hayrides this year.

But there were still some highlights to this strange year.

BGC of Nanaimo and the Three Sisters

In the spring we had several groups visit from the BGC of Nanaimo. The children were given a choice of planting an ornamental corn seed, a Baby ButterNut squash seed, or a bean seed. Most choose to plant the ornamental corn seeds.

These seeds were then planted in the lowest area of the corn maze field, where the best soil is located. Using the 4-row corn planter, I then planted about 20 rows of soy beans on the west side of the BGC rows. Then, with guidance from Betty and an article she had read, we planted 14 hills of ‘Three Sisters’.

“In a number of Indigenous communities, corn, squash, and bean are called the ‘Three Sisters.’ When planted side by side, these three crops help each other during growth, resulting in better yields at harvest.”

For our Three Sisters plantings, a mound was formed out of the soil, about 1 foot high and 2 feet across at the top. 8 ornamental corn seeds were then planted on the top of each mound. After the corn was about 8 inches high, 4 pole beans were planted around each corn stalk. The next week, squash seeds were planted around the 14 mounds.

This concept worked very well, with the pole beans climbing up the corn stalks and the squash plants shading out the weeds around the mounds. We enjoyed many meals of fresh beans off of these plants. The soybeans also grew very well, but the many deer on the farm ate off most of their leaves. A big thank you to the Indigenous communities of the mid-west for this great idea!

Thank you, all

Thank-you to all of the people who came to our farm to either walk to the field and pick out pumpkins, or who selected pumpkins from the displays at the front. (With your support we did sell enough pumpkins to cover most of our expenses for this year.)

Thank-you to all of the people who worked with us, planting, weeding, and harvesting the pumpkins! We certainly would not have been able to do this without you.

Finally, thank-you all of the thousands of visitors who have visited our farm over the last 24 years, Some came to the corn maze when the paths were dusty, while others visited only to have their footwear sucked off by the deep mud on the paths.

It truly was a pleasure to meet so many special people.

It’s just dirt; you don’t own it

All things must end in time. And it appears, at this time, that this is the end for the corn maze and pumpkin patch.

I would like to think that it will just be a pause, but I fear the damage done by a frivolous lawsuit was simply too much.

The farm will carry on. As our mother said, “It’s just dirt; you don’t own it, but rather use it on your way thru life.” A wise lady, indeed.

I would like to thank our parents for buying this land in 1960. They worked very hard to pay for it, and we have been lucky enough to enjoy it for many years!

Till next time,
thank you.

– Murray McNab & Betty Bartleman

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