Last Friday we drove an hour up into the hills to pick fall apples. We filled three buckets with Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Empire, and Rome apples, enough to grandly fulfill Grammy’s dehydrator ambitions, eat all the sweet, crunchy apples we could want, and have apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for family home evening treat tonight.
On the way home, we decided to stop by the pumpkin patch.
We only intended to stay an hour or two, but Murray Family Farms is no ordinary pumpkin patch. It’s a 360-acre autumn extravaganza. After eating our picnic lunch on a shady table outside, we let the children play in a sandbox thing full of field corn. It was actually pretty fun. The corn went down so deep you couldn’t even reach the bottom if you stuck your arm all the way down.
Unfortunately, Tony got so involved in playing in the corn that his wedding ring slipped right off. If you think back to the last time you lost your wedding ring in a bottomless sandbox full of field corn, you will remember that each individual grain of corn feels exactly like a wedding ring when you are running your hands through the corn in a frantic and fruitless search.
Tony eventually gave it up, and got out of the corn box to put his shoes back on and go in the store to see if they had a metal detector. But I was determined to stay in that corn box until I found the ring. I kept thinking about the day I went to get it engraved before we were married, and how I couldn’t imagine replacing it. Corn cascaded around me as I dug furiously for the missing ring. Finally, I glanced over at the corn I had most recently unearthed from the depths, and there it was, glistening on top.
By this time, we had had enough of the corn box, and decided to visit the petting zoo, where we found peacocks, goats, chickens, and a pony. One of the black silkie chickens was running loose, and since we used to have chickens and we’re total experts on taking care of them, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I managed to corner and catch the chicken, and deposited her in the pen containing the only other black silkie chicken on the farm. Unfortunately, the resident chicken immediately and furiously attacked mine. So I let it back out, concluding that maybe leaving well enough alone wasn’t such a bad idea.
The next thing on the agenda for the children was what Murray Farms called a “jumping pillow.” And that’s pretty much what it looked like: a gigantic yellow pillow. Somehow they had filled it with air from underneath, and it made pretty much the awesomest trampoline ever. My favorite thing to watch when they were jumping was their hair. Axa’s was tamed in ponytails,
But Raj’s flew free in the wind!
It was with difficulty that we finally pulled them away from the jumping pillow. Next we navigated the cherry tomato maze, with frequent stops to gobble up handfuls of delicious red, yellow, and purple cherry tomatoes. The children also spent quite a long time with a rubber duckie race, where each duckie was propelled along by water from an old fashioned red pump. We also tried out the giant rocking horses, the kid-sized spider web climbing toy, and the ant farm.
Then came the actual visit to the pumpkin patch. We piled into the hay wagon, and a tractor pulled us down the road and out to the pumpkin patch.
After an exhaustive search, we chose, of course, the most beautiful pumpkins in the entire several-acre patch.
Then we were ready for home, delayed only by detours in two large corn mazes, and a more-or-less harrowing encounter with Shelob.
Looks like we’re well on our way to a holiday season brimming with good, old-fashioned American culture. Bring it on!