Monday, October 19, 2015

Annual Pumpkin Patch Pilgrimage, Circa 2015

When you live in Western WA, like we do, planning outdoor events and excursions often comes with the tag "weather permitting." When the weather window opens, we've learned to run at it full steam ahead because you never know when Mother Nature is going to slam it down on you.

Such was the case with our annual trip to Fairbank Farm for our family's Halloween pumpkins. As Conor and I were driving home from church, I realized my windshield was staying dry... the weather window was open!! The gray clouds above meant Mother Nature's hand was on that window, but we are brave (foolish?) folks and decided to risk it. As soon as we got home, I rallied the troops and soon we were in the car headed to the pumpkin patch.

We got to the pumpkin patch about an hour after it opened, which left us parking a couple of blocks away instead of in the farm's parking lot. (Obviously many others decided to pop in while the weather window was open like we did!) Soon, we were feeding the farm's various species of birds (ducks, geese, peacocks, chickens ... all of which smelled like wet bird), watching the pigs, oohing and ahhing over the baby ducks and newly-hatched (and hatching) chicks (note: better smelling than the wet adult birds out in the rain!), and wandering through the mini hay maze.

Because we're regulars at the farm, we were able to make pretty good time as we wove our way through the various sections of the farm. I think I'm the only one who even stopped to look at the pony this go-around! Plus, a number of years ago, the farm changed insurance companies and the new company wouldn't allow people into the pens with the calf and juvenile sheep, so there are a fewer spots to encourage us to lollygag in the barn.

One of our kids with one of the farm's kids

Conor and his new goat buddy

The gray goat kept head-butting the brown one... not hard, just often

Conor decided to referee the goats and restore peace in the goat pen

Once the kids (and their parents) got their fill of taking in the sights and sounds of the barn animals, we grabbed a wheelbarrow and made our way to the pumpkin patch. From our years of experience, we know to bypass the first patch and head to the back one ... novices stop at the first patch, which is more picked over. We seasoned veterans know to hike the extra 40-50 feet and enjoy the bounty of the slightly-less-visited back patch.

It's pumpkin season!

Each family member can pick out one pumpkin. Conor found many of "THE" one for him. His approach was to find a pumpkin that spoke to him (metaphorically, of course!) until another one had a louder voice. Then, the original pumpkin was put down and the next one was picked up. (This happened over and over until he felt comfortable with his final choice ... and it was basically time to leave.)

Conor with one of his chosen pumpkins

And with one of the many others that he deemed adoptable

Annika, on the other hand, was much more discerning in her pumpkin picking. She went in with one goal: to find the biggest pumpkin. No mediocre pumpkin was going to catch our girl's eye. (We can only hope she's this discerning when it comes to choosing people to date in the future!) As we tried to help her along (Mother Nature's hand was getting ever closer to the window, ya know!), all we did was annoy her by pointing out sub-par pumpkins. (Gosh, we are jerks!) Fortunately, she eventually did spot a pumpkin that she deemed worthy and gave us the green light to load it into the wheelbarrow with the rest of our orange loot.

Annika: Pumpkin Huntress

 Most years, I get a picture of the kids sitting in the wheelbarrow with our pumpkins. Only when it was too late did I realized we grabbed one of the smaller wheelbarrows and the kids wouldn't fit in... whoops! I did manage, however, to get one of my other go-to shots: the one of Eric and the kids wheeling our pumpkins away from the patch.

While Eric paid for the pumpkins, the kids played around in the farm's photo op area and put their faces through the holes painted in various scenes so I could take their pictures. They still think this is silly fun and are willing to participate. One day, they'll be too big (or cool) to do this, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can!

Our kids 

The cutest scarecrow and pumpkin on Earth!
After the pumpkins were paid for and loaded in the car, we headed home celebrating our pumpkin finds and outwitting Mother Nature ... we stayed dry the entire time. Yippee!!

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