Friday, October 8, 2010

Let's Go to the Pumpkin Farm!

Can't talk today -- we're all off to the pumpkin farm.  It's an annual family outing -- perhaps my favorite of the year.  Last year, I took y'all along . . . so here's what we did and what we will be doing again!  (We're creatures of habit.)

(From 10/15/09)  Okay, go get yourself a cuppa . . . we're going on a field trip!

Every fall, our family piles in the van and sets off in search of our own great pumpkin.  We go miles.  It takes us all day.  It is an event. It just wouldn't suit our family to head to the nearest grocery store -- or even the nearest pumpkin farm -- to get our Halloween pumpkins and fall decorations.  No.  We must travel far and wide.

We always make it into an adventure -- bringing food and snacks and drinks.  The kids usually bring along a companion of the toy variety, usually a stuffed animal or doll of some sort.  And we try and go on weekday when the other schools are in session, but ours is not.  It makes it much more fun to think of the fun we're having while others are in school, you know.

So we set out early Monday morning for our fall adventure.  We stopped at a local market on our way out of town.  They have an old-fashioned candy section second to none.  There are the old bushel barrels full of individually wrapped candies -- everything from rootbeer barrels to the old-fashioned cough drops in the striped wrappers.  There are also the modern candies and the campy kid candy, etc.  The seasonal candy is the most fun.  Have you seen those seasonal boxes of Dots?  "Blood Orange" flavored Bats.  There are also Candy Corn striped Dots.  And light green Ghost Dots.  Who knew?    We just had to get the gummy chicken feet!  We each also picked our favorites and moved on . . .

(My son chose those little wax bottles with the sweet syrup inside.  Remember those?  I didn't realize, though, until later, that he thought one ate the whole thing.  He was a bit disappointed when we tutored him on biting the "top" off and drinking the liquid and discarding the rest.  Such a waste to him.  Remember that lesson?)

Anyway, we continued on and finally reached our first pumpkin farm and pie stand.  I took several pictures of the place, but somehow missed the camera wrist strap hanging right in front of the lens!

Well, you get the idea.  See the size of those pumpkins?

This is an Amish farm and pie stand.  This year, they had the most incredible pumpkins.  Huge!  And wonderful varieties.  Not one of these would be found in the typical grocery store.  Unfortunately, unlike the pumpkins, the pies have declined.  I suspect they are under new ownership -- more focus on farming, less on baking.  Oh well, that'll be better for my waistline.

We bought two huge pumpkins and one smaller white pumpkin here.  We had to use a wheelbarrow to get them to the van, one at a time.  I couldn't lift one for even a moment.  Hugest pumpkins we've ever bought -- and for the price we usually pay for the typical pumpkins.  Wow!

I had to laugh at this scene in the parking lot:

 Man's Work!  It was all fun and games picking out the behemoth pumpkins; the work came in getting them in the vans!

And we "grin and buy it."  Corn shocks, I mean.

We know, full well, that the farmers must laugh at the city kids that actually pay for these, but I can't help it, I don't have a corn field out my back door and they look pretty by the front door this time of year.

Then off we went to the next destination.  This is a wonderful place that really defies description.  Picture an elderly couple with the energy of kids.  They have a salvage, woodworking, petting farm kind of place.  It is charming, yet a tad curmudgeonly, all at the same time.  We were treated to this sign as we parked:


But then you turn around, and you see this beautiful, wonderful, amazing barn, all painted by the same hands that made that sign:

I wish I could post a larger image of it. (Hey, I just realized you can click on it to see it larger!  If you do, notice the bike in front covered in dried grapevines and lights . . . 'tis one of the things we bought!  And wouldn't that rusty bed make a great garden feature . . . "flowerbed?!")  This barn is at least 30' high and all handpainted.  It is a mural of himself and his wife and their dog.  That is them at the top, childhood sweethearts, sitting under a tree next to a wagon.  There they are at the lower right in modern day, they must be in their 80s.  The window on the top left is real; the window on the top right is painted.  Something, eh?

You could wander around in this and another barn for hours, but then there are the grounds which hold any and everything.  He has salvaged vintage windows stacked up side by side, like books on a shelf, by the hundreds.  Clawfoot bathtubs leaning in a row, probably 15 or so.  I didn't think to get a picture of these things as they really become part of the landscape after you become accustomed to this place.

If you wander around long enough, you'll come upon this fella:

He's friendly enough as long as you don't come inside his gate.  He turns all around so you can see how fancy he is.  He really is beautiful.  He has a missus, but she's quite shy.  He says not a word until you turn your back to walk away.  

So we wandered and wandered and ended up buying a couple of things for which we already had no room in the van.  We'll have to make another trip back either this weekend or next.  I'm sure you can imagine, I'm not too sad about that!

Up the road a couple of miles, we finally come to our pumpkin farm.  It is a little family farm that has been in the current owner's family for generations.  She and her husband and children grow so many varieties of pumpkins and gourds, it boggles the mind. 

That's her on the right, in the apron:  the maiden of the gourd.

There were pumpkins, literally, everywhere!

We spent a lot of time choosing the pumpkins we bought.  Everyone got one plain-ish pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern and then we branched out into the decorative and useful ones as well.

I sought the maiden's advice on which variety would be best for pumpkin butter.  I plan to try my hand at that this fall.  The kids love it in their oatmeal and it is oh-so nutritious.  Stay tuned for that wild ride.

As they day came to an end, we packed everything in and headed home.


Now, to get them arranged and, later, carved -- it's been raining since just about the moment we arrived back home!

P.S.  Anyone who has read this far deserves a treat.  Go here  to carve your own virtual pumpkin -- and you can make and print the stencil so you can bring it to life.  (Those of you in lands devoid of Halloween festivities . . . you know you've always wanted to make a jack-o-lantern.  G'won!)


Anonymous said...

We just pulled our old corn stalks and threw them in the burn pile. I should send the kids out to gather a few for the front porch.

Thanks for sharing your day. It sounds like it was perfect.


missy said...

Beautiful pictures of your amazing family day. We always buy a bundle of Hay to decorate our front porch and every year right after Thanksgiving the neighbor behind us comes over and asks for the bundle to put in her dog's doghouse. So we always keep this in mind while buying our hay.

Those pumpkins are HUGE!! I love them!! I have a few medium size pumpkins out but still need to decorate them. I may do a little Martha Stewart stenciling on them.

And oh yes I do remember those sweet Bottle candies very well. And yes I admit I ate far to many WHOLE before realizing that you only need to "drink" the sweetness. But they still tasted good with the wax.

tdjunkie said...

What a fantasic tradition. Those pumpkins are huge. Your kids will always remember them.

Becky said...

What a fun day! That barn was amazing! I showed DD the pic and she was amazed, too. What a special family tradition for all of you!

Deborah said...

Those pumpkins are awesome. That barn and the old couple sounds so cool. I would love to visit that place. I would be in clover even just sitting and observing. I have a friend who owns a small cluttered thrift shop. I love going there and spending time with her and the thrift shop gang.

bad penny said...

Fabulous hope you had a lovely day

Tommie Jo said...

Wow! Those pumpkins are HUGE! I cant quite remember where I happened upon your blog at but I've loved visiting!

Mumsy said...

That is a fun trip you're taking us on! I just buy the pumpkins since the corn stalks might inspire some kids around my neighborhood to do something bad :-(

Diney said...

That was such an amazing family day, and a wonderful old tradition for you all to keep for ever....wonderful!

Jenny said...

Wow. I'm so glad I hopped over here and found this post.

This was a wonderful fall trip. Here in AZ we have finally dropped below 100 so it's not quite fall like I love elsewhere so this was perfect.

Seasonal boxes of Dots? OK, I have to go look for those?

Everything was so charming...and I especially loved the stolen plant sign. That barn was amazing. I clicked on the image. Really, really cool.

Maybe the best picture of all was the back of your vehicle...loaded to within an inch of its life!

Really fun.

Thanks for letting us tag along.

Chambray Blue said...

Great photo's... looks like a good time was had by all! Thanks for sharing, blessings your way... bobbi & gracie

Running Thread said...

I have never seen pumpkins like that!! They are HUGE. I loved your pictures. Thanks for sharing such a lovely family day.

Marydon said...

G'day ~ What a fun day you will have ... I so missed getting to take the kid-lings to the pumpkin patch ... first time in years! :( I think I enjoy it more than they do, actually.

Where was this place at, I don't recognize it ... love the barn!

Have a great day & TY for the best wishes.

TTFN ~ Marydon

bad penny said...

....did you get lost at the Pumpkin farm or swallowed by one ? Where are you ? Miss you !

Annesphamily said...

I am loving the post! You really put together a great picture here! I love the turkey! I am a thanksgiving kinda gal! Hee Hee.
I am going to draw a couple of my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and the tea for one soon so I hope you will stop by. I had a terrible summer with the loss of my mother-in-law and then the housing situation. Hopefully we will be situated for Thanksgiving this year! Whew! Have a great weekend! Anne

Buttercup said...

Love the pumpkin pictures...but where are you? Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

Totally awesome barn painting and it did enlarge! Thanks for sharing this!

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