October 24, 2011

Fall has been kicking into full swing and with it comes the annual trip (or two!) to the pumpkin patch. While Nonna was in town for the big two year old birthday we took her to the fancy schmancy Pumpkin Patch – the one with the BIG corn maze, the BIG pumpkin patch, the carnival rides, the vendors and the big price tag and crowds. While we did have a good time, it was a bit too much for all of our non crowd loving family. The crowds, the bees (where there is junk food there are bound to be bees and with a toddler who just recently got stung by yellow jackets it was a terrible combination!) and the lack of what I thought would be true fall harvest made it a bit disappointing. That should teach me the lesson that commercial and bigger is not always better – and if there is a Groupon for the activity to avoid at all costs!

A week or so after this outing a dear friend asked us to accompany her and her two daughters to a nearby pumpkin patch on our side of town and boy were we happy to go! I believe the message I sent my husband upon arriving was,” I think I found paradise and it is in Damascus!” A true country pumpkin patch, devoid of all the vendors and face painting, photographers and advertisers, this was a good size family farm with a few fields of pumpkins, a horse drawn carriage, an apple slingshot and just muddy, fall fun.

We wandered through fields of pumpkins after attempting to pick up every small squash we could find, we played in the mud, we ran and inspected out the caterpillars and worms.  The apple slingshot looked like too much fun (and a small boy was obsessed with it after seeing the big boys do it!) so we bought our ticket and tried our luck. The first apple missed by a foot – but the second, oh the second hit the target dead center! Yay! We had one more apple to shoot until the little guy decided it made a better snack than launcher. Our prize was a lovely pumpkin to take home.

While on the trip to the fancy pumpkin patch my Mom asked us what the fun of this activity was. Maybe it is hard to describe to people who’s hearts live in concrete and cities and maybe you need a little bit of country in you to love these kinds of outings but to me there is something magical about visiting the place where our food (or pumpkins!) come from. The experience of the visit to the farmers, to eat the caramel apples, to pick our own pumpkins, to visit the farms (where we hope to someday live!) and touch, feel and smell the earth at one of its most vulnerable times of decay and composting, to actually feel the changing of the seasons and live it even for just a day makes me feel a bit more connected to the world around us. And maybe, just maybe we will start a love of seasons and harvest activities with our little ones too. 




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