Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Pleasure of Pumpkins

We took an after-school field trip with Robyn, Josh and Jared last Wednesday to the booming metropolis of Valley Center, more specifically to that temple of all things autumnal: Bates Nut Farm.

Yes, yes, I've heard the "clever" transposition of this name. I find this one to be a bit like all the people who went around calling it "Tar-JAY" and waiting for my reaction. Meaning, if you've heard it, everyone else has, too. Moving on, then.

Robyn offered to drive us all in her red Lone Star caravan, and we were not a bit put off by the torrential rains that had greeted us in the dark, dark day to which we'd awakened. In fact, I was even more encouraged, as our objective in choosing a Wednesday had been to avoid crowds. Water falling from the sky (all the San Diegans say EEK! WHAT'S THAT WETNESS?) would be double insurance against the pushy pumpkin-seekers.

And look what those gray skies did for our photos! Aren't they lovely? And Readers, not a drop troubled our breezy brows that afternoon. It was a luscious day.

Now, it turns out that part of the crowding at Bates on weekends is due to a whole carnival of concessions that is not, strictly speaking, Bates itself. So all the blow-up slides and pony rides and tri-tip sandwiches I remembered from when Jarrah was two were absent. Never mind. The rest was delish, and all ours.

We began with a peek into the General Store, for which we were rewarded with fudge samples and the kids got to choose candy from the barrels. Oh, I got some yummy-looking Cherry Butter. And maybe a very large package of those Halloween-style candy corn with the chocolate part. (Sshhhh. I'm not sharing.)

Then there was a brief visit to the goats, geese and their friends at the petting zoo before we climbed aboard the tractor for our own private (just us!) tour of the grounds, which I found relaxing despite my prickly straw bale perch.

The real highlight was the maze, which David correctly deduced I would want to do "all myself" with no help from the kids. The kids (including me) had orange cards that we had to get stamped in eight places from corn-husk-covered mailboxes hidden in the corners. Something about starting and completing something always fills me with satisfaction (I'm the same about vacuuming and ironing) so I enjoyed every bit of searching and back-tracking.

And then there was the pumpkin-choosing. It was never quite clear if the kids preferred the pumpkins or the wheelbarrows, but both had their charms. And two residents of the patch came home with us.


Jen said...

Totally adorable! What a fun afternoon, despite the rain! Love the photo of Jarrah holding the huge pumpkin by the stem.

Sam said...

Hi Jen! Thanks! I really love that one, too--just posted it on FB. :)

Elsie Xie said...

What a lovely pastoral scene with a bountiful cornucopia of the goodness of pumpkins. I agree with Jen that Jarrah is most adorable in these images.

Logical Libby said...

That pumpkin is huge! Jarrah could live in it. What great pictures...

Michelle W said...

"I find this one to be a bit like all the people who went around calling it "Tar-JAY" and waiting for my reaction. Meaning, if you've heard it, everyone else has, too. Moving on, then." Could have cried reading this. Wanted to hug you. I cringe when I hear that. Drives me batty!

As I said on FB, that picture of Jarrah is incredible. What a gorgeous girl she is. :)

I'll have to admit it, even though I wish you were at our pumpkin patch, looks like they have an amazing place. Glad it was good day.