One of the wacky traditions that Tenor Mom and I have implemented, right up there with chopping down our own Christmas tree, is picking our own pumpkins to carve for Halloween. This is slightly more sane than the tree thing, in that it is usually not snowing and one often gets a fun hayride to the pumpkin patch, rather than a soggy trudge through frozen fields. Pumpkin picking does have it's own challenges however. For instance, four ginormous pumpkins are way harder to carry to the car than a tree that the helpful tree boy has netted and tied to the roof of your vehicle.
One thing that was surprising to me is that finding a pick-your-own pumpkin patch was a lot harder in Vermont than it was in Baltimore. Vermont! The hub of agriculture and eco-business! And yet most of the places I found had only pre-picked pumpkins for purchase. This may be partially due to the fact that we are already having frosts in Vermont. I think pumpkin season comes earlier up here than it does down in ol' Bawlmer. Down south we could head to the pumpkin patch the last week of October and find plenty of pumpkins still on the vine, ripe for picking. I think pumpkin season in Vermont is sometime in September, but who wants to go get jack o'lantern pumpkins in the middle of September?!
Well, we did finally find a place that was open and had pumpkins available, so we drove out to the farm and got on our exciting hayride. One of the required hayride features at all pumpkin patches is a ride through the "spooky forest," full of skeletons, ghosts, severed heads, ghoulish babies, and all sorts of other family entertainment. Luckily, at 11 am, all that scary stuff doesn't look quite so scary, even to a four-year-old.
We arrived at the patch, ready for some picking, but let me stress that pumpkin season was pretty much over. None of the pumpkins were still on the vine, and many of them were rotting in the field. I don't mean to say that there weren't any good pumpkins left, there were tons, but it was not the lush, green, pumpkin patch of my previous Maryland experiences.
Not to worry, we all found great pumpkins and got them, with some heaving and puffing, onto the hayride tractor cart device, which carried us back to the farmyard proper. A highlight of our departure was finding all of the animals for patting and feeding. These animals included lots of goats, a pony and a yak. Edward was mesmerized, and Ruby was also excited, and it was a nice way for them to spend time while my wife and I took turns trying to hoist 600 lb pumpkins onto our shoulders and get them into the trunk.
Overall, we had a great day, and we got out of there just before it started pouring, so that was a bonus. I think it's important for kids to see where things come from, so farm visits are a must anyway, but it also adds a little something extra special to the holidays when you can actually go out and find your special holiday item where it is found in nature, be it trees, pumpkins, or Cadbury Cream Eggs. Next up: Thanksgiving! Anybody know a good place to hunt turkeys?