I never realized how truly amazing a trip to a pumpkin patch can be for kids until I moved to Kentucky. The Louisville area is home to many farms, which turn into autumn wonderlands for our children each year.
Last year we visited a very small pumpkin patch, which delighted my four children. This year however, I found the perfect spot when we visited Gallrein Farms in Shelbyville, Kentucky. It boasts an amazing pumpkin patch. I can say without a shadow of doubt, our visit this weekend established a new annual, family tradition.
The moment we stepped out of our van the kids were enthralled by a vast array of festive, fall, farm activities. So much to choose from – pony rides, a petting zoo, a corn maze, slides and tunnels, bouncers, hay castles and a country store full of all kinds of wonder.
I truly believed I would hear four different ideas when I asked where they wished to start. Oh, how wrong I was. They each knew exactly where they wished to go first. Amazingly they all wanted to do the same thing at the same time (a minor miracle for our family).
“Hay ride to the pumpkin patch,” they all chorused.
The decision was made without one single argument. Their excitement was palpable as the tractor drew near the pumpkin patch. We sat directly behind the large, rear, tractor wheel on the hay wagon. Each kid stood to peak around the black, rutted tire to get a full view of the delights in store for them.
The tractor-pulled hay ride meandered around the farm perimeter, adding to our anticipation. Their excitement rose to fever pitch as we wound our way through the middle of a wide, expansive pumpkin field.
For the kids, there seemed to be pumpkins as far as their eyes could see. They jumped down and immediately started running about in a frenzy, in search of the perfect pumpkin. Many were still attached to vines. After a few trips and tumbles, they soon learned to watch their step.
Such joy I felt, watching them run around, selecting pumpkins here and there, turning them over for inspection. Each child established their very own, unique standards of quality control. No farmer ever heard of their crazy selection criteria. In the end, we settled for some not so perfect pumpkins, with minor little marks and wrinkles. In my book, nothing ever needs to be perfect.
A little encouragement was required not to be overly enthusiastic about the size of a chosen pumpkin. A quick reminder was in order. The chosen few needed to be carried back onto the hay wagon to be weighed at the farm store. My older son turned into Samson the moment he set foot on the pumpkin patch. He kept lifting the biggest gourds he could lay his hands on, but Mom’s words of warning quickly straightened out his pumpkin picking criteria.
Back at the farm store, there was an amazing selection of mini pumpkins, squash and gourds, boasting every shade of fall.
The kids eyes were drawn to rows of candy corn tubs, and multicolored jelly treats. Mom, on the other hand, was enthralled by the beautiful display of spiced and pickled, fruits and veggies.
Hours of brisk, sunny, autumn fun were enjoyed by all, climbing haystacks, and running about energized by sheer happiness.
A pony ride around a magnificent, magical tree was the perfect end to a perfect day.
Slan agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom