Fall Fun: Enjoying the Seasons Many Pleasures
By Suzanne Cox
Fall has finally arrived! While some may be mourning the official end of summer, I am rejoicing in the cooler weather and many new opportunities the Fall season brings for our family. For starters, our Fall garden is newly plowed and planted with an assortment of cool season veggies. We have mangel beets for the pigs. For us we have turnips, turnip greens, watermelon radishes, sugar beets, lettuce, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. This weekend, we hope to move the pigs into another garden to “till” for us and plant their current pen in winter wheat.
Now that the majority of our fall apples are put up and the garden is planted there is time to enjoy other things unique to the Fall season. I believe that this is the best time of the year to show non-farmers and city folk all the blessings that country living has to offer! Like what you say? While the weather is cooling off, things are still alive and well outdoors. It’s the perfect time to offer farm tours as the animals are more active and the grass is still green. Flowers are still in bloom, and the breeze is gentle and cool. The hay has already been gathered and stacked in the barn, and the rush of summer harvests is at an end. It is now time to enjoy ourselves! So how does our family have fun in the Fall?
Last weekend we spent the day at Amazin’ Acres of Fun in Sparta, TN. Macey said “Mom, I had my bestest day ever!” William is still talking about how he knows how to milk a cow now, ssshhh. Don’t tell him it was a fake cow with an udder full of water!
The kids have never been through a corn maze before, or to a pumpkin patch to pick out their own pumpkin. They were extremely excited about these things when we planned our trip. Andrew and I had not been in many years ourselves, and we were nicely surprised at all the new activities now offered. When we first arrived, we were greeted by a perfect picture opportunity!
Daisy the milk cow was stationed next to the entrance, so the kids both tried their hands at milking awhile before wandering around to explore. We found goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, and young calves to feed and pet. Then the kids made their way into the barn for a kiddie “straw crawl” maze and straw slide. This kept them busy for a while! It was Andrew that discovered the “Hillbilly Slide,” a huge slide made out of large black pipe. Of coarse, he had to try it out first.
After a few goofy pictures, and a lot of sliding we made our way to my favorite new activity. The water pump duck races! What a great idea, a few hand pumps and some PVC piping, two troughs at the ends and you are ready to go with your rubber duckies.
The kids took advantage of the swings, giant tractor tire swings, and the hampster wheel while we waited for the tractor to come back around for our hay ride. Right before dark, the tractor arrived pulling a huge hay wagon. The kids have only been on a hay ride once before, and both were to young to remember it now. They were so excited, they were bouncing on the hay bales! The hay ride took us into the pumpkin patch, or rather, the HUGE pumpkin fields full of large shiny orange pumpkins! Both kids got to pick out their own pie pumpkins to bring home.
Once our hay ride and pumpkin patch experience was over, it was dark. The kids had wanted to wait until dark to do the corn mazes with their flashlights. I wasn’t so sure about this, as Macey tends to be afraid of the dark. However, she really surprised me and took the lead on our first maze! To get to the first maze, we first had to walk past a very colorful and cute assortment of large pumpkin signs. Each painted sign had a neat fact about pumpkins on it. The kids favorite was this giant pumpkin head.
Now we were ready for our first maze! They offered five different choices ranging from easy Pre-school level up to a haunted Halloween maze. We chose to do the “Big Leap” for kindergarten through 3rd graders, then the Giant corn maze (for all ages, but with no clues to get you through it!), and then finished with the Tiny Tots maze for pre-schoolers.
The “Big Leap” maze is designed to be fun and educational. At each intersection of the maze, there is an agricultural question you must answer to point you in the right direction. There were 14 total questions, and Macey answered every one correctly! I was so proud of her.
By the time we finished the 3rd maze, the kids were completely wiped out. We decided to call it a night and headed home. The kids were asleep before we made it back to the main road, but woke up the next morning full of tales of their latest adventure!
Corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkin patches, and petting zoos all are wonderful Fall family fun ideas. I was surprised to discover online just how many locations are doing these now, and I am sure you can locate one near your area! What’s next on our agenda? This weekend we are planning to attend another first for us, a show and breeder pig auction! I’m sure there will be a blog on that soon. Check back later to see if we find any great buys!
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