Even though the weather isn’t cooperating with my idea of the season, Autumn is here! A few weeks ago the family went to the Petaluma Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. This week, we went with our homeschool group to a pumpkin patch a little closer to home. It was bright, dusty, and hot; but it was a lot of fun! I forced all of the children to wear orange- not so that I would be able to spot them (which is just as well since they blended in with the pumpkins)- but so the pictures would coordinate with the stickers and paper for the scrapbook pages that will be created later.
Our adventure started with a train ride for the kids around the pumpkin patch. Then we listened to our guide tell us about pumpkins. The pumpkins they grow here are Sugar Pie Pumpkins (so I am excited to make some pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin- this is something I’ve never done before!) and they grow one to a vine on a very long vine. He explained that if another pumpkin appears on a vine, they will prune it off so that the one pumpkin gets all the nutrients it needs to grow well. They also have some “volunteer crops” in the pumpkin patch- tomatillos that have volunteered to grow next to the pumpkins.
Next, each child was able to go out to the patch and select a pumpkin to take home. The rule: Each student must carry the pumpkin out to the car by themselves. Mothers and teachers were not allowed to carry their pumpkins. This was a good rule. My children did a good job of selecting the perfect size pumpkins to carry home. I did let them place these pumpkins in our stroller for the duration of our field trip.
Next, the kids chose a pumpkin leaf and had a nearby dad or the guide pick it off for them (the leaves and vines had stickers!) and they used it to do a leaf rubbing with vellum and a crayon. They enjoyed this experience and Z-urchin found every single small white pumpkin in the area and thoughtfully threw them all in the trash.
After I fished out all the the small pumpkins from the trash, we headed over to some hay bales and the area where I think they hold a petting zoo on the weekends. The kids had fun climbing and wandering in the hay bale mini-maze and pretending they were in “prison.”
We then visited the haunted house. Princess and Z-urchin thought it was too scary until their brother wanted to go again. Then they decided that it wasn’t so scary after all and followed him right back in. We got one final train ride- and they got to ride around the patch four or five times! At that point, the heat, the brightness, and the yellow jackets became too much for me and we headed back to the car for lunch and then spent the afternoon at home, in the shade, on our swing.