We were out for our weekend bike ride yesterday morning when it dawned on me. The sky was blue. There was no rain. It was even slightly - dare I say it - warm. Perfect pumpkin patch weather. We had to go.
A few weeks ago we decided that we would try a new pumpkin patch this year. We've been going to the same one since before we had children, and it has gotten progressively busier each year. Hoping to find one that was a little less busy, I did a quick online search and came up with one about 40 minutes away. We ate lunch and hopped into the car.
When we got there, it was perfect - a quaint, well-oiled machine. A small gauge train took us out to the petting zoo area, where the boys enjoyed petting and feeding the miniature donkey, rabbits and goats, and following the chickens around the barnyard. Then it was back on the train to go to the pumpkin field and hay bale pyramid. Instantly both boys ran for the pyramid and the maze inside. I was close behind - and thank goodness, because I'm not sure I've ever seen our little one back-pedal so fast when he saw just how dark it was inside. Together we felt our way through to the other side, giggling with joy and nerves. And immediately, the bigger child headed right back in.
We played on the pyramid and in the maze for an hour, enjoying the sunshine and fresh farm air. It was perfect - plenty of kids for the boys to run around with, but no crowds or lines. Dan and I got to sit back and watch them enjoy themselves without having to hover or worry about losing them in the crowd.
Eventually, we all chose pumpkins and rode the train back to the station. In the main building, there were bundles of dried lavender and fresh fruit and vegetables to purchase and the delightful smell of kettle corn in the air. Pumpkins were purchased and we loaded into the car. Fifteen miles down the road, three of the four of us were asleep.
It is these kinds of fall afternoons that keep us warm in the dark of winter. I wish we could bottle them up to preserve on the shelf next to the canned tomatoes and raspberry jam. For now, we'll have to be content with the perfect pumpkins sitting next to the door.