This is what I imagine it feels like to visit Australia at Christmas. All of the holiday trappings are there, but the weather is just wrong. That was our experience today. In spite of the full-on summer weather — cloudless, sunny, warm — the calendar says October so we headed to our favorite pumpkin patch: The Farm at Swan’s Trail.
Like last year, we went with Asher, T.J., and their family. With all the jumping the kids did, I estimate they spent 20% of the trip not touching the ground. The hay pit seemed especially popular. It was shaded, and the kids got to spice up their usual routine of “jumping” with “throwing hay.” (Although, in my role as Meanest Dad in the World, I told them to stop throwing hay whenever I saw it. That never seemed to stick for long.)
The Farm added a new attraction this year: A large, orange, inflated jumping “pillow.” Imagine one of those inflatable bouncy-house attractions from a street fair or Pump It Up, and just remove the side walls, and you’ve got the idea. This was as fun as the hay pit.
This is the first year I got to experience The Farm’s signature attraction: A 12-acre corn maze shaped like Washington State, complete with highways and over 200 cities marked inside. Last year, Patrick was too young for the maze, so he and I skipped. This year, we were maze buddies and we got through in record time. I can’t wait until the kids want to explore the maze and find all the things hidden inside, rather than just escape the maze.
An arial view of the corn maze.
Patrick’s going through an animal-obsessed phase right now. He and I spent a lot of father-son time away from the others, checking out the animals at the farm. Patrick had an odd obsession with the “Four Little Pigs” show. He remembered it from last year. From my adult perspective, it’s a lot of waiting in a small, crowed amphitheater for a five-minute interpretation of the Three Little Pigs. It must have made some impression on Patrick, though, because he would have happily waited in an empty amphitheater for hours, just waiting for the show to start. He didn’t want to miss those pigs! (It took all my powers of persuasion to convince Patrick that it was OK to leave the empty amphitheater, and we could make it back in plenty of time for the show to start.)
Patrick most enjoyed the hands-on animal exhibits: Petting rabbits and holding kittens. I must admit it melts my heart to see how thoroughly these little animals captivated our red-headed imp. He was gentle and sweet with them the whole time.
Perhaps because of the weather, we stayed a few hours longer than we have in the past. Everyone was exhausted (and a little pink from the sun) by the time we headed home. A marvelous day.