Morgan and Clayton with the magic pumpkin we took home. Next year we are going to try growing our own pumpkins again. I promise not to let the tomato plants beat up the pumpkin vine. Now I am off to crop the photos and write a letter to the family that owns the patch about the condition of the animals in their petting zoo. I hope your pumpkin experiences are more humble than mine and filled with notes of Autumn instead of yells from a crowd.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Pumpkin Patch That Wasn't
My sister-in-laws invited us to a pumpkin patch on Saturday. I had already planned on taking Clay to a pumpkin patch with a Moms Club at a sweet place with a big red barn, story time in a corn field, and lots of local fall squash to drool over. But family time is important and we have not been together for a couple of months so I packed Clay in the car and drove an hour to meet them at the 'patch'. I came off the highway, made a right turn onto the street and was promptly flagged down four parking lots to an entry. Holy Crap! It was an amusement park disguising itself as a pumpkin patch. I took my sweet time getting Clay out of the car and into the wagon I had brought all the while repeating to myself how wonderful it was going to be for Clay to hang out with his cousins, aunts and uncle. The cousins blasted pumpkins from an air gun to hit staged cars, ran through a hay maze, and raced tricycles before heading to the pumpkins. I took Clay into the petting zoo. It was horrible. They were not regulating the amount of people they were letting into a semi enclosed space at the cost of $1. It was cramped with people who most likely had never been close to a farm animal before much less had the opportunity to shove food to one from the baggies of food they purchased at the entry. I then tried convincing myself that this place holds value to some city folk and perhaps older children. Clayton, who has a deep admiration of animals, had tunnel vision. He could only see the animals. He managed to point out every animal he could and sweetly lean in to say hello oblivious to the crowd of people around him. When he spotted the pen where you could go in with the animals he grabbed my hand and pulled me to the gate. The pen was not only crowed with people but animals as well. They were three times as many animals inside as there was space from them to move around. You could not walk two feet without bumping into an animal or person. The animals were crowded, hot and overtaxed. I wanted to run away. But Clayton was bursting with love at every piglet, goat, sheep, chicken and duck there. We keep to a corner were I stood to create space for him and some of the animals that huddled there. He calmly, gently stroked the animals taking time to look them in their face, smile and say hello. After almost five minutes we said our goodbyes to the animals and headed to the pumpkins. Ah, the 'patch'. It was rows of packed dirt from years of people stomping all over the pumpkin vines set in between a train ride and storage shed painted orange. Clay kept his tunnel vision and saw only the pumpkins in front of him. Large, orange pumpkins that he ran to. Odd that there were no little or medium ones, probably pumped the pumpkins with some growing agents. Again he was calm amongst the noise of the train and crowd. I should not of been to surprised at this, he always gravitates towards nature where ever he is. He tried picking up every large pumpkin could. He pulled, tugged and grunted to no avail and then tried the next one. He settled on laying across pumpkins to play in the dirt. He did finally find a white pumpkin that he could pick up thanks to his cousin, Morgan. We picked out three mini pumpkins at checkout time and he held them all the way home. So even though I feel defiled having been to this particular pumpkin patch he had fun with family, hugged a couple pumpkins and carried a few home. Here's Clayton tugging at a pumpkin and what's that next to him? Oh yeah, litter in the pumpkin patch! AGHH!