Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pumpkin Spice

This is day 3 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

One childhood experience I don't necessarily want to share with Brooklyn (or Tobin) was being sneezed on my a donkey - thankfully, this was a well-mannered goat!

Growing up, my family was all about the journey. We were in it for the experience, so we derived a lot of delight from simple things and had road trips filled with unplanned stops because someone saw and pointed out a sign. What's that funny mountain over there in the middle of the desert? Wait - there's a sign - it's a volcano?! We have to stop! (That's Capulin Mountain in New Mexico, if you're ever driving through ;)

We also attended a lot of small-town events - parades, fall festivals, craft shows, fairs... That's one thing that has fueled my love of brick-and-mortar businesses, because they just have so much more character.

So when Brooklyn started wanting to touch the "puckins" every time we went to the grocery store, I decided it was time to hunt down a local pumpkin patch.

Motley's Family Farm began as (and still is) a Christmas tree farm, but started adding pumpkins to their line-up awhile back. They're located down a winding road at the southern-most edge of Little Rock, which made it an accessible adventure to drive down. We were able to go opening day (they're only open on weekends - unless you have a school group or something like that), and had a magnificent time.

Once inside the gate, we explored the hay-bale maze (like a corn maze, but less claustrophobic and if a kid got stuck they could be rescued by someone with longer legs), the pig races (dear little baby pot-bellied pigs), and the petting zoo (where I fed goats so that Brooklyn could pet them. Definitely not the weirdest - or least-friendly - animal I've ever hand fed).

Then we rode out to the pumpkin patch - as part of a train of "cows" (barrels on wheels, decked out to look like cows) behind a tractor. Brooklyn patted and hugged various pumpkins before finding the perfect one.

They had an ingenious set-up - wagons so that you could transport pumpkins (and tired children) back to the gate, where you paid for your pumpkins (which were very reasonably priced) and then they held them for you while you brought your car (which was a relief, because I was wondering how on earth I was going to get a baby, a preschooler, and a pumpkin that was bigger than either of them back to the car without anyone/anything getting dropped or hit by a car).

If we're still living here once they're old enough to not destroy one, I think it would be fun to get a Christmas tree from them - I realize that they're a glorious mess, but they're also so much more poetic than a plastic one. And you can return them to nature once the holiday is over!

So we brought our perfect-for-us pumpkin home and plunked it down on the balcony where we can say good morning to it every day after breakfast. Sure, I could have bought a pumpkin at the grocery store, and between the time and the gas and the gate-fee and the price of the pumpkin[s - we also got a few little ones as gifts] it probably cost about the same as the marked-up store ones. But we didn't just buy a pumpkin - we got an Adventure, and one that I hope to turn into a yearly tradition.

Do you have any family traditions that could take a local twist, or have a local business that could become part of a tradition?

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