A blogless two weeks has somehow passed me by... Admittedly, I've been in some kind of an emotional funk, but let it not be said that grass grew under my feet. Oh no!
For starters, we went apple picking! On a cold and frosty morning, no less. The girls had a grand time, and it proved to be quite a learning experience for all of us.
Mom learned: MapQuest will get you within TEN miles of your destination. Which is close... but c'mon mapmakers! Ten miles is a good stretch off.
The girls learned that the term "hayride" is completely open to interpretation, but that apple trees are much shorter than they imagined. They got to tour the apple processing plant and watch the apples move through the production line getting washed, polished and picked over. They saw the oldest tree in the orchard, still putting out despite the inside of the trunk having rotted out. Then they got to pick a few apples.
We all played the game, "What's that smell?" as we toured the facilities. It was unbearably awful! One child suggested vomit, though the tour guide said it was a mix of apples, wood, and insulation. Chemicals and rotting apples, maybe? It was bad. But we soldiered on, and made it through the building without adding to the smell.
Once we cleared the back door of the plant, I was startled to see a cemetary bordering the orchard. Now I don't know a heck of a lot about water tables and casket permeability, but it gave me a sudden case of the Soylent Green heebie jeebies. Nonetheless, the girls were determined to bring home some apples to make pie...
Next up, we co-hosted our co-op get together. We hiked around in the forest on another cold and frosty morning and collected leaves with the few families that were daring enough to brave the near-freezing temperatures.
The kids had a great time, and I got to put my poison ivy knowledge to use. I made up some posionous plant identification necklaces for the the kids to wear, and we were able to identify both poison ivy and poison oak on the walk.
Then we took another early-morning, FREEZING COLD, field trip to a local farm. The kids got to ride a donkey, feed some goats, hold baby chicks, pet a cow and a horse, and go on a hayride... complete with actual hay! The bumpy hayride took us through a shallow creek and to a huge corn maze. The girls ran ahead and Einstein raced along to keep track of them.
Meanwhile, I bumbled my way through with Kitty Bill, who after several twists and turns decided corn mazes weren't his thing. And he fussed, and kicked, and screamed, and inadvertently kicked the digital camera out of my coat pocket.... somewhere... along the way... in the maze of corn....
I didn't notice right away, of course. It's some kind of Murphy's Law. We walked a good way ahead of it, trying new paths and twisting ourselves around. It wasn't until I gave up and sat down amidst the corn and nursed him that I realized I didn't have the camera. Of course Kitty Bill and I had to turn back at that point. Luckily, we met up with Einstein and the girls just then and I let him know about our camera misfortune before winding my way back through the field, trying to retrace my steps through the maze. I kept asking Kitty Bill, "Does any of this corn look familiar?" But he wasn't having any of it. He only wanted to nurse, again.
Amazingly enough, I finally found the camera. But it took me a bit longer than Einstein expected, so while I was coming out of the maze entrance, he had gone back in the exit trying to find me. He shouted my name and worked his way deeper into the maze. I walked around to the exit and shouted his name to no avail. It was absurd, and awfully cold, and we still had a pumpkin patch to wade through.
After collecting Einstein, we headed over to the great pumpkin hunt, where in a large field of pumpkins and bramble there was ONE pumpkin marked with an X. The finder of said pumpkin was promised great treasure. So several families looked along with us, but after an hour we finally gave up thinking it must be some kind of a joke. Then to prove us wrong, the farmer drags Einstein back out into the field to show him... but he can't find it either. Finally, he wades through a thick patch of bramble and there it is, a wee little thing, marked up just like he said. The treasure? Blowpops. We talked him into letting us take home a small pumpkin instead, and made our way home. Whew!
And the adventure continues...