‘Tis the Season – For Pumpkins!

My family has always gone to the pumpkin patch in the autumn for apples and doughnuts and ciders – and of course the aforementioned orange gourds. When I was a kid, we would go with my cousin Brian, and the cider mill was pretty basic, more farm than fall attraction. That orchard is still operation but I guess to jazz it up and draw in more business, they have added vendor booths and bounce houses and all sorts of things that we are not interested in. So when Wyatt was born, Billy and I found Bennett’s Orchard and it’s become our new tradition to go there. Sometimes with my brother and his family, sometimes just the three of us. This year, it was just the three of us.

We are early birds, and got on the road after breakfast for Wyatt and coffee for Billy and I. It was a quiet Sunday morning, hardly any cars on the road, with a blanket of fog enveloping the city and eventually farms around us. We listened to an episode of Campfire Monsters, and it was a great start to our adventure.

We arrived just as they were opening, and basically had the place to ourselves. The morning was very moody. Atmospheric even. We took a small walk around the grounds but not as far as usual as it was also very damp. I couldn’t get over how picturesque everything was – the photographer in me could not stop snapping pictures.

Not our dog, but he pretended to be while we were there. Such a sweet boy. As we strolled about, the fog began to dissipate, the sun was shining, and it was all of a sudden sweaty hot. Yay Michigan for your crazy weather changes.

There seems to be some sort of small imp peeking through my hair.

We started back for the store as it warmed up – definitely time to shop, try the hard cider that they make on site (not Wyatt of course), and pick out the main attraction, pumpkins. I filled my little hand basket with honey and cider and tiny pumpkins and a special one pot coffee pack of Maple Pecan coffee.

Then we headed outside for our pumpkins. My big cheeser was not in the mood to sit still for a photo though.

That’s ok, he is cute no matter what.

After the obligatory pumpkin photos, it was doughnut time. The best part, in my opinion. Wyatt had a doughnut and an apple. I don’t blame him, the apples are fantastic.

And with bellies full of apple cinnamon doughnuts and the Outback full of pumpkins, we turned toward home, happy and content.

Mini-Post: What’s growing on?

I felt like it was time for a garden update. Our garden did not go as we had planned way way back, during the winter. That fun breakfast with my sister-in-law planning, how my husband and I drew up a blueprint of where we wanted things, then…lockdown. Then, my husband’s broken elbow. We had beds never dug, seedlings that never made it into the ground – but we persevered, and started again. We had to cobble a garden together in parts, my brother kindly came over and rototilled a few spots for me, we planted in containers. And while we didn’t plant anywhere near what we had intended, it felt good to just get some seeds in the ground.

My pumpkins are my favorite. I have always wanted to grow them, and they have taken off like crazy. Literally, they stretched out across our entire yard. I have a long term plan for our little pumpkin patch – if Halloween is cancelled, which I am feeling like it will be, we are going to do a Charlie Brown Halloween and wait for the Great Pumpkin to arrive while sitting in our pumpkin patch, next to a bonfire. And I am sure I will be drinking cider and eating stew or chili. So grow pumpkins grow! Although, I am a little concerned. Some of the leaves are a little funky! I need to google that, unless someone here knows what is happening?

My cucumbers are utter chaos. Like seriously it is anarchy in their corner. Weeds grew up along the fenceline and the cucumbers attached themselves to them, while also refusing to climb the trellis Billy built. And maybe we will get a cucumber or two? I planted seeds late, so whatever we get I will be happy with. They look pretty though, even among the chaos.

We transplanted our strawberries to this bed as well – they were living in a strawberry planter that got knocked down by strong winds and shattered. They are alive and kicking though so I am looking forward to what they do next year. Cabbage lives here too, along with the dill that the black swallowtail butterflies love so much… and grasshoppers. So many grasshoppers.

Our experimental peanuts are doing ok, I think? I can’t tell. Our radishes did fabulous! They were delicious on baguettes with butter. So yummy!! My carrots did fairly well too. My beets however, failed spectacularly. I am going to replant and see how a fall crop does.

In the front of the house, we have flowers, lavender, lemon basil, swiss chard, and our raspberry bushes. The lemon basil is enormous – almost as tall as me! I am turning it into flavored salt this week. The raspberries are so sweet and delicious, and it is so fun to run out there and pick a few to eat. We don’t have many, just enough for a little treat. And I have learned I don’t like swiss chard.. that was a substitution at the nursery. By the time I felt comfortable going, the lettuce and spinach was gone. I grabbed a few swiss chard but I am not a fan, which I didn’t realize.

What about you all? Any successes? Failures? Things you would do differently? I would love to hear!