September 21, 2012

Who needs apples when the rest of the orchard is this much fun?

Every September for the past three years we have visited the same apple orchard.  In 2010, I took a Friday afternoon off from work and we experienced the place (almost) all to ourselves.  I've become a little more judicious with my pto and now we visit on a Saturday with the rest of the crowd.  This year I almost skipped the orchard because they did not offer apple-picking among their trees.  What?  An orchard without apples?  Yes, due to a late, hard frost and an extremely dry summer, there were very few apples to be had at this or any other Midwest orchard. 

Still, the weather forecast was for a beautiful Saturday and I remembered how many fun, non-apple activities the orchard offered, so after Liam's swim lesson we headed to the countryside. 

My children loved the petting zoo. They managed to make their cups of feed last 20 minutes--much to the frustration of the hungry barnyard animals.  Both boys used their terrific fine motor skills to offer one pellet at a time. 
This year the owners have added a goat bridge complete with a pulley system for feeding the animals on the top level. 

It was a wonderful day--I missed seeing the bountiful apple trees but that will only make next year more special.  Aside from fruit, the only other thing I'd change is our timing.  I now believe that it's advisable to start the corn maze early in the day rather than after 3 hours of rough and tumble play in the sun.  Liam kept asking me to carry him and Henry refused to hand over the map.  As you can tell, we were on the Tot Trail.  The corn stalks were shorter and the paths wider. Still it was quite a challenge for this tired family and I was glad to see the exit after just fifteen minutes.

I remember setting Henry atop this copper rooster back when he was just 3.  This is one of my favorite photos because it captured that afternoon so perfectly.  I'm amazed at how much Henry has changed since then and equally amazed at how our family has stayed the same.  There's no place we'd rather be than together on a sunny fall day.



  1. Looks like so much fun! The two pictures on the rooster are great - you definitely need to take another one next year!

  2. Sounds like a great day out :-)

  3. I just love the fall & all the fairs & apple festivals! This looks to be a great day!!

  4. Your day looks a lot like mine...only I wish we had your weather. SR and I were bundled up for winter. Looks like a wonderful time was had!

  5. I can't think of anything better for a Fall Saturday :)


  6. How fun! Don't you just love the fall traditions that come with the cooler weather? We have our own local orchard that we visit too. It's a few miles from our house so we've been a few times, but when Sam's preschool went on a field trip they actually got to pick the apples. Like you said, not many apples this year.