A friend and I took our girls to the apple orchard this last Friday. Even though it is October, it was a beautiful day with a pretty strong breeze. Perfect weather for romping around the apple orchard. As we were driving up there I couldn't help but think about going to the apple orchard every year as a kid. It was one of those fall things that you look forward to, because you only get to do it once a year. And it comes with donuts!
When I became a grown up, I didn't want to let go of the apple orchard experience and so had persuaded Lance to take me each year. I don't recall the name of the one we went to up in the cities, but down here we found Center Grove Orchard. They give you these long sticks with little grabbers on the end so you can actually pick your own apples. Surprisingly fun! We didn't have kids for many years we were together so it didn't feel right going to the kiddie portion of the orchard, but it looked awesome. So, when fall rolled around the first year we had Hannah I was excited to be able to take her to the orchard.
It was a hit. She got to see and pet and feed goats, horses, and chickens. But chickens bite and unfortunately she learned that one the hard way before we could get her fingers out of there. The orchard has a corn-pit too, something everyone should get to enjoy at some point in their lives. Growing up in Wisconsin, I'm no stranger to corn pits. A huge vat of dried kernels of corn that you wallow around in as if it were a ball bit, only way more dusty. You come out of it covered from head to toe in a couple layers of filth. But watching the kids roll around and cover themselves with corn is worth the dirt you'll have to wash off them later at home. After all, it is a farm, dirt is to be expected.
When we went back to the orchard this year, I'm not sure if she remembered it from before or if it was all brand new to her. But she could have easily spent the whole day there just playing. We met up with our friends in the corn pit and the girls were wading through the corn like it was nothing, even though on them it came up past their knees! Hannah is at the age now where I don't have to hover over everything she does but can just casually watch her from a short distance to be sure she isn't going to get hurt or suddenly run off. So it was nice to just sit on the bales of straw and watch her play without having to get in there myself and get dirty. I thought I might have a hard time getting her to come out of there, that she might want to put up a fight because it was so much fun. But the draw of animals to pet was larger than I realized. As soon as I mentioned there were baby goats that needed feeding and petting she was crawling up the bales to go see.
I didn't count how many goats they had, but I'm guessing at least a couple dozen, all colors and sizes. I love a goat, if Lance would let me, I would have one as a pet. Without a doubt, these goats are well cared for and fed almost constantly, because you can buy little containers of goat chow to feed them. But these guys act as if they haven't had a meal in weeks the way they come up to you and push each other out of the way for just one more piece of chow. Hannah kept wanting to feed the little baby goats, saying the big goats had had enough. We worked out a system where I would distract the big goats while she snuck some chow into the little goats.
After we had our fill of all the animals and pedal tractors, it was time to head inside for cider and donuts. Knowing there was a donut waiting for her at the end of this adventure helped keep her focused and on track. Or at least as focused as a 2 year old can be. She put down that donut in record time and when she asked for another I couldn't say no, it was a special orchard day. On the way home, she ate an entire apple as well…playing obviously worked up her hunger.
Already I can't wait for next year. Eliza will be old enough to play in the corn pit and pet the goats. She may even want to give pedal tractors a go. Whatever she wants to try, I'm game for, because a fun day at the orchard is just that. A day full of fun, that ends with a donut.