Bereft of our CNO (chief nurturing officer) and most junior family member are we, Mara and I. Angela went on a much needed women’s retreat this weekend and could bear neither the thought of not being able to smell Emilia’s head for two nights and two days nor the prospect of returning to find us all dead because I couldn’t manage a baby and a five-year-old, so she took Millie-pants with her.
Mara and I went with her friend Gwyneth’s family to the Craven Farm Pumpkin Patch in Snohomish today. It’s become an annual tradition that Mara really looks forward to. I blogged about this last year, so I won’t go into all the details again. But I took a fajillion pictures, so I thought I’d post a good batch of them.
We arrived early and entered the patch under a blanket of white fog that lay thick and cold on the valley floor. But while we were hunting pumpkins the fog lifted and dissolved in a bright blue October sky. This happened last year, too, and it really is a kind of magical experience. Mara and Gwyn don’t notice that kind of thing consciously, of course, but it forms the background of the memories of this place that are forming and being strengthened every year. For the girls, the big attractions are the pumpkins, the makeshift playground the farm has — a teepee, an old speedboat, an old tractor, and a pirate ship structure — and the hayride, not necessarily in that order.
The hayride is always fun because the tractor pulls the wagon into a tall acre of corn on a path along which little scenarios, some spooky and all festive, have been set up. The girls love this, especially the place where a pumpkin-headed witch has crashed into a post on her broom. After the ride, we turn our attention to the more serious business of selecting pumpkins in the field.
The pumpkin patch has a calming and restorative effect on adults, I think — we all end up meandering away into different corners of the field and then reconvening, over and over again — but Mara can only be interested in pumpkin hunting for so long and then it’s all about the worms. The earth beneath the gourds, when you roll them over, is silty and stinky and very rich, and large earthworms abound in it. I have to remember when we leave the patch to ask her if she has worms in her pockets and if she does, to enjoin her to release them back into some moist and shady shelter, otherwise she’ll bring them home and want to take them into her bed with her.