September 23, 2016
Yesterday I was able to spend time visiting Walsh Farms, a locally owned farm that had opened its grounds to the community for the fall season.
Grandma called with the idea to go to the Farm after school and before a meeting she was going to attend at 7:00pm. Since the girls get off of the bus at 4:30 and Grandma had to leave for her meeting at 6:15, it would be a short visit but a visit all the same. She planned to bring pizza for dinner and then spend the rest of the time visiting the farm.
After I got off the phone, I excitedly told my three year old, Providence, what our plans were for the evening. She was so excited to go to a farm and see Grandma. She started listing off all the farm animals she was going to see. It was all she could talk about for hours. As I dressed her for the outing, she started asking questions about what we were going to be doing at the farm. Her interest was so innocent, it was a joy being able to tell her we were going somewhere fun.
The day passed quickly, bringing the school day to a close and a surprise for the older girls, Patience and Prudence, as they got off the bus. Being older the farm didn’t create as much excitement as it had for Providence, but the older girls (8 and 7 years old) were still happy to be going somewhere and getting to see Grandma.
Grandma pulled up shortly after the girls were off the bus. Everybody wanted to ride in Grandma’s car which is exactly what Grandma had expected, so we piled all the kids in. Grandma led the way to the farm while I followed behind in my car. The farm was less than fifteen minutes away and when we pulled in we were happy to see that no one else was there yet.
We parked our cars in a field of grass and Grandma pulled out the goods for our picnic dinner. She had packed blankets for the children to sit on and folding chairs for her and I. She brought along pizza the kids would like and a choice of cinnamon rolls or pumpkin treats as a dessert. For drinks, Grandma had packed a cooler with water for the grownups and apple juice for Prudence and Providence and milk for Patience. She is such a good grandma, always going out of her way to make sure that everyone gets what they like. We sat and chattered while we ate, passing the time until the farm opened for the evening.
The kids finished eating first and were excitedly looking across the large pond at the parts of the farm visible from where they stood. There was a boat floating in the pond that the girls hoped to ride in. I tried to point out the chickens to Providence so she could start looking at the farm animals she was so interested in looking at. Prudence even tried saying she really needed to go to the bathroom so she could get to the farm faster.
I was the last one done eating and so I started packing up everything once I finished. Grandma and I made quick work of our meal and supplies and very soon had everything put away, finally ready to head to the farm. As we stepped away from the vehicle, all three girls started running for the covered bridge that led to the farm. It was all very picturesque. The covered bridge that went over the tiny stream. The stalks of corn that lined the way up to the henhouse and the pumpkins. The farmer had even put out painted cutouts to take you picture in. You know, the ones where you stick your face in a hold and the other side of the board is painted like a scarecrow or a gourd that says “World’s Cutest Gourd”.
Prudence who was supposed to have needed to go potty suddenly was just excited to run around and check out the farm, the mysterious bathroom need just disappearing and proving she was just trying to make something up to get to the farm faster.
As we walked up the farm owner, Paul, came out to greet us. Apparently Grandma has been coming to this very farm for twenty years. She brought her son when he was younger and now she’s able to take her grandchildren to the same place. It’s such a wonderful tradition to keep.
Paul admitted he liked that it was slower. He told us he didn’t normally get to interact with visitors. Despite his lack of experience with people, he cordially showed us to the henhouse and let us see where the chickens lay eggs, promising eggs after the visit was over. Patience was excited at the prospects, envisioning herself keeping the eggs to hatch a chicken. I quickly vetoed the eggs, gracefully sidestepping the issues of why we can’t have chickens and why we likely wouldn’t hatch the eggs.
After the chickens the kids wanted to play in the corn sandbox. In a large garage he had set up a playground filled with hard corn kernels instead of sand. It was powdery and dusty and messy just like any kid would want out of a sandbox. My kids looked like the had played in baby powder after fifteen minutes in the box.
I know because fifteen minutes after they got in the box, Paul came to offer the girls a tractor ride. He had three egg shaped barrels with wooden seats in them attached to the tractor. Patience and Prudence hopped in the first barrel together, figuring they could ride together rather than fight over who got the first seat. Grandma squashed that stating they could only ride one to a barrel. Prudence got out without argument and hopped in the second one as I was lifting Providence to put her in. Provi was a trooper and happily took seat in the third and final barrel, very excited to go on her “train ride”. Paul took the girls on a short loop through the farm. Patience was over the ride before it started. She was expecting something fast and exciting. Her disappointment was evidenced on her face. Prudence was looking like she was enjoying herself, unlike her older sister. Provi came last having the a fun time holding on to the bouncing barrel as she rode along. Sometimes I love have Provi along because she always enjoys what we are doing no matter what it is which balances out the other two who quite often complain about everything.
After the “train ride” the girls went back to playing in the cornbox. Grandma and I sat in chairs and chatted away the time until she had to leave. It was nice being able to spend time with her. I have come to love my Dad’s wife as a best friend. She is so much like me in so many ways but she has about twenty extra years of experience to pass on guidance and advice. I truly appreciate what our relationship has blossomed into.
As she was heading out, Grandma paid for four pumpkins for my four kids, letting them to pick out which ones they wanted once it was time to leave. We said our goodbyes and she left. Once Grandma was gone, I got in the cornbox with the kids and started playing. Prudence and I worked together to bury Provi in the corn. After that I started filling up a large bucket with corn to dump down the slide as the girls slid down with it. For whatever reason this was highly entertaining to them. Simple things, I guess.
After awhile the girls started playing with the various tricycles and small wheeled riding toys that were scattered around the garage. They were having tons of fun chasing after each other and occasionally crashing into one another which gave me the opportunity to talk more with Paul.
Around 7:00pm I started herding the kids out of the corn and wheeled toys so we could head home for the evening. Showers were in order for all the girls who looked like they had got into a bottle of yellowed baby powder. As we were heading out Paul gifted us with five really interesting decorative gourds and a slew of DumDum suckers for the kids.
Overall it was a great evening for free. All we had to do was take a short trip to the past where hard work comes with simple returns and different kinds of fun if you know where to look.