I love fall. It stretches way beyond the shift of the season - beyond the squirreling of treasured acorns and leaves (and if you could see my front table, you would see our building treasure). There's something frenzied and busy about the fall activities. And I simply love it. It's exhausting, distracting, but so enticing. My mind stumbles away from each weekend, dizzy from the sheer pleasure of it all - making me want to go back again and again. It's a twisty swing ride. A hangover of joy.
Only preserving going on in this kitchen is bottling up a bit of this - My girl. She loves the kitchen, especially being right under my feet, in my business - Measuring, cracking, rolling, creating.
And does it make her happy.
Our kitchen is hopping - soups, pumpkin bread, carmel apples, warm cider, and shaped pancakes. The pancakes are a huge hit, and it's really easy if you use a squeeze bottle with thinned batter; just outline your shape and fill.
It's a tradition that Ben's dad started way back when, but I remember my first cake. Ben made me bunny cake back when we were first dating, camping in Florida on spring break; I was hooked on the tradition but more so on the boy. What a charming sentiment. I get why Alex now wants pancakes every day.
We have visited a lot of local festivals this fall. The first one at Kinder Farm Park. Their festival included a petting zoo, hay rides, moon bounces, pumpkin painting, square dancing, and corn chucking. Yes, a piece of corn is hurled out of a pressurized pipe cannon, intending to hit targets far in a field.
We were there for hours, relaxing, letting the kids float between the events and the multi-level playgrounds. I got a hand cut silhouette of Alex, Nancy noshed on funnel cake, and the kids got high on sugar.
They were ridiculous.
Next festival was in south county at Greenstreet Gardens. It didn't look like much when we rolled up to the garden center, but HOLY. I want to go back!
It started with a hayride back to the fall festival area. This sign set the mood…
And after emerging from a haunted barn and ride through the woods, we came to a scenic mecca land for all things fun.
What you're looking at is a beautiful hillside that hides a large, underground slide. And as each kid descends, they yell just to hear their voices vibrate in unison to their bouncing bodies.
And in the valley below, there is a corn maze, a hay maze (for the smaller kids), a pumpkin patch, sandboxes full of corn kernels, and the most amazing moon bounce I have ever experienced.
It was a 20'x30' rectangle that rose from the ground - no sides for protection - and everyone - little kids, larger kids, and adults - got a turn.
It was so much fun that Nancy and I laughed the entire time. And if you had an adult jump right near you, you launched high above the surface; and usually came down in a graceless fall.
Enzo and Alex fell in love with this oversized sandbox (15' square) full of corn kernels.
They were jumping, swimming, pouring, burying, burrowing, and laughing for a sold hour. Who knew corn could be so much fun?
After 3 hours, the kids were so tired that they could barely stand or talk. But it was FUN - fun like you remember as a young kid - vivid, challenging, sweaty, belly aching.
Ben and I chatted about the experience all the way home about how Greenstreet will be a part of our ritual. Alex will have crazy memories of going to this place year after year. Have I convinced you to go yet?
Lastly, I have to take the space to commend my Dad for being a strong man for the past 30 years, for testing himself, pushing his limits, sacrificing, and learning through loss. I know that the journey has not been easy, and some days may be longer than others; but you're doing it a step at a time. Thank you from the deepest corners of my heart. Our lives forever changed because of you.