Pumpkin Patch: Hell or a Brilliant Business Idea?

Part 1: What I Miss About Blogging from Korea

You know what I miss about blogging from Korea?  I miss sharing all the really cool stuff we did that was so different from life in California.  Some of it was fun, some was a little scary, and some was just downright strange.  Pretty much all of it was new to you, though, right?  And dang, but it was fun to write about it.

So now we’re back and I find myself driving around a little bit… dare I say it… bored?  (Wait!  Before you get offended!  I really love the USA, so just bear with me for a minute while I explain.)   Driving, traveling, living in Korea… it was a challenge.  Sometimes it was a good, push-you-to-your-limits-and-then-learn-something challenge.  Other times it was more of a what-the-flying-hippo challenge.

Like, “Um, yes, got it, cultural differences.  God, thank you for the lesson in patience.  Children, could you please avoid stopping all the traffic in Korea?  Ay ay ay.  I need a mekju (beer) and a nap.”

So yes, back to being bored in California.  I’ve recently come to think perhaps I was living on some kind of adrenaline rush for 2 years.  When say “I drive around a little bored,” what I mean is that I am now dysfunctional and cannot appreciate “normal” things, such as driving without the anticipated taxis cutting me off, the odd traffic laws, or the death-defying mopeds on sidewalks. Ah yes.  There it is: I’ve upped my tolerance for anxiety-producing experiences.  Holy crap, that’s the last thing I need.

Do you see what I mean now?  It’s not you, California, it’s me.

Part 2: Have You Been to a Pumpkin Patch Lately?

But wait!  Excitement!  Pumpkin patches!  All Autumn-ish and vunderful.  Or so you think…

3 years ago, the last time I was stateside (military/ex-pat speak for “in the U.S.”) for Halloween, I tried – and miserably failed – to take my kids to a real, true pumpkin patch.  We dressed them up in adorable outfits, drove them 45 minutes to a local university with a big Ag program.  The advertisements looked incredible, and it actually was a very nice little event.  But I couldn’t get over the pumpkin patch.  It was basically a weedy, hilly field where they strategically placed pre-cut pumpkins.  “That’s it?” I kept thinking.

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So, fine.   I admit that I don’t really understand how pumpkin patches work in other places.  In my imagination, it should be like going to a Christmas tree farm, but without all the losing of children and fighting over what to buy.  I mean, pumpkins grow on vines, which are short, so it would be hard to lose a child in a pumpkin field, right? Plus pumpkins are cheaper so everyone can pick their own which means (hooray!) no fighting over which one to get.

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Here’s my pumpkin field fantasy: The children frolic in a field of pumpkin vines and parents sip (appropriately spiked) hot cocoa and wave to their adorable children while wearing stylish scarves and looking rosily wind-tousled.  The kids, of course, are (somehow? magically?) dressed head-to-toe in Janie and Jack.  They cavort happily, only rushing to their parents with a quick hug or a found treasure.  They never ever complain or whine or beg for “just 500 more candy corns, puh-leeeeeeeeeease?”  Everyone is blissful, no one is stressed.  Idyllic and serene, rather than two-bit and frantic?  Are there real places like this?

In my true perfectionist fashion, if I wasn’t able to have the above-described experience, what was the point?  After my folly 3 years back, I was utterly defeated.  So last weekend I gave in completely to the citified, dirt lot version.  Pumpkins by the truckload? Check.  Farm animals? Check.  Bounce houses? Check, check, check.

Petting zoo, plus Dixie cup of animal feed: $5 each
Pony ride: $7 for two laps around a few hay bales
Bounce houses: $12 PER CHILD

Yeeeeeeaaaaahhh, we spent all of 20 minutes and $20 there.  We braved the petting zoo, that germ horror house of parenting.  The animals were PETRIFIED of us, and my kids spent 15 minutes chasing these poor beasts around a 10′ x 20′ lot.  The ones that weren’t petrified were somehow even more scary.  Sort of zombie-like in that they had just plain given up on life and had no interest in any of the Dixie cup offerings.

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Hey Cari! What type of chickens are these?

Here’s the kicker: my kids hardly made a peep about leaving.  Once they found out the bounce-houses were a no-go-don’t-even-ask situation, they requested a movie and walked willingly to the car.

If I never going to another pumpkin patch as long as I live, I’ll be fine with that.  Unless, of course, you’ve got some start-up money.  Cause  in that case, I’ve got a great seasonal business for you.

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Comments

  1. This totally cracked me up!! Honestly, California is not the backdrop for my pumpkin patch fantasies. It’s more like a breezy hill in New England with gorgeous maple leaves shimmering in the background. But, what do I know, I’m from Georgia!
    Sue recently posted…CosmosMy Profile

  2. Z-ouch!!
    If you are ever in my neck of the ‘stateside’ I’ll take to a fairly decent one; the playground is a buck; the turkeys are on the other side of a fence ~ 25 cents for a handful of seed, I forget what the pony ride cost and then a free hayride out to pumpkin field where you pick pumpkins. By the cash register are baskets and baskets of mini’s so a couple of those had to come home too, but they too were only a dollar.
    Joy recently posted…Day 13 & 14: What we like to do ~ in spring and summerMy Profile

  3. I think pumpkin patches are better if you go to a place where pumpkins actually grow, instead of a place where they are shipped in and just placed on the dirt.
    Amelia recently posted…What I Wore Sunday When The Rain Came DownMy Profile

  4. Ha! You’re a brave mama. I’m lame and just get our pumpkins from Trader Joes.

  5. You should come up here and experience a real pumpkin farm…We head out tomorrow for a field trip with Sean’s pre-school to the famous Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm…a real farm that grows giant pumpkins, and has almost every other attraction you could possibly imagine. Not sure how I feel about it right now…I’ll let you know how the belly, Jillian, and Sean fare through it!

  6. I totally had to get used to “non adventures” when we came back from Korea, too! Even just driving someplace was so…exhilerating! TO-TALLY get it!
    maia recently posted…How to Feed a FriendMy Profile

  7. Ha! We have an amazing pumpkin patch, but it’s more of an amusement park-type experience – admission ($9 or so) covers free apples and cider, a ton of AMAZING slides, all sorts of animals to pet and feed, hayrides, shows, the kids get to milk a cow, etc. You get a little pumpkin as a part of the admission and it’s one of our favorite fall experiences. BUT you don’t get to go into the fields to pick pumpkins – my mom actually has her own pumpkin patch and people *can* go into the fields to pick pumpkins but I think she’s rethinking that this year because people keep trampling on the vines and killing pumpkins!

  8. So this must be a thing now, huh? Sigh. I know there are other much quainter places out there but I’m guessing those are the places that aren’t going to be advertising or on websites and you just have to know by word of mouth. So funny that we both had the same pumpkin experience this week! You can come to ours when we open. We’ll give you free pumpkins and in lieu of bounce houses we’ll let the kids run in the field or something.
    Mary @ Better Than Eden recently posted…A Lesson in Pumpkin Economics with an Alpaca BonusMy Profile

  9. If you can swing a trip to Half Moon Bay during pumpkin season, they’ve got several REAL pumpkin patches plus great corn or hay bale mazes etc. Lots of choices, and as you know, GORGEOUS scenery.
    Anna recently posted…Feliz cumpleaños, mi queridoMy Profile

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