If I could do it all over again, I would scrap the journalism degree and invest in a humble plot of farmland. There I would plant pumpkins…thousands upon thousands of pumpkins, in every possible colour. I’d buy Ian some overalls and a tractor (nothing wrong with a muddied-up farm boy, in my mind!), and he could make a new sport out of making money – hand over fist – from the wagonloads of people who would visit our picturesque farm.
OK, perhaps it’s not the most thought-out business plan, especially considering the city slicker I married would likely pack his bags for the concrete jungle before our first batch of pumpkins took root. But they sure do make it look easy at Millers’ Farm, Market & Garden Centre in Manotick, where we spent a sun-kissed afternoon this weekend.
It helped that it was an exceedingly beautiful day; the kind of autumn weather that you wish would just last forever. No humidity and no wind, just cloudless skies and pleasant sunshine.
Clearly, ours was not the only Ottawa family that had the brilliant idea of heading to the pumpkin patch. Kids were scrambling up and down the piles of hay bales – arranged just for their free play – while adults sorted through huge bins of decorative gourds and cooking squash. My sister Heather and I got silly with some of what we deemed to be phallic-shaped squashes, and snapped a couple of shots of what we laughingly called ‘Pumpkin Porn.’
While heaps of pumpkins were piled near the farm’s entrance, we opted to spend the $2/person to take a wagon ride out into the fields and find our own. The girls had fun perusing the countless sizes and shapes with their Auntie Heather, in search of our ‘perfect pumpkin.’ At long last, Daddy was tasked with hauling a huge pumpkin back to the wagon, while I brought up the rear with a ‘baby’ pumpkin in hand.
The very tough job of pumpkin selection had worked up our appetites, so we stood in line at the sausage stand (the only less-than-efficient part of our time at Millers – though our very long wait was rewarded with a yummy lunch in the end). After that, we were off to the corn maze – which prompted a host of Stephen King’s ‘Children of the Corn’ references from my punny husband.
The kids had a blast walking through the maze, which made it worth the $4/person, though Heather and I agreed we would have liked a few more forks in the path or dead ends to liven things up. If my kids didn’t already wake up with nightmares after accidentally glimpsing a 30-second movie trailer for a suspense-thriller, I would have suggested coming back at night – or even heading to Saunders Farm for a haunted hayride. But I’ll choose to preserve their delicate dispositions – and stave off the night terrors – by waiting a few years for any spooky Halloween festivities.
With the sun slowly sinking lower on the horizon, we finally turned back towards home to prepare our sumptuous turkey feast. And while my afternoon’s pipe dream of being the wife of a prosperous pumpkin farmer may never actually materialize, I was grateful to spend a few blissful hours on the farm over this Thanksgiving weekend. I left feeling thankful for my own little family – plus a sibling who flew across the country to spend time with us – and the blessings offered up by the earth itself.