Half-term started this weekend. And we were pretty determined to have a week that was fairly full of things to do, because we didn’t want to waste it. Because of paternity leave and shared parental leave, Mark still has lots of holiday to use, so we’ve got nine days of family time.
And even though I am excited for days in my pyjamas (I’d like at least two), no one can stay in the house for nine days straight. Not with kids anyway.
I love this time of year. Not necessarily Halloween as such, but the whole sense of Autumn. The leaves and the coffee and the woolies and the wellies and the whole Harvest Festival vibe, with plump squashes and pumpkins.
I really wanted to find a pumpkin patch this year. But I sort of expected there to not be one up North, because the North can take a bit longer to catch on with things sometimes. The Costa in our village has only just started promoting flat whites, as an example. But then that’s village life for you I think!
But I was beyond wrong, because there are a fair few places around here that are getting in on the pumpkin action – and Kenyon Hall Farm is one of them.
We did weigh-up going last weekend, but then we ended up hitting IKEA instead – because we know how to have fun with two kids – so I was really anxious to go this weekend before all the pumpkins were snapped up.
And I’m so glad we did.
I wonder if you can guess why we took a photograph of this sign…
It was about 10:30am, by the time we got there, and it was already filling up, with people already leaving. I took the advice of a lovely lady I know who said to go early (thanks Alice!) and I am so glad we did, because it meant we had our pumpkins picked and we could nab a table outside the café while everyone else arrived.
I didn’t really do much pumpkin picking myself – squatting with a baby in a wrap makes me feel what I imagine sumo wrestlers feel like. I can’t really see my feet and I feel a big like a pregnant Weeble again, which is the nice thing about it really. It’s nice to be back how we used to be, close and snug.
Mark and Bill rambled around and took a good half hour picking two pumpkins – one for Bill and one for Daisy. I love the wonky, muddy, rough and ready look of the ones they chose. Makes you realise how all the perfect ones are picked for the supermarket shelves, but these felt even more ‘Halloween’ as they will look brilliant when they are carved. We haven’t carved ours yet – we’ll save that for a day this week as an extra something to do.
The sky was beautiful that morning. It felt earlier than it was somehow, like just after sunrise, or maybe even a touch of dusk. It was blue and purply-grey and the way it looked above the garish orange and bright Autumn colours was beautiful.
There was also a Maize Maze and a park too, which we didn’t try, just because of how busy it was and how hungry Bill was. But it could be more than just a short trip if you wanted it to be. Especially with the lovely farm shop and cafe.
I love this photograph. Mark is deep in concentration, navigating his way back to me and Daisy. And Bill is busy trying his best to lift a pumpkin. He kept dropping it and falling over because it was too heavy for him. It did make me laugh.
Yay for dinosaur wellies that match your pumpkin.
It was so nice to be outside and surrounded by lots of families and friends laughing. I loved seeing parents taking photographs of their kids sat in wheelbarrows or holding their prize pumpkin. And seeing little ones toddle around, unsteady in wellies, and little babies looking like Pumpkin Patch Dolls (see what I did there?) – all round and fat next to these giant orange vegetables, with no clue what they were doing and what they were.
I like being in places like that. Places where people are happy and you can feel it in the air.
I also managed to get a few photographs of our own too. I couldn’t resist. And Mark even got a couple with me in too. I’m never really in photographs. I am the one with the cameras around my neck, or spilling out of my pockets. And this is my hobby, not my family’s. When we are out and about I try and be as discreet and natural as possible because we don’t go to these places so I can get photographs. If I can, then it’s great. But a lot of the time I only take them last minute as I get too wrapped up in the experience. Which is a good thing I think!
Plus, I’ve lost over a stone now, and sort of felt a bit more comfortable being in front of the camera, rather than behind it. It was strange seeing photographs of me while edited them this weekend. I didn’t realise how nice it would be to see a proud mother and her babies together. Me, and my babies together.
I do love my little boy. He didn’t really understand what on earth we were doing at first, I don’t think. I think he thought it was an awful lot of effort just for a pumpkin. Especially when his hands were getting cold and he couldn’t carry them. But he soon warmed up. And found it more exciting picking one for his baby sister than anything else.
I kept Daisy wrapped to my chest most of the time as it was cold that morning and I didn’t want to sit her down in the mud outside, as she’s still quite dinky bless her. We did let her have a feel of the ready-picked pumpkins in the big tent though. And she was fascinated by them – patting and stroking them and generally looking baffled.
There was the opportunity to have faces painted, and carve pumpkins and listen to spooky stories. But hell hath no fury like a hungry Bill, so we headed to the farm café for proper bacon and sausage barms, and a piping hot brew, or a Fruit Shoot if you were Bill.
The sun actually started to come out then. And it was lovely to be out in the Autumn air, eating our food and chatting, while Daisy tucked into a little rice wafer after her bottle. She’s loving moving into the baby-led weaning territory now. Though it would be helped if she had a tooth or two!
Before we left, we had a mooch around the farm shop, buying some fresh bacon, olives, ground coffee (which I’ll be all over tomorrow morning), and a toffee apple for Bill.
I got a little bit over excited in there – I always seem to do that around fresh produce and artisan bits and pieces. I know that sounds a bit daft and poncy, but I love to cook and I find myself running my hands over bottles and reading labels and smelling vegetables. It’s ridiculous but it makes me so happy. Luckily I am trying to lose weight at the moment, or I would have spent a fortune (mainly on cheese and olives).
I’m ending this post with this photograph, because it makes me so happy to have one of me and my boy and my girl. I feel like this is my favourite so far. I look happy, and content and proud. And you can see how much I love these little pumpkins of mine.
I really, really do.
If you’re around my way, and you fancy doing the same, the pumpkin picking is still on for half-term. But I noticed on the Kenyon Hall Farm Facebook page that they are running low on pumpkins and they will have more ready on Tuesday, if that helps! If you go, I’d go early and I’d take a baby wrap, sling or carrier if you have a little one.