The Pumpkin Patch

The weather has turned cold in Kamloops. I don’t know exactly how cold, but when I go outside, within seconds my fingers and toes feel like they’ve been dunked in ice water and my nose starts running like a tap.

But staying cooped-up all day is not an option either. So, yesterday when my niece, Kelly invited me to join her and her daughter, Emily on the Grade One  outing to the Pumpkin Patch, I dressed in five layers (literally) and off we went.

After about a half-hour’s drive we arrived at Pete Murray’s Corn Farm . Wow – I had forgotten that little Canadian kids are tough – the cold didn’t faze them at all. They wanted to forego their cumbersome gloves, hats and scarves. But when the teacher said, “II fait froid” (this is a French immersion class) they allowed her and the rest of us adults to button, wrap and zipper. And all bundled up, out they clambered from the bus and onto the hay wagon!

The hay wagon

We jostled along through dried corn stocks until we reached a paddock with dozens of sheep (les moutons) – and those sheep know what a wagon full of kids means for them.  Each child had been given an ear of corn each to feed their wooly friends.  Ba-a-a-a-a-a – Ba-a-a-a-a-a – Ba-a-a-a-a-a!  means, “Watch out for your fingers – I’m hungry!”

Watch your fingers!

Now, on to the main event. Pumpkins  of every size lay scattered around, and the kids got to choose one to take home. But there was a catch – they had to be able to carry it themselves. Whooping and laughing, they B-lined to the bigg-est, bright-est,  orange-est pumpkins. But when they straddled the biggies with their little legs, and tried to encircle them with their arms, they found out that pumpkins are heavy! All except for one tough little guy, ended up with much smaller pumpkins than they originally chose.

Which is the perfect pumpkin for me?

The hay wagon brought us back to the entrance and after eating our snacks, we set off on the nature walk. By this time I was freezing, but the kids were still going strong. We dodged “sheep pies” all the way to the river bank, and there we found piles of dead salmon. The teacher reminded her students that salmon lay their eggs in the river and then die. Eagles swooping overhead were intent on having their fill. The little troopers were fascinated.

On the nature walk

For the children, this day was one of experiential learning at its best.

  • Bundling-up and constant movement will keep the body warm (thermodynamics)
  • The bigger the pumpkin, the heavier the load (mathematics)
  • Never let your fingers get between the cob of corn and a hungry sheep (actions and consequences)
  • Another thing about sheep – they have “efficient” digestive tracts (biology)
  • The life cycle of salmon includes their demise while ushering in new life (ethics)
  • Eagles help “clean up” the environment (natural sciences)
  • Spontaneous use of French words and expressions (language and cultural studies)

Emily and all her hardy classmates reminded me that FUN and LEARNING are one – and this can happen wherever you are. Looking at life through the eyes of a child is a sure path to joy.

Fall foliage

 

 

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10 thoughts on “The Pumpkin Patch

  1. Ah yes…This brings back memories of my childhood in Texas. The first layer of clothing was heavy cotton long-underwear and a long-sleeve T-shirt, followed by a flannel shirt and denim pants. Wool socks and a pullover sweater, topped with a lightweight denim jacket plus thick boots and rabbit fur-lined gloves that completed the outfit.
    However, Mom made sure we were bundled in our down jackets and wool hats with ear flaps to protect our ears from freezing. We were then ready to waddle outside with our additional 20 pounds and a muffler to protect our faces – those were the days of youth.
    What a change Magic Made in Mexico made in my life. Bathing suit and bare feet are my winter attire here in Merida – unless I leave the house. Even the mosquitos seem to have disappeared this summer – now that was Magic – with a capital M!
    Enjoy the season in BC and look forward for your winter escape to paradise in the near future.
    D & J

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  2. I well remember the Halloween parties we had as kids in the village which were so much fun. Prizes were awarded for the best costumes from fancy to comic according to the age of the kids. My mother, who was very artistic made my costumes and I usually won. Halloween and fall in the country were lovely with the big Halloween moon shining over the cornfields where the corn was set up in stooks for the winter. September and October this year have been incredibly warm in Ontario. Much as I like the weather of lovely Mérida, when I am in Ontario I much prefer fall to be fall with nippy weather and tons of colourful leaves.

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    1. Fallis beautiful and I am happy to be experiencing it. It’s a good thing I listened to my sisters and friends. I had the cold weather stuff for when th temperature changed. Without the warm clothes on… iI would have been pretty miserable.

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  3. “FUN and LEARNING are one – and this can happen wherever you are. Looking at life through the eyes of a child is a sure path to joy.” Joanna, those reminders are simply profound. Pasted them on the board. Grateful.

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    1. It’s true isn’t it Harold? Children see the joy and the wonder in everything and they show their enthusiasm. So many of us become jaded old sourpusses as we age… we have to make an effort not to turn into that sort of person!

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