Country view: Fall Festivities
"Maine fall," "Apple picking," and "I spy some fun!"
Janice Poisson, North Waterboro, Maine
Fall in Maine is considered by many to be the best season. The warm days and cool nights bring on the change in foliage, displaying brilliant hues of orange, red, and yellow. Farm stands dot the roadside as gardeners share their bounties. The apple orchards buzz with activity as families make their annual visits to the pick-your-own farms.
Picking pumpkins is becoming an annual tradition as well. Families climb aboard wagons for a ride out to the pumpkin patch, where the search for just the right one begins. The trip wouldn't be complete, however, without also bringing home some mums and cornstalks to decorate the yard. But of all the fall festivities described here, my favorite is sitting on the front porch at the end of a hard day's work, watching the setting sun cast an orange glow of tranquility over the fields and forest beyond. Horses graze, chickens cluck, and Canadian geese fly the sky above, heading south before the arrival of another harsh Maine winter.
Catherine Fox, Newaygo, Michigan
We all know that it is fall when we load up our trailer with bushel baskets and bags to pick apples! With over 100 varieties of apples in our orchard, it's quite an adventure. Some of my favorite varieties include Zestar, Jonagold, Honey Crisp, Golden Russet, and Calville Blanc.
We pick our apples by hand, using ladders to reach the higher ones. Over our shoulders we carry our picking bags, allowing us to keep both hands free to pick. We gently pick the apples by giving them a little upward twist, slowly filling the bag until it's time to transfer them to a bushel basket. The baskets pull double duty, allowing the apples to be protected en route from the orchard and giving us somewhere to store our treasure until we bag them up for sale.
Yes, it's work, but it is rather enjoyable. To me, it's the highlight of the fall harvest. Spending time with my family outside in the beautiful fall weather can't be beat!
I spy some fun!
Brett Bunn, Fancy Gap, Virginia For many years my wife and I planned an evening of pumpkin carving and games for our church youth near the end of October. As the youth grew older and liked to be more active, we decided to move the event to our farm and invite everyone in our church to attend. The first "Fall Fun Day" was born! Over the years we've continued to have our families, neighbors, and church members come out and celebrate.
There are all sorts of games set up to be enjoyed by young and old alike, including horseshoes, croquet, badminton, and ladder ball. While they wait for a chance to play, many of the participants enjoy a hayride around the farm or choose a pumpkin to carve from a large pile. Many spend quite a lot of time on their masterpieces. We also have a big basket of craft supplies for the youngest children to use when decorating their pumpkins.
Each year a new special event is added. This last year an I Spy trail was added, and it was a huge hit! Everyone enjoyed walking through the woods and looking for the unusual objects that were hidden along the way, like a penguin on a stump or an airplane hanging from the trees.
A potluck meal accompanies the event, and everyone tries out a new recipe. The evening draws to a close with a campfire, marshmallows, goodie bags for the kids, and simple fall-themed door prizes for the adults, including bags of apples, homemade preserves, apple butter, and, of course, pumpkins.
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