Not Your Ordinary Orchard

As the Summer blues and greens give way to Autumn’s browns, reds, and yellows, we can count on a few things for sure.  The sun will rise and fall with unspeakable grace and natural beauty, the clear night sky will dazzle our senses with its dancing stars, Halloween and Thanksgiving are fast approaching, the odor of freshly burning wood will fill our homes, and a visit to the local orchard will be in order.

In years past, my family annually frequented a local orchard that seemed to be declining year after year.  Each subsequent visit yielded less animals to pet and feed, less pumpkins to choose from, less produce to purchase, and ultimately less fun for our children.  In roughly 20-30 minutes, a patron could see all there is to see and do all there is to do there, so this year we decided to make a change.

This year we went to…

…not your ordinary orchard.  At least not to us anyway.  We were accustom to a decaying orchard that included a very small pumpkin patch, no extracurricular activities for the kids, a produce shop no larger than your typical garage (in fact when I think about it, it was in a garage), and a petting man eating zoo (ask my wife about the rabbit she pet).

Brumbaugh’s Fruit & Fun Farm was the real deal.  Located in Arcanum, Ohio, it featured MANY extracurricular activities that kept our kids busy for the better part of 5 hours!

Of course the first order of business was to scout the area.  We took a walk around the orchard through the winding paths that featured a decent sized lake surrounded by hundreds of apple trees and acres of cornfields…but not before my daughter first heckled the hens.

A quick stop for a picture…

…and we were off.

After our walk, which circled us back near the entrance, my son’s eyes lit up…

…why you ask?  Because he saw these…

…and he LOVES them!  He loves anything he can ride actually; his sister’s bikes (that are way to big for him), our Doberman (although he’s not very accommodating), in his stroller (sometimes), and anything else that has wheels or legs that’ll tote him around.  Unfortunately his small size doesn’t appeal to his infatuation with being moved by anything other than his own two legs, so needless to say I got quite the workout pushing him around this figure eight.

After I was winded, we moved on to the

with Ella leading the way, Leah not too far behind…

…and Wyatt pissed because I had to physically peel back finger by finger his grip of the tricycle he was riding being pushed around on.

After we finished the Kiddie Korn Maze, we found ourselves back near the entrance of the maze, which just so happened to be in the vicinity of the figure eight and tricycles I had to tear Wyatt away from just moments earlier.  Fortunately there were enough distractions in plain view that he didn’t even notice them, for example this…

…a series of plastic drums made into carts, which in turn were attached to a tractor that would take its passengers through a whirlwind of hairpin turns and figure eights at surprisingly moderate speeds.

After a few turns on the plastic drum…thingy, it was time to jump in the hay barn.

A quick pose for a picture and we were off to the next activity…

…but not before the cow exhibited his disapproval of me taking his picture…

…not his best side I’m assuming.

After leaving the hay barn, we ran into the cornbox, yes, a cornbox.  This mimicked a sandbox but they replaced the sand with corn.  Undoubtedly Wyatt would still be in there if we let him as he spent the better part of 45 minutes in here…

…still in there…

…meanwhile his sister’s were playing on the playground nearby…

…eventually my wife or I mentioned “Hay Ride” to him and he was ready to go.

So off we went to the back part of the orchard via a good ole fashioned hay ride.  There happened to be two wagons attached to the tractor and I recall my wife saying something about there wasn’t enough room for all of us in the front wagon.  I returned her concerning comment with, “There’s plenty of room in the back one for you.”  And then I got the “look” but was reassured with a laugh that came from a close by passenger.  I thought it was funny too but my wife didn’t find the humor in it I guess.

Anyway…after boarding the hay ride, it took us through the seemingly endless maze of apple trees along side the cornfield…

…and stopped here…

…a makeshift storm drain fabricated into a slide.  Seriously, these people are all about doing more with less.  Plastic drums made into carts and storm drains turned into slides, GENIUS!

Once we had our fill at the storm drain turn slide, we wondered about some more and stumbled across this…

…a zip line with a swing!  How cool is that?

In the background of the above photo you see a pole there.  That was actually another zip line for the smaller kids where the parents could run up and down with their toddlers attempting to achieve the same affect the bigger kids were experiencing…not so much…at least not for the parents!

After the zip line, it was time for the adult cornfield maze.  I didn’t mention this while I was explaining the Kiddie Korn Maze but upon every turn, or fork rather, there was a placard with a multiple choice question posted.  Next to the answers was the direction you would go based on what answer you selected.  If you guessed right, congratulations, you’re heading in the right direction.  If you guessed wrong, however, you end up at a dead end.  The kids did great at their corn maze but suffice it to say, me and my children got a history lesson and a bit of exercise in the process in the adult maze.

I didn’t feel so bad though, it seems as though Wyatt wondered off the beaten track more so than I did.

Almost there…

…heww, back on track!

After FINALLY making it out of the adult maze with all kids accounted for, my brain swelling with new knowledge, and my legs aching as the result of my erroneous guesses towards Ohio history, it was time for a much needed break.

Once everybody recuperated, we paid a visit to the orchard’s Apple House which included the popular items one would expect to find in such a place.  The facility was filled with freshly picked apples, jams, home made barbeque sauces, apple-themed candy, cider, and some haphazard trinkets you’d likely find in your grandmother’s kitchen.

Of course you can’t go to an orchard and expect to leave empty-handed, so my wife and I picked up a bag of these awesome apples, got the kids some cider slushies, then meandered across the way to their bake house.  There we indulged in some creme cookie sandwiches and some apple dumplings before heading to what was now their nearly depleted pumpkin patch.  Had we stopped there prior to running a muck for the last 5 hours, the selection might have been more abundant.  Regardless, we picked out three pumpkins and were officially pooped.

Wyatt on the other hand, well…lets just say he was pooped too…literally.

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