Every week, Mark asks me what I want to do for the weekend. As we get very little time together during the week, Saturdays and Sundays are devoted to being a family and relaxing. But given that Mark spends all week at work, and I spend all week in the house, we’re often trying to figure out how to get OUT, if you know what I mean. Usually Mark has grand plans which involve travel, spending money we don’t have, and us being scantily clad.
But as Autumn is in the air, and I am a country girl at heart, I spent Friday researching so that I could proclaim to Mark as soon as he got home from work, “I have plans for this weekend!”
Home Cottage Farm is a lovely apple orchard in Iver Heath, about 8 miles from where we live. And in my research, I discovered that today was to be “Apple Day,” a celebration of the lovely fruit. There would be apple picking, fresh apple juice (which one could help to press), ferret racing, archery and more. It was family friendly, and it sounded perfect to indulge my longing for a perfect autumn day.
And so it was that we set off around noon today to join the throngs of people who made their way down to the farm.
And what a day!
Fresh vegetables were for sale, cakes and pies, barbecue, puppet shows, face painting and so much more.
Dexter got to meet a couple of lovely sheep which, when enticed with a bit of food, came his way and gently nuzzled his hands and face.
We sampled fresh apple juice (of which we bought a bottle!) and I even bought a lovely cup of pumpkin soup. We saw chickens and the Salvation Army band filled the air.
Dexter sat in a patch of pumpkins while I took photo after photo in the warm October sun.
Daddy and Dex swam through trees of apples, the leaves making funny shadows upon their happy faces.
We even managed to meet one of the famous ferrets, though Dexter was somewhat unimpressed.
By the end, Mark and I both took turns trying to hammer a nail into a plank of wood (50p for 5 hits – winners got their money back… we lost £1) and tomahawk throwing (Mark got the hang of it after four goes, but the chauvinist instructor wouldn’t let me do my thing and kept “correcting” my form).
The sights, sounds and smells of the day brought out the country girl in me, and I was in my element. We don’t get much of that around these parts, and it reminded me of happy childhood days hiking with my family in the Pennsylvania hills and going to the pumpkin patch every Fall. I’m so glad I got to share such a day with my little man.
When we got home, we took out the pork steaks we’d bought at the farm and the fresh corn on the cob, and I grilled them outside in the fresh air. We ate well.
In our back garden, I let Dexter sit under our own apple tree and explore his home a little bit. He loved it.
And now he is in bed, plum tuckered out from a day full of nature’s best. And as I think back on all we saw, I am so happy. My little boy won’t be so little soon. Next year, when we go again (and we WILL go again!), he’ll be running around on his own, bleating at the sheep, trying to beat the ferrets in a footrace, and maybe even picking some apples for a pie. And I will look back fondly on the first time. When he still had to hold onto daddy’s hands to get around. When he looked blankly into the faces of animals before turning to us for confirmation that they were safe. When the best fun of the day was finding a brightly coloured leaf next to the pumpkins and sticking it in his little mouth.
And when, after it was all over, he reached up, put his head on my shoulder and cuddled me all the way back to the car.