Friday, November 4, 2011

Harvest Fun!

Black Harvest Farms
October 27, 2011

Grandma & Grandpa took us to Black Island Farms in Syracuse last Thursday…it was SO much FUN! We went right after school, so the sun was still shining…but BOY, was it COLD! There was a huge field area with great big slides supported by hay bales, some awesome, creatively shaped swings made out of old tires, a corn-launching game and of course, the maze. It was a-MAZE-ing! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

I’ll bet you can guess where we headed first. You got it! The SLIDES! The very tallest one wasn’t open yet, so we went for the tallest hay slide. Even Grandpa got in on the fun! It wasn’t so easy climbing to the top, as the bales of hay were steep and slippery. Thankfully, a sparsely woven net of heavy rope was firmly-staked over the “stairs,” or we may have NEVER gotten Mommy up there!

Then, the BIGGUN’ opened up for business…and it was a BUMPY ride!  It was made out of some type of ribbed sewage piping or another, and it was FAST!  Grandpa discovered that if you sat on an old potato sack, you could REALLY fly!  He went SO fast that Mom even missed the shot with her camera as he zipped past her area of aim before her finger could hit the button!  (We all thought he should go again, just for the picture…but for some reason, he actually CHOSE not to!  Imagine that!)  After that, we ALL used those bags, & Mom abandoned all care of what others thought as she jumped up and laid across a big bale so she could stretch her camera out to catch our faces just as we exited the darkness of the slide.

After we were pooped from the slippery sewage pipe, we headed toward the maze…stopping to play a silly game on the way. 

The spinning wheel stopped on a phrase that ordered you to do something silly, smile as you walk around with your hands on your knees…and off we went, with Grandpa being the most dramatically obedient to the command.  J  (Boy…wish we had a picture of THAT!  He’s a hoot!  There’s NO way any other kid had a Grandpa that fun exploring with them…we are so lucky!)

Grandma decided not to venture into the maze, so we found her a place to sit in the sun, shielded from the icy wind by the little popcorn shack. Then, off we went to find the entrance to the corn maze. But Grandpa turned back after a few steps, to KISS Grandma goodbye. They’re so mushy! (How can a relationship be firm as a rock, and mushy-squishy at the same time?)

By the time Grandpa, Gabe & Mom got to the entrance, the rest of us were 15 feet ahead of them…but they couldn’t SEE us and didn’t know which of the three paths we had taken. So, they took the middle one. Maybe they figured that was the only way to be sure they were close, anyway. I guess Gabe will have to tell you about their amazing journey…cuz all the rest of us know, is that we didn’t see them again for a lllooonnng time, well after we were out playing on the slides again…

Okay, so Grandpa and Mom went with me into the middle trail. The ground was packed so hard it was almost like concrete, without a dip-free foot in sight! The first thing Mom noticed, after being glad they hadn’t brought Grandma onto the rough path, was that nearly ALL of the corn was still on the tall stalks…but too old to be eaten. She was so upset at the wastefulness of so much perfectly-grown corn having not been harvested in time to eat! But, Grandpa soothed her with the hope that it was still going to be used to feed cattle.
We each had a little map in hand, but Mom quickly decided that would be cheating…and stuffed hers into her pocket so we could get good and lost.  Well, I’m here to tell ya, THAT didn’t take long! We thought it all started to look the same after a while…and eventually, we realized that’s because it WAS. Once we found out we had gone in a few circles, Grandpa spent most of the time looking down at that map, then up to the sun and back down again…but all seemed hopeless. Mom began feeling thankful for the wind-shield of the tall corn stalks, and Grandpa was probably glad he had kissed Grandma good-bye!

Me? I didn’t care. There was dirt, family, and corn cobs I could secretly launch up into the blue & orange sky by picking up a broken stalk and swinging it into the air, watching the cobs pop off in an unplanned direction. That was all the fun I needed, until Mom caught sight of me right before hearing someone in a nearby path say, “Ouch!” Mom’s eyes flew open WIDE…and I thought about running, but was saved by an explosion of laughter streaming through the cold air, from the same direction my corn-missile had landed. Grandpa pretty much held my hand after that. 

         Mom finally decided she would have to use her map. She pulled it out and looked for a sort of shape they might recognize.      There was a heart-shaped opening in the map, so when we accidentally stumbled into a little clearing, which was the heart, Grandpa and Mom were finally able to find our way OUT.

Once Mom, Grandpa and Gabe joined us again, Mom rounded up all of our reluctant selves for a group picture in front of a wall of stalks.  We asked a 9 or 10 year old to take it so we could all be in the photo.  There’s nothing more frustrating than being in a wonderland, posing repeatedly with the cold wind in our faces, just so Mom can get the “perfect shot.”  But, eventually, the shoot was over and we all wandered off again.

Grandpa & Mom figured out that the corn is used to feed cattle through the winter. Then Grandpa told a story about a guy he had flown with a few times, who had spent some time in a “hole” for many months back during a war and the only thing they gave him to eat, was corn stalks! Not the corn…just the super-tough stalks! He still has intestinal issues from the damage that did! Then they got to thinking about how good the food must have tasted to the Prodigal Son when he returned home after eating only husks that the swine were fed.

It was suddenly getting too cold to endure the outdoors any longer…and we had worked up quite an appetite. The adults decided it was time to head out, but Mom hurriedly grabbed a few of us to go across the open field to get a few pictures on the nifty swings, as well as one of the mountains to the East.

Mom got Paytie to pose for one final photo by the entrance. It was amazing that she got her to smile, because she did not want the fun to be over, or to part from Grammy & Grampy! She was the only one that never got cold. But as you can see, Mom pretty much had her dressed & layered like an Eskimo…so that was no surprise.
We said our goodbyes to Grandpa and Grandma, thanking them for a “sick” time, and yet another fun, lifetime memory…then headed home, chatting lively about our great adventures at Black Island Farms.

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