First Pumpkin Patch Trip

As of 8:26 pm yesterday evening, Lillian is officially one year old — happy birthday little pumpkin! (← :D) It’s completely unbelievable that it’s been whole year since we became a family of three, but since we’re waiting until this weekend to have folks over for the birthday celebration, I figure I’ll make the proper one-year update after that. For today’s post, I present this photo-filled recap of our trip to a local pumpkin farm this past weekend.

I mentioned in my last post that going to a pumpkin patch was on the wish list of things to do before the end of October, and happily, we managed to get to it on Sunday. The weather was completely beautiful, with blue skies and temperatures pushing seventy. I actually tried to organize a big family outing, but between everyone’s work and travel schedules it ended up being just me, Joe, Lillian, and my mom.

There are a good dozen or so pumpkin farms to choose from, but after reading various reviews, we ended up picking Stade’s Farm Market which is located about an hour northwest of Chicago.

The first stop we made upon arriving was the petting zoo. They had a variety of animals, including goats, rabbits, alpacas, and turkeys:

Turkey, goat, rabbit, and alpaca from the petting zoo.

Food pellets were sold in little paper cups to feed to the animals, and one of the goats seemed to like the cup better than the food itself!

At the rabbit section, there were a bunch of big fluffy rabbits lounging in the hutch while one or two hopped around in the grass. Lillian had a great time grabbing and pulling at the sign on the fence, to the point where I almost thought she liked it better than the rabbits themselves:

She’s starting to look like such a big girl these days, standing up all on her own like that, though she hasn’t quite mastered the art of walking without holding on to something. At the petting zoo, we carried her from one section to another, but she had a great time walking back and forth while holding on to the fences. Here she is holding onto the fence while peering in at a shy llama that hid on the far side of the enclosure most of the time:

Moving on from the petting zoo, one neat feature this pumpkin farm had was a pumpkin cannon. This thing was huge and completely ridiculous, firing full-sized pumpkins so far that they would all but disappear from view in the air. That tiny orange speck in the photo below is an airborne pumpkin:

Somewhere over the horizon there must’ve been an entire field splattered with pumpkin guts.

Then there was the cornfield maze. We worried at first that the ground might be too rough or muddy, but it actually turned out to be fine to push the stroller around in. They had this fun little game set up where they handed you a sheet of farm-related trivia questions, with the answers scattered around in the various dead ends of the maze, and if you found them all you won a free pumpkin.

The funny thing was that about three fourths of the questions were pretty easy, and we probably could have answered them correctly without even finding the signs in the maze, but we had to search around for those last few obscure farm-related factoids and statistics. We made a valiant effort and even tried to draw ourselves a maze map on the back of the orange sheet, but eventually ended up giving up out of fear that we’d run out of time to go on the hayride.

As it was, the sun was already starting to get low in the sky by the time we got to it. Earlier in the day the line for the hayride was at least a block long, but by the time we went, there was no line at all.

I think the hayride is the highlight of any pumpkin farm trip. Sitting on a bale of hay as a tractor pulls you along through a bonafide pumpkin patch, wondering what kind of pumpkiny gems you might find. Normal pumpkins, and warty pumpkins, and ridiculously warty pumpkins:

Warty pumpkin (left) and ridiculously warty pumpkin (right).

We actually ended up picking a ghostly little grayish white pumpkin, which I sadly didn’t take a picture of. I would blame it on filling up my camera’s memory card with pictures, but that’s no excuse because my two other cameras still had plenty of room, as evidenced by this sweet family photo the hayride tractor driver kindly snapped for us before heading back to the farm:

Overall it was a really enjoyable outing, and we headed home around sundown with bellies full of apple cider and apple cider donuts. And Lillian slept for most of the ride back, which is probably no surprise after all that fresh air and excitement.

Anyway, that’s the story of our first pumpkin patch trip! How about you guys? Has anyone else visited a pumpkin patch this fall? Or enjoyed any other fall traditions? Any exciting plans for the last weekend left in October? Feel free to share your plans or stories or links in the comments!


  1. Wow!! That looks like so much fun!!! I love hayrides! I found this one place in between here and Orange Beach, Alabama (where my employer is based) that looks interesting. It also has a corn maze and one of those pumpkin launchers. We’re thinking about taking Amy there this weekend. Bill has been looking for a haunted house to go to as well.

    Lillian really has grown so much!! She’ll be walking any day now. Please give her a birthday hug and kiss from her Paw Paw and me. We just can’t wait to see you all! You should be receiving a birthday gift soon. Did you ever decide about trick-or-treating? Love you all!!

  2. What a cool farm! I have been on a hayride, though I can’t recall if it was in Pace while I was in High School, or in Mississippi when I was at college up there, so it obviously wasn’t as much fun as you guys had! Not doing much for Halloween this year, except I have some cast iron camp gear that needs “seasoning”, and it has turned chilly, and we have plenty of firewood from that oak that came down last year, soooo. . . guess we’ll sit outside with a small fire to hand out treats, dressed in Pirate Garb, probably.

    Love the “Vanna White” pose at the rabbit sign! BTW, the rabbit in your picture looks like an Argent de Champagne, the kind I am raising!

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