Monday, October 31, 2016

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

It's the time of year here in California when we realize winter is coming.  The nights are finally getting cooler and my air conditioning has been off for the last couple of weeks.  It's when we get a PG&E bill that doesn't cause a heart attack.  NICE!!  

Halloween comes along just in time to turn the clocks back, giving most people another hour of sleep.  You already know that's not happening in my house.

I'm still trying to attach the short video here ... it's SO much better with sound!!  I tried sending it to YouTube which looked like it would work, then it crashed.  I shortened it to practically nothing but it still won't upload.  I tried just the sound version, but the nice served rejected the file.  I'll keep trying.

EUREKA!!!!!  Pretty short, but at least it worked!!

video

I tested the music again last night, but kept it on the low side.  Tonight however, it will be blasting!!  Okay, maybe I'll turn it down just a tad on the patio.  

If you're going to have a scary front porch, you better provide something BIG and worth the trip up the driveway.  At my house they will be rewarded with a giant Snickers bar.  I'm pretty sure the boys on both sides of my house will arrive sans costumes, dressed up like 8th graders.  It's okay ... that counts too!!
In the morning, I baked the last of the goodie bags I purchased in Washington.  Everything I bought at the Cranberry Museum was delicious, including these scones.  Yes, I would have flattened them out a little more, but when puffy, they are much softer.  I topped them with a little sugar ... LOTS of sugar actually, and they were delish!!  
In the evening, I watched the Cubs beat the Indians to stay in the World Series for one more game.  They need TWO to win ... Indians only need ONE.  These have been some of the best baseball games I've seen in ages ... the two teams are very well matched.  Even if it's not your thing, you might enjoy watching the drama!!

Today I'll be fine tuning the porch and deciding if I want to wear a costume or not.  I'd love to be Captain Hook, but my vintage coat can't take any more wear and tear.  The Dead Bride wedding dress is a little too snug after all those fish and chips I ate this summer and I can't even FIND the wicked witch dress.  Maybe I'll just hang my cameras around my neck and be a tourist!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN






Sunday, October 30, 2016

It's Almost TIME .......

Buhahahahaha ..... it's almost time to scare all the neighborhood kids who've been terrorizing me for the last few years!!  Okay, that's not really true.  Any more the only time I see the kids is when they get on the school bus in the morning.  It's still fun to set up for Halloween though ... my all time favorite holiday.

I did a practice run on the porch last night.  Even though everything did NOT go according to plan, it didn't matter.  I had a blast!!  My butler was on a roll too, although a little too quiet.  I turned the volume up to the highest setting.
The candelabra worked perfectly (battery operated) but the fog machine, not so much.  Not only has it been very warm, but I didn't use enough ice to cool down the smoke.  Looks good here, right?
Cough cough cough .... but then it went wild and filled the air so I couldn't see or breathe.  There was just enough of a breeze to kick it all back in my face.  
THAT'S when I turned on the music.  This is the best CD ever!!  It's got dozens of songs ... no lyrics ... from all the scary movies you can think of.  It took me several tries to figure out the receiver, but finally the eerie sounds filled my house ... and my garage ... and my back patio ... and my front porch!!  I turned it up louder.
Then, just for the benefit of my neighbors, I turned it up again.  I've got lots of dial to spare.  With only one speaker on the front porch, it wasn't very loud from that side of the house.  On the patio however, I laughed with glee!!  Really .. out loud laughing!!  IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!  Like being in a movie theatre.

Back in front, I set up my witch's head in a glass ball, then calmed the dogs who were freaking out from the noise.  
Motion activated, she lights up, moves around and talks to you.  The more racket the better!!!  Believe it or not, when I worked for the County, all of this stuff surrounded my desk at Halloween.  People came in from all over just to walk by and see the display!!
That's when I saw headlights in front of my house.  Uh oh (really, I'm cracking up) I think someone called the Sheriff's Department ALREADY.  Gosh, it's been ten minutes and it's only 7:30 pm.  That didn't take them long!!  After all those 2-3 am music-beer parties, the twelve piece Mariachi band and music-blasting-kid-screaming pool parties, someone called the police on ME???  

I ran to a side window and watched, expecting him to walk up to the door any moment.  And then he drove away.  I'm sure someone called in because of the loud party, but when he arrived, there wasn't a party.  There was absolutely NO ONE ... not even a car in the driveway.  Besides that, the music out front isn't that loud.  I couldn't stop laughing!!!  I SHOULD HAVE, but payback is .... well, you know!!
At 8:30 pm I lowered the music to a dull roar and scaled back the smoke.  I have controls on each set of speakers inside the house and I kept them on high for another fifteen minutes, just because I could.  What did you say?  Something about I'll probably go deaf??  I can't HEAR you!!

I've got two more nights to annoy my neighbors.  This is SO MUCH FUN!!!

By the way ... a big resounding HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mr. Chance!!  May you have many, many more!!!!

Now to see what ELSE I can add to the front porch!!




Saturday, October 29, 2016

It's Raining, It's Pouring, The Old Man Is Snoring

Unfortunately for me, there's no old man snoring around here, but it was definitely raining and pouring all day long.  That's a good thing ... California needs a little dampness.  I could pass on the four inches of water flooding my flowerbeds, but never look a gift horse in the mouth!!

Speaking of gifts ... have you ever watched the show Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines?  They have been fixing things up in Waco Texas, refurbishing houses one at a time, and recently turned three big silos into a marketplace.  They've been getting lots of product in for sale, one of which I purchased ... this beautiful cake stand.

You know how sometimes I take pictures of things a little crooked, just because it makes a more pleasing picture?  That's NOT what I did here.  At first I thought it would be okay, but when I turned it around, I saw this!!  I can't tell you how disappointed I am in the product.  I expected SO much more from them.  I tried to bend it a little, but the way it's made, there's no bending.  It would be great for Halloween I suppose, but today it goes back.
Even the puppies were bored yesterday as I spent more time sewing on the latest quilt.  Good grief ... so many pieces and SO much sewing and ironing!!  After a week, I finally got ONE square done.  I only have 35 to go.  Woohoo!!
With nothing else on the schedule I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  This time I made the chewy version.  The last batch of crispy oatmeal cookies were so hard they almost broke my teeth.  Of course that may be MY fault ... I did overcook them just a tad.
I picked up two more pieces at my favorite Halloween store for the front yard.  I think this one will move permanently to my back yard burial ground.  There's always a vacancy when it comes to my cooking.
I've been scouting around for one more cast iron dutch oven, and found an old high school friend who has several pieces that belonged to his dad, which he is willing to part with.  I'm pretty sure they aren't the Griswold or Wagner variety (the two oldest and best in cast iron), but once cleaned up, they will work just fine.  You can't beat FREE.

After lean cuisine and meatloaf with salad, I've been craving something different.  I hate to admit, but this recipe came from Facebook.  I sure wish there were some decent restaurants around here where I could just buy this kind of good food and bring it home.  Alas, I'm stuck with making tikka masala myself, if I've a hankering for it.  

Super simple recipe here ... chicken, a can of tomatoes, curry powder (to your taste), cumin, cinnamon and a little half and half.  Sounds terrible, right?  Actually it wasn't bad served over rice, but be sure and cook white rice, not brown.  Brown was all I had.  You have to chew each bite for four minutes, it's so tough!!  At least it wasn't meatloaf, which I've had for the last twelve meals.
Today is the day I finally get to set up my front porch for some Halloween fun.  My special music CD should arrive this morning and I'm ready for a test run.  I haven't figured out how I can watch TV and play the CD at the same time however ... maybe I can play it loudly just during commercials.  Halloween isn't until Monday night, so I've got time to experiment!!  

Yes, in the back of my mind I've thought "what if no one shows up"?  Oh well ... I'll have fun anyway.  Maybe "I" can go trick or treating and give candy AWAY instead of asking for some.  Otherwise, I see more burials in my future with Halloween Candy recipes.





Friday, October 28, 2016

Three Fails In ONE Day!!

I knew I was on a cooking roll that wouldn't last.  Three major fails have me back on lean cuisine!

I woke up at 4:00 am to what sounded like someone knocking on my door.  Needless to say I didn't jump up and answer it.  Maybe I was dreaming ... or maybe it was the rain.  Turns out it was the well drillers in the subdivision next door.  BANG BANG BANG!!!!!  There's six new houses on one acre lots.  I've no idea who is going to buy them ... the asking price in over $500,000.  There's no way I was sleeping through that, so I just got up.

You know those clips on Facebook that show those easy peasy recipes that just taste WONDERFUL? Don't believe a word of it!!  This was an easy breakfast idea.  Take Pillsbury Grand cinnamon rolls and put them in your waffle iron.  Mix a little milk with the frosting for syrup and you'll have the best little breakfast EVER!!

Unfortunately, in all my stock of kitchen gadgets, I do NOT have a waffle iron.  What I DO have is a panini griddle.  That will work, right??
Not so much ... they rose so high I had to squish the handle down to flatten them enough to cook.  It didn't mention temperature, and mine was a little too high for sugar, which promptly burned on the bottom.  I had four more chances in the can, but quit after two.  These are the most disgusting things I've ever eaten.  Not even worthy of a burial, they went in the trash can.  Don't bother with this one folks!!
I had been thinking of cooking a big pot of beans like my mom used to every week.  That's what we ate when I was a kid.  When a cow died, it went in the freezer to eventually be served alongside the perpetual pot of beans.    

It was my job in the old days to separate the rocks from the beans.  They must have better equipment because I didn't find one single rock in this batch.  I dumped them in the pot along with water to cover by one inch.  Boil baby, boil!!  Thirty minutes later when it said to add more water, the beans were spilling over the edge of my pot.  Good Heavens they swelled up like a mosquito at midnight!!!

It was then I remembered my mom used to soak them overnight on the stove FIRST!!  I dug out two cups and set them aside.  Actually, I threw them in the trash.  At least I remembered NOT to salt them until later.  After a couple of hours I added everything in the recipe, along with just a dash of cinnamon ... a secret from an old Portuguese cook.  They tasted okay, but what am I going to do with five quarts of beans? I ate a few, put a few in the freezer and a LOT went to the happy hunting grounds in my back yard.
The last big fail of the day ... remember my beautifully carved pumpkin??  I saw a little black around the edges, so I put him outside my front door on a table.  As I peeked out the window, I noticed he was throwing up all over everything!  What?  That can't be!!  He was tilted pretty precariously to one side, so I picked him up with both arms ... he's REALLY heavy ... whereupon he promptly spewed liquid all over me ... I mean soaked to the skin.  
It appears he had been sick for a couple of days, collecting about eight cups of liquid in the bottom, which broke apart when I moved him.  What a mess!!  Nasty rotten pumpkin juice EVERYWHERE!!  I finally got him in the trash can and spent an hour washing down the porch, not to mention me!!  I think that's the end of my pumpkin carving career!!
I picked up a couple of styrofoam headstones to replace the pumpkin and ordered a CD of really cool Halloween music to play for the kiddos trick or treating ... if there are any.  Along with the speakers in the bathrooms and laundry room of my house, I have outside speakers above the door.  I'm really going to crank it up for my neighbors!!  Snicker snicker!! 

You never know if anyone will show up to trick or treat since I'm out in the country.  If not, I'll be trying out more of those cutesy recipes on Facebook for leftover candy.  Stay tuned for THAT one!!






Thursday, October 27, 2016

Small Town America ... You Make Me Proud!!

It's no secret that I'm not fond of the area I live in.  Central California has become a place everyone drives through to get someplace else.  I don't live in Merced ... I drive through it or even around it if I can.  In spite of Taco Bell being the best restaurant, I have to say the residents actually made me proud yesterday.

At Elks Bingo Tuesday night, we got a call that the Fire Department was working on their biggest charity the next morning and needed help with counting money.  That's what I do, so I volunteered.  I arrived at the appointed 7:00 am to find the Coordinator alone except for four hunky Firemen.  I think I'm going to LIKE this job.
It's Fill The Boot for MDA.  They have a camp in the mountains near here where MDA kids get to stay for a week FREE every summer.  They can swim in the pool (they have a lift that allows them access),  go fishing and camp out, but they need funds to pay for required doctors and nurses to be on site, not to mention all the food and supplies.
As the sixteen firemen came in, I set them up with a T-shirt, a boot, a sign to wave to be sure they were noticed, coffee and donuts.  Believe it or not, they ALL declined the donuts.  These guys are hunks and they want to stay that way.  I've never seen so many muscles in one place!!  This must be what heaven is like!!
As the guys hit the streets, we had to warn them about the local ordinance that says NO panhandling. It really doesn't work however, because everywhere you go in this town there's someone trying to hit you up.  Unfortunately, they forgot to allow for this event once a year.  The trick was to stay OFF the median.  It's okay to walk in the street and get run over, but DON'T stand on the concrete median.  
As the boots were filled, the Coordinator or whoever we could grab, went around with the blue bucket and collected the cash.  That's where my job began.
Even Sparky showed up, in spite of the 85 degree heat, to greet kids that stopped in and give them a tour of the Fire Truck.  Firemen hats were passed out along with stickers, which thrilled the kids.
Once we had a good start on the collecting, I was locked in this trailer to begin the count.  Imagine a five gallon bucket stuffed full of green stuff, then dumped on a table.  It was crazy!!  One of my Elks helpers finally showed up around 9:30.  We counted continuously until 1:30.
Funny how we couldn't move the pot on the stove.  Actually, this is their earthquake safety trailer.  We worked around it however and double counted every stack before coming to the conclusion that the boys collected an amazing $12,100 in six hours.  Can you believe it?  The goal was $7,500.  To top that off, Kohls sent five employees (none over 18 years old mind you) to work for three hours, for which Kohls paid them.  Then Kohls wrote US a check for $1,500.  Nice!!

A grand total of $13,600 was collected, plus I'm sure another couple hundred in change.  The firemen broke all their previous records for collections by several thousand dollars.  They were literally jumping in the air.  I think it's a sign of the times, with all the crap that's going on, that people want to show their appreciation for the Fire Department.  Five separate people even donated $100 bills.  Amazing, right??
So here's the picture I'm leaving you with.  We awarded him the "cutest butt" trophy.  I'm not kidding, these guys should do a calendar, dressed just like this!!  What a great group of happy men just doing their part for the MDA Camp.
FYI ... in case you ever run this type of fundraiser.  There's no firemen that wear size 1X or 2X shirts, so don't get those.  Provide mostly Medium and Large ... trust me on this one ... they REALLY like to show off their muscles ... and a tight medium T-Shirt does that right nicely!!





Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It's Early ... My Eyes Are Still Closed

Sometimes I open my mouth before my brain kicks in gear.  I volunteered to help FILL THE BOOT for the Fire Department starting at 7:00 am after I worked late at Bingo.  It takes me an hour to get ready so they don't cart me off in an ambulance, thinking I'm deceased (makeup is my friend), especially when I didn't get to bed until after midnight.

My eyes are scratchy, my nose is running and it's DARK outside.  It's going to be a fun morning!!

I'll fill you in on the last burial and the BIG pot of beans I tried to cook when I return .... after a nap or maybe two.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Back To Normal With A Surprise or Two!!

Good news ... little Jimmy (not is real name) is doing just fine and should be home today.  He's had a little fever they wanted totally under control before releasing him.  YAY!!  He's a trooper and doesn't seem to be bothered at all by what happened to him ... we shall see.

Yesterday morning I decided to whip up a nice beef stew for the family.  I've been making stew for 50 years and I've NEVER gotten it right.  Oh the meat gets cooked, but the flavor is somewhere between Elmer's Glue and wet flour.

This time I decided to shake it up a little.  I took the cheaper $4.99 roast and cut it into pieces, doused it with flour and Red River Ranch Seasoning, then browned it in one of my cast iron skillets.  Into the pot it went, along with potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms.  A can of cream of mushroom soup, mixed with a can of water and Lawry's stew seasoning got dumped on top.  Notice I remembered the liner!!

Seven hours later ... what a SURPRISE!!  It actually tasted good!  REALLY good!!  For the first time in my 60 year cooking career, I got it right!!  Too bad it's going to someone else's house!!  I took out a small bowl for me and packaged the rest up for transport.  I'm definitely making THIS recipe again!
My plan was to make dutch oven biscuits to go with the stew, but all my recipes called for sourdough starter.  It's easy to get going, but it requires a lot of care and maintenance.  How about buttermilk biscuits?  No buttermilk.  That's easily remedied ... milk and vinegar ... but it was too late.  When I shook the milk container, the inside was a solid mass.  Needless to say, I don't use milk that often.  What I DID have was a small container of half and half.  But not enough flour!!  My planning skills need improvement.

The reason I didn't have enough flour was that I made a double batch of banana bread for the Indio rally.  Surprise!!  I didn't burn it, in spite of my oven with a 50 degree discrepancy.  The bread is now resting comfortably in the freezer.  
Here's a surprise I never thought I'd see on my back patio.  Almonds.  If you always thought birds were bird-brains, here's evidence they are pretty smart.  There are almond orchards all around me, providing dinner for thousands, that is if they can get to the actual meat in the middle.  

Somewhere along the way they discovered if they dropped the hulls and shells on concrete, they might break open.  I have a large concrete patio in back.  Dinner is served!!  The puppies must have scared them off before they got the nut this time.  Jessie's favorite sport is running out the door and chasing the birds, or cats or feathers ... whatever is moving.
The rest of the day I worked on this quilt.  I'm guessing there are about 5,000 pieces to stitch together.  Those white pieces?  There is 5-1/2 yards of material in those stacks!!  This one is going to take awhile!!  Maybe by the time I finish it, I'll have the dutch oven biscuits down pat.  Surely that can't take more than a couple of years!! 
It's Magic Kingdom day again.  That sure seems to come around fast!!  With all the help we have now, I could probably call in sick, but then I'd miss that wonderful hotdog ... and the stomach ache .... and the 3 Tums it takes to sooth the savage stomach.  Why would I want to miss out on THAT??

Halloween is this weekend.  Are you ready???







Monday, October 24, 2016

Kids Are Never Too Young To Learn

Sometimes your best laid plans fly right out the window, not that they were that exciting in the first place.  We had an incident ... a bad one ... that has taken up the last two days.  A dog bite.

You know I'm a BIG lover of dogs ... all dogs, big or small.  I'm NOT a fan of really big dogs being around really small children.  I hear people say "not my dog" all the time, but I know better ... and they should too.
My friend, who shall remain nameless, was visiting with her daughter, her grandson, her daughter's adult friend and his dog.  Unfortunately, no one ever taught the 3 year old not to go near the doggy when he was eating or chewing on a bone.  That was their first mistake.  Not that you need to scare them to death like my mother did me, but they are never too young to learn how to act around animals ... all animals, not just dogs.

Their second mistake was not noticing the signs the dog was presenting.  Ears back, stiffened posture, you can tell they are not happy.  Unfortunately for the little boy, he reached out and took the bone from the dog, who immediately attacked.  The sweetest dog in the world who loves everyone, went after his bone.

The little boy ended up at Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno because the ambulance attendants thought he might lose his eye.  The deep gash just below his eyebrow and the second deep gash below his eye, gushed blood so badly, it scared them enough to rush him 60 miles to the hospital with sirens screaming.  You can imagine how everyone else felt.

After 2-1/2 hours of emergency plastic surgery, there's no permanent damage and he will be just fine. That's dodging a bullet if I ever saw one.  We are all so thankful he's going to be okay.  He's already running around the hospital room being his sweet charming self with the nurses, who wait on him hand and foot.  In a week or so when the swelling goes down, they will recheck his eyesight.

PLEASE PLEASE teach your children and grandchildren (no matter what their age) not to go near a dog who is eating or chewing a bone.  Remind them constantly so they don't forget.  It's a lesson that will suit them well their entire life.  No matter how much you love your dogs, or how much you know they would never do that ..... they CAN and often DO!!   Trust me, you don't want to go through what this family did.





Sunday, October 23, 2016

Making A Really BIG Mess .....

Don't you just LOVE the fall colors of pumpkins and gourds?  There are lots to choose from at the Pumpkin Patch, and while inexpensive individually, when you add up the fifteen required for my porch, it got a little pricey.  Prince Charming came to my rescue though.  He snuck up behind and scared me, which elicited a discount!!  YAY!!
Here's the inside of the old dairy barn, currently loaded to the brim with pumpkins of every size and shape. That makes the picking process a little more difficult.  You have to get just the RIGHT one with just the RIGHT stem.  Most all of these have very long stems, making for ever scarier creations.
I stood at the end of the property and watched the kids play on the bounce pillow.  I've never heard so much laughing and giggling in one place before.  They were having a BLAST!!  We all cringed when another 300 pound father got on and began to bounce, but it held up like a pro and he giggled like a little kid!!  
Back home with my chosen pumpkins, I spent an hour on the internet looking for the free pattern I had carved in the past.  It was not to be found.  In fact, all of what I consider the "good" patterns all had big price tags.  Guess I'll just have to create my own.  

I really didn't want to break into the center where mayhem and rot begin, but in the end, the only way to see the pattern is to put a light inside.  I'd show the hole in back, but it's terribly irregular.  That line on the pumpkin carving page about not using a knife, but a small saw, turned out to be correct.  

I scooped out the guts ... what a mess THAT turned out to be.  There's just no easy way to do it.  I had seeds and 'yuck' all over the counter and floor.
Once my knife got going, it cut through the pumpkin like butter, going WAY over the pattern in several places.  RATS!!  Looks kind of like the Grinch, right?  
More and more carving, lots of slips and oops, resulted in pumpkin pieces on the floor that Miss Jessie scarfed up before I could stop her.  Weird, right?  What dog eats raw pumpkin??   I'm hoping she has no ill effects.

Finally done, I looked for a light to put inside.  All I could find was one of those battery operated candles, not putting out much light.  In fact, not putting out ANY light.  I put the pumpkin down in a dark closet and all I could see was the nose.  I either need a MUCH brighter light, or I have to carve even deeper.  
My tall man with the bald head has scared me three times now.  Especially when I walk around in the morning dark.  I don't feel so bad however ... I moved him near the front door, and when the Contractor stopped by for an update, it scared HIM when I opened the door.  Hahahaha ... we had a good laugh!!
With the break in the World Series games, it's Football Sunday, so you'll probably find me on the couch in the afternoon.  Until then, I'll be practicing another dutch oven recipe ... beef stew.  So when did beef prices get high in the sky?  $8.99 hamburger ... $9.99 stew meat!!  Good grief Charlie Brown ... that's CRAZY!!  I opted for the $4.99 a pound pot roast ... I'll cut it up myself!!  I'm even hoping to try biscuits!!  I know I'm pushing the envelope there .... wish me luck!!





Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ride In A Time Machine!!

There aren't many places in California that you can take a trip back 65 million years to the time of the dinosaurs.  Amazingly, I can drive just one mile on any day in October and come face to face with HUGE creatures.  This is Hunter Farms Pumpkin Patch.  I think this is one of my all time favorite images!!  Looks pretty real, right?
I told you about Wil Hunter and his family building this huge Halloween attraction in the middle of their almond fields.  Yesterday I finally got back to photograph the dinosaurs and pick up some more pumpkins for my mini entryway attraction at my front door.

The Hunters are behind ... and ahead ... of the times.  This water wheel helps provide electricity, as do the hundreds of solar panels around the farm, none of which you can see.  This space was created for family pictures.
Hunter Farms has contacted every school district within our County and scheduled visits for the kids, all free of charge.  First they get a little classroom instruction in where their food comes from (you'd be surprised how many kids don't know what a tomato is or how it grows), then it's on to the hay ride, tricycle races, a long stint on the bounce pillow, gold mining where they actually can find tiny pieces of gold and diamonds, and finally a ride on the time machine tractor.  

The cars were all hand built from salvaged airport luggage carriers.  They started with four, but now fill ten cars and make one trip every thirty minutes.  That's a LOT of kids!!
Since I have an inside connection, I got a personal tour in a mini time machine four-wheeler.  This is Pistol Pete's mining operation, complete with mine, rail cars, a sluice box and a river.  His cabin is out of site on the right, surrounded with critters and dynamite.  
I missed taking pictures of the Indian village since the big time machine was heading our direction.  Here's just a few of the creatures ... this one has a nest and babies.  Now really, we all know this type of dinosaur probably didn't lay any eggs ... but the kids don't know that!!  When they came around the first corner, they all screamed and pointed, then said AWWWWW in unison when they spotted the eggs.
Pretty realistic, don't you think?  I mean really, Disneyland doesn't even have THESE guys!!  I may have mentioned they all come from overseas at a cost less than the shipping to get them here, which is astronomical.
Velociraptor?  Who knows ... I just know there were a LOT of them and the kids were screaming with delight!!
That is until the tractor came pretty close to this one jumping from the palm tree.  Yup, they even planted a palm tree for this one to jump out of!!
I jumped out of the four wheeler a couple of times to get pictures of the tractor coming through the field.  
This is the kindergarten group ... you could hear them yelling all the way around the course.
Another dinosaur ......
and yet another!!  I'm telling you, there are at least 30 hiding in the bushes around here!!
I think most are five to six feet tall, except for not one, but TWO T-Rex's!!
Here's the big guy himself, waiting for a tasty morsel to come his way.  
Just escaping by the skin of their teeth, this group of kids heads back to today as their time travel comes to an end.  
It's not the end of their adventure however, as every single kid gets a free pumpkin to take home.  EVERY SINGLE KID ... which totals in the thousands.  This is MY kind of family adventure!!  It's definitely a labor of love, as no profit has or ever will be made here.  For those schools that can't afford the bus, Hunter Farms delivers pumpkins straight to the school.  On this afternoon 800 were being delivered to a school near me.  My newest goal is to provide those buses next year, because no kid should miss out on the fun this ranch has to offer.
I didn't come away empty handed either.  A truckload of pumpkins is now on my front porch as I get ready for the big day.  At least it LOOKED like a truckload.  They didn't go very far on the porch, so I just might have to make another trip.  

One nice large pumpkin has become today's project.  A little pumpkin carving is on the schedule.