Wednesday, October 31, 2018

RAMP OF DOOM!!!!!!

At long last, I can take a small breath of relief.  We're not done yet, but as close as you can get. FIRST however ..... the RAMP OF DOOM!!

This is Farmer Scott, the ramrod of the Pumpkin Patch.  When I first came to this patch, they sold a few pumpkins out of the barn along with some cookies wife Michelle made.  I think there was a hay ride also.

In no time it morphed into hay ride, blasters, bounce pillow, time travel ride, corn maze, hay maze and automated puppet show.  The pumpkins have gone from your ordinary orange pumpkin to crazy heirloom varieties with warts and colors of the sunset.

On the last two days, you can fill a wagon with as many as you can possibly fit for $25.  They usually cost 60 cents a pound.
After paying your fee, the wagon is pulled across the RAMP OF DOOM .... dun dun dunnnnnnn.  We make it a good time by booing, cheering and generally teasing the buyer.  Scott really does go slow so  most all the pumpkins stay on.  There are about four big bumps to get over.
Someone stands by to catch anything that falls so they don't crack open.  We keep anything that falls off, you get the rest of the wagon load.  It is amazing how many some people go home with.
By 5:00 pm we had two loaves of pumpkin bread and about two cases of water left.  Everything else was gone from the snack bar.  That made it pretty easy to clean up!!  And so I closed down on the last full day of the Patch.

With only a few miles tacked on for Tuesday, the final total was 211.5 miles for 30 days of walking, running and sitting.  That just sounds incredible to me, but my legs tell me it's true.

Today will be clean up and pack up day.  Everything in the snack bar has to be broken down, washed and boxed up.  I'm really NOT looking forward to that part.  After all, cleaning is not my forte!!

I'll have a few hours to rush around and get food, a cake or pie to feed thirteen people and pack up for the next adventure.  Truthfully at this point, all I want is to lay down on my adventurous couch for the next two weeks.  

I know I'll miss everyone ... we have all become very good friends.  But WAIT!!!  We have next year!!  In the meantime, I'll buy a couple more pair of really good running shoes!!!







Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Hello? Hello? Can You Hear Me???

Oh my goodness!  I actually got NINE hours of sleep.  Not continuously, but in total.  I have to say it's pretty amazing the punishment your body can take.  Today is the last full day, with half a day scheduled for tomorrow.  I'm even going to try and get off early!
We were down to 12 hotdogs and 85 buns.  Thank goodness they didn't go buy more dogs.  They DID buy jalapeños ... an entire gallon jar that was consumed in less than 5 hours.  

Once the "schools" were in and running wild, I ended up on the tractor.  There was a large 4-H group that should have a class in manners.  They were terrible, followed closely by a Christian Church group whose kids not only ran wild but caused trouble everywhere they went.  

We chased one kid around the Blasters net area, through the corn field and across the entire property before catching him.  He and his parents were ejected with much ceremony.  Remember when you thought you really didn't know how to raise kids?  Well those two STILL don't have a clue!
Shortly thereafter, I looked down at my walkie talkie.  We all carry them for many reasons, mostly to call for supplies.  This particular time, it looked kind of funny.  I discovered the back was completely gone and the battery was hanging out.  

The walkies are a pain in our sides.  Most of them don't work at all or the battery goes dead after a short amount of time.  I grabbed another one and headed back to the tractor.  

Five hours later ..... Could someone please give me a break on the tractor so I can eat lunch?  Nothing.  No response.  Hello!!  Tractor break please.  It was silent as I drove around and around.  Hello???  Hello???  Can you hear me???

The next round I ran to the snack bar, grabbed some chips since I had not eaten all day, and asked them to call for a driver.  Nothing.  By now I'm running back and forth working BOTH tractors and my radio STILL doesn't work.

Finally at 5:00 another driver snuck up on me and scared me to death!!  He's a funny kid ..... hahaha.  At long last I got lunch, then spent another 90 minutes in the snack shack making the last of the hot dogs.  Thank goodness THOSE are gone.
At 6:30 I limped to the ticket booth scanning the horizon for any food I might get my hands on.  I'm all for losing weight but my stomach is rebelling!!  With nothing else in sight, I grabbed a package of the horrible TRIO.  Three cookies that would make great frisbees.  Hard as a rock and taste like cardboard.  I just need to keep counting my money!!!

At long last I was home.  I fed the puppies and crashed on the couch.  The couch has become my favorite thing in the whole wide world.

Today we have only four schools with maybe 250 kids.  It's also the Ramp Of Doom Day.  I'd explain that, but I'm going to try and get in one more quick nap before work.






Monday, October 29, 2018

Monday Monday .......

Boy am I glad THAT'S over with!  The last weekend of the pumpkin patch was a big success.  I arrived bright and early in order to miss the Parking Guard.  I'm happy to say it worked.  I was more than willing to get fired if I didn't get to park up front.  I got the very first space.

This being the last day, I expected to run out of everything at the Snack Bar ... and we did.  No more candy, hot chocolate, cream for your coffee, fruit snacks or cookies.  Unfortunately, we did not run out of hot dogs until around 5:00pm.

I made the mistake of answering the Boss truthfully when he asked me how we were doing.  He jumped in his truck and ran to the store for more hot dogs.  Ugh ... I don't care if I EVER see another one.

I spent the entire day on my feet making over 430 hot dogs.  He brought 48 more polish dogs which we used up before closing.  I can still smell them.  By the way, those Costco dogs can't be beat for taste and texture.
They bought a big machine that supposedly cooks the dogs on one side and keeps buns warm on the other.  It constantly tripped the GFI and quit, so we stuck with the tried and true turkey roaster.  I've no idea why it kept doing that, but every 30 minutes I had to crawl over hay and though the barn stanchions in order to reach the outlet box for a reset.

In utter contempt for the stupid machine, I turned off the hot dog side and used just the bun warmer.  It worked like a charm.

Too bad all the tables were too low.  By noon my back was killing me.  I probably looked pretty weird, but I positioned a tall bar stool in front of the fridge door and used the door handle as a back rub.  Eleven hours later we were done.  Thank the Lord for small favors.

Only two incidences happened all day.  One little boy cried because he dropped his hot dog, so we gave him another and when we ran out of jalapeños, one lady got a little snippy.  Otherwise, the line never had fewer than 20 people from 10:00 to closing at 7:00pm. 

The crew of girls are amazingly fast workers except for the one that worked with me.  She never could get out of first gear.  

Why the tennis balls you ask?  The Billyken Blaster air machines shoot tennis balls at a barn structure.  When they run out, SOMEONE has to go pick them all up.  Luckily, most roll into a pit in the middle.  It takes at least six people to gather up the rest.  It was a welcome little break in the action.

Only three more days, which shouldn't be too busy.  I've only got 200 kids coming in today and the snack bar should be a breeze since we are now short on soda too.  No worries ... we still have shaved ice and potato chips.  The perfect lunch combination in my book!!






Sunday, October 28, 2018

Worst Day Yet Say My Feet

Here I was feeling so good about being in shape, being able to walk all day long and still get up the next morning.  I was taken down a notch yesterday.

Looking at this cutest of all Halloween costumes makes me smile, which takes away some of the pain.  My feet are rebelling like the Boston Tea Party.
Another ten hours standing up on concrete left me feeling defeated.  To add insult to injury, the father of the owner made me park my truck at the farthest parking lot.  I'm sure it was half a mile away.  Hardly able to walk, I had to limp all that way in order to leave.  Trust me, that will NOT be happening today!!

It wasn't a bad day really.  It began rather slowly, prompting me to contemplate sending two girls home.  It's a good thing I didn't because we got blasted.  Nothing like the previous weekend, but a steady stream of people from 11:00 to 7:00.

I made over 450 shaved ice and packed 600 bottles of water into ice chests along with 11 huge cases of soda.

The good news is there were no fights, except for two older men arguing over a shaved ice.  Really?

After today there will be two slow days of school kids before closing the doors.  I can't wait.  Well almost ...... because that means loading up the RV and driving 6 hours over the Sierras.  Once I get there, I may just sleep through the four day rally!!




Saturday, October 27, 2018

Short Time-itis ......

Another quickie ..... this is my adopted grandson Braden.  Not really, but he feels like a grandson.  He's the son of my friend's daughter.  Finally in kindergarten, he's the one who everyone thought was a girl because Dad refused to let him have a haircut.  Thankfully when he started Catholic School, they required short hair.
I have short time-itis.  Only four and a half more days and I'm really feeling it.  Believe it or not, my GPS watch says I've walked 186.8 miles in the last 26 days.  That's just insane.  I have legs of steel, but the rest of me is fading fast.

Only 450 kids shows up yesterday.  It was a nice surprise that they were reasonably behaved.  It didn't last long however.  Once the little kids were gone, the big kids showed up.  High School brats and smarty pants hoods that think they can do whatever they want.

Two GIRLS got into a screaming match which ended up with lots of hair pulling and punching on the dirt and gravel inside the barn.  Luckily our biggest guy was there to grab one from behind and drag her off, throwing her into the pumpkins.

More screaming and name calling and she finally walked off.  Once he made sure the other girl was okay, he caught up with the smart mouth who thought she was all that, and escorted her off the property.  She was cussing and smiling the entire way like she had won an Oscar.  I can't tell you how mad that makes me.  Someone needs to whip her a_____.  Uh oh ... here comes the Pastor's wife.  I'll be quiet!!

I really did want to dress up for Halloween candy-giving in my Jack Skellington outfit, but it's going to take too long to get the lumps and bumps out of his head.  Besides that, after 30 seconds, I could hardly breath.  I also discovered they forgot to include the pants.  Not good!!  Since I have no black pants at all, it will have to wait until next year.
It should be a good day.  I'm hoping we are very busy so all that food they bought will disappear.  Otherwise my RV Rally on November 1st will be having nachos and hot dogs!!









Friday, October 26, 2018

Lightning Strikes Me!!!!

You know all those rotten phone calls you get trying to sell you medicare supplemental insurance, or car insurance, or house insurance or any other sales call??  They frustrate me beyond words.

On Wednesday it was so bad I had to put my phone on silent at work because it was going off constantly.  You never can block them because they use phony numbers ... many times local phone numbers.

They began again at 6:30 yesterday morning.  I was mad ... MAD at being bothered SO many times!! Can you feel my frustration?  By the time I got to the Pumpkin Patch, I was fuming.  I should have just taken a chill pill ... or a bottle of wine.

So there I was, pulling in to the parking lot and my phone rang again before I even got it in park.  This time I listened and hit the number 1 to talk to a "representative".  The second he answered, I lit into him with both feet.  I was sick and tired of getting phone calls and I wanted them to STOP!!!  I admit, I said some very bad words and hung up on him.  TAKE THAT!!!!!

The Pastor and his wife pulled up next to me.  She works the office during the week.  I jumped out and slammed the door.  I got about ten feet before that lightning bolt struck me.  You know what happened.  My keys were in the ignition.
Now madder than before, if that is even possible, I told the Pastor that "someone" just sent me a message.  They laughed.  I cried, because now I have to find a way to get in my truck.

I called AAA, trying to remain calm.  I got the vacation services line.  I'd love to go on vacation, but my keys are locked in my truck.  No problem she said as she began the twenty questions game.  Uhmmmmm I'm at work, could you just send someone please?

She transferred me to the Road Service line as I bit my tongue.  Your name?  Your address?  Your phone number?  Are you safe?  Are you alone?  Where are you?  I'm at Buhach and S P Avenue.  Can you spell that please?  S P!!  Can you spell that please?  S P (even louder).  I'm on S P Avenue.  It didn't compute.

When she again asked if I was safe or if I had medicine in my truck I needed, I said yes to both.  I'm about to have a heart attack if you ask me one more question and my medicine is in the truck!!  "Oh how fun, you work at a pumpkin patch".  PLEASE JUST SEND A TRUCK!!!!

The guy showed up in about ten minutes and unlocked the door.  He was a nice guy.  I figured I would need to answer 20 more questions, but he only asked for my signature.

The next time I hit number 1 and talk to a salesman, I won't cuss at him, but GUARANTEED I'm going to hang up on him!!!  I'm on the National Do Not Call List and I STILL get at least eight calls a day.  Will they ever stop????





Thursday, October 25, 2018

Two Ringy Dingys ......

I suppose it's human nature to try and get something for free.  Maybe not ... maybe it's just some people always think they should get everything they want without paying.  For those people, we have THE BELL.

The bell tolls every time we catch someone trying to sneak in.  It's not like it costs a lot, you pay $5 and get either $5 worth of food or you get $5 worth of pumpkins.  Your choice.  Still, people try to get in and not pay.
Above is where you walk into the cue and up to the windows.  Below is where we usually have someone stand and check every single person entering.

On school bus days there's just not enough people.  Yesterday I had six buses come in at the same time with 400 kids.  The usual number of 200 parents accompanied them.  Even though the school has told them they will have to pay an entry fee, most try to get around it by sneaking in.

I watched an entire family come up to the gate, look at the "Enter" sign right next to the "here's what it cost" sign, only to make a hard left.  I could smell the burning tennis shoes as Mom led the way to the Exit gate.  She passed it, went another 30 feet and moved a barrier to enter.

She was a BELL RINGER.  I turned all five of them around and directed her right back to where she began.  Oh she said ... I was confused.  This wasn't here last year.  Yes it was my dear and you need to go pay.
The second one was another Mom, bringing along a sibling to one who just came off the school bus.  She went through the line, but when they told her she had to pay, she also made a screeching turnaround, stroller tires leaving rubber in the sand and headed in anyway, trying to pass her kid off as one from the bus.  

BELL RINGER!!!!  She and her child were given the choice of paying, or being escorted out.  She chose to pay.
And so it goes at the Patch as I stamped or put a wristband on a total of 100 teachers and let in 531 kids in 60 minutes.  I think that's a record.  Surprisingly, these schools were pretty well behaved.  It's the teachers that cause the problems.

Everyone gets a paper showing them what time their Barnyard Squares program begins and where to eat.  Only two things to remember.  She said I never gave her the paper and they all sat down in the wrong area, which had been reserved for a large handicapped group.  

She was not happy she had to move.  WELL .... WHAT DO I DO WITH ALL THESE LUNCH BOXES???  I'll move them for you.  She finally moved one while I moved three gigantic boxes full of lunches to the correct tables.  Oh well .. you can't please everyone.

At 4:00 it began all over again as another 100 kids came from an after school program.  At 5:30 I was finally able to get out the door.  

Guess what ..... it's time to start it all over.  I'm not sure what day it is, but I think I have two or three more days before the gigantic weekend crowd.  Did I mention the ice machine is on the fritz?  








Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Blobby WHO???

Besides the normal 500 kids a day, there are parties going on almost every night at the Pumpkin Patch.  They have even had weddings here.

On this particular occasion, Blobby made an appearance  I've absolutely NO idea who or what Blobby is.  I suspect it's a 5-10 year old thing.  What was the name of the green (?) one your preschool kids watched on TV?  I love you ..... you love me ..... obviously I never watched it or I would remember the name.

Ask me if this cake tasted good .... go ahead ... ask me!!  I got a huge piece and it was delicious!!!!
The rest of the day went as usual with another school of 123 showing up on the wrong day.  The last school was an hour late.  That made for some scheduling problems, but otherwise it was a stellar day. 
There are 531 expected on this fine full moon morning.  That should wreak some havoc!!  I've got some setup work to do, so this is going to be short and sweet as I head out at 7:00 am.  Four more huge days and I'm over the hump!!

Maybe there's some cake left to really get my motor running!!





Tuesday, October 23, 2018

There's Always That ONE!!

Another 7.26 miles in the books and my total is up to 76.65 in the nine days I've been keeping track.  Pretty crazy, right?  Amazingly my legs are just fine.  My feet talk to me quite often though, and this morning I've got a hitch in my side from bending over and filling sand bags.  More on that later.

In the meantime, it's getting boring at the Patch ..... not really.  Two buses showed up yesterday with 200 kids that were not scheduled until today.  A little bit of a shock, but we got it handled.

So here's a few of the stories that go along with this gig.  Honey bees have been a problem.  It's that time of year when they forage constantly for pollen and syrup before hibernating.  We've got LOTS of snow cone syrup saturating the grounds.  So much so that we had to put a screened tent around the syrup dispenser.

That didn't help the lady who was drinking her soda.  There's always that ONE.  She set it down and wasn't paying attention.  A honey bee flew in the hole for a sip and couldn't get out.  Bees are terrible flyers with no aim whatsoever.

The bee stung her on the tongue as she took her next drink.  Luckily someone had tweezers (who carries tweezers in their pocket?) and was able to pull the stinger out, which honestly probably squeezed the rest of the venom into her tongue.  With a cup full of ice on her tongue, they took her to the hospital.
Then there was the proud Grandma.  She went on and on about how her grandson knew the names of every single dinosaur.  Only four years old, he was as smart as they come.  I thought that must be pretty impressive, so I asked him to name them for me.

I'm naming them here just so you know what they are!  This is a Trexer Track!
This Saugus was walking past the dino dig ... it's the biggest of all .....
And THIS one ..... this one is the Loch Ness.  
Not to be confused with THIS loch ness.
Lastly, while working the snack bar and wrapping hot dogs, the lady asked WHY we didn't have mayonnaise for her hot dog.  Well, mostly because we can't leave a big jar sitting on the counter all afternoon ... it will spoil and you will get sick.  I suppose we could have packets ... I'll check into it.

My girl handed her the hot dog.  WHAT?????  IT'S BOILED!!!!  YOU BOIL THE HOT DOGS?  No ma'am I answered.  They are ROASTED in this huge hot dog roaster so they taste better.  Oh ... okay she said.

It's a turkey roaster with about an inch of water inside that we boil the hot dogs in.  Enough said.



Monday, October 22, 2018

So Happy To Be Back To 500 School Kids

You won't believe the numbers.  I know I've said this before, but it's crazy the number of people who are funneling through the Pumpkin Patch.  I would have more information except for someone who keeps coming around to clean and organize when we have 50 people in line at the snack bar.  She threw away my paper where we were marking down everything we used.

Rather irritating since it would have been the first time they had any idea the amount of products they go through in a single weekend.  About the only numbers I have are for this little Snowie machine which I operated most of the ten hour day.

This little baby is a moneymaker if you need one.  I made well over 800 shaved ice in one day.  Multiply that by $4 and see what you come up with.  I suppose it helped that it was a rather warm day.  Water?  We used sixteen of the big cases from Costco.
Thanks to some amazing girls who work the snack bar, we never slowed down for a solid eight hours.  Even working the food, I got in 7.12 miles on my watch who now thinks I must be on a bicycle!!
Thank goodness nothing broke down this time and we sold every last hotdog.  SUCCESS!!!  I have to tell you though, I'm SOOOOOO happy to be back to having 500 school kids come in today.  It's much easier to handle than that weekend snack bar.  Never thought I would be saying THAT!!!

The other plus is that the school kids are not tall enough to sneeze all over the cookies.  It's a good thing they are all packaged.  Even so, you'll never see me eat another one.

Next weekend will be our last, so I'm duck taping a paper and pencil to the fridge so we can keep track of the number of hot dogs and nacho chip bags we use.  Hopefully she won't be throwing THAT away.  




Sunday, October 21, 2018

This Will Be Quick

We arrived at 9:00 am, giving us two full hours to stock the snack bar and get the hotdogs going.  It wasn't enough time.  Here are some of the statistics.

612 pepsi

365 7-Up

85 apple juice
389 hot dogs

11 of the biggest tortilla chip bags Costco has to sell (for nachos)

12 gallon bags of nacho cheese

4 gallon jars of jalapeños 
21 loaves of pumpkin bread (sold by the loaf)

40 dozen cookies from the local bakery

875 bags of chips, doritos and cheetos

720 bottles of water

890 shaved ice

That means I lifted all of that stuff onto wagons, towed it to the snack bar and unloaded all the drinks into huge ice chests, adding ice to keep it cold.  I only made maybe 100 of the shaved ice.

It went pretty well considering we lost one employee right off the bat to hurt feelings.   It happens when you have high school kids to work with.  Short handed, we were so organized all went rather well ... until the hot dog cooker decided to croak and the ice machine got sick.

Someone turned off the water to the ice machine, so we were behind the eight ball from the start.  As happens with freezers .. ladies you know of what I speak ... it iced up.  In the middle of the biggest day so far, it had to be defrosted.  That left us short of ice.

In the end I was cooling water and soda with the melted ice turned cold water.  It being movie night, didn't help any at all.  We were swamped.  At long last I shut down the snack bar at 7:30, an hour later than normal.  

I came home and crashed into bed, exhausted.  Unfortunately for me, I have to do it again today.  I just keep thinking about all that diesel fuel I'm going to buy from my wages.

I can't wait to get back to the calm and quiet of 500 school kids on Monday.





Saturday, October 20, 2018

How To Use A Porta-Potty

There are lots of things to see on a farm.  Bathrooms are not one of them.  These lovely blue things called porta-potties or portables are visible from a long ways off.  Unfortunately, it's the only thing we have at the Pumpkin Patch.
In case you've never used one before, or even if you have, here are the rules on how to get in and out quickly and efficiently.  This is mostly for the women.  Men have it made in the shade.

Rule Number 1 is of course to use the real kind of facilities in your house BEFORE you go to work, at least FOUR times.

Rule Number 2 is to drink as little water as possible.  If it's hot, you can drink more without any repercussions.  Drink TOO much and you end up at this lovely blue line.

Rule Number 3 ... because you can't carry a purse, but need more pockets than your jeans can provide, you wear a Hunter Farms apron.  Be sure and tie the strings with big loops so nothing hangs down.

Rule Number 4 ... breathe through your mouth, NOT your nose.  You will thank me for it.

Rule Number 5 ... take your phone out of your back pocket and put it in the apron.  This is a VERY important step if you ever want to see that phone again!!

Rule Number 6 ... NEVER EVER SIT DOWN.  There have been 500 small children going through here.  Yes they provide seat covers, but trust me, they won't help one little bit.

Rule Number 7 ... take your keys out of your front pocket.  They are going to fall on the floor no matter how secure you think they are.  Put them in the already heavy apron.

Rule Number 8 ... lean precariously forward and semi squat, being sure nothing is touching ANYTHING while you hold the apron full of phone, pens, tokens, chapstick, keys, sunglasses and money to keep your balance.

Rule Number 9 ... use at least half the roll of toilet paper.  You can see through every single piece, so it takes at least 35 pieces.

Rule Number 10 ... carefully stand up and inch forward while you try to get your drawers back in their respective locations.

Rule Number 11 ... get OUT the door before you even touch the items in the apron.  You can now breathe through your nose again.

Rule Number 12 ... use the wash station, even if you have to push the floor pedal twelve times in order to get enough water.

Finally, replace your phone, keys, money and whatever so your apron doesn't give you a horrible neck ache for the rest of the day.

Honestly, I think it would be easier to just hide in the corn field.





Friday, October 19, 2018

The Weird And The Wonderful

If I can just get past this weekend, I'll be on the downward slope.  I'm definitely trying to lower my mileage at any rate.  Yesterday was a measly 7.77 miles.  With seven schools coming in today, it should be even less, since checking them in requires less footwork.

I'm also going to train someone to rein in the crowds when they get their pumpkins on the way out the gate.  If I don't slow down, I'm not sure I'll make it to the end of October.  My feet are crying in spite of wearing my best cushy running shoes!

I haven't purchased any pumpkins yet, but almost did when I saw this one come through the line.  It was sitting forlornly in a wagon all by itself.  I snatched the wagon and went around the corner, hoping whoever put in IN the wagon would not show up.  Unfortunately he did.  Isn't this just the most beautiful one you've ever seen?

While the girls ran the patch, the men and boys harvested the largest of the large pumpkins and filled the barn.  Some are two feet tall with the biggest crazy curled stems you've ever seen.
Then there was THIS one.  I'm just going to leave it right here.  It's actually sitting in the office, but would make a great addition to a scarecrow!!
We are amping up for the last big week and weekend of October.  It's been crazy crowded (a good thing I suppose) as people bring their families out for a little Halloween fun.  I think the only thing that would make it better is Jurassic Park music on the Time Travel Tractor.

Having a few less people complain because their granddaughter was tall and had to pay $5 to enter would help too.  She went on and on about how we should "overlook" it.  Later on, I caught her at the snack bar ranting to the salesgirl that she should NOT have had to pay for her.  If we "overlooked" every child that tall we might not be in business.

I didn't say anything, but truthfully, this family does the Pumpkin Patch for their love of family fun, not because they make money.  It's a labor of love that hardly makes a dime as it is.

So I'm off for another day of torture!  Did I say that?  I meant FUN FUN FUN!!





Thursday, October 18, 2018

My Watch Is Freaking Out

Oh my ..... another day at the Hunter Farms Pumpkin Patch.  The days are screaming by, but not fast enough.  I'm not sure I'm going to make it to the end!!  Every day gets busier and busier!!

Remember that Apple watch I bought?  It has this exercise program on it, depicted by these round circles.  In the beginning, it sets a goal for you ... how far to walk, then keeps track of your distance by GPS.  It also keeps track of how long you are standing up.

Rather annoying at first, it kept telling me to get up and move.  I rather like sitting on the couch, so I declined.  Since I got it, I have never completed a circle.  Then the Patch work began.  Every day I have taken on a little more work, keeping busy picking up trash in between.  I wonder if everyone's house looks like this Pumpkin Patch when the kids throw all their trash on the floor?

At any rate, Monday the watch was pretty happy, telling me I had walked over 8 miles.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Did I really walk that far?  Tuesday it was 9 miles.  Yesterday ..... wait for it ..... 9.89 miles walked.  The watch is freaking out, giving me all kinds of commendations, explosions, achievement awards and stars.

I should have had this watch when I was training for marathons all those years.  It might have motivated me a little more.  Nine miles is a LOT, never to be done day after day.  If you can run 13, you can run a marathon, or so they say.  Generally for us old folks, it's 6-8 miles every other day with a long run on Saturday.

I think by the time October 31st comes around, I'll sign up for another marathon ... or maybe I'll just sit on the couch for three weeks to make up for the overwork!!

Another day, another dollar.  At this rate, I'll have enough money to pay for motorhome fuel for TWO years!!!

One quick disaster yesterday ... the cleaning lady didn't show up and we had a big Realty Company party scheduled.  I ran around emptying trash cans and picking up all the papers the kids had thrown on the ground.  No I did NOT clean the portable restrooms ... that is NOT in my job description!!
We had about 450 students who came and went with pumpkins.  These field trip pumpkins are the perfect size for little hands.  Once gone, I grabbed my two retired helpers and set them to filling gem mining bags.  Pay dirt in a bag for the kids to mine.  Amazingly, they filled two huge steam trunks.  Thats when the mine's water system broke down.  Just the usual stuff!
Today ..... over 500 kids are scheduled with tomorrow being even worse.  On Friday we will have over 600 small humans running all over the Patch, throwing trash on the ground and screaming for the biggest pumpkin.  Just another day in paradise.  

By the way, did I mention the day after the Patch closes I have to drive 6 hours to an RV rally in the Eastern Sierras?  



Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Riding The Hay

Or in other words, the hay ride.  Yesterday had it's own excitement.  I arrived at 7:45 and grabbed my list of schools entering for the day.  Yay!  Only seven, all with classes under 100 kids.  Easy peasy!!

Not so fast Miss Nancy.  You have two new recruits to train today.  Luckily, one arrived early and I had a chance to give her a quick lay of the land and a five minute training session.  There's nothing like throwing them to the wolves!!

We went along like clockwork until one forgot to keep the parents out of the corn and off the fence.  You know who, got the call.  I literally ran all the way to the farthest reaches of the patch to give her more instruction on that particular part of her job.  It's funny how some people instinctively know what to do and some do not.

I ran back to the front where I was greeted by a large group from a Charter School.  They were running wild, climbing fences, knocking over display pumpkins ..... as the teachers watched.  I would not have made a good teacher.  I would be yelling my head off constantly!!!

Next up ... three school buses at the exact same time.  YIKES!!!  Trying to keep everyone on schedule is a huge task, but the girls and I were up to the challenge and got it done.

Noon came in a flash.  The parents listened, the kids got their pumpkins and everyone was happy.  

All of a sudden I get the call.  Nancy ... there's someone in the dinosaurs with a kid in a wagon.  I headed out on the run and couldn't find her.  Luckily I saw wagon tracks.  My Indian side kicked in and I tracked her clear back to the Education Center, where she went through a closed gate and back to the patch.  I caught up with her at the Barnyard Bounce.

It was no big deal.  She had never been there before and just wandered off down the wrong road.  There will be a sign posted today ... DO NOT ENTER and a lock put on that gate.
Here's my hay ride ride ... a nice blue tractor pulling an old cotton wagon.  This doesn't track very well at all, meaning you have to make huge wide turns to keep the back end from wiping out half the corn maze.  

The owner took all the male employees and headed off to harvest pumpkins for four hours, leaving us girls to play.  I had a quick run-in with a really scary guy, covered in dirt and grease.  He took down a crowd control chain like he was getting on the hay ride before anyone else got off.  I asked him to please wait ... and I thought he was going to break my neck.  I guess it takes all kinds, but he was truly scary.  I kept my eye pealed the rest of the night. 
At long last it was time to head home ... but wait!  I better check the goats since I know no one else has been around.  Sure enough, they had not a drop of water, nor do I think they had been fed.  I took care of the babies, discovered we had no more "pay dirt" for gem mining fun (bad news since it takes awhile to make those bags up) and headed back to get paid.

I walked and ran a total of 9.8 miles on this day.  My legs are doing okay, but my feet are crying.  There's no time for therapy, I hit the bed at 8:00 and was a goner.  If nothing else, I'm sure sleeping well!!!







Tuesday, October 16, 2018

I'm BEEEEing Attacked!!

Another early morning.  Honestly, I can't wait for November when I can sleep in and do nothing all day!!  The good news is the weather has cooled off considerably.  I hate to say, I've become a slacker. I sit as much as possible and try to stay in the shade.

It didn't work out so well in the morning however.  Someone forgot to schedule a person for the snack bar.  I suppose they thought it would be me selling the snow cones and cookies, but I had 300 kids to get in the front gate.

I got it set up and begged for someone to come in.  They obliged.  Off I ran to stick on 75 wrist bands for the first group of teachers and parents.

You never know how it's going to go at the front gate.  Believe it or not, the kids and teachers are the best.  It's the parents and grandparents that become a problem.  They all think they should get in free. Yesterday, someone told someone who told someone (you know how that goes) who passed the word that TWO parents could get in FREE for every child.  They brought ALL their friends and relatives.

That caused a lot of unhappy people when they found out they had to pay $5 each.  In return, they get a $5 token for food, pumpkins or one ride.  It took me over an hour to get them all in the gate.  What a mess.
In the meantime, another school bought snow cones for their entire class ... 44 in total.  See this nice red box?  It contains a syrup machine so you can get whatever flavor you want.  Guess what bees love!!   SUGARY SWEET SYRUP!!!  They come from miles away just to lap it up.  We were all beeeeeing attacked (see what I did there?).
Not really attacked, but bees don't fly very well at all.  Especially when they are laden with pollen.  If you just ignore them, they will bounce off you and fly away.  We finally had to shut the machine down and wash the concrete with a hose.  All that did was send all that sugary water to the edge of the concrete where even MORE bees picked up the smell.

Time to go back to the old fashioned way ... put the syrup in bottles and dispense it ourselves ... 44 times in a row for that class.  It was pretty crazy for awhile there!!

The afternoon was very quiet once all the kids left, so I busied myself with seeing what supplies we had.  We're good for the week, but the next two weekends will be our biggest, so it's time to stock up.

Once I had a list in hand, I headed back to the Time Travel Tractor.  They have added an explosion at the mine that shoots out of the pond.  It's fun to watch people jump and of course I tell them all to get in THAT car.  It was NOT so fun when that sprinkler hit me dead between the eyes.  WHAT????

It took another run for me to figure out what was going on.  That's when my shirt got soaked.  Apparently one of the employee kids turned on the wrong valve and set the sprinklers to GO.  Just as it got turned off, the Boss came to take over so I could go home.  6:00 I think it was.  

I went immediately to the couch ... did not pass GO ... and crashed.  With a good 8 hours sleep, I'm up and running this morning ... rather sore in places I never knew I had.  It's time to do it all over again!!







Monday, October 15, 2018

Big Chests ..... All Day Long

Not the kind you are thinking about, although there WERE a few big MALE chests I spotted, but these ice chests were the object of my attention.  With such huge crowds on the weekend, staying stocked with product is the main problem.  The kids sell sell sell and completely forget to restock until they are out.

I have to admit this stacking situation was NOT my idea.  We were getting along just fine on Saturday.  On Sunday, someone else appeared and decided to take over the snack bar.  It's not my call, so I kept quiet.  I think he didn't get the memo.

At any rate, he insisted we fill all four ... two with water and two with soda ... and stack them.  When the top one runs out, we move it out and start on the bottom, refilling, moving and restacking.  That would have worked if we only needed to do that once.  On the second round, there was no one to lift these 300 pound containers full of soda and ice.

I scrapped the idea and just refilled the top two, almost constantly for seven hours.  At least I didn't have to bend over so far!  My back thanked me.  Two on the floor would have helped, but he insisted there wasn't enough room to walk around.  I was happy when he left to bother someone else!!
I think we went through twelve large cases of water, ten of the big cases of pepsi, eight cases of 7-Up and three cases of apple juice.  We sold 345 hot dogs and close to 300 nacho trays, using up four gallons of jalapeños.  That doesn't count all the cookies and fifteen gigantic boxes of chips.  It was just crazy trying to keep everything stocked.  

I didn't get a break or lunch ... just a hot dog on the run, and only because I needed to be sure they were hot.

Want to hear the good news?  Next weekend they expect it to be even worse.  YAY!!  I think .....

The REAL trick is ending up with NO hot dogs.  Saturday night they had almost 20 left.  Someone who shall also remain nameless, wanted us to reheat and sell them.  When no one was looking, I threw them in the trash.  You just can't DO that!!

This time we only had EIGHT!!  We ran a special ... half price.  I walked down the lane yelling HOT DOGS $2.  GET THEM WHILE THEY LAST.  We sold every single one.  I was a happy camper.  

Schools are coming in this morning, but it will be an easy day.  I'll be on the tractor most of the time ... YAY!!  Sitting is good!!







Sunday, October 14, 2018

Movies Under The Moon

I apologize for any incorrect English or misspelled words.  I'm pretty rummy in the head right now.  I stopped by the Hunter Farms Pumpkin Patch yesterday around noon just to see if they needed any help.  Of COURSE they needed help.  What were you thinking?

Not terribly crowded, I stopped in at the tractor stations to give them a lunch break.  They added four more cars to the Time Travel Tractor, meaning you have to watch your line of travel around the curves much closer.  MUCH more fun to drive that way.
With that done, I hung out at the Snack Bar for a few minutes to see if they needed anything.  THAT was a mistake.  Apparently the people from Friday night didn't refill ANYTHING.  Not the four huge ice chests full of drinks, not the snow cone syrup dispensers and not the cookies, breads and chips we sell.

I spent the first two hours rounding up huge boxes of potato chips, fruit snacks and five cases of water.  It wasn't enough.  We went through eight cases of water (not the ones you get at the grocery store but the HUGE ones from Costco) and ten cases of soda (also the huge ones I can barely lift).  It was only the beginning.

On Saturday nights, they show movies under the stars.  People bring their chairs and blankets and sit in front of a huge screen dropped from the bounce pillow barn.  LOTS of people!!  That means LOTS of hot dogs, nachos and snow cones.

The first movie was Nightmare Before Christmas.  Coming up is Hocus Pocus and Charlie Brown something or other.  I'm not up on the latest Halloween movies.  Nothing scary I might add, although Bette Midler can be rather frightful.

I stocked up on hot dogs, warmed in a huge turkey roaster then placed in a warmer, hot dog buns kept on the OTHER side of the warmer, nacho cheese (not my favorite), nacho chips and jalapeños.  It wasn't enough.  I made three more runs for all of the above.

I can't believe how much food those people ate.  I've never wrapped so many hot dogs in my life.  We  sold well over 100.  The cheese machine which spits out the yellow stuff gave me fits.  In no time at all, it was time to change the bags.

Oops they forgot to warm up another bag.  OH NO ... we're OUT of hot dogs.  Throw another bag in the roaster!!!  We're out of jalapeños!!  It was total chaos!  We got it done, but only after snagging two passing employees to help out.

Not once did I get to enjoy the beautiful crescent moon over the barn, let alone take a picture.  And the ICE ... I hauled ten ice chests full from the maker in the barn.  Luckily my fingers still work.  The best news ever ... I've lost 4 pounds!!  I kid you not.  It's why I do this every October!

I tried to bail a little early since the poor puppies had not eaten and it was 7:30, but I was waylaid by the Boss Man.  We had a little talk about my wages, which I had kept to a minimum salary amount, mostly because they are my neighbors and you help your neighbors.  That's how you become friends.

I finally caved and went on an hourly rate, probably twice what I was taking before.  With that out of the way, he asked if I would manage the snack bar on weekends.  They really do need someone to think ahead and stock up for these big nights.  I'll probably be sorry, but I said sure ... after all, it's only going to be for two more weekends.

I'm going to be Superwoman by the end of this gig ... strong as an ox ... just lacking in sleep.  The good news is I don't have to go in until 11:00 this morning.  I'm headed to the couch.  Sleep ... here I come!!






Saturday, October 13, 2018

It's A Lovely Day In The Neighborhood!

It's so peaceful and quiet at the patch.  Until the kids show up, that is.  With 110 arriving at 8:30, I was really trying to get everything set up early.  I had three new floaters to train on a VERY busy day that would see almost 500 arriving.  After I check in the teachers and aides, I pass off the classes to the floaters who take them to their first destination.

Nothing against teachers ... they are amazing examples of patience that I admire to the moon and back.  They can give orders like no other.  Unfortunately many can't take direction.  I make sure they have their schedule with only two things to be on time for.  Barnyard Squares (because it's automatic and will start without you) and the Seed Class.

Well that didn't work out so well.  It's incredibly difficult to wrangle the 25 or so kids in each class, I totally understand.  Seed Classes were missed because they decided to ride the hay ride five minutes before their allotted time.  Lets count ... 3 minutes to load, ten minutes to ride, 3 minutes to unload.  That's doesn't compute very well.

Dyno the dinosaur didn't care.  He went about his day playing on the pumpkins.
We try our hardest to keep everyone in order and on time.  These are the time travel trailers.  In the past, we loaded all the kids on first, parents in the back.  That didn't go over so well, so this year we let them sit wherever they wanted.  That didn't go over so well either.  Parents just couldn't decide WHERE they wanted to sit.  Come on folks ... we're loading over 100 people.  LET'S GO!!!
Then came the rather unhappy Dad.  For $5 he bought two tickets to the gem mining station.  He asked me where we got the sand.  That was rather a funny question and I didn't really know.  He looked down at the screen box we use in the sluice box.  Don't you have pans?  Won't the gold fall through?  

That's when I realized he thought this was REAL GOLD mining.  Ummmmm well it's small enough to catch the "gems" the kids find.  After he found the first few pieces of crystal and turquoise, I think he figured it out.  

Off for a quick visit to the baby goats.  It's my favorite place to be ... nice and quiet.
After running all over and handing out almost 450 pumpkins, I finally escaped to the tent next to the snack bar and turned into Nacho Girl.  It was time to set up the nacho cheese and heat up the hotdogs and buns for the Friday night crowd.  

I was afraid I heated up too many, so I told the girls to SELL SELL those hotdogs.  They did a great job.  Dyno's friend came by and finished off the last six.
At long last it was time to head home and hit the hay.  
With something like 15 parties scheduled for today, I'll go in around noon time and help where needed.  I think the gal who works up the schedule is freaking out, thinking I'm working WAY too many hours and not the ones she scheduled for me.  

She told me three times on my way out that my shift was 9-4 Monday.  She doesn't know I'm on a salary and it's not my job to tell her.  I'm keeping my head low today.




Friday, October 12, 2018

Exhaustion ... It's Just A State Of Mind

I need to practice more of that Cooper yoga and stretch out my muscles.  Maybe I can get him to roll it under the armoir six times in a row, allowing me to stretch everything as I try to retrieve it.

Luckily, I got off yesterday at 5:30, came home and crashed.  A couple of aspirin took care of the aching feet after another long day.

Four AM came WAY too early.  Forget the hair ... I'm wearing a hat.  I knew there was a crazy bus schedule on the wall, so I went in a little early.  Wasn't I surprised when I saw a diaper left in the middle of the parking lot.

You should have heard the words that came out of my mouth.  It was loaded to the brim.  I wish I had seen the lady that left it on the ground.  I guarantee she would have picked it up and never returned or it might have been residing on the hood of her car.

The first full busloads arrived 15 minutes late.  Yup ... it matters.  At least they all remembered to bring THEIR schedules so they would know where to be when.  I ran through attaching wrist bands, some too loose, some too tight and several stuck to hairy male arms.  I'm sorry I didn't have better aim.

There are two things they HAVE to be on time for.  The Barnyard Squares production in the education center and lunch.  How hard is that?  Things went well until one of the new girls tried to teach the Seed Class while the Seed Class instructor (Mrs. Owner of the Whole Shooting Match) was there.  That didn't go over so well.

In the meantime, Dyno the dinosaur went to the Billyken Blasters.  You shoot tennis balls at the barnyard full of critters while they let you know you couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
It's all about the AIM.
With 120 students about halfway through lunch, I notified everyone that other classes were due in 10  minutes.  I double checked the schedule since my memory isn't what it used to be.  Yup ... Fremont School in the barn at 11:30.  I sent their food wagons to the tables.

Next thing I know, a lady comes up and says the sign states Atwater 4-H and there are people there.  Uh oh .... I shuttled the Fremont classes off to the other side.  What's up with that??  I went back and checked the schedule again.  Someone who shall remain nameless (not me, thank goodness) scheduled two schools at the same time in the same too small area.  No problem ... I got it fixed.

By 12:30 we had handed out something like 375 pumpkins.  WHEW!!!  The schools were finally gone.  Just in time for Dyno to have a chips at the snack bar.
Yes, I'm exhausted and my feet hurt again.  The good news is I got to come home at 4:30 since there were no parties scheduled.  YAY!!!!

This morning I'll be back at it with six more schools coming in, maybe 400 kids.  Exhaustion ... it's just a state of mind, helped by a bottle of aspirin and a couple of pepsis for that afternoon sugar rush.






Thursday, October 11, 2018

This Is A Shorty

So much to do, so little time.  Yesterday was a whirlwind as we ushered another 200 kids around the property.  This time there were several schools with handicapped children and adults.  Once on the grounds, we all run around like crazy loading up and moving out.

Still, I always take time to enjoy the flowers.
It was all good until one autistic boy had an episode on the Time Travel Tractor.  Two adults could not keep him in the car, so we stopped and let them get off.  I cannot imagine the life that family has. At any rate, he was okay as he focused on the barnyard bounce.  All in a good day's work.

This little guy is Dyno the dinosaur.  He's decided to take a tour of the pumpkin bins on his own.  Aren't these just the creepiest pumpkins ever?
And the pie pumpkins ... LOVE the color .....
Then it was on to the gold mining station.   
You can purchase a bag of pay dirt for a mere pittance.
Then screen it in the creek just like the gold miners of old.  Amazingly, the kids find gemstones, crystals and even arrowheads!!!
Finally, Dyno made it to the snack bar for what else ..... dinosaur and batman cookies.  
This is a shorty today ... I have to be there at 8:00 this morning to get ready for 300 kids arriving at 8:30.  I put wristbands on teachers ... somewhere between 11 and 22, check them all in, line up the kids (much harder than it sounds) and escort them into the patch. 

It's like herding cats!!!