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!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Goaty Goats

I'm sitting here, but I'm not really sure I'm awake.  Yes, I went to BINGO last night.  I really wanted more than anything to fall asleep on the couch at 7:00, but everyone seems to be shorthanded.

I arrived at the Patch early to scan the time travel area for errant tennis balls from the shooting gallery  and to check for keys.  You see the day before when I jumped on the tractor with a load of kids, there were no keys.  Hey ..... who took the Time Travel special blue tag?

I raced to the barn, grabbed one set and got back in time to take 65 school kids on the short trip through the corn field.  Whew!!  I was out of breath.  From there, they went straight to the Hay Ride, whose key had also disappeared.

This time I wasn't as lucky and the key didn't work.  I ran back to the barn again and got every single key on the board.  One was SURE to fit.  It was the third one.  I was exhausted by 9:30.

Time to feed the goaty goats.  These babies are raised near Atwater California for milk production.  Truly babies, these guys just want to eat and get petted.  Another jaunt to find the paddock padlock key (you have to keep everything locked up around here) and I went inside to check the water.
These guys are so funny.  In two seconds, I had two with their front feet on my butt.  The third was chewing the back of my shirt.  FEED ME!!!  Of course the alfalfa wasn't good enough.  They wanted grain.  

That's when I got the call to head back up front and do the meet and greet for the next bus.  Seems there's never enough time to take pictures.
Once the school kids have listened to the educational Barnyard Squares and ridden everything, they are ushered to the front tent.  Parents are shooed out the door.  They actually cause us MUCH more trouble than the kids.  

Every single one (the kids that is) get a 6-9 inch pumpkin on their way out the gate.  We finally breathe a big sigh of relief they are all gone.  Time for cleanup and a slow afternoon.  So slow I actually had time to capture some of the flowers.  

These cosmos are planted everywhere, along with millions of mums and sunflowers.
Every barn and building is surrounded with them.  It's just amazing that they all grow.  Of course this WAS once a dairy, so the soil is pretty healthy.
I spent the afternoon giving lunch breaks and trying to take a load off my feet.  At 4:00 I raced out the gate, drove home to feed the puppies and made a beeline (still covered in dust and dirt) to the Elks Lodge for Bingo.
I was pretty rummy ... not a good thing when you have lots of people trying to steal from you.  It just amazes me they are so brazen.  An entire pile of Bonanza game tickets disappeared right in front of my eyes.  Of course I didn't see who did it, but I was pretty sure I knew who was at the table.

I had the guys walk around looking for anyone filling out fifteen tickets.  There's one thing about Bingo.  The regular players don't like cheaters.  In no time at all they knew who the culprit was.  Luckily, she did NOT win.  Can she play those cards next week?  Not a chance.  We change the colors on those cards every week.  Those orange ones are now locked away and won't be played for the next YEAR!!  

Completely exhausted, I fell in bed at 10:00.  All too soon, it was 4 in the morning and the puppies were up.  One thing for sure ... this is going to make me the strongest old lady in town.  I'm off again, determined to sit more than I stand!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Travel Back In Time

The big draw to this pumpkin patch, besides the pumpkins and a day off from school, is the Time Travel Tractor.  As I drive along the dirt roads (there was no pavement back in the day), you are taken back through the early 1800's to Sneaky Pete's gold mine.  Time travel is so fast I didn't get pictures of that.  Maybe tomorrow!
Then it's back further to the time of the Indians.  I swear this morning when everything is quiet (like that's going to happen) I'll take a quick trip by myself and get some better pictures.  It's hard to take pictures and drive a tractor!
Back further and you come to the main attraction.  DINOSAURS!!  Here's the saber tooth tiger, ready to pounce.
A pterodactyl ready to launch himself off the mountain.
That's a raptor (??) on the right and something with a big fin straight ahead.  The kids know the names of every single one.  I have no clue.
In case you were wondering, there is no driving straight on the road.  You have to make wild and crazy turns in order for the 10th car to remain somewhat in the middle of the road.  It's a fun game to see if I can make the trailers follow the exact same track every time.
The brontosaurus is something like 20 feet tall, standing next to a baby in the nest.  
At long last we come to the T-Rex, the favorite of all, eliciting screams of excitement from the kids.  This is Simon.  Remember the old game Simon Says?  Well every time he hears the tractor, he blurts out Simon says FREEZE ... and all the dinosaurs freeze for the entire time we are in sight.  It's why they never move as I drive around.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Unfortunately for me, it was a twelve hour day yesterday running back and forth, driving both tractors.  All the men were taken away to do that back breaking work called harvesting the pumpkins. 

The best part of the day was when two guys came up and said I drove that tractor like a pro ... better than their employees.  What better compliment could I get??

I got home at 7:30 and fell into bed at 8:30.  I'm feeling rather beat up, but with four big schools showing up today, I'll be back at it in a few short hours.

All I need is a gallon of coffee!!!!