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 jalapeƱos 
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!!!