This past Saturday, September 29, 2012, Tollgate Farm was celebrating autumn with mentors, mentees, hayrides, archery, fishing, apple cider making, pumpkin-picking, and grilling!
Apple Cider pressing took place outside of the pumpkin patch. 4-Hers loaded up their hands and arms with apples and tested their strength crushing apples and then pushing out the sweet juice! “This is filling!” one 4-Her exclaimed. A mentor explained, “It’s all the pulp in the apple. We’re eating some of the best parts.”
Pumpkin-picking is an American past time stretching back more than 11,000 years. Pumpkins generally last for 2 months (or more) from time of picking. They are 90% water so don’t be surprised if the steam seeps a bit–and watch out for those prickly stems. Most 4-Hers used their stems as handles. They found orange pumpkins, green pumpkins, blue-splotted pumpkins and even pale yellow pumpkins!
Archery followed one main informal rule: hit the straw bale, not Mr. Williams’ truck! It was one of their favorite parts except for tired arms. They had to hold their arms out as long as directions occurred to build strength. “You pull your arm in to your smile and let go.”
Fishing was exciting and 4-Hers enjoyed gorgeous sunny weather. In the morning, groups were catching up to 10 fish! One 4-Her caught 1 bluegill and 2 bass–but as the sun came out, the fish went to siesta. Still, it was pleasant to cast the plump worms into the pond and enjoy the late summer sun.
Saturday, we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun warmed us and the autumn colors burst all around–burst like the smiles and laughter throughout the farm.