Saturday, October 31, 2009

Amazing Maize Maze

This being our first real fall since going to San Francisco, we have been really enjoying the wonderful fall colors and cool temperatures. One of the really wonderful things about fall is fall apples. Ohio has wonderful apples, and so Max wanted to do some apple picking this year. Unfortunately, we are a bit behind the curve this year and apples have all been harvested for the year. But that doesn't mean you can't go to the apple farm and enjoy all of the other fall festivities.
I've never "done" Halloween successfully. Just ask Amber. I just didn't quite get it. I don't decorate the house- I tend to be the one who hangs pictures on the wall- and they stay there for the next 10-20-30 years (which explains why I'm having SO MUCH TROUBLE putting the pictures up on my newly painted walls- I know I'll look at them well past when I'm too old to care). So no decorations. And then some years I never got around to pumpkins. And costumes- well I made this really great- I mean really great clown costume for Brandy when she was 18 months old- it was terrific- and I had lots of "tucks" so I could let them out as she grew- Well she refused- I mean absolutely refused to wear that costume when she was 4- Don't know where that clown is today. After that it was the dime store type -though those look a little better now than they did when my kids were little. I believe they are all scared for life from having to wear those not very exciting dime store costumes. Of course I could mention the year I tried to be creative- and used a temporary "rinse" on Brandy's hair- so she could be Dracula- only it wouldn't wash out- she had to grow it out- and she lost her blond curls- all because of her Mom's one attempt to be creative.
I have a real bad Halloween history. But what the h... It's a new year. And this year was terrific- it is my favorite- I'm going to do it again- I had sooooooo much fun!
We started with breakfast!
I know, I know, I know- you want to know what we ate- well- in keeping with the season- apples on buckwheat pancakes (you've heard of them before)- and pumpkin bread with maple flavored sausage and fried eggs for those that absolutely have to have eggs with their pancakes.

And then we were off to our next adventure.

So on Halloween Max and I, Mary Ezra, Sarah, Deseree and Anthony drove up to the Irons Fruit Farm just north of Cincinnati.

I have to preface this with the fact that Deseree went to her first ever Halloween party the night before. Then Sarah got her up "early" (9:15) and she just wasn't into spending time with us old fogies, especially when she would much rather be sleeping in a warm bed. But she did have her cell phone and thus the ability to text with her friends.
As we were on a hay ride out to the corn maze and the pumpkin patch!

Am I the only one that thinks Sarah looks so, so, so much like her dad???
Now Max kept talking about the maze and the pumpkin patch that they have at the fruit farm. So once there we climbed aboard the hay wagon pulled by an old Farmall tractor and rode out to the maze. This was the 10th year that Irons had planted a maze and it was really pretty amazing. It was a complicated maze of trails, that spelled out the name of the farm, had images of an ear of corn, a pumpkin and a tractor, all as part of the path in the maze. Here is a map of the maze. The black lines on this paper are the paths and the path from start to finish took you through each of the images and the name "Irons".
The start of this maze is the line on the lower right side that comes out to the edge. The end is the line just above the start that also comes out to the end.

This maze was in a corn field that covered 20 acres and the corn was anywhere from 9 to 12 feet high. So once in the maze, all you could see was the path in front of you and a wall of corn on both sides. This was no simple maze.
Now in case you're wondering. I think it is possible that except for Don- the rest of us would have been still wandering about that corn patch. But Don had the map. We got a little lost at the beginning. Don was trying to multi-task- carry Anthony on his shoulders and read the map. Didn't work very well. But when he focused we were right on track!

Note below that Deseree is still texting her friends, as though they might figure out a way to get her out of this maze.

Now I was pretty curious about just how to grow a maize maze like this one. So of course I asked and, although a bit complicated, not nearly as complicated as I had imagined. See below- Don in deep consultation about the design of a corn maze.

At first I thought it must have been done by space aliens who could see it from high above the earth and who cut out the maze with powerful lasers. But instead is was not so terribly complicated. They initially plant the whole field in corn and while the corn is germinating and starting to grow, they use a computer to plan the paths in the maze. Once a computer plan is done, they map the growing corn field with small flags that show where the paths will be. Then as the corns grows higher, they use the map and mow down the corn where the paths should be. After the corn grows more, they mow it again so that a definitive path is carved in the maze of corn.

But we did find out way out of the maze and moved onto the pumpkin patch where Anthony found just the right pumpkin for him to sit on.

We did find a few more, but decided to instead just buy some that had already been hauled back to the farm house instead of trying to haul them back from the pumpkin patch.

And as we got back home, Anthony and Brutus made some arrangement to the pile of pumpkins that we brought back.

And then finally it was the eve- and the trick-or treaters were out. I have to admit (don't tell anyone) we've actually "skipped" this part- and would go out to eat- or something. But we were ready this year- We are back! And we have just the porch for sitting!

Notice that Brutus is ready! If you think I was going to listen to Brutus barking at the door for two hours you are out of your mind- or maybe a better comment is that I would have been out of mine! So Brutus joined the fun- and he loved it! And he was very, very, very well behaved!
And Deseree and her friends stopped by for our treats!

I did take Don a glass of wine- to finish his night on the porch!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Trip to Bluffton!

We missed, really, really missed, really, really, really missed our fall trips to Bluffton to watch Pat's football team play ball. And for two years we were gone- to San Fran- and couldn't go. So this year we couldn't wait. And it was even better than we remembered. Nothing like a weekend cheering on a high school team- and enjoying a wonderful time with a family you love so very much! And this year we had quite a crowd. Traveling north with us were Sarah and Deseree and Anthony and Mary and Taylor and Samantha. And if you think that's a crowd- well this year was a particularly lucky year- Michael and Liz joined as well!

So after an evening of pizza we headed out to the game!

And isn't Sarah so cute in her hat?

And it was so great to have Michael and Liz! And I might mention that Michael did a great job later in the evening managing the fire pit! (I missed most of that cause Don and I retired much before the party ended to our B&B for some R&R- we are the "oldies" but "goldies?"

My beautiful girls...

My Guy!

And the "babies" absolutely love playing at Kelly's. There is so much to do. They think they are in a "baby heaven". And I think they probably are!

Now I have to tell you- that Don and I were in bed by 11:30- but the party lasted until after 2am. So when we arrived the next morning for breakfast everyone looked just a wee bit tired. But Kelly did feed us well. I love having breakfast at Kelly's. Sitting around the Prichard table- always beginning with a prayer brings a rich, deep joy that I carry with me for ever so long.

But we weren't taking pictures.

And then Don left with Kelly and Shelby to take Senior pictures- and most of the rest of the crowd was either napping- or outside (it was cold) on the trampoline. So I watched OU and Texas- I just can't bring myself to print the score... And knitted- on a blanket... for Christmas...I hope.....Perfect weekend. I just love our trips to Bluffton.

On Saturday afternoon, I went out with Shelby for a photo shoot. Shelby wanted some pictures taken as possible senior picture photos. Now I am certainly not a professional photographer, but since Lucas couldn't come that weekend and since I do have a camera, I got to view Shelby through my view finder. We took a lot of pictures and I have no idea which ones, if any, that Shelby may want to use. but below are some of my favorites. She is a beautiful girl and I think these speak for themselves.

Isn't she unbelievable beautiful?! We already have our room reserved for her high school graduation. Wouldn't miss it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Moving Day in Phili!

The weekend after we returned from the Birthday Bash in Tulsa we piled back in the mini (van that is) and headed east on a mission. We intended to move everything that Matthew and Sharon own in just one mini (van). Is it possible? It is if the seats fold down (one of Chrysler's really good ideas) and you make lots of trips.

Their apartment they were moving from was on a tiny little street. The picture below pretty well shows what it was really like. The tires of my van just fit between the curbs.

Don and Sharon stand ready (and eager?)...

Well I actually didn't take any pictures of the load (after load, after load, after load) that we hauled to their new BEAUTIFUL CONDO. I'd pack and carry (did a little Face booking from time to time) while Don and Matthew and Sharon carried boxes, loaded the van (and Sharon's Element) and would go to the new Condo and carry everything either up the stairs- or a short elevator ride up. Then we (Sharon and I) would start unpacking while Matthew and Don went back for another load. I really didn't get any pictures of the actual moving- see we were plenty busy. But I did get a few at the end of the moving..
We did get it all in, or at least the majority of it. Note that it is all just in, not arranged and not unpacked.

t is also worth noting that Matthew could open his own library if he so desired. We moved a lot of stuff, but it seems we mostly moved books and a bunch of books shelves to hold them all. I think there is a great opportunity here for Amber to apply her cataloging skills to organize this library.

I LOVE KITCHENS! And as I unpacked gadgets and dishes and pots and spoons... I imagined all the meals that would be cooked in this kitchen. It will be interesting to know exactly how long it takes Sharon and Matthew to find all of their kitchen stuff. Max put it all away, somewhere.
I did get one picture by the mini (van). And you really can move an entire apartment to the new condo with only a mini and an Element.

And of course we took a "basement" wine...

And if you're wondering if we were "all work and no play" you don't know me and Sharon well enough. We never let a potential adventure in food and drink go neglected.

And sangria... Gotta to comment on this "modern Mexican" restaurant called Distrito that we went to. It is be owned by some chef that was one of the contestants on Iron Chef. It was highly rated by Philly diners, but what makes anyone think that folks who believe that cheese steaks are high dining would know good Mexican food when they eat it. Well they don't. The food was expensive with tiny servings, but that wasn't so bad because it really wasn't very tasty. Trust me, Max's pictures were much better than the food.
And then we moved to beer...

And our enthusiastic "boys"...

Isn't she cute?