Leaves are painting themselves with red and gold and dropping to the feet of all the people and pets enjoying the new season. Fall is the season where everyone surrounds their life around agriculture and farming but many people don’t even realize it. Halloween means pumpkins, endless corn mazes, scarecrows, haunted houses built with hay bales, and delicious food! Then comes Thanksgiving which means squash, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, roasted turkey, and more scrumptious fall bounty. It’s time to plan for fall and prepare for the endless fun and goodies that will come with it! Here is a list of all the things you need to make sure to accomplish this fall as a family and with friends. Support local farmers and make sure to enjoy the season!
- Get what’s left of summer out of the way!
While there is still some warm weather there might be things on your summer to do list that you have not accomplished. First things first is to get all of that done! Wash the car for ol’ times sake, jump in the neighbors pool in the middle of the night, star gaze on the hillside, and get that last summer hike in before the dirt is mud! Many farmer’s are ending their summer harvest and need you to buy up all their summer veggies. Help them out so they can have some cash and make your fall season fun and yummy. While you’re at the farmers market buy a fresh flower bouquet too because they won’t be around much longer!
- Prepare your plants, pets, and home for the cold weather.
Fall is great, but the cold winds, crushed leaves in the carpet, and dead tomato plants in the garden…not so much. In your garden pull up your summer plants if you have not already and get your fall crops in! If you are not growing anything this fall you should plant a cover crop to help maintain the health of your soil – buckwheat maybe? For our shameless pitch, before you plant your cover crop or your fall crop, make sure to till your garden so your soil is nice and aerated for good growth with Carts and Tools “Tillie”! Have easy access to your rake so that you can make leaf mounds to jump into whenever you want! Check all the seals on your doors and windows to make sure your house will be properly insulated. Your mud room should be stocked with towels to dry off and a rough mat to remove all the leaves from your shoes before you go in. Did I miss anything?
- Apple picking, Cider, jams, and Pies!
Now for the fun!!! Find the farms near you that have apple picking! There is a link at the bottom of the page that will lead you to sites where you can find farms and orchards in your area that allow you to go apple picking. You can crush them and make jams, pies and cider. Make sure to start some hard cider for those colder months on the way!
- Pumpkin Patch.
Anyone can buy a pumpkin at the grocery store, but if you really want to feel proud of your pumpkin selection you should take the family to the pumpkin patch. Here you can see a huge selection of locally grown pumpkins with all shapes, sizes, colors, and for less money. When you find the perfect pumpkin for your carving masterpiece load it into the wagon and parade down the row to show off your find! Many farms will also have fun things to do on the patch like face painting, hay rides, pumpkin chucking, and more. If you do not know where your nearest pumpkin patch is, follow the link at the bottom of the page. It will let you search for a pumpkin patch near you. Don’t forget to save the pumpkin seeds when you carve your pumpkin and roast them. They are delicious and pretty good for you!
- Corn Maze.
The biggest choice you have to make when deciding on a corn maze is do you want a nice quaint maze for the kiddos or the faint of heart, or do you want the bejeezes scared out of you late at night when you’re lost and confused! The creative farmers will come up with some pretty cool designs of mazes in the fall. Basically they hand you a map, walk you into the corn and you have to find your way out. Some mazes are designed like haunted houses and just when you turn the corner to a dead end a bleeding scarecrow will chase you back! woah! Again, there is a link at the bottom of the page where you can find a maze near you and it will provide a description so you know whether or not to take the kiddos.
- Haunted House.
My Favorite activity to do is go to the haunted houses! Find some and go! There are so many different kinds to go to and they are usually just a couple bucks to get in. Make sure to go to the one’s where the profits are going to a good cause though! Most haunted houses are fundraisers for schools, foundations, and farmers. Support a cause while you have fun. Get Spooked!
- Turkey Bowl.
There are a lot of weird activities around thanksgiving involving turkeys. Turkey bowling for instance is where you literally go bowling, with a frozen turkey, in order to win a turkey for thanksgiving dinner. if you hear about any strange turkey events going on near you try them out. They are fun and you may get a free Turkey out of the deal! If sliding a frozen turkey down a lane isn’t for you, you could always do some fun crafts like making hand turkeys with craft paper!
- Thanksgiving Dinner!
Thanksgiving dinner is never complete without the following dishes. Get your ingredients from your local farmers so they are fresh! Be careful though, with your perfected recipes and the best ingredients there may not be any leftovers for cranberry turkey sandwiches the next day. Thanksgiving dinner should include: A Turkey, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean casserole, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Corn on the Cob, Fresh Roasted Fall Squash, pumpkin or apple pie, and your Homemade Cider from your handpicked apples!
- Firewood, Hard Cider, Egg Nog, and Wool Socks.
As you prepare for winter it’s time to cozy up and stock up on your necessities. There is a lot of fall crops that need to be bought up and canned. If you have never canned veggies before you should research how. It’s not hard at al and it will ensure you have yummy foods all winter long. Many farmer’s will chop up firewood and sell it in late fall. it will be cheaper to buy it now than later in winter when it is in high demand and no one wants to brace the cold and do it themselves. Wool seems a little old fashioned now a days, but it is very effective at keeping you warm! Whether you’re buying the wool so you can knit your own socks and blankets or buying the already made clothing, make sure the wool was sourced locally. Your neighbor farmer sure will appreciate it. Once you’re bundled and have your firewood bundles, burn those logs down in the fire, drink your hard cider, and enjoy the transition to Winter.