It’s all about the pumpkins.

My family and I enjoyed a quick trip to a pumpkin patch on Saturday. It’s our fall family tradition to find a good place to get pumpkins that we’ll later carve for our Halloween fun.

This year, we tried out Pumpkin Junction at Blue Skye Farm in Good Thunder, Minn. It’s open for visitors most weekends in October, and it’s one of the few sites we’ve found locally that have not just the pumpkins, but children’s activities and fun things to do, too.

GPS helped us find the farm, off old Hwy 66, and we were one of the first families to arrive. We were greeted by a host who explained the “system” to us. We got a form that listed everything they had for sale, and as we picked out what we wanted, we marked the sheet, paying for everything at the end. She also emphasized that children under 18 got to pick out a free pumpkin, so my girls were pretty excited.

Our first stop was the pumpkin patch. I picked up the clippers, but promptly handed them to husband Matt to wield because I am a notorious clutz. (See the story about the broken leg last winter, if you need further evidence.) We had lovely sunshine, but the wind whipped coldly across the patch as we trudged out in our boots to look at the ripe pumpkins on the vine.

G.G. was along with us, too, and she helped A find a good pumpkin first. By the time we filled our farm-provided green cart, we’d loaded five of our favorite, round, ripe, orange pumpkins. Our next stop was the activity tent, where games and a food booth were set up, as well as tables containing other fall vegetables–varied squash and gourds as well as dried corn.

Our girls picked out sweet treats at the food both (cookies and cupcakes from a local bakery) before we heard the call that the hay rides were starting. We picked up our treats and headed over to the wagon filled with hay bales, drawn behind a tractor. (We like horse-drawn rides best, and cheerfully call ourselves “horse groupies” during the holiday season for our tendency to find where all the horse-drawn rides are, but the tractor worked well, too.)

The tractor made a large loop around the farm, allowing us to see the squash, gourds and pumpkins still in the fields. The girls excitedly squealed each time they saw a new kind of gourd in the field, and C particularly liked the white pumpkins on the ground.

When the long ride was over, we headed to the corrals to see the horses and the calf that were out for petting. Our girls love animals, and visiting the animals, wherever we are, always makes them happy.

The farm also included a hay maze that topped out about five feet in height, which was perfect for small children and their taller parents, but by the time we considered it, we were too cold to stay outside. That whippy wind got the best of us.

Blue Skye Farm is open one more weekend this year.

Meanwhile, what do we do with the pumpkins?

We’ll carve them this week, and I’ll make roasted pumpkin seeds for snacking on.

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