Pumpkins & Scarecrows–Halloween with the Garden Sprouts

Today, rainy as it was, marked our last meeting of the autumn Garden Sprouts program at Fishkill Farms. While there was a part of me that thought about staying cozy in the house today when I looked out the window at the thick clouds and cold drizzle, but I took heed instead of my own mantra–There’s no bad weather, just the wrong clothes–and bundled up for a soggy morning on the farm. It turned out to be a lovely time, and the rain did let up long enough to allow us a nice walk to visit the chickens and explore the garden for a while.

We started our day with a baking activity, as we have each week, preparing the snack we would later share. Today, to celebrate our time together these past weeks, we baked a pumpkin pie. It was a treat we would enjoy later, warm from the oven, after our garden walk and outdoor crafting.

When the pie was in the oven and everyone was snuggled in boots, hats and raincoats, we headed out in search of the farm’s “scarecrows,” really just large, inflatable balls with lots of eyes to watch those pesky crows.The children took a great deal of delight in sneaking through the muddy rows of blueberry bushes in search of the balls and shouts of “I see another one!” rang through the field. We saw the remainder of the farm’s summer sunflower patch, finding the petal-less brown centers picked clean of their seeds.We sought out other signs of autumn on the farm, old corn stalks, dormant berry bushes, and cozy burrows hidden in the garden. We talked about who might live in those burrows, what they might eat and why they might need to hide underground. We also found a few late seas on strawberries in the strawberry patch that was well-blanketed with hay to protect them from the coming frost.

With their little pumps primed for a good scarecrow story, we headed back to the farm store to read one of my Halloween favorites, Jeb Scarecrow’s Pumpkin Patch by Jana Dillon, about a young scarecrow working to protect his prized patch from the crow’s annual harvest celebration. After the story, the kids made their own scarecrow puppets and learned a few Halloween songs and rhymes. And then it was time for pie.

We really had a wonderful time of crafting, baking, storytelling, exploring, and playing on the farm these past weeks. I hope that many new (and returning!) families will join us for our next series of the Garden Sprouts!

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