Patchy Days Are Here Again

Hard to believe that we’re going into Madelyn’s third Halloween. Even at two months old, we took her to the pumpkin patch to get traditional photos started even though she had no idea what was going on and couldn’t do any of the fun pumpkin patch activities.

Last year was different when we took her to Underwood Family Farms where she seemed to have an appreciation for her surroundings and could toddle through the pumpkin fields by herself and trot after the animals in the petting corral.

Pumpkins change. Hair grows. Cuter happens.

Pumpkins change. Hair grows. Cuter happens.

This year, Madelyn basically owned the place. We took her back to Underwood Farms and she seemed to thoroughly enjoy and understand all the aspects of fun on the farm. She pointed to things she recognized and made sure to show us every single pumpkin, or in Madelynese, tun-tun.

Where will she land next year?

Where will she land next year?

It was a hot Saturday; one of those tricky days that appeared cold from the bedroom window and sent chills through our house walls, but then turned out to be sunny, bright, and warm. We shvitzed our way through the long line to get in and Madelyn picked through the easy grab-and-go pumpkins in the crates.




We only had a couple hours to spend at the farm and Bryan was feeling a little ghoulish himself, so I was extremely goal-oriented as we made our way through the peopled grounds.

We headed toward the petting corral so I could hug and cuddle every single available animal Madelyn could see her fuzzy friends. She loved the goats and chased around this one sandy-colored little guy, calling out, “Hi, Goat! Hi, Goat! Hi, Goat!” She saw a chicken and had a conversation in full-on, fluent “Bock bock.” (She also says “Bock bock” to her dinner, soooo…). And Madelyn loved the sheep, despite offering salutations to the “Shit.” (FYI: letters P and T are completely interchangeable). I would say the petting corral was a success.

You WILL love me.

You WILL love me.

Listen here, pal. You stick with me and everything will be OK.

Listen here, pal. You stick with me and everything will be OK.



One thing we didn’t get to last year was watching the pig races, so I was determined to get seats during the hours we were there. Fortunately, the next race was only a half hour after we were finished with the animals, so we headed over to the grandstands early to get a spot to see the little piggies race around a semi-circle.

The track had seating on three sides. We sat toward the end of the long run and could see the piggies as they came out of their pens and then craned our necks to the left to see them prance the rest of the long run, round a corner, and end up back inside a holding area. The stands were packed (sweaty) shoulder to (sweaty) shoulder so I had Princeton at my feet in our second-level-up benches. His leash was under my tushie so I could have my hands free to share Madelyn duties with Bryan.

I could hear Princeton grunting and squealing — like a pig — when they came out for each race. His ears were perked and I could tell that he was really interested in the like-sized 3-month-old porkers 20 feet away from us. I just kept petting him to give him attention, but I could tell he just really wanted to be a part of it all.

So the determined dog did.

Oh, look! That cute little dog looks like Princeton. IT IIIIIIIIIS PRINCETON!!!

Oh, look! That cute little dog looks like Princeton. IT IIIIIIIIIS PRINCETON!!!

Just as the pigs were in front of our part of the stands, going for the long stretch, I saw a very cute and furry salt-and-pepper terrier running alongside the fence that separated the track from the stands.


Bryan tossed Madelyn into my lap and ran after Princeton while the announcers joked that a dog was now wanting to be part of the race and everyone was cheering. I was in a fog of laughter, panic, and embarrassment, but my eyes were clear enough to see Princeton, his fur blowing in the wind and his usually-tight jowls flapping in a wide smile, playing and fraternizing with the athletic piggies mid-race.

He trotted back to our seats and returned to sit very contentedly at our bench, basking in the memories of what just happened like a school girl who successfully snuck out of her house to steal a midnight kiss from her boyfriend. Princeton had had his eye on the piggy prize, pulled one great, big, swift yank on the leash under me, and in nanoseconds, he was free, even if only for moments. I’m quite certain this was the highlight of his entire life.

After the races, people passed by us in the stands as we gathered up all of our stuff and they cheered on Princeton for his bold move. His ears were pinned back and his tail wagged high. He was one happy farm pup that afternoon.


By then, Bryan was pretty fried, especially after his Olympic sprint to catch Princeton the Pig-Dog, so we made our way to the open pumpkin fields to finish up our day with photos of Madelyn in the sea or orange.

She loved seeing all the “tun-tuns” and immediately began hugging them and talking to them. I swear she had a whole conversation with one.

Tun-tun! It's you!!!!!

Tun-tun! It’s you!!!!!

She also discovered the scarecrows that are probably more decorative to set the scene than to actually scare any crows… or children. Madelyn was drawn to the scarecrows like crows to the corn or farmers to the overalls or Princeton to the pigs. She stood two inches from the stake, looked up, and continued the conversation she previously had with the pumpkin. She played with their fake, empty, creepy scarecrow limbs and incessantly said with excitement: “Hi, tare-tow! Hi! Eeeeee!! Tare-tow!!!!!! WOW. Tare-tow!”

I half expected her to flash them and ask for an autograph. But she was wearing a onesie and overalls, so…





Kids, man. Their imaginations are amazing.

She sauntered through the fields like Maria in the green hills (which are alive with the sound of music) with her happy little girl voice trailing behind her as I snapped photos.

Do Re Me Fa So La Ti TARE-TOW!!!!!!

Do Re Me Fa So La Ti TARE-TOW!!!!!!

Madelyn loved looking up at the “cha-chur” — the tractor — which she also posed in front of last year. She was much bigger this year, and yet, still so small next to this green giant. I think we need to take pictures of her with the cha-chur every year from now on. She’ll be 17 and hating me because she’d rather be getting ready for high school homecoming with her friends, but I will insist on getting her mug in front of the dusty, dirty pumpkin patch cha-chur. What if she’s still calling it “cha-chur” by then?





After our frolic through the pumpkin fields, we made our way back toward the exit of the farm. As we passed the things she’d seen earlier that afternoon, Madelyn politely said goodbye and thanked … things. “Bye, shit!” “Bye, tun-tuns!” “Bye, {pig snort sound}!” “Bye, tare-tow!” “Bye, farm!”

I love that little profile and those pouty lips.

I love that little profile and those pouty lips.

She’s so polite! And during this Halloween season, she is constantly no trick and all treat!