“Sheeep, heeere, yum yummm!”

I did a little something: I pulled out my fall decorations, as well as some Halloween ones, prior to September. It’s my happy time and place. It’s also been raining and much cooler these days, so the theme was quite fitting. Seeing the autumn details around the home makes me feel cozy and warm, and ready to embrace the changing season and cold sweater weather — and cuddle weather, too. 

I’ve been loving our new fall- and Halloween-themed Snoopy mugs. Drinking coffee from them in the morning brings me an insurmountable amount of joy. Snoopy’s my all-time favourite comic strip character. He’s cute, he’s sassy, he’s a dreamer, he’s unapologetically resilient, he’s comical, he’s a cookie monster, he’s a romantic, he’s a shit-disturber. He’s wholesome. 

Speaking of an autumn feel, we’ve been visiting many farms lately — we seem to be on a roll. The first one we visited was just at the end of August, when Keaton’s grandmother, Nana, visited. We went to Saunders Farm. There were plenty of activities and play structures for kids to entertain themselves with, as well as ample of space for them to run loose, which was a major plus for Keaton to release all his energy. 

We all really enjoyed the tractor wagon ride. Keaton looked uncertain when he first sat down in the wagon, even if he was excited to go on it. It took a moment — as soon as the wagon started going — for him to find comfort and fun in the ride. He liked it so much that we did it twice! I, too, found the experience both fun and soothing. My husband said he hadn’t seen me smile this much in a long time. It’s true that I was very happy that day. A beautiful day with loved ones and my kid smiling, and experiencing a wagon ride that I’ve always wanted to try as a kid, was enough to set my heart ablaze with happiness. 

But of course my parental bliss didn’t last long. Shortly after, our hearts sank at the farm’s infamous maze. Keaton had slipped away during our quest. Our little dude is so fast and wild, he slipped away from underneath the trees. It wasn’t out of mean-spiritedness or because he’s rambunctious; it’s because he just wanted to play and for us to chase him. He was having fun being playful; but for us parents and adults, our hearts skipped a beat when he ran off laughing. Luckily, Nana caught up with him quickly. Oh boy, do we ever consider leashing our little guy! Alas, that was our crazy adventure of the day. 

I loved the Halloween decorations at the gift shop. Oranges and blacks, gnomes and ghosts, pumpkins and scarecrows — I was already in the Halloween mood. I can’t wait to be back at this farm for pumpkin season. If summertime is already a sweet sight, imagine when the leaves start to transform into yellow, orange, red, and brown hues, and when the weather is more crisp and pumpkin season is here. This farm would transform into an oasis of autumn!

The next treat we had the pleasure of indulging in was apple-picking at an orchard. We took my parents with us, too. Because we were at the peak of apple-picking season, there were plenty of apples to pick from trees. It was a magical sight. The orchard blossomed with so many apples that I could easily picture how romantic it would be to have a wedding or family photoshoot there.

Of course, with a toddler — a strong-willed and spirited one — outings are never easy. Keaton fussed the entire time we were there because he wanted to see a tractor; he wasn’t entertained by the orchard. I felt my heart swell with hopelessness as I looked around and saw other parents calmly strolling around with their easygoing kids. I’d really hoped for a nice family moment; we rarely have these moments in our lives because our son has never been an easy one. Babies and toddlers who are able to just accompany their parents? Completely foreign to us. We can’t deny how it kills our souls sometimes. Yet, difficult as he is, we love our little dude just the same. He’s wildly aware and intelligent, and we’re very proud of who he is.

The other challenging part of our experience were the wasps. It’s wasp season so we’d been visited by many buzzing guests, who were attracted to our apples and to our very existence — alas, sweetness was everywhere. They even followed us all the way back to the parking lot and our car. It was like a comedic horror movie featuring our clumsy family of five, who were trying to escape a zombie raid. What an experience that day was. It had its flaws, but I was still very grateful for the moments we shared as a family.

It was an especially special day because it was my parents’ first outing with us — the first time they really got to do an activity in their lives. And I say this with a heavy heart. My mom really enjoyed the apple-picking experience; she picked the whole bag while we were losing our heads with our kiddo. My dad also enjoyed taking photos. As for Keaton, he, too, enjoyed climbing the ladder to pick the apples, as well as eating the orchard’s infamous churros. While they weren’t the best as people had claimed — perhaps we’d received a bad batch — the experience was worthwhile. 

The next farm we went to was The Log Farm, which was conveniently located in the city centre compared to all the other farms. I felt guilty for having almost overlooked this farm. At first, it looked rather unassuming online; I didn’t think there would be much to see or do. Their advertisement was modest, too. But, I’m very glad that we decided to spontaneously visit it, because it turned out to be the best farm ever. 

We really enjoyed the walk from the parking lot to the farm itself. We walked along a trail that took us through the woods, which felt like a hike in nature. I could see early on that my parents were enjoying the experience already. My mother, for an old lady, sure walked fast — as if excited to explore more.

I appreciated how low-key and humble the farm was. It was cozy, modest, well-loved and neat, and it didn’t boast. This farm was started by a family in the 1800’s; and until today, I could still feel the spirit of love, hard work, and dedication as I walked peacefully around the fields. A picturesque sight to behold, that’s for sure. 

If the apple-picking experience was a fail for Keaton, then this farm the next day far more than made up for it. Our little fellow was insanely smitten with his visit here. There were doll houses for kids, swings, a sandbox with an abundance of truck and car toys, tractor vehicles to ride, sensory tables, and many more! Keaton enjoyed it so much he would’ve stayed here all day if he could. 

There was also a tractor wagon ride, which he’d wildly sought for at the apple orchard. And here, he finally got it. It’s funny, though, because while he was so intent on riding the tractor wagon, as soon as he got on it, as with his experience at Saunders Farm, he became rather uncertain and shy. It took a few moments until he’d relax again. As for my parents, oh boy, did they ever smile and laugh! My mom made a new friend on the wagon ride: a beautiful baby girl, who kept smiling and waving back at her. The ride was lovely; we interacted quite a bit with other families. It felt communal. We all shared a sense of belonging. 

There were also many cute animals on the farm: chickens, cows, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, alpacas, you name it. The animals were beautiful and plump; they looked healthy and happy. Keaton asked to feed the goats. It was so adorable when he called out, “Sheeep! Heeere! Yum, yummm!” Of course there’s always that one sassy goat with attitude. The one in the photo is the one that grabbed the whole cone from Keaton’s hand. It was so funny.

We loved walking along scarecrow lane. Perhaps other visitors didn’t notice the hidden path, but we did; and because we were the only ones, it was ever so peaceful. We enjoyed looking for hidden scarecrows along the path. I could tell how much my parents enjoyed this farm and experience most of all. I hadn’t seen them smile and laugh, and let loose so much, in ages. 

My parents are very old now, and because of old age, health and anxiety issues, and, recently, COVID-19, they’ve naturally been homebound for many years. In fact, they haven’t experienced much of the fun side of life since immigrating to Canada in 1980. Now, it’s our turn to drive them around and show them the world and life, just as they’d shown us as children. That being said, we’ll definitely be back at this farm, as well as explore other farms, for pumpkin season and for the holiday Christmas markets. A different feeling and vibe, I can’t wait.

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