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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carroll's Pumpkin Farm in Grinnell 2010

This past week-end, three generations of the Williams Family visited Carroll's Pumpkin Farm in Grinnell, Iowa.  Our visit has become an annual treat.  This year, there were a few surprises!
There's Grandma Carol with the boy and "her boy," the husband.  Our first job was to take the wagon into the pumpkin field to pick some pumpkins.

Each wagon that heads to the pumpkin fields passes by the pumpkin catapult.  And, each wagon load of people get to see it fling a pumpkin high into the sky and fall into the nearby pond. 

For days prior to our visit, the boy kept asking if pumpkins sink or float.  We had a built in science project watching the pumpkins hit the water.
As soon as we reached the field, we set out to find the perfect pumpkin.  This is when we had our first surprise . . . Due to the extra wet fall weather, many of the pumpkins in the field didn't ripen.  The secret is that the pumpkins had been brought in by the truckload and spread throughout the field to give the impression of picking.  We enjoyed it anyway!

The second surprise came when the boy got an offer to ride up front in the tractor for the return trip!
Here are the perfect pumpkins that were found in the field!
Once we returned to the farm, the pumpkins were washed and dried.  Yep, they float all right.  The outside scale was closed, so we took the pumpkins inside the barn for the official weighing and paying.

Visitors to Carroll's pumpkin farm often see the goats before any other sights.  Notice the goat tower.  I wonder if the goats ever play out the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" story.  They have the perfect bridge!
There are feed dispensers and water pumps for guests to use.
There is also a conveyor belt of sorts to get feed to the goats on top of the tower.  A can is attached to the long belt.  Corn is put into the can and then cranked until the can reaches the top and dumps out the feed.  What fun!
Other features found at Carroll's include the "Moo Cow Train" as shown above.  The boy rode in Bessie.  The cows even have tails on the back!
The trike and tractor course had an addition this year which included an outdoor track and tunnel.  The trikes were headed downhill first on the outside track so the uphill climb seemed to slow them down.

The wheelbarrow course had been moved this year, most likely to allow room for the outdoor trike track and to provide more room to get to the Big Orange Jumping Pillow.  More about that later.
The boy ran into a friend from his soccer team at Carroll's.  Even though they had spent the day together just the day before, they were quite happy to see each other.
A popular feature, especially on cooler days, is the feed corn bin in the converted chicken coop.  It is like playing in a giant sandbox, but instead of sand, it is feed corn.
Wow, I remember him clinging to the tire swing.  Now, he commands it.  Where have the years gone?
This photo in the tree house, gives a good view of the Big Orange Jumping Pillow in the background.  The photo was taken during a stiller moment at the farm.
The Big Orange Jumping Pillow was a new feature added to Carroll's Pumpkin Farm last year.  Both fellas couldn't wait to get their hands. . . I mean their feet on it this year.  Rules--no shoes or footwear, no sharp objects in your pockets like keys, etc., no jumping near the edge, and have fun!

I tried it this year and it requires balance.  I had enough after just a few minutes.  The boy, was by far, the one who jumped the longest in our family.

We asked at the barn if Bingo was going to make an appearance.  We were told "yes" and sure enough, Bingo, the mascot of Carroll's Pumpkin Farm did make an appearance.  It wouldn't have been a complete visit without a Bingo sighting.

The Barn is a central point on the farm.  The bottom floor of the Barn includes the snack bar and shop.  There was a man playing lovely music just inside the barn on the day of our visit.

Here's the menu.  Food and snacks!  We enjoyed some popcorn while viewing the show held upstairs.

The shop has a variety of displays and items for sale.  I went looking for a Christmas tree ornament.  While there was a Christmas portion of the shop, no ornaments per say that would commemorate our trip.
Upstairs in the barn there is a show that takes place every hour on the half-hour.  This year's show features a ventriloquist.

And, here was our third surprise of the day.  The boy was selected to be in the show!
We had a great time and excellent weather.  When the boy was riding the Moo Cow Train, there were some mothers taking pictures of their boys waiting for their ride.  They were older, so I asked how old the boys were.  Ten was the reply.  That gave me hope that our boy will willingly go with us to Carroll's at least for a couple more years. 
Photo opportunities abound on the farm, including the world famous Pumpkin Tree in the photo below.

We made our way past a line of antique tractors on the way back to the car.  The ride home included plans for the pumpkins.  Did someone say pie?

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