Today was one of those flawless fall days when the sky is a clear vibrant blue, the clouds are whispy and the air has a crisp sweet bite like the perfect apple and you just HAVE to be outside. We were lucky enough to spend several hours of it rambling through a local corn maze! My mother-in-law took us all as a special treat. It was disappointing that Carey was unable to attend but we had a load of wood coming in and one of us had to be here.
The drive was short, only taking us about forty minutes to get there although, I must admit that it seems to take forever to get anywhere with several small children swarming around you what with pit stops, lost hoodies and fights over water bottles. The children thought it awesome coming over the Lewiston grade and seeing the whole valley spread out before them, especially the mill in one area. Their grandfather and uncle work in the mill that supplies this mill with most of it's wood chips so there was a big connection there for them.
We stood in line for only a short time, perused the maps (a necessity!) and noted down the number to call if we were irretrievably lost before setting off on our adventure only to realize that the ticket gal had forgotten to give us our tickets! So Mom had to go back and stand in line to get them. I'm just glad it wasn't so super busy that they didn't recognize that she had actually paid for them and didn't make her pay for them again.
So began our ramble over more than thirteen acres of false starts, dead ends and endless fun. Charles and James had a blast running ahead and around us. I lost count of how many times I thought I'd lost them and then one would pop around a corner in front of me or even come up behind me! The idea was that I would be in charge of two and Mom would have the other two so if we got separated that would be OK. In the end though we pretty much stuck together. I didn't dare leave her! Not only did Kitty keep bopping back & forth between us (it would have been so easy for her to be left behind if one thought the other had her), I didn't have a map. James had taken off with mine and I didn't always know when I'd see him so I couldn't count on it's use although, technically he was supposed to stay with me. But this was such a fun, unique experience and the children had so much energy that I didn't have the heart to make them stay close. They were never so far ahead that I couldn't hear at least one of their piping voices (Charles' is quite distinctive now that he has no top front teeth and he has a whistling lisp) or hear them thumping up & down a lane. They were also marking X's in the soft wet ground whether to mark the way or just for fun I'm not sure. I will say that it would have been an entirely different story if we had gone there at night and the only light to see by being the flashlights we had brought with us.
Throughout the maze there were several numbered checkpoints with the answers to trivia questions on them. If you had not purchased a map, the answers were meaningless but the checkpoints were still handy to get your bearings. Since Mom had purchased two maps, we made it a game to find all of the checkpoints and read the kids the questions to see if they could guess the answers (or perhaps even read them). At one point James was so pleased with himself because he was able to read the answer! The grin on his face was a mile wide. You could easily become disoriented looking for the check points although none were terrible hard. Except for one! Number 6 was almost in the exact middle at the end of a long zig-zagging dead end with several branching intersections.
In the end, we were actually in the maze for just shy an hour and a half. So the kids learned some interesting trivia (such as the number of rows & amount of kernels on an ear of corn or how many eggs a hen lays in a year), saw lots of evidence of animals such as an ear of corn completely denuded of all kernels, got lots of sun & fresh air in their little bodies and only had to make two little side excursions into the stalks to quickly relieve themselves.
(A nice slide-show will live here as soon as the site cooperates and gives me the code for it.)
After leaving the maze the children were slightly disappointed we weren't getting pumpkins from the "pumpkin patch" but none of them had brought their allowance. Instead, after snacking on apples, honey roasted sunflower seeds, baby carrots, raisins and some lovely dried apricots we set out on a rambling drive home. We took the back roads the better to appreciate the beautiful rollings hill of the Palouse hills dressed for autumn and to better see the houses dressed for Halloween.
This evening was nice as well. The kids don't get to see their grandmother very often for all that they live only a few short miles away. She stayed to read them each a story before leaving us to our own devices. Dinner was simple and quick, they enjoyed their documentary about extinct monsters of the deep and went to bed happy children. Carey wandered off to a game with his friends so now that I am done with my chores, I am enjoying a quiet household with only the peeping of the tea pot and a purring cat to keep me company. I now leave you in favor of a cup of aromatic rose tea and The Witches of Eastwick.