Saturday, October 22, 2011

Finding the perfect pumpkin at Carpinito Brothers Farm

Last weekend our family was on a mission to find the perfect pumpkin. The kids have been begging for one ever since the grocery store put big bins of them in front of their store, but I didn't want to get ours that way. I wanted to buy one from the source and pluck it from the ground and give my suburban children the family farm experience complete with corn mazes and fall colors and photo ops.
We searched online - - and the closest one we found was Carpinito Brothers Farm right off highway 167 in Kent, so we decided to make that our Saturday excursion.
It was a popular site that day and we had to park in the far lot but luckily we noticed plenty of wheel barrows available for hauling your produce picks back to your car. We wandered through the pumpkin patch pointing out the ones we thought were the best. There were so many! We waited until the end to get one though because we didn't want to have to lug it around with us while we were in the corn maze.

That's Mt. Rainier in the distance. Can you see it?


Carpinito Brothers Farm has TWO corn mazes - one "Huskies" maze in the shape of a football and helmet and one "Cougars" maze in the shape of, well, I couldn't figure out what it was but someone told me it was a cougar face. Not being sports fans or Washington natives, we had no allegiance to either school so we went in both, and there were times when I feared we'd never find our way out.


It's funny, the people your run into in a corn maze. Some follow the map and know exactly where they're going, determined to make it all the way through and gather hole punches in their card along the way. Most though, are lost and wandering around wide-eyed and a wee bit worried. It becomes a group effort to get through it with the map-tracking determined ones helping the lost find their bearings. We were, at times, both of these types and after nearly 3 and a half miles of maze-wandering, the wide-open pumpkin patch was a welcoming site.

Next, we headed to the produce stand where we picked out apples, onions, Swiss chard, cabbage, and squash. Then, we each picked out a decorative gourd - the ugliest, weirdest, wartiest ones we could find, and I got some flowers for our front porch. Lastly, and after some debate, we found our pumpkin - a great big 20-pounder, perfectly plump with a stable base and smooth canvas for carving. We got everything weighed, paid, and hauled a wheel barrow back to the car brimming with our autumn bounty.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lincoln Park up and down

A few weekends ago we visited Lincoln Park, a bluff on overlooking the Puget Sound. It has amazing views of the sound and the Olympic mountains...

and long, steep, winding trails...


leading to a path along the shore.


It was freezing cold and super windy, so there weren't too many other people there that day.

The shore is littered (naturally so) with driftwood 

which is very hard to walk on.

I want to know how old this tree is, where it came from, how it got here. 

That tree's been around!

Sage left his mark.

The trail back up:

That's Sage and me waaaaay down at the bottom.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gas Works Park in the wind and rain

Sometimes we don't look at the weather report when we head out on a family excursion, or sometimes we do but the sky is clear and blue so we head out anyway. We've found though, that Seattle skies can change in a matter of minutes and clear and blue can quickly give way to gray and rainy. That's what our trip to Gas Works Park was like last Saturday. Our entrance to the park was greeted with clear skies and gigantic abandoned machinery

and other odd-shaped structures.

Located on the site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant, Gas Works Park has preserved the structures that most communities have torn down, and that's what makes it so fascinating.

We're used to seeing structures like this as the detritus of the industrial age, defunct and rusty behemoths that make you think, I bet that soil is polluted with a million carcinogens. Yet somehow, when they're preserved and painted and put on display, you're compelled see it differently. Wikipedia describes it as a rare example of "industrial archeology." I like that term.

Inside what's known as the "play barn," you can see the welding and the rivets and the ingenuity that went into assembling these structures.

And feel the haunting stillness and silence of these once-productive machines.

You can touch the cold hard steel and look up iron-clad towers.

These things were built to last.

They even outlasted their industry. 

And since it's a prime piece of real estate right on Lake Union with a kickass view of the city, it's only fitting this area would evolve into a tourist attraction.

So they retained what the could, and decontaminated and landscaped the rest.


Right around this time the clouds rolled in and the wind started blowing rain in our faces, but we kept exploring.

 This earthen mound is known as Kite Hill.

 I later learned from Wikipedia that it's a man-made mound, "molded out of thousands of cubic yards of rubble from building foundations covered with fresh topsoil."

 There were a few other intrepid explorers out that afternoon, but not many.

At the top of Kite Hill there's a large concrete sundial.

Apparently, if you stand in a certain spot, you can tell the time and season by the shadow that your body casts.

 Our shadows, or lack thereof, told us it was the dark and cold and windy and rainy season.

But not too dark or cold or windy or rainy for this kid to fly his kite.

Or for our kids either.

It's just another aspect of Seattle

that we love.

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