Walktober 2019

We ought to take outdoor walks, to refresh and raise our spirits by deep breathing in the open air. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher and statesman

As the days get shorter and the humidity finally breaks, it comes time for the annual Walktober, a virtual group walk organized by Robin of Breezes at Dawn.

The dates for this year’s walk are Oct. 6-19, and the “rules” are simple: take a walk, post about what you see, include some pretty pictures, and link to Robin, who will round up the links so we can all visit each other’s blogs and enjoy walking together.

Let’s go!

This year (because the trees aren’t cooperating with Fall color), I’m taking you to Arthur, Illinois (the Heart of Amish Country), to visit The Great Pumpkin Patch, a working farm owned by the McDonald family who immigrated from Scotland in the mid-1800s. Six generations later (150 years!), it’s evolved into a business of commercial pumpkin production and the preservation of rare gourd seeds.

If you love pumpkins as much as I do, prepare to be amazed!

Pumpkins … rows and rows of pumpkins

Here, they grow more than 300 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds from more than 30 countries around the world. There are green knotty varieties:

and white ones:

and pumpkins on ladders:

There are pumpkins in stacks:

and pumpkins in rows:

The Great Pumpkin Patch has become a popular destination for school field trips, area residents, and tourists. The owners have erected numerous captivating displays, including this Tower of Pumpkins:

and this Pumpkin Tree:

and even a Noah’s Ark:

There are mazes of corn, soybeans, and straw bales, a mild haunted barn to explore, and a restored one-room schoolhouse from the early 1900s. There’s a gift shop, a museum, a seeds store, live entertainment on weekends, and a bakery (where the smells alone are guaranteed to make your mouth water). And there are farm animals like this little goat:

and a gobbling turkey:

and a happy llama (isn’t he the cutest thing?!?):

And there are garden mums … more than 5,000! — like this group of colored beauties:

and this batch:

and this “quilt”:

Have you ever seen a field of pumpkins growing on the vine? The Great Pumpkin Patch is one Linus would consider very sincere:

I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip. It’s fun to get outdoors and see new things. As we leave The Great Pumpkin Patch, here’s a reminder we were in Amish Country:

37 thoughts on “Walktober 2019

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, John. There’s something fascinating about seeing a huge field with pumpkins growing in it, and you have to congratulate folks for turning a working farm into a profitable tourist attraction.

  1. “If you love pumpkins as much as I do, prepare to be amazed!”

    OMG Debbie, you KNOW how much LOVE pumpkins; therefore, I sooooooooooo enjoyed your photographs! I smiled from ear to ear all the way through this post! Literally, I got so excited that my heart was thumping. HA!

    What AMAZING place this is! You know, we have Amish Country here in Pennsylvania, but it’s been so many years since I’ve been there. The Amish have several food and produce stands at Reading Terminal Market, which is a massive market not too far from my apartment. I love to go over there and purchase their food because it always tastes so fresh and well-prepared.

    LOVE the stacks of pumpkins. And also that Tower of Pumpkins and Noah’s Ark. WOW! They’re incredible! I’ve never seen anything like this. Ever!

    And the day you attended looked like the perfect Autumn day – overcast. I love days like that.

    “and a happy llama (isn’t he the cutest thing?!?):”

    Yes….the absolutely CUTEST! I love llama’s. I think they have the sweetest-looking faces.

    And that final photograph of the Amish carriage was such a perfect way to conclude this post. Gorgeous shot!

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this post because I love this time year, so it’s great to see Autumn in different areas of the country.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this walked! Have a super weekend, my friend!


    • Ron, I was thinking about you when I arrived at the Patch and saw all those pumpkins just lying there! You can practically hear them smiling!

      I’m delighted to know you loved walking with me. The day was overcast, in the 60s with a breeze — if I’d waited just one more day, I’d have faced tons of rain, wind, and sharply dropping temps into the 40s!

      You love llamas, too? This little guy was busy drinking water from a bucket for the longest time, but I kept talking to him and pleading with him to look at me — when he finally did, I snapped his picture! Sometimes you’ve got to wait for the perfect shot!

      We’re sending this cold spell your way, my friend — enjoy! xo

  2. I hardly can believe a year’s passed; I remember your Walktober post from last year. I’m going to join in this year, since I think I know where to go, and when.

    I’ve always enjoyed fall mums and pumpkin patches, but these people have taken it up a notch. I really like the tower and the Noah’s ark, and the animals are a great addition. I wish I had a yard to plant the mums in, but I suppose I could put some in a big pot. I can’t remember — will they last through the winter and come back next year? I’m not a gardener, so there are a lot of very simple things I don’t know. More research is required!

    There’s a pumpkin patch near here where you can pick your own, and they have pie pumpkins, too: cute little things that are sweeter than the regular ones. I rarely make my own cooked pumpkin for pies, but when I do, I always remember how much better it is to start from scratch.

    We had a whopper of a cold front come through today, and we’ll be in the sixties tonight — inland they may get into the 50s. It really is autumn, at last, so your post is perfect!

    • Linda, thanks so much for your kind words! Yes, I noticed this cold front was sweeping all the way down to where you are, and I’m glad you’ll finally be getting to enjoy some fall-like temps.

      Some mums are what they call “hardy.” They’re the ones that are supposed to come back year after year. For some odd reason, it’s hard to find them though. Most I’ve seen last until frost/freeze, then fold up shop and wither. Sad, because they’re so stunning when in full bloom.

      The Patch sells lots of pumpkins as well as mums. They also sell seeds so you can grow your own, outdoor decorations, and that sort of thing. It fascinated me to see how many varieties there are … and from so many countries. As you said, they really took it up a notch!

  3. These are fantastic! Though I must admit all those pumpkins began to seem a bit scary after a bit – I feel they’re just waiting for darkness to take over the world… 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃😱

    • HaHa! You might be right. I can almost see them sitting there at night, plotting their next move! Of course, most are regular pumpkins — not Jack O’Lanterns — so we’re probably safe. Probably.

    • Thank you, Frank, for joining me — I’m eager to see the posts everybody comes up with this year (as I recall, I enjoyed your Walktober last year!) Can you imagine the effort somebody went to to stack all those crates and put pumpkins in each one?!?

      • I try to visit as many as possible. After all, I see this as a group effort and as being important on my part to do more than post. Then again, that’s me. The effort on that pumpkin tower? Whew!!!! Cheers to achievers! 🙂

        • I plan to visit as many of Robin’s participants as I can, too, Frank — it’s a wonderful way to travel without having to pack suitcases, ha!

  4. You are right, I AM amazed! I’ve never seen that many pumpkins together before, even that first picture is a lot! I’ve been looking for some pumpkin spots to take a picture of Katie…I need to try to get that done tomorrow sometime. Wish I had a big old field somewhere near me. Maybe I do. I just haven’t looked. I might take her down to our old favorite town where they always have some pumpkins lying around.

    Thanks for inspiring me!!

    • You’re most welcome — I know her pumpkin shots will be gorgeous! This was a pet-friendly pumpkin patch, but I had things to do before and after my trek up there so I left Dallas home. Looking back, I imagine ALL those schoolkids would have loved petting him!

  5. What a wonderful place to visit! I love the pumpkin structures (can’t even imagine the logistics of putting them together).
    I once brought my boys to a pumpkin farm. Truly is great to see in real.

    • Thanks for stopping by to visit, Dale — and I’m glad you enjoyed it. It would have been nice to have some Fall color, but perhaps the “fruits of the season” are a suitable substitute!

    • I’m happy you joined me, Tee! It was an ideal outing. You should’ve seen all the excited kids racing through the mazes, staring wide-eyed at the animals, and trying to pick out that special pumpkin!

  6. Hi, Debbie – I believe that I learned more about pumpkins from your post than I ever knew about them before. 300 different varieties? I seriously did not know that! I’m glad that there was also a bakery included on this walk…and the llama! How adorable is he?!!
    I look forward to following more.

    • Thanks so very much for your lovely comment — it brightened my morning, to be sure!I wonder if we can talk Dawn into hosting a Spring or Summer walk as well??!

  7. Wow! What a great place. I loved seeing all those pumpkins had no idea there are so many different varieties. Thank you so much for participating. 🙂 (And I see there’s talk of a spring or summer walk. How fun!!)

    • Hi Helen — it was great having you join my pumpkin patch walk! I was pretty astounded by how many pumpkins there were, the amazing displays somebody had gone to great lengths to create, and how busy it was. Thanks for popping by!

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