Clever Caches and Pumpkin Patches

Even though we slept in this morning, we still got up in time to find some geocaches before meeting friends at the pumpkin patch out at Britt’s Farm.  I’d planned the trip to Britt’s a few weeks ago, and originally, Jon and I were going to use the morning to walk the zoo and visit the Flint Hills Discovery Center to see the new exhibit. However, with the late night we had, we decided sleep was more important.

Our first stop was a cache that we just couldn’t find. It was hidden in a tree that had a lot of thick, low hanging branches. We basically wrestled with the thing. I came away with a few scratches, but Jon’s legs and shirt got tore up. We might go back and try in the winter when the leaves have fallen off. The park itself was pretty cool. It has a game course for something called disc golf.  I’d never heard of it, but I thought it was neat to find something like that. Seemed pretty unique.

We went to Subway for lunch, then started towards town to hit a few more caches. Today’s cache theme was “clever hides.” Almost all the containers looked like something else and were in plan view because they looked like part of the environment.  At the first one, I even told Jon not to mess with it because it seriously looked like part of a big mechanical box. He finally just went for it and sure enough, it was the cache.  He managed to find the other tricky ones as well.

One of them wasn’t tricky in how it was hid, but it still had a clever theme.  It was called “Flash Gordon’s Trial of the Wood Beast.” This meant nothing to me since I never really watched Flash Gordon, but Jon is a fan and so had a good idea of what we were looking for before we set off to find it. One thing I did know about this geocache was that we looked at it when we first started caching and had decided against trying to find it because at that time, it seemed too hard. It’s not a difficult cache. The difficulty for me was having to make a hike that was almost a half mile round trip.

I’ve come a long way, because the walk was really nice today. It was down part of the linear trail and then off into a wooded path along the river, another beautiful part of our area that I never would have seen if it hadn’t been for geocaching.

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We found this abandoned car in the woods. Kind of cool, kind of creepy.
We found this abandoned car in the woods. Kind of cool, kind of creepy.

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We finally got to the hiding spot and were met by two hornets guarding the cache. They weren’t flying and were really slow moving, but they freaked me out a little bit, as do most bugs with a stinger.  At first, we weren’t even going to attempt to get the cache. Jon was close to one of them and it didn’t sting him though, so we tried to edge over and grab it without making either of them mad. Luckily, they were mud daubers and not yellow jackets. One of the things I learned from a fellow BOW woman was that mud daubers tend to be pretty mellow and keep to themselves, while yellow jackets are the aggressive guys.

As Jon put it, had they been yellow jackets, they would have stung us, killed us, then probably buried our bodies. Those guys are jerks. Since these were not them,  we moved slow and kind of stared the mud daubers down, and they let us grab the cache without stinging us.  Between geocaching and BOW, I feel like I’ve developed a better appreciation for nature. A few months ago, I doubt if I would have even stuck around to watch a couple hornets the way we did today.

After grabbing a few more in the area, we went out to the farm. During the fall, they host a “pumpkin patch” with all kinds of activities, many geared towards children. I’m an adult and I still thought it was cool. There was an area that I think was supposed to be the petting zoo but seemed more like a chase area for kids to go after the animals. The geese and chickens there were pretty good sports about it.  They didn’t bite anyone.

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We met up with my friends there, but we decided to go ahead and tackle the corn maze early. It sounds silly, but walking a corn maze is on my Day Zero list, so I was pretty excited to finally be able to do it.  There were two mazes, an easy one that  would take about five minutes to complete, and a hard one that would take about a half hour (according to the signs posted outside of the entrances).  I already had it in my head that we were going to do the hard corn maze.

There was definitely a creepy vibe here, likely from watching "Children of the Corn" at an early age.
There was definitely a creepy vibe here, likely from watching “Children of the Corn” at an early age.

Though my goal was to walk in a corn maze, it wasn’t to get lost in one, so Jon and I kept to the right through the whole thing, which inevitably lead us around some needless loops and a dead end. Maybe getting lost is part of the fun, but that’s the part that would have made me panic. As it was, I had a little panic towards the end anyway. The terrain was rough, a fact that was to be expected but never landed on my radar, so my feet were pretty sore by the end. We’d walked out pretty far and I started to feel disoriented. I probably would have kept my cool, but I hit a divot and popped my knee. The pain and the heat and the fact that I was ready to be out of that maze made me cry a little. Luckily, we turned the corner and there was the end.

I have no regrets. I’m actually happy I could do it and proud of myself for finishing. But to be honest, now that the maze is off my list, I doubt if I’ll ever need to do another one.  That walk took a lot out of us, so we caught up to the others to see how they were doing and to say our good-byes. I was hurting, we were both exhausted, and I don’t think there was anything else there we really could have done. Except maybe the potato gun. That might have been fun.

We picked up some apple cider on the way out, and once I’m done here, I’m getting mine for an evening snack. We had a good day, but I definitely need a shower and maybe some more ibuprofen (my friend Forsh gave me a couple when we got out of the maze). The knee swelling seems to have gone down, but my upper back could use something.  Maybe some Biofreeze.

Not sure what tomorrow is going to bring. We have gaming in the afternoon, and the plan is to get our third gym day done for the week.  If we’re feeling ambitious, we might do our zoo walk, but I think we’re going to play it by ear and plan our day based on how we feel in the morning. It was a fun day, and I’m going to cap it off with a shower, some horror movies, and some knitting.


Winter’s Peeking In

Today, it was cold.

It seems to have come on pretty sudden.  A couple weeks ago we were having 90 to 100+ temperatures, and today it dropped considerably. Right now, it’s 52 degrees and possibly raining. My Weather Channel desktop says it’s raining, but I can’t always trust it. And I’m not going outside to check  because there are people having a shouting fight upstairs and there’s no way I’m getting near that.

I used to love summer and I still prefer warmth to cold. The cold just makes me crabby (most of my friends are the opposite; the heat makes them irritable).  But this time of year is awesome, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really grown to appreciate it. When I lived in Michigan, I hated fall because it was nothing more than the gateway to snow and ice.  I don’t know if it’s because the winters are milder in Kansas, but I’m completely loving this season right now.

Fall means warm drinks and the holidays. It means Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinners, and Christmas preparations (I went several years ignoring the holidays, but I’m excited about them again this year). Chef Felber makes some awesome chili, and once fall sets in, it’s like an open invitation to make chili, eat chili, share chili with your friends, make chili houses with little Frito Lay stick people…okay, maybe not that, but you get the picture. It’s chili and warm soups and crock pot meals and hot apple cider.

It’s the season to start knitting again and to drive around and look at the leaves. For my husband, it’s classes and midterms. For me, it’s the yarn hop, plans to visit family, and a reason to break out my knock off “snuggy.”  It’s football season, too, which I never follow, but will inadvertently find myself in a situation to watch a game on TV and will then proceed to get into it like I’m Team X’s number one fan.

Today I lunched in my car, something I’m considering doing all winter long as a means to get away from work and clear my head. I started with the windows down, but they eventually went up due to the chill. I chatted with SV for a half hour, then knit for a half hour. I still wasn’t prepared for the lower temperature when I got out of the car to head back into work, but I wasn’t hating it either.

I just hope that we don’t fall right into snowy times, and that Mom Nature gives us a few more weeks of this.

(Also, the shouting seems to have died down, but someone is stomping around above us…or moving a body. Not sure which).