Switched to a quick Bluey episode as I put on my sandals. Bluey's frustrated when she can't figure out how to ride her "Bike." Her dad points out her sister Bingo and two friends and how they manage to keep trying and figure out how to do something.
Rose called while Hogan was on. Craig would pick me up at 10:15 while she picked up Finley from soccer practice. Craig didn't pick me up at 10:15. Rose drove up to the curb at 10:30 with her family, claiming she hit the driveway as her husband prepared to come get me.
Thankfully, after that, there was no trouble anywhere. Saw a little traffic on Route 55, but other than that, it was smooth sailing all the way down to Mullica Hill. The country was beautiful here, mainly farms and newly-built tract houses amid sprawling fields of corn and wine grapes. Green oaks towered over red barns and open garages.
Craig pulled into the overflowing parking lot at Hill Creek Farms around 11. It was so full, he parked on the grass. So did our sister Anny, who came up from North Cape May with her six-year-old daughter Lilah and several of her friends and their parents from her dance class. Lilah looked so cute in her apple-print dress and glittery apple hair barrette! There were three other kids as well, a close friend of Lilah's and two toddlers. The little girl had the cutest green unicorn shirt and plaid skirt. (Anny's 17-year-old son Skylar was at work, and her 12-year-old son Collyn slept over a friend's house.)
While the adults got organized, the kids ran to all of the smaller activities in the back. There was a playground with huge tractor tires stacked and filled with sand for kids to play in, a wooden fire engine to slide down and climb around on, two wooden booths filled with old pots and colanders, and a sturdy pile of dirt with slides fastened to it. Khai loved letting a bag of rocks slide down a sluice and seeing what treasures he unearthed, while the other kids pumped water into a maze to race rubber ducks.
After we managed to get all the kids rounded up, we got in line for the tractor ride to the orchards and vegetable garden. A big man gave us bags and admonished us to only take apples from the trees with red or yellow-tipped poles, not the red or blue ones. Frankly, this turned out to be a misnomer. All of the trees were ripe, regardless of what poles they were on.
The tractor wound us down a dirt lane, past an already-fallow sunflower field, then down to a bumpy barely-there road through the orchards. Passing up Asian pears, we finally got off at the vegetable gardens. First on the list was picking peppers and eggplant. Khai grabbed a few long-hot peppers, but I don't do spicy. I snapped off three little round purple eggplants. Lauren loves Eggplant Parmesan; thought I might make it for her later this week or next week.
While the others gathered sunflowers, I followed Rose and her crew to the apple orchards. The trees were fairly low to the ground, enough for little hands to tug beautiful bright Galas and Gingergolds from the lowest branches. Lilah and her friend Molly wandered through the rows of trees as they lead me to the reddest, largest, and tastiest-looking fruit. When my bag was half-full, I figured that was enough and rounded up a bag of bigger apples for Anny and her family.
Paid for our produce at the store in the main building. In addition to more produce we didn't see like tomatoes, they sold baked goods and condiments made from said produce, like apple butter, apple cider, berry jam, pies, and honey from the many bees buzzing around the sunflowers. I added a tomato and a six-pack of apple cider donuts to my haul...and then went back for a half-gallon of apple cider after the small bottle I bought to wet my whistle proved to be the sweetest and most delicious I ever tasted. Craig took the kids back to the playground and to get water ice from a truck while we were inside.
We all finally headed out around 12:30, leaving Anny to take her crew on the little rainbow-colored barrel train kiddie ride. Once again, no trouble anywhere. Rose and Craig were a little nervous when their GPS directed them to the New Jersey Turnpike instead of Route 55, but they figured there must have been heavy traffic on 55. Rose bought chicken fingers and fries for the kids. I finished Finley's chicken fingers when she didn't want all of them.
(Oh, and Rose mentioned Jodie is now holding off putting the house on the market until after Lauren leaves.)
Put everything away when I got home, then made a Banana Smoothie while watching Match Game '76. Caught episodes from earlier in the week. One featured Don Sutton and Mary Wickes saying "happy birthday" to Charles' mother. The other returned Loretta Swit to the show for the first time since 1974, allowing Gene to treat her like a "new kid on the block" and give her a welcoming kiss!
Went down for a nap after that. Craig mentioned him and Finley taking them when they got home, and it sounded like a good idea to me. I had no other plans for this afternoon. Got up two hours later feeling at least a little bit better.
Felt good enough to do some writing afterwards. Gary, Sir Richard's oldest son, angrily explains his father's been put on trial for stealing the Queen's tarts. Nonsense, Brett and Duchess Marcia say. People kept sneaking tarts throughout the croquet game, including the boys and Knave Ira. They follow the upset teen to see if they can help.
Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while watching the fourth season finale of Hogan's Heroes. "Happy Birthday, Dear Hogan" has the guys putting on a surprise party for their Colonel and trying to figure out what they can get him. They think the information they've found will be a great gift...until it turns out to be part of a Getstopo trap.
Switched to the 2009 Strawberry Shortcake while doing the dishes. Berrikin Bloom creates "The Berry Big Harvest" when his machine shrinks or enlarges the produce as needed and speeds production. Orange Blossom insists she has everything under control at her general store, but the overwhelming stock proves to be more than she can handle. Strawberry is the one who finally convinces her that it's ok to let your friends help you every now and then.
(And yes, I remember 9/11. I honor the 20th anniversary of that disaster with this entry from 2015 that goes into more detail on that terrible day.)
Finished the night online after a shower with The Man Called Flintstone. I go further into the first feature-length outing for everyone's favorite "modern Stone Age family" at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.