The other night I had a dream I was chasing snowflakes and experiencing what I call “pure joy.” I was just glad it was snowing. It was a happy dream. However, I’m not always so happy in real life about snow.

In the dream, I was feeling like a kid again, like when there were blizzards in Wisconsin and we’d run outside and play after the snowstorm.


The other night I had a dream I was chasing snowflakes and experiencing what I call “pure joy.” I was just glad it was snowing. It was a happy dream. However, I’m not always so happy in real life about snow.

In the dream, I was feeling like a kid again, like when there were blizzards in Wisconsin and we’d run outside and play after the snowstorm.

I also experienced that kind of joy in my waking hours last Saturday when my adult kids and I returned to Walters’ Pumpkin Patch near Burns for our annual pumpkin-hunting trek. We were doing something for the pure joy of it — hunting pumpkins and jumping on the air pillow.

On our way there, I said, “Who’s excited about going to the pumpkin patch? Who’s quivering with excitement?”

“You are,” my eldest, Rodger, said.

I’m glad my sons humor me by going, and we always have a good time.

I don’t know exactly how we do it, but every time we go (three times in all now), we manage to purchase 11 pumpkins. The pumpkins are sold by the pound with the fancy Martha Stewart-type orbs selling for, I believe, 50 cents a pound this year. I’m not positive about that, though. The regular orange pumpkins sell for less per pound, I think. The prices were kind of a blur to me this year.

Opening day at the patch was Saturday, and we brought along our pumpkin-hunting supplies — knives and gloves. When you go, bring gloves for whoever is cutting the pumpkins off the vines and something to cut the pumpkins with. Also, wearing long pants is a good idea. The pumpkin vines have prickly things that can get into your skin.

Another word to the wise: Pumpkins appear smaller in the field than they do on your front porch or on your dining room table, so be careful when picking them out.

This year, I purchased two medium-sized orange pumpkins with cool stems Rodger and Andy picked out; two grayish green orbs (my favorites); one each of medium-sized and large white pumpkins; two small orange ones; a very bright orange orb with funky bumps on it for my sister; a small peach-colored pumpkin with bumps; and a white one shaped like a ghost. What a haul!

I do like running around the patch looking for pumpkins. Walters’ has a variety of them, from small to giant, and, as you can probably tell from the description of our pumpkins, in a variety of colors and shapes.

Walters’ Pumpkin Patch is owned and operated by Carroll and Becky Walters, who provide a friendly atmosphere. The patch takes up 20 acres on the 1,700-acre farm.

When we arrived Saturday, the patch was hopping with visitors and workers. When you arrive, you pay admission, which gives you the run of the place. From the admission booth, people can visit the gift shops that have holiday items for sale; buy refreshments and sit outside in the very nice eating area; take a wagon ride to the pumpkin patch or grab a small hand-pulled wagon and take it to the patch themselves (we did that); and take part in a variety of other activities.

This year, the patch has expanded the seating area and combined the concessions and special food products into one pantry, according to the patch’s Web site. Food sold includes hog dogs, roasted corn, hot chocolate, cotton candy, popcorn, pumpkin chili, pumpkin ice cream, apple cider, roasted pumpkin seeds and nachos.

Among the other activities is the jumping pillow, new this year. It’s like a trampoline at ground level. Yes, my kids and I jumped on it. It’s really big, and it was a blast!

Other attractions and activities include the O’Play Corral, bag swing, Mountain Boo, Punkin Chunkin, pedal cars, barrel train, hay jumps, No-Left-Turn Maze, wildflower trail, fishing, treehouse play area, pedal boats, Pumpkin Cannon, Trike Track, corn maze and petting zoo. There’s a slight additional fee for some of the attractions.

The patch is a place for the entire family to go. It also would be a great “date” activity for couples during the weekend or just for groups of adults to have a good time.

Also, it’s a good idea to bring a camera, as the patch Web states, “We're not just for kids, and we're not just a field of orange pumpkins ... We harvest memories.”

And they do, in more ways than one. There’s a variety of locations for people to pose for photos with scary creatures, like witches, and a pumpkin with a chart to show the growth of children year after year (or possibly the shrinkage of adults). It was fun for us to take advantage of the “photo-opp” settings. The place does make memories for the Nugent family.

Events

Although the patch is open every day through Halloween, there also are several events planned during that time. These include:

• Monarch Watch — Through Wednesday. The monarch butterfly path goes through Walters'’ Pumpkin Patch.

• Goblin Egg Hunt — This Saturday and Sunday. The hunt starts at 1 p.m. for all ages to search for hundreds of gourds hidden all over the farm.

• Picture Day — Oct. 4 and 5. Have a family portrait taken with the giant pumpkin setting by Bill Rebstock of Fulmer’s Studio.

• Starbuck’s Coffee Night — 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 11. Starbuck's will host a Coffee Night, a dollar a cup, at the Walters'' Pumpkin Patch. For every cup of coffee sold, all proceeds will go to the Leukemia Society. Admission is $5 for adults on this special evening with no other coupon offerings.

• All you can carry — Oct. 25. For $15, pick all the pumpkins you can carry.

Night time attractions

The patch offers other attractions at night:

• Flashlight Maze — 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Bring your own flashlight. Admission is $8 per person. The daytime general admission to the pumpkin patch does not inlcude the nighttime maze.

• Haunted Cannery — Opens Oct. 3 and is open from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 1. Admission is $13 per person or $12 if you bring a canned donation for the Food Bank.

Hours

Walters'’ is open every day through Halloween. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays with limited attractions; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 1 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Weekday admission is $6, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday admission is $8. There is a coupon on the Web at www.walterspumpkinpatch.com for general weekend admission.

“We spend all winter dreaming up new activities and treats for your enjoyment, so that every year is a memorable experience for you and your family,” the Walters'’ Pumpkin Patch Web site states.