October is the perfect month to visit the apple farms in Southern California. One of our favorite places is Riley's Apple Farm in Oak Glen, CA. On a beautiful October day, I headed on a family field trip with my two kids.
My plan was to meet up with a group of friends and their kids for a fun filled day of picking apples and drinking cider. The drive was really easy because we made a few stops to rest and stretch our legs. My two little ones were very cooperative and super excited to see apples on a tree.
On the way there, I encouraged my boys to look out the window and tell me what they saw. Making fun games out of reading road signs and giving directions helps pass the time with longer travels. I gave a few instructions on signs to look for and how to read them. My plan was to cover maps, roads and apple education all in one day. Of course, I made it into a fun game with music and dance (light movement). The dance was more like moving your upper body to the song while in your car seat.
As we drove through the cities, the boys would point out funny signs or things that were different. As we approached Beaumont, I suddenly heard my boys say, ”Mom look at those trucks? There are a lot of them on the road! They look like the ones in the movies?” I looked over and there were several Military Humvee's driving down the freeway. It broke my heart to see the young faces inside those Humvee's. It gave me a lump in my throat. I decided to be brave and tell my boys about war, something I did not want to discuss. I explained that not everyone likes Americans so we have soldiers to protect us. The military Humvee's carry very brave soldiers, who fight for our freedoms. America needs them; otherwise without them we could not go on these field trips or any other fun adventures. I asked that they wave to the soldiers and wish them well. We said a little prayer and off we drove past them.
We finally got to our destination and headed up the mountain using my phones GPS. A few miles into the drive up the mountain, my cell service started to fade. We turned to the old Thomas Guide Map for the rest of the way, (always carry one). Up a winding road to Riley’s Apple Farm we went. No phone service meant I had no address or contact information. So I stopped at the first place that said Riley’s Farm.
It was so beautiful from the parking lot. The clean air, the waterfalls and all the trees that surrounded the farm. We walked up to the farm lawn there we saw people doing a civil war reenactment. It was really educational. I then realized that this was not the tour I had signed up to attend with my boys and the moms group. I went into the office and asked about where my group was stationed. They were not able to tell me, because they did not keep a list of the groups for all the different Riley Farms tours. The lady behind the counter told me that Riley’s owned several farms. She told me to start up the road and try the next one over. We all got back in the car and headed up to the next farm. I still did not have cell service, so calling anyone in my moms group was out of the question. As we drove to the next farm, we saw the moms from our group and were excited. We quickly parked the car and jumped into our farm tour.
At the farm, the kids learned many things. One of them was how to make rope and smooth out the loose threads. Next, they got on a hayride to visit the apple trees and pumpkin patch where the driver narrated to us about the farm. He would point to the apple trees and their history, sharing stories about the farms water system and how they cared for the apple trees. He also shared how they pruned the apple trees for easy picking. As we drove through the apple orchard listening to the history and how to care for apple trees, a little stream of water seemed to flow throughout the apple orchard. The scenery reminded me of the Little House on Prairie. Our final stop was feeding the mama pig that had just given birth to her babies. The driver feed her a fresh apple from one of the trees. All of the kids loved watching the pig family. After the hayride tour was over, we headed over to lunch.
The picnic tables on Riley’s Apple Farm were next to a wall of raspberry bushes. Large trees hangover as canopies to the picnic tables. In the distance, you could see the sun trying to share its rays of light. In the background, you could hear the stream of water traveling throughout the farm. We all sat and ate lunch surrounded in these wonderful conditions. After lunch, the kids played by finding rocks, leaves and sticks to use as toys. When the playing was over, we headed back to the apple orchard to do our apple picking. For only $2.55 per pound, you can pick your very own fresh apples and we did! Each child asked for a bag and off we went to pick apples in the apple orchard.
Walking up and down the rows of apple trees made the kids thirsty and tired. We paid for our apples, said our goodbyes, and headed home. As the kids said good-bye to Riley’s farm, our feet started to feel tired. Both kids fell asleep the minute I began to drive off. On the way home, there would be no dancing or singing. The only sound I heard from the back seat was snoring. The time flew by and it seemed to take only a few moments. We spent about seven hours in driving and walking around the farm but what an amazing day. Where does time go when you are having fun?
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