Green Bluff 2014

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

I cannot begin to explain how excited I am to have my hometown traditions back, including one of my all-time favorites for Autumn…Green Bluff farms! Maybe you remember last year’s search for a pumpkin patch while living in Denver. It didn’t go so well, and I was left without a pumpkin or caramel apple and really without any kind of experience at all. Since moving back, I have been looking forward to this day to revisit my favorite farms on the bluff, Siemer’s and Harvest House. How I missed the expansive rolling hills that look out to the mountains and over the valleys, the live music and people-watching, the sweet smells of warm pumpkin donuts and caramel apples. Autumn never feels complete without a trip to Green Bluff with out family. In fact, I feel like our family photos taken there each year show our growth the best from little kids to adults.

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

Soon we will be carving our pumpkins and this year we will be trying to use the pumpkin seeds to bake and eat as a snack! It seems crazy that we have never tried that, but it will be a new and fun experience to actually use all of those pumpkin guts. :)

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

 

Harvesting Lavender

Harvesting Lavender | The Urban Pig

It has been a HOT summer! The days have all quickly warmed up to high 90’s and even 100 degrees! One morning I was scrolling through my Facebook and saw a post from Green Bluff, my favorite place to go, especially in the fall. They do harvests all year round, though, for things like cherries, apples, and even lavender. Their post mentioned a fun place called Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm (check out their website as they have great tips for growing lavender as well as recipes!), where you can cut your own handfuls and even buckets full of lavender! It sounded like an amazing way to spend the morning, even in the hot hot hot weather.

So we got out of the car and were quickly greeted by a lady who, from the look of her dark tanned skin, ran the business and did all of the care-taking of the lavender. She told us about the different kinds of lavender growing in her field, taught us the best way to test the smells (running your hands up a bundle of their stems), and showed us how to cut the lavender. Because lavender attracts bees which swarm around the plants, you use your foot to shake the plant a bit until the bees fly away. Then you grab a handful of stems, and cut them near the base by the leaves. We were able to mix and match the different kinds, although we had no idea what we were using them for, so we just picked whatever we liked or smelled good! It didn’t take long before we had an entire bucket full.

Harvesting Lavender | The Urban Pig

Harvesting Lavender | The Urban Pig

Harvesting Lavender | The Urban Pig

Harvesting Lavender | The Urban Pig

It was so peaceful out on the lavender farm. Because the weather was literally melting people, there weren’t many others braving the heat, so we had the farm basically to ourselves. When we stopped talking, all you could hear was the humming of thousands and thousands of bees. Although I am quite terrified of bees (they like to sting me for literally no reason), it was actually a soothing sound to hear all of them buzzing away doing their natural work. But you couldn’t quite frolic through the fields like I always imagined doing, without getting stung hundreds of times. And the smells…it was by far the best. To breathe in the air and get a sweet lavender scent filling your nose was very calming. It filled the air, but I was happy to take home even just a bag!

Take your chance to harvest some lavender yourself, unlike me, the lavender loves the summer heat!

Bowl & Pitcher Hike

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

I was super excited when one of my best friends asked me if I wanted to go on a hike and have a picnic at the Bowl and Pitcher, a popular spot along the Spokane river for camping and trails for walking and biking. It is a place I have visited many times before, but never really explored the paths to realize how large it is. We started wandering just around lunchtime, and after choosing some random paths, we were on our way. There were large rock mountains everywhere, and we got curious about how high they went and what was up before. So, we started climbing. At the top, we ran across an open space and a road that we saw a couple bikers riding along.

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

We figured we should follow them and see what they were heading toward. But, it turned out that the road they were traveling was a bit long and we had no idea where we were. We kept walking at this point because there were no signs or trails to navigate. After walking further up hill for a few more miles, we came across a scenic viewpoint, looking over the river, the forests, and the city in the distance.

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

Here, at the viewpoint, was a map. It appeared that we had walked several miles already, and the next closest thing was an equestrian center, a mile away. I remember my mother-in-law telling me about the paths of the Bowl and Pitcher — the one on the right (which we took) went into the woods, and the one on the left took you to the equestrian center. I figured, then, we must be close. So we continued down the road to the equestrian center, catching up on life and talking about future events. It felt like we were walking forever, but we saw a lot of pretty areas along the way.

When we finally reached the equestrian center, we were starving, but we found another map. We thought we had to be getting close back to the wooden bridge that would get us across the river and to the parking lot (where our food was waiting for us in the car). But after viewing the map, we had totally overshot the bridge and had a long hike back to the park. We memorized the trail we would need to take — two intersections where we would turn left on both — and headed off back into the woods. The trails seemed hardly used, and it turns out, there was more than just the two intersections the map had shown. We kept taking lefts anyway, and we got lucky enough to end back up on the right path, following the curves of the river. By the time we got back to the wood bridge, we had probably walked a total of at least 6 miles (which was more than either of us had anticipated), but it was a fun adventure nevertheless. We had built up an appetite and enjoyed the rest of our afternoon dipping our feet in the river and munching on picnic-y snacks.

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

How I love taking adventures and chatting with good friends! And how I love being back within nature’s reach!

Calling All Locals: Help Us Find A Pumpkin Patch!

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Remember how I was practically drooling over the thought and excitement of going to a pumpkin patch this last weekend? Well, it was a total fail and letdown. My friends and myself all piled in the car, drove an hour and a half, and ended up on an empty old farm that charged to see… an empty old farm. Needless to say, we turned right back around and drove an hour and a half back home. I was pretty bummed.

I thought I had done my research. I looked at websites that listed different pumpkin patch farms all over Colorado. The one we attempted to go to looked the best — it seemed like they offered at all. But they didn’t.

So, since my research obviously didn’t work out, I’m calling on the help of all locals. Help us find our new pumpkin patch tradition! We would love a farm where…

  • it is open more than 1-2 days a year
  • has free or cheap admission/parking (if I just want to walk around and enjoy the season, I don’t want to pay too much on top of paying for food and a pumpkin!)
  • you can pick the pumpkins from the field, not out of a box
  • they have tractor rides
  • you can get lost in a corn maze, big enough for adults
  • they have yummy food, or at least hot cocoa and caramel apples
  • as a bonus, they have vendors or a gift shop with local crafts and art

Is there anything in Colorado like this?! We are open to any and all suggestions! In the meantime, I will be sitting here dreaming of Green Bluff. Here are some ideas of what a real pumpkin patch looks like! Our favorite farms on Green Bluff are Harvest House and Siemers. You can drive, and sometimes walk, from farm to farm, picking your favorite items for each one!

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[all photos from green bluff and harvest house facebook pages]

Since Last Sunday

Since Last Sunday | The Urban PigA visit to the pumpkin patch was definitely in order for the weekend. It’s a family tradition, I think, for many people to go to the farms, pick pumpkins from the field, drink cider and hot cocoa, eat caramel apples, run through corn mazes, take a tractor ride; all of that autumn harvest stuff. Greenbluff in Spokane, my hometown, has some of the most amazing sprawling farms, and they continue to grow and add events each year. It’s by far the best. Being new to Colorado, I haven’t found the local “greenbluff” comparison, but I’m definitely going to try! I sort of refuse to buy pumpkins from the grocery store, or ones that have already been picked from the farms. I want to be the one picking it from the farm!

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year. Wearing scarves, hats, and mittens, and bundling up in layers of jackets, and still needing Connor to warm up my nose is just the best. It’s already snowed here once in Colorado, and that was the strangest thing. I was worried that the fall season was going to get skipped, but I thought wrong. In the last few weeks, the colors of the trees and bushes have all changed. The oranges and reds cover the ground, and it is absolutely beautiful with a backdrop of blue and purple mountains. I now know why it is called “Colorful Colorado,” despite the plain green and white license plates. I’m hoping to get out this week and take some pictures and spend some time taking in the beauty of nature here! Stay tuned.

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