Harper’s school had a 4-day weekend for Columbus Day and though Dustin had to work, I was determined to make it a fun staycation for the 3 of us. One of the many things we did was spending a day at P6 Farms in Montgomery, Texas. We’ve been to other farms around Houston, but when I talked to Dustin that night I told him that P6 was my new favorite farm of all, hands down.
First of all, I bought the tickets online just before we left the house. Just before, as in, I was backing out of my garage, remembered, bought tickets on my phone, and then continued out into the street. Tickets at the gate are $16.95 (October 2018 prices, anyway) and the online price is $13.95 plus a $2.10 service fee. I realize you only save 90 cents per ticket, but I am all about saving a penny (or 90) here and there and it’s not like it’s hard to buy them online. Also, a lady I was talking to at the farm said she got super discounted tickets a month or so before the fall festival. Next year I’ll be on it.
So that’s my first tip: Buy tickets online. Early, if you can.
From the parking lot, as I slathered my children in sunblock to avoid another Destin situation, they were both already fired up as soon as they saw the cow train go by. So that had to be the first thing we did. Knowing Hudson wouldn’t be okay with riding just him and Harper, I went along too. I convinced Harper to ride behind us so I could try to get a cute selfie of all 3 of us… My selfie game is weak.
I honestly thought Hudson was going to like it (as long as I was there) and I thought he would be fine in the “cow” next to me, but he wasn’t so sure. No tears, he was just reeeealy unsure. Harper and I loved it though. Usually those things just go around in a circle on pavement. Blah. But this one went pretty quick, the trail went over a little hill, and it was sooo bumpy! I may need to see a chiropractor now, but it was fun being a kid on a cow train for a bit.
Tip #2: Wear sunblock.
There is a decent amount of shade from those big, beautiful oak trees, but you know that Texas sun is intense. Plus, October around here doesn’t always mean cooler temperatures and clothes that cover a lot of skin. October is basically summer with pumpkins. So while you’re at it, wear a little bug spray too.
Next on Harper’s agenda was the corn maze. I’ve always loved the idea of a corn maze, but I’ve never actually done one. Online I saw that their design this year is all about the Astros and is expected to take an average of an hour to complete. I’m all about the Astros as much as any other Houstonian, but I had pictured my children and me in the blazing sun with no breeze, lost in a corn maze for days on end. This was not how I planned to die. But they had employees at the entrance, so I figured I would humor her and we could go talk to them. If I told her the corn maze was not for us, her life would have been ruined. If they told her, she would have been totally cool and skipped off to the next attraction.
Little did I know, this is 2 mazes in one. A short and a long one. Obviously I caved, and we entered the short maze. Guys, this was the best thing ever. At first, I let Harper choose our route, totally ignoring the signs here and there.
After a while, we noticed the signs are a story! We then had to retrace our steps (or try to anyway) to start at the beginning. Each sign is a page from the book, Spookley, the Square Pumpkin and they are labeled 1 to however many pages there were. The signs were just far enough apart that it was a little bit of a challenge to find the next page, but it also totally upped the excitement factor – For Harper and for me! In the end, we probably took about 20-30 minutes to make it to the end (FYI: I’m really bad at estimating time).
Apparently, for the big maze they have maps, but you can get one on your phone too. They also have some sort of game where you have to try to find the missing Farmer Joe, and I assume it also helps you find your way in the right direction. Worst case scenario, they have a “corn cop” in a big tower keeping an eye out and he will send help to those who need it for whatever reason. I have no idea how in the world they make these elaborate mazes, but it is pretty incredible. And you know, Go ‘Stros!
My children of the corn.
It was so hot.
Next tip: Plan to get dirty.
This is not like when you go to the zoo dirty, because that isn’t really dirty. This is like, spending the day at a farm dirty. I saw so many sweet little white shirts with the overpriced pumpkin embroidery covered in dirt and God only knows what. This includes shoes too. I wouldn’t really say it was muddy, but there were definitely some very soft areas. And you know that soft, dusty dirt that billows up as you walk and then ingrains into your very soul? There was plenty of that too. It is, however, a perfect excuse to put your babies in cowboy boots. This is Texas, after all, and is there anything cuter than a toddler in boots? No. No there is not.
After the corn maze, we hit up the hay maze, the duck races, the tube slides, the roller slides, and tire mountain.
But Harper’s favorite was the rat rollers. Those were so simple and yet so entertaining for everyone! It was hilarious just to watch Harper try to just get the thing moving. Then, once she had it going, she couldn’t see where it ended and would slam into the bumper and tumble out. The best though was watching the adults try to do it and fall all over the place, or even better, try to roll themselves all the way around and inevitably crash. So. Funny.
It may be October, but it still feels like summer around here, so we got ourselves a couple lemonades and some pumpkin donuts.
Nothing like sugary heaven to celebrate this very confusing season. Concessions are typical festival prices, but surely you kind of expect that.
That brings me to my next tip: Bring a little cash.
Unlike most places, the admission ticket actually covers a lot of the activities. The only things not covered in admission are if you decide to stay late for Field of Screams, concessions and souvenirs, apple blasting, friendly fire, and pumpkin picking (you could go out to the patch for free, you just have to pay for the pumpkins you leave with). These were all things you would expect to have to pay extra for, so it wasn’t unreasonable. I know they took cards for concessions, but it was easier for me to pay cash for the extras.
After our pit stop, Harper wanted to try the jumping pillow we called, “the bubble thing.” They give them about 5 minutes per group and because they are smart, they split up the big kids from the littles. At first, I didn’t think 5 minutes was much time, but Harper didn’t even last that long before she needed a break. Her favorite part was how she could walk down to the edge, cover her feet in that soft, fine dirt, and then go jump and show me how “clean” they were! If you know me, you know I almost died right then and there. Both from laughter and… well, dirt. Remember tip #3? Embrace the dirt.
I have to mention something here. The vast majority of their employees were teenagers, or at least very young. Most places, that means nobody knows anything, they are all preoccupied with their phones, and they all hate their jobs.. and their lives… and you. Why are you here? But guys, these kids were awesome! I don’t know how they found them, but they actually seemed like they were having fun working there! They were playing with the kids, really getting into the pig races, narrating the hayrides with genuine enthusiasm, and best of all, smiling! Just seeing the employees walking around with a smile on their face can really make or break your experience. That, and the good old country music really made it a fun atmosphere. I mean, any place playing music from my own childhood is a good place to be.
From here, Harper had to go do the rat rollers again, where she made a new friend who happened to share the same birthday, making them “pretty much twins.” The twins then had to do the cow train, see-saw, hay maze and all the slides over and over again. I was so grateful Harper’s new sister also had a big brother who was willing to push them both in the wheelbarrow, because I knew that question was coming for me, and I already worked out once this week.
friend sister had to leave, we decided to check out the rides. You know those vintage fair rides that you loved as a kid? They have them! You can tell they are kept up, like everything at P6 Farms, but they kept the rust on them so you still get the full effect.
The Ol’ Tin Wheel
The Kiddie Whip
And the jeeps they called the Rock’n Willys. Hudson was so funny on those little jeeps. First, he was so excited about the steering wheels, then as they went around, he was fine for ¾ of each loop, but the ¼ where he could see me, he screamed. Every single round.
It was nearly time for the pig races, so we worked our way over there, checking out the animals on the way. They have the best chicken coop and rabbit houses I have ever seen. Hudson, of course, barked at every single animal he saw. We really need to work on those animal sounds.
Tip #… what number am I at? Doesn’t matter. Just get your seat for the pig races early.
It is hard to say exactly where the seats are best. If you sit in the middle, you can see the pigs hesitate, and then eventually get pushed into the water and splash their way across. But if you sit stage left, your littles can see the piggies running around in the pen before the show and see them just coming out of the water as they round the second bend. I don’t know why watching pigs running around in a circle is so funny, but it sure is! Harper’s favorites were the long-eared, long-legged breed. Wink, wink.
Okay, I take that back. Harper’s favorite part of the pig races was the end where they shoot candy from a cannon and there is utter chaos and I freak out because I can’t see where my kid went and when I do find her she is so excited about the tootsie rolls that she doesn’t even like.
I was thinking we were just about done for the day, so we headed out to the pumpkin patch. I was wondering how this pick your own pumpkin thing works because I’ve never actually picked a pumpkin off the vine. Do they just come off? Do I need to twist them or something? Luckily, the people at P6 Farms are smarter than me and the pumpkins are already cut. I suspect they “plant” a decent amount of ripe pumpkins out there every day. Harper never noticed that we weren’t really picking them and both my kids were totally into finding the perfect pumpkins. Hudson was so excited every time he came across one. Every single pumpkin was, “Ooooo! Ooooo!!” and then he’d try to pick it up. Smashed, moldy, it didn’t matter.
Next tip: Pick your pumpkin at the end of your trip, and bring a wagon, stroller, or strong person, to carry them all out with.
I had our jogging stroller which always doubles as a junk hauler and without that sucker there would have been no pumpkin picking for us. It was already a challenge to try to carry Hudson in one arm and a pumpkin in the other over all those muddy(ish) rows of vines, just to get it back to where the stroller was parked. And our pumpkins were fairly small. I saw some people trying to carry multiple decent sized pumpkins all the way back to the parking lot and it wasn’t pretty. They do have wagons for rent by the way, but I only saw them at the entrance. So there’s that.
As we were paying for the pumpkins, Harper decided that she did want to do the apple blaster after all. Luckily there were other people there to help because I didn’t even realize you have to pull the knob back to fully load the apple. I was wondering how it got all the way in there! Harper was excited to do it but scared of the sound of the blast so she wasn’t all that good. It’s hard to hold your ears and fire a cannon, after all. I could have helped her, but you only get 5 chances and I needed photographic evidence of this. Luckily for her, there was a man walking by who stopped and helped her hit one of the targets. She was so excited! How did I miss that moment?!
Another tip: Take your camera!
They have so many cute spots set up all over the farm for pictures. It’s like anywhere they have an empty spot they set up a backdrop. So you get the funny pictures of your cotton pickin’ children of the corn, and you can get the pretty ones of them with ALL the pumpkins! Plus, who doesn’t love a giant rocking chair?
This guy. That’s who.
My kids are both pickers.
This may not be a tip for you, per say, but if you’re looking for your good deed of the day, this is it. Whenever you are at a place like this, or anywhere really, and you see a single parent trying to take pictures of the children who inevitably run in opposite directions, offer to take the picture. Actually, even if there is more than one adult, take the picture of them all together. I usually do this anyway, but mostly as a bribe to get them to take our picture too. Any time I take the kids somewhere without Dustin I don’t bother with my camera. I’m not a photographer but I am kind of a camera snob because you just don’t get the same quality with a cell phone, I don’t care what you say. But even with just my phone to fiddle with, it was so hard to get pictures of my kids, let alone try to take a selfie with them. If someone had come up and offered to take a cell phone picture of the 3 of us, I would have been eternally grateful. But since that didn’t happen, this is the best we have.
I wasn’t going to go pick cotton with the kids since we had recently stolen some from a roadside field on a trip to visit family. There’s my shameless plug to follow me on Instagram. 😉 But the lady working the pumpkin patch register offered Harper a Ziploc bag to fill with cotton. At least this time I wasn’t afraid of getting arrested or something, so we weren’t in such a rush. I was afraid of those little twigs sticking out right at Hudson’s eye level, but somehow we all made it out with our eyeballs fully intact.
They don’t charge for the cotton, so some people came out with big boxes of cotton branches for their home decor. One thing you should know: That cotton came straight from the field. That means it could have little bugs in it. I learned this the hard way, but Harper’s cotton is currently hanging out in the garage, waiting for the bugs to relocate. Cotton plants are a new fascination for me. Obviously, I’ve always known it grew on a plant, but I’d never seen one in real life until recently. Isn’t it just the coolest thing ever?
Okay at this point we really did need to go, so we were working our way toward the exit, but they announced right as we were walking by that they were about to start the last hayride for the day. No surprise, we jumped on. This was probably something best done early in the day because they talk about the history and all the attractions as you go by, but my kids were more interested in shredding the hay bales anyway. I really liked how they take you behind the main attractions and you get to see a bit of the working part of the farm as well. This was just one of the many times I wished I had my real camera! How gorgeous is this place?!
We were so dirty and tired and sweaty and stinky at this point, but they were closing anyway so we didn’t have a choice but to leave. I do know that on Saturdays in October, after dark they have the Field of Screams. I don’t do scary and my kids are little so that wasn’t exactly our scene, but if they do it up the way they do the fall festival, it’s gotta be good… for those who like that sort of thing anyway.
You know you’ve had fun when you’re one of the only people left at closing!
My last tip is to go every year!
We have definitely found our new fall tradition, and I’m so sad that Dustin missed out this time. They had so many fun activities for everyone (I could have even seen Dustin and me going before we had kids) and I know that as the kids get older we’ll still have a blast every year. I’m already waiting anxiously for them to announce the dates for their Blooms and Berries Festival, and I’m wondering what the max age is for their farm camp. Forget Harper, I want to go!