Day in the Country + The Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday! My weekend has been a good one and even though it started with no plans on the calendar, we made some last minute decisions that have kept it active while still being a relaxing weekend at home after being away for the last 3 weekends in a row.

On Friday, I didn’t get home until around 6 because I was on a roll grading papers and getting my copies made for next week (I’m a seventh grade math teacher), so we decided to go out for dinner. We headed over to Solvang to go to Chomp, a diner-style burger place because we were both wanting something inexpensive and easy. They had their scarecrow out and decorated Chompy, their resident T-Rex (I have no clue if that’s its real name, but that’s what I’m calling it).

Garden Variety Runner // Chomp

After devouring my veggie burger and eating way too many fries, we walked around town for a while. It was overcast, but warm out so we enjoyed browsing the fall decorations at Valley Hardware and window shopping.

On our way back to our car we stumbled upon The Book Loft and it is an absolutely amazing book store. It looks small from outside, but it is packed on the inside – new books are on the first floor and the upstairs has used and antique books as well as a Hans Christian Andersen Museum.

This is only a small part of the upstairs, but that a printing press on the left and a bust of H.C. Andersen straight ahead.
This is only a small part of the upstairs, but that’s a printing press on the left and a bust of H.C. Andersen straight ahead.

The museum was just closing when we got there, so I only quickly got to poke my head in, but I definitely want to go back soon to spend a few hours looking through the museum and their shelves upon shelves of new and old books.

We came home and crashed on the couch to watch some TV before heading to bed. I also made the very last minute to sign-up for the Los Olivos “Day in the County” 5k Fun Run the next morning. The race start was about a minute away from our front door and the $20 registration fee goes towards beautifying our hometown, so even after just running a half marathon last weekend, I couldn’t resist signing up.

I woke up naturally at 6:28am before my alarm went off on Saturday morning (I get up at 5 or earlier on weekdays, so this was sleeping in for me). I got ready and then headed out around 7 to pick-up my bib from the registration table. Adrian, my hubby, was still sore after his first half marathon and said he didn’t think he wanted to run, but as I turned around from the registration he was behind me dressed to run and eating a banana. YES! He was going to run too…my plan to slowly convert him into a runner is working 😉 The race didn’t start until 8 so we went back home to pin our bibs and I took Winston out for a short walk before we headed over to the start.

There were only about 20 or so runners, so the race was really small and relaxed. Adrian and I ran together for the first mile. Thankfully, he wasn’t with me later because I ran the wrong way and added an extra loop on to the course. I was all alone and I knew that they said it was an out and back course except one loop, but there was no one in front of or behind me at that point and I decided I’d rather run further then find out I cut the course short. Darn! I was doing pretty well too, so I was bummed when I realized a little before hitting mile 3.

Garden Variety Runner // A Day in the Country 5k

Thankfully, of all the races to get lost on, a fun run is the time to do it! Adrian ended up finishing less than a minute or so before me since he didn’t make any wrong turns. We took a quick walk to check out the vendor tents as they were setting up before the crowds came in, then headed home, took a quick picture, stretched, and showered.

Garden Variety Runner

After showering we headed over to Corner House Coffee to have a real breakfast before watching the parade.

Delicious breakfast burrito (since there's a chance I may get asked, we eat almost exclusively vegan at home, but we do eat eggs and cheese when out).
Delicious breakfast burrito (since there’s a chance I may get asked: we’re vegetarian – while we eat almost exclusively vegan at home, we do eat eggs and cheese when out).

Then we walked over to check out the parade. It featured some old cars, equestrian groups, local politicians, and schools, but the grand finale (especially for the little ones in the crowd around us) was definitely the tractors.

Garden Variety Runner // A Day in the Country Parade
2 of about 8 or so tractors that finished out the parade.

Here’s a picture of one half of the vendor lined street from later in the day when the sun peeked out for a bit. There were a bunch of cute local stores that set up tents as well as local artists and artisans.

Garden Variety Runner

We hung around the house for a bit and got some chores done before heading out to the Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch in the afternoon. We had driven past it a few times over the past couple of weeks and I couldn’t wait to have time to actually go this weekend. The pumpkin patch has a ton of different varieties of pumpkins and gourds and much more reasonable prices than this city-girl is used to seeing at a pumpkin patch (I bought my pumpkins from the grocery store in recent years because I couldn’t justify spending over $20 for a pumpkin). It has some setups especially meant for photo-ops, which made it a family portrait and Instagrammers’ dream – we definitely saw lots of cute toddlers dressed for pictures and some couples our age in full make-up and flannel for solid social media shots 🙂

But, I didn’t even mention the best part – the pumpkin patch has a corn maze!

Time to go get lost!
Time to go get lost!

I have never been in a corn maze before and I was really excited. It was huge and I think we definitely did a few extra loops (guess that was yesterday’s theme!). It was a little rough to do all that wandering after a race – whoops! But, I was psyched to cross that off me bucket list…speaking of bucket lists, I’ll be back to update my Fall Bucket List later this week. We also found THE.BEST.PUMPKIN.EVER.

Y'all can stopping looking, we already found the best pumpkin.
Y’all can stopping looking, we already found the best pumpkin.

I mean, look at this stem…

Garden Variety Runner

I can’t wait to carve it and [per tradition and my obsession] watch Hocus Pocus tonight!

After the fun at the pumpkin patch, we came home and I made another throw-together veggie and grain bowl out of the things in our fridge and pantry.

Harvest blend grains, peas, and roasted portobello mushrooms with a walnut pesto sauce.
Harvest blend grains, peas, and roasted portobello mushrooms with a walnut pesto sauce.

We also had our first rain of the season!! This is a huge deal here – it’s been a long dry summer for us in Central and Southern California and I love rain (at least California style rain that never sticks around long enough to get sick of it).

Since it was raining and this weekend became all about all things fall, I decided to whip up pumpkin bread for breakfast today using Trader Joe’s boxed pumpkin bread mix.

Garden Variety Runner // Pumpkin Bread

I always sub in chia seeds “eggs” for eggs in Trader Joe’s bread mixes (I swear they make their cornbread even better), but this time I also subbed in pumpkin puree for the oil. I think that was a bit of a mistake…it made it too pumpkin-y? I guess it just made the pumpkin a little overpowering – oh well – let’s be honest, it won’t stop me from eating it!

Finally I kicked off today by watching some morning news shows, eating said pumpkin bread, and loving on Winston.Garden Variety Runner

After a slow morning, I got ready for a run and leashed up Winston for a pre-run walk. It started raining again (YAY) as we were on our walk, so I came home and changed into a light running rain jacket before leaving on my run. This ended up being a BIG mistake! It was lightly raining, but it was warm enough out that I think the jacket was just as wet on the inside from sweat as it was on the outside from rain; not the best situation.

Garden Variety Runner // 5 Mile Run

Maybe my expectations were too high because I usually love running in the rain, but this was not the greatest run. I was overheating because of the jacket situation and my calf was feeling a bit overworked after the 5k yesterday, so I ended up cutting short what I had hoped to be a 6-8 mile run. Still better than no run! Hopefully I have a lot more opportunities to redeem running in the rain for me in the near future!


Are you getting a pumpkin this Halloween?

Have you ever done a small local race? I used to love the ones put on by Zombie Runner in Palo Alto when I lived in San Jose.

1 Comment

  1. Sarita Gralin

    October 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Funny, the very first image that came to mind when I looked at your pumpkin was that dark-haired witch in Hocus Pocus and the way she wore her hair 😉
    Looks like a great weekend! Love that bookstore.

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