Just gourd-eous

Pumpkin Funland in Pine Grove inspires, entertains

 Entry to the corn maze, with “Wizard of Oz” theme, awaits visitors at Rasmussen Farms near Odell.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Entry to the corn maze, with “Wizard of Oz” theme, awaits visitors at Rasmussen Farms near Odell.

Looking for ideas for your Halloween pumpkins?

The most imaginative such source to be found in the Gorge is probably Pumpkin Funland at Rasmussen Farms, which opens Oct. 1.

Look for a new theme — “Children’s Literature” — and the same old fun for the whole family.

From the first of October until Nov. 11, the Hood River, farm is host to a unique world of characters crafted by the Rasmussen staff with creativity and humor from pumpkins, vegetables, squash, gourds and other items from the farm and greenhouse.

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A PUMPKIN “BFG” (“The Big Friendly Giant,” by Roald Dahl, inset), stands among many children’s book figures (Harry Potter, Straw-berry Shortcake, Curious George, Tom Sawyer, to name a few others) in Pumpkin Funland.

Families from throughout the region find touring Pumpkin Funland an unforgettable autumn experience. The display has earned a “must-see” designation from Sunset magazine, and has been listed on the nickjr.com website as one of the nation’s top Halloween attractions.

This year’s theme offers everyone the opportunity to become reacquainted with favorite stories and characters from beloved kids’ books. Winnie the Pooh will be there. Tigger, too! Travel to the mysterious island with Max, and discover “Where the Wild Things Are.” Learn about the adventures of “Curious George” in the big city. Share the wisdom imparted by the octopus to “The Rainbow Fish.” See what that “Cat in the Hat” is up to now! There are lots more, too.

Pumpkin Funland is guaranteed to enthrall everyone — and to put a smile on every face.

Rasmussen’s corn maze is known throughout the region for its tall stalks and scenic setting. Getting “lost” in it is fun for all. The theme this year is “Wizard of Oz.” Find tableaus of Dorothy and Toto’s adventures in a strange land — and the friends and foes they encountered along the way — among the twists and turns of the elaborate maze.

Admission to Pumpkin Funland and the corn maze is free.

But that’s not all: Sports lovers will find a fun activity at Rasmussen Farms —Pumpkin Bowling. No special shoes are required.

Rasmussen Farms has one of the biggest pumpkin patches around. Not only are there thousands of pumpkins in the U-pick pumpkin patch from which to choose, but the pumpkin field offers panoramic views of mountains and farmlands, making finding a pumpkin a truly memorable experience for young and old. Or, for those in a hurry, select one ready-picked and ready to carve.

The pumpkin field is dotted with huge traditional sunflowers ready for cutting, too. Take one home to dry for seeds — your backyard birds or favorite sunflower seed enthusiast will thank you.

Rasmussen Farms also sells an extensive selection of fall fruit and produce, gourmet food products, and more in the sales barn. Home decorators will find all kinds of marvelous natural autumn decorating ideas and materials.

Rasmussen Farms is “Gourd Central,” with a huge selection of shapes and colors, including colorful fresh gourds which can be used for decorating now, or dried and painted later. There are also ready-dried gourds perfect for art projects or to be made into bird houses. And until frost time, head to Rasmussen Farms’ flower gardens to select a custom bouquet.

Pumpkin Funland, and the other fun autumn attractions at Rasmussen Farms will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Nov. 11. There is no charge for admission or parking. Please leave pets at home.

The farm is easy to find at 3020 Thomsen Road, six miles south of Hood River. Call Rasmussens at 541-386-4622 or 1-800-548-2243 for information, or visit RasmussenFarms.com.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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