One of the vineyards here has a big corn maze each year. Most of the time, dogs aren't allowed on the farm, but one day each fall they have a day when dogs are allowed and part of the ticket sales go to one of the local humane societies. Barley and I had never been before, but I had spent a lot of the weekend grading, so when I realized that Sunday was the dogs-allowed day, we had to check it out.
I was a little worried about whether we'd actually be able to enjoy the day. I was envisioning a maze just full of dogs and kids and thought that we might pull into the parking lot, get out of the car, and then immediately have to get right back in the car and leave. But I decided we'd go as soon as they opened and hopefully other people would wait until after lunch. We were in luck. There four beautiful newfoundlands when we got there, but they were well behaved and calm.
The maze was a reading-themed design, so I was especially excited to try it out. Who wouldn't want to get lost inside of a bookworm? I had all of these visions of how cute the map on my Garmin GPS watch would look when I uploaded our walk and what a cute picture it would be for the blog--it looks NOTHING like this map, so here's the map instead.
Reading the map was a little confusing to me. I couldn't figure out if the white spots or the lines were the actual path--the actual path didn't seem to match up with either one--but there were handy little signs throughout the maze to tell you which way to go if you got lost, so I just let Barley lead the way. I figured we'd eventually find our way out, so I let her decide which turns we should take.
|Barley's using her ears to point the way.|
Sometimes, Barley tried to make her own path, but when I told her I didn't think we'd both fit between the rows of corn, she would get back on the actual trail.
Throughout the maze, you could do a scavenger hunt to find items from different books. We found a lot of them, but Barley was especially excited to find Katniss's bow and Harry Potter's glasses and wand.
We weren't completely relaxed in the entire maze because we couldn't scan our surroundings as easy as usual. Corn is really tall and the walls of the maze were thick, but we could still hear the sounds of kids that we couldn't see. Luckily, the walls were also thick enough that even though we could hear the kids, they couldn't see us and try to wiggle through the rows to get to Barley.
We did the corn maze twice because Barley guided us through amazingly quickly the first time and there weren't many people on the farm yet. But there were lots of other attractions that we got to enjoy as well. There was also a rock maze that you could walk through. We liked that because it was easy to see everything around us and when kids entered the maze, we could easy walk over the "walls" and go somewhere else.
The best part of the day, though, we visiting the farm animals. On Monday, I gave a sneak preview of these interactions with a few photos of Barley and her new frenemy the emu, but there were other animals that she enjoyed far more.
There was a flock of sheep (+ 1 alpaca) on the farm and their field was way off from the rest of the attractions, so there were no other people or dogs around. By the time we'd finished the corn maze the second time, there were a lot of kids running around the main part of the farm, so we were happy to find a quiet spot.
|Alpacas are my very favorite things.|
Barley was so excited to see the sheep and hear them bleating. I've always wanted my little border collie mix to have a chance to see sheep--we saw a scarecrow one year at the arboretum that was from a sheep farm and was covered in wool and Barley immediately crouched when she saw it, but that's the closest we'd ever been to a sheep. Barley loved seeing them. She immediately sat down, her ears perked like they do when she's most focused, and she just watched them.
|I'm the one that made the leash not loose here trying to get at an angle I could get her and the sheep in the picture. She was being a good girl and sitting nicely and I made her look like she was pulling--poor pup!|
We walked around the farm a little more, but when we saw the sheep were back, we went back to visit them one last time. Barley was a little nervous as you can see from her lack of ears in the next pictures because I made her turn her back on the sheep, which she did not want to do at all. The sheep were really interested in Barley, too, and kept creeping closer and closer.
Barley got lots and lots of treats between pictures and after I got a few, we decided we couldn't top that experience and it was time to go home.
My sweet little girl is not cut out for life on the farm. We spent less than two hours wandering around, but she immediately came home and snuggled up in her nest in the spare bedroom for most of the rest of the day and I got back to grading papers.
What fall adventures have you been using to wear out your pups? We'd love to hear about them! Happy FitDog Friday!