Fall, family and Crock Pots 

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We recently hosted some friends and their families at the farm for dinner and a fall bonfire. Our kids’ football season is over. We had an afternoon to enjoy company and catching up. One of our friends’ farms is up in Northeast Arkansas. He was able to come because harvest was finally finished. It is always interesting to see each farmer’s take on the end of harvest season. In Iowa, the end of harvest is almost always celebrated with some version of Oktoberfest in the rural towns. Here in Arkansas, there are a lot of small-town fall festivals to celebrate the change in the season.

One of my favorite things about fall food, is that it is easy to make a batch of chili or chowder and put it in a slow cooker until it is time to eat. It is not fussy food but always delicious. We enjoyed watching our children play football and outdoor games in the cool fall air. The adults were able to visit without any drama. Kids of all ages can always seem to find something fun to do out at our farm.

When Halloween rolled around, we had to plan for where we were going to take the kids trick-or-treating this year. When you live in the country, the decision is more about which friends were we going to ask if we could crash in on their neighborhood for the night. This year was strange because our children were planning to go all different directions. Our older kids were going to host trunk-or-treat out of the back of one of our vehicles at a local church. Then they planned to go over to a friend’s house to finish off the night with scary movies. I was happy to see they still wanted to dress up and act like kids again.

My husband and I took our younger children into town to a neighborhood where some of our friends live. All the kids gathered up in their front yard for the big trek through the hilly neighborhood in Fayetteville, Ark. The costumes ranged from a cowboy to a shark and a minion to a motocross driver. They were cute and not too scary. After we parents had adequately documented the occasion with some group photographs, they were turned loose. 

My husband stayed at their home and helped the other dads pass out candy while enjoying a football game on an outdoor TV. I jumped in the golf cart and followed the children with another mom through the neighborhood. We had a costume malfunction and had to go back and make repairs with some safety pins. There were constant reminders to look before crossing the street. All-in-all it was a fun evening that ended with a pick-up game of football in their front yard. 

The kids were starving and thirsty after all that walking. I noted that the house host had also broken out her slow cooker and made tacos that were warm and ready. They piled in to eat dinner. There is just nothing better than a fix-it-and-forget-it meal situation when families get together. There are so many things I am thankful for this season.

I am thankful for family, freedom, and of course, my Crock Pot, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

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