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The Pumpkinfest at Thompson's Farm



The Pumpkinfest at Thompson's Farm
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.58

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    admittance, fresh-pressed, grotesque, half-eaten, reels, sagebrush-covered, scarecrow, squashes, tree-ripened, you-pick, contraption, sagebrush, splat, antique, pose, opening
     content words:    Washington State, Miss Kitty, Farmer Thompson, Then Farmer Thompson


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The Pumpkinfest at Thompson's Farm
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     Thompson's Farm is so quiet most of the year that some people say you can hear the corn growing. The farm is quiet all winter, spring, and summer. When autumn rolls around, Thompson's Farm is transformed from an ordinary country farm into an old-fashioned playground for children of all ages. The farm sits in the middle of an apple orchard at the base of a sagebrush-covered hill in the center of Washington State. It is quiet on Thompson's farm until harvest season begins. It is quiet on the farm as the apples and pears ripen on ancient trees beside the farmhouse. It is quiet while Mildred, the Guernsey cow, and Miss Kitty, the black and white cat, wander in and out of the tractor barn.
 
2     It is quiet on the farm as tiny jack-be-little pumpkins emerge like orange polka dots after the first fall frost. Only the birds seem to notice as pumpkins turn from yellow flowers into tiny green balls. It is quiet as cornstalks grow taller and taller and turn from green to gold under the autumn sun. Sunflowers grow and bloom, pears ripen and fall, and all kinds of apples quietly turn rosy red in the fall on Thompson's Farm. It is quiet on Thompson's Farm as the pumpkins grow into giant balls of deep orange fruit on long, prickly vines. Squashes and gourds quietly grow into grotesque shapes that people will pick and use for decorations.
 
3     When autumn comes to Thompson's Farm, a beehive of activity begins. Farmer Thompson must get his tractor ready to pull the hayride trailer. He cleans his doughnut cutters in preparation for making homemade pumpkin doughnuts. He must clean out his wheelbarrows and dust off the tools in his antique blacksmith shop for groups of visitors who come to have fun and buy fruit. He has to clean up his cider press so he can make homemade cider for visitors to taste or take home in gallon jugs.
 
4     Little round baskets sit on the table to carry you-pick walnuts. A rusty old scale sits under a tent next to two full bins of Gala and Jonagold apples for sale. Visitors pick their pumpkins and put them on the antique scale. They will pay Farmer Thompson by the pound for apples and pumpkins of all sizes. He is busy getting ready for opening day of the Pumpkinfest on Thompson's Farm.
 
5     Farmer Thompson sets up scarecrow musicians who appear to be playing lively reels, hoedowns, and waltzes. When the music begins, little children will square dance to the music after the hayride. Farmer Thompson spends extra time on his very special secret project. There is no admittance into his work barn until his secret project is ready to go.

Paragraphs 6 to 11:
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