Pilot Staff Writer

It's that time of year again. The autumn chill is in the air and little feet are scampering through the pumpkin patch, looking for that perfect pallet upon which to carve their artistic delights.

Toddlers and pumpkins just go together; they're both round and close to the ground.

Becky Tryon and Wade Hutchens manage the pumpkin patch at Lazy Diamond Nursery in Fort Dick. Cars and buses full of elementary school students and preschoolers visit the patch each year.

andquot;We started in 1996,andquot; said Tryon. andquot;We made $27 the first year. We bought books with the money and donated them to the library.andquot;

Tryon said the pumpkin patch quickly became well known through word-of-mouth and by 1998, classes started making field trips to the patch.

andquot;We have had 950 kids visit this year,andquot; she said.

Tryon and Hutchens bring in bails of hay, set up scare crows and add other decorations to the patch.

andquot;We like to make it look festive for picture-taking opportunities,andquot; Tryon said.

andquot;We stick with second-graders and younger, they really appreciate the patch.andquot;