I couldn’t bring myself to do September’s list of experiences to consume until today. I knew that the experiences would be mostly ones that would help usher in autumn, and I wasn’t ready. The boys went back to school today, and it’s time for me to accept that summer is pretty much over. The calendar may say it’s not fall yet, but the leaves on my front lawn and the neighborhood pool that closed last night tell me differently.

Don’t get me wrong. I love autumn, but giving my boys back to the school and having to settle into a more scheduled day is usually hard for my family. Now that the house is empty and the boys are in school, I can begin to imagine enjoying the many experiences that will bring.

Here are five experiences that will make the transition from summer into fall enjoyable.

Explore a corn maze. Cornmazesamerica.com can help you find a corn maze. (There’s a website for everything, isn’t there?) Some mazes are short and family friendly while others are meant to get lost in. Many farms have other activities planned like hayrides or food festivals during the time their corn mazes are open to the public.

Go grape stomping. Late summer/early fall is when many wineries bring in the harvest, and they often have grape stomping days to celebrate. While the grapes that are stomped by the public usually don’t make it into a bottle of actual wine, it’s a fun activity that’s usually accompanied by other festivities, too. To find a grape-stomping event near you, use a search engine to search for your state or region’s name and the words “grape stomping.”

Join a crop mob. Fall is known as the harvest season. As small farms wind down their growing season, they often need help picking the last of their crops. Crop mobs are groups of volunteers who help do just that. There’s one organization near me in New Jersey called America’s Grow a Row that picks extra crops in fields to be donated to food banks. See what you can find in your region.

Go geocaching. The cooler weather is perfect for taking hikes and geocaching is a fun activity that marries a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt with a newfangled GPS system. It’s an inexpensive hobby that many families are taking up to get outdoors and spend time together.

Plant garlic. Garlic planted in the fall will grow all winter and be ready for early spring harvesting. After you rip out your summer plants that have stopped producing, try planting some garlic in their place. TLC has some advice on fall planting. It may only take a short time to plant, but you’ll sure enjoy the experience of harvesting fresh garlic come spring.

For more on experience consumption, check out my original post Why I’m optimistic about 2010: Experience consumption as well as the ideas for January, FebruaryMarch, April, May and June and July and August.

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