Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Pumpkin Tale Part 6: I Spy Something Orange

September 21 (Click all pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
Theme in Yellow
I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.
~ Carl Sandburg
(If you've missed the first five installments, you might want to read them first, here: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5.)

One day the lady started to see splashes of color in the pumpkin patch...... Not just the green of the broad leaves or the bright yellow of the billowy flowers, but touches of orange on the speckled green skins of the oldest pumpkins.

September 21

All four early pumpkins were turning orange and it took all the will power and restraint the lady could muster to keep from plucking those little coach pumpkins right then and there. So she took a deep breath, stepped back and surveyed the rest of her crop.

Composite ~ September 15

While the four smaller pumpkins were gradually ripening, more baby pumpkins began to grow. One in the front of the house was as large as the one under the bush, smaller ones grew to the size of grapefruit and two others appeared just larger than the original; one in the flowerbed and the other nestled down in the grass hidden by the wide expanse of leaves.

September 21 (L), October 4 (R)

Some grew fast, while others grew slow. Some days it seemed as if new pumpkins were springing up by the hour. How many do we have this morning? Let's see.... four, five, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen! Alas, some of these seemed to grow for a while, then shrivel and die. The lady had noticed that one pumpkin right next to a very large pumpkin had stopped growing. The lady had placed the little pumpkin on a board with the thought that it would keep water away, but it did the opposite; and when the pumpkin was turned it had started to rot in one small spot. But the lady's mom thought we could still use the pumpkin; so it was plucked, properly washed and weighed (8 pounds) and when cut yielded a pale but delicious meat for pie, so it did not grow in vain.

September 26

Meanwhile the vines were not yet done. The lady diligently pinched the ends of new offshoot vines as they started but at times she felt it was a losing battle! Vines continued to grow under, as well as up and over the bushes. Was there no end? Well.....

September 27

The lady could contain her desire no longer. She had thumped the pumpkin with the most color for several days. It sounded hollow to her; although she had to admit that they all sounded hollow, even the ones that were totally green. She checked the growing times estimated on the internet; got her handy utility scissors and clipped the pumpkin from the vine, being sure to leave a good stem attached.

October 4

The lady checked every day, sometimes twice and slowly she gave in as she picked another and another; until she had gathered in all the precious pumpkins, at least the ones that were ready. She washed the dirt off carefully and cleaned the skin with a solution of 10% bleach (did you know you were to do that?) and buffed them dry. Then she put them in the sunroom to "cure" for at least ten days; here they will be safe and sound and beautiful too.... don't you think?

October 10

Each pumpkin weighs about 7 pounds and will soon be part of our pumpkin pies; their seeds will be cleaned and dried and safely tucked away to see what they produce next year. Today is Halloween. They will not be subject to any "smashing" and I plan to stake out my pumpkin patch to prevent any smashing there as well.

You see this tale isn't ended yet. Pumpkins still hang in the balance. Tragedies have yet to be disclosed and the final results are not yet in. What happened to the huge dark green pumpkin under the bush? What about the new ones hidden in the grass? How long will it be before they mature or will they?

You'll have to come back to see the saga to its end; so here is just a tidbit of things to come..........

October 4. Is that a touch of orange I see?

(To be continued....... but not today.)
(High pitch "evil stepmother" laugh.... fading, stage right and end of post)

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