Pumpkins in the yard, October 20th.
(Click pictures for larger views)
"Life itself is a bubble and a skepticism, and a sleep within sleep." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), "Experience," Essays, Second Series (1844).(If you've missed the first seven installments, you might want to read them first, here: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.)
The sky is gray as leaves change from green to brilliant gold and red; the cold wind howls and the ground grows cold..... Still four brave pumpkins remain in the patch, clinging to life and refusing to give in. The days are so short and the blossoms and bees now long gone. The lady doesn't know if there is enough time for this fairy tale to end happily. These are the larger pumpkins, but still, most are green. She knows their best chance is to stay on the vines as long as possible; but the vines are withering, the roots give way. What can she do to help!?
Incubators? The lady will make incubators!! To protect from the wind and the cold and to magnify the warmth of the waning sun of fall! Yes, it might work! What do we need? Strips of that plastic translucent tarp and.... hmm.... yes! We need long spikes, nails to hold the bubble incubators down.... and a hammer. Just three will be fine. Two pumpkins under one and two with their own individual incubator. The lady wrapped her precious pumpkins in their new bubble plastic incubators on November 1st. Here they fell asleep into that deep enchanted sleep, warm and protected.
The lady had to check the pumpkins every day, removing leaves and water on top of the bubble incubators. She also had to make sure that a little bit of air circulated around them so that they wouldn't spoil. This waiting is so hard! But look......!!!!
Look what is happening to the pumpkins!!! "My goodness", the lady thought, "this might just work!" Sure enough, slowly... oh, so slowly a change was taking place under those bubbles. At first just shades of yellow peeking out between the green, but then, yes, that lovely orange started to appear. A little more each day.
It was a race against time. With each day, more orange appeared and with each passing day the vines withered back and dried up until the lady knew it was time.
The lady knew it was time to harvest, now. If she left the pumpkins in the yard they would rot, the rays of sun were no longer guaranteed. The Nor'easters began and temperatures plummeted. Most of the trees have lost their leaves and those that settled on the bubble incubators were no longer bright golds and reds, but rather brittle browns. Yes, it was time to gather the pumpkins.
So, on November 25th, the lady carefully and lovingly removed the bubbles that caressed her remaining pumpkins. She cut the drying stem "umbilical cords" and feeling very much like a third year medical student, delivered her pumpkins, one by one to the dry and safe haven of the garage. Here she would.....
..... Well, I know you thought this was the end but ask yourself these questions....
What do you do with a newly harvested pumpkin?
Are there special handling techniques?
Might they continue to mature inside the house?
How much do fairytale pumpkins weigh?
What do they look like inside?
Can you make something more than pumpkin pies with them?
Now you have these questions, maybe more.... so you'll have to come back for the answers. And if you have any questions, just leave them in the comments. The lady will be back to answer them soon.... She's not quite done yet!
(The tale continues.... but alas, not today... ) (end of post)