Monday, September 24, 2007

The Pumpkin

It's hot in south central Texas (almost October and I've got all the fans running their little blades off in the wee hours), though this has been an unusually "cool" year with tons of rain. We've had drought for the last decade and it is like it chose this year to make up for the lack...all in one fell swoop. Rain rain rain. Since I do laundry the old-fashioned way, in a washtub and then hanging it on a clothesline to dry, the rain is noticed...but at least, as you can see, we've had an odd color about: GREEN. And along with that, quite a few other colors just to balance things out.
I like color, so that works out nicely. Lots of dramatic chromatics around here. This shot shows the blue sky with the hot pink crape myrtle blossoms. And the picture next to the front yard's crapes is from the back yard...aloe and something big and green and probably edible (though you can see from the ground, that even lots of rain isn't often enough in these parts)...
We got some pretty grapes and other foodstuffs, for once. However, since the rains
came too often, most things grew fast and furious, then either tasted bad or just rotted.
But each had its moment of handsomeness, at least...
The pumpkin was sorta exciting...we had a big pumpkin in the library last October, sitting at the checkout counter to give the place a bit of Autumnal glory, and then as a Halloween display--I drew a Jack-o'-Lantern face on it and it grinned for some time. Then with a bit of clever paper bits, I turned it around and gave it a turkey head and tail feathers, so it became the Thanksgiving mascot for November. By Thanksgiving I figured someone should do something more constructive with it than toss it in the trash, so I rolled it home and murdered it.

Surprisingly it was still very good (indoor A/C, I guess) and so I gutted it for the seeds and boiled down the rest for pie. Which was quite good, both the pie-meat and the seeds (roasted and tossed with a bit of salt and olive oil). I saved half of the seeds out of some errant hopefulness and strew them around the backyard. Most didn't survive mom's dirt aeration tactics or the pudgy local bird population, but a couple of vines did take root from all the rain, and we gotz pumpkin vineage!!

It was so early in the year (than when you start thinking about pumpkins) it did seem weird, but hey, it was something just to see the vines growing! Then we got a few flowers, and, ta da, a couple of babies! Proud pumpkin mommies, Amy and I kept a watch out for them, but most of them died out before they got too far, for one reason or another. It got down to two pumpkins, which wasn't much after all the seeds and such, but then, it was still more than we'd started with!

So cute...but one got a mysterious hole in it (roughly paw-sized) and fizzled out like a busted balloon. So that left one, which ripened nicely and became our little pride and joy.

It was a gorgeous little basketball, but one morning we found a gaping hole in it, too, from some mysterious night activity, and it deflated. Amy put it out of its misery so it could decompose in peace, but that was it. Apparently it wasn't quite ready to have viable seeds. Drat. But the squashes did sit pretty for their portraits.

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