The Lil' Punkin' That Could

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yes -- this is a blog posting about pumpkins. Yes -- I realize that Halloween has come and gone. No I am not insane. Although the wife might argue on that point a tad.

Speaking of my lovely bride -- there she is in all of her gorgeous beauty next to her brand spankin' new Zutano Avocado tree. The Zutano -- which we planted and securely staked over the weekend -- replaces the Bacon Avocado tree which I managed to slowly kill over the course of 18 months.

Why am I putting up a picture of my lovely wife next to a Zutano Avocado tree during a post about all things pumpkins? Did you not read that part about insanity in the first paragraph? Actually -- it's because Cindy Shea -- aka "The Vintage Vignette" -- requested one.

Blog Rule #1: Don't let The Vintage Vignette down.

OK -- let the silliness end. Time to get onto more serious things -- like planning our Thanksgiving dessert menu. If you're guessing that Pumpkin Pie might be on that menu -- then you've read the wife's mind. But not just ANY pie mind you -- but a pumpkin pie featuring this pumpkin from the backyard.

This was my first year for growing pumpkins. An old high school friend who lives in Southern California assured me that if I had to room to grow watermelon and cantaloupe vines -- I most certainly had room for pumpkins.

Whaddya know? Dan Breen was right on the money.

Actually -- to be brutally honest -- our pumpkin growing efforts were mostly a bust this summer. The first one actually ripened up just in time for Halloween: in early July. We left it on the vine for far too long -- but somehow it managed to survive the hot summer and almost daily attacks from the Vole City that populated my "test garden bed" in the Back 40.

I will admit -- the Voles got to a lot of my pumpkins AND watermelons AND cantaloupes this summer. But I got the final revenge -- as the Voles grew so fat that they became easy pickings for our Hunter-Killer cat named "Precious." She was more than happy to drag fattened, rat-sized creatures into the house -- still alive mind you -- so she could proudly proclaim: "VOLE! IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER!!!"

The wife was -- uh -- less than impressed.

But back to the subject in question. The Voles managed to leave just two pumpkins alone long enough to survive. And those pumpkins -- in turn -- were harvested -- seeded and carved for Halloween! But as we were combing through our most sincere of pumpkin patches -- we stumbled across this.... this.... thing.

It was a pumpkin, yes. But it was still green! Can you carve a green pumpkin? Are there laws against that? Since we already had two carved pumpkins for the kids at Halloween -- it was Venus that made the decision. She issued a stay of execution. A temporary stay I might add.

Her thinking -- which was right on the money -- was that this green pumpkin just might ripen in time for our Thanksgiving Dinner Spectacular -- starring every annoying member of each family possible -- plus a few misfits from our Club Raven hangout downtown.

Sure enough -- as the days stretched into November -- our green pumpkin turned a bright shade of orange on the bottom. It was a color that slowly spread to the top. It's a process that continues to this very moment. The pictures in this posting are about a week old and still show a considerable amount of green color. That's fading fast.

As much as I would like -- I cannot tell you which variety of this pumpkin is. I know it's not a Dills Atlantic Giant -- so we can rule that out. That leaves two other varieties of seed that Venus purchased earlier this summer from Lockhart Seeds in Stockton. This might be a member of the "Hallow Queen" Family -- or it could also belong to the "Howden" Clan.

Since the bees were busy as bees this summer cross-pollinating the pumpkin seeds that were planted tightly together -- this could also be a cross. I suspect -- from the pictures I've seen -- that this is probably a Howden. But who really knows? Who cares?

So -- how does one make a pumpkin pie from scratch using a gourd that Vole City desperately tried to dine on through the fall and summer months? I do have some ideas -- which are probably wrong of course. Venus loves to point that out.

But -- if you're in the mood for homemade pumpkin pie next week -- and you're in the neighborhood -- please remember to stop on by. Unless -- however -- you're a Vole. If that's the case -- you've already had your fill.