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.


Katie said...

Looky there. Pumpkins still!

We grew Howdens last year and made pie with them. Don't expect the typical Libby's taste - I found Howden to be more "squashy" - which was ok, but needed more sugar.

Voles. Shudder.

The Vintage Vignette said...

The only thing that looks lovelier than that gorgeous avocado tree is the fabulous Miss Venus standing next to it! Thanks for the pic and the link over to my art blog as well. :)

I'm glad the voles decided to leave you at least one of your pumpkins to enjoy. My father always used to say that when it came to gardening that "you always have to share with nature". I guess its good to have that attitude about it...especially when the critters in the garden leave you no other choice!!! :)

Anonymous said...

It was certainly interesting for me to read this post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

Fred Hoffman said...

Well written as always, Bill. But I wish the voles would chew up your music link.

Bill Bird said...

Now Fred -- I am disappointed! I put Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes because I knew that only two people would recognize this song: You and I.

Tsk, tsk. Age is catching up with you!