Monday, October 8, 2007


Z. adores pumpkins. This is something that arose spontaneously in her, as though by instinct. Last year, the first Fall she had language, she was able to tell us about her passion, and gamely, we introduced oil pastels and glitter into our household, because how else would a one-and-a-half year old in a cast decorate a pumpkin?

Eventually, those fabulous pumpkins began to go the way of all things, so we moved them to a corner of Z.'s digging box, which is a raised vegetable bed that we just left unplanted the past two summers.

So the pumpkin vines that have been taking over our garden are not quite volunteers. If you put a giant native squash, full of seeds, on top fertile earth and let it rot there, and turn the earth over it when the resulting mess becomes unsightly, you cannot feign surprise when vines push their way up the following year. But we have been startled at how many vines, and how vigorous, our non-planting produced. We have thinned them, and pulled them out, and cut them back, and in the end, we were left with only one pumpkin, which is as many as we need, though not nearly as many as Z. wants.


This weekend, we took Z. to a Fall Festival at Nearby Arboretum, co-sponsored by The Co-op on the Corner. It was humid and in the upper 80's, but we rode up from the improvised parking lot in an air-conditioned shuttle bus with one of Z.'s daycare classmates, Articulate Girl with Perfect Braids, and when we got off at the top of the hill, the autumn smell of straw was in the summery air from the scarecrow-making booth, and the lawns were abuzz with parents and young children.

The Festival had a great, great many pumpkins, all of adorable size, all waiting eagerly to be painted and beglittered. Z. chose one of near-perfect roundness, with a marvelous stem, and set to work. Another daycare classmate, Exquisite Girl with Long Straight Hair, set up her pumpkin next to Z.'s and they daubed tempura and sprinkled mylar with absolute concentration for longer than you would think possible. Z.'s technique was to incorporate each sprinkling of glitter in with a new application of paint, which resulted in a muddy, purplish effect and was not easy on paintbrushes.


I just plain like that muddy, sparkly little pumpkin. Even indoors in the dark evening, relegated to a Safe Place on top of the broken stereo, that little pumpkin shines.


Magpie said...


Is the first photo the one you grew, still in situ? Impressive!

Julia said...

Both are very impressive, each in its own way. Z should be Artistic Girl. :)

We don't have the one for carving yet. I think the weekend after this one, perhaps. But there may be pie earlier.

kathy a. said...

Z is very artistic! she must be thrilled she grew her own pumpkin this year, too.

niobe said...

The squirrels (or perhaps some other unseen and unwanted critters) ate *every single one* of our pumpkins. I am orange with jealousy and therefore have nothing coherent to say.

S. said...

Magpie, yes, that's our very own!

Julia, since we haven't been able to bring ourselves to take our home-grown one off the vine, we've acquired another for carving and still a fourth, a miniature one, for carrying around.

kathy a., she *loves* that pumpkin.

Niobe, you have my deepest sympathies. One advantage of having dogs is they keep the squirrels away from the pumpkins--though they also tend to eat the tomatoes when they're still green, so it's a tradeoff.

Lo said...

That pumpkin (the decorated one) is just exactly as A. described it. Very sweet.

Furrow said...

That's a very nice looking volunteer.

Aside from dumping things to see if they'll grow, I also love digging up little patches of earth and seeing what gets deposited. The squirrels and birds have given us a nice variety of starter trees.