Monday is August 31st.
Guess what that means?
Halloween is only two months away! October 31st heralds the arrival of wee trick-or-treaters and the heady, intoxicating fall air.
If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while you’ll know that autumn is my favorite time of year. I love growing and decorating with pumpkins, planning or attending costume parties, helping my son “spookify” the front yard and tossing treats into wee little bags on Halloween night. The changing of the seasons is more of a slow burn in California. The days shorten and the stale summer air finally gives way to the smog-free version I long for. By the calendar, autumn arrives in late September, but it’s not till mid-October that we start to notice the difference.
In the garden, the signs are everywhere.
Lone Pumpkin Turns Orange
The pantyhose trick is keeping teeth-gnashers at bay while nature takes care of the rest.
Did you know that pumpkins turn orange for the same reason leaves do? As the days grow shorter, “the green pigment, necessary for photosynthesis, degrades and the carotenoids are revealed, causing the pumpkin to change color to shades of orange, red and yellow.”¹
Pretty cool, eh?
Pumpkin Shell Survives Composting
It’s true! A few small, late season pumpkins avoided last season’s squash bug onslaught. They were too hard to carve, so I lined them up on the paved wall instead. They remained a point of interest for many months, subject to occasional rearranging by the neighborhood day care kids. It was months before the snails showed up. Then one by one they started to rot. I tossed this one in the compost bin assuming it would also turn to mush.
When I upended the compost for my sheet mulching project, out rolled the shell. I’ve dusted it off, checked for invading bugs, and brought it indoors. The decorating possibilities are endless and simply looking at it makes me smile.
A (Not so Itsy) Spider Weaves a Wondrous Web
Nothing says Halloween better than a scary-looking spider web.
Am I right?
You can buy fake ones at the local Halloween store, or you might get lucky and have one custom-built in the garden.
My hat is off to the photographers of the world that capture beautiful shots of spiders in webs. I could focus on the spider or the web but never both. There is a good chance I’ve offended her, since she took down her web by early afternoon when I wasn’t looking.
Halloween is coming soon. I. Can’t. Wait!
¹Source: Children’s Museum Indianapolis
Okay, now there’s no reason to be cheering it ON like this. I mean, fall is coming, but…I am remaining in denial. I love your costumed pumpkin and can’t wait to see it undressed at some point.
You made me laugh. Twice! Thanks for your good humor. I’m sure that pumpkin is dying to get those pantyhose off (I mean who wouldn’t) but for now, that’s the pumpkins only defense.
As for cheering on fall, I know that your weather is colder and wetter than ours is. My enthusiasm only applies to the Bay Area. 🙂
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It is soo good to see a healthy pumpkin in your garden. You have had so much trouble from those pesky critters in the last few years. Glad to see that you have outwitted them!
I love how you get great joy from simple things in your life — Hallowe’en and pumpkin shells. X x x
Aww…thank you, Anne. They have been troublemakers these past few years. I’m so excited to see this lovely pumpkin blushing with orange and staying healthy under wraps.
Woohoo! Bring on Halloween! I’m anxious to see what you do this year. I’ve been noticing shorter days for quite a while now. We are having one last day of hanging on summer and back to our “normal” cloudy and wet weather. I’m so happy to hear we might get some rain with all the fires going on up this way. Saturdays wedding was difficult because the smoke made it an hour south of Portland with it starting in Washington. I’ve been watching VERY carefully since we are so dry. I know you are dealing with the same thing.
What amazing photos of the spider web!! I loved the first one then saw the second one and was stunned at how cool it is! I’m with you about loving autumn but have never really gotten excited about Halloween. I’ll live vicariously through your reports of preparing for it!
Well I hope you have fun here. Last year I dressed up my pumpkins every day of the month, went on a thirty-one day, no candy countdown and shared the progress of the costumes I made for the two of us for party season. I hosted a kids party for nine years and invited all the kids on the block, but now that my boys are teens, and most of the neighbors, too, its gone by the way side. I missed it that first year, but it was a lot of work, so now I can turn my attention to other things. Thanks for visiting!
PS Glad you liked the spider web. Aren’t they something?
I simply love this post. Halloween in nature is better than anything found in a store. Amazing how that pumpkin shell kept very well. ; ) we used to have lovely garden webs like yours but we must have offended the ladies as well because they no longer spin them where we can watch.
Thanks, Leilani! Love your pun, too. That pumpkin shell tumbled out of the bottom of the heap. Quite amazing, isn’t it?
I wonder why your local spiders packed it up? I would think they would enjoy hanging out near your keyhole garden. I hope the crazy heat hasn’t drive them away. We see a particular type of spider every August and I find myself wondering where they are the rest of the year. Last year I saw lots of jumping spiders, but not a one this year. So far, no wolf spiders either. It’s a mystery, and goes right along with our theme of the day. Will you throw a party this year? Dress up?
I am running behind Alys – my favourite time of the year is arriving and I am in full spring cleaning mode AND my ISP lost all my emails for 36 hours! It was a mystery to even the most experienced apparently. But good news, they solved the problem late last night and I awoke to find over a hundred emails that need sifting and sorting! [I’m applying stringent survival methods and only the most favoured are making it to the ‘open’ stage :-)]
So, of course, you must realise how happy I am when I see our favourite seasons coincide in real time even though they are polar opposites! I very much enjoy your pre-Halloween, Halloween and even post-Halloween posts. The enjoyment of you and your family and all the fun is quite contagious and I regale my friends and family here with tales of ‘my friend Alys and Halloween’ or ‘How to do it properly’. [In other words, don’t stick a sheet around your shoulders and some glitter on your face and knock on my door expecting a bucketload of sweets [candy]. Show me some effort kids!!]
You know, in my imagination, the pumpkin that survived may bear the secret antidote to overcoming squash bugs! I should dry it, pulverise it into powder, add water and spray it over all future pumpkins – voila a homeopathic, organic and magical solution to your pumpkin woes 🙂 You’re welcome [as Ellen says]. xoxo
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Pauline!!!! You are a breath of fresh air, a pumpkin savior, a cheerleader and a comedian all in one. How do you manage all those hats?
I had a good giggle over your “show me some effort kids” comment. tee-hee I’ve created a monster..er..high expectations from the wee ones in a country that barely recognizes Halloween, and it’s consumer-tinged excesses. On the subject of excesses, I may simply dress up in a brown, feathery dress and call myself a butterball turkey. I’ve feeling fleshy and rotund. That’s for another post.
I’m so relieved that your ISP is back in business and drats to the 100 + emails. They multiply like rabbits and coat hangers, don’t they?
I spend a few days each month unsubscribing from emails that have slipped into my mailbox. Signing up for Bloglovin helped too. I get all my blogs in one place when I log on so no need to receive emails.
It is great fun to have our favorite seasons coincide. And you know what? I’ll probably say that spring is my favorite season six months from now. I love them both, but I think they understand.
Thank you for making me feel so special today and always. I still remember the fun we had bantering back and forth over Shelley and Frank.
Homeopathic squash bug deterrent, eh? I’ll give it a go next season and if it works we an sell the idea to commercial growers and fund your next visit. Or skip the visit and we’ll set up a summer cottage somewhere in California where you can live half the year.
You are a joy-maker, Pauline.
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I’m up for the Californian Cottage idea!! 🙂
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Let’s put this homeopathic, bug repellent to the test then. 🙂
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Okay ladies – first, let me say how simply wonderful it is to be visiting Gardening Nirvana (you are up next, Pauline). Of course, I love the summer cottage idea!!
and Just FYI -I tried to “Like” Pauline’s comment and yours, too, Alys … yet somehow seem to have deleted previous likes. Weird eh?
Laurie, it’s so nice to see you here!
Sometimes I double click the like which essentially means you liked it, then reversed it. Make sense? That might be it.
I would why the pumpkin didn’t rot? In any case, it is certainly a great Halloween artefact.
I had thought we would have no pumpkins for Halloween this year, but finally I think there are two. Interesting to know why they change colour 😊.
I’m so happy to hear that you have an heir and a spare. Go pumpkins.
I don’t know why it didn’t rot. Isn’t that something. I’ve had other pumpkins turn to mash as soon as the shell was breached. Exciting, eh?
I can’t wait to see everything decorated up for the big night!!!
Aren’t you sweet! Thank you.
You’re so on the ball! Halloween in August 😀 I can’t believe that pumpkin shell has managed to survive. A whole year and the compost, it should win a trophy of some sort.
I actually just bought some Halloween papers at Urban by My Minds Eye. Full of vintage images! I’ll point them out when we’re at The Island.
Interesting how the pantyhose has deterred the squash bugs, that’s amazing! Will you go back to growing them again now? I shuttered at the thought of walking into that spider web. While they are an amazing work of engineering, I don’t need an up-close-and-personal to admire one. I was downstairs two days ago hanging some shirts on the ironing board and at the last minute spotted the biggest spider right under it !! Truth, I called Jim down to collect it, I was so freaked out. Yet another reason not to iron! LOL. I really am a freak about spiders, it’s rather embarrassing. Give me a mouse any day but spiders…..gah! Speaking of gardens, off I go to give everything a wee morning drink…Happy Sunday Cutie-pie! xoxoxox
I love where your mind is, Alys. Always thinking, anticipating, creating, but mostly, enjoying. I so admire how you can take the everyday mundane and elevate it into something unique and worthy of a second look, or a breath of expectation. You live on the edge of the current moment with a forehead crossing the threshold into the future. It’s a beautiful balance, and not many folks can pull it off.
Can’t wait to see what you end up doing with all those fancy pants pumpkins dressed in their No Nonsense finery. No doubt it’ll be ‘All Alys’ and worthy of the anticipation.
How did you figure out the pantyhose idea? I very much hope it works!
I’m anxious to see what fun things you come up with for fall! Last year’s dressed up pumpkins was brilliant!
I’ll also look forward to seeing that survivor pumpkin in upcoming posts 🙂
Laurie, somewhere along the way I must have read about the pantyhose trick. I’ve known about it for years. The texture is off-putting to them so they just avoid it. Crazy, eh?
I’m so glad you enjoyed last year’s pumpkins. This year’s survivor is now fully orange and ready to harvest. So far it’s looking good. We’re in the throes of another heatwave this week (101 today). I don’t want my pumpkin getting a sunburn so I’ll leave the pantyhose in place a bit longer. 🙂