I’m probably eligible for Luddite status, as my forays into technology continue to fail me. With help, we got the wireless connection working for a few hours, then the internet went down. By morning, both the wireless and the net were down. To seal my fate, I set up my fancy sewing machine, a gift from my husband a few years back. All went well till I had to switch to the zipper foot. The electronic symbol for moving the needle to the left or right made no sense at all. I read the manual, read it again, and then (while the internet was working) did a Google search. Still no luck.
In the end, I simply made do with the regular presser foot and moved on. What a frustrating day.
The pieces scattered on my kitchen counter Sunday night are now loosely sewn together. My sister stops by tomorrow to help me with the final fitting. Then I’ll sew in the lining, hem the skirt and I can call it a dress.
I’ve always dreamed of owning a cutting table. The kitchen counter is the next best thing when you’re tall.
The bling that will take it from dress to costume includes a length of sequins from the fabric store, several hand-made roses made by a local crafter and a few strands of leafy ribbon from Scrapbook Island. I’m really looking forward to a bit of hand-sewing, a task I’ve always found relaxing.
On the garden front, I decided to harvest our late-season, curbside pumpkin. It hasn’t grown in size for a few weeks, and shows no signs of turning orange. That said, I’m wondering if this pumpkin is actually one of the blue-green varieties. It has a bluish tinge and once inside, I realized that it turned light green but not the rich green the other pumpkins pass through on their way to orangeness. Could it be a crown pumpkin? What do you think?
My son’s teddy-bear sweater is just the right size for dressing up our new pumpkin. No drafty nights for this ‘crown prince.’ Who said “it’s not easy being green?”
By the way, it’s not easy being a Luddite either.
Things got a bit dicey in the pumpkin patch last month. Nearly a dozen pumpkins grew happily on the vine until disaster struck. A rapidly producing colony of squash bugs moved in and things turned ugly. If you have any doubt, take a look:
This pumpkin never stood a chance
Instead of leaving the orange pumpkins on the vine to harden, I harvested all but two and set them on the patio thinking I would wipe them off before bringing them indoors. The next day, the squash bugs found the harvest! Eek!
I brought the pumpkins inside one by one, wiping them down with the first thing I could get my hands on: my son’s lip balm. (Desperate times call for desperate measures). I didn’t want to bring garden pests indoors, so I figured the coating would put an end to anything I missed.
We’re big on pumpkins around here: we grow, harvest, decorate and carve them. It’s been a family tradition for a decade. I also enjoy saving seeds for the next season. This year I gave a few starters to friends, and passed on some seeds to an adorable pair of three-year-old twins that walk by the house with their dad. They planted the seeds and grew pumpkins of their own. I’m delighted.
The pumpkins hung out in the living room for several weeks, but as October approaches, it’s time to bring them center stage. I created a display on my iron bench combining an eclectic mix of drying lavender, three pumpkins and a refurbished fairy garden. Check back next week for the fall upgrade.
I love October. It starts with my birthday, ends with Halloween with plenty of goodness in between. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, this Boo season brings a special visit from Boooooomdee. She told me to expect her on the whisper of a dandelion, but I think she was teasing. I’ll go to the airport to fetch her just in case.
Boo season, here we come!
The pumpkin vines are looking a bit tired and who can blame them? They’ve been producing lemony-yellow flowers, luxurious vines and fruit since April.
Pumpkin vines, going strong since April
Pumpkins are usually a 90 day crop, so clearly they’re past their prime. Guess what? I found two, beautifully formed yellow fruits, basking in the late-season heat.
I also found pumpkin pests. Are you sensing a theme here?
Pumpkin pests come in all colors and sizes
Harvest now, before it is too late!!!
I’ve seen these little grey creepers before, but they came late in the season and didn’t seem to hurt the pumpkins. I’ve not been so lucky this year. Since two of the smaller pumpkins were already collapsing, I decided to leave them there, thinking the pests would leave the hardier pumpkins alone.
Within a few days I found them on my biggest pumpkin, so I decided then and there to harvest the one large fruit. I twisted the pumpkin from the vine, and set it out-of-the-way on the path. When I went back to get it and bring it in the house, I failed to give it the respect it deserved. Ms. Overachiever here tucked the pumpkin under one arm, the kitchen scrap bin under the other and, if you were reading last Friday, you know what happened.
Sad, sad gardener.
Split clean through
Anyhoo…I’ll be sure to include this one in my 31 days of pumpkins in October.
Now, about those pests…
Andrea Meyers identifies these as Squash Bugs (aka Stink Bugs). You can read more on her beautiful site.
Sure, I made a big fuss yesterday about our great pumpkins, but we love all of them. How could you not delight in the uniqueness of each one?
The larger pumpkins have peach-colored shells with a flame orange skin just below the surface. The rest of the pumpkins took on a more traditional color and grew to about half the weight.
Trio of Pumpkins
The pumpkin, below, is smooth and typically formed on one side, but something went wrong somewhere along the way. It already looks like it has two eyes and a mouth. No carving necessary.
We won’t need to carve this one. It’s already wearing a mask.
One of the earliest pumpkins started in an acorn shape. As it grew in size, the small scar opened up, leaving the insides exposed. Although it continued to turn orange, the rotting process started the minute it was off the vine. Then an amazing thing happened. I left it in the corner of the deck, figuring one of the night critters would simple eat it. Instead, the pumpkin warmed in the sun, creating enough moisture for the seeds to sprout. I tore it open, thinking I would compost the rotting skin, only to find a handful of seedlings.
Rounding out the eclectic group of pumpkins, this little fella survived the expanding girth of one of the greats. When I pulled away the 50-pound pumpkin, this was growing just below.
My guess? The weight of the growing pumpkin slowly split the sides of this one, giving it time to scar over as it continued to grow. Unlike the cousin above, it’s completely healed over.
We have about five pumpkins yet to harvest, still yellow or green. We’ll see what nature has in store.
Pushing Up Seed Casings
I learned the expression “true leaves” on a gardening forum called I Dig My Garden. True leaves are the second pair of leaves on an emerging plant indicating all systems are go for transplanting outdoors. I like that expression, and find it far more interesting than my heretofore “second set of leaves” terminology.
Our Burpee Growing System delivered in spades. We have over 72 pumpkin seedlings ready to go. I prepped the garden beds a few weeks ago anticipating this day. The stars have aligned, which is to say dry, warm inviting conditions to launch our pumpkin crop. Here we go!
“The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies.”
– Gertrude Jekyll
April 11th: Planted seeds indoors in a Burpee Seed Starting System.
April 18th: Will you look at these adorable sprouts? What personality!
April 29th: True Leaves! So excited…
Kitchen Counter Pumpkin Crops