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Halloween Pumpkins

Years ago, before we bought our house, we lived in a townhouse complex that had a pumpkin carving contest every year. David made an AWESOME pumpkin (like the one above in the lower right corner) by drilling holes and filling them with a string of electric lights (a la Martha Stewart “celestial” pumpkins). That year he won a $15 Starbucks gift card.

Just like last year, Chloe loves to spot pumpkins, and this year she knows what a jack o’lantern is, too. We are actually going to carve our pumpkins tonight, after dinner. Here are some images that I find inspirational this year:


Pretty Pumpkin


Lantern pumpkins


Skull jack-o’-lantern

 


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A Pumpkin Graveyard

pumpkin patch

From far away it doesn’t look so bad

David and I took the dog to The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island to look for the perfect pumpkin. What we found was more like a pumpkin graveyard. I don’t know if it was because we showed up so late in the season or because they were truly having a bad pumpkin year, but what was left was an entire field full of mostly rotted pumpkins. So disappointing! The last time we were there was amazing – the excitement of criss-crossing the patch, a sharp eye out weighing all the possibilities, enjoying the crisp autumn weather and the free hay rides…

In the end, we did find two small, nicely shaped pumpkins – an orange one for David and a white one for me. We also bought lots of fresh farm produce: fall apples, turnips, cabbage, onions, shallots, hazelnuts, and brussel sprouts still on the stalk. It was also fun to see the farm animals. The goat in particular couldn’t take his eyes off of David sucking on a honey stick. My favorites were the black and pink baby pigs, the clucking chickens and the beautifully large and feminine eyes of the llama. Why wasn’t I blessed with eyelashes like that? Throw in one pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and a caramel apple and it was a worthy trip after all.

frog

David spotted a bright green frog in the field

oregon hazelnuts

Oregon is the nation’s largest producer of hazelnuts

fresh fall apples

A huge bin of fresh and crisp fall apples

pumpkins

Our final pumpkin choices – one white and one orange

Tips for picking the perfect pumpkin:

1. If you’re going to carve it, choose one to match your design – a tall oval for a vertical design or a wide rounded one for a horizontal design.

2. Make sure it can stand up by itself. A tipsy one can be a pain to brace and carve properly.

3. A decent size stalk is helpful for lifting the top off when carving and lighting.

4. Double check for any soft spots, and be sure any blemishes are around back where they won’t be seen.

Happy Halloween!

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