Carving orange creations

Autumn: normally one of my favourite times of the year. It means I can stop panicking about stepping outside without factor 50 slapped all over me, and I am allowed to hide under baggy jumpers, that I can have second helpings of whatever stew or slow-cooked deliciousness we invariably have for dinner. However, this year has been a disappointment. The weather has flailed from boiling to freezing (often on the same day) so I have actually got burned AND felt unable to wear the snuggly jumper, having to teach whilst completely sodden. But the biggest disappointment has obviously been the continuing horror that is Covid-19 and the fall back into local lockdowns.

One of the complaints around the village has been that there won’t be the usual trick or treating at Halloween. This is one area where I am not sad. I hate trick or treating – it must be the grumpy teacher in me, but I am not a fan of a ritual where we encourage children to threaten their neighbours until they give them sweets. (Dressing up, especially if you include facepaint, is a different story. I’m quite sad that my children feel too old to become a cat or skeleton anymore… who doesn’t want to be a cat?!) Because of my extreme Halloween grumpiness, we have never really done the Halloween celebrations in our house – I save the excitement for the much more British ‘Guy Fawkes night’. (Because, clearly, teaching children to celebrate the burning of people after they have been hung drawn and quartered is much more acceptable – I do realise I am inconsistent, don’t worry!)

This year, however, as we are stuck at home for an interminable amount of time, I might try our hand at pumpkin carving. It has always felt like too much hard work until now, but I shall gird my loins and give it a go. What makes it more exciting is that I have two beautifully orange pumpkins that we grew ourselves, so we can hack away at our home-grown orange creations, then use left overs to make some kind of soup. (See above…)

Although, I do have to admit that I feel like I didn’t really get much bang for my buck with the pumpkins. The seeds were planted and incubated early spring, seedlings were placed out late spring and then they exploded all over my vegetable patch, with tendrils spilling out onto the grass (That my husband grumped about every time he got the lawn mower out) like some kind of unruly teenager’s fringe. This would have been fine – I was expecting them to take up a lot of space – except I got ONE pumpkin from each plant. One. I really don’t know how people with less than 2 acres manage to grow any – it must be climbing into their house and up their walls to fit! I am just not sure if it was worth the effort – especially when everything else was so much more fruitful – we are still torturing the boy child with green beans weekly.

Unless they make the MOST delicious stew I am really not sure I will bother next year. I am not sure it is worth listening to the complaints of the guy that mows the lawn.  (Photos will be posted later)
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