Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Goodbye Pumpkin

In a moment of optimism early in October I bought a pumpkin. I had gone apple picking with my college roommate, and having heard that pumpkins were going to be scarce this year, leapt at the opportunity to pick up a beauty at the orchard (not sure whether the folks who run the orchard grew them or if they came from some nearby farm).

Life being what it's been this fall (busy, busy, busy) I never did get around to turning that beautiful pumpkin into an eerie jack-o-lantern. The pumpkin sat in the garage for about a month, then took up residence in an empty spot in the perennial bed just outside the garage door. And there it sat while I was off traveling - first to Minnesota, then the roadtrip to Arkansas, and finally to New Jersey. I was quite startled to return home and find it still intact. Not a spec of rot, no tooth marks, nothing - just one happy little pumpkin sitting in the flower bed nestled up against the lavender. I'd expected the critters who inhabit the wet lands behind our house to make quick work of the pumpkin, but for almost a month they ignored it.

Until this weekend that is. Over the weekend the critters apparently discovered the appetizer in the flower bed. When I left to head into work Saturday morning (yes work on a Saturday) I noticed a fairly sizeable bite had been taken out of the pumpkin. After making a mental note to dispose of it I headed off to work. Sunday when I headed out to corral some of the leaves still littering the yard, I discovered that some messy eater had been at the pumpkin. Most of the pumpkin was still intact, but the bite near the top was considerably larger than it had been the day before. And even more startling the stem was gone. I may yet find the stem tucked under the lavender.

Given that we really don't want to attract critters to our house and yard (anyone know a foolproof way to discourage skunks?) it was time for the pumpkin to go. Since most of it was still intact, and I was dressed for yard work, I picked it up, carried it to the edge of the yard (small cliff into the wetlands) and gave a heave. The pumpkin sailed quite gracefully through the air before bounding down the hill. It split partway down leaving a trail as it continued to roll until it landed at the base of a small tree.

I haven't looked to see if it's still there, but I hope the critters enjoy it.

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