Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Do you remember this pumpkin? The vine had grown through the perimeter fence of the big terrace garden and down into the steep bank garden bordering the driveway. The pumpkin's own weight was forcing the fence into the skin, so I harvested right away although I didn't know if a pumpkin could ripen off the vine.

Reporting back: over several weeks spent on a table by a porch window, this one very gradually turned a beautiful orange!

Throughout late Summer and early Autumn, as I walked by the gardens I would sometimes catch a glimpse of bright yellow tucked deep amongst the many shades of foliage and perennial flowers. It's surprising how large a pumpkin can grow without being seen.
At least, seen by me.

I've never grown pumpkins before, and those five little pumpkin seeds have given me so much pleasure and entertainment. It was a very hard summer for all plants, but the pumpkins never gave up. In fact, here are a few pictures of the vines continuing to bloom and set fruit a week ago!

 Recently there was an unfortunate incident in which several goats managed to get into the terrace garden
while I was in the barn mixing up their grain buckets.
Which just seems rude.

In 20 minutes they completely destroyed one pumpkin and tasted several others. It was rather shocking to find so much damage. For example, I'd been admiring the beauty below for weeks. Chompity chomp chomp. You can see my boots on the right, for scale.

While they were there, the goats also ate my first-ever okra plants right down to the ground. Ditto, all the remaining pole beans that I had selected to dry for next year's seed. Someone also tried to nibble a Candy Roaster squash, but gave up. The harder skin of a winter squash must have been too much work for my little vandals!

Last night I harvested the last three pumpkins - two large and one small. I'm hoping they will keep for a while amongst the hay bales as there are already two pumpkins waiting in the kitchen and I only have room to work with one at a time.

I've been baking (or is it roasting?) them in halves or large wedges, smoothing the purée for a few seconds with a stick blender, then freezing in 2-cup packets for winter cooking. The freezer is now full right to the tippety-top (not just with pumpkin!) so I've also been using pumpkin purée to make soups and stews and cake.


This is a new version of my tried-and-true cranberry apple mosaic cake, with lots of pumpkin (planned on one cup but my hand slipped!), more spices, and extra flour to adjust for the added moisture.  It came out as a sort of Massachusetts Fruits-cake, with cranberries from the Cape, apples from my favorite nearby orchard, and pumpkin from my own garden. Dense and flavorful, with a texture like a steamed pudding. It's not the cake I was anticipating, but it's quite good. This modified version of the recipe is another "keeper," for sure.

Apples and cranberries and - now - pumpkins!
Welcome to November!