Since my brother is still busy running me about England (we're in London today), I've asked my buddy Pollyanna from Life Makes Me Laugh to invade The Bungalow and leave her mark...on short notice of course, cause that's how we roll 'round here. She came up in spades and is now on my "most cool" list (it is really exclusive). With out any further ado...
Iíve never been to the UK, let alone been personally invited into Katís place so this is quite an adventure!
Iím sooooo nervous. There is so much pressure in being a guest. Am I saying the right things? Does she care that I used all the hot water composing this in the shower (Iím not knowing for a short story)? Am I entertaining enough?
Anywho, enough with my neurosis, on with the show!
The days have grown colder and the leaves are starting to change. You know what that means? Itís time to go on the annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch!
This also means Iím going to have a sticky, gooey, stringy mess in my kitchen. Of which, apparently only I have the ability to clean up. My kids (including Hubby) are sticking with the belief that itís not Halloween unless pumpkins are carved ñ not painted, CARVED.
Carving pumpkins then:
When I was a kid, you got a pumpkin you could barely carry and set it on the porch. A few days before Halloween you would spread a ton of newspapers all over the kitchen table and drag over the trash can. Dad had the butcher knife and jammed it into the top, making a fairly smooth circle with a little notch (so you knew which way the top fit back on). Everyone got their hands dirty pulling the ìgutsî out. My mom was in charge of rinsing off all the seeds and setting them out to dry so we could bake them up later. Somehow, we managed to scrape out all the yick with only a serving spoon before Dad jammed the knife into the face. We got triangle eyes & nose and a crooked smile with one or two teeth. Pop a candle inside & you were done! All of this took about an hour.
Carving pumpkins today:
While picking out the largest pumpkin we can afford, and the guts scooping hasnít changed much, the carving part has become much more sophisticated.
You can no longer use ordinary kitchen tools to empty and carve your pumpkin. There are special scrapers with short handles and beveled edges for efficiency. A half circle gear looking thing with really pointed teeth will help you trace the outline of the face youíre going to carve. Then you have the serrated tools with thin, very breakable blades for carving. How these are better, I donít know.
Now, a simple face is no good. You gotta keep up with the Jonesí, so you have to scour the internet for the best, but yet achievable by your skill level, pumpkin carving template. After finding the ìrightî template and printing it to a size that fits your pumpkin, you have to painstakingly outline the design through the template using your dangerously sharp teeth tool. Finally, youíre ready to use the knife.
I, on the other hand, had a different idea. I had seen pumpkins in a magazine where they stuck golf tees thru the shell. The end result was that they glowed with the word ìBooî. They were so stinkiní cute!
Turns out, scooping out all the gunk from inside the pumpkin is a pain in the rump. Itís kind of like child birth, as soon as the event is over, you forget how terrible the whole ordeal was. And every year, we go through the same thing ñ buy a few pumpkins to carve and end up only doing one because once we got started, the memories came flooding back (and the back ache from hunching over a pumpkin).
Anywho, I got the ìBî pumpkin emptied, and there was no way I was going through that two more times for the ìoî, ìoî.
Hmmmm, how about just a bunch of holes? Yah, that would be cute!
Golf tees, where are the golf tees?
We didnít have any.
But I had an ice pick!
It was quite therapeutic. I stabbed that pumpkin!
And I stabbed!
And stabbed! Ooooo, what fun!
When I was finished, I trotted off to the bathroom with my holey pumpkin and a candle. I lit it up to see my creation in all its glory.
I was quite disappointed. You could only see a glow coming from the back of the pumpkin ñ where the big hole was for the candle. The holes had basically self-healed after sticking the ice pick in.
I blew out the candle, picked up my pumpkin and headed back to the kitchen. Obviously, the holes needed to be larger.
I stuck the ice pick back into the holes already created and swirled it around in an attempt to make the holes larger. Even before going back to the bathroom, I could tell they probably werenít going to be big enough. But in true Pollyanna fashion, I had to go check.
Trotting to the bathroom . . .
OK ñ this time I could at least see a slight glow coming from the holes. But there was no way anyone was going to be able to see it from the bottom of the front porch steps, let alone the street or sidewalk.
I needed bigger holes. What could I use to make bigger holes?
I got it!
I ran down to the basement for my drill. º inch drill bit should do it.
You get the picture. Iíd go on, but there were at least 50 holes and I just donít think ìwzshzshzshzshzshî would be effective that many times. Ultimately, each hole was now a nice size.
Trotting to the bathroom . . .
Well, at least it was interesting.
The kids are still small so the pumpkin ritual will continue for years to come. Wonder how Iíll top this. . .
- Anytime you can say you used power tools to carve a pumpkin is just gosh darn AWESOME!