Monday, October 26, 2009

Bringin' home that fall bounty

Sunday afternoon we went pumpkin picking. We drove up and down and around the rolling hills of Midway Hollow Road in Putnam County to a pumpkin patch on Gritts Farm. I pulled a red wagon through the grass, straining from its weight and squinting in the sun. When I spotted an especially round and orange pumpkin I stopped to rip it from the vine. After I'd picked my three pumpkins I got a red and gold apple for a snack, petted the farmers' giant English wolfhound and wandered through the miniature hay maze. On our way out we admired the mums and bought butternut squash for dinner.

That night I roasted pumpkin seeds with cinnamon and salt and baked a butternut squash pie. (Tonight I made butternut soup with the leftover squash. It was almost as good as roasted butternut with crushed coriander seeds, and I ate three bowls.) Then Dad cringed and provided commentary and criticism while I carved a kitty cat face on the smallest pumpkin. Evita found the jack 'o lantern carving fascinating. She sniffed the pumpkin, batted the pumpkin guts off my spoon and even licked the seeds. She should appreciate my creative efforts because so far I've carved two pumpkins with cat themes.

The pumpkin picking was part of a perfect autumn weekend -- Saturday we hiked around the fall foliage and natural bridges of Carter Caves in Kentucky. We slipped a few times on the wet leaves but managed not to bash our skulls on the steep stone stair cases down to the caves and up across the bridges. Near the end of the trail at dusk, we heard wolf howls and shrieks. But we didn't flee in panic thinking we might be torn to pieces. No, we weren't even scared. Okay, maybe we timid Wards suffered a few chills while walking through the forest, even if we were well aware that the spooky sounds were recordings for the park's Haunted Trail.

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