Monday, October 29, 2007

Annual Family Rite-Carving Pumpkins

In addition to fall being my favorite holiday, we in the Ramsey family also have a favorite family tradition of carving pumpkins. Mr. Fix-it is the "fun" parent and designated pumpkin carver with the children. Mom is the "working" parent and designated pumpkin grower of the family. It actually works out really well for us all. The Cat o' lantern above is our 2007 contribution to Halloween. Mr. Fix-it says he "Keeps getting better every year with the practice" and we all agree. There is a real art to pumpkin carving and growing that to be successful one has to really learn the fine nuances of said hobbies.

I don't mess with carving pumpkins, so I will stick to growing them. I can tell you I am not a successful grower of pumpkins. I have grown them every year here in Woodlawn for the past four years and have been rewarded with a whopping-are you ready for this-two pumpkins. One in 2004 and the one you see above. I think I do not have enough sun to truly make them grow well. I feed them lots of compost, give them plenty of room and still only one pumpkin! And let me tell you, I am GRATEFUL for that one pumpkin. I mean it is better than none right? The vines make more than one pumpkin but the baby pumpkins just shrivel up and fade away after a few weeks. I do not know what the problem is but can only surmise I don't have enough sun. If anyone else can help me out-please do! Because if the problem could be something other than not enough sun, I can work on it. Until then, I have decided this is the last year I am growing pumpkins. Next year the pumpkin the Ramsey family will be carving will be grown in someone else's garden.

For now, enjoy this season's bounty and carve a pumpkin with your family. Watch out for the trick a treaters Wednesday night. Happy Halloween!

in the garden....


  1. I tried to grow pumpkins and watermelons one time and something ate them! I Never tried again. I would like to know how to grow gourds like they use to make birdhouses. I doubt I would have any success with them but would like to try my luck some day...

    Last years Wal-Mart pumpkin crop was a great one! I had pumpkins in my fall display and when I took the display down, I put the pumpkins in the woods for the critters to enjoy that winter. Those pumpkins were still in tact without one scratch in June! I could not believe it. I was beginning to think they would be used in this years fall display! They finally collapsed in early July...

    Great pumpkin carving skills there guys! We live so far out in the country that we don’t get trick or treaters. The first year we move in here, I had two pumpkins and candy galore. The door bell never rang. The Saint and I ate snicker bars for months! When we lived in the apartment complex it was great! We had tons of trick or treaters! I made candy bags for the kids and they loved them…. I miss those little scary monsters on Halloween…. As a child my grandmother would make popcorn balls. I wonder if anyone still does that today???

  2. Hi Skeeter,
    I am so glad you mentioned gourds. They are so easy to grow I bet you would literally have hundreds! You do need an area for them to sprawl but they are much easier than melons and pumpkins. I usually grow mine, dry and paint them then hang them out front from my gourd tree-none this year due to drought.

    Amazing about those pumpkins lasting all winter. That is a good idea feeding them to the critters and I am astonished something didn't get to them.

    We are like you and the Saint-not many trick or treaters if any. I am actually debating whether I should buy candy or not. My son insists YES! I don't miss the trick or treaters so much because the dogs always get upset with people coming over.

    I don't make popcorn balls-does anyone else around here? In search of popcorn balls...How do you even make them?

    talk to you later.

  3. Skeeter and Tina, my dad uses to grow gourds. If my memory serves me right, he planted them along the fencerow and the vines would grow up the fence. We would get some pretty good size gourds. If dad could grow them it must have easy to grow. We could think of a million and one things to do with them. Painting them, having them for decorations, use them for birdhouses, and my favorite was to have gourd fights, and yes someone always got hurt. Of course we were kids at the time. Watermelons are hard to grow. I tried a couple of times but they never got any size to them. Rick, a friend of mine grows specialties watermelons up in Greenbrier, and dose pretty good with them.

    Popcorn balls, I love those things. I must get wifey-pooh to make some. She is the greatest wifey-pooh ever. With that being said I hope I have butter her up that she would try. We would always have them around Halloween when we were kids.

  4. Gosh, I dont remember how my grandmother made those things but maybe my mom knows... I do remember they were such a big treat and cheap to make....

  5. See Skeeter-if Dragon's father can grow gourds, I bet you can too! Dragon, I cannot imagine having a gourd fight. OUCH! Planting them along a fence is a great way for them to grow-Skeeter maybe you can plant them on your fence? As artistic as you are you would love to have some gourds to play with-don't throw them at anyone. LOL

    The greatest wifey-poo should surely make you some popcorn balls Dragon. (Trying to help you out here) Skeeter see if your mom has her recipe as I'd like to see it. I honestly don't know how to make them. Dragon I am looking for those pictures of your landscape projects so I can post on here about them. Can't wait to see the compost bin.

  6. I chatted with mom last night and the popcorn balls were one of many topics! She could not remember how they were made but does know that Kayro syrup and butter were used. She also remembered how her hands would burn as you roll them because you must form them into balls as soon as you put the mixture on the popcorn or it would set in the pot! I will research this one when I have a little time. Busy today...

    Where does one find gourd seeds??? Do they need a lot of sun? Our fence is mostly in the shaded areas of the yard as we have tons of trees. We practically live in the middle of the woods!

  7. Gourd seeds are usually in stores in the spring. I plant the birdhouse gourds but there are all kinds. I have planted gourds in part shade and they have done well as they are prolific, but they do need some sun. If your fence is all shade gourds probably wouldn't do well there.

    I might have to try popcorn balls with Jimmy. I actually like heat on my hands but I don't want to burn them. Ouch! Is your mom making some this year? I bet she has lots of trick or treaters at her house who would love them. Maybe even Dragon might show up?:)

  8. Na, mom does not get but a few trick or treaters. Their driveway is too far off the road. The grandkids are all too grown up now so they dont come but a few neighbor friends bring their children by for a treat...

  9. I forgot about the Great Grandbabies! They sent us pictures last night of the little ones dressed as Barbie Doll and Buzz Light-Year! Adorable to the core!