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Thursday, October 17, 2013

What to do with pumpkins 2013

Alex and Jackie share a pumpkin.
Pumpkin growing tips (?)

It was discovered in the past trebuchet experiment that growing pumpkins was very possible and easy on the farm.  Instead of having to grow a certain size and variety used in the pumpkin chunkin' 3 other varieties were selected and seeds planted in February for use in pumpkin carving.

The early start allows for the pumpkins to get orange and to full size with our shorter, less sun growing season here north of Seattle.

Germination should have been an easy situation but after planting the 3 packets of seeds in plastic starter cups, watering as needed, and having them in the spare bathtub (inside) for warmth, but only one variety really had starts.  Both the so called Jack O Lantern and the Connecticut Field Pumpkins were a bust.  Maybe one start each.  However, the Giant Pumpkin seed had at least an 80% germination rate.

The starts were transferred outdoors into a cold frame in 6" pots in March with transplanting into the ground in April.  The sunniest places had been the best for growing and these were used again.  Fresh topsoil was deposited on the bank of the pond.  The topsoil is a product of horse manure, garden and lawn trimmings, sand, and tree needles that has been turned 3-4 times and is a couple years old.  It really looks like good soil!

The pumpkins grown in the pasture in the fresh soil took off and needed NO TENDING.  There were a couple of plants in the raised bed garden, also with fresh soil but they did not do nearly so well.  Less morning sun maybe?

Now that you have 34 pumpkins (a record crop for the farm) what is the best use?

A dinner party for 11 with a pre-function with pumpkin carving is a great answer and what we did.

The carport was transformed from a roof for rigs with carving tables put out with craft paper tops, candles for the finished product, and carving tools were brought by all.  Support items like snacks and drink paraphernalia were set out along with compost buckets and a garbage can.  There was even a bit of Halloween window dressing about the place using bats, spiders, nets, and orange Xmas lights.

Guests arrived at 4:00 PM with the sun on October 13.  It was a gorgeous day!  Pumpkins were selected and carving tools brought out.  Tables and munchies were in place with a great tasting hot apple punch with a bit of cinnamon whisky in it for flavor.  The crock pot kept that warm and it needed to be refilled a couple of times.

Ed, our attache (full of carving tools) toting engineer.
The before photo, Ed and his pumpkin

Consider all angles before carving

Laying out the template
Tracing through template

Lantern with squiggles and the top off and cleaned out.

Saving the seeds for toasting

Hours of carving 

The finished result!
We were not all as diligent and all the others were finished well before Ed but then he is a perfectionist.

Other before and after photos.

Beverly getting her hands in the goo and needed them washed a few times before this was over.

Beverly with her perfect pumpkin.
Before lighting
It is a cat with an arched back.  The camera man was not steady!

Brian took a Special Ops knife to carve with and had an easy time cutting stuff a bit more than he  liked.  Note the purple spider in the net.   Great ambiance, n'est pas?

Brian looking like a proud papa.

Darn!  Did I really need to cut that out?

Note the delicate carving knife!

Some extra cuts but a fun nose!

We are having fun now!

John, our token Albainian Rear Admiral, used his hands and a carving gouge to model two hand prints on each side of his gourd.  He then carefully cut a vertical line between the two hand carvings to represent a cleavage from his favorite backside female.  Seems a fitting effort for a Rear Admiral....

The before with foreshadowing of the design.

Cutting out the hand shape

The finished hand shape inspection.

A close up

There was a plethora of Pattis attending this event.  To keep their names off the web I will refer to them as PD and PG.

PD went to the insect world for her design.  An arachnid was displayed in a very artful manner!

PD with the blank canvas

Attention to detail

Creating the candle spot on the interior.

The creepy spider.

PG and the Countess decide on deco or geometric type designs.

PG with her orange selection.

The Countess and an idea.

The ideas coming to life.

General purpose photo showing dedication and concentration
from all the carvers.

Gosh!   My hands are really getting gunky!

This sucker is hard to cut!

PG showing off her creativity.

PG looking at the Countess's idea.  What more can I do to this

Alex and Jackie decided to gang up on a single pumpkin as Alex claimed to not have any ideas for carving.  Well guess who done the carving?  Jackie, looking lost was able to get around and take many photos so we could document the event!  Many thanks!

Concentration at this point is very critical to the outcome.

Proud daddy Alex

Jackie with her questionable new roommate.

Doorman with his creativity and innate artistic pumpkin moves was the one to watch.  He brought in some great pumpkin saws that allow for fine cuts and even curve cuts.

I have my blank canvas and will create a masterpiece!

Using the baby pumpkin saw to good effect!

Finished product of evil intent!  Not too bad for a Devil Mon!

Count Ferrari takes on the Great Pumpkin.  The others must have rejected this wonderful globe due to either it's large size (the biggest) or it's unique light yellow color.

 A double pumpkin concept is considered.

The layout in red felt pen was easy to illustrate and blends in
on the finished product.
Getting the top off was a serious struggle that required surgery assistance from neighboring hands while the lid was pried up.

Fitting the baby pumpkin


  1. That was a particularly fun day. Thanks again for hosting the numerous pumpkin parties, and for preserving this with pictures. Great memories.👍👍