Pumpkin Meets Drill

A well-rounded and compact head – a good description of a cabbage, but it works for a pumpkin too!

drilled hole design

This year I used a drill to make almost perfect round holes in my jack-o’-lantern. (Did you know that the term jack-o’-lantern comes from an Irish folktale? Large turnips and potatoes were used by the Irish in Ireland, but they switched to the readily available pumpkins when they came to America.)

holes drilled zentangle design

‘Jack’ doesn’t look all that handsome in the daylight, but he really ‘shines’ in the dark!

When I was looking for a quotation about pumpkins, I found a musing by Alexander McCall Smith. It reminded me of transporting my pumpkins last year.  I secured them in the back seat of the Jeep and briefly thought about what quiet, friendly companions they were.

The pumpkin looked delicious—almost perfectly round and deep yellow in colour, it sat on the passenger seat beside her so comfortably as she drove out of the car park, so pleased to be what it was, that she imagined conducting a conversation with it… And the pumpkin would remain silent, of course, but would somehow indicate that it knew what she was talking about, that there were similar issues in the world of pumpkins.

There was no harm, she thought, in allowing your imagination to run away with you, as a child’s will do, because the thoughts that came in that way could be a comfort, a relief in a world that could be both sad and serious. Why not imagine a talk with a pumpkin? Why not imagine going off for a drive with a friendly pumpkin, a companion who would not, after all, answer back; who would agree with everything you said, and would at the end of the day appear on your plate as a final gesture of friendship?
– Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine –

Happy Halloween, all!

(Is it still called Halloween in your community schools, or has it been changed to Black and Orange Spirit Day?)

There is a growing list of Halloween costumes that have been described as inappropriate because they are negative representations. Lynda Davis, at BoomerBroadcast wonders: “If I answer the door dressed as myself, an aging baby boomer in a comfortable T-shirt and yoga pants will I offend my entire generation?”

Cårven Der Pümpkîn | Recipes with The Swedish Chef | The Muppets

This weeks’ WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Rounded.

Cautionary Tales – Falling off the Roof and Securing a Pumpkin

We had two ‘Be Careful!’ events at the Red House this week. The first was when The Car Guy went up on the roof to check the chimneys and see if the gutters needed cleaning. I was truly torn as to whether I would go up there too. I’m okay going up the ladder. The transition from ladder to roof is a bit scary. I’m okay walking around the roof, as long as I stay at the peak. The transition from roof to ladder… that is the really hard part.

But, I did it, and really enjoyed looking at the yard below.

The second ‘Be Careful’ event was the transportation of the Pumpkins. They had to get from our house to the Family Pumpkin Carving Party, a trip of half an hour. I’d already given the pumpkins a lobotomy and didn’t want them rolling around the back of the JEEP. I also didn’t want them to turn into projectiles if we had to stop suddenly!

The Car Guy decided this was the best way to carefully secure pumpkin noggins for the trip.

I’ll love you til the end of vine.
– Source: PumpkinNook –

There are three things that I’ve learned never discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.
– Linus, ‘It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ –

chicken day after HalloweenSome of the stores already have Christmas product on their shelves! This reminded me that when we took apart our Christmas tree last year, it never quite made it back into the storage closet. I wanted to clean up that area, but the tree was in the way. What to do – put it away, or just put it back up in the Living Room… can you guess what I did?!

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was Careful

Cats and Pumpkins at Halloween – 2012

Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!”
– Dexter Kozen –

At night, if I don’t rein in my imagination, the walk from the road to The Red House is spooky. It is a long winding driveway, lined with tall dark spruce trees and just beyond are thick woods where all the wild animals lie in wait. When I was a kid, I would not have ventured up this driveway on Halloween – unless I knew with absolute certainty that the treats at the door were worth being that scared. It is a forbidding stroll at night.

We haven’t had a trick or treater at our door for a long time. There used to be a few children on our rural road, but they have long since grown up. I still decorate for Halloween anyhow and we still buy a few treats just in case. And I will likely walk down to the end of our driveway and back, just to get the adrenalin going. Nothing like a wee bit of fear to take me back to the Halloweens of my youth!

We recently spent a few days with dear friends who have a new kitten. (There is no better kitten than one that belongs to someone else – all the benefits, and no responsibility.)

Word association: ask your mind to remember kitten – cat – Halloween – pumpkin.

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When we weren’t playing with the kitten, or wandering around the farm, or talking or laughing or watching the first season of ‘Castle’ on DVD, we carved Halloween pumpkins. This was my pumpkin. Can you figure out what it is? It would be best if you told your brain it isn’t a face with one big round eye. If you fixate on that idea, you will never see anything else. Really.

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Here are our pumpkins at night. The one on the far left is mine from the photo above. Now can you see what it is?

The one on the right is our hosts. He did the carving with various size drill bits – trust a man to come up with a way to use a power tool.

The pumpkin in the centre is what happened when I took up the drill and three sizes of bits – and no plan at all. Don’t try to see anything in this pumpkin – it is simply the result of not knowing when to quit.

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.
– Linus Van Pelt in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” – by Charles Schulz –

So starts my other post about Halloween. It was called Pumpkin Face.  You wouldn’t know it from the quotation, but in this post I talk about how Halloween has fallen victim to political correctness and a process similar to homoginization. There is also a photo of the pumpkin my grand daughter carved – the face is one Charlie Brown could relate to.

Last, but not least: I used the WordPress Theme called ‘Monster’ for a few days during Halloween. This is what it looked like:

2 Years of Blogging – Comments, Halloween

Comments
My post last week, Comments Etiquette – All or Some?, generated more comments than any other post I have written. The majority consensus was that it is just plain polite to reply to every comment on your blog. But it was acknowledged that very popular blogs might generate more comments than it is possible to respond to. As for leaving comments, some bloggers like to push the ‘Like Button’, especially when there are already lots of comments, and they have nothing new to add!

Halloween
The Car Guy did the shopping for Halloween this year – one box of 125 mini chocolate bars. I wasn’t surprised when we still had 125 mini chocolate bars at the end of the evening… okay, there were 121 bars left. We sampled a few ourselves.

Many thanks to all of you who read my Halloween Blog Post from last year. It was called Pumpkin Face, and it explained why I am unhappy with the commercialized, politically correct holiday that has replaced the Halloween of days gone by.

Blog Birthday
It has been two years since I wrote the first post for this blog. It was called H1N1 Flu. Like many of  my posts, it is a combination of useful information, social commentary, and humour. Since then I have added my photographs to my blog posts, and that has been the single biggest change in my life. Looking at life through the lens of a camera, rather than just through words, has been very exciting!

Thanks to all of you who visit these pages. I don’t know how enthusiastic I would be about blogging if no one ever viewed them!

Why I Support Halloween – 2010

With Halloween just around the corner, this Photo-Quote was a natural. The photo is a pumpkin my granddaughter carved, and the quote comes from Charles Schulz:

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.
– Linus Van Pelt in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” by Charles Schulz –

Halloween will likely elicit the usual Church/State debate about religion. State, in this case, are the schools in Canada (and the United States) that have either renamed or eliminated Halloween.

I have been an ardent supporter of Halloween for over 50 years, and I have never thought of it as a religious holiday. When I took my kids out trick or treating, I knew I would be warmly welcomed by the people who knew me, and, by the ones who didn’t. I knew that my neighbours came from all walks of life and practiced all sorts of religions. But on Halloween night, we were one big happy community. Of course, there were always a few houses that didn’t participate. It never occurred to me that they might reject Halloween on religious grounds (apparently Halloween is offensive to most of the major religions). I just thought they had run out of candy.

Schools are pretty much trying to get out of doing anything that is going to offend anyone. They want to be culturally “all inclusive.” Christian religious holidays were the first victims. That is problematic, though. Canada was built upon mostly Christian principles.  Our country was woven together with  beliefs, and yes, holidays that reflect those ideals. When a school, or a municipality, tries to be “all-inclusive”, they run the risk of offending a very large portion of the population. (The International Religious Freedom Report for Canada, for 2006, states that 77 percent of the population claims to be Christian, and 17% claim no religious affiliation.) When the large offended group are also the people whose forefathers built the country, you can understand why people are a bit miffed.

I think what a lot of Canadians want is for the “State” to stand up for who we are. Yes, we are multi-cultural, but our strength comes from how we merged into one country.  Yes, we all came from somewhere else in the not too distant past (we aren’t a very old country, really), but we chose English as our native language (French is an official language at the federal level and is the native tongue of those living mostly in Quebec.) Yes, we are mostly Christian, and we observe the standard Christian holidays. Yes, we welcome immigrants, but we expect them to merge with us, not be distinct from us. We expect them to adopt our country and adapt to our ways.  This is what our forefathers did.

I have traveled to many parts of the world. My favourite trips were to countries that made me feel I was in a very foreign place indeed! What would be the point of flying half way around the world to visit a place that was pretty much like the one I live in? And that is why Canada has to define what it means to be Canadian. We can’t just be a mishmash of every culture and language that settles on our land. We have to stand up and declare who we are… A good first step would be to give each new immigrant a gift, with the greeting, “Welcome to Canada, here is your Halloween costume!”