Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Let Pumpkin Season Begin!

Yesterday, I went to a Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off.  I found out about it last week and thought it sounded like fun.  I was also hoping to find some advice, because I have a horrible time growing pumpkins.  Few of my female flowers open (they just wither on the vine and die) so I don't get the chance to pollinate them (yes, I have tried to help my pumpkins have sex.)  So I was hoping that somebody there might be able to tell me what I was doing wrong.

The weigh-off was for the Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers Club.  It had many elements of a typical fall harvest festival--food, drink, bouncy castle, face painting, baking contest--with the notable difference that the competition fruits were a yard in diameter.  There were some pretty impressive pumpkins at this thing.  I went by myself, but next year I think I'll bring the family.  My son is a little timid in crowds right now, but by next year I hope he would enjoy the bouncy castle and the fruit that's bigger than him.

I didn't stay the whole time, so I didn't get the chance to see what the heaviest pumpkin weighed.  (They were starting with the lightest.)  I wanted to see the big ones, but needed to get home.  However, I did stay long enough to see how they transported the pumpkins, which I was really curious about.  The smaller pumpkins (like those for the junior division, which I DID see all of) they simply rolled the pumpkin back, pushed a tarp with handles under it, and then team lifted it with two to four people.  I knew they were never going to do that with the thousand-pounders, so I was curious.  The answer is that after using a forklift to bring the pallet with the pumpkin over next to the scale, they used this apparatus, hanging from the forklift, to wrap around the pumpkin:

Then the forklift carried the pumpkin to the scale, where they removed the harness and weighed it.  Pretty nifty!  (By the way, this pumpkin is tiny.  It only weighed in at around 275 pounds.  Last year's Colorado record was somewhere in the vicinity of 1,200-1,300 pounds!)

One of these years, perhaps I'll grow a giant of my own.  After I get my growing problem sorted, that is.  Of course, I'm hoping that I'll be in a completely different house next spring, so my problem might go away on its own.

After seeing all the giants yesterday, and considering that we're now five days from October, I decided it was time to puree the pie pumpkins I got at last week's farmers' market in preparation of doing some pumpkin baking.  I make some killer Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies which I can only allow myself to make in October and November so my family doesn't overeat all year long.  We also have some good pumpkin pasta and pumpkin soup recipes, and I like to make my own puree.  I only got 5 cups from two pumpkins though, so I'm going to have to buy another 4 or 5 of them.  The soup takes 4 cups on its own, and the cookies take 2 for each batch (technically that's for a double batch, but I always make it double, it means I can wait a little longer before making more.)  So I'm going to need to stock up on more pumpkin.

I hope everybody's Halloween/Harvest Time goes well!


Mom xox said...

Three cheers for pumpkin-choc-chip-cookies-month! Rah, rah, rraaahhhhh!

Mom xox said...

Oops....I mean monthS!