Tag Archives: Pumpkins

Scrapbook: Home Harvest

26 Jan

I’m still catching up on photos and posts that should have run much earlier in year. At the time I was recovering from debilitating panic attacks so this post and a few others kind of got pushed aside. But I am really proud of my pumpkins and I want to show them to you! (That last sentence was not a euphemism. I swear.)

Aside from the herb garden, which I didn’t take a lot of photos of, we grew pumpkins, butternut squash, a sunflower, and marigolds. I count marigolds because they are a pest-repellant plant and I was specifically growing them for Day of the Dead decorations. Anthony accidentally cleared them out when he was weeding the garden at the end of the season (oops!) so I didn’t get to use them.

I’m really proud of our pumpkins. We were so infested with aphids that I was really worried we wouldn’t get any fruit but we managed to grow three fat orange globes. You can see the other two, plus a helpful PSA, here. Isobel was especially impressed with our pumpkins.

And the sunflower. Which was pretty magical for both of us. When I was thirteen I grew a patch of Russian Giant sunflowers that were easily 15 feet tall. My mom proudly took a picture of me standing next to them. I’ll have to show you someday. We only grew the one, and about half of the seeds are empty, but it was a really fun experience.

We didn’t even have to go to the pumpkin patch this year!

But of course we did, anyway.

The good thing about marigolds, besides the fact they are so cheerful and lovely, is that their petals each turn into a seed, so that by the time the plant has wilted you have enough seeds for a thousand plants. My friend Jake gave me plenty more seeds for next year.

Growing all of these plants was way easier than I thought it would be. Preparing the soil was most of the work done, and daily watering was a chore I had to do anyway. Plus Isobel loves to go outside. I can’t wait to start another garden this summer, but I’m not sure what we’ll grow.

Thanksgiving PSA

23 Nov

These are two of the pumpkins we grew.

These are two of the pumpkins we grew on cat butt.

Any questions?


2 Nov

Here’s what I’m up to:

– I’m still recovering from the series of panic attacks I suffered on my birthday, and I’m sleeping really poorly as a result. I’m spending way more time watching TV than I have since I attempted to nurse Isobel, and my attachment to it  is reaching disturbing levels. Mostly I’m watching really dry, science and nature-type stuff, and my lack of sleep causing me to feel like I’m way more knowledgeable about Snowy Egrets or whatever than I actually am. The other night I watched  Touching the Void, which is not something I recommend for someone with anxiety issues who can’t sleep, but it was a fabulous, engrossing documentary nonetheless. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way he described his broken leg. Ever.

– At the advice of my doctor I’m really trying to slow down and cut back on the amount of stuff I’m trying to cram into our daily schedule, and this is hard for me. I hate feeling like I’m not getting stuff done. My To Do list is appalling. Eventually I’m going to get to my email, comments, and DMs and personally thank everyone who reached out and sent me a message. It means so much for me to know you are rooting for me.

– Halloween was as nerdy as it was awesome. Which is to say, very.

– My internet bud E surprised me by sending me this vintage cat and these awesome bookplates, which made me all nostalgic because I totally had them as a child. I love the cat, but Isobel is absolutely wild for it and so it may end up as a permanent fixture in Isobel’s Big Girl Room. That package was an instant mood elevator. Thank you.

– I was having really bad panic attacks the day we took Isobel to the pumpkin patch so I don’t even have enough photos to make a Follow Friday post out of it like I was hoping. Mostly we went to get Isobel out of the house and because I was so restless I needed some air. I ran into an old friend while pumpkin-ing (Hi, Sarah!) and she’s probably reading right now thinking, “Why didn’t you tell me you were crazy?” Well, now you know! I did get a couple cute shots, including this one that makes me laugh every time I see it. Be sure to read the comments on that one. Vastly entertaining.

– My birthday dinner was a lot of fun even though I was still having moments of wanting to hide in a closet for the rest of my life. My friends are lovely and supportive and I’m really lucky to have them. My dear friend Melynda made my favorite Rice Krispie Treats. My bestie Angela bought me a Troy and Abed in the Morning coffee cup that I’ve been using to drink vast amounts of water, and my friend Valerie gave me the g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s vintage mugs in the photo above. They were in her shop and she noticed I was drooling all over them. She also sells vintage on Etsy and has the same 1970s-grandma aesthetic I do, so bookmark her shop for the holidays.

– My friend Stefanie came down from Reno to celebrate our joint birthdays, and she brought with her sheets of Halloween stickers for Isobel. The next day I noticed a bat sticker stuck to Zorro’s butt. I pulled it off but a half an hour later, I found another one clinging to his furry orange backside. Later that night Anthony said to me, “Did you notice that Zorro was covered with pumpkin stickers?”

Thrifty Living: Halloween Decorations

5 Oct

At first I was going to feel really weird about this post. I mean, it’s technically fall, and people are already pulling out their sweaters and knee-high boots (even me), and, until this week, the weather’s been in the mid-90s. I ditched the sweater halfway through the Farmer’s Market and wished I would have left the boots in the closet. Living where I do, in the middle of California, our spring and autumn seasons are brief and our summers linger way after they’ve worn out their welcome. Fall doesn’t really get going until December, and the only way we ever get a White Christmas is if we have a heavy fog.

Nature must have felt my sincere desire for autumn weather, because this week our highs dipped into the low 80s and we actually had cloud cover and a breeze. And a rumor of rain, but hoping for that just felt greedy.

Isobel and I decorated the house together over the weekend, and we had a blast doing it together. I didn’t even bother decorating the house during her first Halloween, and between the kittens and Isobel’s teething, it just wasn’t safe to decorate for her second.

This agate mushroom bookend set is normally in my bedroom, but I pulled it out in the living room along with this candle I found while thrifting. I just don’t think I can give either of them up.  I’ve tried (though, admittedly, not very hard).

By far my favorite decoration this year is my skull specimen, which I put together for under $5. You might remember the cheese dome from the Monkey Giveaway. I found that at a thrift store quite awhile ago, searching for the perfect use for it. Besides displaying monkeys, of course. Duh.

One porcelain skull from my boyfriend’s later, and we have a lovely skull specimen.

Isobel still thinks they are pirates, and she likes to walk up to this one and say, “ARRRRRR!” before giving it a huge kiss.

I decorated the outside of our house, too, but I did a pretty ghetto job. You see that thing under the sign? That’s a Valentine’s decoration I put up nearly three years ago. I just kind of shoved my metal Halloween sign over it.

Our gnome is representin’ the holidays in his costume. I should probably name him. And then give him clothes. Or is that just for House Elves?

The kitchen is coming along. I wanted to take everything off the fridge so I could rearrange things, but Isobel got very upset I moved her Isobel magnets, so I just shoved everything to the bottom. I bought magnets for the Trick/Treat sign so it’s not hanging by ghetto magnet hooks. I really should find my wine bottles for the top of the fridge, too.

I like having a set of holiday magnets. My mom had holiday magnets for my sister and I when we were little, and it was a fun tradition for us.

A little garland never hurt nobody.

And I love my new kitchen towels.

Isobel helped me decorate the sideboard, too. She kept telling me that “the pirates were sleeping,” which was kind of creepy. Yes, they are sleeping. Eternally.

I found these rose-shaped pine cones last year and I’m kicking myself for not writing down where we found them. I’d love to collect more. Dried berries and autumn leaves were also collected last year, because our leaves haven’t even thought of dropping off yet.

I inherited this glass pumpkin from my Nana. I keep thinking of fun things to fill it with: pine cones, candy corn, acorns.

I’m sure everyone’s seen the adorable doilies-as-spiderwebs on Pinterest? I saw them a couple years ago before Pinterest but only recently found doilies. They came already mounted on these lovely metal hoops. I just added the spiders Isobel put in my basket while thrifting. I was like, “High five, kid! I totally needed those.”

I found this owl in a thrift store the day an identical one in my shop sold. The one I was selling was painted a solid, glossy black and I very nearly closed the listing so I could keep the owl and the painted candle sconce for my own Halloween decorations. Part of me wants to keep this guy as is, part of me wants to paint him black, part of me thinks I should sell him because I don’t need another project right now. For the timebeing, at least, he’s part of my Halloween display.

You may have noticed that I don’t like gore or scary decorations. (Though what’s scarier than the skulls and their not-so-subtle reminders of our mortality?) Well, I’ve never been a fan of gore, but I have saved the truly scary, the deeply frighting, absolutely horrifying for the end. Behold! My scariest Halloween decoration of all!

I should do something about that.

After the holidays.

Punkin Patch 2010

20 Oct

As part of my birthday tradition every year, Anthony and I pick out pumpkins and I’m generously allowed to go crazy go nuts and pick as many squash as I like. Early in our relationship I think Anthony realized that the key to making me happy on my birthday wasn’t diamond jewelry—it was pumpkins, and lots of ‘em.

This year we visited a pick-your-own patch, which I honestly never knew existed. It had been there for years, on the edge of town, turning out row after row of pumpkins, and we never knew it was there. When my Dad mentioned it to us we decided to check it out on our way to Modesto to have dinner with his parents.

I think the best part was teaching Isobel to say, “Pumpkin.”

The ground was uneven so Isobel fell down a lot, as evidenced by the dirt and debris on her diapered bottom, but that didn’t dampen her enthusiasm one bit. Anthony was kind enough to fetch a wheelbarrow to carry our stash in. Isobel helped pick the pumpkins but really she liked one as much as the other. Until we got to the miniature pumpkins. She loved the mini pumpkins. We let her pick several and she tried to carry all them in her arms at the same time.

We like to take pumpkin patch portraits every year because we are cheesy like that. Isobel thought it was *hilarious* that I made weird faces at her. Dada was not quite as entertaining, but I think most of that was my fault. I’m willing to let go of all sense of dignity to make her laugh. After awhile, the portrait taking resulted in fusspants time.

Anthony paid and started loading them in the car while Isobel ran around exploring the more exotic pumpkins. Including one named “Peanut” which made me all nostalgic because that was her in-utero nickname. See? Sob. My little peanut.

I also taught her how to stick her tongue out and she practiced it over and over. She’s a champ now.

Our pumpkins look so cheerful and happy on our porch. Whenever we leave the house Isobel always tries to take one or two with her.

I hope some of these babies last as long as the ones I had last year.

Life List: Isobel’s First Pumpkin

14 Oct

I’m so excited fall is just around the corner. People in the Valley tend to get very excited and impatient for fall because even though it’s mid-September our temperatures still soar into the 90s and sometimes reach 100 degrees F. That’s not uncommon. That’s how we roll. By October it’s been like our fifth month of summer and winter doesn’t begin in earnest until about Christmas.

Autumn excites me for lots reasons; not only does it signal the hope of cooler temperatures but my birthday is in October.  Each year I relish my chance to become more and more the self-satisfied crotchety old woman that I already am on the inside.

Last year I spent my 30th birthday crossing something off my life list and I realized that’s what I need to spend every birthday. What better gift could you give yourself? What better way to celebrate your life? I had a party to celebrate the milestone and it was a lot of fun, but my life list item was actually taking Isobel to pick out her first pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.

I had the day off work due to furloughs and we drove out of town and into a giant local fruit stand in the country. She was so little then she tended to fall asleep during car rides and that short drive was enough to put her out. We woke her up and she was amazed at what she saw. Isobel fell asleep on the way there Strange fruit! Tons of children! A lake full of fish! She looked around eagerly the whole time we were there. I don’t think she made a peep the entire time. She was too busy taking everything in.

Anthony and I were in agreement that even though she was small we needed to pick out an enormous pumpkin for her. It was bigger than she was and certainly much heavier.

Anthony handled the carving while I washed and roasted the seeds. Isobel sat in her highchair watching us work.

We decided to make her pumpkin look just like her by giving it large, smiling eyes and teeth of the same number and position as Isobel. It’s so hard to remember what my baby looked like with only two teeth! She has a whole mouthful now.

My birthday is on Saturday. If I’m lucky this year I’ll be able to cross something else off the life list.