Of all the seasons, the only one I can say I’m not too fond of is winter. I’m invigorated when spring arrives with pre-season baseball, energized when summer goes full swing and we can go see our beloved Cardinals play in St. Louie and I’m absolutely in love with fall – its colors, the cool breezes, the hay rack rides, The Pumpkin Festival, wiener roasts, hot cocoa at football games, Pumpkin Pie Blizzard’s, family at Thanksgiving but pumpkin pie tops the list. I’ve tried on many accounts to cook and mush fresh pumpkin but it just isn’t the same as Libby’s canned pumpkin.
Around these parts we are known as the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.” Pumpkin fields are as common as a corn or bean field. The harvest operation is one of the most interesting. You can sometimes hear them in the middle of the night…pumpkins thumping as they are scooped up to a conveyor belt into the wagon and then into the semi. I’m sure that being so close to the plant provided us with an advantage over the rest of the country. However, last year canned pumpkin was as scarce as Easter candy at Christmas.
It was an unusual year with it being so wet during the spring, most farmers didn’t finish planting until around June 1st vs. the general rule of thumb of April 15th. That set everyone up for a late harvest. Then the rain returned making the fields too muddy for the equipment. It was heart breaking to see all of the fields that had to be destroyed last year. There were pumpkin fields that went all the way through the winter. And, even a cornfield here and there. This one was just down the road from us.
For many down south it isn’t odd to see an entire field standing through the winter. Around here it’s one of those things you rarely see. Unless it’s a farmer who’s left a small patch up for the deer.
This year, when I started to see the pumpkin in stores, I was like a squirrel gathering her nuts. I have a nice little stockpile in the
storage room. My hubby’s uncle, a retired math teacher, works at the Libby plant during harvest. In the beginning, he was seeing low quality and smaller amounts of ‘meat’ per pumpkin.
Even though it was a slow start, the year turned out very well considering. I’m so thankful that we’ve had a nice pumpkin harvest and there is no longer a shortage!!
Here is one of my favorite pumpkin desserts:
The Magic Farmhouse’s Cold Pumpkin Pie
- 1/2 Graham crackers crushed
- 1/2 Ritz crackers crushed
- 1/4 c. butter
- 1/2 container Cool Whip topping
- 1 tsp. vanilla
To make pie crust, combine crumbs and melted butter; pat into a 9 in. pie plate. Bake at 350 for 8-10 min. Let cool. For filling, combine milk & pudding mix in a mixing bowl; beat well. Add pumpkin, cinnamon; mix well. Pour into crust. Chill for at least 2 hrs. Combine topping ingredients & smooth over pie. Sprinkle just a bit of cinnamon on topping for presentation.
I wish I could show you a picture of the final deal but someone dove into the pie before I had a chance to snap a shot.
What’s more, did you know pumpkin is one of the most nutritional vegetables around?
In one cup of cooked, boiled and drained, pumpkin your body consumes….
- Calcium – 37 mg
- Dietary Fiber – 3 gm
- Folate – 21 mcg
- Iron – 1.4 mg
- Magnesium – 22 mg
- Niacin – 1 mg
- Potassium – 564 mg
- Protein – 2 grams
- Selenium – 0.50 mg
- Vitamin A – 2650 IU
- Vitamin C – 12 mg
- Vitamin E – 3 mg
- Zinc – 1 mg
- And, ONLY 49 Calories!!
The weather has turned cool, the leaves are changing into beautiful colors, the combines are spinning their wheels and spiders are plentiful. (Ugh!) I realize the first official day of fall came & passed a couple of weeks ago but until today I just wasn’t ready or in the mood. I LOVE the fall but it reminds me that winter comes next.
We took a drive up to my hubby’s grandma’s farm which is currently getting a face-lift. As we drove I admired the new colors and a funny story from last year came to mind. Willis & I were discussing the change of summer to fall. I told him that there were four seasons and proceeded to list off Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Immediately *with a capital E! LOL!* he exclaimed “No, no, no, Mama! You forgot deer season!!!” It was another one of those moments when I thought my tongue really would fall off from biting it so hard. I tried my best not to giggle and said that he was correct there is a deer season. I couldn’t resist emailing his teacher and sharing the story. Apparently, I had again forgotten another season. The class had also been discussing the change in seasons and when they listed our four traditional seasons he insisted they were wrong and proceeded to correct the teacher by saying…
“No, no, no!! You forgot deer season & combine season!!” So in our home we celebrate six seasons during the year! You can’t fault him for being wrong. The eyes of a child sure can simplify life and put things in perspective.
Speaking of deer season…it started at sun-up on Friday morning. At 7:15am, my brother harvested his first doe of this year’s ‘Deer season.’ He closed the day by harvesting a button buck. I called him yesterday evening and just moments before he had two walk under his stand. Don’t worry, I asked that he leave a few for the rest of us!
Have a great sunny, fun week!!
I’m so proud right now!! For years and years and years I’ve tried growing green beans and peas. Every year they would undoubtedly fail but try, try again I did! This year my green beans took off & I have a crop! At first I thought I’d only get a few and that was enough of a victory for me. Then they kept on budding and growing. We picked the first time about two weeks ago and I had enough for one meal. After eating canned, store bought green beans these were honey to our taste buds. Even two out of three kids agreed, mom’s beans were much better than those ugly, gross green things she shoves down our throats! Willis has been a picky eater since he was two…the doctor said it’d be a phase he’d grow out of…I guess I forgot to ask when!
On Friday, little Pudder and I headed out to the 93 degree/113 heat index weather and picked again – before you judge, at the time I had no idea it was really that hot. I’m starting to wonder if my iron counts are depleting again or maybe the Magic FarmHouse has given me a delightful power to endure heat. Pudder didn’t seem to mind and wasn’t hurt in anyway and the little trip to the garden resulted in some cherished memories.
It was a rewarding experience as we began to pick. The moments quickly turned entertaining as Pudder, asserted himself and decided he would be mama’s helper. I was picking beans from one side of the row and he started picking leaves. To change position and reach beans on each side, I straddled the row. All of a sudden I was stopped in my path as he ran in front of me, lifted his leg and attempted to walk with the row between his legs. The plants are about half his height so this was amusing to say the least.
Noticing the process wasn’t very effective I began picking the beans and making him a pile next to the row – my subtle way of giving him something to do. To my surprise he left his position which looked similar to a cowboy riding an over-sized bull and began picking up the beans, taking them to the bucket and dumping them in. Score!!
These are fun times! We finished the row and took our loot inside. I’m estimating a total of 3 quarts give or take a few. I LOVE to eat raw green beans…I know I’m a weirdo! It’s times like this that I should be called a Backwards Mama! LOL!
It’s sad to see how fast the summer is coming to an end. Even so, I love this time of year. It’s a time when you can harvest the seeds you’ve sowed and worked so hard to nurture throughout the spring and summer. Or, fall, I just planted my pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers about two weeks ago but that’s another story for another day.
Now, where did my salsa recipe go?? The tomatoes are going to be next….