Thursday, October 29, 2009
The note came home from Erin’s teacher, Bridgett Dailey, that the children need to bring a pumpkin to school for carving.
We bought a small one.
That didn’t work.
Erin wanted a big one, so naturally, as far as our 7-year-old is concerned, we obliged.
Then came the note that they would be carving them at school on October 16, and parents were invited to come and help.
Erin begged me and begged some more to come and assist her with the task.
I have a really difficult time turning her down.
I told her, “I will probably be the only dad there.”
Turns out I wasn’t, and actually both Pam and I went to help with pumpkin-carving, and it was tons of fun.
We took the pumpkins to a picnic table at the football field. Erin had already picked out her design, and her mother had already purchased the pumpkin-carving tools. We were ready to go.
But, getting Erin’s pumpkin ready for the actual carving turned out to be a tough task. I’d never seen a pumpkin with so many seeds and so much slime and strings and so forth.
We had to ditch the small scoop that came with the kit, go to the football field house and find the larger and sturdier ice cream scoop.
Even using that, it took a while. The carving was the easy part, and the small tools worked just fine.
The larger pumpkin is on the porch, and we still have to carve the smaller one.
Halloween is Saturday.
Carved pumpkins have become an important symbol of Halloween – a fun day also filled with treats, costumes and parties for children.
One thing you might not know – the heavy rains in Mississippi and nationwide have decreased the number of pumpkins available for harvest, but not the quality of the pumpkins already pulled from the field.
Pumpkins are popular for decorating and baking, but they are not a major crop for Mississippi, which only has a few commercial growers, according to the Extension Service at Mississippi State University.
“Unfortunately, growers lost 20 percent or more of their pumpkins in this part of the state,” said Steven Cummings, Extension Service for Yalobusha County. “The rains delayed fungicide application, so some of the pumpkins were lost to rot.”
But the pumpkins harvested were of good quality and are selling quickly.
Clay County Extension agent and pumpkin grower Reid Nevins avoided rainfall issues by harvesting his four acres early.
“This is the best crop I’ve ever had,” he said. “We got them out of the fields and ready to go by October 1.”
The pumpkin shortage was apparently widespread in the United States, with the exception of the Midwest’s crop.
Hopefully, you got your Halloween pumpkin, and hopefully, you took the time to carve it with your children.
I know there were a happy bunch of second graders when their parents showed up at school recently to help carve pumpkins.
Those are special moments that we should not let slip by.
I’ve learned that over the years, often saying, “I’ve got to work.” But trust me, there are more important things than the job – particulary our children.
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