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I dreamed pumpkins grew in trees

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frostyleaves2 We were expecting freezing temperatures overnight a couple of times this week, along with a few evening snow showers. So far we have had a good frost, some rain, and some cold temperatures ... but no snow. Knowing that colder nights were coming, I began to worry about our pumpkins because they are out on the porch and in the yard for display purposes right now. However, I want to store and in some cases freeze some of them for cooking purposes throughout autumn and winter. frostyleaves1Those worries led to an interesting dream the other night, some of it scary and some of it interesting. I dreamed we had pumpkins of all sizes and varieties growing everywhere on our lawn ... and in our trees. Sunlight filtered through the trees and the plump pumpkins dangling from their branches, as if the pumpkins were apples in amongst the beautiful autumn leaves--it was quite beautiful, the images are still vividly impressed upon my mind. Our yard had become a split level yard and all manner of pumpkins were growing abundantly everywhere, the split level aspect of it making the scene even more dramatic. Although the pumpkins were of many different varieties, they were a bright yellow-orange color. I think the Great Pumpkin himself must have inspired this dream. frostyleaves4However, the beauty of the dream soon came to naught because when I approached any pumpkin and touched it, it fell to mush beneath my fingers ... absolute lifeless mush. In a panic, I rushed from pumpkin to pumpkin, tree to tree, fruit to fruit testing the pumpkins and each and every pumpkin was ruined. In my dream, the explanation was that a hard frost had hit the night before, and what had been a yard full of lovely ripe pumpkins ready for harvest became instead a scene of wounded, painfully translucent produce. In my dream I was upset with my husband because I had warned him that the coming frost might harm the pumpkins and that we should relocate them, but he was equivocal about the importance of protecting them from the cold. I told him that I assumed full responsibility for the loss because I could have moved them all myself but that I was upset with him for having a lackadaisical attitude about protecting them. Perhaps I should have written this dream backwards, so that it started out scary and sad and ended up beautiful. That is how I remembered the dream: first I recalled the destroyed pumpkins, the mushy texture and the horrible feelings of losing them all as well as the sad conversation I had with my husband about responsibility. After recalling the nightmarish quality of that portion of the dream, I remembered the beauty of the opening scene with glowing orange pumpkins hanging from limbs and dazzling my eyes from multiple levels of spreading lawn. frostyleaves3Now the beauty of the dream pumpkins shines brightly in my mind, completely overshadowing any negative feelings about the ruined crop of pumpkins.
Side Bar: For my knitting and other needle craft readers, I posted a new entry at The Knitting Blog this morning (9 Nov 09).
Speaking of pumpkins, we had a perfectly beautiful and fulfilling Halloween this year. I don't think it could have been more perfect, perhaps the Great Pumpkin did visit us that evening--after all, the perfection of our Halloween began with the Sincere Pumpkin Patch we planted last spring. Much of our modest pumpkin crop was scattered about our two front stone porches and stairways, lending a higher degree of rustic charm to our old farm house. The lawn was covered with a thick carpet of autumn leaves only recently fallen to the ground. Around the property and across the street over the river trees still had one third to one half of their colorful leaves intact. With so many of the leaves gone from the trees on the bank of the river, I could see the river clearly through our kitchen windows. We had a high wind advisory, and what could be more perfect for Halloween Day than gusty bursts of wind stirring up whirlwinds of autumn leaves round and round the yard, against the house and windows, in short bursts of startling and magical fun. Then there was a power outage in the middle of the day. Fortunately I had already cooked the fresh pumpkin soup and homemade bread we would be having at dinner, and my husband offered to cook the meatballs we were going to serve out on the grill if needed. We had fun gathering up all manner of candles and lanterns and arranging them around the dinning room in case the power was not restored before dark. We were expecting a couple of friends to arrive about dinner time and thought it would be fun to have to spend the evening in the dark, lit only by candles, on Halloween night.
LongIslandCheeseI don't have a photograph of the pumpkin soup I created for Halloween because we ate it all up before it could be photographed, but I will share the recipe with you (see below). I used this Long Island Cheese pumpkin from our very own crop; my husband cut it up for me into large chunks and we froze what we didn't use in this batch of soup.
When our friends arrived, I drew Jack o' Lantern faces on three of our Howden's Field pumpkins and the men took them out on the porch to carve, light, and display them. It was so beautiful to see big plump, carved Jack o' Lanterns that we had grown ourselves. Standing together after the carving, watching the flickering candlelit faces of the Jack o' Lanterns, gave us a definite feeling of completion to the goal we had set out for ourselves one year ago when we first decided to create the Sincere Pumpkin Patch. jackNow we have to get on with the business of cutting up and freezing some more of our pumpkins, storing others, and giving some away ... while we still have time. I'll end off for now, I mean, I do have all of these pumpkins to deal with. Hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend coming up and that you enjoy a fall day as much as we enjoyed our perfect Halloween. ~firefly Pumpkin Coconut Soup
  • 3 lbs fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 to 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp raw or brown sugar
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
LongIslandCheeseCloseNote: Set aside 1/2 lb of pumpkin for roasting separately. 1. Melt the butter in a large crock pot on high.; toss pumpkin cubes in melted butter. 2. Cook pumpkin in crock pot on high for one hour. 3. Add spices and sugar to crock pot and stir well; add coconut milk and vegetable stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. 4. Continue cooking in crock pot until pumpkin is tender (varies depending on the crock pot you are using; my pumpkin was tender after one more hour or so on high in my crock pot). 5. Meanwhile, cut the 1/2 lb of pumpkin you set aside earlier into 1/2" to 1" cubes. Toss liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle black pepper, salt, and a bit of ground cinnamon and toss again to coat seasonings evenly over pumpkin cubes. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender when poked with a fork. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. 6. Puree the soup in a blender or with a hand-held blender until smooth. (If using a blender, you should process the soup in small batches to prevent backsplash burns. Of course, be sure to put a cover on your blender also to prevent backsplash.) 7. Serve the pumpkin soup with a few pieces of the roasted pumpkin plopped down into it, a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt in the middle or crumbled blue cheese sprinkled on top. Garnish with a sprig of parsley or rosemary for color. Big, chunky fresh homemade croutons seasoned with cinnamon and butter are wonderful in this soup. Variations: 1. Use only three cups of vegetable stock if you want a thicker soup. 2) For a richer, creamier soup, use only one or two cups vegetable stock and a total of two cans of coconut milk. 3) Add one to two additional tablespoons of sugar and increase the amount of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg if you would like a sweeter soup reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Copyright © 2009 J. L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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