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Pounds of Pumpkins

December 12th, 2017

If you remember, my ‘Musque de Provence’ pumpkins did quite well this year. In fact, from the four vines I planted, I ended up with 30 pumpkins. The average weight of these pumpkins is about 40-45 pounds. Some are smaller, some are larger. The largest one I can barely pick up, and I carry around 50 pound feed bags all the time, so I’m not weak. These pumpkins are super meaty (as you can see). The flesh is thick and sweet, it makes delicious pies and soups.

I gave some away, we will eat a few, but many of them will be fed to the chickens. One of the reason I grow so many pumpkins is for the flock. They love them in the winter and reward me with lots of beautiful eggs with yolks almost the same color as the pumpkin. It looks like I’ll have a pumpkin to feed the flock almost every week this winter, no doubt they will appreciate my efforts.

Do you like pumpkin? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

Beating the Rain

September 30th, 2015

We have rain in the forecast, lots of rain. Today we’re supposed to get 3-4 inches and then it’s supposed to rain every day for the next 10 days at least. That’s good, we really need the rain because it’s a super dry summer/fall so far. That means however that I spent yesterday madly harvesting everything from the garden. Ten days of rain is not good for crops right before harvest, especially things like popcorn!
harvesting early popcorn
The popcorn wasn’t really ready, technically you should wait until the husks have dried. With all the rain coming, I knew the risk of mold was high. As a result, it’s all laid out on shelves in the top of the garage with a fan on it. Along with the popcorn, I have loads of sunflowers drying in the top of the garage as well. These are grown for the flock.
sunflower harvest
I also grow loads of pumpkins and squash for both us and the birds. Not only do we eat lots of pumpkin and butternut squash, the birds love them. It’s nice to be able to give the birds healthy treats in the middle of winter. This year I grew ‘Connecticut Field Pumpkin’ for the flock. They produced very well, I’m very pleased with this variety. They are a carving and decorative pumpkin, pretty much your typical pumpkin.
heirloom pumpkin harvest 1
This is about 2/3 of the pumpkin harvest. It looks like I have 30 pumpkins for the birds and 8 large ‘Rouge Vif D’ Etampes’ pumpkins for us. This variety is my all-time favorite pumpkin because it makes the most wonderful pumpkin puree for pies and other goodies.
heirloom pumpkin harvest 2
The tomatoes also came in, anything that was ripe or slightly blushed was put in my basket. The photo below is about a fourth of what I harvested, I’m guessing I got about 2 bushels of tomatoes. I have plans to make another batch of soup and probably a batch or two of canned crushed tomatoes. The harvest was very good this year and that makes me very thankful. Last year I got the late blight and didn’t have much of a harvest to speak of. I like tucking as much as I can into the pantry during the good years. That way we can still enjoy tomato soup during the years of blight.
tomato harvest
This has probably been my most productive garden ever. I still have loads of things coming on, more on those tomorrow.

Do you grow pumpkins in your garden? What’s your favorite variety?

The Great Pumpkins

October 2nd, 2009

When I was at my mom’s on Tuesday we harvest the two pumpkins that were on the Cinderella vine. There were two pumpkins growing right next to each other on the vine, and I think these are the only two that set.
One weighed 23 pounds and the other 16, now those are some numbers that will help bump up my harvest total! These pumpkins are going to grace my mom’s porch on Halloween for decoration and then they’ll be made into pumpkin pies, which is of course my favorite way to eat pumpkin!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin?

Cinderella Pumpkin ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’

January 26th, 2009

The Cinderella Pumpkin ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’ is a beautiful French heirloom pumpkin. It first became available in the U.S. in 1883. It is a deep orange pumpkin with pronounced ribs and is quite flat. I can see why Cinderella used it as a coach to get to the ball, it truly is a lovely pumpkin!
I bought this one at our local farmer’s market this past fall. The lady that runs the farm said they make the best pumpkin pies, and since Mr Chiots and I love pumpkin pies I bought it.
This pumpkin was so beautiful I was reluctant to cut it up. It graced our dining room for the past several month. This past Saturday I decided it was time; the momentous occasion was Mr Chiot’s birthday. So out came the butcher knife and that was the end of our beautiful pumpkin.
Carving a whole pumpkin is a bit of a task. It’s definitely much easier to use a can opener to get your pumpkin purée, but this is much tastier and it’s local!
So into the oven it went. After it was baked and cooled I got out the old Squeezothat my mom lent me. This food mill has been used for years in our family. As kids we always thought making applesauce was fun, just because of the Squeezo.
I ended up with a huge bowl of pumpkin purée, much more than I would have been able to purchase canned for $3. I only needed 30 oz for my recipe, so I’ll freeze the rest for soup or muffins or perhaps another pie (the pets are also enjoying some of it mixed with butter).
I settled on a recipe from Use Real Butter because it called for freshly ground spices and cream. I happened to have some cream I skimmed from our local milk and pastured eggs from the local farm, so besides the spices it’s almost an all local pie. It has a lighter more custard like consistency than most pumpkin pies, and the freshly ground spices just put it over the top. It’s been a big hit here at Chiot’s Run. I’ve used freshly roasted pumpkins in pies before, and I must say, this is by far the best tasting pumpkin purée I’ve ever had.
I also love that her recipe is crustless. I’ve always made my pumpkin pies sans crust, there’s just sometime about that soggy crust I don’t like. I would much rather have a few crushed gingersnaps on top of my pumpkin pie that a soggy crust underneath.
I made sure I saved the seeds from this pumpkin so I could try to grow a few in my gardens. How great would these be gracing my front hillside! I am in the habit of saving seeds from things I buy as long as they are heirloom open pollinated plants. I even made up my own seed packets to put them.

Anyone else saving seeds from things they buy to grow in their gardens?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.