What the pumpkin said

tiny pumpkin

I grew this tiny pumpkin. Of course it was supposed to be a big pumpkin, but so what else is new?  I decided to carve it, just for practice.

carving tiny pumpkin

Here’s the scene. I’m in the kitchen, with Max. Max is just dogging around like he does, cleaning the floor, eating crumbs, waiting for me to drop a bit of cheese or something. But I’m busily carving the tiny pumpkin.

tiny pumpkin carved

I made a tiny mess with the seeds from this pumpkin, and the spoon, and the knife. So I was washing up, and the tiny pumpkin was just on the table behind me.

Then it said, in an itty bitty pumpkin voice, “Thanks!

I looked.

tiny smile

It smiled.

And that little smile made me feel a lot better about growing vegetables, in general.
(I thought you should know.)


In other news:

The rain is raining all around
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea,
And out where I am gardening,
It falls all over me.

Oh dear, I do apologize to the ghost of Robert Louis Stevenson for my uncontrollable need to add those last two lines to his beautiful poem, “Rain”.  But now you know my weather. And Mr. Stevenson knows my degree of frailty.  “Frailty, thy name is gardener.” Hamlet. Sort of.  Oh see how the rain is making me crazy? There is so much I want to do outside, and instead I’m stuck in the house with a cheese-addicted terrier and a talking tiny pumpkin. (What did I do to deserve it?)

This is a gardening blog sometimes so here’s a picture.

Aster lateriflorus

It’s called Aster lateriflorus “Prince.” It has little starry flowers all bundled up together, very sweet and blooming now. Its lower leaves are dead and brown so I didn’t photograph that part. (Surely you understand). It is on the list for moving, to more sun and better watering.

Honestly I wish I could just pick up all the gardens and shake them together in a paper bag, like when you toss fresh homemade donuts in sugar, and then they would all get mixed up and come out different. But that might be irrational…

terrier in the rain

Yesterday we worked outside, in the soggy dirt with mist falling now and then. (Max had a bath afterward so he didn’t have to spend the night outside.)

I moved two sword ferns, a camellia, columbines, an echinacea, a climbing rose, and a lady fern and composted a lavatera. Still waiting for transfer are a rhododendron, more sword ferns, an enormous hosta, another rose, and almost everything in a certain overgrown bed by the fence.

I calculate that if I had about ten crews of two gardeners each I might get all this done before the irreversibly hopeless rains of winter arrive…

cozy MaxBut really it’s just myself and sweet Max as gardeners, and when the rain begins we much prefer to sit by a comforting fire, warm and quiet –except for occasional remarks from a miniature pumpkin…

tiny pumpkin lighted


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in actual gardens, Max the Westie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to What the pumpkin said

  1. Love your mini pumpkin he looks a happy chappy – can understand your frustration at not being able to get everything done – but you sound as though you’ve been busy – I just can’t seem to get myself in to gear yet – although at 7.30 this morning I was spreading horse muck on my pumpkin patch.

    • linniew says:

      Good heavens Elaine, it is barely daylight here at 7:30 a.m! (It would be difficult to spread manure while holding a flashlight…) But everyone says to do these soil enrichments in the fall so you are doing awesomely well. I bet your pumpkins will be full-sized instead of 3″ ones like I have. Thankfully my smiley one does have a pleasant disposition.

  2. Alberto says:

    Normally you make me laugh, this time I felt languid, nostalgic. It’s such a frustration having so many things to do and couldn’t because of lack of time or bad weather… I got home at night and have those blaming bulbs looking at me but I’ve planted the most of them, what else are we suppose to do? At least your little (guess it’s non american) pumpkin smiles to you…

    • linniew says:

      Hi Alberto– I expect the difficulty of getting everything done for winter is common to all gardeners. You will be happy for all your bulb plantings, come spring. (It is like cleaning up the kitchen in the evening so the breakfast-You will be pleased. If you don’t do it, the breakfast-You can be very vexed by the laziness of the night-before-You.)

      Actually my happy pumpkin is not the French variety. I’m saving the large French one for closer to Halloween. And just so you know, that little happy pumpkin doesn’t have a job, or any health insurance, or any retirement. He has been going to local Occupy Wall Street marches though.

  3. Aaw so cheerful and sweet….you really are in a lovely mood. That photo of Max and the smiling pumpkin kind of moved me…not sure why…I guess the love in it all came through so much….you own nature and your love of life warmed me…thanks….

  4. Ginny says:

    What a sweet little smiling pumpkin!

  5. Holleygarden says:

    What an adorable pumpkin! Its personality really shines through. Sorry you’ve had so much rain, but really, you seem to have done quite a bit of work. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had crews of gardeners to help us with our chores? Ah, something to dream about tonight…

    • linniew says:

      I suppose if everything could be done instantly really I would just make more mistakes. Gardens are always in progress, moving through seasons and changing. I just got a little behind!

  6. kininvie says:

    Dear Linnie? Why are you moving all this stuff? Is it not happy where it is? I never move anything, because I’m far too lazy. I certainly would never consider moving anything in the rain. I must say that Max looks a lot nicer after his bath…..
    Pumpkins are very effete. What you need is a proper turnip, or neep, which is what we use in Scotland (or did until we were corrupted by American imports) That will test your carving skills – mostly you need a saw. I am pleased to say some Scots remain resistant:

    “….Jock Ferguson of Herald Events sent the anti-commercialism message home: ‘We will be having none of that pumpkin or trick-or-treat rubbish.

    ‘Pumpkins are banned and will not be allowed beyond the front gates.”


    • linniew says:

      Hi Kininvie
      I realize all my plant moving does sound a little maniacal. Part of it is that the bed along the south side of the house has been mostly vacant since the painting there last year, so I am moving things to it, from other crowded beds and dividing plants too. Then I am working on the beds where the scaffold was all summer and I couldn’t get access. And then too there are beds that just got neglected while I painted and did whatever else I do all summer. It isn’t usually this large an undertaking.

      Regarding Halloween, it must be a frightening event watching the children sawing up turnips. I would think a large drill might actually be in order. In any case I am pleased to hear of a use for turnips. But here the pumpkin is the lantern of choice (effete? uh-uh) and we like pumpkin pie too. I love all the roots of these seasonal holidays, and just because the mix that is America has added some traditions doesn’t make them bad. I hate the commercialism of anything (Christmas, Mother’s Day, Halloween) but that doesn’t keep one from growing a nice tiny pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern– no saw required.

      • kininvie says:

        Well Linnie, I guess it’s horses for courses – although I am pleased to see that at least a few of you over there are reverting to the old ways:


        You will note the references to ‘muscle’ and you will note the saw. You will also note the size of knife required. It’s no wonder we toss cabers for a living in Scotland.

        The only thing I quarrel with in the above is the ‘battery-powered tealight’. You need the stump of a good candle, and then your house fills with the wonderful aroma of singed turnip….

        • linniew says:

          Thank you for teaching me “horses for courses” — I had never heard of that expression. But then I had never heard of “cabers” either. (Note to Americans: the first is pretty much like “to each his own” and “cabers” are logs that people throw around in Scotland, I don’t know why.) But Kininvie I want you to know that I have a little larch tree growing in my woods, so some day I may have a caber. Or maybe I should cut it now (it’s maybe 30 inches tall) and give it a toss…Anyway, we do agree about the candle in the lantern, but I really can’t imagine a seared turnip could be a finer fragrance than a similarly scorched pumpkin.

  7. b-a-g says:

    Linnie – Don’t mean to be a wet blanket, and I have to admit it has a winning smile, but if I had a home-grown pumpkin I would have eaten every bit of it, toasted the seeds and eaten those as well.

    • linniew says:

      Yes! I grow pumpkins for eating actually b-a-g, but this year they were pumpkinettes. I have a couple more tiny ones, and I suppose I could have baked them all… Usually I bake them and make puree for holiday pies. Oh dear I hope the little pumpkin doesn’t read this…

  8. Grace says:

    Your little pumpkin wanted to smile, this much is obvious. He must really like it at your house with your little cheese-muncher. I too am bemoaning [were you bemoaning?] the crappy weather. There is so much to do. You moved a Camellia? Sheesh. That must have been no easy feat. Here’s to sunny autumn days ahead. Fingers crossed.

    • linniew says:

      It is definitely crappy weather although today it is sort of ambush weather too –just when I go out thinking the rain is over then a big wind and black clouds roll in and send me running inside. Don’t be impressed with the camellia Grace. It was up against the house, sort of under the wide eave, so it was dry a lot and had almost no roots. I suppose this could have something to do with it’s failure to thrive… Anyway I have great hope for its little camellia future.

  9. Dear Linnie, Aww, I love that adorable Jack-o-lantern! I am so tired of the rain here. There were 7 straight days without rain, but I was in England and missed them. Now I am back in PA, rain is once more in the forecast. I don’t think too many plants will be moved this fall. P. x

    • linniew says:

      Welcome back Pam! I see from your blog that you had a wonderful trip. Too bad someone told you about the 7 dry days while you were gone– sometimes it’s best not to know these things. Still the trip was surely worth it. I’d go in a heartbeat, sun or no.

  10. Roberta says:

    Oh, my goodness. I think that you and kininvie should collaborate on a blog of your correspondence. I enjoyed your comments to each other almost as much as the blog post. And thank you Linnie for the translations on horses for courses and cabers. I think that the photos of Max are wonderful. Both of them. I’m not even sure which I like more. And yes, it is good to know that there is a use for turnips afterall.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Roberta
      I’m glad someone else had no idea what Kininvie’s words meant. (Thank god for the internet, a great help.) I enjoy all the comments and follow-ups. I actually write a good deal more in the comments than I do in an average post, something I wouldn’t have guessed would happen. And somehow Kininvie and I tend to get into these strange little discussions. I enjoy them and I’m pleased you do too.

  11. Cathy says:

    You are too funny. I’m guessing you’re grateful the pumpkin only talked and didn’t sing (or worse, give you a colorful piece of his mind).

    Max is so sweet! I had better not let my four little ones speak to Max… if they found out he got a bath for being muddy, they’d gang up on me for sure. They all LOVE baths (but with four long haired dogs, I’d go nuts doing that every day LOL!).

    I confess to being very lazy with 4 dogs in the rain. I get a big old beach towel, wipe them down, lay another beach towel on their bed (it’s big enough for all 4 of them) and make them lay there until they dry, then brush them. Katie (who is mostly white) and Toughie (who has white paws and legs) do an exceptional job of cleaning themselves, for which they earn extra cookies.

    Absolutely love that aster. I haven’t seen one like that before. The color combo is unusual and striking! (And would look fabulous in my garden too LOL).

    • linniew says:

      Kathy, I have no clue how anyone deals with more than one dog. And Max is really pretty manageable. But he would prefer no baths ever, and literally runs upstairs and hides under the desk when he sees me get out the shampoo. He likes the brushing part but he hates the water on the head part. I know the aster would look great in your gardens– everything looks great in your gardens!

      • Cathy says:

        Bathing these four is such a production, we frequently walk them up the street to the groomer who lives 5 doors from us and is wonderful (and is set up to handle multiple little dogs with long fur and very long ears). One day a workman left the gate open and Emmie ran away.. straight to the groomer.

        And Mister Toughie…. he’s another story. When he was a pup, before his first brain surgery (he’s had two), he fell into his pee and poop every time he went outside, which meant that every time he came in, he went straight into the sink for a bath. One day, he got six baths. He was in his glory. But we had created a monster!

        Eventually, we got smart. We took him out and held him in a standing position until he was done with his business, then let him run off (and fall) elsewhere in the garden. However, for weeks, when he came in, he went and sat in front of the sink and whined for a bath!

        • linniew says:

          Well, all I can say is that Max lives up to his Terrier-ness. He is into “going to ground” (he digs up every mole hill or tunnel and ground squirrel holes, and helps with every planting hole I’m shoveling) and could-do-without-the-bath-thanks-anyway.

          • Cathy says:

            Hehehe…. that little digger can visit here any time! Our yard is a mess of rodent tunnels right now. Toughie catches the ones he sees out and about, but he digs up bulbs, not tunnels, which would be far more helpful LOL. Max is a little sweetie.

  12. Have been reading your blog for a while and you are funny as….. That pumpkin is so sweet (and so is Max of course) We have two crazy dogs, two crazy donkeys and a paranoid cat.
    We too grow pumpkins and can’t wait to start carving them up for samhain,, pumpkin soup anyone?

    • linniew says:

      Hi & welcome! Good to have animals. (Max is my Familiar…) I’ve never had pumpkin soup but it’s certain to be yummy. Trouble is I love the pie. And Druid holidays.

  13. Your post warmed my heart. It is always nice to work hard in the mud and then rest and warm by the fire. Beautiful!

  14. Principally I am loving your dog.

    • linniew says:

      Max would love you too. When he was a puppy he always went to work with me in my antique shop. He kind of grew up there, greeting every customer. He is extremely social. Here is picture of him back then.

      Max as a puppy

  15. That little pumpkin would make anyone smile. We have a cat named Otto at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. He gives guided tours of the display gardens and then climbs into customers’ boxes when they are shopping for plants.

    • linniew says:

      I feel that every business establishment should have an animal representative. Cats are great. Before Max I had a cat, named George. He lived for eighteen years- I couldn’t have raised the children without him. (Sometimes I think George has reincarnated as Max.)

  16. nhgarden says:

    What a cute little smiling pumpkin 🙂

  17. So darn cute, the little pumpkin. Max looks mighty comfy, too.

  18. Greggo says:

    ooooook. talking pumpkins. and you didn’t believe me about the smurfs. and you have a hobbit hole. hmmm.

    • linniew says:

      Why no Greggo, I have no hobbit hole. I do aspire to a hobbit hole, but I aspire to many things. The pumpkin doesn’t talk much, just a tiny bit. And if you went to visit smurfs, well fine, I can think of much worse people to visit, including some of my relatives. So really we have a great deal in common.

      Your friend,

  19. Sheila says:

    That is the cutest pumpkin I’ve ever seen … Funny post! At least you are getting transplanting done, despite the weather. I am just thinking about it.

    • linniew says:

      Yes Sheila, transplanting. That’s what it is. I’m glad it sounds reasonable to someone! The other thing is that some plants have serious personal boundary problems, and need something more like un-planting. At least where they have flattened their neighbors. We have cool sun for a few days now, should be good. Really here I garden outside off and on most all year except for the cold rain of December and January.

  20. Bridget says:

    Does’nt every face look better with a smile! Still in love with Max…just too cute.

  21. Hmm. I have a cheese-loving-terrier but no smiling mini-pumpkin. And no roaring log fire. I feel short changed. Hmm.

  22. I’ve never managed to carve a decent pumpkin face. This is the answer! Carve small! (Presumably the skin is thinner?)

  23. Fay says:

    You speak pumpkin, that’s so cool. Pumpkins have arrived here for lanterns in our supermarkets. I don’t speak pumpkin, any tips? At least when I was little make lanterns from turnips, which I could speak! How times change

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