Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pumpkins & Flowers & Gourds, Oh My!

We left the Warwick Valley Winery and headed we thought.  "Turn right," I exclaimed as I spotted big orange pumpkins in a field. September seemed early to buy pumpkins, but as the woman at the Scheuermann Farm said, "They've been picked, so whether you get them now or in October...what's the difference?" Made sense.
Steve and I and Pat and Jeff walked a short distance to get a closer look at the pumpkins still on the vines in a field of dark, rich black dirt. The Warwick area is known for this type of soil and the reason the farmers there have great success. The area is loaded with fruit orchards, pumpkin patches, corn fields and much more of God's bounty.  Undoubtedly, one of these pumpkins was used as the coach in the fairy tale, Cinderella. They were huge!
Our Autumn Bounty Graces Our Home!
 We received a lesson on the varieties of pumpkin- the Cinderella, miniature pumpkins called Jack B. Little, the common-Sugar pumpkin, the Knucklehead that is covered with "warts", and the pink Peanut pumpkin. Did you know that pumpkins come in just about any color? A blue variety can be found in eastern Europe and there's a red variety, called Rouge D'Etant . "Curcurbita" is the family of plants that the pumpkin belongs to. This species also includes squash, watermelon, and cucumbers. Pumpkins generally weigh 9–18 lbs. with the largest (of the species C. maxima) capable of reaching a weight of over 75 lbs.  The current world record holder is Christy Harp's 1,725-pound, Atlantic giant pumpkin, which won the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers annual weigh-off in Oct 2009. (Wikipedia)
 And then there were the gourds! I never saw so many shapes, sizes and colors. 
How I love them in baskets and bowls during the Thanksgiving season. But they have many more uses than just looking decorative. How about resonating chambers on certain stringed instruments, and drums common to the Caribbean? It, also, makes sense they'd be used as drinking vessels. I love the name, Phatso 2, given to a common gourd in our area and the Cushow with its rounded bottom and long neck. So we filled the trunk of our car with pumpkins, gourds, fresh corn on the cob, jars of cherry and pumpkin butter and blackberry preserves. We thought we were headed home for the second time until we spotted a field of late summer flora.
We couldn't resist. The sign at the entrance read, 'Feel free to enjoy yourself in our "Slice of Heaven" by walking barefoot on our carpet of grass'...and we did. It was like walking on deep green velvet!, cool, thick and luxurious. And the flowers!! The colors were spectacular- purple, blue, pink, yellow, orange, and dusty white. There was a flower island with the American Flag flying proudly in the middle of it. I saluted it. And we were wowed by the giant sunflowers nodding their heads at our child-like enthusiasm. My most beloved photo of the day was of the graceful orange & black Monarch butterfly sunning amidst vivid purple blooms.

The late day sun dappled rays of light across the fields reminding us that all good things must come to an end. So we slipped our shoes back on and headed toward the car...again. could we leave without visiting the quaint, red barn gift shop? There were lovely hand made crafts, ceramic mugs, books, cards and...Christmas items. I made a bee-line for that table because right before me was something I'd been searching for for the longest time. It's the familiar statue of Santa, bare-headed in reverence, bowing before the Infant Jesus in the manger. I've seen many of them, but I wanted one that was special. And I found it..a Jim Shore piece carved out of wood and painted in brilliant colors. I gently cradled it in my hands and called out to my husband, " I found the Christmas gift you're giving me!"   He chuckled and replied,
" Merry Christmas, honey." I felt blessed. God is good, oh, and my husband, too.
It was time to head home after an idyllic day in the country kissed with a hint of autumn...and this time we did
Reminisce about the days of neighborhood candy shops and homemade sweets with this heartwarming pumpkin fudge. It's a taste of the past you can enjoy today and tomorrow.

2 cups sugar
½ cup pureed cooked pumpkin
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
¼ teaspoon cornstarch

1. Combine sugar, pumpkin, milk, cornstarch and spice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook until it forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water (and flattens when picked up), or until reaches 236°F. Remove from heat.
2. Add the nuts, butter, and vanilla; beat until mixture is creamy.
3. Pour into a buttered plate or an 8X8 baking pan and allow to cool. Cut into small chunks and serve.

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**Remember To Make Memories At The Table.


  1. Great pictures, Nanette! I'm glad you enjoyed your excursion, it sounded like a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. Thanks Mary..I can always count on you for kind words. N

  3. Lovely pictures! I love driving down the roads and seeing pumpkins scattered over farm hills.

  4. Grace Marie! So nice to see you at Cucina Nanette. Thanks for the comment and your interest. See you at your blog, Rustic Home. BTW, I mentioned you in my post, Reach Out & Touch Someone, on Crooked Halo. N