Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Pumpkin Question

A Pumpkin Question

I put out a pumpkin for Thanksgiving decoration. It remained on our doorstep through Christmas and the beginning of the New Year, a bright entry to our winter home. Today it called to me to cut it open. I usually like to make pumpkin soup. Sometimes I bake pumpkin cookies. I bake the seeds or share them with the birds outside.

But I had lots going on recently and didn’t get to making my favorite pumpkin recipes. I wondered about the lifespan of the pumpkin, if it was still usable. So I checked around. It seems pumpkins last about 8-12 weeks if uncarved, which was within the parameters. They fare best in temperatures about 50-56 degrees; our weather has been unusually warm this year so most of the time it has been in the 40s to mid 50s. The last couple of days, however, it has been hovering around freezing. Was my pumpkin still good to cook with? I wondered.

I cut it open and saw that it must have frozen last night and thawed when the morning warmed up, not the best way to preserve it. I would hate to see it go to waste. Perhaps I’ll boil it up and see if it is still good to use.

Any ideas?

Pumpkin lifespan:

Monday, January 4, 2016

Squirrel Knows

Squirrel Knows

Wow, it’s 2016. Didn’t last year seem to fly by? Time to take stock of things. Not to make resolutions, necessarily, as they rarely last through the year, but to see what is of value in our lives, to appreciate the people we love, and to move in positive directions. Do we respect ourselves? Are there things we’d like to change?

It isn’t necessary to do everything at once; rather let’s be realistic and focus on one idea at a time. We have to focus on the everyday things. This squirrel knows that. It is giving itself a good cleaning. It does its other usual chores as well like going in search of food, digging up nuts and seeds that were buried for the winter, looking for a mate.

Squirrels are inventive creatures, particularly when it comes to food. They can figure out ways to get onto bird feeders. They can sniff out acorns that were planted in the fall. One squirrel, which was being fed with peanuts by a friendly homeowner, took to knocking on the back door when it didn’t see its daily bounty.

I hope that this year is a good one for us all.

Squirrels’ behavior:

A story I wrote for Chicken Soup for the Soul My Resolution: if you haven’t read it yet, here it is: