Category Archives: holidays

smashing pumpkins (or smashed pumpkins, really)

It is an American holiday tradition to decorate with pumpkins for Halloween, and carve them into jack-o-lanterns. Some pumpkins never quite make it that far…

This pumpkin was not the belle of the pumpkin patch.

There is also the less widely appreciated tradition of stealing pumpkins of other people’s front steps, and smashing them onto the ground. The closest I have come to this tradition is taking our post-Halloween pumpkins to the compost pile, and throwing them down.


Pumpkins actually don’t tend to smash in these circumstances. A compost pile is a rather soft bed of leaves and other squishy organic materials.


These pumpkins are more smushed than smashed. (I confess I am amused by the distorted faces of the decomposing pumpkins.)

These are from 2009, 2012 and 2013. It is totally normal that I have accumulated a collection of photos of smashed and/or rotting pumpkins over the years. I’m sure you can say the same, right?

pumpkin carving, take 2

Remember how cute the kids’ pumpkins looked a few days ago? Wouldn’t you know it, time got away from me, and I left the pumpkins sitting there in front of the fireplace. Come Friday, I thought I should bring them out and figure out how to light them up. Unfortunately, the jack-o-lanterns had not fared well. Even though our house is chilly, it is apparently not chilly enough to keep a carved pumpkin from rotting and molding:

Oops.

On the bright side, we still had more uncarved pumpkins. I hadn’t found time to carve mine, nor John his, and there were a couple more smaller pumpkins that we had gotten from my CSA. (I’m sure they would have been great for pie-making…) The kids and I had a bit of time after school on Friday before we were joining friends for trick-or-treating, so we knocked these guys out (and set them out) on Halloween night.

I would also like to note that we didn’t have any tea lights, candles or otherwise. We had to get creative to light these up. Two have LED head lamps, one has a small flashlight, and another a keychain light. Each of the lights was wrapped in a layer of a yellow napkin, and the placed in a plastic sandwich bag before being placed in the slimy insides of the pumpkins.

my spiny invertebrates

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “invertebrate.” Given that it is Halloween today, and given my recent exposition of spider webs, how could I resist sharing these favorite Halloween decorations of mine?

These little guys (or big guys, seeing as they are spiders) are made of spiny metal and wood, and perch very nicely on all sorts of surfaces.

To see what other invertebrates are on display, pay a visit to the fff blog!

pumpkinhead

This is a picture I took of myself in 2008. I may have shared it before…I don’t remember! It’s hard to keep track of things when you have a pumpkin for a head.

Boo.

We made the time tonight for the kids to carve their pumpkins. (I still haven’t found time to carve mine.)

the life and times of an Easter egg

poissons d’avril

Okay, I took this picture of fish in February, not April. But it’s April now, and I’m pretty sure the fish are still more or less where I left them. (Which was in the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park.) I liked the way this group of koi displayed such a range of colors.

My post title, in case you were wondering, is a reference to the way the first of April is celebrated in France, a sort of fish-themed April Fool’s Day. The main tradition is to put a piece of paper in the shape of a fish on the back of an unsuspecting person, and to shout “poisson d’avril!” (translation: “April fish!”) when the fish is discovered. I kid you not.¹

¹ I kid you not, but I would totally try to sneak a paper fish onto your back.