Tuesday, October 22, 2013

POSITIVELY PUMPKINS

by Mauverneen

Pumpkins, gourds, mums and some straw - beautiful! And all natural!

It’s Ocpumpkintober!  Pumpkins are everywhere - pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin – everything! Pumpkin farms with their corn mazes and hayrides out to the pumpkin patch are a popular destination for field trips this time of year and EVERYbody wants to carve out some cool jack o’lanterns.

I had the pleasure of attending an entirely different type of pumpkin fest this past weekend – The Glass Pumpkin Patch at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. It was their third annual, but it was my first time visiting and I surely will go again – in fact, I already have it on my calendar for next year!

Pick a color - ANY color
At the Arboretum, 20 different glass artists from Illinois, Wisconsin and California created and  displayed a multitude of pumpkins in all sizes and colors – from realistic looking traditional orange to fantasy pumpkins in whatever color your heart could possibly desire. There were glass blowing demonstrations all weekend where pumpkins were being created by a ‘gaffer’ who turned molten glass into works of art at an outdoor furnace.  I watched, enthralled, as glass artist Shannon Jane Morgan of Girl Glass Studio in Sacramento, CA. worked her magic. Watching the process of heating and shaping the glass is fascinating, but most surprising to me was the fact that once shaped, the glass has to cool very slowly or it will crack. Upon completion of a piece, it is placed in a 900 degree oven, where it cools for hours, as the temperature inside the oven slowly drops.


Shannon Morgan of Sacramento, CA and Daniel Sviland of Waukegan, IL working their magic at the furnace
 
Stretching molten glass to form the stem
 
Wrapping it round and round


An almost completed mini pumpkin

Over 300 pumpkins, gourds, etc. – all glass -  were offered for sale. Since they are handmade, no two will ever be completely alike.
 
My personal favorites - gorgeous in green!

I have found that there are glass pumpkin patches hosted in a variety of states.  With a little research you might be lucky enough to find one near you!
Fantasy pumpkins
In addition to the pumpkin patch, an expanded, outdoor food court offered a variety of fall treats – a perfect addition to handle the hundreds of extra visitors! Some of the other events at the Arboretum this month, besides enjoying the beautiful fall colors, are the Scarecrow Trail, with themed scarecrows dotting the trail around Meadow Lake, fall hikes, and Trick or Trees in the children’s garden, where one of the activities was - painting your own pumpkin.

Yep – it’s definately Ocpumpkintober! Too bad pumpkins only come out in the Fall. They’re not only tasty, they’re fun!
 
 

Did you know that pumpkin seeds are one of the best foods you can eat? They are a natural source of beneficial carbohydrates, amino acids, calcium, potassium and phosphorous. They have been used to treat prostate problems, bladder problems, learning disabilities and depression. Pumpkins are native to north America and the original native Americans knew their benefits and used the seeds, known as Cucurbita, to treat kidney problems.

Making your own pumpkin seeds is pretty easy. There are dozens of recipes online – like this one
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/toasted_pumpkin_seeds/http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/toasted_pumpkin_seeds/

As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
 
Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com
and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com
 

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