Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Positively Pumpkin Time Again

by Mauverneen

Last year I had the pleasure of attending an entirely different type of pumpkin fest  – The Glass Pumpkin Patch at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. This year's fest is this upcoming weekend: October 15th to the 19th. I am definitely going and plan on bringing one of them home with me this time.

Pick a color - ANY color
This year, as last year, close to 20 different glass artists from Illinois, Wisconsin and California have created 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 will be glass blowing demonstrations all weekend where pumpkins will be created by a ‘gaffer’ who turns 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 on the glass. 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 3000 pumpkins, gourds, etc. – all glass, and all made for the Arboretum's fest -  will be on display, most of them for sale. Since they are handmade, no two will ever be identical. Although the Fest runs the 15th - 19th, the first two days will be display days. Demonstrations will be given daily 10 am - 5 pm. Sale days will be the 17th - 19th when you can pick up your work of art.
 
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! Don't miss it.
Fantasy pumpkins
In addition to the pumpkin patch, an outdoor food court offered a variety of fall treats! While you are at the Arboretum you might want to take a tram tour and enjoy the beautiful fall colors, or walk along the Scarecrow Trail, where themed scarecrows dot the trail around Meadow Lake.

 

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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