Last night Rebecca, Kristen, Brandon, Kathryn, and I gathered for our third annual pumpkin-carving. We served hot cocoa made on the stove and fresh-baked pumpkin bread (both courtesy of Kathryn); the pumpkins Kathryn and I had picked up that afternoon at a little corner garden shop called Carter's Corner, the grounds of which were laden with gorgeous round richly-colored pumpkins and occasional hand-scribbled notices informing us of the 39 cents per pound cost. I subsequently searched out the smallest and lightest pumpkins although after several minutes of searching the grounds among the little kids and their parents, my biceps were rebelling against my awkward two-gourd load. When I whimpered a feeble protest at Kathryn's more thorough search, a man smoking a cigarette calmly insisted upon taking one and carrying it to the counter with us, seemingly happy to witness another "guessing."
I got the impression that this was one of his fall entertainments, the guessing contest, as he stood placidly by watching the transaction. "Oh, I'm not very good at estimating weights," I said to the girl at the counter when she urged me to guess for a free pumpkin, but she and the cigarette-man pressed me until I half-heartedly tossed out "10 pounds?" "Go up," the girl told me conspiratorially, so I revised my guess to 12 pounds. Bingo! The first pumpkin was free. I had a go with the second, immediately surmising it a bit lighter--11 pounds perhaps? but dully stuck with my original guess to keep things simple and overestimated it by a pound. I'm still kicking myself for not going with my gut and nabbing that free pumpkin, but hey--I don't mind supporting a good business, right?
We listened to my favorite artist, Vienna Teng, as we chatted and carved until 11 at night. Rebecca carved the most artistically, executing a full-blown rose with shading carved at various depths--quite skillful. Brandon finished a jolly face in minutes, and Kathryn outlined the Beatle's logo with a pointed wheel. I think she still means to carve it out. I tried my hand at a simple school of fish, hacking out about five goldfish that don't even look as good as the cracker. Pumpkin carving is not my forte. Kristen "came to the rescue" and chiseled out swirls among them, but let's just say it's a good thing pumpkin-defacing comes only once a year for the Moore girls.
But the evening finished with three more or less completed jack-o-lanterns, a compost pile topped with stringy orange globs, and nicely toasted pumpkin seeds. I do love fall!