Nature Friday ~ October 18, 2019

Looks like our BFF has arrived (can I get a collective ‘Amen’ here) which means it’s time to welcome the weekend celebrate the beauty Mother Nature. As always, we’re joining our friends, Rosy and her brothers over at LLB in our Backyard. Since Halloween is just around the corner, let’s feature one of the iconic symbols for this time of year, the beautiful orange pumpkin. Did you know the word pumpkin originally was derived from the word pepon, the Greek word for “large melon,” or something round and large. The French adapted the word to “pompon,” and the British referred to it as “pumpion.” It’s not a stretch to see how American colonists came to simply call it “pumpkin.”

PumpkinThe term pumpkin itself has no agreed upon botanical or scientific meaning, used and is often interchangeably referred to as “squash” or “winter squash.” In North America and the UK, pumpkin generally refers to only certain round orange varieties of winter squash, predominantly derived from Cucurbita pepo (Australian English notes it as winter squash of any appearance). As a warm-weather crop, seeds are generally planted in July and are generally quite hardy. The plants produce both a male and female flower and must be fertilized, usually by bees.

Pumpkins are one of the oldest domesticated plants, having been cultivated as early as 7,500 to 5,000 BC. Pumpkin pie is often a staple in both Canadian and US Thanksgiving Day feasts though pumpkins used in pie fillings are different from varieties used to carve Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. In 2017, over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins were produced in the US with the top pumpkin-producing states being Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.

PumpkinsSeveral of our neighbors plant pumpkins on that little strip of ground between the sidewalk and the street (affectionately known as the ‘hell strip’ in these parts) and are frequently noshed on by squirrel thugs who seem to treat them as a fast food drive-through. Those gigantic pumpkins (Cucurbita maxima) you sometimes see were developed from South American large squash varieties through efforts of botanical societies and pumpkin enthusiasts.

PumpkinsNutritionally speaking, pumpkins are versatile and most parts of the plant are edible. Canned pumpkin (not filling) is often recommended by vets as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats for digestive ailments such as constipation, diarrhea, or hairballs. It’s a mainstay around the Ranch for keeping canine tummies content. Elsa in particular, is a connoisseur of the orange fleshy pureé. The high fiber content aids with good digestion. Did you know raw pumpkin is often fed to poultry, as a supplement to their regular feed, during the winter to help maintain egg production, which usually drops off during cold months. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc for peeps and are a delicious and low calorie snack.

I don’t know about you, but with pumpkin pie season getting started, maybe it’s time to start thinking about stocking up on whipped cream.


Here’s hoping the weekend weather allows you to get out and enjoy some classic aspects of autumn nature. Me personally…I think I’m going to follow this truck.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

54 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ October 18, 2019

  1. I don’t know how you can corral a pumpkin vine on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and teh street. Those things will grow out to infinity if you let them (And will, in fact, grow new roots along their journey and usually be completely dead where it first sprouted from the ground by harvest time).

    Good to see the squirrels are taking care of business, though!

    1. They definitely accepted the challenge of landscaping. And you’re quite right on the vines running amuck. 🙃

  2. That looks like a great pumpkin invasion🎃Granny likes pumpkins, but Grandpaw and I not, she calls me sometimes pumpkin, for whatever its good for😸Pawkisses for a Happy Caturday to all of you🐾😽💞

    1. It always seems strange when I learn some peeps don’t like pumpkin. One of my favorite flavors of pie, just below cherry. 😉

  3. Monika,

    I am totally getting a pumpkin pie this weekend.

    I’ve never been the biggest fan, but this time of year always makes me crave it once or twice. And you have so eloquently and deliciously provided me with my first craving of the fall season, so salud and thank you very much!

    As for other pumpkin uses, I usually bake the seeds after disemboweling the pumpkin for carving purposes. That is . . is no squirrel thugs get to the pumpkin first, LOL.

    Happy Weekend!

    1. Enjoy that 🥧. I have decided to bake one myself because it sounds just too good to pass up on a crisp autumn day. Cheers to the weekend!

  4. Today I’m making a Tuscan apple cake, but beginning soon I will make all things pumpkin…using stevia, of course, to save the waistline. Thanks for the pumpkin lesson.

  5. Well, of course we are going to follow this truck!! It is a Ford, after all :o) Anyway they are trying to promote Halloween here but it’s not really working all that well. It’s not really been an “Australian thing”. The weekend ahead is looking fairly well, lots of work to catch up on outside. I know everything will be done right because my supervisor sits in his chair and make sure..

  6. I detect a generational issue: no mention of pumpkin spice lattes. Anyway, we like the Japanese pumpkins – kabocha – and have them year around. Pumpkin pie is tasty for a slice or two, usually at Thanksgiving, and then we ignore it for another year. I haven’t got my carving pumpkin yet because of the threat of high winds and 90 degree days. Maybe next week.

    1. I actually do like PSL but the last one I had was horrid. And I don’t splash that stuff on EVERYTHING in the name of selling stuff on the bandwagon.

  7. This was so interesting – I love pumpkins!! I love how pretty and decorative they are, and I also love how healthy they are. Luke also gets pumpkin in his breakfast, and yes, the chickens get some too! The seeds are said to be a great natural de-wormer as well.
    I haven’t had as much luck growing pumpkins as I’d like though. I get a lot of plants that do quite well, but very little fruit! This year I only have 4 large on the front step and 4 minis in the house. Hoping for better luck next year!

    1. I heard about pumpkin being a natural dewormer. Pretty cool! They can be picky about growing conditions. It’s hot and dry here, they don’t seem to mind. Hopefully you’ll have better luck next year. 🤞🏻

  8. You meow ‘Pepon’; LadyMew meowss ‘Pumpion’ an mee meowss ‘Pumkin’ an what efurr werd you use Miss Monika mee lovess Pumkin!!! Mew mew mew….
    Grate photoess of such lovely Pumkinss!!!
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma

  9. I’m with the commenter who preferred to buy the cans rather than cut up and cook a pumpkin. Love the treats you can make with it. My front porch pumpkin gets put out back for the wildlife. They love it and it’s usually gone by the end of the year.

    1. Wow, end of the year, eh? If I put a pumpkin out now I doubt it’d last to Halloween with the gangster squirrels in my yard. I’m with you on the canned version. Trying to blend pumpkin strings is too much trouble for me. 😊

  10. I cut up a pumpkin and cooked it once, Once, From then on I only dealt with it in cans. What a chore.

    I love this post, So much information.I will never look at a pumpkin the same way,

    1. Sometimes those strings from inside are a major pain in the tookus. It’s easier just to get plain pumpkin in a can. 😉

      Glad you found the info useful. I hadn’t been aware they’ve been around forever.

  11. I should buy a pumpkin but since we don’t have a house I usually don’t. I love pumpkin seeds! Are those pumpkins in the photos above (except for the truck) at your house?

    1. The jack-o-lanterns going up the wall are from Union Station terminal. I was downtown earlier this week and liked the decoration. As for the other one, it’s from a neighbor’s yard. I don’t dare put pumpkins out-the gangster squirrels would make Elsa lose her mind.The only pumpkin I ever put out is a ceramic pumpkin scarecrow in the window. 😈

    1. Poodles likewise have tummy issues (maybe it goes with deep chested breeds?). Funny how these big strapping dogs have delicate tummies. My guys get a dose of it every day as well. 😊

    1. Spring is lovely and delicate, autumn is earthy and rich. Both are sensational in their own special ways. 😄

  12. Though I am personally not keen on pumpkin pie, I do love pumpkin cookies, cakes, pasta, soups… even put it in my spaghetti sauce which gives it a nice rich thickness. Zeke loves it too 😉
    Happy Friday to you Monika, Sam and Elsa!

    1. Unlike you, I do like the pie. I also enjoy the soup, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin ravioli. Basically if it’s not nailed down and it’s pumpkin, I’m a fan. 🤣No wonder Elsa eats just about anything!

      1. I should try the pie again… maybe it was just that one that didn’t cut the mustard.
        Oooh and don’t forget the pumpkin seeds. I roast those babies whole with olive oil, salt and sometimes spices… they taste like popcorn! Go great with, don’t ask why, babybell cheese and red wine 😉

        1. Oh yum, that sounds super delish! I’m a big fan of the seeds and love to sprinkle them on top of salads as well as enjoying them as a healthy snack.

          No one likes a lousy pumpkin pie. I like the ones at Costco; they’re pretty decent for a pre-made dessert. And hard to beat the price ($5.99 US) for a humongous pic. 🎃

          1. I’m sure you mean just the pepitas (green part). But the whole seed? Yummy…

            Hmmm. I maybe shall have to try one. Though humongous is too much for just me!

  13. happy weekend! I love orange, plus the orange berries on bushes right now. Whatever they are called, it’s lively and happy. LeeAnna

  14. I love all those stacked pumpkins. That’s very clever.

    We don’t decorate here. We do hide from the hordes of kids though. We go to the boat and stay there until the craziness is over.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

    1. As a kid I confess, I was part of the hordes, now I try to avoid them like the plague. Having two large dogs who bark like a serial killer is at the front door isn’t a bad deterrent at times. 😉

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