November 01, 2008
Fourth Day with Snow; Pumpkins; Fireplace
Even though the snow has been melting for 2 days, there is still some left. It has melted off parts of the roof, and the garden path, but most of the lawn is still covered in white. I am impressed with the long-lasting nature of this unseasonable snowfall.
Yesterday morning, I went for a very foggy, snowy walk with my friend T and her dog. She lives up on a big hill overlooking Zug, where it is colder (in this case 33°F, 1°C) and snowier due to the elevation. We were decked out in hats, mittens, neckwarmer, waterproof jackets, snow boots...The whole village and surrounding area were enveloped in a cloud. Driving up there, cars would suddenly appear out of the pea soup nearby - slightly unnerving. At least they were on their side of the road. When we were walking through a field (I'm sure there was a field under all the snow), we got to a place where there was a signpost pointing three directions - and that was the only thing we could see in any direction, other than fog and snow. Quite an amazing feeling of lostness and hiddenness - I could see how people could wander off and die in a white-out. But I wasn't worried - we weren't far from her house and we had done this walk before, and had a dutiful dog with us. Still, it was exciting and something I don't remember experiencing quite like that before.
Then last night Hallowe'en caught me by surprise. I did not expect any trick-or-treaters here in a country where it's not generally a widely celebrated occasion. I wasn't even home when the first batch arrived - I guess the word got out about these Americans and people assumed we celebrate the holiday (which we only sort of do). I hadn't bought any candy to dish out. I was out late shopping for Operation Christmas Child, actually, with Emily, something fun to do after her orthodontist appointment (both kids' schools are sponsoring a shoebox drive for OCC, which is wonderful). Poor David and Jason were left to scrounge around the kitchen for something suitable to hand out to the eager group of girls. They found some candy corn and chocolates. Not wrapped in individual portions...but it was the best we could do at the time.
Later, after I got home around 7:15pm, another group of girls came by - and Jason gamely opened the door and let them at the candy again. That was it for the night's visitors.
We had our fun for the evening by carving pumpkins. David wasn't feeling well so he went to bed, and the kids and I had a pumpkin each. I am thrilled that both our children are now old enough to do all their carving themselves. I only cut the top out for them, and helped finish up some of the scraping out of the inside when they felt they couldn't get any more out. They planned their designs, drew them on, and cut them out. We were all pleased with our creations and made a memory together. It took a long time and was hard work, with a bunch of clean-up, but very satisfying. Jason made the cool sword (and entered it in an online carving competition via photo). Emily's is the heart-cheeked one, and mine is the cross. I went for something very simple, since I was also doing a lot of cleaning up and dishes and roasting the pumpkin seeds at the same time.
We've also been enjoying our fireplace in our new home. In France three years ago, we had a fireplace but it didn't draw very well, and besides, the Mediterranean weather didn't lend itself to many fire occasions. Then in England we didn't have a fireplace, for two years. So now that we are in a cooler climate and have a great fireplace that sends all the smoke right up the chimney instead of out into the living room, it's blissful. Great for roasting marshmallows and chestnuts. More memories.
November 1, 2008 | Permalink
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Hey, I've got a tip for you on a great tool for scraping out the inside of the pumpkin. My engineering brain got to work on me last year and I thought "there has got to be a better way." I scrounged through our drawers and found an ice cream scoop that worked terrific! It not only got out all the "guts" but scraped the sides of the walls to a nice and smooth finish. I'm sorry it's a bit late, but I only remembered after carving our pumpkin last night. Oh and don't forget the yummy seeds! I followed these instructions and ended up with about a cupful from our single jack-o-lantern this year:http://people.howstuffworks.com/how-to-bake-pumpkin-seeds.htm
Posted by: randall | Nov 1, 2008 9:38:42 PM
Great photos and innovative designs, and I have to say we did not even get a pumpkin to carve this year. Since our lights were out, we also had no trick-or-treaters either. This is definitely a day we don't celebrate, but I think dressing up in costumes is fun! Went to the Montpelier Races yesterday, and it was so warm I wore a sleeveless cotton shirt! Oh, Happy Day to all! Mom
Posted by: Patricia | Nov 2, 2008 1:19:03 PM
We didn't manage to do pumpkins either, but I wanted to get some on sale and do the seeds ;-)
Oh well. Loved the designs..the sword was very innovative! And the pic of you looking out the window :-)
Posted by: Angie | Nov 3, 2008 11:01:40 PM
Very nice work. For the last couple of years, we have just kept our pumpkins whole, and gotten lots of different kinds, and stacked them on our porch. They last longer that way. Maybe when Cary is older we will carve one.
Posted by: Sami | Nov 4, 2008 11:50:35 PM