We had a few “volunteer” pumpkins in our garden this year. My best guess is that they sprouted from the pumpkin seeds from last year’s compost pile. Their vines and huge leaves vigorously grew across the carefully-planted rows of potatoes, carrots, beets and tomatoes. By the dog days of late summer, they had taken over most of the garden; their vines reached up to the tomato and pepper cages on the north end and stretched up and down the rabbit-proof fencing. I just didn’t have the heart to rip them out, even though their showy leaves created a dense forest for the peppers and their prickly vines tangled up the asparagus and delicata squash plants. I just wanted to see what these rogue volunteers would do. I even started having daydreams of growing more interesting Martha-esque heirloom pumpkins since they seemed to just want to be here with us. It was meant to be!

They grew bigger and rounder, but they refused to give up their green hue. A little bit of orange here and there to be sure, but they never matured into the true orange pumpkins that garner big bucks at the pumpkin patches. I picked them anyway and hoped for the best, but when our pumpkin-carving night rolled around and they were still tough and green, I gave up hope. And I had let them grow in our garden! Sigh. So I let them be. For another day.

So what’s a Mama to do? Wren and I decided that even though Mother Nature hadn’t turned them orange, it would be fun to paint them. Take that! This might be our new Halloween tradition…