Sunday, December 16, 2012

From Decoration to Deer Food

I grew large pumpkins in the garden this past year to use as fall decorations.  'Twas a good pumpkin year and we had some real whoppers.

They added gorgeous autumnal color at the base of trees, by the garage door, our main entry door, on the deck, etc.

We had some cold, freezing weather early on and the orange pumpkins kept their color but turned into rock-hard, ceramic-like globes.

Then, drat and darn, there followed some unusually warm weather, the pumpkins thawed but could no longer maintain their lovely, round shapes.  Old age quickly set in and they started to sag and bag.  We decided they'd have to go to the compost pile soon.

One particular pumpkin that was at the base of a tree started showing signs of being gnawed upon.  At first we wondered what critter was helping himself to an animal version of pumpkin pie, but soon realized since the pumpkin was near a path the deer often use (and noticing deer prints all around the spot . . . well, duh), it was our deer population consuming the pumpkin.

So we gathered up all the rest of the pumpkins and took some out to our small hay field, and placed others by different deer trails.  (The chickens got a couple of them, too, which they seemed to enjoy.)

The ones placed out and about for the deer disappeared faster than we would have ever imagined.  There was quickly no evidence at all of the ones left out in the field.  Even the coarse stems were gone.


This picture of not much more than a little pumpkin pulp was taken late in the day.  It had been a nearly whole pumpkin that morning.

So my pumpkins served us well this year . . . decorations that we enjoyed for well over a month and then food for the wildlife.

Neat fact:  Did you know that pumpkins are a natural vermifuge?  That means they contain a substance that expels or destroys intestinal worms.  Works the same for humans, especially the pumpkin seeds.  (Sorry, hope you weren't eating while reading this.)     

24 comments:

Carolyn said...

I try to get a big bag of raw pumpkin seeds for munching on; yummy good for you, bad for the intestinal buggers!

Yeah, I guess that's kind'a gross sounding. Let's just keep it at "they are yummy".

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - I'm with you, Babe. Love those pumpkin seeds! But how many folks do you know that munch on them regularly?

tami said...

I was laughing at your "lovely, round shapes" to "old age sags and bags."

Ain't it the truth, Sister!

Mama Pea said...

tami - When I wrote, ". . . they started to sag and bag . . . " I almost wrote, "Just like me," but because I'm trying to be good to myself and focus on my attributes (ahem . . . I'm still trying to find a couple), I kept myself from doing so. :o) (So, why doesn't it matter as much when men "sag and bag?")

Karen L. said...

Speaking of pumpkins .... I just read somewhere that pumpkin is good for dogs. It helps soothe upset doggie tummies and (if you are eating stop here and come back later to read) relieves anal glands. Just got a recipe for pumpkin dog biscuits which I hope to try out soon. Oh and yeah, I almost hate to bring up your blog to read because those loaves of bread in your header look so darn good. Oh and yeah, why doesn't it matter as much when men "sag and bag"? Oh and yeah, it's good to have you back blogging at least a couple of times a week. Moving on .... literally by the middle of next month if I am not a blithering fool by then.

Mama Pea said...

Karen L. - Yep, I had heard that about dogs and pumpkins. Never seen a recipe for dog biscuits using pumpkin but would be interested in having a copy of it (if you want to share) as I hope to make some doggie treats as Christmas presents for some special dogs.

As for the rest of your comment . . . you are such a silly girl. You always make me feel good so I thank you for that.

Ruth Dixon said...

I have a dog treat recipe that I just got that has pumpkin. I'll try to get it onto my blog (it's a picture of the recipe, so not sure how that'll work out). Our pumpkins didn't grow at all, which was disappointing because I feed them to the sheep throughout the fall and winter. The sheep inhale them.

Susan said...

I usually give my chickens a pumpkin or two, as well as the sheep. They love their pumpkins! Well, they sure love them better than the wormer drench...

Anonymous said...

I had heard about this. However, it was from a different part of the state. I haven't started growing pumpkins again tho, so the deer will have to wait. :)
Foxy Lady

Karen L. said...

MP, I don't know if this is OK to do or not or if it will even work but here is the link to the blog where I found the pumpkin dog biscuit recipe. Hopefully you will be able to retrieve it. (That's a little joke that you will get once you go to the blog!! I'm just trying to keep your spirits up, Ha!)

http://simmertilldone.com/2009/10/07/retriever-retriever-pumpkin-eater/

Leigh said...

Great idea for the pumpkins. I know my goats would have loved them! We got two pumpkins this year, and the goats got the seeds for exactly the reason you mention.

judy said...

The only thing missing would have been a motion camera ,watching all the deer lick there fingers,ahhhm not those,paws,nope,that is not it either ,licking there hooves.didn't wreck my meal ,not 4:17 a.m.but back to the pots and pans for me to play catch up in the kitchen,more banana bread and like for Christmas

Erin said...

Would they harm the worms in my compost pile you think? I sure wish I could grow them well here, most of my fall decoration consists of gourds off the fence but pumpkins do awful here :(

MamaTea said...

Actually I WAS reading this while eating, but since I'm a hard core farmgirl, it didn't even faze me. ;) Our horses, goats, and chickens all loved the pumpkins they were given this year. So nice to find a way to use up those lovely decorations! :)

Mama Pea said...

Ruth - Thanks again for posting that doggie treat recipe!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I'd rather eat a pumpkin rather than get a drench, too. ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Foxy Lady - Get that pumpkin patch going next year! Your deer will be spoiled in yet another way!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Yep, when we had goats they treated the pumpkins like candy. (We humans can learn a lot from animals, can't we?)

Mama Pea said...

judy - I'm kinda surprised they didn't ask for some whipped cream to go with the pumpkin. Hahaha!

Yeah, I feel like I've been doing loads more dishes lately, too. Must have something to do with baking more. Mmmmm, banana bread for Christmas . . . sounds yummy.

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Nah, I don't think pumpkins would harm the worms in the compost pile at all. Wonder why you can't grow them? You sure have the heat they need . . .

Mama Pea said...

Mama Tea - Horses like pumpkins, too, huh? Feeding old decorations to the animals . . . kinda makes ya feel self-sufficient!

Mama Pea said...

Karen L. - Thanks for the link!

Akannie said...

I did not know this about pumpkins !!

We eat a lot of seeds...

Mama Pea said...

Akannie - You eat a lot of seeds . . . and have a very healthy intestinal tract!!