Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Perspiring Pumpkinville

 It was hot at Pumpkinville. It shouldn't be hot. It should be muddy, rainy, even snowy. That's part of the fun. But the day we decided to visit it was hot, hot, hot and it seemed that le tout western New York was there. There were endless queues for everything, even the cow train.

 Here it comes again. It sort of epitomises the sweetness of the pumpkin patch turned homely  seasonal amusement park with a few stalls selling pumpkin-flavoured doughnuts and cider in pumpkin-shaped plastic mugs and candy floss, what Americans call cotton candy, flavoured with maple syrup.

Here's the pumpkinville express.

Going into the station.

It's free to get into the grounds but you have to pay for the attractions.

They actually had a shiny black helicopter giving rides but that was 40 dollars each. Most people decided to stay on the ground.

Eat your heart out, Lewis! 

 This was the goat house - they have a sort of pulley-arrangement to send food in little containers. But the goats had retired indoors. Air-conditioned indoors perhaps.

You could try your hand at panning for gold and jewels.

And at various games.

The cow theme was everywhere.

Though this caused the most laughs.

 An edgy way to get your mustard and ketchup for the barbecued chicken. If you ever get to the front of the queue, that is.  There was of course a pumpkin theme too.

You could select one or pick your own in a field at the bag. Here are some of the ready-picked ones. Picking out pumpkins in scorching heat. Didn't seem right, somehow. This isn't Florida.

 There were the usual Halloween spooks, though they looked a bit tame in the sunshine.  We went on a hay ride which wasn't quite what I expected. Rumbling along behind a tractor with not a wisp of hay in sight. Along the route there were "Bigfoot Crossing" signs, upside-down witches and zombies trailing eyes. "Don't do it!", one of my young companions shrieked to the queue as we got back, "The zombies will get you!" (I am still mourning missing the last two episodes of the last season of the Walking Dead. Don't know when I can catch up. I had to miss the Walking Dead party at the library in case someone gave away what happened. )

Then there was the animal hut

The turkeys looked worried. Had someone turned on the oven?

The pony was the only one who didn't seem to care about the weather.

And here are more hazardous foodstuffs (see posts below)

The weather was lucky for Pumpkinville and good luck to them, especially as their proceeds go to charity but I can't help hoping it will be back to mud and rain next year.

Monday, October 23, 2017

More Hazardous Produce

Actually they look more like gentle giants. Moomins spring to mind, if anyone remembers those old children's books.

Spotted in the supermarket, something called Jackfruit, You can see how big they are. The green globes on the left are not Brussels sprouts but full-size melons. The instructions tell people like me, who've never seen one, how to eat a jackfruit. Share with friends they say. As I didn't have 5,000 friends immediately to hand, I didn't buy one.
Ps I have now googled it and found it comes from Asia and is being hailed as the new "miracle food". Step aside kale, broccoli rabe et al. And vegans can use it as a meat substitute. Tastes a bit like pulled pork, they say. Oh yes?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Of Pumpkins and other Hazardous Produce

A typical roadside sight around our way.

The invasion of the Golden Globes, these being some of the best.

But then again, there's not that much difference between one pumpkin and another and I often wonder where the unsold ones go. Incidentally there was once a great Pumpkin Heist hereabouts. Someone crept by at night and stole his neighbour's pumpkins. There might be better ways to use your time. Police are also apparently deployed in this season to watch out for people hurling them off bridges onto cars.
  The coloured gourds are pretty too, if you feel like arranging them in a display.

Meanwhile the farmers' market has some less hazardous produce, unless you don't like hot peppers. Though that squash could probably pull a punch.

The round red jobs are not tomatoes but ferociously hot cherry peppers. Appearances are deceptive. It all looks like a jeweller's shop display doesn't it?

There's talk in town of a permanent site for the farmers' market. Year-round perhaps. I wonder what they can sell in the winter?
Incidentally, while on the subject of hazardous produce,  this summer they seem to have been selling pumpkin pies again. Evidently someone got rid of, or circumvented the  rule that they might be a health hazard because they use eggs or some such. A bit like those British nanny state regulations about the Women's Institute selling jam. Yes, pumpkin pies and jam, among the leading causes of fatalities on both sides of the pond.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Penny for the - What?

A mystery spotted outside the library.

Now in my day, back in Britain, my first thought would have been "Penny for the Guy". For the benefit of my American friends, British kids used to - maybe still - stuff dummies representing Guy Fawkes and exhibit them to get money for fireworks and then they's be burnt on a bonfire on 5th November.  But what they're doing in America beats me. Probably something to do with Halloween. Could it possibly be that, for once, a British Guy Fawkes custom has invaded American Halloween and not the other way around? There's always hope.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Autumn Glory

Quick before it rains again - have a look at our autumn colours. The western New York autumn started slowly and late, after a heatwave but by the weekend it was developing very promisingly.
This was early in the morning when it was still foggy.

And here a nice flash of red maple.

Even the mundane and ubiquitous sumac makes a pretty pattern.

Fog again, wisping over the valleys.

And coyly veiling the colours until the sun comes out.

Later in the day, I came across this maple in the car park at the CVS pharmacy in town.

And this one was up our lane.

Here's another angle.

And here's the first scene a few hours later. You have to imagine the sounds of the geese gathering on the lake, honking away and occasionally taking off and wheeling overhead.

A tantalising flash of red on a hillside.

And more shots of nature's tapestry.

I can't think which of these I like best.

And there are so many hills to choose from.

All colouring up at different speeds.

Another typical autumn scene around here - the dried up cornfield with the hills behind. I take this road every day. It's easy to get blase. Of course the deer like to lurk in the corn to do their kamikaze thing. Sadly this is prime deer-hitting season. I can't understand why creatures that are so intelligent when it comes to foraging for delicacies in my garden are so stupid when it comes to roads.

Meanwhile back in the jungle.

Our maple tree only manages a few flashes of red.

Though the carpet on the ground is gorgeous.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Autumn in the Jungle

After my absence for a while, things are, how shall I say it, a little overgrown.

But that's not a bad thing in autumn when the unkempt look works with all the fallen leaves that seem to get into everything. There was, apparently quite a heatwave while we were away - just as I predicted. An iffy summer and as soon as we leave, summer comes with a vengeance. Wouldn't you know. But some of the geraniums are still holding their own.

And there's one last remaining daisy putting on a brave show.

 It must have been a little damp though

To produce a couple of largish mushrooms - a meal for someone, evidently.

And the bird bath from above is quite artistic.

Sadly, for the two most interesting sights, I didn't have my phone to hand, let alone the camera. A handsome red fox came exploring the last remaining tomatoes. Unlike London, they are pretty rare around here and this was a gorgeous, burnished gold, bushy-tailed specimen, fitting in perfectly with the autumn colours. Well if they eat grapes, according to Aesop, I suppose they might like tomatoes. I fear for the chipmunk family though - I haven't seen any of them since we got back.  I hope that's just a coincidence. And today a cheeky raccoon appeared to case the joint. He sat up on the grass by the flower bed sniffing the air and then lumbered off, fat and well-fed. We only turn our backs for a minute and it's a safari park here.