With crisp fall days, we have colorful leaves and a constant shower of acorns. Our pumpkin patch sprawls across stretches of the back yard with vines, leaves and finally one pumpkin large enough that we will pick it just before Halloween. There are a few other apple-sized pumpkins that may still make us proud. Right now, the biggest one is closer to a soccer ball in size and it is the only one showing any orange.
At the Dutchess County fairgrounds this weekend, we saw many much bigger pumpkins. It was the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival, with all the trappings of a county fair, including a pumpkin carver and a pumpkin catapult contest.
The catapult teams were working with devices that reminded us of some of our children's school projects. Each loaded a heavy pumpkin into a sling. Team members wore helmets. A man in charge called out a signal and the catapult arms swung skyward. Pumpkins traced high arcs across the blue sky. The targets downfield were safe as the pumpkins smashed into pulp all around them.
Back in the fairground shed, the carved pumpkins remained on display. President Obama smiled from one pumpkin. A sunflower face beamed out from another one.
From carvings to catapults, the fairground provided plenty of inspiration. As the days grow shorter, our backyard pumpkin continues to glow a bit more orange every day. By Halloween, we will decide the best way to use it.