Once upon a time in a forest far, far away from the nearest Whole Foods, a hyper chipmunk decided to grow her own crop of magical Fairytale Pumpkins. In the autumn of 2017, as the red and yellow oak leaves were being blown to the floor of her forest home at over six thousand feet in the San Bernardino Mountains the hyper chipmunk was not out collecting nuts as the days became shorter and crisper.
She was leaping through forest trails with her little mongrel doggy and powering up dirt fire roads on her black Cannondale mountain bike before going back to her mountain chalet and scooping seed after gooey seed out of the Fairytale Pumpkins that she had harvested from the nearest Sprout’s Market. Most fairy tales don’t contain mountain bikes and I don’t recall any fairytales that were full of mongrel dogs but this is a different kind of fairytale; One where the Hyper Chipmunk Magical Mountain Princess uses the homegrown pumpkins to make delicious Pumpkin Curry by late fall.
Wait a gosh darn minute.
I don’t recall any fairytales that reeked of curry, cumin and coriander.
When Little Red Riding Hood made her way through the forest to grandmothers house, she was not carrying a basket of cloves, dhania-jeera and cardamon pods. Like I said this is a modern-day Fairytale and there are no dwarfs or fairy princesses but there are a fair amount of kitty cats ( Yes some smuggled from across the Mexican border) to keep the garden gopher free (although we also found this https://www.smithspestmanagement.com/blog/post/how-to-get-rid-of-gophers-in-your-yard-garden guide to be pretty useful too).
Once upon a time on a warm summer day, I decided to plant a crop of pumpkins…
Just like Jack, of Beanstock fame, early June this year, just as our mountain soil was warm enough to let the seeds get to germinating, I sprinkled Fairytale Pumpkin seeds in what would become our pumpkin patch in the front yard next to the RV. Then I covered them in the amended soil well as I didn’t want that silly neighborhood rabbit to eat my precious seeds.
So how did the Hyper Chipmunk keep the front yard varmint free?
Well she didn’t use any magical spells or poison apples but she did mix up a potion of red-hot imported from India Chili powered, raw garlic and dish soup to keep the front yard looking as magical as possible. And as critter-free as possible. Thank you Pinterest for this tip on how to more or less organically keep the yard free of pests and critters.
And back to the fairy tale of how I no longer have a black thumb
Once upon a time on a stupid hot for living at over six thousand feet summers day, our crew of knights, princesses, mongrel dogs and one hyper chipmunk returned to the enchanted forest of Big Bear Lake after a month away from their castle and it’s vast gardens. This family of adventurers had been in the mountains of the eastern Sierras for the last month exploring the hiking trails, lakes and campgrounds near June Lake California and missing home, their own Puss and Boots felines and the rapidly growing garden.
As their carriage (A 34 foot Fleetwood RV) pulled back into the driveway the garden was a visual delight of fruits and veggies! The hyper chipmunk couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen (A kitchen that was not the size of most bathrooms like the RV kitchen she had been cooking in for the last month) and make some salsas, pesto and apple cobbler.
As the days became shorter and the afternoons breezier with a crisp nip in the air the Fairytale Pumpkins were growing bigger and bigger every day as August became September. Labor Day weekend the Hyper Chipmunk hosted a yard sale and all the neighbors from throughout the lands were way more interested in the pumpkin patch then the suede boots and dog Halloween costumes laid out for sale. The Hyper Chipmunk answered more questions about pumpkins, winter squash and the plethora of apples hanging off the limbs of the Granny Smith apple tree then questions about how much this Kelty backpack is listed for.
Mid-September came around and the enchanted forest oak and maple trees were splendid colors of red and gold and it was time to start harvesting the forest of Fairytale Pumpkins. Colder autumn days and nights meant all the winter squashes and pumpkins from throughout the land were ripe, ready to be harvested and it was time to indulge in Pumpkin Chips and pumpkin pies.
So what did the Hyper-est Chipmunk who is not a Disney Princess learn this fairytale of an autumn season?
- Mountain bike as many autumn trails as you can before the first snow.
- Give pumpkin patches more area to grow then you expect.
- Plant more pumpkins then you want to have to decorate because each and every friend, neighbor, and dog walker who strolls by the garden will want a Fairytale Pumpkin to come October 1st.
- Be super careful moving the vines to take artful pumpkin pics as the vines can easily snap before you can say Snapchat.
- Dogs and cats love pumpkin almost as much as we humans do during Pumpkin Spice Starbuck’s Latte season. Add a bit of pumpkin to Fido’s dry food to let him also celebrate these glorious days of fall!
- Be ready with tons of pumpkin recipes come November 1st because when you grow upwards of ten pumpkins for decorations, you will have a ton of pumpkin to harvest, can and add to south Indian curries.