Wednesday, 31 October 2012

When Winston met Teddy

After Teddy met Winston, he wrote that he thought Winston was "a rather cheap character".
The only photographic evidence of their encounter in the year 1900
At $2.50 for a pumpkin in a store desperate to get rid of them, he wasn't wrong. 

With Sandy causing a ruckus outside, we stayed in for the most traditional of October activities: Pumpking carving.

We chose leaders from our respective countries: I did the Winston Churchill pumpkin, and my husband did the Teddy Roosevelt pumpkin.

When the storm kicked in and the power went out, we sat in their soft glow, checking the news on Twitter on our phones.

The director of Sixth Sense, M Night Shyamalan, sets his movies in Pennsylvania. The Sixth Sense is set in Philly, and the rest, including Signs and The Happening, are set in rural PA.

Sitting out here during the Frankenstorm felt a bit like an M Night Shyamalan movie: High winds, no power, fields of corn swaying in the darkness, no traffic lights at intersections, trees down and no traffic on the roads.

Luckily our corner of PA came out of the storm relatively unscathed, and we only lost power for a day. I hope the most affected areas can recover and rebuild quickly, especially Seaside Heights and Coney Island.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Five Pumpkin Beers you need to try

Adding cream to pumpkin beer, a la pumpkin pie, is optional
We're still celebrating Octoberfest here at the Glad Blog. And we couldn't have an Octoberfest without a selection of seasonal beers! Here's an extra special guest post for you: Five pumpkin beers you should try this Fall.

Fourth Place: Lavery Stingy Jack. A craft beer from the original home of US brewing, and our home, Pennsylvania.

The name is endearing and the label tells the story of how the Jack o’ Lantern came to be, but the contents of Stingy Jack isn’t as one would expect. This beer isn’t really even a pumpkin beer. Most pumpkin beers have obvious notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bring thoughts of falling leaves, warm fires, and pies. Stingy Jack has none of these flavors and doesn’t bring any of these thoughts.

At first I considered ranking this beer third, for reasons you will read below. But ultimately a “pumpkin beer” must taste like pumpkin, or at the very least, Fall. Stingy Jack fails here. It’s an ok beer but I can tell you it’s not for everyone. Gillian hated it, and thought it tasted like pondwater. Stingy Jack, you kept the flavor for yourself.

Third Place: Pumking. "Bewitched and brewed with pagan spirit" in the state of New York. 

Pumking professes to be King of Pumpkin beers. At first glance, it's certainly regally orange. When you drink it, Pumking will invade and occupy your taste buds like a despot ruler, whether you like it or not. I love heavy, hearty, flavorful beers and I think I will get Pumking again, but the flavor in this brew was very overpowering. This is coming from a guy who loves the flavors of deep European beer: If I can’t see through the beer I definitely need to try it. 

Despite the overpowering smell and taste, at least it tasted like a Pumpkin. While I can’t devote my service to Pumking and his court, I will probably venture back into his festive realm.

Second Place: Fegley’s Brewworks Devious Imperial Pumpkin. Another local PA brewery.

This beer is rather charming. It has a beautiful amber color and its sweetness coats your tongue. When you take your first sip you will find a balance of traditional spices that is just right.

Drinking this beer was a pleasure, as if a liquid fall candy or pumpkin pie had been poured into my glass. I could go on about this beer but I won’t, partly because the more I do the more I want one right now. I highly recommend this beer for Thanksgiving. Get a bottle and see what I mean; better yet, get two.

First Place: Long Trail BrewmasterSeries Imperial Pumpkin. From the northern state of Vermont, which produces some great brews and hard ciders.

This Imperial Pumpkin provides more bitterness and smokiness than Devious Imperial Pumpkin. Its spices are also a bit more subdued. This is refreshing, and unlike so many pumpkin beers which tend to leave behind a massive hoard of flavor taking over your mouth. 

Like Devious, this beer could be very enjoyable by itself. The yeast flavor makes it slightly more beery, so it would also be a great accompaniment to a seasonal meal. This beer will definitely have a place at my table for Thanksgiving … and probably several times before then.

*Honorable mention: The purpose of this post was to focus on lesser known brews, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the stalwart from Pumpkinshire itself, Sam Adams Pumpkin Ale, which is available in its fall series. Every year this is a must for me. It’s not as powerful or as flavorful as the other beers, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be. It’s a nice autumn festive beer for your everyday needs.

However, there is one scoundrel out there that has evaded my taste buds. A much sought after scoundrel who, I was told, was sold out of the shop just a few days after it was released. But know this: Next year, Fat Jack, I will hunt you down and find you …

Thanks Mark, for your pumpkin beer expertise and opinion!
What's your favorite pumpkin beer? What has been missed from this list?

blogtoberfest? Remember, it's the Glad Blog Octoberfest all this month, so please send me your own Fall themed posts - I'd love to feature my favorites. Bonus points if you feature pumpkin related activities or products, local Fall Fests, or fun traditions I haven't heard of.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Fall: The in-cider scoop

During the horrific pumpkin shortage of 2009, I was in a boutique deli in Scotland serving American students their coveted tins of Libby's. It was all a bit alien to me.

We also sold other unique US produce, such as Marshmallow Fluff and Karo corn syrup. Americans flocked to us, just like I make a bee-line for the rows of HP Sauce and boxes of Tetley tea in US supermarkets now.

One cold day an American girl came to me and asked if we had any cider. We didn't, I explained, as we didn't have a license to sell booze. In an attempt to be helpful I suggested she try the local bottle shop (AKA liquor store in US-speak).

She looked at me like I'd been hit on the head by Newton's apple and wasn't thinking quite right. "Uh, it's not alcoholic…" she explained. I just apologized and said I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. If it wasn't an oversize bottle of Strongbow, then what did she want?

In the UK, cider is a sweet alcoholic apple drink. The cheap stuff is sometimes made from onions and is favored by young teens drinking illegally in bus shelters. Cider has experienced an image-boost in recent years though. Trendy brands brought out cool flavors:  Summer fruits, elderflower, even toffee apple, or a light pear. Craft ciders began to adorn bar shelves and supermarkets.

Scrumptious scrumpy and perry is plenty available all over the UK now. The Cornish stuff, Healy's Cornish Cyder, packs a hearty punch. Their scrumpy is particularly strong, a heady 7.4% vol, which is more than most European beers.

But ask for cider here in North America and you'll get… apple juice. Cloudy apple juice. With a hint of spice. And no alcohol.

It's partly a hangover (sorry) from the colonialists bringing apple seeds over the ocean to continue their own (hard and soft) cider habits. Prohibition killed hard cider for a while so this stuff became the fruity Fall refreshment of choice.

But call it 'apple juice' and you'll get withering looks from locals. This is another of these huge US Fall trends that I'm just learning. It's only available in the Fall months, and my husband drinks it by the gallon. When it first arrived at the local supermarket it sold out in days. My husband fretted that he wouldn't be able to get his favorite local brand and that Fall would be ruined.

Luckily though we've been well-stocked with this (soft) spiced apple cider stuff since then. I'm not hugely taken with it, but that's okay, because there are some delicious alternatives…

Monday, 22 October 2012

FOOD FIGHT: Caramel Apple v Candy Apple

Another popular October activity out here in rural USA is apple picking, and then turning those picked apples into tasty treats. Candying fruit is a sensible thing to do post-harvest as it prolongs the life of the fruit through the winter months. I'm sure most people don't have that in mind when they're candying apples these days though. We've made two popular October apple treats and pitted them (sorry) against each other…Just for fun.

Okay, here goes:

Caramel Apple 

Invented: Apparently invented in the 1950s by Kraft Foods rep Dan Walker.
How to Make: We cheated and used a microwavable tub of dipping caramel from the local supermarket. At least it wasn't the pre-sheeted stuff you just wrap over the apple (it exists!).
Result: One tub is supposed to make six apples, but we only successfully covered four. Caramel apples have a very sticky outer layer. They will stick to most everything: baking paper, plate, teeth, other caramel apples, you name it…
Taste: Deliciously creamy, chewy, and a workout for the jaw! Really brings out the juiciness of the apples.

Candy Apple

Originally, this was going to be a contest between the American Candy apple and the British Toffee apple, but we discovered that there's little between them but the name, and er, the color. Candy apples are red (it's just food coloring). Sometimes they contain cinnamon, but we wanted a level competition here and made a basic toffee apple instead.

Invented: Allegedly in 1908 in New Jersey, by William W Kolb. He was a candy maker who made a tasty display of candy-dipped apples for his store.
How to Make: We used Nigel Slater's simple toffee apple recipe here. It works out at 2/3rds cup of caster sugar, and 4/5s cup of water, boiled until a nice golden color. This seemed the simplest recipe, as others call for condensed milk (caramel apples?) or golden syrup which is hard to find and not very cheap here in the USA.

Result: Our apples must have been big ol' beasts because we only got three out of this mix, but it worked like a charm! The apples were beautifully glassy.
Taste: Definitely not dentist-friendly, but what's more satisfying than cracking your teeth on a toffee apple before reaching the crisp fruit inside? Delectably crunchy.

Before we announce the winner, here are some good tips if you're making your own caramel, candy or toffee apples:

1. Oil a baking sheet for storing apples post-dip. You'll find it so much easier to prise them off.
2. Before boiling sugar and water, wet the sides of the pan with water to prevent sugar burning on the side of the pan. But don't worry if it does…
3. To clean everything at the end, fill your pan with water and boil for a few minutes. The sugar will come away from the sides without the need to scrub. If you used other tools, dip them in the boiling water. It works, promise!

Okay, now for the FOOD FIGHT winner…

Verdict: Call me a traditionalist, but it's going to have to be the Candy/Toffee apple. The Caramel apples are utterly delicious, sweet and creamy, but dangerously sticky. Toffee apples are easier to store and wrap up and give away to pesky kids in the neighborhood…if you do that kind of thing.

What do you think? Also what did you grow up on? Most of the Americans I've spoken to remember the red candied apples more than their creamy counterparts. In the UK I grew up with the rustic version, occasionally dipped in chocolate with sprinkles.

blogtoberfest? Remember, it's the Glad Blog Octoberfest all this month, so please send me your own Fall themed posts - I'd love to feature my favorites. Bonus points if you feature pumpkin related activities or products, local Fall Fests, or fun traditions I haven't heard of.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Valley Forge in the Fall

We were there on July 4th not long after I'd first arrived, and Mr was determined to take me back when the leaves changed their color and crispiness.

Crispy Golden leaves at Valley Forge
Valley Forge was not just an encampment for George Washington and his men during the Revolutionary War, it was also an important mining town. That's why we call it Valley Forge: it was an iron forge in a valley. Unfortunately, most of the town buildings were pulled down when it became a visitor's park and a lot of that heritage was lost.

The old train station still stands, and is used as a small introductory museum to greet visitors before they wander to Washington's Headquarters.

Washington's HQ is a cute house with many British influences
Washington's HQ
 Wait - is that - are they - ?
Was GW a big tea drinker?
Teapots! I thought so.
Fancy a cuppa?
An army that runs on tea?

A cup of tea seems such a British thing to me, and yet they were fighting the British. The ruckus started with a load of over-taxed tea getting dumped in the Boston harbor.

This is what fascinates me about this period in US history. There must have existed a strange dichotomy between the past and the future, between trying to shake off the perceived tyranny of the British government and clinging to the cultural hangovers of their former country. Between 'British' and 'not-British'. There was not, as yet, American culture.

Having come from Britain to America myself, I can choose to assimilate to US culture, or maintain my British culture, or do a combination of both. Washington and his contemporaries had to choose to maintain their British culture, or create a whole new culture, or a mixture of both. True cultural pioneers.

Pennsylvania is the Keystone State: The bridge between the North - comprising New England  - and the South. If you look closely, you notice it's both Northern and Southern culturally. And that makes it a very interesting place to be.
Memorial at Valley Forge

A British cannon at Valley Forge?
A British cannon?
And this region represents the cornerstone, the foundations of US culture. Here's where it all began.

Some visitors to Valley Forge wear their American pride on their chests: T-shirts of Eagles and the Stars n Stripes, and Valley Forge memorabilia. I like to try to keep my Britishness under wraps when I'm there (but don't always succeed, if you recall).

So even I was a little surprised when I saw this:
A fashion shoot at Valley Forge? Union Jack clothing?
And I wasn't the only one who was shocked! As we left I overheard some Americans declaim, in their unusual Northern-Southern Pennsylvania country drawl:

"Is she wearing the British Flag - at Valley Forge?"

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Millions of pumpkins, pumpkins for me

Every local farm and church seems to have their own fallfests filled to the brim with pumpkin fun. The farms run hayrides to their pumpkin patches, where you can wander, hidden amongst the corn, to find that perfect pumpkin to adorn your country porch.
fields full of pumpkins
obligatory hipster hayride shoe shot
choosing your pumpkin is a serious business, like choosing a Christmas tree
I TOLD YOU I'd go for the ones bigger than my head first
One fellow pumpkin-picker claimed that the reason the farms run hayrides to the pumpkin patches, which are nestled deep in the farm amongst the fields of corn, is to prevent wayward autumn revellers from stealing their produce. I'm sure it'd be a formidable, spooky place to visit at night - some places out here do offer night-time hayrides and scream events.

And, just because I'm British and I have to mention it, the weather has been impressively warm over the past couple of weeks. Slowly but surely it's becoming crisper by night and day, but I can still feel the heat of the sun, and it's surprisingly bright. While I do miss the lush greenness of Scotland, I don't miss the short gray days of autumn and winter. Plus the brightness here is dream light to photograph.

It's about a year since I got my camera and taught myself to use it (with a little help from my friends - thanks). Most of the shots I've taken here and blogged, since moving to the US, have been manual snapshots, and not overly staged. It's a fantastic hobby, and I enjoy it a lot. Moving somewhere new has given me the excuse to be a real shutterbug too. At some point I'd like to take the chance to challenge myself again to learn some new photo-skills.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Pumpkin Spice Flavored Pets

Since I heard the local radio went pumpkin-flavored, and every thing else under the October sun is seasoned with this festive mix of pumpkin spices, I'd like to announce that our English Bulldog has joined the fray:

An homage to the rural posters and leaflets advertising local Fall Fests
She's such a pumpkin butt, with Dracula teeth.

Incidentally, if you Google Image search "pumpkin bulldog" you get some amusing results.

Tomorrow I'll be back with tales of hay rides and pumpkin patches. Will the pumpkin madness never end?

blogtoberfest? Remember, it's the Glad Blog Octoberfest all this month, so please send me your own Fall themed posts - I'd love to feature my favorites. Bonus points if you feature pumpkin related activities or products, local Fall Fests, or fun traditions I haven't heard of.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Wafers Spiced and all things nice: The tale of a controversial autumn cookie

As a recent expat sometimes it's for me hard to know what is really a 'thing' - a custom, tradition, cultural trend - or what is just my American family's own way of life.

Pumpkin Spice is definitely a 'thing'. And by now maybe you think I'm obsessed with it. I am, but only because at this time of year America is obsessed with it too. The other day a local radio station proudly announced that it was "Officially Pumpkin Flavored".

US TV cook and potential-maybe-future-first-lady Sandra Lee introduced me to all sorts of bizarre pumpkin spice concoctions, including pumpkin spice cocktails and pumpkin spice jello shots. The varieties of ways this country can push a simple spice blend is pretty impressive. I don't think half of these products have even seen an actual pumpkin.

This brings me to 'spiced wafers'. Recently we had to drive across the county to one specific store that sold a specific brand of these things. Apparently this was necessary to get the true taste of October. I was told no local supermarket sells the 'right kind' of spiced wafer.

The 'right kind' I'm talking about is Ivin's Spiced Wafers, which are not at all a wafer. They look deceptively like ginger snap cookies, but instead they have that clovey pumpkin spice taste I currently can't escape. And yes, they're good.

Drinking an Ivins wafer with a pumpkin beer - makes the beer taste sweeter

You can only get them in Acme supermarkets within the greater Philadelphia region of Pennsylvania, during the months of Fall.  On a side note, Acme supermarkets only exist in Northeast USA. They should not be confused with the fictional Acme Corporation from Looney Tunes, although I like to pretend that I could pick up my seasonal spiced wafers and a large anvil in just one shopping trip.

So these little cookies are almost exclusively a Pennsylvanian October thing. And a tasty Pennsylvanian October thing at that, especially when washed down with a refreshing pumpkin or Octoberfest beer (more on those later). But would it were that simple…

There's another local spiced wafer rival, Sweetzels, made in the little local Christmas town of Skippack, PA. And the brand you prefer could reflect greatly on your character. There is more than one Sweetzel v Ivins Throwdown available online, comparing the spice and crunch of each respective biscuit.

Moreover, there's a small level of outrage to be found online that Ivins may not be made as locally as Sweetzels, and may actually be shipped over each Autumn from (shock!) Minnesota. Acme, a Pennsylvania chain, is owned by SuperValu, a Minnesota chain. It gets complicated.

There's also another online conspiracy that Ivin's cookies are actually made by (shock!) Sweetzels. Some consumers find their packaging, and the shape and size of the biscuits themselves, to be too strikingly similar to have possibly been produced by two different companies.

If there's one thing I love, it's baked goods mired in controversy -from the Magnolia cupcake lawsuit to the Jaffa Cake cookie tax court case. I'm very tempted to try to get to the bottom of these spiced wafer conspiracies, but I'm also concerned that would spoil the intrigue surrounding this seasonal bake. What do you think? Should I go on a mission to uncover the mystery or leave this spicy tale be?

P.S Sorry for the delay in this post. Here's an unrelated piece of advice: Don't eat hotdogs that are a month out of date/expired. You will get food poisoning.

blogtoberfest? Remember, it's the Glad Blog Octoberfest all this month, so please send me your own Fall themed posts - I'd love to feature my favorites. Bonus points if you feature pumpkin related activities or products, local Fall Fests, or fun traditions I haven't heard of.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

An actual Octoberfest!

You know I'm celebrating Octoberfest over here, and so far I've learned the history of the Pumpkin Pie.  I've also catapulted a pumpkin to smithereens in the name of charity, and decorated the house with fake dead leaves and er, pumpkins. It's National Pumpkin Pie Day on October 12th guys - I want to see your pies!

Well, I couldn't have Octoberfest without attending a real Octoberfest. This part of the USA is heavily influenced by German culture, hence the obsession with pretzels and a growing local craft beer industry. This is one part of October I can really get behind, so we joined our local community in supping beer and watching the traditional dancing.

Swing yer lederhosen!
The general consensus was that Lederhosen, like the Kilt, are a national dress that just works. More Lederhosen please.
We also sampled some traditional Oktoberfest cuisine. No, not weisswurst, brot or sauerkraut:

funnel cake and deep fried Oreos. Nom Nom Nom

Yup, that's funnel cake, and a box of deep-fried Oreos. For my British readers, funnel cake is a deep-fried dough-based dessert not unlike the Spanish churro. It's the staple food of fairs, fetes and boardwalk amusement parks. I first tasted funnel cake at Seaside Heights in New Jersey, and then again many times while working on the Coney Island Boardwalk one summer.

But trust me: It is authentically German enough to make an appearance at an Oktoberfest in Pennsylvania Dutch country. In Austria it's known as Strauben.

The deep-fried Oreo I can't explain, except that it was battered in the deliciously fluffy funnel cake batter, contrasting with the infamous deep-fried treat that hails from my previous home-country (Scotland, to all you folks who don't know). Deep-fried Mars Bars, in my experience, have a far crunchier batter and a much more gooey inner consistency. This didn't stop me from eating two of those iconic US cookies though.

Brits: I know there's a stand in Camden Market in London that sells deep-fried Oreos if you want to share the experience! I offered to treat my nan to a plate when we were there in May. She turned me down, and I have no idea why. It's something that Americans and Scots (and 19th Century Germans?) share alike: A surprisingly tempting propensity to take food items and find a way to deep-fry them.

blogtoberfest? Remember, it's the Glad Blog Octoberfest all this month, so please send me your own Fall themed posts - I'd love to feature my favorites. Bonus points if you feature pumpkin related activities or products, local Fall Fests, or fun traditions I haven't heard of.

Monday, 8 October 2012

How to catapult a pumpkin

choosing a pumpkin
perfect pumpkin
pumpkin prepared to fly
releasing the catapult
loose catapult
flying pumpkin
pumpkin in the air
pumpkin flies
pumpkin chucking
pumpkin falling
pumpkin guts
Thanks to County Line for the opportunity to smash a pumpkin in style for charity. It was immensely satisfying.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Pumpkin Pie: A Canned History

It's the first week of October and I've already munched through my first pumpkin pie of the season. Why is the pumpkin pie so important to America? And why do I get disturbing flashbacks whenever I see a tin of Libby's? Read on, pumpkinheads, read on.

Pumpkin pie made with Libby's - homemade crust though
This strange, spicy, custardy dessert has a surprisingly long-standing place in US harvest tradition. The humble pumpkin is native to North America, and pumpkin pie recipes have been found dating back to before the USA itself existed.

Native Americans probably presented the pumpkin to settlers, which would help to prevent scurvy. Native Americans filled pumpkin with milk and spices and baked it on embers. I'm not sure if this is the first pumpkin pie or the first pumpkin spice latte, but the settlers were not keen on a pumpkin pie devoid of a crumbly, salty crust and many died of scurvy anyway.

In 1651 a Frenchman wrote a recipe that encased the pumpkin in pastry, and also called for the baker to "besprinkle" the pie with sugar. Can we please bring the word "besprinkle" back into use?

The French then introduced the pumpkin pie to Tudor England, allegedly in the form we still recognize today. But it did not become ingrained into the UK psyche like it did here in the US. The English tried to add raisins and apples to the pie mix which probably ruined it. The Brits decided to stick to adding fruit to meat and faux-meat pies, creating the tradition of the boozy mince pie instead.

According to Jack Staub, Members of the Church of England mockingly referred to Thanksgiving as "St.Pumpkin's Day". He also states that Boston was known as "pumpkinshire" before it became "beantown" and its residents were nicknamed "pumpkinheads". I love this factoid. Can we please rename Boston Pumpkinshire?

Before the USA came to being bakers were already adding the vital "pumpkin spice" flavor to the pie: cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It's this simple mix of spices, and especially the clove taste, that characterizes this whole season. When you read "pumpkin spice" in all this crazy seasonal marketing, this is what you're scratching n' sniffing. The pie recipe and spices have barely changed at all since the first Thanksgiving.

In the past century, Americans found a way to preserve and can the humble pumpkin so it can easily be scooped into pre-made pie crust for an instant traditional dish. I'm not above making my mince pies with pre-made mincemeat, and not above making pumpkin pie from a tin either.

However, I still sometimes have involuntary twitches when I see the Libby's stacked on shelves. I start to sweat and flashback to a disturbingly tense moment in the history of the pumpkin.

Back in 2009 Libby's announced a pumpkin shortage. Panic ensued. Whether it was a marketing ploy or not, I'm still traumatized. Why? I was working in a boutique delicatessen in St.Andrews, Scotland, at the time. And the American University students did not cope well with the great pumpkin shortage of 2009. You can read about this here, and the following day here. And you really should. They are very funny posts. Trust me.

While I didn't understand back then, I admit I get it now. The pumpkin pie is an important emblem of US history, a vital slice of US tradition.  It should be the national fruit.

Pumpkin pie gets demolished
Despite my issues with Libby's canned Pumpkin, I have no issues eating pie.

blogtoberfest? Remember, it's the Glad Blog Octoberfest all this month, so please send me your own Fall themed posts - I'd love to feature my favorites. What's your favorite pumpkin pie recipe?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

First of Fall: Decorating your house for October

I swear I didn't know this was the done thing before moving to the USA. My mom-in-law says she's done it for as long as she can remember. Not only that, but there's a method to decorating for this season. According to some, there are places in your house you must decorate even if you have a busy schedule. Who'd have thunk it?

First of all, you've got to put up fall and Halloween related decorations. This involves leaves, and can include corn and scarecrows:
Fall Leaves Decorations
Fall Decorations - Leaves and Candle Holders
Fall Decorations - ceramic and plastic pumpkins
These were all put out by my husband, but I took the photos so I get some credit, right?
But it also includes pumpkins. They can be carved, decorated, lit, or as is. The supermarkets here sell them in all sizes from super-jumbo-bigger-than-yer-head-how-are-you-gonna-get-that-in-your-car to itty-bitty-mini-little-gourds in all shapes and shades of ugly:

May the odds be ever in your favor
May the odds, er, gourds, be ever in your favor. I'm funny aren't I? It's a Hunger Games joke yeah? You see, it's a cornucopia, full of gourds - oh nevermind.
Then straight after Halloween all the spooky stuff gets ditched and replaced with more harvest-related decorations, turkeys and pilgrim things for November and Thanksgiving. After Santa arrives at the Thanksgiving parade (and no sooner) then you're allowed to start decorating for Christmas (or winter, or whatever relevant festival you celebrate). Apparently that takes weeks. Ooft.

This all seems like a lot of work to me. But then I come from the small island of small houses that get built practically on top of each other. We barely had the space to fit a Norwegian spruce in our house over Christmas, let alone fake dried leaves, scarecrows and giant pumpkin-beasts.

I like it, especially driving around the country seeing all pumpkins piled on pumpkins and oversized ears of corn stacked up around people's porches, but it's a bit bewildering. So that's why I'm trying to figure this whole October thing out.

I scoured Pinterest for some of my favorite Fall decorations; you can take a look here. Just wait until we visit the pumpkin patch. I'm running straight for the ones bigger than my head, you know it.

blogtoberfest? Remember, it's the Glad Blog Octoberfest all this month, so please send me your own Fall themed posts - I'd love to feature my favorites. Bonus points if you feature pumpkin related activities or products, local Fall Fests, or fun traditions I haven't heard of.