After Thanksgiving, when the cold sets in and the neighbors abandon their pumpkins for Christmas wreaths, I always feel a little melancholy when I drive down the street on trash day and see all the discarded pumpkins in the yard waste cans.
I'm lucky, though. Living on an acre lot, I have a large garden area across the back of the property that ends at the edge of a steep ravine. When it's time to bring out the holiday trimmings, our pumpkins, gourds and squash find a new home in the then-barren garden and return to nature by becoming a smorgasbord for deer, squirrels, raccoon and woodchuck.
In the relatively short time before they're devoured or shoved into the ravine by an over-zealous deer or raccoon, they add much-needed color to the spent garden.
The dusting of snow makes them look like sugary treats.
My husband and I make a habit of checking out the autumn leftovers every day. The deer shove them around the garden as they munch on them. The squirrels sit on top of them and dig out the insides. Occasionally, we see a critter nudge its meal a bit too hard and it rolls off the edge of the ravine and down into the creek.
Sometimes the seeds that are left behind sprout volunteer plants in the spring--plants the deer generally eat before they mature into produce-bearing vines.
Every year, I look forward to giving our autumn bounty a resting place in the garden. It just seems so harmonious.
Here's a view of the garden about five hours after I took the pumpkin photos.
Make it a great day!