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Viewpoint: Falling into peak pumpkin season

It is truly written in stone that the fall/winter season has arrived. Those blasted mice have declared our farm house a "center of interest and good living." Anything and everything is explored and chewed on. I would not be surprised to see a little band of mice marching across the kitchen floor headed to the cupboard or the stove. Yes, those blasted (kind word, not the real word) mice are even able to get into my Wolf range oven. It is not the safe, hide-it-all sanctuary I had thought it was. They seem to have mastered avoiding most any of the 10 different kinds of traps I have and Marnie the cat said not to look to her for any help with the mess. Marnie said she has actually retired at age 14 and should not be expected to do heavy labor, just play with them if she feels like it. To top this off the lady bugs and boxelder bugs also came in herds once the soybean leaves fell off. The frosting on this cake is that somehow, somewhere I also have a fruit fly circus going on. I can't seem to find anything that would be their home base and I don't really see them buzzing around but they sure like to show up and swim in almost any liquid I have available. We don't even have to go outside to experience wildlife.

If you happen to see a "Green Bea" around town it will just be me after inhaling large amounts of the matcha green tea that I picked up out East. After I got past the thought of drinking something dark green I found out that I loved the taste and texture of it. (I am sure a helping of cream aided me in reaching that conclusion.) Then I looked up the "health values" of the tea and found out that it was indeed supposed to do a whole batch of wonderful things for me. If I can really enjoy things that are not supposed to be good for me I can certainly enjoy something that is supposed to be good for me. I really fell off the rails and ordered a matcha kit of five different flavored matcha teas. Of course it would have been a lot cheaper for me to just add those flavors myself but sometimes reasoning is not available.

The pumpkin talk is really heating up for the month of November and Thanksgiving. It's not that I don't like pumpkin; I do, but when it is applied, put in and mixed with everything under the sun, I say enough is enough. The pumpkin spice goat cheese was OK on Ritz crackers but maybe it would be more special with the wine pairing at Fabbioli Winery that Nissa and Larry visited. I am glad they decided they "needed" to purchase this for me to try. Maybe I should have looked for more exotic crackers to really enjoy the pumpkin spice goat cheese.

Now may also be the time to remind you that you do not really have to pay a fortune for those small pumpkins they call "pie pumpkins" to make a great pumpkin pie. Almost any pumpkin or squash that is not stringy (acorn squash is very stringy) or the super big boys, will do. The secret is to use the blender to puree the pumpkin meat. Most people are not do-it-yourselfers and that is why all that canned pumpkin (which is actually a squash) is available at the grocery store. Everything is all done for you as far as preparing the filling for the pie and all you need to do is add a few more ingredients and you can call it your entirely homemade pumpkin pie.

That part of the pie may be easy compared to what kind of crust you are going to make for your perfect pie. A wide list of options is available. It could start with you just purchasing a readymade, all in the pan frozen pie crust and all you need to do is to add the filling. You could buy the frozen pie crust dough that needs to be defrosted and rolled out. That may make it feel like you are really making it yourself and you most likely will have crust pieces left to make leaves, etc., to put on the pie. It's been around for years and years and it must be a big seller for Jiffy mix to continue to sell its pie crust mix for you to prepare to call it your own. (I have done them but they seem to be enough for a small to medium pie.) There may be more products out there for you to purchase to make your pie crust but they have not called out to me. I have not forgotten that you can just purchase a frozen pie and heat it up yourself (usually not-so-good crust) or you could order from a pie bakery.

Now we get into the big time if you are indeed going to make your own crust. That is almost like politics as there are so many ways and so many ideas on that subject. The "correct" floor is sometimes a point of discussion but most often it is what kind of liquid and what kind of shortening is going to get you an award winning crust. Is it going to be butter, oil, Crisco or lard? Are you going to use hot water, ice cold water, milk or a shot or two of vodka for the secret ingredient to perfection? Whatever it is, I think a good heap of whipped cream is a must for the end product.

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