Last Call for the Urban Pumpkin

For those who have been anxiously awaiting news about the final weight of the urban pumpkin –and  I’m fairly confident in saying there’s at least two of you out there—I’m happy to report that the son’s  urban pumpkin finally made it out of the planter box about a week ago, weighing in at 285 lbs. I believe that’s about eighty pounds more than his first attempt last year (which technically means, if we were tallying first year pumpkins, the country pumpkin would have won.)

But hold your horses…

Let’s not start celebrating quite yet. We’re not comparing first year pumpkins. That was just me being, well, me…  *sigh*

SO the real truth is the country pumpkin lost out. I’m OK with that. For with every contest there must be a winner and a loser, otherwise the word “contest” would not be used. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition among family members, is there?


So, here’s the final pic the son sent of the Urban Pumpkin. Notice how the son used some props for decorative purposes for the season.


Thus end’s this year’s saga of the great pumpkin growing contest.  Already we’re gearing up  and making plans for next year’s pumpkin patch. Only about seven or eight months from now!

Oh and Happy Halloween!


Silver Birch Nomination for Cammie

Today, the exciting news came that Cammie Takes Flight has been nominated for a 2018 Silver Birch Award.. I can’t begin to put into words what this means to me to know that Cammie will be read by thousands of children in grades 3-6. Congratulations to all the other nominees. So great to know that Cammie is in such excellent company.

This link HERE will take you to the list of the other nominees.

I’ll post a bit later about this wonderful reading program called the Forest of Reading which is run by the Ontario Library Association (OLA), and what it’s all about. Right now, I’m going to try and get my head out of the clouds.

This is a very good thing!

Ode to a Giant Pumpkin?

Alas, it finally had to happen. Frost hit the pumpkin patch while I was away at the FogLit Festival in New Brunswick last weekend Maybe I should have mentioned this in the last post, but I couldn’t bring myself to write about it. I needed time. To his credit, Hubby did his best to try and save her, he really did. He covered her lovingly with blankets but her vines were too massive. It went down to -1 that night. I feared the worst. There was a crispness in the air when days before we were waking to +18 or more degrees. I’d been hoping for a few more weeks of growth as the son’s urban pumpkin has been granted. But nights are generally cooler in East Dalhousie.

And so you can’t lament forever. There will come another year and, hopefully, we’ve learned a bit about growing giant pumpkins and can apply that knowledge to next year’s crop. We are pleased with our first-time effort. It’s the largest pumpkin this garden has ever seen. But there comes a problem with growing big pumpkins, the kind of problem no one warns you about back in the beginning. How the heck do you move it? Too big to roll.

Now, here’s how you move a really big pumpkin East Dalhousie style.

While we were moving this monster, there came a new development from the urban pumpkin camp, something we weren’t prepared for. The son is really out to win this. First this came; chocolate face and all.

Then this: Things were getting serious.

I mean how can two middle-aged pumpkin growers complete with this? So we countered in the only way we could. Not quite so cute, but the son’s not getting away that easily, thinking weren’t not going to notice the size of the pumpkin with all that cuteness sitting on top of it.

Of course our pumpkin looks smaller. Look how much bigger we are then the twins! This seems totally unfair to me–just saying.

So how much does the Country Pumpkin weigh? To the best of our calculation she’s tipping the scale at 235lbs.  As for the Urban Pumpkin that has yet to be determined as I’m sure the son delights in the fact that his urban garden has thus far avoided the frost. The competition continues….

I will report the final weight of the Urban Pumpkin once the frost finally settles in Lower Sackville.

Have a happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!

FogLit Festival

The FogLit Festival in St. John made for some lasting memories. The drive was long and we made a few very short stops along the way there. It was over 500 klms one way. Here we are just coming into the city.

It was exciting to finally see the sign for St. John especially since I’d never been there before. Of course, I’ve never been much of anywhere as most of you know!

We stayed at the Delta. Here’s a few shots taken from the room. This one over-looks St. John Harbour.


There is always time for some silliness. I mean, why not? Can’t work all the time, right? That’s just boring. Just an observation here: These things are not made for short people. I was standing on my toes when this photo was shot.

  This guy seems a little lonely so I stopped for a chat. Everyone has a story. However, I quickly found out he was a man of few words.

We attended a poetry event Friday night at the Kent Theatre featuring Kathy Mac. Emily Nilsen and Clyde A. Wray. It always nice to support fellow writers/poets. After all, it is all about the written word. Enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Cora’s the next morning.

Now that’s a hungry man’s breakfast.  lol. My French Toast and bacon kept me going all day, thank you!

My event was planned for East Point Indigo. I have to say Miranda and her staff were so welcoming and friendly. I can’t say enough good things about them. I got to talk about my book and that’s always fun. And one woman who bought a book for her  children though she and her mother might enjoy reading it as well.  So that’s always encouraging. OK, I still can’t get over that breakfast!

We drove straight home, no stopping along the way. It was good to finally make it home.And I was especially proud of the fact that I could actually get out of the vehicle after sitting there for over 500 klms.

Next post will be my final pumpkin report for this year. So if you were following me along this summer with my pumpkin adventure you’ll find out exactly what happened to…Gee I didn’t even giver her a name. I will take suggestions in the comment section or on Facebook and maybe we can come up with a fitting name for her…or him.


Time for a Pumpkin Update.

I haven’t any idea how much our baby now weighs as the son has not been out to sabotage calculate it’s weight recently and we haven’t any idea as to how to calculate it ourselves. (Another top secret bit of information that the son has not shared. ) Perhaps if the weather remains warm and the frost stays away we will end up with a thousand pound baby after all. Well, I do think that’s a bit of a stretch but still, for a first effort we’re happy.

I have not seen a recent photo of the Urban pumpkin and have not set my eyes on it first hand for a few weeks, but I expect it is growing by leaps and bounds.

Here’s our baby. Isn’t she beautiful? As you can see, she is gaining nicely. I’m not ready to declare the son a winner in this competition yet. Who knows what magic can happen in a pumpkin patch during a warm stretch of autumn weather.


Writing update:
Saturday I’ll be in St. John at the Foglit Festival. I’m doing a reading from my new book at Indigo East Point and looking forward to it. Hoping to get some photos of the city since I’ve never been there before. Wish me luck!

As the Pumpkin Grows

There has been a new development in the ongoing saga of Laura and the Giant Pumpkin that I haven’t yet revealed. Perhaps you recall that a few weeks back I mentioned that our pumpkin seemed to have stalled. Turns out I was right. Upon further investigation we discovered that our precious pumpkin had met an untimely demise. It died and we didn’t know. We didn’t even get to say goodbye as it slowly began to rot. I know, I know… poor Pumpky.


New life sprung up out of the ashes..or the vines as the case might be. Much to our surprise, a second pumpkin began to grow, and we watched while it grew in excess of the first one. This was one of the clues that there was something amiss with the first one. Sadly, Pumpky ended up in the compost heap. It was all we could do.


We started again and here we are. Already bigger and better than our first. Last weekend the son used his formula to calculate the weight and told us it was around 90 lbs. It would, of course, be heavier by now. I know his urban pumpkin is bigger but, chin up, we’ll persevere.

While we long ago accepted that we’re not going to end up with a thousand pound pumpkin, (Good Lord what would be do if that happened?) this has been a learning experience for us and, who knows, maybe one day…..

Hmm…I wonder how the son’s urban pumpkin is doing.  Perhaps he’ll send a photo  for me to share..

Next weekend is Halifax Word on the Street at the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road; Sept 16th to be exact. Here’s the schedule. I’ll be reading from Cammie Takes Flight at 10:00 in the BMO Community Room. If you’re in the city that weekend and would like to visit the new library, it would be wonderful to look out and see a familiar face. I’ll also be signing at the Nimbus Publishing table, although I’m waiting for confirmation on a time. Less than a week. Time is closing in.

              Urban Pumpkin Update:

Since the son just sent a photo of his urban pumpkin the other night, I’m going to tack it onto the end of this post. The estimated weight is 177 lbs. He says it’s three weeks ahead of where his pumpkin was last year this time.

September Update

And so begins a busy September both personally and professionally; not that busy is a bad thing. It certainly keeps the boredom away. Summer seemed to fly by. It feels as though July just started and here we are at the first weekend of September. It’s nice to have a long weekend and I’m hoping to get caught up on a few projects that I’ve been working on.

I’m still trying to squeeze time into my days for writing. It’s kind of important to me. Lately, there hasn’t been much time to write and I’ve been feeling a little down because of it. I need to keep reminding myself that this will change soon. Things will slow down to an acceptable pace. It always does.

September brings with it several family birthdays, my own included. Family is the most important and we always enjoy spending time with the kids and grand kids. The twins are turning two this year. Where did the time go?

Next Saturday , Sept. 9th I’m off the Blueberry Festival at the Parkdale/ Maplewood Museum. I’ll be set up with books for the day. It’s always a fun time and I look forward to it every year. It’s about a six hour day so I’m usually pretty wiped out by the end of it.

Halifax Word on the Street is on the 16th this year at the Halifax Central Library. I’ll be reading from Cammie Takes Flight at 10 am in the BMO Community Room and doing a book signing as well.

Sunday the 17th is the big celebration here in East Dalhousie for our 200th year. I’ll be taking part in the outdoor church service by reading a bit of history that I’m in the process of writing NOW. I’m still working on this but hoping to get it completed this long weekend.

On the 23rd I’m at the Rural Roots Market at the Ross Farm Museum again from 10-2 with author friend Jan Coates. It’s their big Pumpkin Harvest weekend so it’s sure to be busy.

The 29th will see me heading down to St. John New Brunswick to take part in the FogLit Festival. I’ll be at East Point Indigo on Sept. 30th from 10:30-12:00 for a reading.

So this is what awaits me during September. That and the fact that I work a full time job as well. But being busy isn’t a bad thing. Let’s not forget the giant pumpkin we’re tending to this year. I’m hoping to have some update on that in awhile so check back!

Mutant Messages From Down in the Pumpkin Patch

We’ve been watching the growth of this strange looking vine in the pumpkin patch for a couple of weeks now. At first it just seemed as though it was a double vine. Unusual, but other than that maybe nothing significant in the way of pumpkin vines go. But then things began to manifest themselves into a kind of weird mutant type vine, maybe even alien. And I’ve lost sleep looking down from my bedroom window into the pumpkin patch for some sort of alien, mutant invasion from outer space–just in case! Okay, that part’s a joke. I’m not really losing sleep. But I’m a fiction writer and prone to exaggerating on paper or in this case, computer.

The son did a little investigating on this, says it might be what’s called, “ribbon vine.” Not a good thing he says. I asked what that meant and he repeated, “Not a good thing.”  So, we shall see what “not a good thing” looks like in the weeks ahead. I’ll keep you posted. This thing is just weird.

The Urban Pumpkin

So, here a photo of the son’s urban pumpkin just to show you the competition is real and ongoing. He’s a competitive guy, this son of mine. I noticed it from the time he was quite small. Believe me, these things don’t go away on their own. They only grow and grow like –like a giant pumpkin.



He sent me this photo to gloat just a little  show me. About ninety pound, he says. He’s got some formula for determining the weight  (top secret so far as I can tell since he hasn’t once shared this tidbit with dear old Mum.) Now, I’m all for a friendly completion but I’ve been a little suspicious about things ever since he came out to visit the other weekend. He spent some time at my pumpkin patch, granted his dad was with him the whole time but, as the son well knows, Dad can be distracted quite easily—a quick, “Look at that!” will often do it. So, ever since that weekend I’ve had a sense that my pumpkin has stalled. Now, I don’t have any real proof , just a “lukewarm speculation ,” as Cammie would say. And now, for two weekends in a row the son has come out from the city to inspect our patch. (Tell me that doesn’t seem a tiny bit suspicious!)  If he makes another trip this weekend I’m going to be on high alert. He’s not getting out of my sight. Now I don’t want to use the word sabotage, but… Let’s just say I’ll be watching him like a hawk. No getting distracted by hugs and kisses from the grandkids, neither.

So in lieu of this new development, I’ll delay posting a photo of the country pumpkin. It’s time to regroup, maybe come up with a plan of my own. I might just have to make a trip in to visit this urban pumpkin.

Pumpkin Update

Our lives have changed since we became the growers of a giant pumpkin. Just the other day I found myself hurrying down to the pumpkin patch just to have a little peek. I checked it again when I got home–just to see. It’s an endless task, this checking to see how much the pumpkin grew while you were away. Any number of things could go wrong in our absense. My stepfather’s pumpkins fell prey to groundhogs one year. Mind you, they weren’t giant pumpkins, but our pumpkin hasn’t actually reached “giant status” yet. There could be some greedy groundhog roaming the property just waiting to sink its teeth in. I mean, really, who knew a groundhog would eat a pumpkin?

We’ve been getting plenty of rain lately and I would think that’s a good thing, but is there such a thing as too much rain? Oh the questions are endless.

So there’s our baby nestled among the vines and leaves. It’s gone past last week’s basket ball. I think it’s got a pretty good start. And keep your fingers crossed that we don’t get any early frosts.

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