See those rotten pumpkins in the picture? Yep, those sad sacks of mush are all mine. We went to the pumpkin patch a couple of weeks ago to pick them out. It was a day or two before that first snowstorm rolled in. The family and I got there early in the morning, hoping to avoid crowds (you know... COVID) and after paying our admission fees we had a fun, slightly brisk time riding the hay wagon to the patch to get our pumpkins. It's nice to support a local family-owned business, instead of buying out-of-state pumpkins from a big cardboard tub at the grocery store or Walmart.

Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings
Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

Normally, buying pumpkins a couple of weeks before Halloween isn't an issue, as they usually stay fairly fresh and firm, at least until you carve them up. This year, we weren't so lucky. Our motley assortment of hand-chosen pumpkins had the misfortune of sitting outside for not one big snowstorm, but two.  It's not so much the snow that ruined them, but being frozen for a few days really turned them to mush.

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We'll probably get a couple of replacements for the kids to carve up, but I'm planning to get rid of these rapidly decaying gourds as soon as possible. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Throw them in the trash. This is what most people probably do when the pumpkins have lost their faces and are slowing sinking into a pile of goo. Effective, yet boring.
  • Shoot them. If they're not too rotten and can still be somewhat easily transported, consider taking them to 17 Mile and shooting them. Pumpkins make great targets and put on a decent show when blasted with a shotgun.
  • Compost them. If you keep a compost pile going year-round, pumpkins can be a nice addition to your mix of leaves, grass clippings and other vegetable food scraps. Make sure your compost pile is reaching proper "cook" temperatures, or some seeds may survive and you'll have pumpkins growing is random spots around your garden next year.
  • Feed them to livestock. If you have animals, consider cutting them into large chunks and feeding them to your chickens, cows or pigs. Modern Dog Magazine says that pumpkins can be a great healthy snack for your dogs too.
  • Deer food. If you have herd of neighborhood deer, you can cut the pumpkin into smallish chunks and spread them around the perimeter of your property. Birds may also peck at the rinds, searching for any leftover seeds.
  • Bury them. If you have a garden, dig some shallow holes and bury your soggy pumpkin. Nature will do it's thing, like the circle of life.

Until next year, have fun with those pumpkins.

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