Thursday, October 7, 2010

Harvest Time

This is a photo of my "volunteer" pumpkin. We had a wedding cookout early last November and decorations included pumpkins. The weather turned nasty shortly afterwards and the pumpkins sat in a little flower bed beside the shed. And this beauty is my very first home raised pumpkin - hopefully at some point prior to heavy freezing it will turn orange!

I don’t get overly excited about Halloween decorations at my home, but, I’m certainly not above enjoying the fun others display in their front yards. Typically, I focus more on harvest-type decorations.

The most obvious is corn stalks and pumpkins. Although there’s been talk of a pumpkin shortage, apparently the display variety is still in abundance. Two of my favorite vendors, Prairie Country Gardens (Galva) and Stahl’s Farm (Lafayette) seem to have good quantities. (Side Note: Display and cooking pumpkins are two very different varieties)

Mums are another beautiful accent. Whether you choose the annual variety (usually found in the big box stores in the fall) or plant the perennial variety, the blast of color really enhances the fall garden.

Some other pretty cute accents for harvest decorating:

Scarecrows: The homemade version is one of my favorites. A simple “T” structure driven into the ground allows it to stand up to wind. This can be welded by the handy person or made of wood or an old metal fence post. Without the free standing “T” structure, tie it to a fence, lamp post, or sit it on something.

Homemade scarecrows just beg for old clothes. Old bib overhauls and a flannel shirt fit the farm d├ęcor and may be stuffed with straw or plastic grocery bags. A straw hat, old gloves and a red handkerchief are all a must although there is considerable draw for farm caps.
Heads can be made from (1) stuffed pillowcases with a hand drawn face, (2) a painted face on a pumpkin, or (3) an old Halloween mask.

Straw: A few of the square bales of straw add structure to the harvest scene. Use beside corn stalks, as a seat for the scarecrow, or as a table for pumpkins and mums. I’ve seen some pretty creative round bales this time of the year decorated as cats, pumpkins, and goblins.

Corn: The most obvious is a shock of corn stalks. It takes a lot of stalks to make a sturdy free-standing shock. I most often tie a few stalks to a post. Hang ears of corn, either field type or the more decorative Indian corn, from doors and posts.

Pumpkins, gourds, and flowers: Instant color!

Other things:
Wood wheelbarrows, a child’s wagon, grapevine wreaths, colored fabric leaves, bittersweet, apples, jugs, old garden tools, burlap, or wood crates.

A reminder: If you plan to leave your outdoor decorations through Thanksgiving, they need to be weather proof and securely anchored.

As we bid farewell to this beautiful summer of 2010, let’s usher in a beautiful 2010 harvest season. And with this season, we are praying for a safe harvest for all our farm families.

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