The unschooling diaries: week forty-one
This is not a reflection on my amazing pumpkin-carving skills, but rather just a realisation of how the humble pumpkin makes a perfect vehicle for learning.
Our pumpkin journey began back in May, with three tiny plants from Rocket Gardens. Arthur helped me plant them, and over the weeks that followed we watered them and watched them grow.
To be honest I had probably been a little ambitious with the amount of plants we tried to squeeze in to our raised beds, but the pumpkins soon made a break for freedom and found the space they needed by crawling across the deck.
Arthur has been asking since August whether it is Halloween yet – he has been desperate to bring the pumpkins inside and carve them into lanterns. And this weekend we finally did.
He was bursting with excitement as we cut the pumpkins open and scooped out the seeds and flesh from inside
He had very clear ideas about what he wanted to create from his pumpkins: a ghost, a spooky dog, and an astronaut (we had to pilfer a squash from our veg box for the third one).
We looked online for images that fitted his vision, and then he guided me as I drew the outlines on the orange skin. We worked together to carve the shapes out, using Arthur’s ‘ghost knife’ that we’d picked up this time last year and a handy little saw.
As soon as the lanterns took shape Arthur sought out candles to illuminate them, insisting that we took them somewhere dark immediately for a better view and staring full of wonder when night began to fall and he could watch the flames flicker at the kitchen table before we finally dragged him off to bed.
This was only the start for the pumpkins, though.
Whilst Arthur and I had been carving their shells for Halloween lanterns, Leigh had been busy making pumpkin pie for Sunday lunch.
And once the carving was done, we dried and roasted the pumpkin seeds for snacking on – a real treat in my nut-allergic world where every packet of commercially available seeds warns of possible cross contamination!
There is even a portion of pumpkin puree left in the fridge, waiting to be cooked up into Halloween cupcakes this afternoon.
Honestly, who would have thought a simple vegetable could bring so much joy – and so much learning? I think we’ll all be sad to see the pumpkins go once this week is out. I’d best get thinking about what we can grow next…