The co-worker passed them to the burly, with a hint of surly, removal van driver and he put them inside the A-frame meat rabbit run that he’d wedged between furniture items. Some placatory light-hearted banter from me as I slipped in that we didn’t want the skins damaged. I hung around, hoping my presence would deter him from packing them in a less than careful manner.
About a dozen good-sized pumpkins. No way were we going to leave them behind. He wedged them in okay, holding back on a pissed off toss until he got to the last couple. Good enough, so no comment: I didn’t want him any more pissed off – potato sacks, bunches of onions, herb pots – all sitting there waiting to go!
We were leaving our North Island home of four years on a flat three-quarters of an acre and a two minute drive away from the centre of Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast, for a South Island home on a hilly ten acres a ten minute drive away from the small village of Fairlie in the Mackenzie District.
Mid-March and we were counting on the not long harvested pumpkins, onions and potatoes lasting our family of four the duration of a Fairlie winter and the following spring. Vegetable stores to complement the eggs and rabbit meat. Eggs from four hens and rabbit meat from the offspring we’d get from a breeding trio of New Zealand Whites – a buck and two does. Hens and rabbits travelling down on the trailer we’d be towing behind the car.
Flash forward to this year’s pumpkin crop, harvested mid-April and stored, as ever, on the floor in a spare bedroom: a place that’s dry, cool, and out of direct sunlight. Come December and they’ll still be good eating – good enough to continue the tradition of roast pumpkin served at Xmas dinner. We also like them mashed, and in winter it makes for a great soup. And for dessert? As good as any is whipped cream atop a pumpkin pie.
Flash back thirty years to trace the seeds’ lineage (seed kept anew after each year’s harvest). The seeds of pumpkins we set great store by – wedged inside a rabbit run.
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.