Thursday, April 01, 2010
Autumn Festival - Pumpkins, Sand and Straw Angels
Our kids are now the big kids. It seems not long ago that they were the littlies, loving chasing around after older kids after supper, playing hide and seek in the mysterious darkness of the stoep until way after their bed-time.
Now they are the ones who know what is what, spend hours constructing elaborate castles and try to stop the little ones from destroying them too soon. They can make their own straw angels without any help now, and they are no longer just straw but weave flowers and and all sorts into the making.
They are also very gentle with the toddlers helping them bounce on the trampoline and making sure not to leap too wildly themselves when a delicate little fairy of a toddler who has only just found her feet on solid ground decides to wobble precariously in their midst.
This year I gladly left the carving of pumpkins to the first volunteers to arrive and they cheerfully produced some gorgeous grinning lanterns.
Instead of pumpkin soup I’d planned on doing a baked pumpkin dish to go with the bean stew that my sister-in-law specializes in. I couldn’t find a recipe for what I had in mind, so just made it up and it turned out pretty well. Wedges of red onion tossed in with the pumpkin bits rescued from the lanterns, a sprinkling of cumin and cinnamon, olive oil, salt and pepper and then afterwards a generous scattering of Nomu egyptian dukkah. It was good, gentle enough in flavour to be a side dish and not steal the lime light, but interesting in its own right too.
One of our friends took the straw angel theme and went way beyond our usual creative efforts to produce a stunning restio/straw woman and man to go on the top of our archway. When the almost full moon came up behind them, it created a wonderful mystical energy that seemed to link back to the age-old harvest traditions of ancient Cornwall or Scotland, evoking fertility for the land and prosperity for its people.
This year our festival coincided with Earth Hour, and the prospect of switching off all the lights and appliances and lighting the house with candles with a bunch of toddlers on the loose was just a little unnerving. In the end it was fine. We just remembered to put out the lights at 8.30, by which time several of the little ones were drowsy anyway. Tea lights in glass cups glowed on low tables and high, and though we kept a weather eye on them there were no incidences of pyromania. That had already been indulged in by the big kids with the pumpkin lanterns in the circle, so no doubt the little ones will soon learn the joys of fire.