Mum’s the Word, Hundred-mile Man, and Other News Fresh From the Farm

Inside: Cheery mums, a man and his bike, and why do we go so pumpkin crazy?

Mum's the word, hundred-mile man
Lovely mums!


Cheery Mums

I bought these mums the other day. Mom and I were entering Walmart when I saw these lovelies and couldn’t resist.

There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have spent the money on flowers. My life was all about making frugal decisions, pinching every penny. Buying mums that start dying a little after a week was not a good investment.

But with age has come wisdom. I’m reminded of something Mom had said in her interview a couple of months ago–“concentrate on small areas where you want beauty.” It was in reference to a question I’d asked regarding tips for gardeners on a budget, but I think the meaning can extend beyond gardening to the little things in life that bring us joy. These mums brought a little beauty to my world. Happiness for a few greenbacks.

I guess my idea of a good investment has changed.

A Man and His Bike

Hundred-mile man.
A view from the starting line.

Take a fifty-something guy, mile upon mile through small towns and the city along three mighty rivers and add in a stubborn desire to conquer the trail. This past Saturday Mike did the Ride the Rivers Century–a 100-mile bike ride that showcases some of the best sights and scenery the St. Louis area has to offer. He did the century ride (meaning 100-mile ride) last year as well, but this year he ended up shaving two hours off of his time–and getting up the following day to work at church!

Needless to say, I’m very proud of him. A little over four years ago, he decided to lose some weight before our daughter’s wedding and in the process took off 70 pounds and discovered a love of cycling. Since then he has consistently made yearly goals of miles and speed, reaching nearly all of them. Two years ago he did the Katy Trail in three days. Of course, he tends to measure his accomplishments by those achieving more miles and faster times, but considering he balances his training with a 55-hour work week, I think he does an amazing job!

The other day I asked him how many miles he’d ridden this year. “Twelve hundred,” he said, “but I wanted to do 1,500.” Weather and schedule permitting, he just might do it!

Why Do We Go So Pumpkin Crazy?

I admit it. Not only am I a fall enthusiast, but I love pumpkins! Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkins for decorating, pumpkin pie, carved pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie spice candles. . . If the word pumpkin is in the title, I’m there.

A few years ago, I belonged to a low carb forum which had an Australian and a New Zealander on the same thread. Fall was in full force, and low carb pumpkin recipes abounded. I remember the New Zealander lady saying to the Aussie woman something to the effect of “What’s with these Americans and their obsession with pumpkins?” I’m not sure we were able to properly convey our enthusiasm to them–or convert them.

My friend Joy, a transplant from South Africa, mentioned in an essay that before she arrived in this country, she’d thought a pumpkin was just a vegetable. But one Halloween her dad hid behind a building and held out a lighted jack-o’-lantern to surprise his daughters. Not a pleasant experience for Joy. But she’s made her peace with pumpkins and told me today that if she had a choice of pumpkin on the menu she’d choose it–and put lots of butter on it and no cinnamon!

So when did pumpkin mania begin? For the longest time people carved or decorated with pumpkins and bought canned pumpkin for bread or pie, but that was basically it. Then at some point pumpkins invaded the autumn scene in the most unusual places from pumpkin yogurt and pumpkin beer to pumpkin sporting events like pumpkin chucking. I wonder if some association of pumpkin growers got together and came up with this plan to infiltrate American society with this ubiquitous cucurbit (gourd-shaped fruit existing everywhere).

I don’t know, but I’m happily sucked in. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my coffee break–pumpkin spice coffee, of course!

pumpkins, pumpkin crazy,
Pumpkins everywhere!

What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Tell me about it in the comments.

Coming later this month: It’s all things fall at the blog! We revisit the garden with Mom’s post on how to dry herbs and mine on saving seed, as well as an interview with an essential oil guru. My author friend Joy (from pumpkin fame above) guest posts with a wonderful essay, and I write on the subject of being a peacemaker. Plus we’ll finally get to that coffee love post I promised last month. And, as always, all the news coming to you fresh from the farm.

Related posts: Open Windows, Food Shoot, and Other News Fresh From the Farm

All Winding Roads Lead to Nausea

Starting the Long and Sentimental Project

Finding my Pace: Slowing Down to Enjoy Life


2 Responses

  1. calensariel

    I TOTALLY agree with your mom (mum!). I think we should EACH do one thing that makes us happy and our world a bit more beautiful EVERYDAY. Even if it’s just something like filling my wire basket on the counter with fresh fruit. It looks so GOODHOUSEKEEPING and makes me smile. 😀


      Years ago Mom had found a really good poem about the beauty of little things, and I have since tried to find it to no avail. Maybe she can help me locate it and I could share it. But, yeah, can so relate to something like fruit in a wire basket and pretty mums!

      Thanks for chiming in, Calen! And might I say I love your fall motif on your website. 🙂