Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pumpkin, is your seat belt fastened?

Is your seatbelt fastened? Snug across your chest? Your sisters are tucked safely into the trunk and back seat. You're going to a new home. Believe me, we'll be a huge fan club for you. 

Autumn makes my heart sing. After my Cambria writing workshop, I take the winding road out along the creek to watch birds, gobble with the flocks of wild turkeys, and to soak in the beauty. This is a view of one of my favorite ranches. I visit their roadside stand every year for pumpkins, squash, gourds, avocados, and sunflowers. It is glorious. (Jeff says that since he met me we've never by-passed a roadside stand. True. ) Although the hillsides are a golden brown now, within the next few weeks, after the rains begin, they will turn a brilliant green. My great grandfather from Pennsylvania wrote that when the fields and hills of Pennsylvania would turn dull and brown, the California landscape would take on a green so bright it nearly glowed.

Freshly picked and smiling for the camera

Coins and cash accepted.

Rouge Vif d'Etampes pumpkins peep from under the withering vines. The Rouges are also called Cinderella's or Cinderella's Carriage.

Beth drives me out into the fields for a hands-on lesson in the fine art of harvesting perfect squash. Here she is finding just the right one for our long, old farm table. She is examining a 16 pound Jarrahdale. 

Beth introduced me to some of her favorites for cooking, for roasting seeds, and just for beauty. 

As we were driving out of the field, I asked Beth to stop the 'Gator so that I could photograph these two sunflowers standing near the pumpkins. They looked like a pair of angels bending their heads in prayer.

At home. Now I'll let the pumpkins sit out on the terrace to cure for a week to ten days.

They're splendid! Speckled Hound (heck, I would've bought it just because of the name), Jarrahdale, Tonda, Cinderella's, One Too Many, and Kakai sit out on the terrace. I can't pass by them without a friendly greeting. Do you talk to your pumpkins?

Beth's seeds came from Johnny's Selected Seeds. They have a fabulous array from which to choose.

One of my favorite ways to pass an autumn morning is to make a big pot of soup, which I'll simmer all day long. Here are some vegetables from our garden and from our local organic farm stand. 

This past week I had my best birthday ever. On Monday night, I went out to dinner with my family. Afterward I was allowed into NNICU to visit my grandson Luke. After thoroughly scrubbing and donning a smock, I got to cup my hand around Luke's tiny head. He now weighs two pounds and ten ounces. Still small, but fighting the good fight and surrounded by a great staff and loving family and friends. Go Luke!

Thanks for all your letters, birthday greetings, cards, and e-mails. I appreciate your thoughts and wishes. 

Jeff and I are preparing for our one month book tour. We'll begin in Redlands, California, at the A.K. Smiley Public Library on October 6th, then onto Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and...? We'll let you know. As we travel, Jeff will send out bulletins on Facebook and Twitter. He is getting adept at Twitpics, so you'll be able to see what is going on as you journey with us.

I am happy to offer a give-away of this wonderful book, Imagine Childhood (Roost Books, 2012) by Sarah Olmsted. I read and reviewed the book before it hit the press, and this is what I said on a back cover blurb:

"Reading Imagine Childhood was like finding a guidebook into the brilliant and vast galaxy of a child's mind. The book is brimful of projects and springboards that help your nurture a creative, sensitive, and wonder-filled child in the best possible way." 

Parents, teachers, aunts and uncles, teachers, scout leaders, this book is a MUST read for you. Good luck. Simply post a comment to this blog, and you will be eligible for the book drawing. I'll pull a number out of the "hat" next week.

Sending love across the miles,



Vee said...

Well now, I certainly recognize Johnny's seed catalog, but I tell you that I have never seen more wonderful and varied pumpkins in my corner. Yours are beautiful. They're all wonderful. Bring a little warmth with you would you please? I don't know how it goes from 90s to 60s overnight.

Happy trails...

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What wonderful pumpkins and I love those two sunflowers in the pumpkin patch.

Belated Happy Birthday. Glad you were able to visit Little Fighter Luke on your birthday. May he continually grow stronger with each new day.

Love and hugs to you and yours,

Carla Jean said...

I believe the pumpkins are discussing the upcoming season's ball! Cinderella indeed!
Austin, Tx is hoping that you set a spell with us this year in your travels. I would love to have my name picked from the hat for yhe book since I am haviing the ultimate joy caring for my grandson while mom and dad are at work.

Sunflower smiles to you :)

Hill Country Hippie said...

Wish some of the farmers around here were growing those varieties and would let us come harvest our own. I had to pay ten bucks a piece yesterday at the grocery store, to get anything other than basic orange!

Nellie said...

Oh, my! I find that I have missed a posting on your blog! I wait for notices to appear on Blogger, so I don't know how THAT happened!

I had wondered about your grandson! So very tiny! Our granddaughter was a 7-week preemie, arriving at 3 pounds 11 ounces. I continue to send prayers up for this little one of yours!

Also, I had no idea your birthday was this week! A belated Happy Birthday to you!

Wonderful pumpkins you have there! One of our daughters gave us one we had never seen before last year. We LOVED the difference. My husband sometimes tries to grow some, but he had no luck this year.:(

I would be so excited if your tour allowed a stop in my area. Kentucky sounds very close.:)

Have a wonderful week-end!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Nellie,

I'll be at the Joseph Beth Bookstore in Lexington, but also in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hill Country Hippie, GROW SOME. I've even grown them in half barrels and done very well. Grew a fifty pounder in a half barrel. Try it.


Unknown said...

Lovely pumpkins! And what an interesting looking book, too -- I can tell it will be another "must have".

Looking forward to seeing your new book, too!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Beautiful pictures!

I was walking back from getting the mail from our rural mailbox when someone called out to me.

It was our neighbor's son, who now lives in California and is visiting for a week.

He said he loved how it was always sunny and beautiful in California. It was cold and raining as we talked on the gravel lane we share. :)

Lorrie said...

Love the photo of the safety-conscious pumpkin, vines trailing down. And what a stunning assortment of pumpkins! Most I've never heard of.

Best of luck on the book tour. It looks so interesting.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Brenda dear,

He was joshing you. It is NOT always sunny and warm. And, if it was, we'd be in trouble. We need the rain!

Sending love,


Julie Marie said...

Hello dear Cousin Sharon... gee, what day was your birthday?... I am sooo sorry I missed it!...a BIG Happy Birthday to you!... first off, I am happy to hear little Luke is getting bigger and stronger every day... many prayers for him, and for all of you... love your tour of the pumpkin patch... and yes, those giant sunflowers do look like angels bent in prayer... love sunflowers!... good luck also on your tour, wish you were coming my way!... that looks like a fabulous book too... I never left my childhood!... I will always be a kid at heart... those squash and pumpkins are fabulous, and yes, I talk to my pumpkins, birds, critters... ALL of Nature's blessings... much love to you, chat soon!... xoxo Julie Marie

Pat said...

Belated Happy Birthday wishes to you! And so good to know your grandson, Luke, is gaining precious weight...

I adore the Cinderella pumpkins - and have a nice size one keeping company with the glorious Fall chrysanthemum I purchased. I find myself drawn to this particular pumpkin and as I walk by it on the porch, my hand just has to reach out and pat it!

Jennifer said...

I'm a Girl Scout leader and would love to win this book to share with my girls!

cheris said...

Can't wait until you come to Austin again! Hopefully it won't be 112 degrees like last time.
Violet would love this book.

cheris said...

Can't wait until you visit Austin again! Hopefully it's not 112 like last time.
Violet and I would love to read this book.

Lori ann said...

seatbelts, hee hee. i think if i had pumpkins as beautiful as yours i would do that too! love the california hills, and all the farmstands too!
i think today was the first fall feeling day here, happy!
i'd love to win the book too, it looks wonderful, and now that i'm going to be helping homeschool my grandson, it would be really useful!
thank you sharon for the opportunity! xxx lori

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Happy belated Birthday, Virgo Sister! Knew there was a reason we get along Sharon. Love the pumpkins, but I don't converse with them. Maybe I should start! I also love the sunflowers a/k/a angels very beautiful. I have never looked at nature the same since I started reading your column in Country Living Gardener magazine. Safe travels with phone man and if you are close to Pittsburgh, please e-mail me and let me know. I'll come by for a visit. xxoo Nancy

Elzjenns said...

Oh I love pumpkin season. We grew Rouge Vif d'Etampes a few years ago here in Chico. We saved some seeds to plant again. Just today my children discovered a patch of giant pumpkins next door to the home where they take violin lessons. Very exciting. Our sunflowers have all be harvested. A few went to Kindergarten, but most of them became a treat for our hens.
We'll be thinking of little Luke. Happy Birthday.

torchy said...

Osborn Pumpkin Farm opens next weekend--and all my kids and grands are arriving for a romp through the pumpkin patch. Nothing like a Centennial Farm on a crisp Colorado morning! I'd love a copy of the book.

Anonymous said...

Superb posting, I share the same views. I wonder why this particular world truly does not picture for a moment like me and also the blog site creator :D

Rachel - Mozart's Girl said...

Oh I love those pumpkins, Sharon! We only have a few kinds I would love to visit those fields of different varieties. So glad to hear the good news about Luke - my youngest nephew was 9 weeks premature, it was a difficult time. But he just started school & is as robust and healthy as they come, as I know your tiny grandson will be before you know it! Love to you both...that's a BIG tour to plan...get some rest! xx

Comfrey Cottages said...

Belated birthday blessings to you dear one xx So happy you got to hold little Luke xxx Best of luck and joy on your book tour:) love and hugs always xx

Bobbie Wilkerson said...

Greetings from a fellow lover of pumpkins! Hope your first day of autumn is beautiful! And prayers for little Luke... Bobbie

Andrea said...


I discovered you through Susan Wittig Albert. I look forward to exploring your site. With my first grandchild--a girl--arriving this Dec, the free book would be enjoyed first by me and then together with her!


Susan said...

Dearest friend, your roadside antics puts a smile on my face...are you my twin! I love your array of pumpkins and squash, and yes, I would talk to them too. After your review of the book, I'm buying three; one for me, one for my daughter, and one for son-in-law. Our grands are so full of creativity that I want to make sure it is nurtured.
If you get up to the Pacific Northwest, please come by, XOXO

Pat L. said...

Pumpkins, squashes, and grandchildren in the garden--a sight that I enjoy. Another garden book for children-what fun.Love the sunflowers.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Cheris, Yeah! I will be so happy to be in Austin again. One of my favorite places. I HOPE it won't be in the hundreds this time. Wow, I was a wilted flower!

Cheers to you and yours,


Sharon Lovejoy said...


Susan Wittig Albert is such a fine writer. Her creative mind is a constant amazement for all of us who love her.

Thanks for stopping by and KEEP WRITING!!


Janessa said...

OOO!! Sign me up! Looks great.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi friends,

Any of you who comment anonymously, or who don't have links to your sites, please watch for the drawing of the winner next week. If you win you will need to e-mail us your snail mail address.


Jane in NV said...

Oh, your trip to the country was so peaceful and beautiful. I love knowing you talk to your pumpkins! :) It reminds me of the author Byrd Baylor once sharing she talks to rocks. Why not!?
Great news that Luke is doing well and you were allowed to touch him...what a thrill that must have been...a birthday gift like no other. Safe travels on your book tour. Fall will be certainly showing off for you!

Nancy said...

Happy Birthday Sharon. Your Pictures of the pumpkins inspired me to believe fall may be here eventually.

kj said...

i had to blow up that photo of the sunflowers standing together. it is amazing. i thought for sure it is two people. which i think makes an amazing point about connection, no matter who or where.

love love

Storybook Woods said...

Those are some stunning pumpkins. I would handle them with care too. Gosh you make me miss CA and you live in one of the most beautiful place in CA too. Enjoy xox Clarice

Anonymous said...

Sharon I love your pumpkins! Such a joy to have during fall festivities. I can't wait to order your new book. I have two grandsons that will love discovering new projects that you offer. ♥
Martha Ellen

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Much love for your new grandson. Go Luke, go!
What a birthday present.
The pumpkins are great. Love the fall images. After the heat, I am over with summer this year.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Love the image of the 2 Sunflowers.
Pumpkin time in my area.
Special prayers for "baby Luke"
The book, my little granddaughters would love...

Lori said...

Hello Sharon! There was frost on the pumpkin this morning - a chilly 36 in Indiana.Looks like you picked out a wonderful selection. Sending love and blessings to you and yours.

Kay G. said...

Just for beauty, yes, I like the sound of that for a pumpkin.
I don't like to cut into them as Jack O Lanterns, I just like them left whole, on my doorstep, I think they are beautiful for display, for beauty.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi dear Lori,

No frost here. Just crickets serenading us.

WISH we could see you in Indiana. One of my lifetime best girlfriends lives in Indianapolis, another good friend in Bloomington, another in Nashville, and YOU! Maybe in the spring?


S (you never did tell me about your Mom's nivel soup?)

Anonymous said...

The book sounds perfect for a teacher. I also love the unusual pumpkins and we get to enjoy them for two months at least. Luke is thriving, so good to hear. A good birthday. Nanc N.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

GOOD NEWS! We'll be pulling THREE WINNERS out of the hat. The publisher graciously sent some. Stay tuned.


Pam G. said...

hope I'm not too late for the book giveaway.
I'm thankful your grandson is holding his own.
I love pumpkins-you have some great specimens!

Sarah said...

Oh Sharon, thank you! All of your books are such beauty to behold and I feel truly honored to have your words grace my back cover. Can't wait to hold YOUR wonderful new book when it comes out :)

Warm wishes,

Anonymous said...

Sharon, mega prayers from me to Luke and you all xoxoxoxo Happy Birthday, dear lady! you know, I love how pumpkins always like to hide under their leaves, just peeking out a little bit to see if you can catch them! love thea

dc said...

Just home from GarDunn club at Dunn IB World school where I've been the coordinator for almost 20! years. This book looks wonderful, count me in for the drawing.

La Petite Gallery said...

What a great post, I love this time of year. You really live in two beautiful places Calif. and Maine. Enjoyed the nice photos. yvonne

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh I truly love those pumpkins and their names are indeed magical.
Fantastic photos and Happy belated Birthday. B

Carol said...

Love the pumpkins! I'll be heading down the raod this weekend to buy my yearly group of pumpkins and winter squash:0)
The book give away is so exciting...always looking for funthings to do with the grands.
Happy Belated birthday !!!
Cheering Luke along in his progress and praying he'll be heading home soon.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Love all the pumpkins.

Luke sounds like a cutie!

Unknown said...

Thank you for a lovely post. I am so glad to hear that Luke is doing well.

Enjoy your wonderful book tour

Valerie said...

I have been waiting for this wonderful book to be available! I follow and love her blog. Thank you for the chance to win :)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

I love everything Sarah does. Blog included. Good luck on the drawing. With three books available you have a good chance.



TexWisGirl said...

laughed at the 'pumpkin, is your seat belt fastened' line. too cute!

thanks for stopping in yesterday and not lurking. :)

RURAL said...

I am in love with those pumpkins...apparently there are pink ones out also...

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Dee Nash said...

Hi Sharon!

So much to say. First, thank goodness you got to touch Luke's little head. Second, I wish I could have ridden shotgun or even in the back seat on that trip. I would love to be there with you. Third, the book is wonderful!~~Dee

Anonymous said...

simply stopping by to say hello