Pumpkin Time~ Tanya Hanson

The Bridesmaid,  my historical western short story releasing today, ain’t all white lace and a wing-ding 1880’s bachelorette bash. There’s a woman drowning in a well.MarryingMinda Crop to Use

Except the well is dry…

For this spooky romance, I tied together some things I truly love–Colorado, cowboys, and weddings, and added some hints of mayhem and madness. Of course, our heroine, bridesmaid Lydia does find her True Love with handsome rancher Garner. If you wonder how a happy ending can emerge after serial murders, well, cuddle up with your Kindle and find out! The Bridesmaid is short, sweet, and scary, all three. 2015-09-04 16.36.28

I will give away two Kindle copies, so don’t forget to comment. Check back late tonight or tomorrow, take a peek at our sweepstakes rules in the meantime.

Anyway, The Bridesmaid’s bride Milly plans some odd wedding decor using pumpkins, but for the rest of us, pumpkins are a most enduring and endearing symbol of autumn. Although I live on a cul de sac in a suburb, our town is surrounded by agriculture.2015-10-05 14.03.04-1 (2)

 

And one of my favorite fields is…the nearby pumpkin patch! How better can it get than picking your pumpkin from the place where it grew? My grandsons have such fun.Punkin patch 2015

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So I reckon it’s time to regale you with pumpkin facts.

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  1. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and yup, California grow 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins a year.
  2. 90 percent of pumpkins are grown within the 90 miles surrounding Peoria, Illinois.
  3. The average price of a pumpkin is fifty cents a pound. Five bucks will get you a pumpkin the size of a basketball.
  4. The pumpkin is related to cucumber, zucchini, cantaloupe and watermelon.
  5. Native to Central America and Mexico, the pumpkin has been cultivated for 5,000 years. Now it’s grown on six continents.
  6. In 1584, French explorer Jacques Cartier found a “gros melon”, which is translated as pompion. From the Greek pepon, meaning, duh, great melon. Pumpkin derives from all that.
  7. The pumpkin is a great source of Vitamins A and B, iron, potassium, and protein. High in fiber, it’s low in calories, fat and sodium. (I suppose this might not count if you’re ingesting a pumpkin pie or lattes…)
  8. The heaviest pumpkin recorded so far (2012) weighed more than a ton!
  9. In the early days, rather than the pies you see in Thanksgiving decor, Pilgrim women cut off the pumpkin’s top and replaced the innards with cream, honey, eggs and spices. Baked it in the ashes and had a wonderful custard.
  10. For the early settlers, dried pumpkin shells became bowls and storage containers.
  11. Pumpkin shells were supposedly used as templates for male haircuts. If you ever read the term “pumpkinhead” in that time period, that’s why.
  12. They also made pumpkin beer, fearful as they were of the New World’s water–due to pollution in the rivers back home. (ick, rivers flowing with raw sewage and animal carcasses…)

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Anyway..early settlers also fed pumpkins to their livestock, and all may have died of starvation otherwise.

From a Pilgrim verse, circa 1633:

…we have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon.

If were not for pumpkins, we should be undone….

Of course, pumpkins wouldn’t be pumpkins without Jack O’Lanterns. Originally a tradition in Ireland, glowing faces were carved from turnips and potatoes. Irish immigrants in America found pumpkins easier to hollow out.

Halloween 2014

Here’s a hint to keep Mr. Jack O’Lantern fresher longer. Clean his entire carved face with a damp cloth to rid bacteria, then spray him with a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water, and keep him out of sunlight.

Now, go enjoy pumpkin bread, scones, cheesecake bars, pumpkin latte, soup, and yes, ale! (I’d love ya to stop by my Punkin board on Pinterest.)

Now, the magic question: what pumpkin fact did you find most interesting? 

About THE BRIDESMAID:

Four nights in her dreams, a handsome cowboy tries to kiss her…letting Lydia think she’s close to finding true love. Off to Colorado for her friend Milly’s wedding, she’s stunned to realize her cowboy is…Milly’s bridegroom.

She’s standing right in front of him, the beautiful woman Garner has ached to kiss in his dreams for four long nights. Milly’s bridesmaid. Can he betray his bride…even as his love for Milly turns to terror?

Since you’re probably hungry for more, this story is also part of a wonderful 2014 multi-author collection.

The BridesmaidI found these fun facts at sites for History.com, Tween Us, Pumpkin Fresh, Wikipedia, Colonial Williamsburg, and University of Illinois.

Tanya Hanson
A California beach girl, I love cowboys and happy-ever-afters. My firefighter hubby and I enjoy travel, our two little grandsons, country music, McDonald's iced coffee, and volunteering at the local horse rescue. I was thrilled last year to receive the CTRR Award at Coffeetime Romance for Sanctuary, my tribute to my cancer-survin' hubby!
Updated: October 6, 2015 — 4:58 pm

30 Comments

  1. Peoria? Really? I had no idea, and my mother’s family all live within a one hour drive from there. Usually, we only see corn and soybeans when we visit. lol. The Bridesmaid sounds amazing, my friend. Congratulations on another sure-to-be-a-winner! <3

    1. Hi Dora, thanks so much for stopping by today. I too was amazed at how many grow in Peoria! Especially when I know how big California is. I just love pumpkins, the colors, the taste. My favorite time of year. xo

  2. I love this time of year. I love everything pumpkin.

    1. Me, too Janine. How about Starbucks’ pumpkin lattes? My fave. Thanks for posting.

  3. Hi Tanya, congratulations on the release of your new story. It sounds intriguing, as always! I thought number 11 was interesting. I can just imagine all those pumpkin heads sitting in a barber chair.

    1. Hi Margaret, LOL, fact 11 cracked me up, too. I try to imagine my grandsons sitting still for that. I loved the idea of trying out pumpkin shells for bowls and storage, too.

  4. I love ghost stories, even when I’m afraid to shut out the lights.

    1. Hi Janet, thanks for posting. I think paranormal stories are such fun to read.

  5. There a camp here outside of North Platte Nebraska they grow pumpkins them. then they have a fun day for kids on saturdays and for 5 bucks they get there choice of a pumpkin and a day of games and crafts.

  6. Hi Kim, I have dear friends in Platte Center! I love the pumpkin patches that have activities and little carnivals. My oldest grandson and I did the hay bale maze and couldn’t see a thing over it. It was trick, for sure! Thanks for stopping by today.

  7. Hi Tanya,

    Being a transplant to Illinois, I was surprised to learn about #2! I guess I’m not traveling down the right country roads because when I look out the car window, all I see is soybean and corn fields LOL.

    1. Hi Kathryn, I know…I even triple checked that one. Maybe the pumpkin patches are tucked behind corn and soybeans LOL. Thanks so much for popping in today. xo

  8. Interesting. I’ve heard there is a pumpkin shortage some places this year. Looking forward to reading Bridesmaid.

    1. HI Nancy, now that I think about it, one of the local patches didn’t grow pumpkins this year but the one across the road did. Maybe market predictions or bad weather elsewhere. I just love the look though, of those big orange globes all across the ground. Thanks so much for posting.

  9. Pumpkin custard? That sounds like something I want to try. Also thank you so much for your tips on making a jack-o-lantern last longer. I must share that fact with my grandkids!

    1. Hi Connie, I thought the custard sounded yummy, too, Supposedly that was the forerunner of the traditional pumpkin pie. I love how innovative our foremothers were. Enjoy your grands and their Jack O’Lantern.

  10. Pumpkin shell template for haircuts?! Wow. LOL. Thank goodness that trend has stopped.

    1. I know, Susan. The whole idea, while pretty sensible, sounds kinda smelly. Oh well, without today’s sharp scissors and razors, I guess you had to make do. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. This is my fav time of year! My sister and I already chose the pumpkin I will carve and it is huge this year! The fact that caught my attention was that pumpkins were a templates for men’s haircuts… I never heard of that! Happy October and congrats on your release! 🙂

    1. Hi Colleen, I always want a giant one, too, but Hubs says get the medium size. I love keeping a few around for Thanksgiving decorating, too. I hear from a lot of people that Fall is their favorite time of year…I think because it’s so beautiful, and because you still have Christmas to look forward to. Thanks for commenting today.

  12. Congratulations Tanya on the new release, certainly sound intriguing!
    Two pumpkin facts stood out to me. I did not realize that 90% of pumpkins grow within 90 miles surrounding Peoria! My best friend used to live in East Peoria, one year my family went to visit her & took our kids to a pumpkin patch. It was huge!! They had a lot of great activities for the kids as well as all the fall produce you can imagine! That was a LOT of fun 🙂
    The second fact, they are related to cucumber, zucchini, cantaloupe and watermelon. I had no idea! Seems they wouldn’t fit in the fruit category 🙂
    Thanks for the pumpkin facts, I learned a thing or three. Happy fall to you 🙂

  13. Hi Trixie, oh, you are so very welcome! I learned so much, too. I figured they were related to squash for sure, but cucumbers? Happy fall to you, too. I so appreciate you commenting today,

  14. Tanya..your imagination is amazing! I can’t wait to read this story! Perfect for the Fall Season! I love everything Pumpkin. TJ’s has a Pumpkin Corn Bread mix that I just snatched up!

    1. hi Charlene, LOL…it’s all Cheryl Pierson’s fault for asking me to write a Halloween story. I don’t know where the well thing came from, but it worked…and was kinda creepy writing this. I made sure the lights were on LOL. So glad you commented today. I can’t believe I missed the cornbread…we were just at TJ.s I think I snatched up everything else. Love you…

  15. Tanya, I’m here in Illinois, and there are “punkins” everywhere! Try frying hunks of it in butter and brown sugar, low fire till tender. Yum! Anxious to read the scary story. Sending love…

    1. HI Mar, I will have to try that dish…three things I so enjoy! Thanks for stopping by today. So good to see you here. I haven’t been to Illinois in quite a while, but it was fall, and I remember how many homes (it was Arlington Heights) were elaborately decorated for Halloween…as wonderful as Christmas. Oh, wht a fun memory just now. Hope you enjoy The Bridesmaid. xoxox

  16. Don’t know about that pumpkin beer! Enjoyed all the facts 🙂

    1. Hi DK, if you live near a BJ’s Restaurant/Brewery, they have a wonderful seasonal pumpkin ale. I don’t care for beer at all but I enjoy this one in small doses. Thank you so much for popping in today and commenting.

  17. Tanya, I so enjoyed your story when I read it in the anthology. I love it when we have our short stories released with its own cover. Wishing you much success on this single release. I loved #11, never knew where the pumpkinhead word came from so thanks–makes sense. And I thought here in NYS(rural) we had the booming population of pumpkins, and found it fascinating that other states lead us. Who would’ve thunk? Enjoyed your pumpkin lessons.

  18. Hi Beverly, I am glad you like the story. It means the world when my peers do. Very affirming. It is great fun to have the single-sells as well a the entire wonderful book which is of course available in print as well. I so appreciate you stopping by!

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