Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pickles and Earnest's Great Pumpkin Contest

“Can you help me, PLEASE?”

It was Pickles and she was very upset about something. She was telling to me from over in the pumpkin patch.

When I got to the mounds of beautiful orange orbs, all different shapes and sizes, Pickles was standing next to a very petite pumpkin.

“I need to put this prayer flag up over my pumpkin, “ she said.

I somehow managed to attach hay twine-every farmer’s wonder cure- to put up some old rags for Pickles to make her prayer flags.

“The prayers from the wind will help my pumpkin grow strong and big, like Earnest’s pumpkin, “ said little Pickles with confidence.

A few weeks ago, just as autumn was in the air, Earnest sent me a note, slipped under the front door as is the main means of communication from the barnyard. He wanted to tell me that this year he thought he might really have a chance at winning the local pumpkin growing contest. My heart sort of sank. I knew the winning pumpkins were huge and that many farmers devoted lots of energy to grow them.

I wandered out to Earnest’s hut. He was in mid morning repose, reading.

“Earnest, I think maybe it would be better to just grow and enjoy your pumpkin. And besides, the pumpkin festival is cancelled this year because of the virus,” I said.

“They are still having weigh ins, read it in the paper,” Earnest said.

Of course I knew this but I was contemplating lying to him. Instead I tried another tactic.

“Let’s have a barnyard contest! I will post a proper entry form in the barn later today, “ I said.

“What will the winner get?” Earnest asked.

“Well, you get to keep the pumpkin,” I said.

“Well of course. But I would like a cucumber grilled cheese sandwich from Eider’s” Earnest said. If you follow along you know that I turned Earnest on to this after bringing home some leftovers.

Later that day, three pieces of paper slid under the door, all entering the pumpkin contest: Earnest, Pickles and The Teapot.

And not too long after is when I found myself helping Pickles putting up her prayer flags.

“Pickles, you have a lovely pumpkin and not all pumpkins will grow like Earnest’s. I don’t want you to be disappointed,” I said.

“I believe in Pickles Power!” She said.

Just then The Teapot, a bit stout, came over to examine her pumpkin. “Her shape is much like mine,” she said.

And then, Earnest arrived. He had a bucket of items and began placing them around his pumpkin-a few little ceramic creatures, and some peanut butter on sticks.

“These will protect my pumpkin," he said.

“Earnest, I think the peanut butter will attract rodents?” I asked.

“I’ve spoken with the rodents and we made a gentleman’s agreement–they stay away from my pumpkin, and I put out peanut butter sticks for them. That reminds me, can you get me more peanut butter, crunchy, not stirred?” he asked.