My Sweetie Pie Made a Pumpkin Pie

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 12



We’d been having an unseasonably warm fall
and were spending
Every Moment Outside.


When my daughter invited Beka and I to a pumpkin patch
we dropped our books and headed out the door.


Sometimes you just gotta’ follow the sun,
especially since ya’ know once the rains come,
they don’t leave for a long, long, time.


Pumpkin Patch
We loved seeing fields full of pumpkins.

Although we call special outings for school
“field trips”
we rarely end up in a field.

This was a field field trip.


Rebekah at Pumpkin Patch

The kids loved running to and fro,
with every pumpkin they could lift  a possibility to take home.



Jana and Kids at Pumpkin Patch
My oldest daughter, Jana,
with her three Munchkins,
Brookelyn, Maddelyn and Brayden.

I found a handmade sign at a garage sale that says,
“Grandchildren are a reward for not killing your children”
but since it isn’t PC and some people don’t get
it’s a joke
I don’t display it.

But grandchildren are a reward.
After raising six kids with lotsa rules and nutrition and bedtimes,
I love having little people who depend on me for only
candy and toys.
That’s it.
My definition of Gwamma.

sunshine family 021

The pumpkin adventure wasn’t over.

The assignment only said “make Pumpkin Pie or stewed pumpkin.”
Stewed pumpkin?
I think not.

To make sure we finished the project
and that Beka had success her first time making pie,
I opted for store bought piecrust and canned pumpkin.

Don’t tell my brothers.
Joel and Allan make amazing pie.
One Thanksgiving, Allan even brought his own rolling pin to Mom’s house
because he was in charge of making the pies.
Of course, my brothers make their own crusts,
use fresh pumpkin,
and yes, they are both single, as a matter of fact.

I don’t know why.

I am the black-sheep, pie-crust buying member of the family.
But not for long.

Pioneering Today: Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way

Last week I read this beautiful book 
and it  inspired me to get back to my pioneer roots.
She has a simple pie-crust recipe Beka and I will be using
when we make our second pie.

It also is going to make my Christmas shopping a lot easier!
Wouldn’t this book look adorable in a basket
with a few vintage cookie cutters and a cookie mix in a canning jar?


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We held prayer meeting in our home that evening,
so Beka got to shine serving her delicious pies as the snack.

I love to give my kids moments like these!



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It tasted even better than it looks.
We had it for breakfast the next morning, too.

There was a little filling left, so we filled little graham cracker pie crusts.

They were also delicious.



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See that sweet little pie pumpkin in the middle of my fall display?


Hopefully, that will be in Beka’s second pie, too.
It just needs to hang around and look harvesty for awhile.


See that squash on the right? 
I bought it to try this recipe
from Melissa’s blog Pioneering Today,
but I bought the wrong kind. 
So, it will also sit as a decoration until I decide how I will cook it.


For those of you ambitious kitchen people here are some
pumpkin recipes from a blog called “Laura’s Sweet Memories.”

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Treat Squares

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Scones

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Bread


Anything is better than stewed pumpkins!



Thar’s Still Gold in Them There Hills!

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 13



It seems that even though we’re past a formal lesson,
learning continues.

The library books about the gold rush were returned
and we were onto our next learning adventure.

The lesson continued  in an unexpected way.
We were invited to a corn maze/pumpkin patch expedition.

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There was the hayride on bales pulled by a John Deere.
I got to impress them by reciting their slogan,
”Nothing runs like a Deere!”

Yea, in the Midwest when you say you’re going green,
they’re not thinking about recycling, reusing and reducing.
They’re thinking
John Deere green.
It is a color in the palette, not to be confused with hunter green or pine.

When we first moved from the ND to WA, we were surprised to discover
John Deere apparel was the rage.

Even movie stars were wearing John Deere hats and t-shirts.
When I asked a few west coast teenagers if they knew
that John Deere was an implement dealer,
they were stunned.

They thought it was a fashion line.

I love to be the voice of reason and information on the west coast.

Back to the corn maze on the west coast.

corn maze 138 

Aw, don’t moms love to sneak learning in in everything?
This corn maze is the dream of a former teacher,
who also obviously loves to sneak in learning.


corn maze 140

The kids are given a map and dropped off on a eastern border city of their choice,
and have to navigate their way back using highways and byways.


And when the girls had safely navigated us back to the west coast,
and found a latte stand for the moms,
they followed the allure of riches.


corn maze 221

Like many before them through the generations,
the feeling of a gold pan in their hands
gave rise to dreams in their heads.

corn maze 223
Several times they were convinced they saw flecks of gold,
but knew they were being fooled.

corn maze 224

A placer mine was set up with a sluice box.

corn maze 225

I was raised in Montana with a Dad who carried a gold pan with
him when we went camping and fishing.
There is still gold nearly everywhere in Montana,
sometimes little flecks, sometimes nuggets.

As I was explaining to the girls how to swish and swirl
and rinse the light stuff out to get the heavy stuff to stay in the pan,
ya’ know, like gold,
I was wishing I had listened more closely to my Dad.
Never actually thought I’d need to know how to pan for gold.

Like my kids, I musta’ done the “smile and nod but not really listen” thing,
because I couldn’t exactly remember the real way to pan for gold.

Secretly, I think Youtube is just a repository of information
for people who are too embarrassed to call their parents up
and ask, “How did you do that again?”

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They sloshed and shook and dipped and swirled.

When the reality of mud instead of gold nuggets invaded their dreams,
they dropped their pans and headed for the hay slide.

They hadn’t lost their life savings,
they hadn’t left family for the dream of instant wealth,
they didn’t lose their life in a foolish pursuit.

But just for a moment,
while their hands were clutching that pan,
their wrists were swirling and whirling,
their eyes eagerly seeking flecks of gold,
they understood the men who did.



To further your learning adventure:



California Gold Rush at the Oakland Museum

Last Chance Gulch discovery in Helena, Montana

Alaskan Gold Rush in Anchorage Museum

Discovery Channel Gold Rush