Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life is Better Inside My Head

A few miles outside Tralee is a garden centre and nursery called Ballyseedy. I'd driven past it a few times in my travels and always had a bit of a chuckle over the name. Last weekend, I was in the area and saw that they had a sign up advertising their "Halloween Howl."

My inner child perked up at the mention of Halloween in conjunction with a garden centre. One of my largest disappointments of life in Ireland is the lack of decent pumpkins and Halloween activities. I used to look forward to October for our yearly pilgrimage to Honey Hill Orchard. Now I spend the shorter evenings lamenting the pumpkin-shaped hole in my life.

But the Halloween Howl sign, it gave me hope. I pictured it perfectly in my head. It looked a big like Mapleside, the place my parents took me when I was a kid. Not as big or exciting as Honey Hill, but full of giant pumpkins and hay bales and all the accoutrement of Halloween. I knew I probably couldn't count on a roaring fire or hot apple cider, but I held out hope for big, gregarious pumpkins. If the Halloween Howl panned out, we might have a new tradition to look forward to each October.

I had a few stops to make before I went into Ballyseedy to check out the Halloween Howl. The place is much more posh inside than your average nursery and garden centre. I suppose that should have been my first clue.

My second clue was that the Halloween Howl was indoors and seemed to consist of a large tent filled with crappy costumes and cheap decorations. In front of the tent was a display of decorative pumpkins. They were tiny, sad little creatures, not much bigger than a baby's head. Half of them were still mostly green.

My final clue, the great big bucket of water over my imagination fire, was when I asked one of the workers outdoors if they had pumpkins. "Ah yes, sure we do. I'm only after seeing them on the pallets this morning." Then he proudly marched me inside, directly to the aforementioned pathetic display of pumpkin produce.

I stopped at the Tesco on the way home, but they were sold out of the large pumpkins so I decided to hold out for another week. Next year, I'm going to have to get off my butt and plant my own damn pumpkins. That's going to have to be my new Halloween tradition.

P.S. - If you're lucky enough to be in the Chicago area, you owe it to yourself to visit Honey Hill. You also owe it to yourself to visit Richardson Farm, home to the world's largest corn maze.

P.P.S - Happy Anniversary, Big B. I'd marry you all over again. In fact, I already have. :)


At 15 October 2008 at 19:34, Blogger Kaycie said...

I'm sorry for your lack of appropriately sized, orangey, Halloweeny pumpkins. You can buy really good fake ones now (I know, it's not the same!)

Happy anniversary!

At 15 October 2008 at 20:44, Blogger Noelle said...

When I lived in London, I searched far and wide to find pumpkin to make a pie for Thanksgiving (aka "Thursday.") I had no luck at all. I figured that's why we have holidays to celebrate the awesomeness of America, and it's because we have pumpkins everywhere.

At 15 October 2008 at 21:51, Blogger Babaloo said...

I'm not mad about Halloween to be honest. Probably because it wasn't celebrated at all in Germany when I was small.

I think I saw decent size pumpkins in Lidl the other day. They weren't massive but definitely bigger than a baby's head... :)

At 15 October 2008 at 23:09, Blogger Elaine said...

Not just pumpkins next year, your own Howl too! Other than the lack of good Halloween fun, I envy you your spot in Ireland. I visited twice years ago in my time of "single, lived with parents, had money" - it was awesome.

At 16 October 2008 at 17:26, Blogger -Ann said...

Kaycie - Yeah, the whole point of pumpkins is carving them. Fake ones wouldn't do it for that.

Noelle - I 'import' canned pumpkin for all my pumpkin baking needs.

Babaloo - I'm shopping tomorrow so I'll look into the Lidl. Thanks for the tip!

Elaine - Giving up enormous pumpkins to live here is an okay deal. :)

At 16 October 2008 at 18:18, Blogger Col said...

I live in pumpkin central. They are everywhere. Last year we saw the world-record pumpkin at the Topsfield Fair. This year, there was no world record set.

I'll be thinking of you when we carve ours next weekend!

At 17 October 2008 at 13:49, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the great big bucket of water over my imagination fire" HA! I love the way you write.

You have to ask The Kid to give you advice about your pumpkin problems.

And Happy Anniversary!

- Shane

At 18 October 2008 at 19:03, Blogger -Ann said...

Col - I am so jealous. :)

Shane - I will have to ask The Kid. I'll have to do that next weekend.


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