Country Life

Fall Brings Pumpkins

Ginnie BakerThe trees are beginning to wear their fall colors, and the pumpkins are ripening on the vines.



That signals the beginning of the beautiful fall season and all of the fun activities that families can enjoy.

It’s also the time for one of my favorite recipes. I always have pumpkins in the garden, and this is a great way to use a couple of them!

Stuffed Sugar Pumpkin

Stuffed pumpkin

From Country Living magazine: “Native Americans were enjoying wild rice, pumpkins and venison for centuries before the first Colonists discovered the trio’s delicious flavors.”

Serves 6


• 1-1/2 cups water
• 1 pound ground venison or lean ground beef or lamb
• 1/2 cup wild rice
• 1/2 cup chopped green onions
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon crushed dried sage
• 1, 4-5 pound sugar pumpkin
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 teaspoon vegetable oil


1. In a 1-quart saucepan, heat the water to boiling over high heat. Stir in wild rice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Return to boiling; cover; reduce heat to low and cook 40-45 minutes or until rice is tender and all the water is absorbed.

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin and remove the seeds and fiber from the pumpkin. Place 1/2 inch of water in a shallow roasting pan and place the pumpkin in the pan.

3. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the ground meat and sauté until brown. 4. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the green onions and stir the remaining onions, the cooked rice, sage, remaining salt and the pepper into the mixture. Spoon the meat mixture into the pumpkin and cover the top with aluminum foil.

5. Bake the stuffed pumpkin for 45-60 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with a fork. Add more water to the pan as needed to keep the pumpkin from sticking.

6. Remove the foil and place the pumpkin on a serving dish; sprinkle with remaining onions.

7. To serve, cut the pumpkin in wedges.


Who Needs An Alarm Clock When You Live In The Country?

Ginnie BakerPeople who live in a large city assume that all is peaceful and quiet out in the country.

They should come out here and spend a few days and nights; they’d soon find out it’s pretty noisy!

At calving time, there is a lot of “mooing” as the calves begin arriving. My neighbors raise beef cattle and have a good sized herd with a lot of calves expected each spring.

nap time for rocky and nugget2

The calving began a couple of weeks ago so there is a lot of noise associated with their births! The calves arrive anytime, day or night, so the mooing is a constant sound until they all arrive.

Coyote and pup
Photo by Fotolia/hkuchera

It’s also the time when the coyote pups arrive. The adults are quite vocal; their spine-chilling howling begins at dusk and continues until dawn.

Occasionally, I can hear the sheep on the farm down the road. It’s a nice, quiet, lowing sound; kind of soothing.

Then there are the birds! Sometimes I feel I live the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds”!

Before daylight savings time, they didn’t start chirping until after 7 a.m., just as the sun was coming up.


At daylight savings time, it’s before 6 a.m. when they begin their chirping, sitting in the trees around the house, singing their little hearts out as they try to attract a mate.

The cardinals begin the chorus ... then the sparrows and towhees chime in ... followed by the soft tones of the doves. Then the crows, grackles, and starlings join the group with their raucous calls.

Adding to the mix are the chipmunks who seem to spend most of their time making a “chipping” noise as they chase each other around, fighting and competing for the sunflower seeds we put out for the birds.

I’ve been putting carrots out for the bunnies, especially during the winter when the snow was so deep. I knew they would have a hard time finding anything to eat.

Well, I think I’ve created a “bunny haven” for them!



They now count on me putting carrots out by the side door. One bunny even sits under the one pine tree and waits for me! It doesn’t run away, just sits until I toss the carrots out the door. It even waits in the morning, when I’m making breakfast. I now feed them twice a day! I hope the carrots will keep them out of the garden ... wishful thinking, I know!


There are also the usual sounds in the country as the farms come to life. Tractors can be heard as they lumber up and down the road.

Chainsaws are another usual sound as everyone begins getting ready for winter. The trees really took a hit with all the wind and snow. Branches are down all over, but it’s a good source of wood for the outdoor furnaces.

john and wood

Of course here on my homestead, the sound of my two mini donkeys, Samson and Delilah, can be heard as soon as I go outside and they hear the gravel crunch as I walk to the barn! They begin their pathetic braying, calling me to give them treats and let them out in their pastures.



All of these sounds add to the attraction of living in the “peace and quiet” of the country. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

No alarm clock needed!