Every year, at the end of their season, the produce stand down the street from my parents’ house invites their neighbors to come pick the pumpkins that they didn’t sell. Which means it’s time for the annual Punkin’ Chunkin’. My parents’ neighbor, Steve, built a trebuchet in their field, and after picking a few truck-loads worth of pumpkins, a bunch of friends get together to launch them. This year’s Punkin’ Chunkin’ happened last weekend, and here are the highlights.
I won’t go into the specifics of how the trebuchet works (mostly because I don’t really know). But basically a big counterweight rushes to the ground, which sends a pumpkin into the air, catapult-style.
When the pumpkin lands, it explodes and everyone cheers. Add some beer and maybe a little whiskey and you’ve got yourself hours of entertainment.
The pumpkins then stay in the field and rot, which enriches the soil for next year’s crops. So it’s basically like really violent fertilizer.
All day, there were half a dozen dogs, a bunch of kids, and more than fifty adults having an awesome time.
This was my niece Cadence’s first Punkin’ Chunkin’. And while I’m not sure she knew exactly what was going on, she sure had a good time.
A family friend was painting faces all afternoon, and my mom was one of the first in line.
Of course, any time my family gets together, the biggest star of the day is the food. My mom made a fruit crisp with cherries from her cherry tree that she had canned as pie filling.
I contributed to the feast with homemade pumpkin and black bean chili (I got the recipe here), and some very alcoholic chocolate bourbon balls (I’ll post the recipe soon). I didn’t get a chance to photograph them, because as soon as the food went out it was every man for himself.
Another tradition is that, periodically throughout the day, the trebuchet breaks. Nothing serious usually, but that doesn’t prevent a whole bunch of dudes gathering around and staring at the one or two people actually fixing it. Welcome to the South, y’all.
The evening ended with a bonfire behind Steve’s barn. A couple of people brought musical instruments, and there was an impromptu bluegrass jam session (complete with a bluegrass version of “I Wanna Be Sedated” — it was surprisingly good).
It was pretty much a perfect fall day. The party planner in me had to take a day off and not try to stick a decoration on anything that wasn’t moving. It was kind of nice to just relax and enjoy the party.
Side note: I’m sure you have noticed the moving GIFs in this post. Making GIFs is completely new to me, so don’t judge me too harshly. But I can say that it was so fun making them, that I’m sure you’ll see more from me in the future. Anyway, I’m going to leave you with one of Jason and me trying to get a nice portrait together. Sigh, we can never have anything nice.