Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Pumpkins, picking & prayer September 2, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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HAVE YOU EVER TRIED to coax a cat onto a pumpkin? It is difficult at best.

I am not a cat owner. But I grew up with farm cats, simply calling, “Here, kitty kitty,” and the felines would come running. They did not, however, appreciate any attempts to dress them in doll clothes and then plop them into a doll buggy.

The sprawling garden includes pumpkins and popcorn.

The sprawling garden includes pumpkins and popcorn.

That “here, kitty kitty” tactic did not work with Gretchen, who belongs to friends, Jeff and Mandy. My bible study group gathered recently at their rural Faribault acreage. We always socialize for an hour before digging into our study. And on this perfect late summer evening in Minnesota, we surveyed Mandy’s garden. Gretchen meandered with us among the vines and rows.

Hannah's sunflowers

Hannah’s sunflowers

Mandy grows vegetables that I’ve never seen grown—like kidney beans and burgundy beans and tomatillos. This year she’s had help from Hannah, a teen who wanted to learn gardening.

Jeff coaxes Gretchen...

Jeff coaxes Gretchen…

...onto the pumpkin.

…onto the pumpkin.

Hannah planted pumpkins which just kept growing and growing and growing into ginormous orbs. I wanted to photograph them. But I needed scale. Ah, Gretchen the cat would be perfect. So Jeff, kind friend that he is, agreed to lure Gretchen onto a Great Atlantic (or something like that; Jeff couldn’t quite remember the name) pumpkin. Eventually I got an acceptable photo.

Later, Gretchen hopped atop a fence post, providing for more photo ops as the sun edged down:

Garden, Gretchen the cat at sunset 1


Garden, Gretchen the cat at sunset 2


Garden, Gretchen the cat at sunset 3


When the photo shoots and garden tour ended, we began moving toward the house. But we were sidetracked. Debbie and I, dairy farmers’ daughters, checked out the barn. Most of the guys headed to a shed and scrounged in a scrap metal pile. Steve, the artist among us, found metal for art projects and a trough that will work as a flower planter. Then Mike and I waded through tall grass with Mandy, aiming for the wood pile. There we rooted out wooden boxes. Mike also found scrap wood for his oldest son’s May wedding.

The barn rises high above the garden.

The barn rises high above the garden.

One person’s junk is another’s treasure.

The top of the silo and the barn roof.

The top of the silo and the barn roof.

What a fun evening it was, first touring and photographing the garden and Gretchen, then picking, then gathering around the kitchen table with dear friends to study, to share and to pray. I am blessed.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


28 Responses to “Pumpkins, picking & prayer”

  1. Marilyn Says:

    I think it has been pretty well established that you cannot persuade a cat to do anything. You must convince it that it will be fun, and it its best interest to do as you suggest. (Works with children as well.)

  2. Marilyn Says:

    A second comment re the pumpkins and prayer, if you please. I still think with amazement of the conversation we had with an old Australian farmer when I served American pumpkin pie. He claimed the thought of humans eating pumpkin was revolting. Pumpkin was food for cattle. We persuaded him to just try it and said it was simply a custard pie with pumpkin and mixed spices flavouring it. I think he liked it – ate it all in any case! Gathering around a table to study and pray is just what I did yesterday. One part of our topic was refuge & refugees and pilgrim & pilgrimage. Some very deep concepts expressed.

  3. Love it! What a great farm! Although that’s the first cat I’ve ever heard of named Gretchen! I’ve met lots of dogs with my name, though…

  4. Kathy Hagen Says:

    Good Morning

    I don’t seem to be able to reply without a word press column—I’ve tried to leave comments before. I just wanted to tell you that I truly enjoy your blog. Relaxing, yet meaningful and the photos are excellent. Have you ever gone to Stockholm and Maiden Rock WI? I just did that this weekend on a drive with my brother and sister-in-law. They are truly magical little towns, and simply lovely.

    Thank you for posting and I look forward to many more.



    • Kathy, I’m so sorry you’ve had difficulty trying to leave comments. I don’t pretend to understand all of this tech stuff, but I know many folks who are not on WordPress are able to comment. And today your comment came through.

      Welcome to the comments section and thank you so much for appreciating my work. That means a lot to me when readers value my writing and photography.

      Yes, I’ve been to both Stockholm and Maiden Rock and posted about Stockholm numerous times. I love that Wisconsin town. Type “Stockholm” into my blog search engine to read my previous posts.

  5. Great Captures – thanks for sharing farm life 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  6. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    That is a big pumpkin! I love that old barn. It sounds like you guys had a great evening.

    • Yes, and I’ve been asking Hannah’s family how they are going to transport those pumpkins into Faribault, where they live. I told them I want to see the big pumpkins in their front yard.

      We had a great evening. My bible study friends are among my dearest friends.

  7. Marneymae Says:

    So fabulous!! Kitty on a pumpkin 🙂
    Omigoodness that BARN!

    • I knew you would appreciate both the kitty and the barn. The barn is HUGE. So much potential and I hope that someday my friends are able to paint it and find a viable use. In a few weeks I’m going to a barn dance in a 100-year-old barn that belongs to another couple in my bible study group. That will be in the beautiful hayloft in a beautifully-kept barn. I can’t wait. Live band. Pie contest. Great food and friends. And on my birthday. Bonus.

  8. treadlemusic Says:

    Early Birthday Blessings wished upon you!!!! The barn photo is monumental!!!!! Just finished reading the above comments and am, now, hungry for some pie from the Stockholm Pie Co.!!!!!!! Yum!!!!!

  9. Deanna Says:

    Enjoyed the cat on the pumpkin and fence post pictures. Nearly scared me when my response to the last picture of a barn, would include the black and white cat on the barn roof top.

  10. Thread crazy Says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful evening. The pumpkin patch is my favorite along with the cat. As a cat lover I know full well you cannot get cats to do certain things, let alone sit on a pumpkin! Hilarious. I’m just a big kid when it comes to pumpkins; I have to have one (or more) and the bigger the better! Now lets talk prayer…We Americans have a lot to be thankful for and each of us need to pray and ask God to heal our nation. It can happen, all we need is faith and prayer.

  11. Beth Ann Says:

    Love the pictures today and the time that you spent together was wonderful, wasn’t it? What a lovely group of friends you have who you can share all of life with. You are blessed and that is a wonderful thing.

  12. Jackie Says:

    Sounds like a perfect evening, enjoying God’s beautiful creation and bounty 🙂

  13. Sue Ready Says:

    I enjoyed this post on several levels. One the pumpkin photo is truly spectacular if only mine could have attained such perfection. Gathering around a table for prayer, food, conversation with friends is something many can relate to and the memories it evokes could be developed into poem or short story.
    Thanks for sharing.

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