People love to ask where I get pumpkins this big. I have to say it's all in the planning. Sure it's insane to work on a 880lb pumpkin but half the battle was getting him here. The key to getting a huge fruit is to start early. This year it all started on the 17th of September with a email from one Drew Papez. He wrote: " Love your carvings. I live in Niagara Falls Canada. Just wondering If you would like to carve this monster. She's over 1100 pounds now and still growing."
Holy cow snot in a can 1100lbs! Of course I said yes and within a few weeks I had arranged the carve one get one free deal and I was all set to travel to Canada to retrieve my 752.5 pound smooth skinned beauty.
Well it's the 18th of October and I have built a custom pumpkin hauling device with 2 ton dumpster casters on it and was all ready to travel to Niagara Falls Canada when I could not get a hold of Drew. A dozen calls throughout weekend and nothing. Of course I'm freaking out here as this was the only time I had available as the carving chaos began the next weekend. Well late Sunday night I get an email from his wife saying Drew had been hospitalized. Lets send Drew Papez of our best wishes for a speedy recovery! Well now I'm freaking more than ever here it is 4 days till I start my appearances and I have no fruit of my own! Well I talked to Andy Wolf to see if he knew anyone. Then I called Tim Bailey a friend I'd worked with for years at JTM the nice thing about Tim was has was an expert prolific pumpkin producer! After I talked with him about the situation he noted that in addition to the 1245lb award winner he grew, he also had 880lbs of fruit still in the backyard needless to say I had fruit on the brain. The next day I got this message from Tim: OK OK, enough sniveling and groveling. I will part with my baby. I can't
stand the thought of you not having a decent pumpkin to carve. Besides, I don't want to burn myself out before I tackle the 1245.
Whoopee! Hot damn in a can I knew it would work out and it always does!
Tuesday night is the big event I run over to Tim's and the tripod with winch are set up and Billy's already in the air (Sorry for running late Tim) We get him on the canvas carry-all on top of the dolly, lock him down, and he's off to my porch. By the time Tim arrives 8 guys have shown up participate in the "Big Lift". Where the hell is Dean the Circus Strong Man? Now you can't feasibly get him down out of the truck and up to the porch so I use a method that has worked for years I build a bridge with 4 4x4's and a sheet of 3/4 plywood from the truck to the porch. Three of us get behind Billy and quickly push him on to the porch. That was the easy part. now to get him in position. My old spool has served my well for nearly a decade but I knew it would buckle under the tremendous weight of Mr. Curmudgeon so in preparation I engineered a new carving spool with twelve casters and a 1200lb capacity. After much grunting and groaning Billy is in his final location. Thanks Tim, Tom, Mark, Larry, Dave, Doug, Larry and myself who foolishly took the position on top of the spool.
Well he's up there and over my head. You can't appreciate a pumpkins size till he is off his back and staring you in the eyes. Damn Billy your huge now all I have to do is wait and be patient. Well my shows are huge hit and it's Sunday the 27th I'm still paralyzed from the effort. I guess three Grumpkins weighing over 1/2 ton total in two days is a bit much for my body to handle needless to say I have learned my lesson.
Tuesday arrives and it 5 p.m. I have created a heated carving hut for me and Billy to play in and it's time to open him up! OH THE HORROR!!! He's all black inside! looks like some fungus has snuck inside when his blossom end split a few months back. Tim is bummed as the seeds have been fung-o-tized. I keep scraping Tim keep sorting and in no time he is
clean and we have a 5 gallon bucket of moldy innards and half a 1/2 gallon ice-cream tub of black seeds. This is when we learned that Billy was a miracle baby as there is was a four to five inch deep crevasse running dead center half way around the fruit that should have killed him months ago. Core samples reveal it to be less than an inch and a half thick. Well it was a good omen that I had been too busy to draw on the fruit. thanks to the San Gooniolus Fault line I needed to change the game plan.
I had been so busy with everything else I had made just a few sketches and now they wouldn't work on Billy. So I took samples and plotted the 3 major fault lines inside the fruit. Now just like I did with Felix and Gordon I was presented with a new fruit and a new vision. Odd thing the visions I have when seeing a pumpkin the first time I'd have to say that I know a grumpkin lives inside every Atlanic Giant, I just let them out. Minutes later Billy was staring me in the face, it was time to begin!
For the next 3 days I communed with Billy in the carving hut. Working to 1:30 a.m. that night. I had an eye an ear and the top of the cheek. By 9:30 I was out and at it until the Hoards from Ernie's House of Whoop Ass Crashed my server. With this site running an a new server I was back in the Shack. The rest of the day went smooth the local paper showed up and I made the front page of Post Journal two days in a row. I worked long into the night until I pulled my self away again as it neared 2:00a.m. Halloween is here and first thing in the morning I'm interviewed on Tucson Arizona's JohnJay and Rich Show with a few breaks and visits from my enduring fans he is done at 4:45.
So there you have it 22 hours total carving time, 880lbs to start with; now 150lbs lighter Billy Curmudgeon is hands down the finest Grumpkin I've ever created. All Halloween night I would hop up on the stump and gaze into Billy's epoxy eyeballs and just chuckle with shear delight! In fact every one that came took a trip up 18" inches in the air to get the best look at Billy. Finnaly it's all over and I pass out on the couch. I believe that exhaustion and fatigue can be pushed a few days but the effect is cumulative and upon awaking Friday morning within a few hours rigamortis had set in and I needed a 5 hour nap. It's freezing out there and I'm fretting about the fact that billy is freezing solid he is changing already loosing his smooth surface as the ice bursts his cell walls. I want him to last forever but Mr. Curmudgeon is a consumable work of art and we must embrace the Fungus!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the 2002 season
Patrick J. Moser
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