Monday, October 25, 2010

It Seemed Like a Good Idea

There are a number of things in my life that seemed like a good idea at the time, but later reflection suggests that I occasionally exhibit a serious lack of good judgement. Examples of this include using hydrogen peroxide to bleach my hair. Poking at that long, darting snaky thing in the tide pools on St. Thomas. Trying to drive a Saturn through sand at the Outer Banks. Using a stick blender to mix up cake batter in a too small bowl. Grad school. You get the idea.

But when I saw the advertisement on a gardening website for a "pumpkin animal" that vaguely resembled a dachshund, I couldn't resist. The description for this decoration was worded along these lines, "Turn a pumpkin or gourd into a whimsical animal without carving or mess. Iron silhouette pieces include head, legs, and tail. Just push pieces into a pumpkin or overgrown zucchini." I'm a sucker for dachshunds and pumpkin art, plus the kit was on clearance, so now I own this pumpkin animal set:


Just as advertised, here is an iron head, two sets of legs, and a tail to insert into my pumpkin:


In case I'm confused where everything should go, here is a helpful set of instructions:


I decided that a butternut squash would provide an appropriate dachshund body, so I picked up one from the pumpkin festival this weekend:


Unfortunately, the description on the gardener's website didn't mention that you'll need a rubber mallet to insert those iron suckers into a butternut squash. Maybe an actual pumpkin or overgrown zucchini would be easier to use, but butternut squash have a fairly dense texture somewhat resistant to iron silhouette pieces. Inserting the legs and head took some time as one piece would fall out just as I got another one embedded in the squash. And maybe you haven't noticed, but butternut squash have a weird shape. I had to tuck the "head" under my arm and hold a rear leg on the "butt" end with my left hand while using the mallet in my right hand, thereby ensuring that 1) I'd get a bruise on my left hip and 2) the head would fall out behind me during this process. Then I'd reverse the squash and tap in the head, only to hear a leg fall out. Pound, pound, POUND, metallic *CLUNK*. Pound, pound, POUND, *CLUNK*. After several minutes of this, Steve called up from the basement to ask if he should be concerned. Still optimistic, I told him everything was okay despite the noise.

There was also no mention on how you should space those legs on your pumpkin animal. When I finally got all four legs tapped into the squash, I realized that my pumpkin dog was going to look a little odd as its legs are splayed out to the side. Plus, one of the rear legs doesn't touch the ground, so either it has hip dysplasia or it's a boy dog in the process of cocking his hind leg.


But I was almost done except for inserting the tail piece, so I decided to ignore the legs. But I had forgotten to remove the squash stem before starting the whole assembly process. There's no squash stem on the picture of the pumpkin animal on the package, but my butternut definitely has a "tail" on it. Thankfully the stem is more anatomically correct for a dachshund than the curly iron tail silhouette that came with the package, although it's a little short as if it's been docked. And the stem tail points directly down at the ground; perhaps my male pumpkin dog is ashamed to be caught in the act of cocking its leg.



So there you have it, a lopsided male butternut dachshund with hip problems marking his territory. Alternatively you could consider it a curcubit hellhound for Halloween, although I don't think this one can be considered an ominous harbinger of doom as Ally dissolved into giggles as soon as she saw it on the table last night.


And I noticed that the gardener's website is no longer carrying this product this year.

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