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This Little Pumpkin Carving Trick Can Make It Last 2 Weeks or Longer

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While everyone wants their jack ‘o’ lantern to add a spooky touch their Halloween display, no one’s a fan of the rot and creepy crawlies they often bring with them. Keep your pumpkin in mint condition for two weeks or longer by adding these simple steps to your carving routine.


1. Choose the perfect pumpkin:

Start your search for a prize-worthy pumpkin by heading out to a local patch; the pumpkins there will always be fresher than ones loaded onto a truck and imported from elsewhere. Before making your pick, inspect the squash for blemishes and indents that could invite rot, mold, or fruit flies. Pick a firm pumpkin with even coloring.


2. Prep your pumpkin for carving:

Clean your pumpkin with water to eliminate dirt and pests. Begin carving as usual by creating a hole at the top of your pumpkin and scraping out all of its pulp. This step is essential: The drier the interior, the slower your pumpkin will decompose. Before carving the face of your jack ‘o’ lantern, rinse your pumpkin again using peppermint dish soap and water. The peppermint will act as a mild anti-fungal for your pumpkin’s newly exposed interior. Try one of these pumpkin carving stencils to make the job easier.


3. Soak your masterpiece in bleach:

Once you’ve finished carving, soak your jack ‘o’ lantern in bleach. This will act as an antimicrobial and keep the design on your pumpkin looking firm and fresh. Simply mix three teaspoons regular bleach into three gallons of water. Immerse the pumpkin for one hour and air dry upside down for three hours (this will allow excess bleach to drip out, as opposed to pooling at the bottom).

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HOME & GARDEN

What Might Be Hidden in Your Yard? This Woman Found a Priceless Artifact in Hers.

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An artifact lost by a former owner of our farm piqued my curiosity about our homestead.

On a chilly autumn morning, I gathered my trowel, spade and several bags of spring-flowering bulbs and headed to the far corner of the yard. This was our first year on the little farmstead, our lifelong dream come true.

It was heavy going, digging a new flower bed in the dense clay soil, and one section of particularly thick sod gave me much trouble. I struggled to remove tenacious roots and rocks. I also found shards of broken crockery and rusty pieces of old tools—relics of days gone by. I worked with zest, putting rocks in one pile, debris in another.

When I paused to catch my breath, I spotted it. Although it was caked with soil, one rock appeared quite different from the others. Slender and about six inches long, it was an elegant tool, a whetstone used for sharpening a scythe. I knew I had dug up a treasure.

It must have lain undisturbed for decades in the quiet corner that was once a field and is now the edge of a lawn. When the farmer discovered the whetstone was missing, the whole family undoubtedly went looking for it. Back then replacing a good whetstone was an unwanted expense. But it remained hidden where it fell, and eventually the searchers gave it up for lost. I scraped away the mud carefully.

Impressions of the farmer’s own fingers were worn into its surface, a rough testament to years of hard, productive work. It fit my own hand comfortably. I wondered about when the farmer first noticed it was missing. Had it fallen out of his pocket as he worked?

As I turned it over, I imagined him standing the scythe on its end and using a keen eye and practiced strokes as he ran the whetstone along the curve of the blade. Maybe he stopped to look up at the sky, gauging whether he could finish cutting before the rain began. Or perhaps it was the end of the day, and putting the scythe across his shoulder, he walked to the house—hot, weary and ready for supper.

From the property deed, I know the names of the farmers who had worked our land. Which one lost this stone? Was he cheerful or dour, easygoing or stern, generous or greedy? Did he find joy among the trials of life? Did he look with hope upon the coming harvest, or was he beset with worry? Like the rest of us, he likely felt all those things at one time or another.

Whoever he was, he labored hard. The stone bears testimony to that.

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Cleaning & Organizing

15 Smart Uses for Clothespins You Never Thought to Try

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Fasten Christmas lights

Keep your outdoor Christmas lights in place and ready to withstand the elements. As you affix your lights to gutters, trees, or bushes, fasten them securely with clip-on clothespins.

Make a clothespin clipboard

Organize your workshop, kitchen, or bathroom with a homemade rack made with straight clothespins. Space several clothespins evenly apart on a piece of wood, and screw them on with screws coming through from the back of the board (pre-drill the holes so you don’t split the clothespin). Now your rack is ready to hang.

Keep snacks fresh

Tired of biting into stale potato chips from a previously opened bag? Use clip-on clothespins to reseal bags of chips and other snacks, cereal, crackers, and seeds. The foods will stay fresh longer and you won’t have as many spills in the pantry, either. Use a clothespin for added freshness insurance when you store food in a freezer bag too.

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