For the past six days I have walked into the living room and caught a whiff of some smell. Something that I first thought might be cat or dog urine. I have two dogs and a cat and they typically do not have accidents in the house. But the two dogs were in the kennel for two weeks and the cat was the only one home while I was out of the country. The dogs and I have only been home for a week now. Sometimes they are crated because they can get into mischief, but surely they didn’t do something here. So then I thought it must be the cat! Maybe he was pissed because we left him here alone? Maybe he marked a spot on purpose? Woody has never once done this in the house either. But maybe he was really pissed!
You might be thinking “what has this to do with gardening?” Well, I’ll get to that. I’ve wandered around the room sniffing this and that, looking around the floor, picking up the carpet and checking. Nothing! And then I don’t smell it again. Lying on the couch reading, two dogs on the floor, cat on the back of the couch, the smell wafts by again! What the hell is it? I look at all three of them, they look at me. Can’t find it and can’t figure it out. Vacuuming and washing the floor wasn’t the answer because the smell seemed to come and go.
On the 110-year old oak dining room table sit eight pumpkins, three spaghetti squash and three delicata squash. They have sat there for a month because they ripened early and I haven’t made the time to put them in the basement. I sniff around them, finding nothing. The smell seemed to disappear. Oh well, can’t find it and now it’s gone again.
Tonight after work, I start a fire in the wood stove, let the dogs and cat outside for a bit to romp in the snow (okay, Woody came back into the house!), and wandered into the living room to start up the computer. There it is again! What in the hell is it? I just can’t seem to find it. The dogs and cat follow me into the room. Okay, which one of you had an accident? They just look at me like I’m nuts. I start sniffing furniture, the floor, the oak chairs, everything. Then I sniff one of the pumpkins. Wait! Is that it? I sniff again. Nope. But there is a faint odor. So I sniff the stems and that’s not it either, but I do smell it again. Just a whiff.
I take a couple of the pumpkins and move them into the kitchen, sniffing each one. They smell like a pumpkin. Then I move the squash and sniffing each, but still nothing. Half of the pumpkins have been moved and there’s just four left on the table. As I walk in from the other end of the room, I looked at the rest of the pumpkins on the table. And then I notice something peculiar. One of the pumpkins looks like it has changed shape! I check it out and it’s the pumpkin that had a stem pop off a couple of weeks ago. Yep, it’s the culprit all right, the bottom half was a deflated mess of rotting pumpkin and on my 110-year old oak table! Plus some of it had leaked onto the seat of one of the chairs (through a crack).
I remembered when it happened and should have done something with that pumpkin immediately. I know that removing the pumpkin stem causes the pumpkin to go bad sooner than later, but the mystery is now solved. The two dogs and the cat looked at me as if to say “See, it wasn’t us! You never believe us!”