PILLAGER -- When Mike Lease took his largest pumpkin to Crow Wing Recycling to have it weighed, the guys there wondered how many pies they may get out of the deal.
They may have expected at least two. But how many pies can be made from a pumpkin that tips the scales at 224 pounds is anybody's guess.
"I don't know, quite a few," Lease said as he surveyed the pumpkin sitting in his driveway atop a low, flat cart complete with wheels.
Beyond his gardening skills, Mike Lease also built a playhouse behind his rural Pillager home years ago. The playhouse features vibrant paint and wallpaper border in both the main floor living room and the bedroom upstairs.
His wife, Kris, said she could imagine how funny it must have looked to people when they saw the large pumpkin loaded in the back of the pickup on the way to be weighed.
Lease planted his organically grown pumpkins right after the frost left the ground in the spring.
"I've been gardening ever since I was a little kid," he said. "It's fun just watching them grow."
A walkout deck from the playhouse's second-floor bedroom provides a nice fall view of the Lease home and the nearby pumpkin patch.
The family lives on a wooded acreage near Pillager. A two-story playhouse with vibrantly painted pink and blue rooms and border wallpaper sits behind the home and in front of a small red barn. The Leases built the playhouse years ago. It has an upstairs bedroom and balcony. The front door is tall enough so a person just less than 5-feet tall does not have to duck to enter without getting a headache. Lease's son, Chad, went up the narrow stairs in no time.
When Chad, now 7, was just 3, the Leases had a pumpkin so large they could put Chad inside and close the top.
Monday the pumpkin will go to the Pillager School's second-grade class, where Chad is a student. Lease said he thought the children would enjoy it this time of year.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.