As far as I know, this is the first time we have had to cancel the Pumpkin Party.  I asked Nigel how long we have been doing the Pumpkin Party, but he just scratched his head and said "a very long time".  You may have read in an earlier newsletter that we have had a serious problem with ground squirrels this year.  The damage they have caused to the winter squash has been pretty severe.  We believe the crop was weakened and therefore more susceptible to white fly and just generally not very robust. Why so many ground squirrels?  Hard to say for sure, I suspect there are a few reasons, but one factor is fewer coyotes.  When the ranchers hunt too many coyotes, it throws the balance off, and we certainly haven't heard as many at night as we normally do.  I think another problem was the tomato field next door was harvested and disked under in about 4 days.  When they cleared the field that fast, I saw squirrels running over to our property looking for new homes.  Whatever the reason, it is always hard to have a crop fail or nearly fail.  To have a crop failure also be the reason we have to cancel our last event of the year is doubly disappointing.