Giant Mutant Squashoids

Friday, 12 June 2009, 9:36 | Category : Gardening
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A Tale Of Gardening Gone Awry

In the summer of 1995 I planted Yellow Crookneck squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, and Waltham Butternut in the same general area. After the crop had burned out in early August, I turned the whole mess under. Couple of weeks later, little plants began sprouting. They grew into a big squash patch, with plants that resembled zucchini, but fruits that were large, smooth, somewhat crook-necked, and a yellow-green-ish color. I managed to contain the beasts until the first frost, when they expired.

Spring, 1996

I noticed a squash plant growing across the footpath from my freshly-sprouted crookneck squash. It looked *just* like crookneck, so I left it alone, thinking maybe I had dropped a seed.

squashoid

But soon the first fruits showed up. They quickly grew to about 10″ in length, shaped vaguely like a Waltham Butternut, and – I *swear* I am not making this up – green at each end, fading to yellow in the middle. There’s no sign of “crook-necking”.

squash pod

Mid-Summer, 1996

I left the plant alone because it was healthy, it was pretty (the flowers looked just like crookneck, only larger), and mainly because I’d gotten a little afraid of it. It was large and aggressive. But I knew at some point I’d have to deal with it.

Le Morte’ de Squashoid


Late Summer, 1996

The velvet blanket of dusk was slowly descending when the brave knight sallied forth. His armor oiled and polished, his sword set to a keen edge, his valiant steed tossing a defiant mane against the darkening clouds, he rode out as if the world held no enemy his worth. And yet, he knew, tho admitting it not, that his adversary was very much his equal. He would need all his training, all his knowledge, gained through all the years of practice, of watching, of reflection when the cold hand of winter was held at bay by only the fiercest of fires. But now, the time of meditation and
supplication behind him, there was only the task. A challenge long held in abeyance; a contest to the death.

A short journey brought him to the place. The creatures of the night were stirring, raising their voices as a herald for the coming hero – or a tribute to his mighty foe. For here, in the Plaines l’ Gardennes, one would triumph, and one would fall, to forever bear the shame of the defeat. There was no time to study the enemy. Holding its banners high, as branches against the sky, the beast showed its willingness to close at once. They met in a deafening collision of flesh and bone, of metal and wood. The dust of battle blinded those who dared watch, yielding only the sounds of wounding,
of pain, of bitter strivings. Surely both must fall! Time and again the knight withdrew, seeking the mortal places which all must have. And time and again, he charged back, ignoring the dreadful scars even now appearing on his arms. And suddenly, with a quick thrust into the foul temptor’s back, the struggle was finished. The beast collapsed, lifeless. As the dust of battle settled, the brave knight staggering back to his noble charger, he looked towards his castle, from whence his fair maiden was even then rushing to him to comfort him, to dress his wounds, to… well, you get the drift.

And through the kingdom, the bells rang out, their peals shouting the news of victory. The Squashoid was no more!

First Fig

Friday, 12 June 2009, 9:17 | Category : Gardening
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I’ve been reviving my vegetable garden the past few weeks. Not so many years ago, I had a fairly large backyard garden, growing tomatoes (of course), squash, zucchini, corn, beans…. I once harvested 200 ears of corn from my backyard patch. When we put the pool in, I lost much of my old garden spot, and haven’t done much vegetable gardening since. I decided a few weeks ago to start again. So, I’ve been preparing beds, planting tomato plants and squash seeds and deciding what else to put in. And yesterday, in the midst of working my little garden, I looked over at the large fig beside my garden, and saw a large, ripe, beautiful purple-bronze fig just begging to be eaten. It called to me, and I complied. It was delicious!