Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Heirloom Squash Update

In my previous post, Squash Roundup I shared about growing two new heirloom squashes this year. At the time I made the post, we had yet to taste test these two varieties, and I promised to update you after we here goes!

The two varieties are Marina di Chioggia (green, on the left) and Australian Butter Squash. ( pale orange, on the right) I like how they looked here....displayed in the natural light near a window.

Marina di Chioggia, up close and personal. This is a good sized squash, and nice looking too, with it's dark green warty surface, along with a turban shaped bottom. Taste? In a word, disappointing. Lacked the sweetness we like and the texture was moist and fibrous.

Australian Butter Squash. The description of this squash in the seed catalog had my mouth watering! "Sweet, dense, deep orange flesh that is dry with a very small seed cavity. When roasted, it's custardy, silky-smooth texture is scrumptious instead of or alongside potatoes with roasted meat and fowl or in a melange of roasted root vegetables sparked with herbed olive oil, balsamic vinegar and citrus zest." Whew! It is a beauty with it's lovely pale buff-orange color and pumpkin shape. This was my largest...11 inches in diameter, and weighing in at almost 10 lbs! But in spite of it's physical virtues, the real test comes down to TASTE. Again.... a disappointment. :-( We like our squash sweet with smooth, dry flesh (which the catalog claimed) but found it not sweet enough, too moist, and not at all smooth textured.

Perhaps these two varieties will develop more flavor and dryness in storage. (one can hope?) But the bottom line is that they will not be making a repeat appearance in our garden next year. We will stick with our all time favorites: Sunshine, Butternut, Buttercup, and Sweet Meat. These have never disappointed, and are always a delicious treat!

UPDATE!! January 20, 2009 - After a couple months in storage, the flavor and texture of both of these squashes improved immensely! The texture is smoother and drier, and the the sweetness also developed, especially so in the Marina di Chioggia. So in all fairness, I must say that both turned out to be great tasting squash after all....they just needed a little more time to mature. They will probably make it back on the roster for next year! A good plan would be to eat the other varieties first, and save these for last.


'Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure."

George E. Woodberry

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Farewell, Favorite Garden Shoes

It was a sad day in September when my favorite garden shoes came to the end of their long and useful life. I've owned these flip flops (we used to call them thongs back then) since the seventies! They came along with me when I packed up and moved to Idaho in 1978.

They sat in my closet for many years, and I started seriously wearing them around 1990. If you do the math.....that is nearly 20 years of use!! They were the cheap old firm rubber kind, having nylon straps with a piece of leather sewed unto it. I probably paid a dollar or two for them. I had worn them so long, they had actually formed to my feet....similar to a pair of expensive Birkenstocks. (Which, BTW, I also wear, and have been through several pairs while still wearing these flip flops!) These were soooo comfy to slip on, as I headed out to work in the garden on a summer day. As you can see in the above photo, the toe strap of the left shoe finally gave out, and just below it is the fatal wound that finally brought them to their end.

Look at the bottom of these shoes!! They are worn down to the third stripe of color, the light blue.... completely worn through the black and the medium blue color layers. Here you can see, from the bottom, the fatal wound.... caused by using the shovel while wearing said shoes, a move I now regret, as it shortened their lifespan by who knows how long?

A side view shows just how worn these babies were.... the layers were dinged up, separated and worn down. Not pretty, but as comfortable as an old friend. Farewell, favorite garden will be missed!

Shown above are the 'new kids on the block'....a pair of Tevas I forked over 20 bucks for, to replace my old favorites. I chose the ones with a small blue stripe on the side, in memory of the the old pair. I could tell right away that these are not going to last long! They feel soft and mushy on the feet, and just make me miss my old ones all the more. Guess I'll head on over to Ebay where...maybe, just maybe...someone might be selling a pair of sweet vintage seventies flip flops, in black with blue stripes!


Old friends are best. King James used to call for his old shoes; they were the easiest for his feet.

~John Seldon