Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Of gardens and gone-ness

I like squash. It's crunchy when raw, delightful when thinly-sliced, lightly-floured and pan-fried, and we are growing some in our backyard. Moreover, The Alpha doesn't particularly like them, so he only had one bite of Squash One, pictured below with Cucumber Two:

(If you click for the larger image, they're pretty close to Actual Size.)

I ate Squash One raw, sliced up and sprinkled with a little bit of Greek seasoning (no, not made with actual Greeks). Now I have a tummy ache. I hope it's just my body freaking out because I ate something so fresh and good for me. This reaction hasn't happened with the cukes, though, and they fit the same two categories, don't they?

Seems that our squash yield won't be quite match the stuff of legend. Most of the plants aren't doing too well. We may have another squash to harvest tomorrow or Thursday, but after that it'll be a while. The good news: the cukes appear to be gearing up for some serious bounty. So much so that The Alpha might attempt pickling a few.

They are the pickling variety, but not because we planned to pickle them. It's because they're the kind my mother used to grow, and thus the kind I like to eat -- chilled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise with just a dash of salt on top.

Today it's been exactly two decades since my mother died. Some years, it's a tough day. Hasn't been so bad this time. I realize there's no way I'd have a garden in my backyard if it weren't for The Alpha -- it's his project. But it still helps me feel a connection to my mother, whose plants all followed her to the earth (the rest of us aren't so green-thumbed). I faintly remember my dad bringing some of the last produce from her last garden back to cook at my grandmother's, his mother's, house (I never went back to our little house myself, using my supposed tender age to my advantage and letting adults clean out the temporary dwelling that was supposed to be allergy-free and make her well, but didn't). I think I at least helped with eating it. I think there was eggplant, which we would have sliced up and fried like yellow squash. And probably tomatoes. Because there were always tomatoes. I had not yet acquired a taste for them at twelve, though.

But now we have tiny little green tomatoes on huge plants that I didn't realize would be five feet tall. And when they turn red, if the bugs don't get them first, I'll help eat them. And then later we hope we'll get to really enjoy that cantaloupe (if it didn't get cross-pollinated and decide to taste like a cucumber... the cucumbers don't taste like cantaloupes, so that's something!). And then okra. And maybe beans, if they ever flippin' DO anything... meanwhile, The Alpha is already considering expansion for next year... root vegetables.

So, I don't really know where I'm going with this post. I'm just sayin'.

10 comments:

Songbird said...

Well, hey. I'm just readin'. Glad the garden touches something, in addition to providing good food.

RevAnne said...

Glad it's helping you connect...

God_Guurrlll said...

Gardening can be so healing. It is for me. It helps me connect to God.

The fruits of your labor look lovely!

Peace and love,

Mary Beth said...

Loves to you.

zorra said...

((Typist))

Although my mother never grew vegetables (as far as I know),she was a gifted gardener. People used to come to the door and ask if they could go look at our back yard.

Just another of the "few" things we have in common....

Zen Otter said...

My 20th anniversary mom remembrance big day is coming up (Sept 23). I didn't have a taste for the gourds she grew, but I have fond memories of green beans and kohlrabi, and of course, I still miss my pear tree. I miss my mom too. Aren't great memories of growing things with mom fun? :) (((hugs!!)))

ElastiGirl said...

(((typist))) - good to remember... good to reflect

btw, squash is also very good sliced, microwaved with salt & pepper & then when soft, a slice of american chesse melted on top. great lunch!!

Kathryn said...

I've just passed my father's anniversary - 30 years, which seems unimaginable (how can I lived more of my life WITHOUT my parents than I did with them? How can I be that old??)and he too was a gardener and I sometimes touch base with him while weeding (though not digging potatoes, which is what I most remember him doing...I draw the line there!) and it makes me smile and be sad at the same time. Hugs from here.

mid-life rookie said...

(((typist))) I never knew what time of year your mom died. I don't know why we never discussed that detail. Glad you are finding ways to reconnect - back to reflecting on BE dreams????

Gracebythesea said...

It is said "those who tend to their garden, tend to their soul" You keep it up and I'm sure your mom's spirit will be present in the green and the growth.