Why Not Butternut?

Okay, I admit it.  I did not plant the butternut squash.  It came up from the compost.

It has taken over my vegetable garden and the neighbors’ yard.

The leaves are lovely.

It has produced dozens of giant squash.

I have made various delicious recipes with them.


When I try to give them away, there is a pause, then a polite ” No thank you.”

Why are folks rejecting my gifts of yummy squash?

The ones who do take one ask “How do I cook it?”

So I figured I would do some Butternut squash PR for my poor rejected produce.

First, a stout knife is needed to cut off both ends. This is the secret to easily cutting up the rest.

After the ends are removed you can do one of two things.

Baking requires removing the seeds, brushing the flesh with olive oil,  and putting the halves skin side up on a sheet covered with parchment  paper. Bake the halves until you can easily stick a knife in them.

Then let them cool and scope out the flesh or use your knife to cut off the skin.

I then go either salty or sweet with this. It can be sauteed with onions and garlic OR baked with nutmeg, ginger, pumpkin spice… It’s good no matter.

I ate some last night with no spices at all.

I also make soup in my Instant Pot.

Saute onions and sage in olive oil. Then saute a couple handfuls of the raw squash cubes with that. Then add four cups of vegetable broth with fresh ginger and nutmeg with the rest of the squash cubes.

Cook on the “soup” setting. Then I pour some out into my Ninja blender. Do NOT over-fill or it blows out the spout onto the wall and the coffee maker and the bag of coffee and the tea bag box…

This is COMFORT FOOD! I feel like I am drinking vitamins.

So now you know.

Embrace a BUTTERNUT and get cooking.




More Mystery Plants

We are composters.

All vegetable, fruit and egg remnants go into a bin to season.

Then that stinky concoction gets mixed with rabbit litter to amend the soil.

Seeds get inadvertently planted in the process.

Sometimes I leave these surprise plants.IMG_7001It makes for some interesting combinations.

I have a huge squash plant growing among the daylilies and iris.


I do not know what melon this is,


but the leaves are lovely so it gets to stay.


Sweet serendipity!



The Year of the Eggplant

I promised my readers more purple and here it is.

An edible purple fruit, eggplant.  Call it a vegetable if you must.

I got three small plants from the same source in June.

All three have been producing fruit for months.

This is the biggest plant.   It is sprawled out like a large shrub.

I have had to prop up its limbs to keep the fruit off the ground.

With all this eggplant, I have had to get creative with recipes.

Eggplant Parmesan, eggplant lasagna, eggplant sauce on spaghetti-squash, eggplant casserole, ratatouille…

Still the eggplants keep coming…and it’s October.

I wonder how eggplant would taste with pumpkin spice?

If you want some, let me know.  I will share with plenty to spare.

Purple food.    What a wonderful world!


Quashing the Squash Bugs

I am beginning to hate squash.

I love fried squash and squash casseroles,

but I am having to work too hard to save my squash plants.

Every day I go out to the garden with my jug of soapy water .

I first look for all the patches of copper eggs.

These may be on the tops or undersides of the leaves.

Sometimes the tricky, yucky bugs even lay eggs on the flowers.

I rub these off with soapy fingers and dip my hand into the jug.

Then I search the stems for copulating adults.

I chase them down and throw them with disgust into the jug to drown.

The last task is to chase down all the youngins’ (nymphs)

and smash them between my soapy fingertips.

These little bugs may be green or gray depending on their stage.

They move in groups like a gangs of tiny thugs.

I really don’t like squash enough to keep this up…

unless there is a recipe that includes chocolate!

Quashing the Squash bugs is not worth it unless some chocolate is involved.


My Daddy’s Garden

All little girls brag about their fathers, but mine really does have the best garden . Everybody says so.

He draws up a new plan every year on graph paper on the same old clipboard. He keeps all the plans in reverse order on it. There’s over 40 years of plans on that thing, with no two alike.

The garden plan clipboard.
The garden plan clipboard.
plans for past gardens
plans for past gardens

He gets the same neighbor to plow the garden plot with his tractor every spring. Daddy picks the date carefully.  He has all his plants ready to be put in as soon as the ground is broken.  He travels to the best sources to get his seedlings and seeds.  He buys extra plants to share with other gardeners.  I have too many of these, he says.  Do you need some?

From the moment those little plants are carefully placed in the ground, they are tended  numerous times each day. The tomatoes are suckered, the beans are tied up, the okra is thinned, the soaker-hose is turned on and off, on and off , like the timed feedings of  infants.

Tomatoes staked and tagged.
Tomatoes staked and tagged.
The best garden ever, again.
The best garden ever, again.
Daddy's amazing hands
Daddy’s amazing hands

People from all around come to help with the garden.  They know there will be baskets of produce delivered to their doors later in the season.  Daddy has to supervise the help.  Things must be done a certain way, you see.

Daddy supervising the help.
Daddy supervising the help.

Mama and daddy even take produce to church and pass it out after the service from their trunk.  Once when they were taking vegetables to their mountain friends, daddy shared some tomatoes with a person in the parking lot. A line formed behind the truck. They thought he was selling those perfect tomatoes. He gave some out to the hungry strangers.

Daddy complained this morning that the squirrels were chewing on the picnic table.  This was the “Lunch Bunch” table,  where all the neighborhood men gathered each Wednesday in July for tomato sandwiches.  Most of these men are in the ground now, but my daddy is still in his garden. That table sits empty , except for the squirrels.  I told him that they were just gnawing on the greasy, salty drippings from all those tomato sandwiches. Who can blame them?

Lunch Bunch Table
Lunch Bunch Table

Not just the squirrels are busy out back.  Mama and daddy buzz around that plot parenting those plants like they are newborn babies.  Those things don’t have any choice but to stand up, grow strong and produce.  With all that love, how can you not?   Right sister?

Sisters, two peas
Sisters, two peas

Follow the Flower!