Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still Life with Squash and Chair

I finally pulled up the calabaza squash vine on Sunday. It was looking very tatty and pathetic, have suffered the dual ravages of powdery mildew and mild freezes. In the end, it produced just these two fruits, one of which is bigger than my schnoodle, Gracie. I tried to take a picture of Gracie next to it for scale, but she was not at all sure that was a good idea.

In spite of how ugly the vine eventually became, I think the squash is quite lovely. The leaves of the vine were spectacular, too, before the PoMi struck.


  1. I had terrible powdery mildew problems with my squash vines this year as well.

  2. That is a mighty squash, though! :)

  3. It is a mighty squash, isn't it! I am most impressed with it. We had an uneasy relationship, but in the end, you have to respect something with that much presence...

  4. That is an awesome looking squash. Do you eat it or dry it like gourds? Gracie was just being safe:)

  5. Hi Tina--I think it's too pretty to eat. I think I'd like to dry it. Is there a special technique for that?

  6. I don't know about these as I have never seen them, but I just lay my gourds out in the garage on some cardboard and occasionally rotate them. They usually dry by December or so.

  7. Well, I've been googling calabaza squash, trying to see if I can dry it, but this doesn't look anything like what the websites call calabaza, so I don't even know if that's what I've got...

    However, I'm going to leave it there by the chair since it looks so nice, and if it dries, it dries. If it does not, it will be pretty while it lasts. :-)

  8. OK Susan, here you go! Honestly, this is what happened...

    So, the closest book to hand was one I plan to put up a post about in the near future, since it is completely blowing my mind and making me reconsider many of my standard gardening practices: "The Informed Gardener," by Linda Chalker-Scott. I read about it on Garden Rant, and got it from the library. Page 56 is... blank! Dang.

    On to the next-closest book, "Birds of the Puget Sound Region" by Bob Morse, Tom Aversa and Hal Opperman. I had it next to the computer to help a very nice blogger, Aerie-el at Gardener's Roost - - ID a duck (or maybe a pied-billed grebe, the book seemed to indicate). Page 56 doesn't have any sentences, only two pictures of the brant, a funky-looking goose that passes through our area during migration. I've only seen a flock once, floating in the waves near the shore, but they were quite fascinating to observe.

    Finally, the third book I tried, "Healing With Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford (a relative used it to completely change his diet and cure his psoriasis, so even though some of it is pretty out-there, I picked up a copy and am slowing reading through it), had more than 5 sentences on page 56. Woo hoo! Here you go:

    "Qi Vitality

    A major functional concept from traditional Chinese medicine is "qi" (pronounced "chee" and sometimes spelle chi). "Qi" is similar to the term "prana" (life force) of India and is known as "ki" in Japan. A vital essence found in all things, "qi" has aspects of both matter and energy. We will refer primarily to its expression as energy, keeping in mind that energy and matter are convertible into one another. The theories of modern physics showing matter and energy to be alternate descriptions of one reality are very much in accord with the concept of "qi" and other facets of Eastern philosophy."

    I think my "qi" is kind of messed up at the moment but gardening definitely helps put it back in order!

    Thanks again for tapping me,

    - Karen


  9. That is one heck of a squash, Susan.

  10. Hi Kate--I'll say it is! It's a little scary looking...

  11. Hi Karen--

    That's funny that you kept striking out when you opened books! I'm glad you finally found one that worked. Maybe it was your karmic destiny to find your chi today. ;-)

  12. Hello Susan;

    If you have any good sources for squash seed such as the calabaza, please let us know. My son Alex comes up with some interesting requests sometimes as one of his walks with autism makes him an international cook of sorts. Weeks back he asked for turnip greens and salsify for a recipe. The turnips had already been nailed by heavy frost in Vermont and no one but me had even heard of salsify. I thought my favorite Johnnys Selected Seeds from Maine would come through but I ended with a www search to find a source. When cooked, salsify results in a flavor immitation for oysters.

    George Africa
    The Vermont Gardener
    Vermont Gardens
    Vermont Flower Farm

  13. Hi George! The squash seeds were given to me by a friend, so I don't have a commercial source for them. I could save some for you and pass them along, but the plant turned out to be very susceptible to powdery mildew, so I'm not sure I'm going to grow that variety again.

    I'd never heard of salsify, either, so I just looked it up. Very intriguing!

  14. I just discovered your blog. It is scrumptous! georgeous photo of the squash. Could I use the photo as a reference for a painting?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.