Birthing Squash

Isn’t it amazing how when squash is ready, it is not just one or two squash but several that are ready to be picked at once?  I was in my vegetable garden earlier this week, picking squash, and I recalled gardens from my childhood.  How I loved my bare feet in freshly tilled soil.  How I loved the smell of the upturned earth; the scent of tomato plant leaves; the rough tongues of the squash.  As I pulled off the squash, I couldn’t help but think I was a midwife of sorts, twisting yellow babies away from their life source.  As I washed them under the cold tap inside, the leftover piece of flesh that linked the squash to the plant made me think of an umbilical cord, and the soil was a brown vernix that I scrubbed away before placing the squash on the table where I could admire it before consuming it.  While I dislike cooking, I admit that going to the garden, pulling the lettuce and tomatoes from my own yard for a salad, brings me great pleasure.  Somehow cooking becomes reverent, sacrosanct, when I’ve had the blessing of planting the seeds and watching them grow day by day — helping create, in a minor way, the food that ends up on my table. 

Watermelon vines are inching all over the garden (I should plant them farther apart next year), and I eagerly await my cucumbers, because I’m going to try my hand at homemade pickles.  Recipes or advice welcome….In the meantime, I feel a poem sprouting about birthing squash….

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3 thoughts on “Birthing Squash

  1. Yes, indeed, gardening is a sort of midwifery, as is poetry – assisting the birth of food – the one for the soul, the other for the body. I must admire your ambition for making pickles – not the easiest of culinary tasks! But don’t stop with cucumbers; watermelon rind and green tomatoes make the yummiest temptations!

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  2. Beautiful piece, Rosemary.

    My favorite fresh pickle recipe is easy. Pack jars of thinly sliced and peeled cucumbers. Boil sugar and white vinegar in a ratio of 1:1 (I estimate based on how much I’m making) with dashes of white pepper. Pour the boiled mixture into the jars over the cucumbers. Screw on lids. Give a hot water bath to seal if you’d like, or put in the fridge for the week. I usually make as I go. Drop thinly sliced onions and peppers into the mix too, if you’d like. They’re ready to eat in a few hours.

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