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….


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!


  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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