Well, the time we have anticipated for months has finally arrived! Those tiny little seeds that we pushed into the soil, nurtured with our sweaty palms, fertilized with our last dollar, and protected from the elements- have matured. The garden is in full harvest.
My husband and I shrieked in joy when we spotted our first zucchini! Like a baby toe, it wiggled from the plant all shiny and sweet. We couldn't wait to savor it, watching it daily for the perfect time to pluck it from the vine. How wonderfully delicious it was! How proud we were of our creation! We licked our plates clean and smiled at one another.
But suddenly, our plan for a manageable garden backfired.
Those little baby vegetables aren't as innocent as they seem. Beneath those leaves and stalks and vines is a Frankenstein of sorts. A man-made monster that has taken on a life of its own! Just when I think I've picked all the cucumbers, another one lies hidden- ready to ambush me the next day with a bigger-than-my-arm smile.
Those still-green tomatoes turn red overnight, the okra shoots up like bamboo in two days, and the green beans keep producing more, more, more! I fill up sacks and bushel baskets and barrels- but still they come. Still they invade my table, my freezer, my fridge and my life!
Of course, as they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Well, you might as well call me Bubba Gump Squash! I have boiled, fried, sauteed, steamed, breaded, battered, smothered, candied, mashed, chopped, diced, deep fried and dunked every piece of squash that I can pick. But like an Alien, it keeps coming back - seemingly stronger and more menacing than ever!
There are nights that I make three different squash dishes. We have fried zucchini, microwaved zucchini, and zucchini with brown sugar and cinnamon.
It's hard to lick our plates and smile lately. But, you know, it's our own fault. That's the hardest thing to swallow.
I glance outside and it is raining now. I see the garden full and green and soaking up the rain like vitamin-induced hormones. The little monsters are growing as we speak!
I know, I know- I'll be pleading for those plants to stay alive,come about September. I'll be crying for a ripe tomato and fresh green beans. I'll be craving a cucumber salad and fried okra and sweet corn sweeter than cotton candy.
I'll probably even be wanting some squash.
(Originally posted July 22, 2008)