This isn't about somebody needing a nose job. It is actually about what it is - zucchini and other garden delights.
Since a first encounter with zucchini in 1973 at Memorial when a more urban fellow in the Masters of Education group (originally from here - father was a mill manager) fried thin, caramelized zucchini as a delicious introductory taste I have been on the zucchini-rama train: fried in olive oil with onions to jazz up sausages; in an omelette; sliced and topped with dressings; fried as the only ingredients for a sandwich; a divine creamed soup; and lastly a to-die-for moist, chocolate cake.
The great summer of 2012 was a gardener's paradise with asparagus first to hit the plate. To control weeds I mulched them with newspapers and black plastic only to discover later both hid well red ant nests. I hosed them, but they came back. Google said use coffee grounds (had plenty dried to use on slugs).
So, I hand-bombed the ants with coffee grounds and as they set up again nearby, I bombed again, until they left the garden. Coffee grounds definitely work on ants, but slugs must have a bistro in their digestive system to re-brew the stuff. However, their glory days of slug feasting in my garden may be over.
Last year, while berry picking across the river, I was startled to see, first ever, a toad amongst the bushes. So, seeing one in my garden one night, when killing slugs, was less startling. I was about to shoo it away, but quickly connected it to eating slugs.
In China, farmers let ducks roam their fields eating slugs all the while fattening themselves up for their glorious cooking days ahead. No roaming ducks for me, nor eating slugs, ever again. Tried that - boiled them first, then fried them in olive oil and garlic - but still, yuck, yuck. Definitely not escargot!
Perhaps, toads sense I was once a primary school librarian and loved the Arnold Lobel's books, Frog and Toad, including, "Frog and Toad are Friends." For now, at least, Andy and Toad are Friends.
Meanwhile, the toad that I shook from the watering can was a real surprise. It scurried under one of my garden bathtubs. That count is now up to seven, with the newest addition the Windsor tub - as it was my first from that part of town, during clean up week.
And being a royal name it grew the big zucchini - almost 10 lbs. Zucchini that size tend to become the politicians of the garden with - tough skins. For soup or cakes its rind will have to go.
The Windsor gave me two surprise plants, seeds I must have dropped. I replanted both elsewhere in the garden and one gave great zucchini, but the other was actually a spaghetti squash from which I harvested four large ones. Other tubs provided garlic, onions, greens, spinach, savory, and more zucchini.
My garden being in the woods is out of sight and once the leaves fall and winter sets in, the tubs, being all white, blend in with the snow. Maybe next year's clean up week will produce more tubs (room for seven more). But only white, if you please.
Tubs allow more control over the soil with no new mystery rocks popping up each spring. As well, I can sit on one to work in another, or sit on and listen to birds, or as age creeps up, kneel on knee and easily weed around whatever is growing. Plus, they have their own built in drain and porcelain won't rust.
Added this year was a sink - not the kitchen - but a low, large shallow porcelain one that my neighour Bob hove out clean up week. It did the job for green onions and buttercup lettuce.
Weed control had me re-try grass clippings as mulch. I'll surely go that route again next year - as the grass withers it keeps the ground around plants moist and new weeds are easy to spot.
I collect seeds and this year I waited for the greens to ripen. I shook them from their pods into a large paper bag, but the hole I thought I had glued completely was not so. Thus, now I have a - greens trail - sprouting from the garden to the shed.
The tasty super-green, chard (Google; The World's Healthiest Foods for great information) is still growing and gave us a feed just Friday past. It, a few green onions and horseradish are the last survivors with spuds and strawberries, onions, oregano, garlic and savory eaten or dried for future use.
The only garden I visited was Harry Pinsent's to see his super size sunflower plant that I called Jack in the Beanstock. Asked how his grapes did, Harry modestly said he had squeezed a quart of grape juice. Imagine, downtown, fresh and pure! Harry kindly shared some of his raspberries and delectable tomatoes.
A Chinese proverb, "I farm the soil which yields my food. I feed myself. Kings can do no more,” does not apply to my garden (with the exceptions of garlic, savory, chives, oregano). However, I do try to be a friend of nature by composting and using gifts of horse manure and seaweed along with shells and grass to make fertilizer teas to grow things as naturally as possible.
I always encourage others to start a garden...small at first and expand as you go. More importantly, once their hands and heart are in the soil, a new convert will surely grow - to defend this great earth for the generations to come.
Hopefully, winter won't come too fast...allow time to clean up the leaves for compost, do more tub work and lime the grounds. Already wondering how that new large expansion of strawberry plants will do next year? And will my friend toad be back to heavenly dine on the critters making that slithering slime?
And for sure next year, as the zucchini grow, I'll harvest them before they become - the big zucchini!
Andy Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org