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Greetings! We have a gorgeous day to sit outside and enjoy a hot drink together.
I missed you all last week as we were off to southern California where my youngest son is sort of graduating but since the university has canceled normal ceremonies to accommodate the prudent measure of dealing with covid-19, his church threw a party for the grads and their families.
This put us on the road during my normal Saturday morning writing time.
Two weeks ago, many of you commented favorably on my photo of the leaf seen above. The more I look at it, the more I see of the amazing patterns and color contrast created so casually by our Austree Gold Panner back lit from the early morning sunshine, so I decided to reprise it one last time for our enjoyment.
If you look closely at the leaf image, the veins take on an almost topographical effect of ridges and valleys.
This may prove to be a dangerous source of backyard fun and I may have to finally sell my traditional film SLR to buy a real digital one so I can improve the quality of images I can capture.
Work has been weird these past few weeks. After over 10 years of management stability, I’ve found myself reorged twice in the past 3 months. I remain busy and thankful for my job but curios as to exactly what I’m going to end up doing as the dust finally settles.
The recent US civil unrest has not passed Sonoma County by but near us it is comparably light and thankfully the legitimate protesters outnumber the criminal looters and rioters. But all of them along with a certain unwelcome virus are slowing evaporating into the background of what we used to think of as ‘normal’.
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But it’s a nice Saturday morning here and I raise my tea mug to point out the state of the spaghetti squash plant. Here’s what the crater and its 7 sprouted seeds looked like on June 6th.
In the past 14 days since those photos, it has extended its vines in earnest in a full 360 degrees around the original 30″ crater full of mulch. Those 7 seeds from last year’s harvest have issued about 20 vines that now reach about 6 feet each direction around the crater. You can ignore the dandelions. The bees love and need them, so I keep them around for the good of all.
You have to stoop close and gently push the enormous leaves aside to see beneath this knee-high canopy, but the view is worth it. It’s like a surreal alien world down there with small tendrils, immature blossoms and prickly, bright green tube-stalks going every direction. It looks chaotic, but there is actually a gentle formula at work to produce the fruit from that pile of mulch.
The plant produces a small number of blossoms which are beloved by the bees (and those cool green lady bugs) but last only 1-2 days in full beauty and function for another 2-3 days before withering.
These blossoms are used by the plant in two ways. Above the middle of the crater, they deploy atop foot and a half long stalks, collect the services of the bees for a day then wither. This must play a part for both the plant and the bees, but I’m unclear on what benefit these serviced blossoms are to the plant.
Along the vines on the ground, these same blossoms unfurl their spender for a few short days, trade with the bees and wither like those back at plant central, but these often develop a small pod at the base of the blossom. Once the flower dissolves, that little pod turns into the immature fruit of the plant.
Currently, I’m counting about 10 fruit. Each one should grow up to about 8 inches long and easily become either the full delightful meal for 2 adults or wonderful side dishes for 4-5. We expect the number of pods to at least double from what we see now so we’re going to have a lot of spaghetti squash in a few months.
All this magic in just 2 weeks — amazing! For the sake of scale, here’s an average size fruit with my hand so you can see how big it already is.
From last year’s harvest, I have this photo of the near-final fruit. They are big and heavy and hold the promise of a great meal.
Have a great weekend all. Blessings.