Since he still wasn’t feeling too great that day, Wednesday I drove Richard to what I assumed was going to be a half hour, an hour at most at the doctor’s.
I got in three and a half hours of knitting in two different waiting areas. (He’s fine, no worries.)
Near the lab, there was an antsy little boy of about two and a half, three at the most. Trying to be good. Playing with his dad’s phone for entertainment, small and portable, but a real toy is always a good thing so I offered them a finger puppet and told the little boy, “Happy Birthday!” So that his daddy would know it was for keeps, too.
And we waited.
There seemed to be some uncertainty at one point and I said it again to the little boy: “Happy Birthday!” This time he gave me a great big smile back and did a little leap for joy.
And I knitted.
The afghan spilled all over me and my large chair and onto the floor, greens and white and teal, and every now and then I would get to the end of a row and turn it over, showing more of the other side of the work. The front and back are so different. But of course the strands would tangle on each other every time, and sometimes I would reach into my knitting bag and move the balls around right away, sometimes, eh. Wait till they refuse to let the others go past. And then I’d turn again. In between, I would get to where it changes from the plain edging to the patterned center and have to track down which strand was an end being woven in upwards and which was the next working one, a little bouquet of yarn stems to choose from here and then again down here.
They got whom they were waiting for faster than I did: an older man was wheeled out from the lab. The younger man got up and walked over to him and then spoke with the receptionist behind him while the little boy danced around. Grandpa, if he was the grandpa, looked like Carlos Santana and one could almost expect him to whip out a guitar and start playing into the quiet. But the towering ceiling seemed to swallow all sounds.
Mostly, though, I was just focused on the work in my hands and letting them be. I’d been at it for long enough at that point to wish for an icepack break–not too fervently yet, but since I’d forgotten my phone and anything else to read there was simply nothing but knitting to do. Besides, I wanted to get this thing finished this week anyway.
After about a minute I finally realized I had been feeling eyes upon me for awhile and glanced up.
And there was the man in that wheelchair, all of them still there, waiting. No word had been said. He wanted my eyes, and once he had them he held them a moment.
He took in that afghan. And in no more hurry than one would take to knit such a thing he gave me a slow-motion, deeply affirming bow of the head and then, reverently, a thumbs-up, holding my eyes again. It came so closely from his heart that to emphasize that point he slow-swooshed that thumb forward and up a second time, like a conductor extending the symphony’s note and holding it out there in space. He wanted me to know that. He could not leave till I did.
Whoever he was, however he’s lived his life, this was someone who knew the creative life and understood the time and perseverance it takes to become good at what one does. He wanted me to know he knew I was there.
I’d never met him, we never spoke a word, and yet the next day it was still such a powerful experience that while I was finishing those last patterned rows I nearly cried. I couldn’t write about it immediately because I was still trying to process how to say it.
That man radiates love. I want to be like him when I grow up.
Doesn’t have to be pink
A quiet day, a bit of knitting, a sick husband, here, honey, drink some juice, drinking some myself while trying not to catch his bug…
And with all that is going on in politics I happened to stumble across this: a cooling treatment that helps chemo patients keep their hair through it all, and the study was done right here at UCSF.
Well, huh. If you can’t afford the cooling scalp, maybe a plain icepack or two? You know, we could definitely design a hat with a giant pocket to hold them in place, and you always want a layer of fabric between you and the colder side of the pack anyway to keep the skin from freezing.
Those sewn-square pussy hats would be about the right shape to add to.
Two years ago, there was this space, tucked between the fence and the end of the house, where I really didn’t think there would be enough sun for a fruit tree. But visually for us and in terms of not shading the other trees it would be a good spot.
We hadn’t planned on buying one for back there anyway but, hey, there it was. (I had, though, wished for one enough to ask my friend Ruth, who grows multiple types, what the best tasting is for our microclimate.) We were at the nursery way over in Santa Cruz an hour away because they were the only ones that had my English Morello sour cherry, which was going in at the opposite end of the yard, we got a Gold Nugget mandarin orange to go in near it because hey, we were there, bags of soil, yes, and then Richard heroically said to me, Is there anything else you want before we go?
It was the tail end of bare root season and everything was half off.
Seriously? Could I…?
And then his answer, as I marveled over the $10 price tag, of, Yeah, I like figs!
And so I gave my impromptu new Black Jack tree an edge: I propped it up two feet sunwards by way of planting it in a giant Costco planter. That way if all else failed I could move it. I told myself the roots would be contained to help keep the tree small, but the variety I’d bought was a small one anyway.
Fifty figs its second year says it definitely gets enough sun back there. And it can reach upwards all on its own now.
Man, it felt good to see that (ugly–I confess it now) brown plastic finally kicked out of the picture and that trunk surrounded by good, rich dirt. It had earned the right to be permanently planted. No, I didn’t dare risk something that awkward, heavy, and with all the potential to smack my head on–I got some help and then stayed out of their way.
More and more and more and then more
Matched Saturday’s record: four repeats. Put on enough Joni Mitchell albums and I can plow through anything.
But I found myself daydreaming of a baby blanket done like an *Amish quilt: plain. Flat. Stockinette. The color wheel rendered in rectangles peacefully pieced together afterward. No untangling balls of yarn every time you turn it over to start a new row, no worsted-weight pulled up in circles against the size 5s (they really are. And all that time I was wondering why those 6s were coming up so tight on both yarn and hands–it’s because they’re not.)
Given how heavy and wide this blanket is and that I had more yarn and could continue, the question settled itself: this one’s for the parents.
Which meant adding 22 more repeats. The tall ones have to be able to cover their feet and pull it up to their chins. A good rule of thumb for afghans is to knit it to match their height.
And yes, Holly, I know I talked about wearing clothing to match the project to make it easier to get to it, and I do that a lot, but after a week of dutiful greens and blues my inner purple screamed to be allowed to come out to play.
*p.s. And then I found this. And it describes it as possibly the most time-consuming. Well then. We have a match.
Al would have loved this
(Photo added in the morning after a little more work.)
Where a gravel pathway was laid down, oh, 50 years ago or so, the rocks run deep.
And then there was that tree trunk. When we cut down a bunch of scraggly trees and started relandscaping a few years ago I had the tree service leave this one tall stump at over six feet–I wanted the Ladder-Backed woodpeckers to be able to have old dead wood to find bugs in.
I never saw a woodpecker touch it but the squirrels sure liked their express lane offramp from the fence. Various birds liked to play king of the mountain on it to scope out the view of their feeder.
About a month ago I kind of toggled the thing a little, thinking it should be well rotted by now and better to take it down than to have it fall.
It held solid.
I’ve wanted a pomegranate tree ever since our friend Jean shared from her two-year-old one last year. She had planted it at 88 and gotten to share the fruit. I had never before tasted one picked when it was so ripe that the thing had started to burst open; I know it partly depends on variety (she didn’t remember what hers was) but I’d had no idea they could be like this. If we were going to start our own, this is bare-root season.
Yesterday I worked down through all that gravel–it went to nearly a foot–and started turning over bare soil below at last.
And asked Richard when he got home what he thought about that placement.
Well, if I liked it. He personally would have preferred it further back…
Your house too. It needs to make you happy, too. I reminded him that I’ve wished I’d planted the Tropic Snow peach a few feet further right and it was too late now and I didn’t want to make that mistake again. I wanted to do it right this time.
Today I went off to Yamagami’s. The Parfianka is a taste-test favorite and has seeds that are both quite small and quite soft–meaning, okay for me post-op, and it helped that one of their staff had previously told me it was his favorite.
When they saw me with my walker, one of them dropped what she was doing and took me right to where that particular variety pomegranate was, and then, seeing that it would be hard for me to do, she not only pointed out good specimens but reached to the back and pulled several out from there as well as the front and put them down on the ground in a row for me to choose from where I could see them all individually. She helped me get a really nice one, and had I been on my own I wouldn’t have been able to risk reaching for it for fear of losing my balance into the lot of them. I was and am grateful.
That stump was in the way of digging where Richard wanted this to go–and you can’t risk having it fall on the new tree, either. I thought, after all the rain we’ve been having, maybe it made a difference? And again I tried giving it a tug.
It came away, not in a fast collapse but rather slow and measured and easy to aim. Well THAT worked!
With that out of the way I started pulling away rocks again. And it was fascinating: just a few feet away, yesterday’s had been jagged. Most of these were smoothed, rounded, far easier to deal with. Still, it was a lot of work and enough for one day. And I’m glad now I did two holes because both will have good soil for the tree to grow into.
Pleased at the depth and width, I declared it done and went off to get Richard.
Tomorrow the prime planting soil from Yamagami’s goes in. Tomorrow I plant my new fruit tree in Al’s memory. I can’t wait to tell Jean.
At Green Planet
Green Planet Yarn had a meet-and-greet today: TNNA, the Stitches-type get-together for wholesalers and yarn store owners, was going to be here this weekend and thus the owners of several yarn dyeing companies had agreed to come to Beth’s shop with samples of new lines and just to get to meet some of the people who actually use what they create.
My going would mean being at least an hour and a half late picking Richard up from work. He encouraged me not to worry about it and just go. (A co-worker offered him a ride home in the end.)
It wasn’t just that I wanted to see the yarns: I specifically wanted to thank the folks at Blue Sky Fibers. I’m sure I’ve told the story here before, but not recently I don’t think, so here goes.
I was in the early stages of working on my lace shawls book. Meantime, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was coming to Berkeley for her first-ever book signing in California–Stash, I think was the name of the place–and Jocelyn and Cris and I carpooled together to go. After knowing Stephanie via the Knitlist since our kids had been little, I finally got to meet her for the first time.
Stash did a brisk business in books and yarn that night, and I came across some Blue Sky baby alpaca/silk that was both new and like nothing else out there. Wow. SO soft. Luminous, too, just gorgeous (and it is still one of the nicest yarns I know, all these years later.) I snapped up two skeins but definitely needed more to make a shawl.
Please, they told me: we know we have more of it in the back. We’re swamped. Can we just mail it to you in the morning?
I got a very embarrassed phone call the next day: no, actually, they did not have any more, and there was about zero chance of getting an exact match on the next order. They were so sorry.
And that set off the great yarn hunt. I needed more and it needed to be that dyelot. There weren’t as many yarn stores online then nor that carried that particular yarn, but I called a few and emailed more and did what I could.
I’d seen ads in Interweave magazines for a particular shop back East that seemed to have a good inventory, and they said they would check and they asked for my phone number.
It did not occur to me to mention to them that I was three time zones away.
And thus the infamous story within the family of their starting the day by making sure I knew before I should head out for work that I had to keep looking.
Richard groaned awake in the dark, one of many times when being able to take my ears off at night has been nice for me but for him, not so much, and he reached over my head for the old Princess phone placed there on the small chance I might hear it ring if I really really had to.
“It’s your New York City boiler-room yarn pushers,” he growled as he shoved the handset my way at 5 a.m. “They want you to know they don’t have your dye lot.”
At that, I gave up and appealed to Blue Sky directly: did they have it? I was quite sure they didn’t do retail, but could I buy it from them anyway?
They actually had an exact match. I asked for two, they sent me three, and they refused to let me pay them a dime. Even when I protested.
I thanked them but it didn’t seem enough. Today was my chance.
Linda, the owner, was not there, but three of her staff were. As I found them one by one in the crowd, I showed them the shawl that had come of their generosity and gave them each an autographed copy of Wrapped in Comfort. Each one, independent of the others, asked to see what page it was on. They let me tell them what a difference they’d made to me and were delighted to take a fourth copy home for Linda.
Ran into old friends–including Jocelyn and Cris. Caught up a bit, had fun…
And noticed that one guy had been standing off by himself for awhile now and nobody was talking to him. Well that wouldn’t do, these things are supposed to be fun. Turns out he wasn’t a knitter. Turns out he was Michael, a businessman who was the husband of the Mrs. Crosby of Lorna’s Laces fame.
And as we talked, old friend and Green Planet employee Laura came by with a bag and offered me my pick. She worked the room and then came back towards me with another bag.
“It’s not my turn!”
She laughed. “Goodies for all! Take one!”
The first was a skein of Woolfolk from Blue Sky. The second was a bluegreen one-off dyeing of Shepherd’s Worsted from Lorna’s Laces, and I exclaimed to Michael over his wife’s beautiful work.
One brown hat and one bluegreen cowl as the next carry-around projects. (I had my oversized afghan project shoved halfway down into my tote, where it did not want to stay. It was a little ridiculous. But it did prove that I do like blues and greens together.)
And then the event was officially done and it was time to beat it home quick before the next downpour.
I know what you’re thinking
Conversation at dinner tonight with a completely random interjection, not even looking at them:
“That’s not pussywillow, you know.” (Suddenly envisioning pink feline hats with long fine hanging strands of knitted green leaves as a visual pun, but never mind.)
“It’s not?” He was surprised.
“I told you I pruned the peaches.”
Y’know–saying scion-nara to the overgrowth and all that.
(Side note to LynnM: I tried sending to you from my Gmail account and it too elicited the rejection message saying your server doesn’t accept messages forwarded from other addresses. But that wasn’t one, it was straight from Google’s own servers, and thus the resident geek says that the problem is with your email server. Hope this helps some?)
I am suddenly realizing I have no pictures, only memories.
My oldest was a new 6th grader and had enrolled in band. She needed a clarinet, and a place that rents them to kids like her was starting off the school year by selling some of their old stock over the weekend. Buying used, if at all possible, sounded a lot more cost-effective than renting endlessly and less worrisome than having a kid be responsible for something expensive someone else owned.
We knew Al had been in a band in the Army so he seemed a logical person to ask; Richard called him that Saturday morning and asked, How do you tell a good one?
Al, surprised: Why, you play it!
Richard: (oh well).
Al: Where’s the store?
Richard: Oh, it’s way down in San Jose…
Al: I’ll see you there in thirty minutes.
He must have walked right out the door.
Richard and Sam and Al all met up in that music store, Al picked out the best of the lot, and then asked what we were doing for lessons.
Richard, a little on the spot: The school…
Al: That won’t do. And he turned to Sam and made her a deal: if she would bake him bread every week he would teach her a lesson. But she would have to practice. He told us he wanted her to be personally invested in those lessons and if she had to work for them then she would value them.
And that is how Sam learned to bake bread in sixth grade. Some batches, well, Al told us years later, he took his little granddaughters to the duck pond and let them toss crumbs to the mallards, a tradition in town since the 1930s when what was envisioned as a small pool for kids, un-chlorinated because it was right next to the Bay, quickly turned into one for the birds and that was that.
Grandkid time. It’s all good.
Al had no way to know at the time that Richard’s then-employer had been laying off workers by the thousands during what was the first dot-com bust and his group was quite sure that, even though they were actually bringing in revenue, they didn’t have much time left. We were cutting all expenses to the bone. (With reason, as it turned out.)
And here was Al, saying he wanted to be paid in bread and that Sam had to make it and that was all the payment he was willing to accept.
The band teacher was so impressed at her progress that he asked her a few years later if she would take up the oboe for the high school orchestra come the next year? They needed one and he knew he could trust her to do the work to learn the instrument well.
She did, and Michelle started sixth grade and started taking clarinet lessons from Al. And saxophone. By this time we certainly had no problem affording lessons but he refused: he said Michelle had to learn how to bake bread too. For her own sense of accomplishment, and besides, he liked having homemade bread!
What we didn’t know was that Al had been putting in for retirement right about the time Richard called him that first Saturday morning and had been thinking that what he’d like to do next was to share his passion for music with kids. But he’d never taught lessons before. Sam fell into the picture at just the right time as his test case to see if he liked doing this as much as he thought he would. And he did. He ended up teaching a lot of kids. And a lot more than music–he was a deeply kind, compassionate man who taught my children what they wanted to be like when they grew up.
I got back at him, a little bit; I knitted for his wife and I sent my piano tuner to him a few times till he protested enough that I let go. But those two quickly became friends and I’m glad for that. Two very good people blessing each other’s lives.
Al grew up with a lot of fruit trees in the back yard because in the Depression his father wanted to always be able to feed his children. Plant the trees, do a little work, and let G_d help you help your own.
And so Al had a lot of fruit trees in his own back yard, which was not big but he packed a surprising amount in.
He told me something once about his peach trees and I was surprised: a neighbor down the street had told me right after we moved in here that peach leaf curl disease is endemic here and the fog and morning cool create the perfect conditions for the disease and it kills them just like it killed his, that you cannot grow peaches here.
Al roared with laughter: Of COURSE you can grow peaches here!
And that is how it all got started over at my house. The peaches, then the cherry, then the pear, then the sour cherry and the fig and the mandarin oranges and another apple besides the ones the house came with… Oh and yeah, the mango. Because if you can grow peaches, of course!
Al wasn’t in church on Sunday. He hadn’t been driving in quite some time but he always got a ride. But not this time; he wasn’t up to going.
Word came in this morning.
Al had quietly and peacefully passed away yesterday evening. It was not expected. It was not really unexpected.
He will be sorely, deeply missed. We are so much better off in so many ways for having had him in our lives. G_dspeed, dear friend.
Re Chugach National Forest
Which surrounded us as the catamaran floated across Prince William Sound last June.
Slowly, slowly, a glacial pace… And the interior portion will end with two rows of white just like that.
I tried to capture the texture of the thing with the camera; I’ve started to think of it as the bubble wrap blanket, although the intent was more towards an idea of tops of trees in the Alaskan snow. Even though it’s knitted pretty tightly, I think it will still flatten out once it’s washed but I am going to enjoy it like this while I can.
The back seems snowshoe-y to my eyes. (Scroll down to see their) Montagnais-style, perhaps.
If a tree falls in a suburb…
A few years ago an enormous old eucalyptus tree, one of many in a long line on the hillside, fell across the expressway near Richard’s office at morning rush hour and fortunately hit no one. We saw it from the other side of the divided road, which was heavily littered with smashed bits from the top. Meantime, southbound traffic doing 45 would just crest the hill and there it was right there–we saw the first few terrified drivers doing abrupt u-turns in front of it and heading back going the wrong way, knowing it was rush hour and the speeds and the danger and the cops got that direction shut down immediately. I was impressed.
I have kept a wary eye on those tall flimsy trees on rainy days ever since, and part of another came down at evening rush hour today: again, the authorities hadn’t gotten there yet when we went by, and since traffic could make it around that one it surely wasn’t on the immediate list this time. They are swamped.
We waited at the next light ahead just barely out of the reach of yet another, which was leaning hard over the lines of cars below as gust after gust threatened to javelin us all with it. It felt a lot like being in an east coast hurricane. That trunk was not upright anymore. I do not expect to see it still standing come the morning.
And we’ve got it easy. We have power and heat and no flooding. They’ve clocked winds at 173 mph and there’s water everywhere: we haven’t had this much rain from Oct 1 to this date since 1922. A mudslide on Highway 17 near Richard’s aunt took out the road and an ABC7 news van (and it amuses me that none of the other news outlets identified it as such, only ABC7 did, whereas it was very clear what it was. But I guess you don’t give a boost to the competition? I mean, that’s a heck of a way to get a scoop. I can just imagine, Here comes the mountain right there, do you see it Bob? Bob? Apparently nobody was hurt, so it’s easy to joke about.)
We are not near a creek and this is a good thing right now.
Tomorrow, when it hopefully stops raining for a bit, I will go put the new (it came! Yay!) remote-read temperature sensor with the mango tree and go back to my happy old habit of glancing up at the monitor on the wall every time I walk by to see how it’s doing.
At this point, the frost covers are doing double-duty as just a bit of protection from rain-overdosed roots. Yeah. As if.
And if the sky holds its breath long enough we’ll go up on the roof and see if we can find out what made that nice loud boom up there. No sign of fallen tree that we can tell from the ground, and besides, we already cut down all the ones that threatened to two years ago.
On our property, anyway.
Oh wait, there is that one last one that could have grown over the house again by now. Guess what it is? A thick trunk, but, a eucalyptus.
Sunday January 08th 2017, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Family
Not much of a blog post, but I did get past the twentieth repeat tonight. At the rate I’m going, that’s about thirty hours of work so far.
Thirty-odd repeats to go and then the top edging.
The forecast was for yet another major storm today–there were flash flood warnings for the entire Bay area, and the week to come will bring more. I remember our Hundred Year flood nineteen years ago, where I had to drive across the Bay and the water came right up to the end of the bridge (not to mention my windshield wipers died in the middle of the deluge on the freeway.) That night a friend of mine here would wake up to find her bed floating near the ceiling.
Plans were plans and we weren’t going to let go of happy anticipation that easy. We headed north to see Holly and George.
There was a little rain at the start and a little at the end but it was actually dry most of the drive there.
I am so very very glad we got to spend the time. (And I got to see Bill’s Hat before Bill did, whoever he is. He’s really going to like it.)
Gradually, looking out their picture window, those clouds were getting lower and darker–it was time to go.
There was a little rain at the start and a little at the end but it was actually dry most of the drive home.
I put a single cover over the mango tree just in case it got colder than expected–the rain itself is always cold here but it brings warmth with it–and marveled that I still felt no drops.
And then, with everybody safely inside for the evening, the sky really, really, really let us have it.
(Photo: down into the cave you go.)
This is really cool. A determined kid wanted to know what was behind that air seepage, a cave in France was discovered, and the result is the discovery of the most ancient Neanderthal gathering place ever found, by far. Really far. 176,500 years far.
I know there are those who believe the earth is only a week’s worth of thousands of years old, based on Genesis in the Bible, and I applaud their reading of scripture and their faith in His Love that guides the universe. May I offer my opinion that G_d taught in parables from the beginning and that trying to limit Him to our understanding of physical time as we experience it here doesn’t quite work for me.
Evolution is a beautiful parable on a cosmic scale: it offers the thought that no matter what life throws at us, we can adapt and with His help even improve precisely because of our more difficult challenges.
So science in this case should not be considered (I totally set you guys up for this) an add-hominini attack.
(Edited to add, Dad, that was for you. One of the great treasures of my life all my life has been hearing my father roar with laughter over a great pun, progressing to a giggle fit going on and on and erupting at random moments thereafter. Love you!)
Didn’t spot that one coming
What is wrong with this picture?
When I knit this Monday I never even saw it. It was the first time I’d picked the project up since I broke my hand mid-November, having been expressly forbidden to in the beginning by the osteopath when I described it as heavy.
Tuesday morning I caught my foot on something immediately, and I mean immediately, after I’d taken the protective velcro splints off my hand to step into the shower and fell and landed with that very same finger a bit hyper extended.
But at least it was into the clothes in the closet for a soft landing. But so I didn’t dare knit for the last two days to let that calm down. I did not want it to hurt. If it didn’t hurt I didn’t have to tell the doctor. I did not want to start the whole ten week broken finger and knuckle routine from the beginning again.
Today was, yeah, yeah, I’m fine, c’mon, let’s get to it.
And there for all my good intentions it stared back at me just like that.
Willing it to just not be like that didn’t work.
I Lady McBeth’d it. Out %*# spots!
Anyone who’s ever knitted blister stitch, I can just hear you going, Tell me you didn’t…!
I ripped out the two white rows and then I kept right on going through the next four green ones. All that needed to be gone was the white ones. All the green that was ever knitted on this thing has just been plain old solid stockinette stitch–the white interrupts it later. I ripped out an hour’s worth of extra work for no good reason other than my visual memory brain damage.
Well, it is what it is and you work with the brain you’ve got. I do like that Rios. I made a point of feeling how soft it is, of thinking how good it would be for the baby, how easy on the parents since they could launder it and how it would full together a bit when they do to help baby proof the stitches from him just a bit. Just a bit. (Yeah right. Remember Parker’s blankie after his brother was born?)
And so I knitted it back up, and then the next section, and now I’m on the one after that. My goal is to finish one 100g skein every three days, if my hand will let me. It’s coming along.
Death Star butternut
So today the House of Representatives, having decided that, Ethics Committee? We don’t need no stinkin’ Ethics! found that having the voters storm the gates by the thousands and thousands in protest meant that, Oh wait, what we meant to say was of course we do!
Meantime, we had one last Pilgrim butternut squash from the garden. It had been sitting on the kitchen counter for months. There was no way my still-broken right knuckle was coming anywhere near the size of knife and amount of oomph it would take for me to break into that thing and I didn’t like that stringy variety enough to ask Richard to bother–we’d tasted those.
It was left for last because it had a bit of a Death Star look to it: a squirrel had taken a bite out of the bulbous end when it was quite young and it had crusted over and healed while the rest of the bulb part swelled and grew huge around it. I figured there was no squirrel spit inside, but still…
Sunday, the Merc ran this column. Don’t slice your fingers. Just put the whole thing in the hot oven like a baked potato. Simple.
Well, that would finally get it off my counter, at the very least. I tried it. No foil, it didn’t deserve it and it kinda came in its own anyway, I just threw it in and on second thought grabbed it back and put a cookie sheet underneath. Good thing.
I’d felt a bit conned by the ad copy claiming it was one of the best-tasting.
Well let me tell you. It is now. Or at least til I grow me some Walthams later, as someone suggested here for next time. But man that was good! It steamed and caramelized itself and the shell peeled off like paper. Still slightly stringy inside, but I could Cuisinart the leftovers (it had been six pounds) into a pumpkin pie that wouldn’t need much or any sugar added; it’s got its own this way.
It did try to live up to that Death Star persona one last time, though: it exploded at the flaw straight down onto the cookie sheet, where the sugars blew up like a marshmallow and then blackened into a finely molded dust while the smell let you know that that squash really did need to come out of there!
Oooh, but the rest of it…! I am definitely growing squashes again and I wasn’t sure of that before.
I am reminded of the time when I was a young mom of thinking I would finally put the actual fillet knife someone had given us to its purported use and I bought a live fish from an Asian market. I chose it, they cleaned it, and then I painstakingly tried to follow James Beard’s instructions on how to carve the scales off. I spent quite a bit of time ever so carefully hacking away while trying not to damage the thing and finally, feeling like an utter failure, looked at how little I’d gotten done and how bad it looked, said nuts to this, and simply threw foil around it and let the oven take care of it while I caught up with whatever my kids had been getting into during my distraction.
I pulled it out of there with the skin falling away with the foil. The idea of trying to ditch the scales and keep the skin for the perfect restaurant presentation had been ridiculous all along. It didn’t have to be the hard way at all.
Fish, squash, and Congressmen: they can come out right after all, all you have to do is surround them with heat.