This is not a good photograph.* I took it behind a window. But still, if you zoom in you should be able to see four Odocoileus virginianus, white-tailed deer. Two are does, the other are fawns– they were probably born this spring.
Why the post title? Look carefully. Between the two cedar trees is an expanse of chicken wire. On the chicken wire are a bunch of clothes pins that we use to attach pieces of paper to the wire. Behind the chicken wire is an embankment. That’s our shooting range! I can see it from my desk about 85 yards away.
Note that “food” is a label. I will return to this in November.
*If you are interested in amateur photography, check out Kat Landreth’s blog, Pare and Focus. I’m working through her tutorials and ebook (I’ll try to find the link, she sent me a draft). Pare and Focus: Her photography career started because she wanted to take great pictures of the food she prepared. She’s an excellent cook.
or something like that. There’s conflicting information on the world-wide web about its proper common name, but according to New Hope Seed Company, where I got the seed, it
was always listed as a pumpkin its [sic] actually more of a winter squash. … is said to have first been listed in 1847 by New York seedsman Grant Thorburn as Green Striped Bell and most likely re-named by Burpee in 1883 to Tennessee Sweet Potato.
This particular one weighs in at 18 pounds. All told, three plants yielded seven squash, ranging in size from the one pictured to about half that. We have already baked one, basting it frequently with butter. When it was done, we cut it into cubes and froze it (after taking a taste).
And that is one of the things I like most about winter squash! If cured properly, healthy winter squash store well in a basement or cool room for six to nine months; there’s no need to process the pulp until you’re ready to eat it. I cured the one we froze properly, but it wasn’t perfect. It had a bad spot. Most veggies that have problems while still on the vine need to be plucked off and composted/thrown away. But winter squash can be salvaged simply by harvesting as usual, cutting out the bad spot, and eating or freezing.
The other squash in the photo are sugar pie pumpkin, and spaghetti squash. No, that’s not a bad spot on the left spaghetti squash. It’s just discoloration. As Ann Atlhouse’s tomatoes remind us, “… your flaws get counted as beautiful.” Shouldn’t that be, “as beauty?”
A few comments about New Hope Seed Company, located just north of Memphis. They do not have a wide variety of veggies. But if you want heirloom and open pollinated seeds for a Southern climate, they can’t be beat. And their customer service is incredible. On my order last January, I commented that I was disappointed to see that their crop of Old Tennessee Muskmelon had failed, hence seeds were not available. We had really enjoyed it the year before. Their description:
A very old variety. It has been dropped from commercial catalogs, is rare and seems to be near extinction. The fruits weigh an average of 12 pounds, are 12 to 16 inches in length, and are elliptical or football-shaped. Our family has grown this melon for well over 50 years. This is my personal favorite muskmelon. They must be picked at the peak of ripeness, when the fruit has turned a golden-yellow and they easily slip from vine. They should be dead ripe for the best taste. They do not keep very long. Sweet aroma that will carry over a long distance. Definitely not a shipping melon.” This is a garden-to-table melon.
And what did I get in my seed order? A packet of Old Tennessee Muskmelon seeds, and a handwritten note. Talk about Big Life!
An SEC tailgate at which we bar-b-qued 260 pieces of chicken.
This is big BIG food! Let me walk you through the photo. The guy in the white shirt is Mr. Big Food, and the very proud owner of all three grills. Two of the grills– guess which one?– our local welding guy, Jesse, made. We had one drum already, and bought the second from a fellow down the road who specializes in junk. We think they are very redneck, but some at the tailgate didn’t agree– too fancy, what with the wheels and trays.
Zoom in on the photo and you’ll see, on the table to Mr. Big Food’s left, five gallon wine jugs (and in front of them five plastic bowls). Four of them contain different homemade BBQ sauces: horseradish-mustard, beer, teryaki, and dark karo. The fifth jug has the “mop”: green tea with a splash of hot sauce. Mop is the key to BBQed chicken. The chicken goes on skin side down and gets flipped once, as is. Then, every time the chicken is turned, it gets mopped liberally. Here in the South grocery stores sell what really are mini-mops for mopping. The mop keeps the chicken moist while it’s being grilled. BBQ sauce only gets slathered on at the very last couple of chicken flips.
In total, I think we used six 16-pound bags of charcoal, and six small bags of hickory. I’m still smelling it!
Only 258 pieces of chicken got eaten, though. We dropped two.
And how’s this for some Big Life? It was a night game so we had to leave the grills and some other items on campus over night. Next day it was all still there. I love it here. And there’s nothing quite like an SEC tailgate. Here are a two more photos.
The grills wait patiently while we pick up the chicken.