On a hot summer day long ago, my dad warned me not to leave my car’s windows open when I parked in front of the house.
“Why not? No one’s going to steal this piece of junk.”
“Yes, but the people around here with gardens will leave zucchini in your back seat.”
Prolific stuff, zucchini. See the giant plants in the picture below, over there to the right? That’s our zucchini. Since we’re only sitting on five acres here in the middle of Tennessee, Chareva decided to try a technique called “square-foot gardening” … you know, the kind of garden people grow in little back yards or on rooftops in urban areas. I understand the rationale, but the zucchini has apparently responded to the tight quarters by launching a hostile takeover of the garden.
I wouldn’t mind seeing so many zucchini exploding from the garden if half of them weren’t as big as my leg. Chareva’s determined to make use of them and is already sounding a bit like Bubba talking about shrimp in Forrest Gump: “Zucchini salad, zucchini stew, boiled zucchini, fried zucchini, zucchini noodles, zucchini pancakes …”
For lunch today, I had zucchini stuffed with sausage and cheese. For dinner, I had zucchini stuffed with sausage and cheese. I’m probably going to find zucchini stuffed with something in my lunch-bag at work tomorrow. Fortunately, zucchini stuffed with sausage and cheese is delicious. Someone asked for the recipe last week in comments, so I’ll include it at the end of this post. Not much to it, really.
The other foods we’ve started harvesting from the garden so far are green beans, sugar-snap peas, parsley and basil – all of which are (for now) a safe distance from the zucchini. Later in the year, we hope to be harvesting butternut squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, sweet corn, cantaloupe and tomatoes. (No, I didn’t ask for the sweet corn. It was the Chief Gardener’s idea.)
Maybe it’s just the satisfaction of knowing that we grew them ourselves (and by “we” of I course mean “Chareva”), but the sugar-snap peas and green beans taste crisper and juicier to me than their store-bought cousins. The zucchini is good too, even though I’m afraid we’ll soon be looking for open car windows to offload some of our supply.
The chickens are getting bigger by the day, and at least one of them started laying little mini-eggs. Nothing inside yet, so I guess chickens get the hang of making the shells first then learn to fill them later. They’re supposed to be laying full-sized eggs in early autumn. If we end up overloaded with eggs, I doubt we’ll have to sneak them into unlocked cars. We have neighbors who would no doubt volunteer to take those off our hands.
The ferocious guard dogs are getting bigger by the day as well. It’s gotten to the point that when they charge into the kitchen to maul me with affection, they can almost knock me over.
The only downside of living on a mini-farm during the summer growing season is the ticks. I don’t know how many live on our land, but at least one manages to attach itself to me pretty much every time I go out and spend an hour or so playing frisbee golf. I used to make the mistake of coming inside, tossing my clothes on the bed, then taking a shower. I learned my lesson after going to bed tick-free and waking up with one of the little @#$%ers digging into the side of my knee.
Now whenever I come back in after spending time outside, I go straight to the laundry room in the basement and remove every stitch of clothing before walking upstairs. Last week, Chareva was tossing some of my clothes into the washer and tick jumped from the clothes onto her arm.
Our original flock of guinea fowl – the designated hit men for the ticks – ran off, so we’ve got another on the way. This time we’ll make sure they’re raised in a pen outside and get used to the place before they can get loose and wander around. I want the tick-eaters to consider this their home. I’d happily put Guinness in their water dispenser on Saturday nights if they’d promise not to leave.
Now about that recipe …
Chareva’s Kitchen: Stuffed Zucchini
Cut zucchini in half and scoop out the insides. Salt and pepper the zucchini boat.
Cook up some sausage.
Spoon in salsa, fresh chopped basil, chopped mushrooms, then add the browned crumbled sausage.
Top with mozzarella or cheese of your choice.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
I know what you’re thinking: but what the heck do I do with the zucchini I scooped out? Well, don’t let it go to waste. Chareva fried some zucchini slices in the sausage grease today then sprinkled on some Parmesan and sea salt. It was delicious. Great little zucchini side dish to go with the zucchini main course.
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