Mary's Veggie Garden

February 24, 2014

Extreme Squash Storage

Filed under: Squash,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 9:32 am
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How long can a squash be stored? And will it still be edible after all that time?

I store my squashes on shelves in the basement for later eating. Thus, when harvest started last autumn, I had to clean up the shelves and deal with the stuff that collects in all flat spots. This stuff included two squashes from previous harvests.

A two year old butternnut and a one year old Tetsukabuto squash.

A two year old butternut and a one year old Tetsukabuto squash. Photographed 9/2013.

The butternut squash was grown and harvested in 2011. That year I grew two butternut varieties, Early and Waltham. This one was probably an Early Butternut. After storing it weighed 1 pound 6.8 ounces and felt very light weight for its size.

The Tetsukabuto squash was grown and harvested in 2012. It weighed 3 pounds 5.1 oz. At harvest time the squash is solid green except for an orange patch where it rests on the ground. While in storage Tetsukabutos gradually turn orange. Most of the color change happens in the first six months.

Two Tetsukabuto squashes, left 1 year old, right freshly harvested.

Two Tetsukabuto squashes, left 1-year-old, right freshly harvested.

From the outside these two squashes look pretty good. The butternut feels light but the weight of the Tetsukabuto feels normal for its size. What do they look like inside?

A two year old butternut and 1 year old Tetsukabuto.

A 1-year-old Tetsukabuto and a two-year old butternut.

The butternut is dried up. Not edible, except maybe the seeds which I put outside for the wildlife. The expected storage life for a butternut is 4-6 months. I stored this one 24 months, so the results are not surprising.

The Tetsukabuto looks more promising. The seed cavity is dried up but the flesh is still moist. So I cooked it. The taste was flat, with none of the normal sweetness. I don’t know if there was still any nutritional value, but I used it in a squash bread.

February 23, 2014

Autumn Oaks, a Rocking Chair Quilt

Filed under: Quilts — marysveggiegarden @ 10:26 am
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Rocking chair quilts.

We have two rocking chairs in the living room. During the winter we keep the thermostat set cool and cover up with a lap blanket when reading.  However, with the open back on my chair, I still felt a draft from behind so I decided to make small quilts for the rocker backs.

Click on any picture to see an enlarged version.

Like many quilting projects this one started at a workshop. I attended Ami Simm’s ‘String Quilting’ workshop during the Dutchess Heritage Quilt show last October. During the workshop I made 3 strip sets, each composed of two 1″, two 1.5″ and two 2″ strips, plus a solid strip cut to the same width as the strip set.  I cut four blocks from each strip set. (I could have cut a fifth block but I wanted matched stets of blocks for this design.) My blocks finished to 8″ square. The remainder of the strip sets were used as quilt backing.

Quilt backs.

Quilt backs. Labels are free motion quilted on starched fabric.

Fabrics: 100% cotton. Prints were leftovers from the Stitcher’s Exchange table at the quilt guild. The green is Moda Marbles Hunter. The orange/rust/brown colors of the prints echoed the colors of autumn oaks which inspired the quilting. Batting is Pellon ‘Natures Touch’ 100% cotton.

Quilting: The striped triangles were quilted simply: stitch-in-the-ditch using a walking foot. The solid sections are free motion quilted with a pattern of oak leaves in the autumn sun.

Free motion quilting.

Free motion quilting. One leaf.

Free motion quilting.

Free motion quilting. Another leaf.

Each leaf is unique. During November I collected lots of fallen oak leaves then stored them in a large paper envelope under a book, to dry and flatten. I sorted them by size, discarded any with curling edges then selected my favorites as quilting templates.

Oak leaf template.

Oak leaf template.

I affixed the leaves to the quilt top using double-sided basing tape with the smoother side of the leaf up so the quilting foot did not catch on the mid-rib. I taped down the points because otherwise the quilting foot sometimes slid under the leaf instead of over. I quilted around each leaf, snipped off the stem, added a line of echo quilting, then removed the leaf to stitch the ribs.

The sun rays were marked with chalk. (Looking at my photos, I see that I should remove more markings.) I was almost half done when I discovered how to quilt all the straight lines in a triangle without breaking thread. I had to diagram the quilting directions because I kept forgetting the sequence.

A practice piece, showing the sequence for quilting the lines. Step 4 is all the inside rays, down and back, and step 56 is all the short rays touching the diagonal.

A practice piece, showing the sequence for quilting the lines. Step 4 is all the inside rays, down and back, and step 6 is all the short rays touching the diagonal.

After quilting this practice square I realized that by marking the outside rays first, I could place the leaf so that it did not overlap and break the outside lines of quilting.

Autumn Oaks

Autumn Oaks

This was my first project for FDQ’s UFO challenge.

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