Friday, October 27, 2017

Fun with Squash

We haven't yet had a frost, which means we still have some vegetables growing in our garden, including a dense zucchini plant. Believe it or not, that plant managed to hide one of the squash under its leaves until it was almost the size of a baseball bat.

By the time we picked it, it was far too woody to eat. But before I consigned it to the compost pile, I had a thought. It's almost Halloween. I've read that the original jack-o-lanterns were carved from turnips. So why not a zucchini?

What do you think? Scary enough for the trick-or-treaters? 
Maybe we should hand out zucchini on Halloween  instead of candy. Nah, that would be too scary.

Halloween Zucchini

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Vegetable by Any Other Color

When it comes to food, I'm fond of classics. Don't get me wrong; I love to try new things, but sometimes I get annoyed when a restaurant or recipe messes up a perfect food just to be different. It's not as though I eat so many deviled eggs, for example, that I need blue cheese and jalepenos added for variety. 

That may be why I'm always a little skeptical of oddly colored vegetables. While Indian corn makes a beautiful decoration, blue corn chips just don't seem right. I'm only a recent convert to white sweet corn. It tastes delicious, but it's not yellow. And now I've discovered black cherry tomatoes.

I planted them more or less by accident. I wanted another cherry tomato plant, but the only ones available where I was shopping were black cherries. Well, it turns out a black cherry tomato is the sweetest tomato I've ever tasted. Much sweeter than regular cherry tomatoes. In fact, they're almost too sweet, but very good. They're also prolific, healthy, and easy to grow. They have almost everything I could want in a tomato. But they're not red.

How do you feel about it? Do you like blue corn? Purple cabbage? White peaches? Or do you feel, as I do, that corn is yellow, cabbage is green, peaches are, well, peach-colored, and tomatoes should be red? 

Monday, October 2, 2017

And Then What?

Yesterday was an ordinary day. Went to church, did some chores. When the wind died down in the evening, my husband suggested a walk up on the mesa, our usual spot.

We started along the path, enjoying the sunshine. I looked around, marveling as usual, over the incredible clarity of light here at the high altitudes of Arizona. And as usual, I got caught up in the scenery and almost tripped over a rock, so I resolved to watch the trail instead.

And then we heard it: pounding footsteps. We looked up to see an Australian shepherd emerge from behind a tree. A few seconds later, his people followed, running up the trail toward us. And they were leading DONKEYS.

That’s what we story people call an inciting incident. It’s when your characters are suddenly jolted out of the ordinary by some extraordinary event. Sometimes it’s huge: an earthquake, an inheritance. Sometimes it’s so small it hardly gets noticed, like a for sale sign going up on the house across the street. But the story starts when something odd happens.

Now, if I were to make this into a novel, I'd start asking myself what happened next. The donkey sighting would lead to something else that upsets the main character's routine, and that that would lead to something bigger, creating more conflict, and eventually those conflicts would change the main character’s life in a meaningful way. 

Of course for me, it was just an interesting image to be stored away in my memory and maybe used in a story someday. But at the very least, seeing the donkeys jolted me out of my rut and made me smile.

What’s the most surprising thing you happened upon this week? Could it be the start of a story?