Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Cockle Shells, Silver Bells, and Pretty Maids . . .

I’m not Mary, I’m rarely contrary, but I’ve got a garden this year. Of sorts. (LOL) I’m fresh out of shells, bells and maids. 😦

Strawberry Pot

Strawberry Pot

Years ago when G-Man and I were first married we planted a HUGE garden. (And I had a beautiful, blistering sunburn for my first anniversary. Oh, the memories. 🙂  )

This grew out of the strawberry pot and into the bricks.

This grew out of the strawberry pot and into the bricks.

We raised green beans, beets, tomatoes, onions, peppers, okra. And squash. Six hundred tons of squash. I fixed it every way possible, then we started freezing it.

Sweet potato vine, Vincas, Pintas and Angels' Wings. (Sometimes I make up my own names.)

Sweet potato vine, Vincas, Pintas and Angels’ Wings. (Sometimes I make up my own names.)

In case you didn’t know, if you have a yard in Okieland, you have to have a garden. (I think it’s a law.)

Big pots take a lot of soil!

Big pots take a lot of soil!

I’ve learned a thing or two in the years since that first garden. Now remember, most people know more about gardening than I do. 🙂 But I’m sharing what I know.

Here’s what I’ve picked up on.

  • Life began in a garden. (Called Eden.)
  • Plant flowers. Lots of them. And a few veggies.
  • Only plant three squash or zucchini plants for each family of 357.
  • Don’t plant okra. (It gives you stickers.)
  • Don’t plant watermelon or cantaloupe unless you have plenty of room. (160 acres or so.)
We bought new pots last summer. Now they match!!

We bought new pots last summer. Now they match!!

  • Water, water, water. And then water some more.
  • Stay ahead of the weeds or they’ll eat everything you grow. (Or hide it, which amounts to the same thing.)
  • Lock your car during squash season. Just sayin’.

empty potMore! Dirt! Please!!!

If you look in the background of the above pic, you can see the pots that used to be on my deck. They have herbs in them and I love my herbs, so I moved them to the pond area. Now if I only had a pond.

I have a thing for watering cans.

I have a thing for watering cans.

So here it is, nearly the middle of June, and I’m just getting my pots planted. But they’re pretty, aren’t they? I have a few more plans, and I’ll let you in on them if I can get them done. And find enough soil.

Hope I don't murder them.

Hope I don’t murder them.

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Lock Your Doors!

Marilyn Pappano, whose newest book, In the Enemy’s Arms, is on shelves now–and it’s fabulous, tells a joke about being from a Small Town World where the only time you lock your doors is during zucchini season. Guess what?

It’s time! 🙂

Most of my family LOVES squash. I remember eating it as a kid with ketchup, but I got smarter after that.

Grandma Reeves wouldn’t eat it at all. Mama could fry up a big platter, and Grandma would just pass it along. “I don’t eat squash. It’s poor folks’ food!”

“Then I’m a poor folk.” Daddy grinned big. “Pass that squash over here.”

We told our kids it was grown up food, and they couldn’t have any. Funny how that makes them beg for it! (It worked until they figured out what we were doing.)

I like straight or crook neck (yellow) ever better than zucchini, but I don’t quibble if someone else cooking. IT’S ALL GOOD.

You know how they tell you in church that you can’t out give God? You can’t out give a squash plant, either. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving. You can batter and fry the blossoms or eat the whole fruit.

The squash itself can be fried, baked, stuffed, boiled, broiled, sautéed or made into a casserole or dessert bread. (There’s not much better than zucchini bread. Yuuuum!) I’ve read you can even put leftover stewed squash in white bread, but I’ve never tried it.

When G-Man and I were first married, we were very successful at growing squash. (Hey, if you water it, it will grow.) We cooked that stuff every way we could think of. And we froze it.

If you freeze squash, don’t let your dog unplug the deep freeze. Bags of frozen squash left to defrost and sit a few days before you find is a real mess. (Blech.)

My absolute favorite way to eat squash is fried. Yuuummy goodness.

Here’s how Mama taught me–

First you slice the small fruit into a bowl of salted water.

 Keep the slices thin.

Dredge the slices in salted flour. (I’ve found that just salty water, the way Mama did it, isn’t enough seasoning.)

 Shake off the excess flour and fry the slices in oil. I use Cannola Oil, but any vegetable oil works. I don’t deep fry my squash, but you could.

Then you just set them on the table and watch them disappear. If they make it to the table. Sometimes it’s a toss up–will we leave any to serve with dinner? 😉

So–that’s my favorite way to prepare squash. Please–someone share their favorite zucchini bread recipe with me. I’ve never baked it. 🙂

My hibiscus–just for fun.