First squash harvest crucial to Friday lunch plans

Yellow squash is slightly smaller than a Michener paperback

Our first yellow squash is slightly smaller than a Michener paperback

It is difficult to refer to this morning’s actions as a “harvest.” I picked the one and only yellow squash off the overachieving plant in the sunny former dining room and carried it with way too much pride to the kitchen, where it posed for its last portrait — last because it’s going to turn into lunch shortly.

That’s it, reclining in front of “Mexico” by James A. Michener, a sprawling, complex historical fiction relating the growth of a na— whups, sorry. Seems my Inner Book Critic wants to come out to play.

You may remember my mention of a lack of bees in the house. In their stead, I’ve been watching patiently for “girl” squashes, q-tip in hand, to emulate Gregor Mendel and a whole host of bees, dabbing pollen from the dozens of male fruits onto the rare female blossom. So far, only one has taken. We’re calling her “Baked Squash Lunch”  — or “Lunch” for short.

The half-life of a squash blossom appears to be about five hours. They begin to open just before I wake up… about 5:45 AM.

By the time the sun is hitting the dining room window, they’re fully open and waiting for the bees that never show up. Instead it’s me — groggy, half-awake and suffering from a lack of caffeine.

In about five minutes I check all the open blossoms, q-tip in hand, searching a crop of brilliant yellow for the telltale bulb beneath. One plant can produce both male and female blossoms at the same time, depending on several variables including humidity, sunshine, temperature, and its mood in general.

Female yellow squash blossom

One lone girl, “Yeah, baby!”

Ok, kidding about the mood (maybe), but these are on a macho trend this week – all guys for days, then FINALLY a lone girl, to the tune of wolf whistles and shouts of “Yeah, baby! Let’s see them petals!”

By noon they’ve begun to retire, each furling to form a wilty looking cone. By afternoon, they’ve closed up shop — and by nightfall, they’re history.

If one “takes,” then we’ll have squash for lunch again someday. If not, then there’s always the supermarket less than a mile away.