I am feeling a bit of a Lady Bountiful today, in the nicest possible way of course, and not a hint of patronage. I have a bountiful harvest of pumpkin and squash to see us through at least part of the winter, and I have the pictures to prove it.
And on the charitable front I spent yesterday evening knitting the dearest little teeny tiny hats, not for babies, but for bottles, which might seem quite bizarre to the uninitiated, but it was all in a good cause.
A couple of days ago I read on Henhouse Homemade about The Big Knit, the idea of which is to raise money for Age Concern and Help the Aged, by knitting little hats to be put on bottles of Innocent drinks. Hen has crocheted the most adorable little numbers, which you can see here, for the group organized by Josie-Mary. So I decided to knit a few myself - not quite up to Hen's standards of exquisiteness, but they do look quite cute by virtue of their small size.
The hats honestly take only half an hour to do, probably less if you are a quick knitter, and there are patterns for all skill levels. I made five in a couple of hours last night, and finished another over breakfast this morning. I had some experimental flowers left over from something I was working on last weekend, so they made a nice little embellishment for the tops.
Josie-Mary's deadline is this weekend, so perhaps time is short for that, but the Skein Queen is also organizing another group, with a slightly later deadline, which you can find out about here. So put half an hour of your time towards a good cause, and find yourself a little spot of amusement in the process!
And here are the bountiful squash - so satisfyingly autumnal in their colours and profusion. I can feel a lot of soup coming on, but they are also delicious roasted, or stuffed or perhaps on a bed of couscous - with plenty of garlic and onion to ward off those seasonal germs.
The yellow and white patty pans are technically summer squash, like courgettes, and not for storing, but unlike courgettes we find that patty pans do keep for a month or two.
The small Jack Be Little are quite decorative - this is the first year that we have grown them, so I don't know what their flavour will be like, but try them we will.
Butternuts are familiar to many, and never disappoint - the beautiful grey-green ones are Crown Prince; I would grow them just for their appearance, but they also taste good, and both keep well.
The not so nice-looking ones below are Anna Schwarz, a Hubbard squash: again, new for us, but I feel that she must taste heavenly, because no one would cultivate her for her looks.
The seeds for all of these varieties came from the Real Seed Company and Suffolk Herbs - and the germination was more or less one hundred per cent, so I can highly recommend them.
And last of all, we must have a fanfare - this beauty is our very first melon, grown in our polytunnel. The Ploughboy tugged at my sleeve when we were buying compost at the nursery earlier in the season, and begged me to buy him a melon plant. He nurtured it carefully, and after his departure we suddenly noticed it looking ripe and tempting, so we brought it in to try.
Absolute nectar! The Head Chef and I tasted a quarter each, and then selflessly offered the other half to our B&B guest for her breakfast. And the hens will enjoy the seeds, what they leave of the skins can be composted, so nothing will be wasted.
Lady Bountiful, indeed!