Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lady Bountiful

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!


Michela said...

Congratulations on your harvest Pomona! Everything looks great! Hope germs have left your home!

marigold jam said...

Gosh what a harvest! That melon looks great too and I wonder if I could have been so generous as to give half of it to a guest - I think I might have eaten it all myself!! You are obviously a really nice person.

Jane xx

Floss said...

Oh, our little harvest looks very small in comparison! I am really looking forward to our butternut squashes, though, and we have one final spaghetti squash to enjoy (without the boys, who hate them, sadly).

The little hats are so cute!

I'm fully intending to reply to your email when time/garden/husband/children allow, BTW...

re said...

Well done on all counts!

Country Bliss said...

Very cute little hats. I am amazed at your harvest, I planted 7 butternut squash plants and have 2 tiny squash growing and my pumpkin is full of flowers but I haven't any pumpkins.
Yvonne x

JuliaB said...

I am salivating at the sight of that delicious looking melon!! A very alturistic act giving some to your B&B guests!!! I grew Jack be Little last year and the year before - they lasted all winter and I stuffed them and roasted them. Yummy. I shall definitely try out your seed link too. I usually get mine from HDRA but I find the germination a bit dodgy!! xx

Surfer Rosa said...

Cute hats - you inspired me (as always) so I've just whizzed off a couple of crocheted ones and will get a few more done this evening.
Fabulous harvest too!

Sarah said...

Oh what lovely seasonal pictures. I love roasted squash, you can't beat it.

Elizabethd said...

How amazing to have your very own melon!

bekimarie said...

What a great harvest, i'm the only one in our house who likes squash but I think I might have to persuade Rich to try and grow some next year.
Love the hats, they'd make lovely egg cosies too.
Beki xxx

Pipany said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous post Pomona. All those squash are amazing! Jack-be-littles are delicious - we grew some a few years ago and ate them mostly filled with butter, cream and loads of pepper...yum. We also love the Crown Prince, though this year we did so poorly and have one little Excelsor (think thta's its name). Dear soul is in our porch as I speak. Think I will be joining the later hat group as time is running out. xx

heidi said...

who's been a busy girl then?!!
look at all that lovely fresh produce,not like my veg i bought in tesco's this morning!!
i love the smell when i walk past peoples allotments,all the earthy fresh veg,yummy!! being a vegi!! x

Hen said...

That's a very lucky B&B guest! I hear melons are challenging to grow so that's quite an achievement. Loving the hats, they look great and am jealous of the squash, I just love them.
Hen x

Calico Kate said...

Am impressed with the squashes and the hats are cute but beyond my knitting skills. I love the little blanket and pleased that it's new occupant has arrived safely.
Have had a lovely catch up - Sorry I've not had a chance to drop by recently.

Lola Nova said...

What bounty! On all fronts. Our garden was a bit of a let down this year, entirely my doing as I am in charge of vegetation around here. No squash, we grew potatoes instead and lacked the room. Last year we grew pie pumpkins and they were yummy.

Our first year in the house we grew baby watermelon. While we weren't watching, the vines grew through the neighbors fence and the only ones that ripened were of course, on their side. The old neighbors were an unfriendly bunch so we didn't ask to get our melons.
We have lovely neighbors now, but have not grown melon since.

I am hoping to expand the garden next spring so that we have the room for wandering vegetables. :)

Tabiboo said...

I love all those squashes - delicious, my favourite! Our's have been average this year - enough for a couple of loaves of pumpkin bread so hubby is off to the farm shop tomorrow as I really need some pumpkin soup!

Hope your feeling better soon too?? We are all over the worst.

Nina x

Serenata said...

What a brilliant harvest! I hope to do something oneday, but small steps at a time - need the right land first. Tried veges here but just don't work! Too much clay.

Glad you don't do Halloween either - doesn't seem to be many who don't. Thank you for the comment re the little bag.

Love the little hats, may see if I can whip up a couple tonight, but need to prioritise - still need to make some tags/signs for my bags to drop of the shop tomorrow - yikes where does the time go?!

sarah-jane down the lane said...

I love those little Patty Pan squashes, mine arent so great this year, not worthy of a photo. Your haul looks yummy!

Well done for the pretty bottle hats, I wish I could knit! Must learn,

Love Sarah x

whoatemycrayons said...

Great dinky hats, wish I had a smaller pointier head ;)

I feel sorry that Ploughboy didn't get to taste some of the labours of his hard work!

Feeling better now I hope.

periwinkle said...

I don't think I;ve ever eaten squash like that before - I'll have to give it a go -- they do look cute

A Bun Can Dance said...

Your squash collection is amazing! Wow - what will you make from them all? And a melon - it looks divine, I can smell the sweet flavour! Well done on an amazing harvest. The Innocent bottle hats are just so cute and it sounds as though you've had lots of fun making them too.
Have a great weekend
Denise x

jennyflower said...

You certainly are filling the stores aren't you? That is a gorgeoue selection of squash!

Kelly said...

I love pumpkin!
Yours look great, what a brilliant harvest!
Love the hats too! I made some and Joe recieved them today, haven't had time to post them yet. They are easy aren't they?

Lots of Love

Kelly xxx

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Bottle covers mmmm I think they'd be wonderful little egg cozies, duck eggs that is. And wouldn't they brighten the breakfast table snuggling those eggs and bringing a smile to all that had the pleasure of sitting at your table.
Oh yes and the squash... yummy. Here we half them clean out the centers, add some raisins, a few pecans and maple syrup then place them in a pan sitting in a pan filled with water. A perfect addition to any harvest dinner.

Indigo Blue said...

I have had a go at knitting some of the dinky little bottle hats too. I have not posted the final ones yet but I have gone for using up some bright and unusual wool that I have been given over the past couple of years in swaps. I love the little flowers on top, really finished them off. I made some last year but then missed the post deadline because I was on holiday. Many thanks for putting my swap button on your blog.

Florence and Mary said...

That is some harvest!

Victoria xx

Felicity said...

i think your little hats are lovely and even better for a good cause, also your harvest is fantastic! fliss xx

louise said...

Well done with the melon! I must say I am envious of your pattypans, I've grown them in the past, and love them. I didn't get to do any veg for this year, but hope to for next, time pending? I have seen the little hats on bottles on Innocent in the supermarkets, and have been tempted to buy some, as I cannot knit for toffee! Keep up the good work. x

PS. Glad you liked the biscuit recipe. said...

Oh Pomona! You should see my yield! One pumpkin, one marrow and one squash!!! Better next year I hope! Yours are magnificent. I love those little hats, so cute! suzie. xx

Menopausal musing said...

Lovely crop. We have done well too. We have had three lovely melons so far. I was doubtful, but His Nibs was adamant......... and boy were they delicious. Little, yes, but delicious. Our marrows are rubbish this year.

Chrissie said...

Brilliant squash harvest! Call me perverse, but I love look of the Anna Schwarz ones - hope they taste good!

Poshyarns said...

The hats are adorable and the squash just glorious.

Amy said...

I feel sad that your son wasn't there to try his melon! At least he will have the lovely picture. The squash and pumpkins look fabulous. Great job!

silverpebble said...

What a delicious post. Autumn is such a tasty time. Mmm, squash, all roasty with a spot of cumin. My mouth is watering.


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