Carnival Squash – only a vegetable but…

December 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

In the local market, among the massive pumpkin display and decorative gourds for sale, was a very small variety of squash that caught my eye. I brought one home to admire nature’s handiwork. The label was useful for identification, and I thought that I had never noticed this before now.  Read on. I learned that it was developed in 1991 and later, commercially grown. At my age, this is recent and new.

Carnival Squash is a cross between an acorn and sweet dumpling squash, it’s a round, mini-sized winter squash with a deeply indented stem area with skin that is white or yellow, with green jagged stripes. It is very sweet in flavor with tender light orange flesh. Squashes of the Cucurbita pepo acorn group were domesticated by Native Americans then later made their way to Europe and Asia, but I wanted to know more about this.

This is an excerpt from an article by Native American foods expert Lois Ellen Frank, “History on a Plate…..” on “Corn, beans and squash, called the Three Sisters by many tribes, serve as key pillars in the Native American diet and is considered a sacred gift from the Great Spirit. Together, the plants provide complete nutrition, while offering an important lesson in environmental cooperation. Corn draws nitrogen from the soil, while beans replenish it. Corn stalks provide climbing poles for the bean tendrils, and the broad leaves of squashes grow low to the ground, shading the soil, keeping it moist, and deterring the growth of weeds.”

This squash is a descendant of squashes native to Mexico and was developed and introduced to the market in 1991 by plant breeder Ted Supernak of Harris Seeds (founded 1879) in North America with the intent to improve on the Sweet Dumpling Squash.  The color vibrance in the rind is the result of seasonal temperature variations with warmer temperatures producing squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes.  

The Dumpling variety specifically was first developed in 1976 by Sakata Seed Corporation of Yokohama, Japan. At the time it was a popular practice in Japanese squash breeding to take larger popular American squash varieties and breed them to be smaller in size. These are more home garden and home chef friendly since they grow on shorter trailing vines and benefit from being trellised to keep fruits off the ground.

It takes a plant nearly three months to grow one petite squash, a treasure from soil.  I am grateful for all the labor it takes to bring this to my table that includes germinating seed, planting, watering, harvesting, packaging, shipping, and transport to my market.   

It was delicious roasted.  Think about where your food comes from, when and how did it arrive in America.  There is so much to know. Be thankful. Stay curious.   

“That which is beautiful and Tiffany T No. 1007787”

May 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Plant life is truly beautiful. In our culture, gold trinkets are valued until they are replaced by the next luxury item. Can I share this vision with you? Look closely at what is around you and behold its magnificence.

“Under the Seas” – another in the series

May 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Small watercolor using favorite colors in a familiar, ongoing theme “Under the Seas.” I like to draw, paint and dream about organic plant and microscopic life.

sold out at the Farmers Market

January 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

flowers sold out @ the Farmers Market
Sometimes the bits and pieces of things catches my eye and won’t let go. This watercolor is from a photograph taken at a Farmers Market last summer. The tendrils of the greens formed an embrace of the bits of flowers floating in the water remaining in the metal vase. I like to paint flowers but they don’t have to be fresh from the garden. Sometimes I’m caught staring at a bud that never did unfold or a bit of pollen on a spent flower head. Look and see, a simple phrase that frequently captures my imagination.

Fascinating Neutrals

November 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Los Tomatillos in a pint basket at the market I knew that this would be challenging to paint. I was fascinated by the papery outer shells surrounding each of the small tomatoes. When I researched these on the web, I learned that tomatillos are green but the ones I saw at the market were subtle shades of greens, yellows, browns and even more. I realize that neutrals are a broad group of colors.

When are pears just like apples?

November 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

Glorious PearsRed PearI painted a red pear, fighting off the instinct to overwork it and challenged by how difficult it seemed when I had an aha moment and then clarity …..pears are just like apples in watercolor! In my first (and only) watercolor class in 2010, I learned to paint a highlight layer using new gamboge, then two shades of red on the dried layers for the medium and darkest values. I realized that my vision has matured and objects have many values and hues. My “glorious pears” were easier and a lot more fun than just one red pear. I drew the shapes first, wet the pears one by one, starting with a light, warm yellow, cadmium pale yellow and while still wet, I painted reds and greens in the values I saw in the fruit under the spotlights. I mixed the paint before I started and worked quickly on the wet paper allowing for a more spontaneous painting experience and fun! It was fast!

garlic and pasta – sketchbook watercolor

October 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

garlic and pasta

I walked by a Williams Sonoma storefront at Tyson’s mall and the pasta was beautiful, perfectly aligned.  What really fascinate me was the reflection of the pasta in the mirror-like surface of the pasta pot in the background.  Often reflections are far more interesting than the object itself such as water and ice in a glass goblet on a simple white tablecloth.  With limited time, I couldn’t focus on the reflections, instead I painted the garlic and pasta trying to match colors and values. Winsor Newton on Stonehenge paper, 7″ x 7″

pasta reflections

Candlelight Lane

February 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is the first page of a new Stonehenge 9″ x 12″ sketchbook.  I purchased a Pilot Prera pen, filled it with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink and made so many lines. Loving the pen, the paper, then what? I struggled with a personal theme and when I found one, I created an imaginary home with its own power source, ‘a forever power plant’, map collage trees and a dive board from its roof top pool into the Aegean Sea. For about a week’s time, I rushed back to my studio to add to the work. 

Candlelight Lane - better scanned

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