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Dear HBH Friends (aka Readers),

This HBH post is going to be a little different from the others. While I typically get straight to the facts regarding the domestic task at hand, I wanted to take a slight detour because the original content of this post (which is below) made my heart turn quite a bit as I prepared it.

We all know that my garden isn’t great. Whether it’s because of the weather, my lack of skills or something else entirely, the harvest I was looking forward to and dreaming about just didn’t come to fruition… literally. While working through the ‘Harvesting’ series, however, I have always had the option of supplementing my few squash or cucumbers with a quick trip to the store. Alas, the remedy to a delicious looking dish and hopefully drool-worthy post was always a few miles and dollars away.

Well, sweet friends, there is a rather large group of people not too far away who aren’t so lucky. Truly, the famine which has hit the Horn of Africa is devastating, the worse in 60 years according to World Concern, a non-profit organization headquartered in Shoreline, Washington which provides aid to the neediest in the world.

So, while we:

  • sip our lattes,
  • choose between several frozen entrées as we pack our lunch,
  • stop by our favorite fast food joint on the way home from work,
  • plan a wonderful celebratory menu for an upcoming dinner party, or
  • schedule a dinner reservation for a date night with that someone special…

…let’s not forget those who have the littlest yet have been hit the hardest.

This isn’t an appeal to your guilt bone but rather a public reflection on my part as I consider how I can help and ask you to join me. While I’m sure that my tiny eggplant won’t do much to feed those in Kenya and Somalia, I know that being vocal (even in written form) about the issue and giving a donation of any sort to a Four Star Charity according to Charity Navigator can. And so the questions I’m asking myself include:

  • What in my life is in excess?
  • What would be the hardest thing for me to give up to help others?
  • How else can I help those only half a world away?

Thank you so much for letting me have a few more minutes of your day than usual to ponder about this little world we live in. Should you feel compelled to give, here are a few highly-regarded organizations poised and ready to serve the children and adults in Africa:

World Concern

World Vision



PS: And now, back to HBH’s regularly scheduled programming…

Confession: I am a squash hoarder. Second confession: I am a squash hoarder out of desperation. Oh sure, the lettuce came easy enough (check out my lettuce harvesting article here). The squash, however, well… let’s just say they aren’t as gratifying.

The first to come was a variety of zucchini, called, believe-it-or-not, Gadzukes!:

Cropping up at Week 6 per the Garden Cam, I was ecstatic that something which had to bear fruit was finding success!

The next squash to appear was the traditional summer squash. Yielding on the opposite side of the planter box, I was so encouraged coming to the conclusion that there wasn’t a bad spot in the box to be found. Within weeks (7-9 to be exact), it ballooned!

Finally, the sick zucchini which I was sure was going to be a dud started to provide a harvest too:

At this point, I felt very blessed and knew not to push my luck. Oh sure, there were some duds (pic below) and some flowers which didn’t quite turn into fruit. Thus, I harvested my squash according a loose interpretation of the instructions found in The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food (more info on HBH’s Resources page).

Here’s where I didn’t follow Tanya’s instructions:

  • I let the summer squash get a little longer than 8 inches. I guess I was being greedy…
  • I also harvested the squash with a much smaller stem than the recommended 1 inch.
  • The only thing that I did right? I handled those babies like they were precious jewels (in order to avoid bruising the skin).

After keeping the squash in the fridge for about a week, I decided to get my bottom in gear so that I could actually enjoy the fruit of my labor. While I might have been a mini-Iron chef when I was coming up with delicious things to do with lettuce and chives, I admittedly went to Everyday Food and performed a search with the term “summer squash”. Let me tell you, I hit the goldmine with EDF’s recipe Gnocchi with Summer Vegetables. In fact, this recipe was so good,  I’ve put together a little photo collage a la Google’s Picasa to celebrate – enjoy!