Sometimes gardens produce surprises – especially when you haven’t looked closely at the little plastic tag stuck in the soil when you buy the small plant! In spring planting season, my brother-in-law thought he was planting cucumbers. Well, he was – sort of! He didn’t look at the little tag that he’d already stuck in the ground next to the plant until he saw the most unusual cucumbers – if that is what they really were!
In fact, these very long, fat “fruits” are called “Armenian yard-longs.” Yard-long is descriptive, because that is about how long each one of these cucumbers are. The photo here is one of the last ones, and not nearly the biggest! (My foot is in the photo for scale – I wear a size 8 shoe.)
When my brother-in-law pulled out the little tag to find out what kind of cucumber these were, he had to look up “Armenian yard-longs” on the internet. Wikipedia has this description: The Armenian cucumber,Cucumis melo var. flexuosus, is a type of long, slender fruit which tastes like a cucumber and looks somewhat like a cucumber inside. It is actually a variety of muskmelon (C. melo), a species closely related to the cucumber (C. sativus). It is also known as the yard-long cucumber, snake cucumber, snake melon. It should not be confused with the snake gourds (Trichosanthes spp.).
The information my brother-in-law found said that the yard-long is a hybrid between a cucumber and a muskmelon. It really does taste like a cucumber and inside looks like a cucumber – and nothing like a melon!!
When you’re on holiday, do you prefer self catering or a hotel/B&B? On road trips, I will pack a cooler with necessities for picnics, such as bread, cheese, fruit, and beverages. But we rarely use them. It’s just easier to go to a restaurant. The last time I remember having a picnic on a road trip was the day we went to Devil’s Tower in eastern Wyoming, five years ago. After visiting the monument, we found a picnic table near the entrance to the park, and I set out our picnic fixings. It was about 6 p.m., and just as we were starting to eat our picnic dinner, it started to rain! We finished our sandwiches quickly, then headed back to the car just in time before it started to pour!
Do you have a favourite meal you cook for yourself or order when out? We live at a senior community, and one reason we moved here was so we wouldn’t have to cook anymore. We get our own breakfast together and for lunch, eat salad or leftovers from dinners the night before in the dining room. In the evening, we eat in the dining room, and I must say the food is usually quite good.
That said, my husband makes great omelets, customarily on Saturdays, but it could be any day he feels like doing it! The omelet always contains tomatoes, onions, kale (from a friend’s garden), sometimes luncheon meat, and cheese. It might have other veggies, like broccoli. We have freshly squeezed orange juice (this is done at Mariano’s supermarket, we just buy the bottles of it!) and either a bagel, a muffin, or toast. That is the most elaborate meal we cook for ourselves these days!
In the current fuel crisis, have you made a conscious effort not to use the car unless absolutely necessary? I think about it sometimes, and I at least drive a Prius (hybrid), but we don’t drive a lot anymore. We are both retired and our regular trips consist of to and from a golf course weekly (my husband, with his Subaru Forester), doctors’ appointments and shopping, usually in neighboring suburbs, and some activities I do with friends in the city we used to live in, which is only five miles from here. It takes several weeks, usually a month, for my gas tank to get low enough to buy gas. I get 50 miles to the gallon, which is better than most cars on the road in the U.S.!
4. If you were to compare yourself to a plant, what would you be? I’d be a saguaro cactus. I love these majestic giants and sometimes they have many arms in a variety of positions. They look awkward sometimes, and I can relate!
I am lucky to have a lot of happy memories from my childhood. Please share one from yours. Most of my friends during childhood lived in my neighborhood in our hometown in southern Wisconsin, so we played together outside when weather permitted. We’d ride our bikes, go to our local beach (a man-made pond with a sandy shore), or play in the woods behind our houses. In the summer, we’d stay out as late as our parents let us – it was perfectly safe then, even after dark. In the winter, we’d go to each others’ houses, but usually ended up at mine. If one of the kids left a scarf or hat at my house, I’d smell it and then I’d know who it belonged to!
Another Monday, another Melanie’s Share Your World! I have not participated in several weeks, although I think there are a few unfinished ones in my Drafts.
What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed? (If you don’t know, just choose something that you think would improve things. The golem is a creature of Jewish folklore created from inanimate material, such as mud or clay, brought to life to serve a particular purpose. It originated in the 1500s in Prague. In some stories, the golem was created to defend against anti-Semitic attacks. Based on the news I’ve been watching this evening, there is a dangerous rise in anti-Semitism and the growth of the “Christian nationalism” movement, which to me smacks of Nazism. (Congress member Marjorie Taylor Greene, I am convinced, would have been an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler.) So I think we need to create a golem – a gigantic one – to guard against anti-Semitism and perhaps other ethnic and racist attacks as well.
Should the death penalty be re-instated? Why or why not? First of all, the death penalty is still alive and well in some states (Texas comes to mind). Where I live, in Illinois, it was suspended about a decade ago after a group of Northwestern University law students discovered that several men on death row had been wrongly convicted and were actually innocent. The governor, a Republican, in light of these revelations, suspended the death penalty, and it is still inactive in this state. Several other states have also banned or suspended it, but it’s still active in many states. Most “civilized” countries banned the death penalty long ago.
Morally, I am opposed to the death penalty, particularly because it disproportionally affects black people, especially men, who are incarcerated at a far higher rate than white men. Our justice system is imperfect, and as the Northwestern students proved, there are innocent men on death row; in fact, innocent men have been executed even though their cases contained a lot of doubt about their guilt. Also, the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime (this has been shown to be the case through research, regardless of what death penalty advocates would have us believe), so why have it? It is a barbaric vestige of medieval times.
Another problem with the death penalty is its financial cost. Lawyers of people on death row generally try to appeal their clients’ cases multiple times. This costs taxpayers money. It is less expensive – and, I believe, a worse punishment – to sentence someone to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Sometimes, prisoners who have been incarcerated for a long time do good things in prison to improve themselves – some have even obtained college degrees in prison! Also, there are some who become pastors who minister to their fellow prisoners. In my opinion, these prisoners that have shown themselves able and motivated for self-improvement have proved they have been rehabilitated and could be released. The prison system in our country is awful, and there is a lot of big money interests behind it. Meaningful prison terms can sometimes be served in service to others or in learning to work on farms or ranchers, for example. The prisoner learns a skill that can be useful to him (or her) after release.
Spontaneity Or Stability?
I yearn for both.
Can a dog/cat suffer? What about an ant? What about a plant? What about a bacteria cell? Why do some humans think we’re the only species that does suffer? Your thoughts?
I know that animals suffer – just as we do; after all, humans are animals. Anyone who has owned a pet or has contact with animals knows this. Plants, perhaps also. Trees that have had disease struggle to recover, but little by little wither and die. When I neglect my garden, I can see the plants suffering from lack of water and care – such as removal of weeds that grow around them and threaten to choke or smother them. If lack of water, they show their suffering with wilted leaves, which perk up amazingly well after a good watering or a couple of good rains!
I have no idea why some humans think we’re the only species that suffers. Perhaps it’s to justify their cruelty to animals or their sense of superiority and dominance over the earth. Some use the Bible to “prove” their claim that other species don’t suffer and that humans have the right to dominance over all creatures. The Bible, however, also says the opposite, telling us to take care of nature. (Read Psalm 8, one of my favorites.) I have heard people say that because an animal doesn’t cry out in pain during labor and giving birth, it means the animal doesn’t feel pain. This makes no sense! Animals in the wild can’t afford to cry out while in the pains of labor, for it may attract predators.
What are two things that have brightened your day today?
Reading to a fellow resident in my book group. She has low vision and cannot read the book we’ll be discussing, even with large print. So my sister and I are taking turns reading to her. We all get together and enjoy hearing (and reading) the book together. I enjoy reading aloud and would do it for any resident under whatever circumstances.
Learning the benefits of the Power Plate machine for a variety of conditions – today we had a workshop at the fitness center, where one of the instructors demonstrated its benefits. Then I used it to massage my feet for six minutes!
We used to hike much more than we do now. Even so, when we are traveling and there is an opportunity to take a walking tour, we take advantage of it! Also, we go on day trips in the Chicago area, to a variety of places to find something artistic or unusual.
On our first day in Tanzania, we spent the morning on a genuine hike! This ficus tree captured my interest.
On that same hike, our guide stopped to pick up something off the ground – a giraffe turd! Holding it in his open palm, he told us it was the turd of a male giraffe, because of its somewhat football shape. Female giraffe turds are flat on each end! Several of our group of hikers crowded around to get a close-up of this unusual find! The guide patiently waited, while with his other hand he looked at something on his cellphone!
Where there is giraffe poop, you can be sure there are giraffes nearby! This one walked nonchalantly away from us – since it was also a male giraffe, I wonder if his was the deposit we had been examining!
Later during that trip, on the day we arrived at Serengeti National Park, another hike had been arranged! I love to walk because that is when I see the small things that would be missed on a bike or traveling in a vehicle! I took photos of these three small things on that hike.
Most of my walks are short treks either around campus or somewhere else in town. On campus one day, which happened to be my birthday, Dale and I were taking our usual walk around campus, when we came upon two other residents who were walking their dogs and had stopped to chat (while social distancing!). It’s common for residents to greet each other or chat on these walks, but before long, someone says, “Well, I need to keep walking” and they go their separate ways.
During the pandemic, we’ve taken day trips to far-flung suburbs and nature reserves.
Some of my favorite walks are in sculpture parks! Our walk at Morton Arboretum, which happened to be on my birthday this year, was in search of a new installation of sculptures by a South African artist.