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!!
It’s Valentine’s Day Monday, so Melanie’s Share Your World questions are all about this day of love.
Which traditional Valentine’s Day gift would you rather receive: chocolates, flowers, or a card with a personal message?
Flowers with a card and chocolates!
Do you like romantic movies? Yes, some of them. Actually, my husband is a lot more into rom-coms than I am. He watches the same ones over and over when given the opportunity!
Is Valentine’s Day only about romantic love? Or is it a good occasion to celebrate friendship as well? It’s both. And actually it’s a day to have a birthday celebration too! (See below)
How do you deal with unwanted romantic attention? Hahahaha! I wish!!
GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional)
Share one or two of your favorite memories of your special loved one if you’d like. My husband, Dale, has his birthday on Valentine’s Day. Today he had a very special Valentine birthday! In the morning, he presented me with a very LARGE Happy Valentine’s Day bag. In it were two gifts for me for Valentine’s Day as well as a mushy card (he always gets those!). I had not even had the chance to wrap his birthday gift yet, but when I returned home from a book discussion group, he had gone to a doctor’s appointment, so I was able to get his gift ready. But he had a real surprise in store for him! First, he got several cards and phone calls wishing him happy birthday. The doorbell rang and it was one of our friends from our senior community delivering two beautiful cupcakes (they must have been from Mariano’s – this supermarket is known for its elaborately decorated desserts) along with a card from him and his wife! Dale was sheepish!
We had an early dinner reservation because I had arranged for my brother-in-law’s barbershop quartet to come serenade him with a singing Valentine, and it was to be their last singing Valentine of the day! I had to make up an excuse to have dinner so early, so I told Dale I had to go to church for a rehearsal and he didn’t suspect anything. Before the quartet arrived, six of us were settled at our table set for seven. (The 7th was for my sister, who arrived late.) These were all friends or friendly acquaintances of ours, but especially friends of my sister’s. One of the women has a walker and on it she had brought a beautiful bouquet of roses for the table and a box of cookies to share with us, as well as a bottle of wine! So we had quite a celebration, even before my brother-in-law’s singing Valentine arrived! The guys presented him with a red rose (which he left on our table!! 😦 ) and sang three romantic songs, ending with Happy Birthday.
Oh, and I almost forgot – Dale got a call from our son during dinner to wish him happy birthday and they had a long conversation. This was very special because our son never remembers to call us on our birthdays. He has really turned over a new leaf!!
So we had a very memorable and fun celebration. And we still have the cupcakes to enjoy on another day!!
Here is a barbershop quartet (not Elmer’s!) singing Let Me Call You Sweetheart, a standard for singing valentines.
I am admittedly lousy at keeping up with a daily challenge, so I am going to take this one by chunks, this time at least!
Dec. 1: Decorations Many people here at our senior community put wreaths and other decorations on the doors and shelves outside their apartments. Last year when it was too cold to walk outside, I instead walked the halls of the apartment building and took lots of photos of decorations. I will probably do the same thing this year. Because of COVID-19, to get us into the holiday spirit, there is a door decorating contest, so there ought to be even more doors decorated this year! Here are a few from last year. I especially like the ones that reflect different ethnic traditions.
I made this collage of some of the door wreaths.
Dec. 2: Family I have a large family so we don’t all gather together. Mostly we get together with the kids and grandkids of my sister and brother-in-law, who live in this same community. Last Christmas, our daughter & son-in-law hosted the celebration at our old house (where they currently live).
Dec. 3: Traditions We have several holiday traditions, such as putting up my collection of creches (Nativity scenes – I have quite a few), a Christmas tree decorated with lights and ornaments, and games – we always play some games! We also sing carols around a piano (if there is one). My sister has two Christmas carol games and we also love to play Charades and Categories. Last year our daughter and son-in-law had a new game for us, where everyone at the table takes turns unwrapping a large ball of cellophane full of little prizes. One person unwraps while another throws dice. When the dice come up as doubles, the person unwrapping has to stop and pass on the cellophane ball. It was frustrating and fun!
I think we will have to forego the games this year, because we can’t get together – but maybe we can play Categories via Zoom!!
Cee Neuner has a new weekly challenge entitled On The Hunt For Joy. This is the second week and the theme is Say Cheese. She says,
“find some photos of you smiling and feeling joyful, or find some photos that brings a smile to your face or brings you joy. Tip from Ingrid Fetell Lee [who is the inspiration for this challenge]: ‘Studies show that our expressions can influence our emotions. So when you’re feeling down, try faking it ‘till you feel it by smiling, doing laughter yoga exercises, or looking at a photo of yourself taken at a particularly joyful time.'”
I selected photos that represent happy times in my life. The first is me having a fun moment with my son when he was a little boy, circa winter 1988.
A wedding photo taken when I married the man I love, Dale, in November 1995.
Playing around with the photo software on my computer in my classroom at Anne Sullivan School. This was one of the happiest years during my teaching career, 2009-2010.
Here are some happy times traveling.
Me with fish band sculpture, Laclede, St. Louis, MO (2016) – I include this because of the interesting & humorous sculpture.
You may recognize this as my profile picture on WP. I’m smiling because we were in Monterey, CA (2015), one of my favorite areas in the U.S.
Relaxing on deck with a margarita during our cruise to the Panama Canal (2017).
Relaxing with hot drinks and pastries after a few hours looking at art, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2018).
Finally, one of my “shared” birthday celebrations – my brother-in-law and I have birthdays nine days apart, and he is 10 years older than I am. (They spelled my name wrong at the bakery – it’s Katy, not Caty! 😦 )