Not exactly white, is it? Yeah, I noticed that myself this morning when I cut into it. So, it turns out I didn’t plant Cream of Saskatchewan watermelons, as I originally told you. Apparently I planted Blacktail Mountain watermelons instead. As I mentioned, I didn’t exactly label the melon plantings because I was pretty much 100% confident that I would not get melons. I never have been sucessful before, and this time I haphazardly planted them WAY too late. Or so I thought.
But I will say that I had it in my head this entire time that I planted Cream of Saskatchewans. This is because I thought the CoSs were the shortest-season watermelon seeds I had (don’t worry – I bought probably 10 varieties of seed because I’m a reasonable person). So, you can imagine my surprise this morning when I happily tripped out to the garden, found a half-dead tendril (more on that here), picked my very first ripe, homegrown watermelon of all time (!), and sliced it open for a photo session only to see red! My sleep-deprived brain was befuddled for a moment and then something went click! And I realized they were Blacktail Mountains, which were in fact the shortest-season watermelon I had.
I went in and read up on them to refresh my memory, and it turns out that they were bred in the 1970s by Glenn Drowns of Sand Hill Preservation in Iowa to be the best short-/cool-season watermelon for northern growers. Also, they got their name not from a mountain (as I had assumed) but from the black “tails” on each seed. Some sites I find say they get to 5-6 lbs, others to 8-12lbs, and I found one photo of a little girl who was holding a HUGE blacktail mountain that had to be 20 lbs or more. Our was 6 lbs, juicy, crisp, and sweet. Everything a good watermelon should be.
OK, now I’ll back up. You ask – how, Lisa, did you know to pick this fine melon that you grew? You told us that it’s nearly impossible to tell when to pick a watermelon. True, true, young grasshoppers; I did say this. However, you may remember that I talked about the half-dead (but not all-dead) tendril as a possible indicator of ripeness. Well, I was again gone for a week (I’ll be done with the constant travel soon, I swear) and I got back late last night. I had Brian check the garden as best he could while I was away and he said no tendrils looked dead. Then this morning, I went out to check on my planties and lo and behold… one nicely half-dead tendril (sorry… getting an in-focus picture proved impossible).
You get the idea…most of the stem is still plump and green but the top curly part has gone brown. So, I got my clippers and snipped it off the vine, did a quick photoshoot in the sun…
and took ‘er in, and sliced ‘er up and brought the slices back out into the sun for another photoshoot. During this one, we had to watch the dogs carefully… this is the look Charlie gets when he sees watermelon:
Brian had to hold them back.
In a solid effort to win the Wierdest Dogs in the World contest, my doggies have developed an insatiable appetite for watermelon rind. I kid you not. So, today Brian and I have eaten half the melon and the puppies have polished off the rinds. Waste not, want not.
In the World of Chick-a-Doodle-Dos
Things here are good and thankfully uneventful on the chicken front. We’re swimming in eggs. The ladies still enjoy their dustbaths more than anything in life. Lady B is still my best girl. She still enjoys a good snuggle. After being gone a week, everything seemed bright and fresh and healthy to me. The weather here has definitely moved toward fall. Even though it got up to 88 today and it’s supposed to be over 90 tomorrow, it has been in the 40s at night. The angle of the sun has lowered to the point that I need to close my eastern blinds in the morning to keep the sun out of my eyes. That autumnal chill is in the air in the mornings, and the trees are taking on hints of red and gold. The plants and chickens alike seem to be loving it. We get rain every few days, followed by bright sunshine the rest of the time, and our grass has all returned to a full and lush green; my roses are thrilled and thanking the weather gods with shiny green growth and large, fully-formed flowers; and the chickens… well, they seemed healthier to me today. Fluffier… shinier… straighter, redder combs. They like this cooler weather and green grass and abundant bugs. It has been a glorious September thus far, no question.
And so I’ll leave you with two more bits of exciting news. Exciting news #1: Scruff is a daddy! Could his life get any better? Click here, here, here, here, and here to read all about it and see super cute baby pics at My Empty Nest Days. I always knew he had it in him!
Exciting news #2: I have baby pumpkins! So yeah, that’s probably mostly only exciting to me and no one else… because, I mean… it’s late September. How could they possibly have time to mature? Well, if nothing else, this is going to be another interesting entry in my diary of documenting what happens to late-planted, heat-loving fruits here in the northern Willamette Valley. I had even less hope for the pumpkins than for the melons. Even though I have successfully grown pumpkins many times (while this year is my first melon success of any type, ever), I planted the pumpkins even later than the melons and in an even more haphazard and careless manner (don’t ask me what kinds these are… I have no clue). Yet, here we are… thriving, huge vines with young fruit set. We’ll see if they have enough time to mature. You’d better believe I’ll keep you posted. I love pumpkins more than I love air. There is nothing better on this planet. You wait until next year when I have a whole plot actually prepared for them. I have 26 varieties of heirloom pumpkin seeds just WAITING to be planted!
They are french heirlooms of some sort… perhaps Galeux D’Eysines and Musquee de Provence?
The longest vines are easily 10 ft lon and mixed chaotically with each other and some other less-successful plants (like some miniatue tomatoes that never grew much). Oohhhhh BOY am I gonna grow a lot of pumpkins next year.