Latest articles

Singing Gardener: Ted entertains at the Manitoba Marathon in Winnipeg

Plus, some weather lore to test out and some zucchini recipes to try

It’s good to toot your horn once in a while except in this case there are no bells, whistles or horns, although I do recall horns tooting the day I became a married man decades ago. This year’s yellow and green zucchinis in my half-acre garden are awesome. I’ve a second batch of zucchini youngsters on the go for a later crop. So today, a couple of zucchini recipes is my way to toot. But first!

On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, 2019, yours truly had another outstanding experience during the 41st annual running of the Manitoba Marathon in Winnipeg. The Singing Gardener was one among many homegrown and talented artists situated at ideal locations along the course route to help keep runners moving and motivated while spectators cheered them on. During the more than hour-long event beginning at 7 a.m., I sang my “Manitoba Marathon Rally Song” numerous times and other tunes I’ve written, while throngs of runners passed in front of me. You’ll see my picture with guitar on this page. It was perfect running weather for nearly 10,000 runners who participated in seven events with many accomplishing their goals and personal best times. Hosting the first of four Canadian Half Marathon Championships on race day also added to the thrill.

Goldy zucchini shown here is intensely colourful with a delicious light buttery taste. Open plants are vigorous with hardly any spines and smooth fruits.
photo: Ted Meseyton

Manitoba Marathon is proud to be a vehicle that has raised millions of dollars enabling them to open homes and create avenues of hope through projects that support people living with an intellectual disability, proving to them that they are welcome in the community. Success enjoyed by the Manitoba Marathon is due to the amazing support of participants, incredible sponsors, volunteers and community builders.

Said Father’s Day event featured something for everyone — those striving for their personal best, those beginning their journey towards a healthier lifestyle and those simply looking for a good time with family and friends. The excitement continues as they look toward their 42nd running of the Manitoba Marathon on June 21, 2020 in Winnipeg. It is the province’s largest celebration of fitness, family, friends and fundraising.

Well here we are at the point where I tip my hat and say: Come along folks and stay with me y’all, howdy means welcome, winter, spring, summer and fall.

Weather lore – next six months

Autumn equinox, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 — 2:50 a.m. (approx.) central daylight time.

Yes — I’ve written and sing “The Canadian Weather Song,” but the following account isn’t in the lyrics, so I’m writing about it here. This tale comes from old Newfoundland and Labrador weather lore and also what was shared to me by one of my readers. To participate you need to keep a detailed written account in a book of upcoming weather on a daily basis for six days beginning the day after the autumn equinox. That is to say: during the period from September 24, 2019 to September 29, 2019. Pay particular attention to wind, sky and temperature and take written notes. Each of aforesaid days is said to indicate future weather for the following six months ahead.

For example: September 24 indicates October weather; September 25 indicates November weather; September 26 indicates December weather; September 27 indicates January 2020 weather; September 28 indicates February 2020 weather and September 29 foretells weather for March 2020.

This is based on generations of weather wisdom handed down through the centuries from Newfoundland fishermen who knew the winds, sea currents, sky conditions and best days for a catch. How accurate this outline will be for predicting Prairie weather for the next six months I do not know, so is yet to be determined. It’s easy enough to keep written notes for six days. If you decide to give it a try let me know your opinion and/or experience sometime down the road whether it has any validity — or is it a chunk of pineapple? i.e. bunk!

Zucchini – summer’s variable garden treat

From batters and breads to cakes and casseroles — from Hamburger Zucchini Scramble to Crisp Baked Zucchini — the banter and good-humoured teasing about zucchini doesn’t end there. Once upon a time you could hardly give zucchini away. Nowadays, folks without a garden even scramble for the big ones, especially for making zucchini milk and then freezing it to use in recipes and smoothies. Zucchini is multi-purpose and among the most hospitable and succulent summer squash out there. Fruits swell when moisture is adequate, but shrink when there’s a deficiency. Also, inadequate pollination can result in distorted or small, decayed fruits. But when all grows well, zucchini fruits can advance in size up to two inches a day.

Crisp Baked Zucchini

You can use green or yellow zucchini or a mixture of both colours. The crisp golden coating of cracker crumbs and Parmesan cheese makes a delicious accent to zucchini’s gentle flavour.

Ingredients:

  • 4 or 5 medium-size unpeeled zucchini (at least one pound or more)
  • Salt (see below)
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed saltine crackers
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Scrub zucchini, remove tips and cut lengthwise into flat slices about 1/4 inch thick. Place slices in a sieve or colander, sprinkle with just enough salt to suit taste and let stand 15 to 20 minutes to drain or sweat; then blot off moisture with paper towelling.

Combine cracker crumbs and cheese in a flat pan. Spread both sides of zucchini slices with a thin layer of mayonnaise and swish in the cheese/cracker crumbs combo to coat evenly. Layer zucchini slices close together or slightly overlapping on a greased cookie sheet or casserole dish. Bake at 400 F (200 C) about 15 to 20 minutes until crispy golden.

Lemon Zucchini Pickles

These are uncooked refrigerator pickles that are crunchy and fresh tasting. Make them now while fresh homegrown and local-area zucchinis are still in good supply. These pickles will keep three weeks when stored uncovered in the fridge. Try making a batch and see what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 unpeeled lemon, halved and thinly sliced

Cut unpeeled zucchini into thin slices; place in a large bowl and combine with green pepper, onion, salt and celery seed. Mix gently and let sit for one hour. Next, dissolve sugar in lemon juice and pour over vegetables. Add lemon slices and stir well. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours and then begin to sample.

When good friends walk beside us

Give me a few good friends who will love me for what I am, or am not, and keep ever burning before my wandering steps in the kindly light of hope. Though age and infirmity overtake me and though I came not in sight of the mountain peak of my dreams — teach me still to be thankful for life where the foothills were not so steep and where old memories of good and sweet times remain. Weary miles pass swiftly, taken in a joyous ride and the world seems brighter when friends walk by my side.

Ted’s neighbour Darin Richard, shows his carved creation on a jumbo-size zucchini. Halloween’s coming — or will it be used in recipes?
photo: Ted Meseyton

About the author

Columnist

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. I salute all gardeners and farmers who help make our world a little safer and more ecologically balanced, and who toil to provide health-giving produce to others who cannot produce their own. It takes all sorts to make a world. One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.

explore

Stories from our other publications

Comments