In which the garden is the ultimate source of soup ingredients

Today, we cleaned out the garden in preparation for winter.

Monica presents the squash vines that escaped the garden and were
rampaging across the yard.  We cut those apart and put them in the compost.
Other vines will remain in the gardens for chickens to dismember.

This was an extremely productive year for squashes....

Foxie Loxie stands on the largest pumpkin. 
...even for squashes we didn't grow on purpose.

We call these the bi-colored python rock snakes, and they all grew from 
a single plant that sprouted in the middle of the carrot bed.
Alas, these squashes don't taste good except to chickens and dogs.
Apparently, it's Decorative Gourd Season.  Who knew?

The butternut squashes are the tastiest, and this year we had an awesome crop.

25-gallon Rubbermaid box of squashes.
Most of these will store as-is, in the cool darkness of a closet corner.  Those with immature rind or splits and dings in the skin will get hulled, cubed, and frozen for soups.

The largest butternut squash, shown beside a 14-pound Shetland Sheepdog
for size comparison

Speaking of soup ingredients

The dogs are not delicious in soup.  But the beans are!
 Hulling beans is boring, I listen to audiobooks as I gradually work through this enormous bucket.

The beans will spend time air-drying, and then we'll put them in jars so they will be handy to throw into soups this winter.

Sadly, the beans don't keep the beautiful color through the soup--making process.
But they taste great!
 The rulers of the garden are the Giant Pumpkins.  

Farming is not for the weak.

I will deliver a couple of these to friends and neighbors,

Santa Jim sez these punks will NOT fit in your stocking!

The biggest pumpkin took four people to move up the hill

and the rest will decorate our yard

wrasslin' the big pumpkins into place

 and be used for Seasonal Photo Ops...

Awesomest FB profile photo for Decorative Gourd Season

Annual picture of the kids
 until ultimately...
Yay, pumpkins!

our pumpkins get turned into

Roo, Foxie and Luna are more photogenic than usual
when surrounded by these beautiful pumpkins!

A butternut squash peeled and cubed.  Save seeds!
A chunk of pumpkin half the size of the butternut, also peeled and cubed.
Some corn.  
Beans, soaked, if you like chunky unpureed soup.  If you like smooth soup, leave out the beans.
A couple tomatoes, if you have them.  Fresh tomatoes are best.
A carrot or two if there are some handy.
Some half-and-half.

*    Roast the cubed butternut and pumpkin for about 20 minutes on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees.  Then dump the cubes into your soup pot and add some water.
*    While the oven is still hot, toast a few handfuls of squash seeds on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes or until they get crunchy.  If they turn black and catch fire, they're too done.  Don't try to use the burnt ones.  Allow the toasted, unburned seeds to cool, then chop them up for a garnish.
*     Add corn.  Corn makes the soup sweet--if you like sweet soup, add a lot.  Otherwise, just a handful.
*     Add soaked beans if you intend to serve chunky soup.  If you are going to puree the soup, leave out the beans.
*     Tomatoes brighten the flavor.  Add as many as you have.
*    Carrots add good body and bright color.  Chunk them up small and toss them in if you have some.
*    Warm the ingredients over medium heat.  Before the soup starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a while.
*    Puree if you like smooth soup, don't puree if you like chunky soup.
*     Add the half-and-half right before serving.  Don't use fat-free half-and-half, that stuff is disgusting.
*     Sprinkle with chopped toasted squash seeds to impress guests and make people think you really know what you're doing.

Serve with fresh bread to people you like.


  1. I still have two of your soup recipes in my box, the butternut squash being one of them.

    This year I got FOUR zucchinis - that's 4 times as much as every other year here. I was soooo happy! And, I got enough purple beans for the side dishes for about 4 or 5 dinners. (And one day I got a rash on my arms from the leaves, wth!) I never hulled the beans though, I just chopped them up completely for soups or frying. I got 3 tomatoes total (from 4 plants) but they didn't taste good.

    At my gardening success rate here, it's almost not worth the effort. Especially given that the government has strict controls on food prices, and groceries are cheaper than the dirt I buy to try to grow food in. In fact I must do a post on our food prices. We don't have selection, we don't have all those wonderful things I miss from home, but the basics are cheap. Then again, you can't buy bulk, so maybe it just seems cheap?

    1. Why are you BUYING DRT when you have perfectly good horse/donkey compost available?!?!

  2. What about people you don't like?

    1. Those people get zucchini in their cars. Or some of those pretty, tasteless squashes!


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