Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   mystery cucurbit now has flowers
Friday, August 7 2015
Anna and Emily, the friends who came over for dinner the other night, are still staying at a house they rented in the area. This morning Anna called in need of help because their car had broken down. It's a 2001 Honda Civic and evidently its timing belt went bad, which is always a disaster in a car whose valves intrude into the space where pistons also go. When the timing belt breaks, there is nothing to stop them from being in the same space at the same time, so they inevitably collide and destroy each other. The fix is to replace the engine. This had obviously thrown a monkey wrench into the end of Anna & Emily's upstate vacation. Iniitially Gretchen planned to pick them up and drive them somewhere, but eventually she decided it would be easiest for all involved if she just loaned them our Prius for the day. This also meant that a dog walk she'd just arranged and then canceled with Nancy could be uncanceled.

As you know, this spring I started a new plot of garden between the main garden plot and the southernmost tomato patch. This involved building a bluestone retaining wall, which I backfilled with a combination of dog shit, cat litter, compost, humanure, wood ashes, two wheelbarrow-loads of sandy soil, and many (more than 50) five-gallon buckets of loamy Esopus floodplain topsoil. A lot of unwanted plants have popped up in that soil, including Virginia Creeper vines, a Yellow Locust tree, a Black Walnut seedling, and a Tuliptree. I have a plan to rehome all the interesting trees (some of which have been rehomed already), but when a strange climbing vine appeared, I decided to let it keep growing to see what sort of fruit it might bear. From its leaves and behavior, it looked to be a squash, melon, or cucumber. But it grew like nothing I've ever seen, attempting to blanket the garden and then, when I wouldn't let it do that, sending runners across the yard like a many-tentacled octopus. These runners now reach from the parking area near the Subaru to the top of the mosquito tent. For a long time, this plant had no fruit or even flowers, and I'd started joking that it, like Gretchen and me, was "child-free by choice." That's not a particularly useful trait in a garden vegetable not grown for its leaves, but I let it do its think because I was curious what it was and what it would do.
When we got back from the Adirondacks, we found it was now clovered with flowers. They're small, greenish five-petal structures getting a lot of attention from Bumble Bees and wasps. So far, there's no evidence of developing fruit, but of course I'm going to keep watching.

A flower of the mystery cucurbit. Click to enlarge.

A wasp visits a flower of the mystery cucurbit. Click to enlarge.

A runner of the mystery cucurbit approaches the Subaru.

A wasp pollinates a flower of the mystery cucurbit in the foreground while several runners of that same plant can be seen growing on the mosquito tent in the background some 20 feet away. Click to enlarge.

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