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And Lo, There was Pumpkin Sex.

We have a small pumpkin patch in our backyard I have been doing my best to keep watered and fed. I have an especial fondness for pumpkin shoots and flowers in my cooking. The flowers, in particular, are prized in Vietnam for stirfrying, and have a tender crunch and mildly sweet flavour reminiscent of the fruit. Unfortunately enough, although we finally had female flowers this year, I'd watch in horror as baby pumpkins shriveled up and died within days after the flowers wilted. According to sites I looked up, we had all the very worst conditions for expecting pumpkins: scorching heat, a drop in bee numbers (due to the heat) and not enough watering. The cure was to incite a kind of pumpkin bukake, using human hands to rub pumpkin penises against pumpkin vaginas. Yes, I know they're supposed to be stamens and stigmas, but these sound better.

Anyway, I woke up early enough for the job, when the flowers had all just bloomed, but was too lazy to leave the house at half past six, so left it until quite late in the morning, when the flowers were disturbingly starting to crumple in. Noticing this (the patch is directly opposite the bedroom window I work behind), I ran out with my box of three pre-chilled and collected pumpkin penises and a pair of scissors to finish what pumpkins clearly have no clue how to start on their own. It's like the giant panda argument -- how do you get them interested in each other? It's faster to artificially inseminate them. There were three freshly opened male flowers alongside the female one. I snipped the stamens of all three fresh flowers first, and did the rubbing and fertilizing stuff. There was a disturbing number of black ants. I suppose they helped the process along in nature, and were primarily attracted to the female flower, indicating it was a very sweet....female flower. I was initially worried the ants would cart off the pollen, but it didn't seem like they were into that. Many ants received facial shots as a result. Then, I took out the three chilled stamens I had on me and added the pollen from that to the mix. Quite frankly, if this female flower does not start coming down with child after six emasculated male flowers, I am going curse stuff.

After which, I harvested the emasculated flowers for lunch. Made a kind of halfway green curry chicken and threw them in at the end to be cooked by the hot sauce. I didn't have eggplant, but I did have zucchini centers, which worked a treat. The curry paste was supposed to be a pesto. Since basil pesto is nearly green curry paste without the onion, ginger and galangal, I thought, aha, we have a sauce. The pesto part comes in because I'd actually made a basil and rocket pesto. I also discovered that in the absence of chillis (our chilli plants this year refused to flower), young green rocket pods are an excellent substitute. The pods are strongly peppery, with a bitter rocket edge, but roughly have the same amount of heat as a medium-mild bird's eye chilli. There was also stewed sweet potatoes in soy sauce with wakame bits, konnyaku and some random tiny beetroot I recovered from the ground before it got completely eaten by pillbugs. (Just learnt that pillbugs are genus Armadillidium. How cute.)

I've been having issues with my left hand over the last three months. I've wondered if it's because I had to handle a large amount of water (predominantly grey water from the house I carry in buckets to the garden outside) that's affecting my joints. But my left hand numbs when I clench it or try to grip something with it. A few times a day, I'll do something with my hands and the pain carries from the back of my palm up to my knuckles. This hasn't made typing difficult yet, though one hand is always somewhat numb on the keyboard. Gets to me though, when I need to handle secateurs with my left hand, or snap off branches. I've also discovered I'm back to 38kg (85 pounds). This was my weight about 5 years ago. I haven't actually grown an inch since that time though, so I look the same. Things out here have been quiet, but frustrating. Trying to psyche myself up to write something. There are chores though. I need to cook a tree's worth of nectarines, before the birds, flies and cockroaches eat them all. There's going to be way too much nectarine crumble when this is done.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 4th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
Ok, this is a whole different kind of porn from your normal food porn posts! XD

As for the left hand, my mother for a while complained of numbness. The doctor thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome. (unfortunately, her hand has gotten worse because she still moves it too much and she's got pain now) I'd suggest looking up some wrist exercises.
Jan. 5th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)
Filled with odd food porn, I am! :)

Wrist exercises sound doable. Thanks!
Jan. 4th, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC)
Also, you are tiny. I haven't been 85 pounds since... elementary school??
Jan. 4th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)

Yep -- thin wrists are especially vulnerable to repetitive stress injuries. I've got very dainty wrists for my size, and they were badly disabled. Numbness is generally because something is swelling and pressing on nerves, which is never good. My back-of-hand pain was due in part to median nerve entrapment. To this day, I have a little numbness between my last two digits of the left hand.

I'd definitely get this checked out by a doctor. You're young and this isn't going to get better on its own. A combination of chiropractic treatment and traditional physical therapy helped me immensely, but everybody's different. I wouldn't be surprised if it's due to a combination of the gripping you're describing and the typing.

Take care of you! ::hugs::

Jan. 5th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
I have every reason to believe repetitive typing and work involving the keyboard contributes to this problem too. I am at my desk for far longer than I should be in a day, which causes a lot more than just wrist issues, so I'm trying to remember that rest won't kill me now and again. :)

You're also right in that I may need to seek a doctor. Will have to look into that, thanks!
Jan. 5th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
I'm five feet tall, petal. I was 80 pounds throughout high school to about college. I gain weight very slowly. :)
Jan. 5th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
I'm only 5 feet and 2 inches. I reached 110 pounds when I was in 8th grade. *shrug*
Jan. 5th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
Wow. You're my Mom's height! For all that I love food and like to eat food, I am a small eater. Efforts to get me on normal-looking portions so I can wear reasonably normal-people clothes are encouraging, however short-lived. I can already see signs of my metabolism slowing down, so who knows? I might gain weight naturally by the time I'm in my mid-thirties!
Jan. 4th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
teehee pumpkin penises
Jan. 5th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
Strange, two-headed pumpkin penises!
Jan. 5th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
this made me smile
Jan. 5th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )