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Hot as it is outside these days (35 C, or +/- 95F) there is definitely an end-of-season feel in the air.  The birds that were noisily nesting for so long  have abandoned the eaves, the cicadas drone on, but with a new weariness in their thrum.  The sun is setting much earlier, and the shops are full of back-to-school gear.

We’ve been picking and eating tomatoes for a month, and those in the garden which have already set fruit continue to ripen, in spite of the nasty disease that is killing some of their leaves.  No new fruit is forming. The same plight has visited all our viney plants as well – cukes, pumpkins, squash and melons (we have just a few plants of each so each loss is felt all the more).  First the leaves close to the main stem shrivel, then the stem desiccates and the leaves farther along wither and die.  Once the stem dies, the fruit at the end of it stops developing and dies as well.  I don’t know what this malady is, but I notice that we are not the only ones afflicted – all the gardens up and down the mountain are looking pretty sad.

We have had one huge success, though.  The only problem is we have no idea what it is.  A squashy something emerged from the compost pile a while back, and as you can see in the photo above, it is rampaging all around our former orto (abandoned because of lack of sun).  It sure looks healthy, doesn’t it?  No withering leaves here; the worst you can say is there are a few spots of the usual fungus, but even that disease hasn’t been able to get any traction.

Now it is forming gigantic fruits:

They have the size and shape of rapidly growing pumpkins, but the color of summer squash, which we’ve never grown.  I can only guess that this plant is some kind of hybrid born of the alchemy of a compost pile.  And like so many mutts, this item seems stronger and healthier than all the hot-house sissies that are dying apace in our other gardens.  Bah.  The only problem is, we don’t know if we should carve it or eat it.  Maybe both?  In the meantime, we want to wait and see just how big it will grow, and try to come up with a good name for it – squashkin?  pumpkish? Any ideas?

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