Attack of the Giant Zucchini

Photo Credit: krossbow via Compfight cc

The Prairies are well known for the bounty of certain cash crops in the agriculture sector, but closer to home there is the bounty of our individual vegetable garden plots. And nothing is more prolific when it comes to produce than the legendary zucchini plant.

It is often the case that the zucchini squash starts out as a tasty tender morsel that can be eaten raw, skin and all, or cut up and stir fried in a succulent vegetable medley. But sometimes the plant conceals its progeny under a sheltering leaf hoping it will mature enough to produce the seeds of the next generation. Mother Nature’s process of natural selection has bestowed the gift of accelerated development on the young zucchini squash to assist in it’s self preservation. And then it happens. In a matter of days the tasty morsel morphs into a giant impervious monster thumbing its nose at its nurturing caretaker. At this point, rather than becoming overwhelmed the good-natured gardener cherishes the bounty that has been bestowed upon them and mobilizes their “community” in a magnanimous gesture of “sharing”.

Sharing is part of our culture at Prairie Spruce Commons and we will have a shared garden space on site where those members that love to get close to nature can cultivate and harvest produce of all kinds, including zucchini squash. And for those who just like to watch the cycles of nature unfold their extra sets of eyes will help to prevent the attack of the giant zucchini. And in case a few of the zucchini escape notice and grow large enough to squash a small animal, we can always turn them into chocolate zucchini cake using one of our favourite recipes.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Photo Credit: Matthew Oliphant via Compfight cc
  • ½ cup margarine
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup sour milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream margarine, oil and sugar.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla and sour milk. Beat well.
  4. Mix together all dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Beat well.
  5. Stir in zucchini.
  6. Pour batter into greased 9 inch x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.

Dave and Lill

Trick or Treat!

Halloween has a long, and frankly fascinating history. For example, did you know that “trick or treat” originated in Canada? The first recorded instance of the expression dates back to 1927 (according to Wikipedia).

Since the middle of the 20th century, Halloween has lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones and has evolved into mainly a youth- and family-focussed holiday. Yet, even without the grotesque ghouls and demons of Halloweens past, present day trick or treating can still make parents anxious: too much candy, tainted treats, crosswalks in the dark. As children get more independent and want to venture out on their own there is also a worry of who they will meet on the path.

When I grew up in rural Saskatchewan, we did not go house to house at Halloween. We would gather at the school gym where the boy scouts along with the community gathered for a costume parade, games and sharing of treats. Treats from the community were collected at the church or through the scouts. During the festivities of the evening, parents would fill paper bags with treats with apples, peanuts, candy kisses, and other goodies. Everyone went home with similar treats, and all having experienced a great evening of safe fun – in community.

Living at Prairie Spruce opens our family up to this type of experience again. Baked goods, fruit leather, or apples as Halloween treats – I’d never dream of doing that now, but it would make sense at Prairie Spruce. It will be a comfortable safe haven for future Halloween and other family holiday fun!


Halloween Pumpkins
Image Courtesy of Justin on Flickr