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Honey sweet babes: small is beautiful

Updated: Aug 15

The first of the Madhu Ras Rajasthani melons fell off the vine into my hands today, just like the online guides to knowing when your melons are ripe, told me it would.

The Madhu Ras melon originated in the Thar desert of western India, and is a small sized Cucumis melo in the ribbed (cantaloupe) branch of the family.

The scent of this one, warm from the vine and before cutting, is a subtle mix of musky honey and what I grew up calling spanspek.

Like any proud parent, I weighed this first babe: an impressive 2.5 lbs. Actually I did it out of curiosity. I don’t weigh much of the abundance that comes into the kitchen from the garden of earthly delights. But sometimes I do.

Then I put it in the fridge for a few hours, while I did some yoga and other things, before cutting and sampling.

This melon variety is absolutely delicious. The promised honey sweetness of the name (Madhu Ras means honey melon) really is there. The hacienda is perfumed now with a scent of warm beehive and musky exoticism.

Because it’s small, Madhu Ras is an excellent candidate for trellises. I’m definitely saving seeds.

Here’s hoping more of these desert adapted little babies swell to ripeness and manage to dodge the rampant squash bugs (a pox on them) which are currently sucking the life out of the gem squash vines.

Structure for these melons was the reason I surrounded the perimeter of the front garden with cattle panel trellises, making the hacienda look rather fenced in at that time. Finally, six months later, after I’ve stopped noticing it (I’m inside looking out most of the time) the reason for The Cage Treatment is revealed.

It was “interesting” bringing home four16ft cattle panels on the stubby loadbed of little old Ford Ranger Janis truck (total vehicle length around 15 ft). Luckily the feed supply store is just down the hill from the hacienda so Janis truck and I didn’t have to travel a long distance trailing our future trellises, making a terrible grating noise and sparking off the tarmac of the road.


Janis truck is certainly a willing workhorse. I like to think she holds her head up high in the parking lots filled with the monster trucks so beloved by my neighbours. Much like my childhood Basuto pony held his own against much bigger horses, especially on the polocrosse fields, all those years ago.


Little horse. Little truck. Little melons. Is there a theme here? Maybe.


Recommended reading: “Small Is Beautiful: a Study of Economics as if People Matter.” E. F. Schumacher (1973). Yeah, it is that old now: the text that fueled my coming of age dreams. Imagine that. Dreams finally kinda, sorta, being realized. Fifty years and a whole lot of life under the bridge.


And we got there from Indian melons, how?


Now. It is the only time and place there is.


Imagine all the people/living for the day.

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