Fish in the Grass

Heavy rains make weeds grow freely

but

also easier to remove.

Rainstorms

flood the pond.

Fish are swimming in the yard.

Not so lucky for them

but the heron is happy for food

and the grass will be fertilized.

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Photo by Tyler Butler on Unsplash

This is my gardener’s perspective on a Chinese folk story called “An Old Man Lost His Horse – Sai Weng Shi Ma.”

From Taoism to Shakespeare’s, “Nothing is good or bad.  It’s thinking that makes it so,” the lens widens as the circle of learning continues.

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Misfortune, that is where happiness depends;

happiness, that is where misfortune underlies.”

 

Have You Seen the Rose Bush?

The whole is some of everything

if we but open our eyes to see.

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Growing pains

do not require suffering.

Pruning

encourages growth.

Endings

are beginnings. 

Instead of shooing away challenges

welcome the fortitude of character

as an expansive, cleansing belly breath.

Out. In. Up. Down.

We are the sum of everything —

life experiences,

thoughts, feelings, paths taken.

The Prickly Fine Print

I often viewed challenges as problems, headaches, when in reality my narrow perspective was the constricting chokehold. My limited vision obstructed a panorama of possibilities in what appeared a seemingly bleak situation.

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Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

 

Hearing someone say they were so busy looking at the thorn that they missed the rose, wiped the spattered looking-glass for me.  Working in the garden and studying the Tao pryed open the door to a scopic reality.

 

 

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While I now see both the roses and the thorns, I am learning to not judge either as good or bad but as a unified connection, one simply needing the other in life.

 

 

 

Original feature photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash

 

 

Nature Teacher: Change

Look at the movement of the clouds

and understand

life is change.

Don’t waste your time

lamenting

things are not as they were

and will never remain so.

That is not the truth of reality.

Forever cannot be.

Look at the clouds

long stratus

puffy cumulus

and feel their struggle and joy.

Clear skies,

when things are going smoothly, no issues to deal with so to speak,

are also transitory.

Go with the flow,” others say.

The clouds already do.

 

Do you Expect More from Plants or People?

Some people say expectations set us up for disappointment.  But as a gardener I say, “I must have expectations for the fruits of my labor.  Otherwise, why would I plant?”  And more often than not, the final product — of abundant produce and beautiful bloomsfar exceeds my expectations.

Still, sometimes plant wilt.  Sometimes they become diseased.  Sometimes it’s excessive heat or too little rain that hinders the intended outcome.  But, while there is no guarantee, the end result is more true for plants than people.

How do you handle expectations?  Do you allow them to create a vision?  Do you have a blank slate, throw your hands up in the air and accept whatever comes?  Do you reserve expectations only for plant life or allow them to carry over to relationships?

Good Morning Mother Nature

One of my favorite morning activities is walking through the garden discovering what’s bloomed then cutting a basket full of flowers to become a bouquet.  Focusing solely on colors, textures and scents quiets my mind while the warming sun and cooling breeze brushing my skin soothes my HSP spirit.

Mother Nature offers this gentle good morning to anyone taking time to appreciate her splendid gifts.  Try meditating while creating a morning bouquet and see how you feel.  Refreshed?  Focused?  Rewarded?  At peace?  Grateful?

 

A bit overly ambitious this morning, I now have three bouquets to grace my kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.   How I love this time of year!

 

 

Aspergrass Cheese Tart is a Keeper!

If you’re wondering about aspergrass see my recent post “Did you say Aspergrass?”  Since my asparagus is still producing and I’ve wanted to try some new recipes, the Asparagus and Cheese Tart starred brunch today.  After making some slight adjustments to suit my taste (noted below) this recipe is a fave:

  • I grilled some of the asparagus (as depicted in the photo) then blanched the 7-1-18 asparagus tart 005rest according to the recipe.  I also:
  • Increased the lemon zest from 1/2 tsp. to 3/4-1 tsp.
  • Increased the shallot from 1 tbl to 1 whole shallot
  • Used 3/4 cup each of shredded fontina and gruyere cheeses
  • Reduced the extra-virgin olive oil to 1 tsp.
  • For an interesting dimension, put 1 drop of carmelized balsamic on a bite at eating time.

If you love asparagus, try this recipe and let me know if it’s made it’s way to your favorites too!

Brunch consisted of herbal ice tea, the asparagus tart, fresh greens from the garden with lemon olive oil and kosher salt, (homegrown tomatoes are not ready yet), and uncured bacon.  Yes, I am still a carnivore.

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A garden then and now…

No surprise to me, this inspirational sentiment about a garden’s virtues.  What is surprising though, is that it was written by the Persian poet Saadi who lived more than 700 years ago.  Can you imagine the beauty he beheld then, before industry dominated our planet?  If I find a garden breathtaking now, I wonder what it was like for Saadi to see?  Could it have been even more beautiful…more uplifting, more astonishing than the way it fills my heart now?

 

Did you say Aspergrass?

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Knowing it takes three years to harvest, I delayed growing asparagus for decades.  Three years ago it was now or never.  I didn’t really know what I was doing but, as usual, I learned a lot in the process.  Now, I’ve been harvesting spears for the last six weeks and more keep coming!

Asparagus Tips (Inedible) and Tidbits…

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  • In America, asparagus is often pronounced aspergrass or aspirin grass.
  • Asparagus is a member of the lily family.
  • Packed with vitamins and nutrients, asparagus is deemed the King of Vegetables.  Plants comprise a crown of rhizomes and lateral roots, and a tall, frilly fern.
  • Green asparagus is most common in America; white is common in Europe and essentially grown in the dark.  Purple asparagus is sweeter and originated in Italy.
  • It’s suggested to grow 10 asparagus plants per person.
  • Asparagus can grow up to 7 inches in one day.
  • Harvesting ranges from 2 to 12 weeks.
  • Plants can produce for up to 30 years!
  • Curved spears?  Check for insect damage or be careful when cutting adjacent stalks.

  • Revered since the first century, Egyptians offered asparagus to the gods; a 16th century Arabian love manual contained an asparagus recipe for stimulating erotic desires.  Roman Emperor Augustus’ soldiers transported asparagus in speedy chariots to ice caves in the Alps so it could be freezed for later use.
  • The Greeks used asparagus to cure toothaches and heart disease.  Today, it’s used to treat other health issues like joint pain and urinary tract infections.
  • Smelly urine after eating asparagus?  It’s because our bodies convert asparagusic acid into sulfur-containing chemicals (although not everyone detects the odor).
  • A cold salad vinaigrette of Belle d’Argenteuil asparagus appeared on the menu for first class Titanic passengers before sinking in April 1912.
  • Two species of asparagus — A. fallax and A. nesiotes are endangered in the Canary Islands.
  • 1600s slang pronounced asparagus as sparagus which evolved to sparagrass and then sparrowgrass.

Asparagus Culinary Ideas (Edible)

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I love to cook and I’m looking for creative ways to prepare ə-ˈspar-ə-gəs.  I understand that in China, asparagus is candied as a special treat but I have yet to find the recipe.  How do you eat asparagus?

  • Steamed and topped with burnt butter?
  • Grilled with olive oil and sea salt?
  • Wrapped in prosciutto?
  • Sprinkled with lemon zest and olive oil, or shaved parmesan cheese?
  • Tempura or stiry fry?
  • Leek-asparagus-herb soup?

Have you tried Béarnaise sauce rather than the typical Hollandaise to dress-up your asparagus?  I can hardly wait to make that flaky pastry tart with cheese and asparagus spears or even the baked asparagus fries.  If you have some favorite aspergrass recipes please do share!

Postscript:  I baked the asparagus fries tonight and they aren’t for me.

 

I talk a lot about one size doesn’t fit all, so that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like them.  I tend to like spicy.  I tried a Tempura dipping sauce and although that livened them up a bit, this recipe will not appear in my favorites.

 

 

Feeling Awkward Around Young Kids?

Reading a snippet about feeling awkward around kids reaffirmed there is nothing wrong with those who feel uncomfortable around children.   Perhaps you have no experience with kids.  Does your gut groan around pre-adolescents…looking for what to say?  Have you purposely chosen to not father children but instead protectively care for plants, pets, or a project benefiting the planet?

Rather than judge or condemn, I respect those who live authentically.  One size does not fit all.  We are not meant to be experts at everything; some are better at some things than others, and sustaining that diversity honors all life.   I respect individuality but believe all of us need nurturing in whatever form it may be as evidenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s sentiments:

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My joy is in a serene garden and when helping others.  Over three decades, I have created three-season flowering gardens, beautiful landscaping for the natural environment, and deliciously fresh organic vegetables and herbs.  It’s hard to say who was more nurtured in these activities — the plants or me — but, assuredly, the benefits were far-reaching.


Fathering is “to treat with protective care.”

What are you fathering?


 

 

Digging with Orphans in the Garden

Digging in the dirt…unearthing rocks, weeds, my thoughts turn to life’s struggles…times my heart was breaking and I did not see a way out, a reasonable solution, how to get past the pain of the moment.  Not knowing what else to do, I dug in the dirt.  I weeded.  I carried rocks.  Pails of small ones, and wheelbarrows of large ones until I ached.  Ached so bad I could barely sleep but went back out and did it all over again the next day.  And the next.

Unable to remove the boulder that was there, and would always be there like unresolved abysmal hurt, I tried to conceal it.  Find a way around it.  Moving on, I cultivated the impermeable soil to breathe and grow while filling my thoughts with affirmations and new perspectives.  Taking time to nurture nature, nature began nurturing me.

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Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

If you’ve ever felt dishonored or abandoned, turn to nature.  Love her.  Honor her.  Nurture her to soothe the soul.  She is always there for you.

 

 

 

Take orphans — or any neglected children — into the garden.  Create.  Nurture.  Love.  Watch them grow.

 

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Featured black/white photo (original in color) by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash.