Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodbye, little cottage.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fruits of a Very Small Field

 lettuce and dill, 2012

I was talking with my father yesterday about meditation.  It's been very hot where he lives, so he's been spending his time indoors reading about such things, meditating, and making plans to take his new sailboat out when the weather cools.  He's a man of many interests.

I told him I had difficulty with what I believed to be meditation--clearing one's mind.  He said the mind mustn't be clear, thoughts are to be accepted and then let go.  No need for harsh scrutiny of self.  He also told me that his view of meditation was based on focus.

He shared a memory with me of being a young man, with a brown paper sack of ripe peaches, visiting the beach in summer.  He described the details of the warm sand, the preference of sitting in the sand versus upon a towel, his delight in biting into the sweet juicy peaches, and the sound and view of the vast body of water before him.  He remembered it all, vividly.  

This is my meditation he told me.  I've always meditated.

I said Oh, so it's more like being completely present.  I do that.  Maybe I inherited the trait from you.  I guess I meditate too.

I don't know if Dad's version of meditation matches what others believe, but I like it.

Today I went out to our garden to quickly harvest some lettuces.  As it turned out, there was nothing quick about my visit.  I got lost.  No, I didn't forget how to find our garden, I got lost in the garden.  Maybe the best way to put it is I sort of spaced out, but not in a dangerous way.  It's what happens in gardens.  If you garden, perhaps you know it too.

Sadly, two more of my cucumber vines had been gnawed at the base of the stem by an anonymous critter and therefore put out of commission.  Earlier the same thing had happened to another cucumber plant, and several of my green bean plants.  So unfortunate, but we move on, right?

Anyway, I spent a long time untangling my gnawed cucumber vines from my healthy vines, picking the young almost ripe cucumbers on those vines, visiting the compost pile, discovering some beautifully ripe cucumbers, a yellow crookneck squash that seemed to have doubled in size overnight, basil, dill, chives, a few green beans, and harvesting a bountiful supply of gorgeous leaves from two types of lettuce plants.

I arrived back in the cottage much later than anticipated, a bit disheveled, yet happy and feeling completely accomplished.  Chris looked at me, amused.  I'd gone into some sort of auto-pilot mode out there.  I didn't really think about what I was doing, I just did.  It's like falling into a dream state and then waking up and thinking how much time has passed? Who filled this bowl with produce?

It wasn't really what Dad described, but there was a similarity.  It was the opposite of noticing every detail and much more about working though details on pure instinct.  Maybe dealing with these edible plants is something passed down from ancestors of long ago, those who depended on these behaviors for survival.  I'm not sure.

I clearly wasn't in survival mode, but while I was out there my mind was clear, very clear.  Not one thought from any other part of my life entered that garden, and that clearing took no conscious effort.  Maybe this is my meditation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Few Words About Small Artichokes

waiting, 2012

We saw a basket of small artichokes while visiting our favorite farm stand yesterday.  The stand is the type with produce picked right behind it, a scale, notepad, dirty pen, and wooden money box.  I love this place.

I'm a little intimidated by artichokes, but with Chris's encouragement decided to take six home.  They were each about the size of a humble cupcake.  And very pretty, green tinged with purple.  I'm not sure of the variety, but I do recall reading no chokes! on the sign.  This seemed a good thing.

Here's what I learned.

Trimming them was somewhat meditative, like shelling peas or snipping the stem ends off green beans.  I used this guide and let this recipe serve as inspiration.

I skipped the lemon, garlic, red pepper, and parsley.  Not because these ingredients wouldn't have been terrific, I just didn't have them on hand.  I did quarter the trimmed artichokes and I did saute them in olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt and coarse ground pepper while waiting to see them just begin to brown.

But before any of this I remembered I had some leftover anchovy breadcrumbs from a recent dinner.  Rachel changed my life with these.  I'm sure I've mentioned them before.  Thank you, Rachel.

So, just as my artichokes began to brown I sprinkled a generous portion of anchovy breadcrumbs into the pan and tossed the artichokes around to coat them and heat everything through.  I tipped it all onto a dish and we shared it as a first course.  Fabulous experiment results! 

We should have purchased twice as many.

Oh, and guess what else happened yesterday.  We saw our first badger.  Pretty amazing.  They are bold and handsome little creatures.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stealing a Poem

Yellow Brick Road, 2012

Before returning a library book, I sat on the corner of 4th and Shoreline, across from the little yellow house and the brick oven bakery, on a bench in front of the pharmacy, beside a box of hula hoops and a telephone booth, and slid my dark glasses over my ears before resting them on the bridge of my nose, and stole the poem on page 287, copying the title in capital letters and the rest in mixed case, into my notebook, with a pencil I did not love.

Monday, August 13, 2012


A little fun for Monday morning. Perfect for dancing while making breakfast.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


tea, 2012

How are you?  Good, I hope.

Reading anything interesting and/or entertaining?  I just finished Jack Gilbert's Collected Poems and liked it very much.  I extended my borrowing time on Grace Paley's Fidelity so I could continue slowly.  As I near the end of The Man Within My Head I realize I preferred the beginning third over the rest and have seen my interest wane since that early section.  I've just opened The Stranger and have high hopes.

How about food?  Any especially delicious meals, snacks, or beverages you've enjoyed lately?  We've really been loving simple salads made with our homegrown lettuces, cucumbers, and herbs.  There is a deli nearby that makes great salsa.  We eat the salsa with tortilla chips.  Garden of Eatin' makes some delicious blue corn chips.  Sun tea has been our favorite beverage over the past couple of weeks.  I like watching it brew.  Luisa's most recent post has put me in the mood for meatballs and I know I'll be making some, her way, within the week.

Movies?  Alamar was excellent.  I'm still thinking about Blanquita.  You'll meet her when you watch the film.  I don't know how we took so long to find it.  Highly recommended.

Okay, that's it for now.  Take care.  Enjoy the rest of your week. 


Collected Poems by Jack Gilbert
Fidelity by Grace Paley
Blue Corn Tortilla Chips by Garden of Eatin'
Luisa's Meatballs

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Good Stuff

Husband, 2012

We only have this one life, so why not fill it with as much good stuff as we can find.

Thinking about this beach, where we ate lunch yesterday.  It felt like we were in Portofino.

Listening to Jesse DeNatale and thinking back to the best book event I've ever attended.

Reading poems by Jennifer Grotz.