Success with Okinawas, Beautifying Our Buddhist Shrine, and a Little Gregorian Chant

Gardener’s rule: if at first you don’t succeed, try again! The second try with Okinawa purple sweet potato slips is proceeding a lot better than the first. It looks like we’ll have a good crop of Okinawas this year.

The second try with Okinawa purple sweet potato slips is proceeding a lot better than the first. The water is not fouling at all and the slips are deep green and growing fast. I think we’re going to save this year’s sweet potato crop after all. These slips should be ready for planting next month.

Maybe the first round of Okinawas had some bad bacteria on them. I bought them at Granby Health, a good organic health food store near our home. Funky bacteria + warm water 24/7 = nastiness. Whatever it was that thwarted our first effort is not a problem this time around. Tenacity is the best tool in a gardener’s tool box.

I did some work at our outdoor shrine yesterday. I found beautiful, healthy, bright green Empress Wu hostas at a great price, and bought enough to surround venerable Siddhartha in a lush green wreath. The best part is, it will grow fuller and wider with each year. I left space at the foot of the shrine for flower and food offerings.

I love working on our shrine. Beautifying a sacred space like this is total pleasure. It’s devotional activity mixed with exercise and gardening: doesn’t get better than that.

I also picked up some fat Hens and Chicks, and placed them in the concrete urns at the front door. I was thinking about succulents at our home entrance all winter: they’re drought tolerant, low maintenance, gorgeous, and the right varieties (like Hens and Chicks) will survive the New England winter and return year after year.

My husband, being the stellar man he is, bought me an early birthday gift. Everyone who knows me knows I have a hard time drinking enough water each day. Consequently, I’m often dehydrated, and don’t discover this until it’s too late: I’ll suddenly feel dizzy - even faint – and weak and disoriented. I’ll then chug water, and start feeling much better.

It’s not good that I let dehydration get this far. Dehydration is serious business, and chronic dehydration is a serious threat to health.

So, he ordered a Megahome steam and carbon filtration water distiller, a top-of-the-line machine that purifies a gallon of tap water in under 5 hours. The distillation process removes most or all of water’s impurities, leaving a clear, tasteless gallon of clean H20 each day.

With it, he bought the Swig Savvy 64-ounce stainless steel insulated water bottle (in turquoise, my fav color) with a carrying pouch. A 64-ounce bottle will simplify things: 64 ounces (eight 8-ounce glasses) is the recommended amount of water for daily consumption on an ordinary day – more if you’re exercising or active in the heat.

Getting that 64 ounces in each day is a pain if you must count the glasses of water you’re drinking, especially if you have an aversion to drinking lots of water. With an insulated 64-ounce water bottle, my brain doesn’t get taxed. I’ll just fill it in the morning, and know that by the end of the day, it must be empty. Can’t overdo it or underdo it. Simplicity itself.

Although we’re amid paring our possessions way down, this is something that has purpose outside mindless consumption. And if it turns out that we’re not using it daily and as intended, then we can give it to a friend who will use it. One thing we don’t do is hang on to gadgets that we don’t use regularly. But I believe this distiller will be used a lot.

Yesterday, we had dinner and a visit with our loved one who is dying. Cancer is so ruthless. It invades our lives and takes no prisoners. A Catholic priest was also visiting at the time. Sitting and chatting with him brought me back to memories of my Catholic upbringing.

Not all the memories are bad. This morning, I was inspired to listen to Gregorian chant. I once listened to it constantly. It still resonates as beautiful to me. Like the chant of the Gyoto monks, which has since replaced Gregorian chant as my favorite sound on Mother Earth, Gregorian chant is sacred song, a call to God. Beautiful, soothing, praising the divine. A path to enlightenment. There will always be a place for it in my heart.

Live in peace.

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