Garden Lesson: Mindfulness of Gratitude

In summer, Starbuck’s bags up and gives away all its used coffee grounds for garden fertilizer. You’ll see a big bin on the floor near the register; in it, are large bags of the grounds. Grab as many as you like. We either spread them in the garden or toss them in the compost bin.

Either way, it’s free, it keeps the coffee grounds out of the waste stream, and it repurposes the grounds as pure fertilizer to grow food and flowers. I stopped at Avon Starbucks yesterday for a bag of coffee (love Komo Dragon dark roast!), an iced caramel soy milk macchiato (NOM on a hot day), and a few bags of grounds for the gardens. Kudos to Starbucks!

My husband and I grilled a bunch of our garden summer squash on the grill last night. He had his with ribs, and I had mine with additional grilled veggies, fresh garden basil, olive oil, balsamic, and cubes of grilled Italian bread. It was an interesting twist on a panzanella (Tuscan bread) salad. When our tomatoes come in, we’ll be eating panzanella salad for real.

We wanted to ring out June right, so for dessert, we had homemade strawberry shortcake with native strawberries. My husband had vanilla ice cream and whipped cream with his: I had whipped sweetened coconut cream with mine. The pups had their shortcakes with everything.

Tomorrow is July 1. It’s the holiday weekend, and we’ll be playing, so I won’t be posting here until sometime next week. By then, I’ll probably be reporting that we’re happily inundated with summer squash.

More news: the jalapeno pepper plant is huge and loaded with blossoms. Each blossom becomes a pepper, so I need to search jalapeno recipes. We have some friends who like hot peppers. This tiny plant became a beautiful and productive monster.

The Thai Burapa hot pepper plants are steadily growing. They’re going to be a late-season crop. The pandan plant is also getting larger. Our Thai pink egg tomato plants, grown from seed, are doing great. Everything in the garden is happy right now, with one exception.

Squirrels have discovered the peaches. They climb the peach trees, grab some peaches (the peaches are the size of small chicken eggs right now) and run off with them. They’re as cute as a button, even if they are decimating the peach crop. The trees are too big to be netted. So, we may lose all our peaches to squirrels this year.

And I’m OK with it. When we decided to garden veganically, it was with the understanding that some crops are just going to be lost. Do I wince a bit when I think of all those fresh, sweet, homegrown peaches disappearing? I do. But this is a great Buddhist teaching in non-attachment.

Those aren’t ‘my’ peaches. These aren’t ‘my’ gardens. I’m just passing through, loves. We share our space and our gardens with squirrels, rabbits, foxes, black bears, chipmunks, birds, and insects. None has greater relevance over the other. Everyone needs to eat. Harm none.

Gardening has taught me more about selfless gratitude and mindfulness of gratitude than any Buddhist studies I’ve undertaken. Because I tend to covet the gardens, releasing entire crops to animals and insects is allowing me to more deeply understand the teaching of impermanence. There are so many ways that the garden blesses us all.

Live in peace.

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