First Cucumbers, and the Budai in Our Kitchen

The cucumbers are coming in in earnest. One day, no cukes in sight: next day, more than we can eat. It’s been a wild and crazy summer in the gardens.

Friends and family have already been given some cucumbers, along with our summer squash, basil, and the last of our spring lettuce. Tomato plants are loaded with green, unripe tomatoes. They had to be tied up over the weekend.

Our first cucumbers of 2017.

Garden flowers are also peaking. Yesterday, I brought my mom a big bouquet, and today, a friend got a little vase of black-eyed Susans. At home, we have a big ball jar filled with purple Hosta flowers. I’m not crazy about how Hosta flowers look on the plants, but once they’ve been arranged in a jar, I love them. Summer flowers everywhere. It’s all good.

A vintage Ball jar full of our Hosta blooms.

My husband and I took the boat out Saturday, under a completely overcast sky, and I got sunburned. New thing learned: ‘overcast’ means nothing when you’re on the water. This is the third sunburn of summer. I’m learning the hard way about how the sun’s radiation reflects up off ocean water and punches you right in the face.

It doesn’t look like I’m getting sunburned here, but I am. So is he.

I’m preparing for this weekend’s Buddhist retreat. The annual summer retreat is one of the treats of summer. The Zen gardens at Wesleyan are in full swing. Every time I visit, I get inspiration for our own gardens. There’s nothing like the simple abundance of a Zen garden. Many years ago, cottage gardens left me breathless; now, Zen gardens make me feel peaceful and at home. And that’s the vibe I look for in a garden now.

I got to Foodworks in Guilford over the weekend. Money is tight, so I was only able to get a few essentials – turmeric root, ginger root, bananas, and one tree oil (spruce). A Japan-made figure of the Budai – the ‘Laughing Buddha’ - called out to me for only $8, so I bought fewer turmeric roots and brought the little Budai home. It’s on the windowsill in our kitchen. A benevolent face to greet us when we’re doing kitchen chores.

Much love,
Barbie xo

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