The Last Winds Of Spring

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I can feel the last sweet winds of spring. The mornings have been cloudy and cool, the sun peeks out in gentle tenderness by noon. A soft and fragrant breeze teases the leaves of the Mulberry 

Tree. When I speak on the telephone in the garden, my companions say it is like talking to someone in an aviary. Yesterday morning, the Mulberry Tree was filled with green parrots, squawking and feasting on the last of the Mulberries. Every time I looked into the branches, I spotted another richly hued parrot, nose tucked in, devouring mulberries. 

I know the height of summer is going to reach it's hot, parched hand down into Southern California any minute now. The asphalt is going to blaze in blurred lines and walks will need to be taken just before the sun peeks out, or right after it sinks in the western sky. I am trying to savor these sweet, gentle days. I am trying to place them in my bank, so my spirit will be cooled by the breeze I feel upon my face this very moment.

I love summer, I am a child of summer. I can easily take refuge in the cool ocean waters. But this, this breeze, this birdsong. I want to remember it always.

Puppy Head

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I think I have Puppy Head. I have had Pregnant Head. I have had Newborn Baby Head. I have even had Two Toddlers Under Three Head. I have never had Puppy Head. Let me tell you, they are all very similar. The first few days with the puppy, I could not wait for SOMEONE to come home to relieve me. Every time I turn around, the puppy needs love, or food, or to play, or dashes out of the yard.

She was very sweet the first few days. She played in the garden as I tended the newly sprouting plants, she would explore, chew on sticks, mulberries and herbs, and follow me around. Recently, she has discovered the joys of dashing out of the driveway, across the street and down the road. I am exhausted. Today, I felt badly leaving her at home in her crate, she was crying so pitifully.  I decided to take her with me to run some errands. while I was at the ATM machine for FIVE SECONDS, she pooped in the car. Granted, she was probably scared. But SHE POOPED IN THE CAR. Plus, she got it all over the place. When we got home, I cleaned up the car, gave her a little loving because I felt badly that she was scared in the car and put her in the crate. I had an appointment. Did I mention? Our little Beagle has learned to HOWL, like a Beagle. HOWL. I put on a some Beethoven, to soothe our wild beast. When I came home about 40 minutes later, she was howling. I have a feeling she was howling the entire time.

I scooped her up and brought her in the garden where she proceeded to run away... As soon as my son returned home, I handed him the leash. I simply had to put her on the leash. She did not like losing her freedom in the garden, but I was spent. I have feeling she will be spending more time in her pen or on a leash when out of doors. Rascally Beagle. She is still sweet and funny and fun to snuggle with, I have to remember this when I am grumpy about her. Plus, she is an excellent model. Those are plenty of good qualities, plus, she kind of makes us all a bit happier.  
Today, while visiting with a friend, she had to remind me three times what I was talking about. I just forgot, mid-sentence. I certainly have a bad case of Puppy Head. however, just like Newborn Baby Head, it is wonderful and exhilarating and makes me feel as though the life is pulsing through me. It is wonderful and exhausting. Plus, she is REALLY cute...

And For No Reason

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And For No Reason


For no reason

I start skipping like a child.


For no reason

I turn into a leaf

That is carried so high

I kiss the Sun's mouth

And dissolve.


For no reason

A thousand birds

Choose my head for a conference table,

Start passing their

Cups of wine

And their wild songbooks all around.


For every reason in existence

I begin to eternally,

To eternally laugh and love!

When I turn into a leaf

And start dancing,

I run to kiss our beautiful Friend

And I dissolve in the Truth

That I Am.


Some Mornings Are More Productive Than Others

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This morning was more productive than other mornings. This morning was full of puppy photo shoots and a quick mulberry tart.

Merry was quite content to rest a bit upon her woolen bed, against the blue couch, must remember this combination. It took a minute, but I managed to get a few shots. She is sweetness personified.  She has not barked once, she is obedient and loving. The rhythm one uses with babies and children is foolproof.  Most little ones want to know that life is dependable, that the rhythm of the day is very harmonious, breathing in, breathing out. I think most everyone, craves a little rhythmic harmony. So we breathe. In. Then. Out. We go in when the sun grows too strong, We go out when the weather is mild, and work is easily done. There are water breaks, food breaks, treat breaks and play breaks. There are stretching breaks and cuddling breaks. An easy recipe for life.

Speaking of recipes, I have a quick custard tart recipe to share. The mulberries are in full swing and dropping faster than they can be harvested. Although eating them straight from the tree, or washed in a bowl is quite fine, I have been itching to do something more. I made the syrup we used in seltzer water over ice with mint, yumm.  This morning I awoke, and was inspired. This is what I made:

Mulberry Tart

Pulse 1/2 cup raw almonds in blender or food processor
Add to 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
Cut in 1 stick butter
Add 2 T coconut powder
1 T raw sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t coconut extract
1-2 T ice water
Cut together with pastry tool, forks, or fingers

Press into pie or tart pan
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes

Mix one batch Custard Powder
Stir in 1-2 cups de-stemmed mulberries(or any berry) that has been sprinkled with 1 t of raw sugar
Pour into cooked crust
 Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until custard is firm.

While it was still warm, I placed about one cup of berries tossed with a squeeze of fresh lime in the center
Around the berries, I sprinkled sweetened, shredded coconut

It was served at room temperature with fresh mint tea*

*Mint Tea
Gather 7 or 8 sprigs of assorted mint
I used chocolate mint, pineapple mint, peppermint, spearmint and apple mint
Wash well
Place in tea pot
Pour boiling, filtered water directly onto leaves. 
I have found that you do not need to add any sweetener 
You can add raw honey or agave nectar, but it really is not necessary

Blessings on you day.

The Day Merry Came

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I had dog trauma. Really bad dog trauma. When I was wee, I had to feed our large black dog. He was tied to a peach tree in the backyard. I brought out the food in a stainless steel bowl.  He was so excited that he began to jump on me. I was so startled that I froze, with the bowl still in my shaking hands. The dog began to run enthusiastic circles around me. Soon, my legs were wrapped with the rusty chain, I fell over, dog food flew high into the air. The dog dove for the flying food, trampling me in the process. Bad dog trauma.

A few years later, a stray found it's way to my door. This dog was white and small. If you looked up the word dog in the dictionary, this is the picture you would see. One day, after I had grown a bit attached, the neighbor's dog made it's into our yard. The two dogs became intimate. My father was furious. He did not want puppies. As soon as the dogs separated, my father put the dog in our amber colored LTD and drove her to the pound. The last thing I saw was her sweet white face looking at me, confused and sad. Bad dog trauma.

For much of my life, I kept my distance from dogs. Over time, I really had no use for them. I was cordial, but distant. Plus, there was NO WAY a dog would ever live in my house. As I aged, many of my girlfriends had dogs. I learned to tolerate them because I loved my friends, I still avoided contact though and never pet them.

My son on the other hand, loves animals, loves dogs. With my history, he was doomed. However, a few months ago, something happened. My heart began to melt. My dear friend's dog, Badger the Daschund was the first. He melted my heart. I was willing to pet him and even hold him. I played with him, I saw toys in stores and purchased them for him. I would invite my friend over and beg her to bring Badger. My Aunty's labradoodle was the next heart melter, Kihana, or Kiki, The Queen of Kailua. We spent many days playing catch and singing together in my Aunty's living room. I was a goner.

So with the newly opened heart, I was open to the possibility of having a pooch around. My son, The Dog Whisperer, was a Whisperer without a dog to whisper to... His Golden Birthday was fast approaching. For those of you who do not know, a Golden Birthday is the day you turn the age of your birth date. If you were born on the 12th, then your 12th birthday is your Golden Birthday. See? Well he was born on the 16th of May. He was turning 16 on the 16th, his one and only Golden Birthday, we only get one.

To celebrate this once in a lifetime birthday, I knew this was the day his life long wish should be granted.  And so, Merry came. Merry the Beagle. She is as sweet as peaches and already follows my boy around like, well, like a puppy. She has not barked once, and whined the slightest bit last night from exhaustion. We heard nary a peep from her last night and is taking to relieving herself out of doors. I am so glad she is here. My boy is so glad she is here. My daughter, not so much. Her heart will open, any day now.

A Boy and his Dog. Is there anything better than a Boy and his Dog?

Caravan Girl

Friday, May 15, 2009

In their Tiny darkness.

I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice"

And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
and I think of the poor mother
brooding over her sightless young triplets.

Or was it a common accident, all three caught
in a searing explosion, a firework perhaps?
If not,
if each came to his or her blindness separately,

how did they ever manage to find one another?
Would it not be difficult for a blind mouse
to locate even one fellow mouse with vision
let alone two other blind ones?

And how, in their tiny darkness,
could they possibly have run after a farmer's wife
or anyone else's wife for that matter?
Not to mention why.

Just so she could cut off their tails
with a carving knife, is the cynic's answer,
but the thought of them without eyes
and now without tails to trail through the moist grass

or slip around the corner of a baseboard
has the cynic who always lounges within me
up off his couch and at the window
trying to hide the rising softness that he feels.

By now I am on to dicing an onion
which might account for the wet stinging
in my own eyes, though Freddie Hubbard's
mournful trumpet on "Blue Moon,"

which happens to be the next cut,
cannot be said to be making matters any better. 

-Billy Collins

I Am Lowering My veins and Roots...

A Singing Cleaning Woman

A leaf says,
“Sweethearts – don’t pick me,
For I am busy doing
God’s work.
I am lowering my veins and roots
Like ropes
With buckets tied to them
Into the earth’s deep
I am drawing water
That I offer like a rose to
The sky.
I am a singing cleaning woman
Dusting all the shelves in
The air
With my elegant green
I have a heart.
I can know happines like

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

I had a Baby once

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Now she is tall. She is going to university in the fall. She drives. She stays up later than I do. She wears my clothes, and looks better in them. I use to make her clothes. Still do, sometimes. She knows how to work my Mac better than I do. She built a car and was the driver for the race. She is funny. She is helpful and loving. I know she must go. I want her to go. I also want her to stay. I want to hear her squeaky little girl voice again. I want to brush her baby curls into pig tails, wrap the hair around my fingers and watch the banana curls bounce around her wee ears.  

As The Sun Set On The Garden

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

These are the happenings in the garden this cool May evening. We had just finished a supper of roasted sweet potatoes and lemon chicken. There was also a platter of Swiss Chard sauteed with garlic and herbs, all picked from the garden moments before they found their way into the cast iron skillet.

As we finished supper, I noticed the pink light of dusk. I wanted to share a few thrift store finds and show an updated photograph of Basil Buddha. I rushed outside with camera in tow. I shot the wooden plaque that reads, "There Is No Cure From Birth Or Death, Save To Enjoy The Interval." It was 30% off $7, whatever that came to... Next is this silly stool that was $1. It seems to match this sea foam blue planter, they are already fast friends. I also found this chandelier for a steal. I originally purchased it for my Art Studio, but that has not manifested itself yet, so I hung it in the plum tree. I also found this tin of tulips. It too was 30% off, but it was only $3 to begin with, have I mentioned how much it tickles me when a thrift store has a sale? 

After I shot all of the new treasures, the light was still magical and pink, so I shouted into the house for my girl to come out and pose for me. She was the sweetest treasure in the garden this evening. See for yourself. Treasures, pink dusk, growing plants and sweet smiles. Blessings.

A night in the garden

Monday, May 11, 2009

After giving a good feeding to the blossoming plants with Neptune's Harvest, I lit the candles in the garden. I started a small fire in the outdoor pit, and sat back to enjoy our labors. I took a deep breath and enjoyed the approaching dusk. The candles twinkled in the trees, the birds made their way back to their nests. The creeping cats began their nightly wanderings. The neighborhood took on it's evening shift, hushed tones drifted from the darkening houses. Night overcame us. The deep violet night embraced us with cool arms, I held the hand of my love and tried to remember this feeling. I tried to forget the heaviness of my heart, the loss of my students and friends. As I write, a cool breeze just kissed my face. Before my children's paternal grandfather crossed the threshold, I asked him to let us agree on a sign. A way to be sure I didn't miss his help. We decided on a light breeze, a kiss of wind. As I typed my sadness, a sweet breeze entered the open window. A smile crept across my lips, a silent song rang in my heart. A night in the garden is as helpful as a day in the garden...

Mother's Day in the garden

We spread a sweet table under the shade of the Mulberry Tree. A feast was prepared, a feast fit for a table of mothers. Women who love children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, sisters, mothers, and puppies all gathered.

The table was set with vintage linens. Recycled bottles held small bouquets of mint, jasmine, purple pansies and miniature red roses from the garden. A fire roared to ward off the chill of the morning.

The feast was served. Creme Brulee French Toast, Apple Smoked Bacon, Scrambled Eggs with Swiss Chard, Dill, Oregano, Thyme and Parmesan Cheese; the eggs were from my sister's chicken ranch and all but the cheese was from the garden. Enamel bowls were piled high with blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries and strawberries with fresh mint. There was also a bowl of Mulberries, gathered earlier in the morning. To top the berries, a bowl of Creme Fraiche flavored with Vanilla Beans, Coconut and Organic Agave Nectar was set upon the table. Fresh Melon from the Farmer's Market was sliced and topped with Raw Almonds.  There were fresh biscuits piled high in a vintage cast iron bundt pan, served with Strawberry-Rhubarb jam and organic butter. Small pitchers were filled with fresh Mulberry Syrup and Maple Syrup. There was organic cream and raw honey to sweeten the Fresh Mint Tea and Creamy Caramel Rooibos. An old Fiesta Ware pitcher, thrifted at a HALF OFF sale at the local thrift store(love half off sales) held Sweet Mango Lassi made with Organic Yogurt, Organic Turbinado Sugar and Rose Water. I also whipped up a small batch of Haupia for my mother and aunty as a reminder of their days as girls, growing up in Hawaii. There was a pitcher of fresh mint water and green bottles of San Pellegrino dotted the table.

The morning was cool, but my heart was filled to be surrounded by women I love, and who love me. The sun began to peak out as the meal winded down, our bellies satisfied. The garden danced in the background, happy to be part of the celebration. As people finished eating, we switched seats, here and there, to visit with those across the table. My mother had to be shooed out of the kitchen several times by my daughter. When we finally made it into the house when the sun grew too strong, the kitchen had been cleaned by my love. 

A Happy Mother's Day it was, surrounded by happy hearts that have grown from the love and loving of children and family. May the love of this day steel your souls in the arduous day by day happenings, the ones that challenge us and scare us, that fill our hearts so, that we feel they may burst. 

I Made A Skirt

Friday, May 8, 2009

I have had this bit of vintage fabric for some time. I have been musing and dreaming of a new incarnation. While reading this post from SouleMama, I realized I could whip a skirt in just an hour. It took 45 minutes. It has that homemade look, but it is lovely and I like it! I just laid down a skirt I like and cut around it. Everything came from the thrift store, eyelet, lace and fabric. 

Mulberry Tree

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I saved this Mulberry tree. It hangs over from our neighbor's yard, it has large light green leaves and airy branches. In early spring, new red berries hang from it's new leaves. Now, each day, large purple mulberries drop to the ground all day long.

The neighbors put in a new concrete driveway and were afraid the berries would discolor their $20,000 driveway. I was aghast. "You can't tear down the Mulberry Tree. Mulberry Trees are sacred!" I felt like the Lorax, and not for the first time in my life. Resident tree hugger at your service. I continued, "Did you know that in Ancient China, you could be put TO DEATH for attempting to sneak a Mulberry tree out of the country? So dear was the silk trade." I prayed to the tree's being, yes, yes I did. I prayed. The neighbors left the tree. Hallelujah! 

So now each morning I collect the precious fruit. I have stretched out a blanket to collect the fruit. I have my children bend down and collect them, as my back is still unable to do that kind of work. I just have a deeper appreciation for these berries this year. In years past, we would eat one now and then, or pick a few off the branches or from the ground. However, in celebration of the tree's life, we are in full Mulberry Harvest. We try to get every last juicy berry from shrub and garden bed.

This morning, the wild parrots that fill our skies, were chatting happily and feasting mightily on the berries hanging from the highest branches. Thank you dear birds, for helping with the harvest. Thank you for attracting the neighborhood cats, for they keep the rodents at bay.

I plan on making something marvelous for Mother's Day. My mother and her sister will be here, as well as my eldest sister and a few friends. We will set an elegant table in the garden, with fresh mint tea, creme brulee french toast, fruit and something with Mulberries. Blessings on your day!

Basil Buddha

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I found this lovely Buddha at a store in Kailua named Bali Boo. My cousin purchased a beautiful stone mermaid fountain she calls "Esmeralda." I found this sweet Buddha upon a dusty shelf. I had to bring him home, he was even half off! 

I placed him in the basil pot and since then, have been lovingly referring to him as Basil Buddha. He meditates in quiet fashion, watching over the garden, a peaceful look upon his face. Now, I am not sure if there truly is an incarnation of the Buddha that involves basil, but there is one here, in this garden.

The other day I walked outside to find this precious sight. Three lady bugs atop Basil Buddha's topknot. So sweet. The lady bugs have since flown away, hopefully feasting on aphids upon one of the tomato plants! Yet, Basil Buddha remains, meditating deeply on the glories of growing one's own food and living for the simple pleasures of life. Watching the clothes blow upon the line, listening to the radish plump deep in the soil and tending the growing basil, thank you, Basil Buddha, for all you do.

Mint Tea

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The mint patch is exploding! There is spearmint, peppermint, pineapple mint and chocolate mint. We have been enjoying fresh mint tea every day.

I just grab a handful of assorted mint from the patch, four or five large sprigs. I wash them outside so any critters stay outside. I tie the sprigs together with a bit of twine and hang them in a pitcher. I pour boiling water over the mint and let steep for a long while. While the water is still hot, I mix in a bit of raw honey. You could skip this step, but raw honey has many healing properties and it gives the tea a full taste.

We drink it iced, as it has been warm here in Southern California. It is also great hot. I usually take the pitcher outside so I can refill my glass as I enjoy the garden. Try it, it soothes the tummy and tastes delicious! Blessing on your day...


Monday, May 4, 2009

I ate our first raspberry this morning. It was sweet and delicious. I felt guilty not sharing it with the family, but it was one raspberry, just one. If I left it, a bird would have eaten it. Not that I begrudge the birds a bit of the garden. I always plant enough for them AND for us. But this little berry, it was so lovely hiding behind the now wild, green leaves.

My youngest is suffering from a terrible case of tonsillitis. I brewed a strong tea from oregano leaves from the herb garden. He was a trooper. It is tough stuff. Oregano is a great antiseptic and can knock nasty bacteria right out of you. He was able to take it by the spoonful, I just kept telling him to look at it as medicine, not tea. He is so miserable, he conceded. I love that we have these plants at the ready, that we trust them and acknowledge their power. I will take him to the doctor, just to be sure. However, we will continue with the oregano and echinacea tea and sea salt and sage gargle. In the meantime, I feel so lucky to be able to be caring for my boy-man. He will be 16 soon. He is over 6 feet and a tangle of arms, legs and bony knees and elbows. It is nice to be needed. 

The garden is watered, new seedlings are planted in the beds, laundry is hanging to dry on the line, and my boy is soundly sleeping, resting, healing. Blessings on your day!