Thursday, January 31, 2019


My sweetie is on a limited diet right now, due to a nickel allergy. Because nickel is the third most common element on earth, nickel is in just about everything we eat.

This morning, I made pancakes for him, using one cup of flour, one cup of yogurt, and one cup of homemade applesauce. The batter was thick, and the pancakes tasted like applesauce with a crust. Delicious! Add a touch of maple syrup from the sugar maple trees in the woods behind our house, and it's a locavore breakfast.

I'm beginning a month-long self-retreat tomorrow, here at home, in our guest suite, which I call The Sweet Retreat. I could call it a locavore retreat because it's so local. I'm putting myself on a limited diet--no cyber-communication, no reading, no writing, no phone. And the darnedest thing is that the mind becomes very sweet. It turns out that I'm not as crusty as I thought.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Are the deer eating your shrubs this winter? There are several possible deer deterrents, but today i want to focus on just one: human hair.

I used to think that i should go to the hair-styling salon and ask for their trimmings. Then i realized: i brush my hair every morning. I use a bristle brush, so every few days i rake my comb through the brush and garner a very unattractive hairball. This i place in a 6"x6" piece of net, gather up the corners, and tie with a string. Voila! An inexpensive, home-made deer deterrent. You could even say "made with (some) recycled materials."

My hair is beautiful and bouncy, and i love the daily exercise of brushing it. But what really is so attractive about hair? NOT the hairball that results from cleaning my brush.

What's the difference between the hair on my head and the hair in the hairbrush? They're both long strands of dead cells. The hairs on my head run mostly parallel with each other, while the hairbrush yields a tangle. Is it the orderliness that's so pleasant to our eyes?

Because, now we see that hair, per se, in not really attractive. How do you feel about a hair in your food?

Let's tie those hairballs onto our rhododendrons and hope they're not attractive to the deer either :)


Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Last summer i read Animal,Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Although I didn't make a conscious decision to become a localvore, as she did for a year, I've been much better this winter at using local produce, beginning with the foodstuffs stored in my basement.

It's never difficult to use the onions and garlic. Any recipe that calls for 1 clove of garlic, I use one head, and i still don't work my way through my garlic supply by July. The onions last until April.

The potatoes require some effort because the weight-watcher who lives in my house complains about starch.

The pumpkins are starting to show their age; so it's time to have my own personal pumpkin festival. Just a few pots of green chili, and I could work my way through my extensive supply of tomatillos (and make a dent in the garlic too!)

Why is it so hard to open the freezer door downstairs?

This winter I have refrained from buying the cornucopia of local vegetables offered at my local food coop. I simply buy one thing at a time--for instance this week, 1 small head of cabbage.

This means that some evenings I have to open the freezer door and pull out a package of home-grown green beans, grated squash, or pesto. I expect I am going to achieve a long-sought-for goal: a nearly empty freezer by June.

All I had to do was apply a tiny bit of Renunciation (not buying fresh veggies) and Determination (to use the frozen organic veggies I grew myself). These 2 Perfections (paramis) are feeding my household perfectly well this winter.
 Autumn cornucopia and vegetables

Monday, January 28, 2019


Arctic winds are racking the body of Mother Earth here in the Northeast. After the rally of the January thaw, and just when we thought, Yes, we're going to survive winter after all, the death rattle begins and the house shudders.

Outdoors, the wind sounds like a never-ending train roaring down invisible tracks a block or two away. The furnace fights the chill, turns on and off and on again, trying desperately to maintain a temperature, but the extremities of the house cool down nevertheless.

The house groans as we internal organisms snuggle deeper into rest, hiding under blankets and fleece to protect us from polar gusts.

Just 4 more days until the groundhog pronounces that winter is terminal.


Sunday, January 27, 2019


Sitting on the sofa in the evening, looking through seed catalogs is surely the first harbinger of spring. Page by page, possible vegetables and flowers take root in my mind. Papaya Pear summer squash; Russian Banana fingerling potatoes; White Swan echinacea.

Desire strikes again and again until my order, which will be charged to my credit card, is over $100.

The credit card allows me to ignore the fact that i am putting myself into debt. I am enslaving myself to work for another 5 or 10 hours to pay off this particular debt.

Sense desire begs for more--more tasty summer squash, more sweet-smelling lavender, more beautiful gladiolas. The mind pleads for satisfaction. I smile and agree that I need another treat.

The promise of the garden calls.

Saturday, January 26, 2019



The January thaw has arrived. Drip. Drip. Drip. The snow on the roof is melting and will soon avalanche off the north side of the house. The front walk puddles in between last night's crusts of ice. The glacial shield that has covered the driveway has begun to crack and fissure and run off.

Outdoors change is visible today. Snowmen are dying; snow forts have collapsed; ski trails are useless. The structures of the season--flakes, drifts, and banks--age and disappear.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Coqui--The National Frog of Puerto Rico

Image result for coqui
The signature sound of Puerto Rico is the coqui (ko-KEE), a tiny frog who sings all night long. For a miniature frog, it has an out-sized voice. At any given moment, and anywhere i am, i can hear at least a dozen male frogs singing.

Yesterday's yoga retreat focused on the throat chakra, and our mantra for the day was I own my power. The coquis certainly own their power. They have a very well developed throat chakra!

For some of us who are introverts, claiming the power of our voice is challenging. I take my intention from a line in the Metta Sutta: Straight-forward and gentle in speech. How can i be straight-forward and say what needs to be said? How can i be gentle in speech without bottling up my feelings or without telling a white lie?

The coqui can be my guide.