Monthly Archives: May 2017

My wife’s green thumb (more like nuclear)

If you have been following my garden escapades, you’ll know that my wife and I have his and hers gardens. While I have been somewhat successful in trying to retrace Masanobu Fukuoka’s method of “do nothing” farming, my wife went straight to the traditional method of spreading soil and planting seeds.

I have struggled mightily to grow cucumbers in my garden which is on the the sunnier, drier side of the yard. In Hawai’i we have “microclimates” which can vary in a short space like in our backyard. My wife has the more shaded, cooler part of the yard.

While I harvested this a while back, it was the only cucumber I have successfully grown as my plants have all dried out and developed gummy stem disease which renders the fruit dry and prickly.

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My wife’s Japanese cucumber plant on the other hand has taken over most of the large trellis we put around it and has begun producing gargantuan results. I harvested this today. It was so big and ungainly that it scared my poor mother in law Toshiko. She could not even bear to be in the same room with it which verifies my suspicion that she is actually part cat.

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This monster weighs about 2 pounds (a little less than 1 kg). It is spikey and you could probably use it as an effective battle club. My mother in law even questioned if it was indeed a cucumber. “I’ve never seen a Japanese cucumber like this, maybe this is an English cucumber or squash.”

After work today we all came home and tried a slice with great trepidation. It was probably the most delicious cucumber I’ve ever had. It was even a little sweet with a strong cucumber taste.

I snipped this off my trellis also. It is a tiny bitter melon from my Fukuoka garden. I sliced it thin and salted it, washed it off and added ginger, bonito flakes and shoyu (a traditional Japanese preparation). It was small but delicious. To get a sense of scale see that it occupies about a four inch circle on my table cloth compared to my wife’s battleship above.

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The good thing about gardening with your wife is that no matter what size, you always get to share the harvest 🙂

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My favorite band: Pixies

I’m finding it a bit hard to be inspired lately. When I get into these kind of funks, I go back to my teenage years in the 80s when I would listen to alternative radio. The band that has always impressed me the most are the Pixies. The band that was composed of Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering are not that well known in the mainstream square community, you would never find them on America’s Got Talent, but they probably had more influence on post modern music more than any band since the Velvet Underground. Among the artists who have been quoted as being influenced by this band: David Bowie, Nirvana, and Radiohead.

Probably the one song everyone has heard from this band is Where Is My Mind from the Fight Club soundtrack. It is a haunting, peaceful song. It is hard to describe their music to a layperson because it is not very accessible. Unless you are a tad twisted. Then you get it right away.

I was a DJ for college radio in the early 90s and I would play these guys every chance I could. I couldn’t tell you what my favorite song from them is because there is such a vast range. However, I like the raw punk sounds of Crackity Jones. I think lead vocalist Black Francis actually “barks” in some parts of this song. And Isla de Encanta which is in Spanish.

Then they have slow reflective songs like Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf) which has a mellow surfer vibe meets Blue Bayou and surreal lyrics. Velouria also has a dreamlike feeling with a tinge of grunge. It immediately feels nostalgic even upon the first listen.

They have pop songs too. La La Love You is catchy and fun and reminds me a bit of the Stray Cats in the 80s. Here Comes Your Man is also a pop wonder. Francis wrote this song when he was a teenager. You can see in this video that they have a great sense of humor which is an underlying thread in their music (even the really hard stuff).

Like all bands, they have had their ups and downs. Kim Deal left the band and they added a new female member a few years back. Black Francis went solo a few time and has some outstanding live acoustic songs. He has a nice performance here doing charity work for kids who were diagnosed with cancer. A little bit of bhakti from a great man.

I hope you enjoyed some of these links. Like I said, this isn’t for everyone, but this band has certainly influenced me through the years to be more creative. I can’t count the number of times that a Pixies listening binge has lifted me from some dark places.

Ducks!

Hi all! I had taken about a month or so off writing when my dear friend Sonia encouraged me to start posting again in a kind email. The nice thing about not writing for a living is you can take a hiatus when your inspiration is lowered, or you simply have ran out of ideas to post about. In the past month we had unusually hot weather and low rainfall in Hawaii. I am finding a symbiotic relationship with my garden and my writing habits. In short, when my garden isn’t producing, I get writer’s block. Happily, a cold weather front came through the islands bringing lots of rain. So here are my fingers flailing on my keyboard again 🙂

As far as my yoga practice, I bit the bullet and signed up to take my Junior Intermediate I assessment this year. It is a bit scary to be going up for assessment this year. Compared to how I have been normally practicing for the past several years, this year would definitely land more on the mrdu end of the meter. I will let those who study the sutra-s figure out what that means.

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t practiced though. I still teach all my classes and take some time when I can to get through a sequence or so. And I just got finished with a workshop with Laurie Blakeney who is now the IYNAUS assessment chair. In addition, I still do my mantra practices in the morning and evening. I honestly don’t see how I can get through the day without them.

My mentoring teachers are gracious and wrote me recommendations which are needed for the applications. They have been understanding of my family and personal needs this past year which has drastically changed my ability to regularly practice evening classes at the studio with them. I will post updates about my progress towards this goal. Just don’t be too hard on me if things don’t go the way they should. The J-one syllabus is tough!

As far as my garden, it continues to enrich my life in ways I never realized. I remember reading one of Masanobu Fukuoka’s books and he said that he would regularly get visits on his farm/garden from ducks who would graciously poop on his plants providing wonderful fertilizer. I felt kind of sad when he said they built a big highway by his property and the ducks could no longer cross safely, so he was subjected to spread his own pelleted chicken manure in their abscence.

Yesterday I went outside in my garden and found these two hooligans (see picture above) waddling about in my garden. They are ducks from the nearby marsh. My wife ran and grabbed some bread and fed them heartily. Don’t worry Home Yoga Practice fans, I won’t
“duck” out on another month without posting 🙂