Saturday, June 18, 2016

From Writing to Gardening: The "Blessings" of Abundance

In my spare time, when I’m not working or writing (which lately seems to be work), my family and I are growing a garden. Like many projects around our place, the garden has gotten much, much larger than I ever envisioned. In fact, I believe we could probably feed our entire neighborhood. If you’ve ever grown a garden, then you know that vegetables have a bad habit of ripening all at once. (Next year I plan to plant one seed per day to avoid this thoughtlessness on the part of my plants.) The net effect is that I’ve eaten and frozen broccoli to the point I don’t think I can look at another stalk anytime soon. Kale is my new best friend because it keeps doing its thing for weeks and weeks without bolting. Bonus: it’s good for you too. The problem now is cucumbers.
Over the past two days, Harvey and I have canned 24 quarts of dill pickles. We’ve had sliced cucumbers for lunch and dinner. And… We haven’t even made a dent in what’s coming in the door. Don’t get me wrong. I like pickles. However, our household can only consume so many pickles in a year. Now we face the inevitable question: what can we do with all these cucumbers? You see, our two rows (80 foot long rows!) of cucumbers have just gotten cranked. So I decided to find out if there were any non-food related things for which cucumbers could be used. Turns out, there’s quite a lot. Here’s some of the things I plan on trying: 1. Ant control – I checked three different web sites that recommend spreading cucumber peelings, the bitterer the better, around the places where you believe ants might be entering your home. I’m going to assume for cucumber usage purposes that the little pests are entering via the entire circumference of my house. With generously peeled peelings, I believe I can use about 352 cucumbers for this project. 2. Reduce swelling – we all know the cucumber slices on the eyes trick from all those spa scenes in chick flicks. I like this idea, but there are two problems: my son and husband aren’t keen on a spa day, and this isn’t going to use nearly enough cucumber. However, curing eye swelling is just one trick. Apparently cucumbers are good at dealing with another “swelling”: cellulite. Again, my expert web sites recommend rubbing slices of cucumber on cellulite to help tighten skin. If rubbing works…why not a bath? That should use bushels of cucumbers, and I might be able to fit back into my skinny swimsuit. 3. Cucumber will clean stainless steel sinks and faucets. What do you know, I have a stainless steel kitchen sink…and dishwasher…and cookware. Yep, mass cucumber usage here. 4. Squeak eliminator – toss out the WD40 and rub a cucumber slice on that noisy hinge. I wonder if it works on knee joints? 5. Shoe polish – I don’t see much mileage in this one. I think I’m down to about two pairs of shoes that actually need polishing. 6. Sunburn relief – if you don’t have aloe, use cucumber. Now, I might be able to use this since I’m fair-complexioned, but hubby and the kid have that olive insta-tan skin…damn them.
There are several more uses along with plenty of reasons to consume cucumber. It boosts your energy, cures a hangover, gets rid of bad breath, and lowers blood pressure. I think it might be able to bring about world peace too, but I haven’t seen that use…yet. There is one thing that gardening does add, whether it's cucumbers or the other vegetables we have coming on: it's a wonderful stress reliever and a great way to take a break from spending so much time in front of the computer either writing or promoting my books. Check out my website at I've got a series out that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

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