I don’t usually talk about my gardening, though my friends and students know how much I enjoy it, and I can’t resist here. (Gardening is also a great way to appreciate the connection that we all have to the soil and earth – just ask my happy compost earthworms.) I just came home from a long trip to Asia for conferences, meetings, and family visits and inspected my overgrown garden this morning. My neighbors had been kind enough to look after our chicken and water the plants. (When we were still living in Vermont, I would regularly walk my land . . . haha, all 2 acres it; it would be a quick walk; this morning was even quicker.) All the growth that’s happened is actually one of the most delightful things to discover after one has been away. I found a championship-size zucchini (shoe/foot for scale; actual size was 20 inches), though it may not be edible anymore, as well as lots of tomatoes and ripe pluots from my “Flavor King” tree. The pluots have an incredibly “perfumed” flavor – hard to describe, but I have never had anything like it in the supermarket. (If you live in the San Jose area, I’ll be happy to share, though beware that most of them have already dropped.) I am also a great garden-ripe tomato fan – there really is nothing better than summer tomatoes that have been ripened in the garden. My Asian pear trees have also come along – there’ll be a bountyful harvest in a month or so!
There were also a couple of gardening lessons I was planning to pass along – things I learned the hard way this year. Hopefully, they will be of use to others. But I will do that separately.
In the meantime, here are two other things I discovered in my travels — for your amusement. The first is the little upstart-cousin of the Ritz-Carlton (in Kuala Lumpur), and the second is the local (at the Kuala Lumpur airport) menu of Burger King — Taro pie and Pineapple pie (the local counterpart to the standard US apple pie). I was only recently told by a student that BK and McD’s have local menu items in various countries around the world, so I have been looking out for them.