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September 6, 2016 Vol. 1 Issue 4
The Lucky Buddha Story
So, I walked into the liquor store to buy some beer for guests that were coming over that evening. Not a big beer drinker myself, I was in a quandary as to what brand to buy. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a six-pack of green glass bottles shaped like jovial Buddhas in a red carton labeled Lucky Buddha Beer.
As we drank the beer, we laughed at this newest product from China. It was fun to rub the belly of Buddha while drinking beer. And, the beer is very drinkable.
The downside is that the bottles are too damn cute to automatically toss into the recycled bin, making you visually aware of exactly how many beers you have consumed. The upside is that I re-purposed the bottles as legs for stools, even though they serve no earthly purpose other than to find homes in our garden. Actually, I found a purpose as illustrated below.
The really big upside is the luck I have had since discovering this charming beer. To start with, I had a photograph accepted into the Danville Community Arts Center’s exhibit Horizon: The Contemporary Landscape. I quickly went to get it framed and through a strange set of coincidences, I sold two prints of the limited edition image.
Then I was invited to a gathering of the Lexington Camera Club, a wonderful group of people who are coming at the art of photography from so many different perspectives. As luck would have it, I met Tom Fielder and David Fitts, who also have work in Kentucky through the Lens, a group show of four Kentucky photographers at the City Gallery in the Downtown Arts Center in Lexington. (It’s up now through Oct. 2. Come join us at Gallery Hop on Sept. 16!)
As if I hadn’t had enough good luck, I got a call from out of the blue requesting a large amount of Kentucky 120 books. After a month of negotiations between different parties, I was finally able to seal the deal for a reprint. I still don’t know who the end client is but I suspect “Kentucky 120” will become a lovely gift from some Kentucky corporation. So I am very proud and LUCKY to say that “Kentucky 120” is going into its first reprint.
This summer, I've been to Anglin Falls a few time and have also been making photographs of gardens and landscapes I can't resist. For many reasons creeks have really been calling out to me this year. Click on RECENT WORK to see these photographs.
The Lavender Lady
Lavender and Kentucky; they are not friends. I have been trying to have a successful lavender bed for about six years. The setbacks make it seem like twenty years. When I first prepared the soil for the bed, I got online and found Lavender Hills of Kentucky. I called them to see about getting some plant stock. This sweet lady grilled me about how I had prepared my bed and seemed to approve of all I had done. At that time, she told me that every ag extension agent she met advised her against raising lavender as a crop, but she had beat all odds with her family’s lavender success.
This year, as I was on my way back from a blessing of the trails in Lewis County, I decided to visit Lavender Hills in Bracken County. I thought I would never find it. Thoroughly prepared with a cell phone and a “Kentucky Gazetteer” (my bff), both became useless. You know what happened with the cell phone and the roads seemed to be poorly marked (or I was just lost in the beauty of Kentucky).
So when I finally pulled up into the driveway, there was a silver haired lady on the front porch of a picturesque white frame farmhouse. Sitting on the top of a hill, the view from the porch overlooked the family’s farm with cattle, tobacco and beds of lavender.
I asked this spry lady if she had any lavender for sale and the floodgates of information about lavender came pouring out. She was so knowledgeable about every aspect of growing and cultivating lavender and eager to share. She also talked about the struggles of growing lavender in Kentucky. I learned many times about the winter of 2013-2014. The cold of that winter was devastating; they lost nearly everything. Kentucky is not exactly friendly to lavender. However, tenacity and passion persisted and they are once again up and running an ever expanding lavender operation. I suggest late spring or early summer to visit this little lavender oasis on the backroads of Kentucky.
I still don’t know her name, but the Lavender Lady was gracious enough to give me a tour of her varietal garden and let me make a video. Enjoy!
My wife and I went to Portland, Oregon to visit our son for Father’s Day. We had a blast connecting with artists, trying new food experiences and finding wonderful vintage books at Powell’s Books. It was also their Gay Pride weekend. We got to see the Gay Men’s Chorus perform and I’m proud that my son sings with that chorus. He is so talented, but then again I know I carry just a little bit of bias.
The mountains and the beaches outside of Portland (only a couple of hour's drive east or west) are a landscape photographer’s paradise. The Rose Garden, The Rhododendron Garden and the Japanese Garden are also a photographer’s dream. I got a few “keepers.” If you want to see them CLICK HERE.
Peaches, Ginger and Bourbon
When the peaches came in season this year, I couldn’t get enough of them. They were so good; I was making weekly trips to the farmer’s market. Making preserves seemed to be the logical step to keep that wonderful flavor going all through the winter. I experimented around with a standard recipe and added ginger for a nice flavor pairing. Then I got carried away and added bourbon to half of the first batch. On paper this sounds like a great idea, however in reality my Peach Ginger Preserves with a hint of bourbon became bourbon flavored peaches. The next batch, I cut back on the bourbon too much and added more ginger, resulting in Ginger Peach Preserves without even a hint of bourbon. By the time I got around to making the third batch, peach season was over. Don’t get me wrong. All of the preserves are yummy, I just can’t seem to get the right flavor balance. Maybe next year!
Even though I call this section of the newsletter “in my garden,” it is actually OUR garden. My wife and I share the work and the joy together. I’m happy to share my current garden photo journal entries with you in each edition of Edz Buzz.