Labor Day Weekend September 2016
Bruce is upstairs playing with his trains. I’m in the fragrant kitchen roasting peppers and making meat balls for albondigas soup. Through an open window I hear Charlie cutting firewood.
What is the Breakfast Letter? It began in 2011 when Cheryl Petty traveled to Beijing, PR China, to work at Tsinghua University. She has been back and forth, sharing her passion for adventure in picture and story.
Labor Day Weekend September 2016
Bruce is upstairs playing with his trains. I’m in the fragrant kitchen roasting peppers and making meat balls for albondigas soup. Through an open window I hear Charlie cutting firewood.
Departure Beijing to Pyongyang
After the Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 2 personnel have loaded numerous, huge, boxed parcels, they now start with the luggage. We're already late taking off. I can see my tao hongsede bag sitting on the tarmac.
A distinguished Norwegian man and I visit for several minutes. He shows me the DPRK page in his diplomatic passport. I end up sitting between him and a young Austrian man. We chat between us for the hour trip.
The Norwegian man, who remains nameless, is met by two ladies from the Swedish Embassy. 19:09 Beijing time, 8:10 Pyongyang time. Max, the Austrian, is staying at the same hotel as I am, the Yanggakdo International. I'm on the fortieth floor. We eat dinner together in the mainly deserted dining room. It's off season for tourism.
Maxamillian is 24 years old and is going to business school in Thailand. He's also going on an independent tour, but with another travel agency.
The menu tonight is beer, kimchee soup, salad of shredded carrot, spinach and potato followed by noodle soup with chicken slivers and green onion, mifan rice, fish filet, pork cutlet with pickles, baby potato fries and shui water. Vinegar and hot pepper flake seasoning is on the table. The beer is 6Y, $.98, EUR .5.Read More
Qing Dynasty drama performed at Tsinghua University.Read More
2014-The month flew by. Spring green has ripened to the greens of summer: the oak leaves thickening, the ornamental conifers push bushy tufts of soft, balsam scented needles. The red, pink, yellow and creamy white roses, tea scented or musky or spicy.Read More
Alan Feng, my contact for Penjing in China, notified me they will be having an exhibiton 19th-23th November, 2014, at the International exhibition center, Dongguan, Guangdong, China. I have offered to help them organize a tour from the US. Stay tuned for more details!Read More
I've been laying low since I returned to California from Beijing, and just now have uploaded my book, Beijing Abduction, to Amazon.com for Kindle! An unexpected delay at the last minute has been infuriating to wait, but I now have a Chinese editor in Beijing who has proof read my manuscript. The quality of the product is worth the wait!Read More
Frost over the weekend drops all the leaves. Like golden doubloons, spinning in cerulean blue space, breaking with a soft snap, showering and whispering. Driving behind Lake Siskiyou, up into the mountains,Read More
The scrub jay, Leonard, visited every day, squawking for peanuts which he can take from our fingers mid-air. He was also good at catching insects and was gone many hours every day, probably down at the river catching those huge bugs they have down there that the fish like.
Today I puttered around with the bonsai/penjing trees, weeding and trimming. The long and limber pear and apple tree branches are bowed down to the ground, heavy with fruit this year. And I have lots of tomatoes, fangie or xihongshi. This is my best garden in years.
In the morning, before the hot sun blasts over the ridge behind Apple Street, Bruce and I keep up with small improvements and maintenance on the house.
Bruce and I drove the less popular, back way to Eugene to visit my son and granddaughter for her fourth birthday. We took the highway 97 turnoff at Weed and turned east on highway 161 which paralleled the border through Grass Lake to the town of Tulelake where we crossed the California border near Merrill, Oregon. We picked up highway 97 again at the city of Klamath Lake where we skirted the east side of Upper Klamath Lake. At Chiloquin, an Amtrak depot, we investigated the area around the railroad tracks. The highway passed near Crater Lake, but we pressed toward Eugene and promised to come back next summer to explore the beautiful and remote region.
The party, at a park in Eugene, swelled to include children and adults. I was thrilled to see my ex-husband Richard and Bruce visiting over the cupcake table.
I spent the day savoring the last of summer at Whiskeytown Lake with Helen and Barbara. Canadian geese strutted across the sand while sailboats tacked and turned in our sheltered bay.
On Labor Day, 9/2, I made grape juice for jelly from Marty’s Concord grapes, small but flavorful and grown in north Dunsmuir. On 9/11 we remembered the tragic anniversary.
Every day we must pick fruit and prepare them in for winter. I canned pints of pear halves. I picked fat, windblown apples, red and streaked and spotted yellow with a blue blush, while Leonard the gray jay sang a warbling tune from a low branch. The blue morning glories climbed up the porch and are taller than the tallest sunflowers, past blooming, and making seeds.
My darling son, James, took his first business trip to China, traveling with his boss and an interpreter. Here he was in Shanghai. They provided architecture services in design for clients there.
Happy Mid Autumn Day, Zhongqiu jie, September 19, 2013.
Suddenly the rain arrived in cold chi clouds. I ran between raindrops to fetch ripe apples, downed by last night’s thundershower. I have seen less and less of Leonard the gray jay. This morning black headed juncos from the mountain lakes arrived to pick through the debris of my garden.
Wo hui dao Zhongguo
Every day I study Mandarin. Wo meitian du dou xuexi putonghua. I have mp3 files for lessons I took in Beijing from my teacher, laoshi, Wu Dan. I’m preparing to take a two-month trip that starts in late November in Hainan, the Hawaii of China. I’m attending the 10th CAFIC International Conference on the theme “Intercultural Communication for a Harmonious World: Challenges and Opportunities." I’ll be presenting a paper, co-authored by my boss at Tsinghua, Chen Hong, Director of the Overseas Promotion Department, titled “Building a Better English Website for Chinese Universities” based on research I conducted while working there in 2011.
From there I will travel to Ghanzhou to see the Qingwan Penjing Garden and conduct an interview with the proprietors for European bonsai magazine Bonsai Focus, and California magazine Golden Statements. The next stop is Xi’an and finally on to Beijing where Bruce will be meeting me for a few weeks of Chinese New Year, Spring Festival. The Beijing Breakfast Letter will be revived with more adventures and images.
See you later
We visited Medford, Oregon, where Bruce gave a presentation as part of the Ashland Historic Railroad Museum’s monthly lecture series. The Medford Mail Tribune said, “Author Bruce Petty will present a slide show of historical photos of Southern Pacific’s Shasta Division at 6:30pm Friday, March 8, at the Ashland library.” Bruce’s co-author Larry Mullaly and his wife Alice live outside of town surrounded by farm land: cow pastures, alfalfa fields, and one wild elk. She has violets, daffodils, forsythia and apricot blooming.
Delicious camarones y pescadero tacos with horchata on the way out of town at Restaurant El Kora. I passed the time in the car doing easy Sudoku and working on my latest manuscript draft, an invertor in the cigarette lighter of the Explorer allowed me to use Pépe the netbook with powercord. Beautiful sunny day, warming up to 59 F or 15 C.
Professor Don Eads shared this image with us, an Obama family portrait. Left to right: Craig Robinson, Leslie Robinson, Avery Robinson, Marian Robinson, Akinyi Manners, Auma Obama, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Konrad Ng, Savita Ng, and Suhaila Ng.
I tested and turned on four irrigation valves today. Then I set out the downstairs bonsai. I’ve been hand watering every day for the past few weeks. Peas are well up and flowering. The Tuscan kale is finally going to flower here and there: blue crinkled leaves and bent coat hanger flower stems surmounted by a sparse spike of four-petaled yellow flowers. Purple and white lilacs are blooming on the hill. Apple blossoms scatter in the breeze drying towels on the umbrella-style solar clothes dryer.
Dustin Song Tao Zhu shares news from Beijing: Dear Petty,
How is everything going?
Now is spring, and we are enjoying the clean weather.
Last Sunday is our student festival, and was playing in one modern drama.
Here come the photos!
After replacing my netbook Pépe with Pépe II and all that entails with wifi accessories, printer, security downloads and reinstallation of Word … and all the rest: I finished and sent reports to the Overseas Office, finished reading my ms out loud to dear friends willing to give me the time, made improvements and sent to editor: 26,000 new words. Now I’m relaxing in the backyard, playing Sudoku, eating a sandwich and finishing my coffee from the Cornerstone Bakery.
A mature gray squirrel snuck into the yard and nibbled peanuts I had set out for the jaybirds.
Eunice Woo from Beijing shares with us: I went to the Garden Expo yesterday, know you love these stuff. This picture is the typical kind of gardens in Southern China (Jiangnan District). Here's the Expo's website: http://en.expo2013.net/cj/list.php?tid=111#5. This one from Daguanyuan, a garden, too, the TV show "The Dream of Red Mason" filmed there.
I visited this site and found it to have an excellent English version and many pages of interesting horticultural exhibits of Chinese style.
Beautiful veggie garden this year with tomatoes, medicinal and culinary herbs, sunflowers, marigolds, snapdragons. I planted pole lima beans with morning glory. Planted basil and more morning glory on the old pea netting. Big full moon this weekend and rain forecast.
Just groovin’ on the porch. The sun went down behind Mt. Bradley an hour ago. The sky is still light and the air is fresh and pleasantly warm at 79 F or 26 C. Listening to Grover Washington “Just the two of us.”
Finished my manuscript Beijing Abduction. YAY! Now, I’m looking for an agent who will represent me to a publisher. Every day I send a Query Letter and samples of my writing. We call this a numbers game. The more query letters I send the greater are chances I will find the right agent.
Not so busy now. I go to the lake with my husband to the lake or Farmers’ Market. Thursday after 3:30pm, the Dunsmuir Growers’ Market takes over the corner next to the Dunsmuir Brewery, making it convenient for locals to shop and stop for something cold to drink. The director of SAM (Siskiyou Arts Museum) Lauri Sturdivant sits across the table from local activist Joanne Steele at an impromptu party for Linda Price’s sister Tammy and Helen Cartwright’s daughter Nicole. Who needs a reason? Entertainment a string ensemble traveling from North Carolina.
Last scene at the Brewery Thursday night: Brett LaMott proprietor and chef at Café Maddalena quaffing summer ale with Bruce Petty, after shopping for new okra from Redding growers. Ted and Bonny Lou, fans of Wendy Crist, one of the organizers of the wildly successful Dunsmuir Growers’ Market. Wendy and hubbie Michael grow micro herbs at their sunny location behind the Von Hein’s place for local eateries like Café M and the Dogwood Diner. Not only fresh veggies and fruits are available but also local food items, BBQ and homemade tamales. Boomer, live, soft rock entertainment.
See you later
Day after gorgeous day, beautiful fall colors of the leaves. The bonsai/penjing in training Japanese Princess Persimmon made three miniature fruit, coloring orange as the small leaves drop.
Driving around town, through Tauhindauli Park, I saw the historic marker: Upper Soda Springs Campsite of Indians and Hudson Bay Trappers and Popular resort on California-Oregon trail 1857-1920 although research reveals the HBT were operating in the area as early as 1834.
My son James, wife Amy and three-year-old daughter Maddie visited, and we had a snow day at Bunny Flat. Only a scant few inches to make snow angels, enough for us to have fun. More snow to come…
While waiting in line at the pharmacy, I met Prof. Don Eads. We were pleasantly surprised to discover: he taught at Peking University at the same time I was working at Tsinghua University in Beijing last year. What are the chances…
Dr. Don is a complex renaissance man, born and raised in Hawaii, childhood chum of Barry Barak Obama. Dr. Eads has an impressive profile if you’re interested: International coordinator at Tony Robbins Foundation. He’s in Mt Shasta to record a CD of his contemporary, Hawaiian-style music. Recorded in Beijing
Dr. Don’s organizing Global Aloha Day for 12-12-12. The idea is ‘hanging loose with your ohana (family) Hawaiian style, talking story, being kind, sharing and eating. Deeper reflections are encouraged. Aloha is a way of life.”
Thanksgiving dinner started at 2pm at Lynn and Linda Price’s house.
Conversation nibbles: crackers, cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, spiced Sicilian olives
Nutty textured cranberry-orange jello with citrus sauce
Yukon gold mashed (not whipped) potatoes with turkey gravy, of course
Homemade (in two homes) whole wheat croissants
Mashed yams with pineapple
Artisanal apple (from Petty's tree), pecan dressing
Green bean casserole with crunchy onions
Pumpkin pie made with jam
Champagne, wine, and power aid
After dinner we went downstairs to look at Linda’s Store, Boxcar Gallery. I tried on a vintage blue/purple leather dress by Bill Morgan of North Beach Leather with a short, circular skirt, padded shoulders and long sleeves. Don Eads was attracted to the vintage 60s Fillmore posters, looking for bands he might have played with. Then he sat at a 1926 Brambach Baby Grand Piano, previously owned by Sam Mazzei, local Dunsmuir musician. Linda and I were astonished Don had heard of the Hottentot Band of Sam Mazzei’s from the 40s.
I’ve got 2 books for this blog. The recent unsettling developments between Israel and Gaza are more understandable since I read The Spirit of Cities by Daniel Bell. Jerusalem is the first of nine cities revealed in a personal consideration of the ethos or values in this scholarly travelogue.
Post on amazon
By Daniel A. Bell and Avner de-Shalit
I met Daniel Bell online last year when I was applying for a job at Tsinghua University. Mr Bell was referred to me by my alma mater UCLA’s Chinese Studies Center as a contact at Tsinghua in the Philosophy Department.
This book, 346 pages, challenges reader to remember favorite cities and to match impressions and memories with Bell and de-Shalit’s personal and analytical abstracts of nine great cities and their distinguishing ethos: Jerusalem (religion), Montreal (language), Singapore (nation building), Hong Kong (materialism), Beijing (political power), Oxford (learning), Berlin (tolerance) and New York (ambition). It is available from Princeton at http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9544.htmlat Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Cities-Identity-Matters-Global/dp/069115144X.
Post on amazon
By Joel Andreas
The history of Tsinghua University and the history of China are closely twined. One of the last things done by the old dynasty was to deed a portion of the royal Summer Garden to Tsinghua and other universities in 1911. Since then the fate of the country and the university unfolds ensemble. As such, it provides an opportunity to view events within a context. It starts with the building of socialism: the formation of the political foundations of class power beginning in December 1948 as Communist troops advance on Beijing and arrive at Tsinghua University. Cadres take over control and a simmering conflict emerges between the old elites, professors and students, and Mao’s politically connected veteran soldiers. Who has political and cultural capital and who doesn’t, who has what kind of credentials of family origin or educational status, who is a party member and not: all this combines into a fascinating, high-stakes story revealed in painstaking academic research and impeccable survey results.
344 pages, the book is available from Stanford at http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=16889 and at Amazon.com
A synopsis of the book is attached. Red Enginers synopsis
See you later
Artwalk last weekend was a huge success from the number of visitors estimated at over 400. I got to exhibit with two friends of mine: Joy Price-watercolor http://siskiyouartscouncil.org/joy-price/ , and Dorthea Schoenstien-oil.http://siskiyouartscouncil.org/dorothea-barlett-schoenstein/ You can see us in the city council chamber for the day.
Birds are on a feeding frenzy: hummers, their fat little bellies pressed against the feeder rail, sucking down the sugar water. Blue and scrub jays call out to Bruce, “peep-squawk” “feed-me-peanuts.” The scrub jay can carry two nuts at once if they are small. It thinks it’s being clever, burying them on the edge of the compost pile in deep duff. I’m watching the whole time from my cozy nook in the kitchen.
Finches arrive in a cloud of fluttering, peeping wings, harvesting every last seed from the gaunt, bent sunflowers.
Everyday Bruce and I pick a 5-gallon bucket of apples and process them for our freezer. That means Bruce runs the ingenious hand-crank, mechanical peeler and slicer. We pack the apple slices into freezer bags with a little sugar, ready to make strudel or pie all winter. We have flats of whole, perfect apples in the shed where they should keep a long time in the cold. Mind you, these aren't any old apple. These are artisanal apples that hail back to the day when Dunsmuir provided fresh apples to the burgeoning population in San Francisco during the gold rush of 1849. The fragrant, juicy fruit have a faint blue tinge to the red, prominent now it has frosted, making them a deep purplish-red compared to the sunny golden red of summer and a delicious, apple-flavor that reminds you of what apples tasted like when you were a kid.
The first big winter storm swept through, Mt Shasta Baise Shan is white down into the tree line. Sixteen inches of snow fell at Crater Lake, Oregon. http://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm
In Dunsmuir today the sun is shining, its 50-degrees F (10 C), kids are walking home from school past my house.
Black-headed Oregon juncos have arrived. During the summer, they live high up in nearby mountains. The snow drives them down to Dunsmuir for the winter. They’re picking through the remnants of the dry, sunflower stalks.
Leaves on the oaks and maples are still mostly green with patches of gold. Here and there a red flame of dogwood or ash. The dead-looking, dry grass has sprouted fresh, green blades overnight.
In China the Golden Week and National holiday, Guoqing jie and Huangjin zhou, has passed. On October 1 Chinese celebrate the founding of their Peoples’ Republic of china in 1949, marking the first day of the week long vacation. Many Chinese travel to visit local and distant attractions during this most beautiful time of year. Forbes says Chinese consumers are shifting from luxuries to camping. Chinese media reports more than four million people visited the nationally monitored scenic spots, a rise of 23.7 percent from last year. Campsite tourism and scenic drives are a new trend for re-balancing their economy as the Chinese lurch towards a more sustainable growth factor.
Remember this summer, when I visited southern California? I got to see my family and a friend from Beijing, Feng, and her son, Alec, and her husband who was attending a conference in Anaheim. This woman befriended me at Tsinghua campus. She worked in the housing office and would help me with things because her English is very good and because she is good hearted. I was sorry to leave Feng and the many Chinese and ex-pat friends I made in the short ten months of my tenure. Writing this blog helps me massage that sore spot in my heart where Beijing sticks like a dart.
Feng tells me about her Golden Days outing with her family. She says, “The holiday is very relaxing and casual. I have a lot of fun chatting with friends, barbecuing outdoors, enjoying good scenery and delicious food. I love staying in the outskirts of town and didn't want to come back.”
These are Feng’s recipes for her family camping barbecue.
1. Lamb skewers Sheep hindquarters, the best little fat. Appropriate cut into small pieces (2 cm or 1-inch) marinated. Marinade: onion, white wine, salt, sugar, a little, put some dry chili marinade if you like spicy food. Add to the Marinade Drizzle a little oil. Generally marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Before grilling, sprinkle meat with some chili powder and cumin powder. Brush with any favorite sauce or dressing.
2. Grilled chicken wings Wings can be marinated with a ready-made barbecue sauce, pickling spices and mutton. Brush a small amount of honey on the outside skin will be crispier. You can use the Drizzle oil or not according to taste.
3. Grilled vegetables
Vegetables good to grill are mushrooms, beans, eggplant, garlic, leek, peppers, sweet potato slices, and potato chips. Brush a little cooking oil while they grill will cook them faster, but not easy to paste. Brush with any favorite sauce or dressing. Fast Flavors: butter + a little oil + a little sugar, spice powder, sprinkle on the vegetables some for the fragrance. Do not buy meat with flesh attached off-the-shelf. Some people like to buy chicken gristle + Chicken already skewered in the package for convenience.
Feng adds “The barbecue is very happy, but the photos are very few, people only enjoy the food!!! Ha-ha, it is very cold now, how fast this fall passes!”
Tao Te Ching Philosophical Interpretation By Feng GuangXing and Ms. Feng Jingwen
I received a book in the mail from my friend Feng. Holding the white and green bubble cushion China Postal envelope with red stamps, I was excited with anticipation at seeing her father and her sister’s book on Taoism had arrived.
Feng’s father was Dean of the Administrative Law Department at Northwestern College of Law and has published numerous academic books and journal papers. This book about Taoism is his first attempt to capture that elusive quality of the Tao. Also an author is Feng Jingwen, his daughter, who currently works as a faculty at the Law School of ShanXi University of Finance and Economics. Ms Feng is distinguished for having studied law, receiving a BS at the University of Shaanxi and a MS from the Law School at Shanxi University where she now works; she has published articles in the Social Science Journal.
I asked Feng, what is it about? Water: The best of humanity is like water, which benefits all things and does not contend against them, which runs in places others disdain, abiding within flow. 上善若水。水善利万物而不争，处众人之所恶，故几于道。
348 pages, this book can be purchased from Shaanxi people's Publishing House ‘issued section.’ Feng says, “In XI'AN my parents’ apartment has some books, if someone want to buy one. They only provide books, but can’t provide receipt. The publisher said because these kinds of books are professional, too bad sales, the author may sell books, but does not provide the invoice. He-he, Sounds a bit complicated.” If anyone wants to get a book from Feng, let me know and I will forward your request to her.
After the first strong rain, Oregon stream fairies can be glimpsed standing in ditches next to roads looking ephemeral.
See you later
For all the younger people reading this, when you hear folks say they are busier after retirement, I can attest the truth of that statement. Between caring for Bruce after his second surgery for a hernia, painting, writing, visiting with family, I try to carve out a few minutes for yoga and relaxing.
I am sending one more fire fighting image, showing the red plume of fire retardant releasing from a specially outfitted plane. Look closely in the lower corner and you will see the flames.
After playing in the yard, picking windfall apples out of the grass, Nai Nai, my son James and my granddaughter Maddie visited one of several parks in our small town. The city park near the Sacramento River combines botanical gardens, children's playground and river. Maddie has been active in toddler gymnastics in her hometown in Eugene. Here she shows her stuff on the rings with Dad in the background.
We picked up Bruce and went downtown for lunch at the brewery which makes several of their own brews, utilizing Dunsmuir's Best Water on Earth.http://www.dunsmuirbreweryworks.info/
As the day wound down and the sun was dropping behind Mt. Bradley, we visited Tauhindauli Park at a historic site in Siskiyou County, the first Euroamerican settlement in 1852. Prior to that date Tauhindauli clan of the Wintu indians lived here. This is a natural park restored with native plants and natural river features. Fishermen and kyakers use it.
Over the weekend after Labor Day, I went camping with my son, nephew and their families at Wright's Beach in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=451 This is a beginning of a tradition of family camping. Each person wrote or drew pictures in the album. Here are some excerpts:
Overnight "Racoons came by and stole James, Amy and Madelaine's bacon! We found some footprints and trash on the floor, so we figured out what the wooden boxes at each campsite were for..." Ana
"Doran County Beach http://www.sonoma-county.org/parks/pk_doran.htm --breezy, catamaran race turning around an orange buoy--horses on the beach--para-foil style beach kites" Cher
"Wright Beach Happy Hour--wine by the glass/box, Reverie Sancerre French Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz--Australia, Fleure, Cru Beaujoulais--France. Almond stuffed crocked green olives, acme baguette, soprasseho salmi, Persian medjool dates and French feta. Cheese course: Cowgirl creamery (California) http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/ --Mt Tam Wagon Wheel, (Spain)--Manchego Ibenco" Malini
"Amy and I prepared shrimp and scallop fettechini alfredo for the first camp dinner ... We drank some awesome Belgium beer http://www.visitbelgium.com/?page=beer-lovers and we had a lovely sit down dinner at the camp table. Even with a table cloth." James
"Last night we spied the Cosmos 1484 satellite http://www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=14207 directly overhead among the vast amount of visible stars. Now it is time to pack up our dewy tent and say good bye." Jon
See you later
The beans have germinated. Basil, mesclun and black seeded simpson lettuce have been up for a few weeks. I live everyday to its fullest. Sitting on the front porch, late afternoon sun through a roll down screen and occasional puffy cloud, reading: (left to right) Flanders Panel by Perez-Reverie, Beijing city map, Age of Insight by Kandel http://news.columbia.edu/kandel , 2011 Journal, China's Political System by Zhongoing, 2010 Journal, Bonsai Focus, Short Stories by de Maupassant, sipping hong cha, unwinding after a long session on the internet, researching for Tsinghua.
Several Stellar blue jays nag us for peanuts every time we walk into the back yard. A scrub jay tries to bully his way in and take all the nuts.
When I go into my little studio nook, I am preparing for the next picture. Now I am testing different media. I want to see if I can use a red ground for most of the new design. I need to test how various media will react, latex paint, oil paint. Savoring every day.
The Overseas Office at Tsinghua found a replacement for me. I won't be going back in Fall although I am still working remotely, doing research from here.
This July 4 Bruce and I were visited by Yun from Mt View. The first day we drove up to the old ski bowl and picniced on Mt Shasta (Bai Shan) http://www.siskiyous.edu/shasta/out/ski/skibowl/index.htm
An avalanche destroyed it in 1978, but the road is still good and the old parking lot is a popular staging area for people climbing the mountain at 7,600 feet. The top of Mt Shasta (Bai Shan) is over 14,000 feet (4,267m).
The picture that looks like on the moon is actually from the parking lot at the old ski bowl. Few trees this high, only stunted specimens growing in the light pink andesite and crushed concrete from the old resort foundations. In the background you can see some white, that's snow behind the flag. We stopped on the way down so Yun could get a cup of snow. t's still in our freezer. The wide angle camera lens distorts the near ground in a hilarious way.
That night we drive up to the city of Mt Shasta and watch fireworks. It's a perfect night velvety warm, usually freezing cold after dark. The next day we visit the Mt Shasta Buddhist Abbey. They have five men and fifteen women studying to be monks/nuns. Thirty to forty lay people visit regular services on Sunday.
Tiny flick of a lizard tail under the old shed door just as I step outside. Sun has just gone down behind Mt Bradley. It is 85-degrees (29C) at seven-thirty pm, high 106-degrees (41C), inside the house its cooler 75-degrees (24C). We finally open the windows to get cool mountain breezes. low 59-degrees (15C)
I sometimes get home grown araucana chicken eggs from a friend in yoga class, $4 for a dozen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araucana The apples and pears are starting to weigh down the tree branches, still small, two fit into the palm of my hand. The peas are finished. I'm leaving them to make seed for next year. The pole beans are up a good 12-inches (30cm). The tallest sunflower is over 6-feet (182cm) taller than Bruce.
Can you see the bear trail on the right of the garden wall? I make ratatoille out of eggplant, peppers, onions, zucchini just like I used to in my Puji apartment in Beijing, Julia Child style. http://cooking.knopfdoubleday.com/2009/08/03/julia-childs-ratatouille-recipe/
See you later
The roses are the most beautiful I have ever seen them this spring. The old fashioned ones are very fragrant with scents musky, fruity, sweet. We have fresh tomatoes and peppers from Canada and delicious ‘Tuscan’ melons from Mexico.
The old website is undergoing a total make over starting with a new domain name and RSS feed blog. I’m looking for someone who would like to do an Anime page for me. Let me know if interested.
We lost power for about fifteen minutes during an afternoon thundershower, so we got to light the emergency kerosene lamp! Chi in the canyon condenses into fat clouds caught in the trees.
My peas are flowering and making little pods. I’ve been harvesting French sorrel for my friends at Café M. Lots of apples and pears this year, already starting to color. Birds in the backyard.
This weekend was Railroad Days in Dunsmuir. Wearing an official RRDays button gets you into all exhibits. My son rode down in Amtrak with granddaughter, her first visit to NaiNai and Poppa Bruce’s house.
The festival brought people downtown. It was BIG FUN visiting RRDays as a participant with my darling family.
See you later
On April 27 heavy rain knocked little pink flowers off the cherry threes. Today red leaves line the branches. A stray petal floats on the cold breeze stirring the bamboo grove.
We set out peanuts huang gua for the blue jays who entertain us while we eat lunch al fresco (outside) in the courtyard. The big shade tree is budding, about to burst with leaves, sitting in the warm spring sun through bare branches.
Last year at this time I wrote, "Spring is hurrying by-- don't miss it. Savor every breath as if it is the last spring on earth."
On May 6 I finished hooking up the drip emitters to the last potted plants and fertilized everything except the newly transplanted bonsai/penjing trees. Bruce helped install poles and netting for the edible pod peas, already a foot high, waving their tendrils around, looking for something to grab.
Walking in the neighborhood, bright orange caught our eye. "This is a partly parasitic plant called Indian Warrior, Pedicularis densiflora. Also called red lousewort. Not related to delphinium--related to Indian paintbrush. Usually grows under or near manzanita, which is its favored host plant." Many thanks to the USDA on this plant ID.
At the city park, the native dogwood trees cornus nuttallii are blooming. The Sacramento River runs through the park and many fisherman come here to fish.
So many plants bloom here the same as in Beijing. Lilac, forsythia, roses. The school flower at Tsinghua University is the redbudcercis sinensis. The redbud grows here in the Sacramento River canyon and south, cercis occidentalis.
It has been a looooong time since I have written to you, my friends. And I have so many pictures to share I will do May's blog in two parts.
See you later
March 26, last night our trash barrel got hit by the bear. The bear is up from a short winter hibernation and is hungry! It pushed through a big pile of rose trimmings piled where the bear usually comes on a trail out of the forest behind the houses on our street. I guess we will have to be more careful about tying down the lid with heavy duty bungee cord...as if it was summer already.
March 28, they told me at the hardware store the bear had torn the door off my friend's chicken coop and got all her chickens. There were raccoon tracks in the snow next to the car this morning. By afternoon the clouds parted and glorious sun shone down. Bruce and I walked up the street, a little farther this time.
March 29, while searching online, I got hacked by a fake redirect "ATT" web pop up. Suddenly everything slowed down, Norton was jammed. I had to turn it off by removing the battery and took it to Acme Computer in Mt Shasta for cleaning.
April 1, a pile of broken promises, like a pile of rusting bicycles in Beijing. On today's news Larry Gagosian is the bedouin of the Miami Art Fair.
April 2, the phone rings, a voice from India asks a series of personal questions about my computer. I hang up when he directs me to sit in front of the computer and follow his login instructions. When I pick up my little netbook at Acme they tell me this was a complex malware hack using the phone, several people had already reported.
April 3, the soil temperature is 60-degrees F (15-celsius) so I planted peas. Transplanted two big pinus parvifolia bonsai/penjing.
April 10, rain again, fat fuzzy white clouds float in the canyon all day with chi rain, pink and white cherry blossoms. The apricot has been blooming for weeks, surely we will have a big crop of golden sweetness like fat old gold doubloons.
Got some lettuce and kale starts in Redding while we were there for Bruce's check up, doing very well. Now he accompanies me in the big loop from our house up to the bottling company at Hedge Creek Falls Park and then down the other side of the freeway on Dunsmuir avenue past the city park and historic Babe Riuth Ball Park and old train engine, municipal swimming pool before looping around at the old caboose, crossing I-5 and ending up back at our house. Total 1.8 miles (3km).
This week's picture album ends with beautiful spring greetings from Eunice in Beijing: "It's Yu Yuan Tan Park（玉渊潭公园）.It's very near the Beijing West Train Station,I attach the map below,the green one is East Gate of Tsing Hua,the red one is the park.It's famous for the cherry blossoms.This year they have the 24th Cherry Blossoms Festival.The tower is the old CCTV tower,the new one is in Chaoyang district（朝阳区）,I also attach the new one below."
See you later
Suddenly, like a page torn out of a book, that's how life comes at you.
Walking on Apple Street hill, farther up, I find another road made for fiber optic installation, big red and white signs. Walking north on the new road, eventually, in a short distance, I come across where Roseburg Lumber http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roseburg_Forest_Products made a small irregular clear cut this past summer behind the Dunsmir Elementary School.http://sisnet.ssku.k12.ca.us/~desftp/
Now small trees about 2-3-feet tall (61 - 91cm), mostly yellow pine pinus ponderosa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinus_ponderosa , thickly dot the slope. Timber companies in California are not allowed to make clear cuts exceeding around 10-15 acres (4-6 hectares). Using best timber harvesting practices developed first in New Zealand, harvesters leave several large, mature trees here and there which can make cones with viable seeds. The outline of the cut is irregular, hidden from view of the public as much as possible. Piles of slag (debris, unusable logs and branches) remain for erosion control and wildlife habitat. http://cpr.ca.gov/cpr_report/Issues_and_Recommendations/Chapter_5_Resource_Conservation_and_Protection/RES21.html
Mountain Quail orortyx pictushttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Quail or Ring Tail Pheasant phasianus colchicus http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-necked_Pheasant/lifehistory/ac flutter up in a sudden cloud. The pheasant was introduced from Asia and is a popular game bird in the new world.
In the distance Mt Shasta is white with snow, BaiShan. I tie a red and yellow ribbon on the branch, marking where to turn down into the trees.
On Feb 26 2012 5 planets were in the night sky with the moon on the same night. I got a picture of the moon and two planets. I cropped to the closest planet, Jupiter. http://earthsky.org/tonight/see-all-five-visible-planets-in-the-february-evening-sky
The last shipping box arrived today from China. Full of art books and special colored and patterned papers for art collage.
Soon it will be spring. Every time it snows could be the last. Buds swell and push. Who knows what the Chinese characters mean?
See you later
Little birds pecking in the snow.
Bought oranges in Colusa farm stand with a box on a post with a sign "pay $7 10#." They are dark orange inside, delicious, sweet navels in irregular sizes. We can see the trees in her neat front yard mini orchard behind a low decorative block wall on the highway. The little old lady came out immediately we left, she walked out her driveway to check the box in faint winter sunshine.
Bruce's surgery was very successful and his recovery at Stanford is remarkable. One day I met a friend in San Francisco and followed her to the beach at Pt Lobos for a late lunch overlooking 15-25-feet surf at the Beach Chateau, fresh dungeness crab Louie salad and crisp white wine. http://www.golden-gate-park.com/beach-and-park-chalet.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeness_crab Downstairs in the Chateau are WPA murals and mosaics in the history of san francisco and ocean themes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration
I followed her winding past the VA Hospital where she works, through the Presidio and Golden Gate Park, the de Young Art Museum, http://www.golden-gate-park.com/de-young-museum.html, across the Golden Gate bridge to Kentfield. People in the Bay Area are very good and courteous drivers especially on the penninsula and in downtown.
Climbing the Apple St hill behind our house the snow is almost all melted except in a few patches near the top, following the road next to the power lines. Other old roads lead off in various directions under sparse oak and dark evergreen trees. Plenty of sun and melting snow.
Several places I saw prints in the ground and snow of deer. Bears are hibernating, and deer are close by in the trees. My sursery supplies sit in the snow where Bruce brought them last March when we sold the Window Box Nursery.
See you later
One apple caught in the crossing branches,faded red, rotten, hiding in the new snow.
As if marking a milestone, my old gmail account crashed in December. Google denied me access. When I finally got into it, it was empty, everything gone, emails, addresses, all my old Beijing Breakfast Letters. Fortunately I have my old hardcopy diary. I was able to import all my addresses from another location. Finally I am writing to you again.
After spending several wonderful weeks with my family in california, I returned to Beijing on New Year's Eve, Dec 31. I wake to misty mornings, wisps of steam condensate drift between the apartment buildings, feeling sad and confused.
On Jan 2 I had a meeting with my boss Chen. While Bruce prepares for his STanford U Medical Center appointment, Cheryl returns to Beijing. After taking care of business at Tsinghua, I packed up my apartment, visited friends, had my last Chinese hair and massage treatments. I shipped 5 parcels for $4,000. I mounted art on scrolls. I gave away everything I could. We drank saki at my farewell luncheon with Feng and the Department.
On Jan 16 we drive to Stanford, staying at my aunt vera and uncle jay. Sunrise at their house in San Leandro hills in the east bay, near san francisco and stanford. After a good meeting we head home ahead of a storm. Next day it snows 12 inches.
Boxes from China are arriving everyday. The Overseas office is closed for four weeks during Spring Festival. It's been snowing for days. It started the day we got back from the bay area. 12 inches the first day.
Quiet in the afternoon. Snowing outside the nook which is my winter painting studio. Spread out dishes and brushes and paper and enjoy painting persimmons on a branch in black and colored paint. Outside the window I see the snow bending the two kinds of bamboo and burying the tops. Walking in the quiet streets, warm boots and snow sticking to the wool scarf around my neck.
On nice days I walk up the hill behind the house. I took my old dell computer to the shop to get its broken lid removed. The idea is to use the keyboard on the CPU and the external monitor I brought back from China in my suitcase. Later I walk around Castella with Helen. She shows me her juniper bonsai.
At home I scrape snow off the concrete blocks I use for stands for clear plexi lids, reinforced this summer by Bruce using old redwood from the McCloud mill site. The lids cover my bonsai collection for the winter. We now have about 30 inches snow accumulation!
See you later
I have enjoyed hearing about your holiday! xiexie for sharing your wishes!! Janet Hartman says: I just love your updates please keep them up I hope everything is going good for you ... I wanted to give you our new website we opened a shop in Anderson Ca its been hard getting it going but we are hanging in there.. www.hartmankustoms.com keep up the good work , Janet
Janet and Johnny Hartman and their son Shaun customized my old 1965 Ford pick up. you can see pictures on my site athttp://www.snowcrest.net/windowboxnursery/trucks/index.html
Shortest day of the year - winter solstice - Dec 22 - Dong Zhi Families get together eattang yuan, sweet soup with rice balls. The day everyone gets a year older. The characters mean "winter arrival" Time to lay down tools, celebrate harvest, come home to families, with a feast. http://mandarin.about.com/od/chineseculture/r/tangyuanrecipe.htm
The closer we get to Christmas the more decorations you see. The parties start. You can see us at Tim and Sandra's house with fiddle player and Tim on guitar in front of Christmas tree. "Good King Wenceslas" brought down the house.
At Ray's Market and BiMart Pharmacy they are selling Christmas trees around $40(RMB 253) for a robust evergreen conifer like doug fir.
Jim Scott came by, he's watching over my bonsai/penjing. I'm going to donate some workshop grade shimpaku juniper and suarro cypress to the Eugene Bonsai Societyhttp://www.eugenebonsai.org/history.html . We lost a big azalea this summer. Most of the trees are managing on very little care. Once it snows we will cover them with clear plastic lids for the winter.
By December 14 I finished an 11-page report for work on social media and sent it in by email. In the morning I spend a couple hours working for my Oveseas department in Beijing. In the afternoon we visit with friends or go shopping. A full moon has shone in my window every night, bright against black Mt Bradley.
On December 24, Christmas Eve, it is sunny and cold in Eugene Oregon visiting my son and baby granddaughter. Eugene is a straight shot from Dunsmuir on I-5, 263 miles or 432 kilometers, taking 5 hours to drive. It is 54 degrees F or 12 degrees C.
Oregon territory was created in 1848. It is the 33 state, on February 14, 1857. The total population of the state is only 3,800,000. The highest mountain is Mt Hood 11,200 feet and the deepest lake is in Oregon, Crater Lake 1,940 feet deep. It lies between 42 and 46 degrees north latitude. (Beijing is 39 degrees north)
Eugene has a population of 135,000 and is home to state sponsored University of Oregon. It sits at the convergence of three major rivers: the Willamette, McKenzie and Amazon Creek.
The morning of Christmas Eve, my son James made breakfast: pancakes, syrup, bacon, coffee and orange juice. Maddie in a darling red velvet dress with white faux fur cuffs and collar, opened some presents. All us adults also exchanged gifts of photographs and clothes. Later we drove downtown to Eugene Toy Store and picked out some train track for Maddies toy layout.
I saw a 50's era trailer and family station wagon similar to what Bruce's family had. It will look cute on his HO layout of Los Angeles in the 60's. We walked from our motel to Hop Valley local micro brewery for lunch and split a French dip sandwich and Blonde lager.
Hui tou jian