Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Stormy Day

RedwoodWhat a storm last week — The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. I looked out the window and saw that my redwood tree was toppled over, the pot in shards. All the other tall potted plants were on their side as well, but with their pots intact. Plastic chairs — upside down, scattered around. As I surveyed the scenery  I resolved to plant the redwood tree in a wine barrel so this would not happen again (much to the consternation of the clay pot industry no doubt). My poor frail tree had already gone through too much with the recent move (and I don’t think redwoods are particularly inclined or fond of travel at 60 m.p.h. in the back of pickup trucks). He lost at least half of his needles, and then I had to trim out the brown dried needles that appeared soon after the move, leaving a skeletal tree. Mind you, I got him as a seedling in Muir Woods, and he is now taller than my middle brother. With great joy I saw fresh growth the week before last, after our first California fall rain. I had watered him every day before that. Now — with triple the amount of soil around the roots in a wine barrel, he should flourish. But I’m jumping ahead.

After the chair mess was cleaned up, and the other plants righted, I drove to a nearby hardware store to buy a half wine barrel — I remembered, that they had a few left on sale. The clerk loaded the barrel for me, as well as two bags of soil.

Arriving back at my apartment, I saw the kid who lives below me, playing with some friends in the back I had not seen before. As I carried the half wine barrel to the back, I was inundated with questions about the fallen tree, the wine barrel, the storm, and many more. I explained to them what my plan was, and all the kids got very excited and asked if they could help. Such enthusiasm! I let two of them (4 and 5 years old) carry a bag of soil from the car to the back struggling mightily, but determined. I had to chuckle at their excited faces. Then one of them held the tree straight, as the others poured soil around it, tapping it down. Then they added some mulch on top. I rewarded the kids with some Pepperidge Farm goldfish I found in the car. I deemed it wise to water the tree myself, as I know the possibilities of what can happen with a garden hose. Next I brought down my cat Calvin, who was greeted enthusiastically, and promptly vanished very quickly, underneath the shed.

Have a blessed and grateful Thanksgiving week, and count your blessings, if you can be with family

Sunday observations

GingkoI set my alarm an hour too early by mistake today for getting to Service, but that made for a stop at the bakery beforehand, to buy some heavenly smelling French bread. The sky was hazy on the drive to Church, but occasional patches of fall color in golden ginkgo yellow and bright blood-orange red could be seen in the valley adjacent to the gray, dry, barren California hills. One of my brothers who lives in Marburg, Germany told me about walking his dog in the pouring rain a few days ago. The leaves are all gone there already in that lovely small University town, and November is a tough month to get through until the lights of the Christmas season appear.

After picking up some pistachios at the Farmer’s market (I like to eat them, my cat Calvin is adept at catching them in the air with his paws and then playing with them), I went into the donut store, where a girl — her hair tied with a pretty ribbon in a ponytail — was able on her third attempt to grab the donut I had selected with her tongs, spilling a bit of powder sugar on herself. The height difference and the counter in between accounted for this amusing delay. The donut was to be my companion for a pumpkin-spice latte.

As I sat on the bench outside the coffee store, my donut was immediately sniffed out by a dog of rather low stature, who gently took two small morsels after I got the OK from the owner. A dog three times it’s size but also still a puppy then came by to play. It had on a uniform that read: “Please ask to pet me, I’m friendly and a service dog”, so I obliged. After my petting duty was done, the two dogs played, then settled down under the bench below their owners to enjoy the early afternoon sun.

Have a blessed week

Pumpkins and acorn caps

I paid a visit to a Home Depot store the other day (during the last days of October), to purchase a few household maintenance items. Outside the store sat dozens of pumpkins waiting to be taken home and carved, or better yet, turned into pie. It reminded me of the Half Moon Bay pumpkin festival, where they seem to have the annual pumpkin convention, more than well attended, judging by the sea of orange. Inside the store however, no pumpkins were to bee seen — instead Christmas music (and bad music at that) blared over the speakers, as Christmas merchandise was piled high and wide. Come on folks, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. It’s really disheartening to see such corporate greed, taking all the joy out of the gradual seasonal changes and their accompanying holidays, not to mention the total lack of regard for Christmas and it’s true meaning of God’s son Jesus coming to earth for us. The employees who I talked to about it, seemed resigned to the unseasonal intrusion.

This morning, while I sat in the back under the “acorn tree”, as I playfully like to call it, my cat Calvin joined me, first coming down the stairs at a brisk pace, and then casually exploring the surroundings, including a curious sniff of my donut, that was acknowledged, but left alone (I did eat some bread with cheese and salami too — in case there are questions about nutrition). The jumpiness on his part in regards to falling acorns seems to have disappeared too.

I saw two people coming down the driveway that extends along the fence and then saw the man pick up an acorn cap, which he proceeded to bring near his mouth, cupping his hands and which he then blew into. A high whistling sound emerged. He grinned at me and said, “these acorn caps sure are practical if you get lost in the woods”. After they had left — monkey see — monkey do, I tried to emulate his feat with an acorn shell, alas to no avail. I never could whistle either, much to my consternation. Oh well — we all have different gifts and talents.

Have a blessed week