The Cactus Patch
Volume 14       October 2011      Number 10

To Greenville with Isaac
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

On the 27th of August we went to the circus. We had been promised a seat “one step down”, but it was more like 10 and very difficult for mother. She enjoyed it a great deal, so I guess it was worth it. I thought it was better 40 years ago when we saw it in New York, though even then there were too many things happening at once. My main objection was the flashing lights and loud noises, both of which can trigger migraines. At least I’m not epileptic! The walk through the menagerie before the show was more enjoyable.

On 1st September we went to Fresno for the annual members’ plant sale at the FCSS. There were fewer sellers this year, but they still offered some good bargains. Next day we stopped in Shafter to see the Bug-seum. They have lots of live animals, including cactus weevils and cactus longhorn beetles. I hope they don’t escape and start eating our plants.

On the 13th we heard Paul Gipes talk on renewable energy. It was a good talk and I hope I wasn’t too critical. If he had covered all aspects, we would have been there for a whole month.

Returning to last May:After picking up Isaac Lusunzi at the LA airport on 3rd May, we returned to Bakersfield for the night. Next morning we drove up I-5 to Santa Nella for pea soup. Isaac was impressed by the scale of California’s agriculture as well as the vast canal system. We joined our son John (who knew Isaac in Lesotho) in Sacramento and we had lunch at the China Buffet. We then drove up the Feather River Canyon, stopping to see Dudleyas and Sedums in bloom. Both were on serpentine outcrops. Then it was on to Greenville where James was busy preparing a BBQ supper for us. Isaac met Michael who is just the age his father James was when we were in Lesotho.

On the 5th we visited Michael’s nursery school and then went to watch him check in for kindergarten. At one point he was examined for his math and English skills. When shown a primate picture he took a long time to answer. We were all wondering what the problem was when he said, “I wasn’t sure if it was a monkey or not, but he has no tail so I think it’s a Chimpanzee.” They decided he’s ready.

That evening we drove down to Quincy and had dinner at the Pangea. Isaac wasn’t sure what to make of the fusion cuisine and had a hamburger. Then we went to a production of the “Wizard of Oz” by the Feather River College. It was surprisingly good for such a small town – better even then the BHS production in which I was the tin woodman.

Next day we went to Butterfly Valley which is a botanic preserve between Greenville and Quincy. The main feature of this area is the insect-eating pitcher plant, Darlingtonia californica. There are also sundews and bladderworts which also eat insects. It was a fascinating place. Finally, on the 7th there was a plant and bake sale in Greenville and we fought brambles to explore Wolf Creek.

Next day we drove down to Truckee for a Mexican lunch at El Toro Bravo and managed to blowout a tire near Donner Pass. We limped on to Sacramento and toured old Sac. We ate at Café New Orleans which serves authentic crawdads.

On the 9th we had breakfast at the Waffle House which was conveniently located next to Firestone tires so we could get a new tire or two. We left John in Sacramento and drove south to Micke’s Grove where we toured the zoo. They had a special exhibit of rainbow parakeets from Australia which were very friendly.

From there we proceeded south to Bakersfield which I will write about next month.

Polly, James, Michael & Teacher

Isaac & Pitcher Plants

Polly, John & Isaac, Old Sac

Polly & Lorikeets

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