The Cactus Patch
Volume 16       June 2013      Number 6

Birthdays and other Datelines
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

On 14th April the family ate at Seoul Korean Restaurant on Coffee Road for some different Soul Food. The food was good, though some thought a bit spicy, but the restaurant is rather small and we filled a bit of it. We had phoned and were told, “no reservations”, but after we crowded in, we were told to make a reservation next time! The restaurant was my request as it was close to my birthday. On the 18th (my actual birthday) we had a quieter and smaller dinner at home.

On the 19th we drove all the way to Quincy. The Valley was dry, but there were lots of wild flowers in the hills above Sacramento: gold fields, poppies, lupines (annual & bush), purple vetch and broom. We reached Quincy at 6 and had dinner at the Plumas Café. Then we hurried on down the road and saw “Music Man, Jr.” with our grandson Michael as one of the town kids in the band.

With an overnight in Greenville, we returned to Quincy and stayed outside with Matthew while they did another performance. They had a play area set up under an awning. Matthew was quite adept at drumming. We also got to watch various fire crews from around Plumas county play with fire hoses. We had an early supper at the Knook (not recommended).

Next day we drove up to Antelope Lake and watched a variety of birds: white pelicans, grebes, cormorants, gulls, a stellar jay, and a turkey buzzard. There were only a few flowers: willows, manzanita and a mat of prickly-leaved blue ceanothus.

On the 22 we stayed at home with the grand kids and were floored by their computer skills. Even one-year old Matthew can manage a phone with images he can touch and sweep. Next day we had coffee in Quincy while Emily went to the dentist. There was a window in the wall with Pacman. John tried to get Matthew to use the control, but the darn kid went straight to the screen and tried to move things!

We left as soon as Emily was free and drove down the Feather River Canyon. There were quite a number of wildflowers: red penstemmon, bush and annual lupines, monkey flowers, sedums, duddleyas, white and blue ceanothus, poppies, yerba sante, brodeas broom, and purple loco weed. We returned to Bakersfield late at night.

On the 28th we celebrated Alice’s 96th birthday at Wind Wolves Nature Preserve. The wild flowers were gone, but we saw a meadow lark perched on a rock and we watched a raven being mobbed by red-winged blackbirds. We had a picnic lunch with sandwiches from Subway (2 for the price of 1 before 9 a.m.) and watermelon. On the 29th (Alice’s actual birthday we had brunch at Denny’s (free on your birthday!)

On 2nd May we went to Fresno and hear Petra Crist of Fallbrook talk about Namibia. It was a good talk, but halfway through the computer started throwing up blanks. She finally resorted to going back to her files and showing a disorganized set of pictures. I think all of us who have had similar experiences can sympathize.

On the 5th we went to Red Lobster to celebrate Anne’s birthday. Her son Daniel surprised her by showing up all the way from South Dakota. On the 6th (her actual birthday) we had a mob scene down at Lora’s.

On the 14th we went to Berkshire School in Panama and heard Bakithi Kumalo of South Africa on the bass ukulele. We took Lora’s son Joshua as he plays ukulele. They had a huge choir of school kids and the hall was full, but they had no discipline problem.

That evening we were at the BCSS potluck. The garden is looking great. You may have noticed that our son John and Anne’s son Daniel were there. It was good weather, but moving it to May made for an early sundown. Maybe next year we can get a group picture before eating!

We went to the annual SPCA book sale and bought more books, despite the overload we already have. One interesting booklet was Wild Edible & Poisonous Plants of Alaska by Dr. Christine Heller, 1976, University of Alaska, Extension Service Pub. 28. Surprisingly, there are nine succulents listed! (None of them are cacti.) The best known (I have a whole book on it) is “Roseroot”, Sedum roseum, which has edible stems and leaves. The root may be eaten or used as medicine.

Band Boys-Michael middle of second row

Hargreaves at Antelope Lake

Petra @FCSS

Pot Luck

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