The Cactus Patch
July 2015

Welcome, Alice Mae
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

Alice! A childish story take
And, with a gentle hand,
Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined
In Memory’s mystic band,
Like pilgrim’s withered wreath of flowers
Pluck’d in a far-off land.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
~Lewis Carrol

Immediately after the potluck on the12th of May we drove up to Fresno for the night. This shortened the long haul to Susanville the next day. We took the I-80 to Reno where it sprinkled. At Johnstonville it poured! That night in Susanville it dropped to 29o F, the only night that month when it froze. Every day for the next week it was cloudy and windy with a bit of rain. Eventually it warmed up, but there was always a bit of cloud and wind.

Why were we there? Our younger son James works for the Susanville Rancheria doing IT. Our daughter-in-law Emily was expecting our first grand-daughter. And, of course, we wanted to see our grandsons Michael and Matthew. The first week James brought home a trampoline and it kept the boys busy part of the time. (Most of the time they played games on the computer.)

On the 16th we went to an estate sale next door and then drove to a storage area where people had set up yard sales in the storage units. As if that wasn’t enough, we then went to the fairgrounds for a Pow-wow. It was very interesting as the Susanville Rancheria has four groups (Washoe, Piute, Maidu and Pit River) rather than the usual one as found on most Rancherias and Reservations. The food was delicious – ever had corn-on-the cob with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese?

On the 18th and other days I photographed wild flowers right in the middle of town. The dry sagebrush slopes had poppies, mules ears, lupines, thistles etc. Just across the road there was a stream with buttercups, wild roses, teasels, pussy willows and cat-tails. It was all quite a contrast to the dry Central Valley even though it is part of the Great Basin Desert.

On the 19th Polly and I drove Michael south of town where he attended a cooking class. (They made refrigerator jam.) Since the grave of Peter Lassen (miner –explorer for whom the County and nearby Mt. Lassen was named) was nearby we drove over to see it. Not an inspiring monument, but we did see magpies, gulls, grey squirrels and a deer. When we returned to James’ house, there was a killdeer out front.

On the 20th Alice Mae arrived at 9:30 a.m. She weighed 9 lb. 4 oz. and was 21” long. She has dark hair and is rather red. At noon we all arrived and took pictures. James stayed with Emily and Alice for two nights while Polly and I took care of the boys at home. Everyone was home on the 22nd and I went to the Rancheria with James to buy some Indian Tacos for a feast. (Alice had milk.)

On the 23 we all dressed up in Super people outfits (yes, even Alice) and had brunch at the Casino which is nearby. (As usual with casinos, the food is good and reasonable – a come-on to bring in gamblers.) Polly took a picture at the fountain out front since she was the only one without a super outfit. On the 24th we all went out to the Happy Garden, a Chinese restaurant with a well-deserved national reputation. Who would have guessed?

On the 25th (Memorial Day) there was lightning, rain and even a bit of hail. Fortunately this was in the afternoon and most of the ceremonies were in the morning. On the 26th Alice went to daddy’s office while Polly and I watched the boys in the nearby playground. I was amazed how little Matthew went right up the rock wall without flinching!

On the 26th Polly and I took Michael over to Standish where his 4H group toured Martin’s Greenhouse. The specialty is hanging baskets of petunias. This keeps the flowers up away from deer etc. I was surprise to find a Chasmatophyllum for sale. (See the brag Table.)

The last few days Polly was busy putting together the newsletter- long distance! Amazing what can be done with computers. The print shop where she had copies made is in the older part of town. This is nestled among the pines! It is amazing how distinct the line between pines and sagebrush is. We managed to visit a little museum which stands next to Ft. Roop. This is famous as the site of the Sage Brush War where settlers, who thought they were in Nevada, stood off the revenuers from Plumas County. The town is named for Roop’s daughter Susan.

Finally, on the 3rd of June we left by way of Mt. Lassen (which just celebrated the 100th anniversary of its last eruption) and we saw snow plants and other wild flowers still blooming. We dropped down to Red Bluff and then spent the night in Stockton. On the 4th we heard Ernesto Sondoval talk on propagation in Fresno. On the 5th we helped set up the Fresno Show and Sale and reached home by 10 p.m.

On the 9th we heard Charles Spotts talk on opuntioids – more than I ever wanted to know! I’ve generally tried to avoid them – except for the Bakersfield cactus and related varieties of Opuntia basilaris. I set up an exhibit on them at the Fresno Show in 1982. My plants may still be seen in the Deutsch Garden in Fresno.

Alice Mae

Super Family

Fresno Show & Sale

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