Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

After losing a collection of holiday tree ornaments collected through a lifetime – one I’d made in “art” in the second grade, some made at home with Mom and sibs, a couple made by neices and nephews, gifts from high school friends – I started a new collection. My new tradition is to watch for one each year and only buy the special one for that year. This year’s I picked up during a visit to Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. Go if you can!

The little brownie is made of wool, which is what I think drew my cat’s attention. You can see her idea of how to enjoy the new acquisition. I guess we’ll share.

Thank you to each of you who reads this blog! I hope your winter Holy Day(s) have been / are especially joyous and blessed with the spirit of the season. May the rebirth of light illuminate you and your loved ones through the coming year and on.

Catching Up

Catching Up

Good morning, dear readers. I’ve been a right slug about posting, but some great stuff has been happening. Early in November, I got to go to Beverly Hills to see the Martha Graham Dance Company open the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. While I did get a few pics of the dancing, I promised not to publish them. In this pic is a bronze from the Wallis’ garden, titled “Exhaltation” (by Emmanuel Fillion, original 1996, reproduction 2013), in the image of Ms. Graham performing her piece “Lamentation.” The amazing Katherine Crockett danced this for us.

On the return, I drove a section of CA Hwy 1 between Gaviota and Pismo Beach. It’s really pretty in there, views of the ocean and I think there are some cliffs near Lompoc. I hope to drive it again and take a couple of the roads all the way to the beach. The drive only took an extra hour, so I am very happy with the exploration.

Of course we just had Thanksgiving. I took green salad and a pumpkin pie to a friend’s house. She roasted a turkey and some yams. After a tasty meal I helped her pack. Then on Friday, I joined a small group to schlep. The move went fairly quickly so there was time for hanging out with friends and the new grand daughter (my friend’s – though apparently I do look rather grandmotherly when I push my glasses to the end of my nose. Guess it’s time for bifocals.).

This week is “cover the bonsai” week. It’s a good thing I recently bought new sheets, or I wouldn’t have had enough material. My little trees are a bit crowded; not ideal for growing but good when the temperature drops.

Let’s leave things here for now.
I hope everyone has (has had) joyous and blessed winter holy days.

Mondo Burley 2

Mondo Burley 2

On Sept 25 this year, I posted about Mondo Burley, a relatively large yamadori (yah-mah-doe-ree) olive burl with some new growth. (Yamadori are collected rather than grown from seed or a cutting. They are usually on the larger size, say, greater than 12 inches/31 cm tall with a proportionate base.)
Last Sunday I showed the burley tree to a local bonsai friend who is known for his olives (no name, as I haven’t asked permission yet). It felt pretty good hearing him suggest the same design ideas that I had been considering. He gave me tips on how to accomplish these ideas, too – a topic for another day. My friend also said to remove the bark from the dead areas of the burl. This is good because bugs can get underneath old bark and ruin the nice wood or affect the health of the tree. It also exposes the swirls and grain of the wood and improves aesthetics.
Today I did some work on the bark. You can see the autumn coloring of the newly exposed wood. Truely, though, I did get a better photo showing the colors. Why, then, show this photo? JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” The top of Burley looks like Barrad-dûr, location of the Eye of Sauron. There are also some cool faces in the wood. . . .
Thank you, everyone, for reading, and welcome! to the all you newer readers.

Capital City Bonsai Show

Capital City Bonsai Show

This weekend, 26 & 27 Oct, is the annual Capital City Bonsai Show. Hosted by all four bonsai clubs in Sacramento, it raises money to support the Golden State Bonsai Federation collection at Lake Merritt, Oakland (pictured above), housing some of California’s oldest bonsai trees (http://www.gsbf-bonsai.org/lake-merritt/NewHome.htm).

Saturday, the show runs 10 – 5 with a social afterwards, and Sunday from 10-4. There will be club hosted demos each day at 1:30. I am fairly sure this is a FREE event. For more information contact Gary Judd at 916-622-8048.

Admission to see the Lake Merrit collection is free, and the SoCal collection is at Huntingtion Gardens.

Bonsai clubs in Sac’to:
American Bonsai Association
Bonsai Sekiyu Kai (tree and stone lovers)
Sacramento Bonsai Club (oldest club in CA)
Satsuki Aikokai Association (Azaleas only)

See you there!

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

Laundry is one of those chores we all have to deal with. I’m not always keen on chores, but when you have a helper it can be lots of fun. Astrid rather likes laundry day. The laundry basket is a cave with a view. This morning, we got the (toy) mousie started in on the game and WHEEEEEEE!!!! What fun!

A normal laundry day includes racing around the outside of the basket, hiding in it to pounce on “unsuspecting” feet going past, attacking the mousie inside and outside the basket, and losing the mousie under the couch at least once.

Today we discovered a new mousie “talent.” Astrid was inside the basket and I gently tossed the mousie on the upper side of it. She batted the little toy and it bounced like popping popcorn!

Things here aren’t all fun and games though. Astrid has her language lessons, too. Many of us have, or have had, a dog-companion. Most of them learn the word “walk.” Astrid knows “laundry”! I use the key word at the best time of laundry day – when it’s mostly over and everything is warm. Carrying the load in from the dryer I say, “Astrid. Laundry.” She comes from wherever she is sleeping after play time. Naught better in a cat’s life than a nap on clean towels or sheets!

Mondo Burley

Mondo Burley

Last night American Bonsai Association Sacramento had their annual auction. Wow! There were some amazing trees, most of which quickly lept out of my price range. I had a chance at a rare kind of Japanese Shimpaku juniper (shohin) and let it go knowing I probably cannot care for it where I am currently living . . . a combination of the water and the sun exposure. This little guy needed TLC that my current “yard” can’t offer. Sure was purdy tho’.

What I did get was a nifty olive, a tri-trunk dwarf Alberta spruce, and a swell pot. Today, the olive:

I’ll call it “Mondo Burley” because it is both. Mondo because of the size, burley because the old trunk is: One. Big. Burl! It will need a pot that is at least 11″ (28cm) by 8″ (20.5cm), and is strong enough that it will be able to hold its own, very well thank you, in a larger pot. I’ve got one in mind that you’ll see when Mondo Burley gets repotted. It stands 20″ (51cm) tall. Yes, lots of bonsai are larger, but it’s no mame (bean-size). I picked the burl photo figuring you all know what an olive tree looks like. (Someday I’ll figure out how to post multiple photos.)

I feel really fortunate to have gotten this tree for the price. There were three other olives this size and a dwarf Greek kalamata. They all came up for auction late in the evening. The kalamata soared in price – an unusual tree in this area, maybe (???) brought from Greece as its former care taker is Greek Orthodox. The other biggun’s were auctioned first. They all had trunks with saw cut surfaces that will be great for carving. (I’m still focusing on styling.) Mondo Burley was last on the block and the olive enthusiasts must have been worn out or had gone home. Sold! for a single Andrew Jackson!!

Today, was mostly clean up work, removing leaf fall, spider webs, and what I think is Alaskan Malamute fur. I snipped a few dead branches and took a little time to get to know the tree and appreciate the bark and dead wood. I’m wondering how it would look to rub the dead wood with olive oil instead of using lime sulpher. Maybe too shiny? My idea is that it will renew the original color of the wood. But then, maybe it will attract bugs. Time for more research!

Thank you for reading and subscribing!
Cheers.

New View Too

New View Too

Here is the revamped Korean hornbeam. The main difference is in the apex. What used to be the apex is now the left branch. The new apex was the upper right branch. It and the lower right branch each had a little shaping done with wire – pulling the branches closer and adding character through movement. There’s a long way to go. The tree needs to be more compact either through more bending or by pruning. The lower right branch will definately get more attention! I’m holding off doing anything more for the moment because the former apex cracked in the process of bending it; it was a fairly intense change considering it used to be almost straight up. I want to know if the branch will make it before deciding what to do next. The styling was a few days and things are looking good so far.

New View

New View

For those of you who don’t know, I like bonsai, and earlier this year began to learn how to do it right. They say you’ll kill a lot of trees, so I guess I am learning. In fact, for awhile I stopped posting about bonsai because nearly every tree I wrote a post about – ok, half – ended up dead. The korean hornbeam in this pic, and tomorrow’s, has been pretty steady since a beginner’s workshop in early March, so hopefully it will survive.

The tree’s shape shows just how much a beginner I am, or at least was in March. I don’t feel like I understand the shaping of trees yet. Just look at this one: basic “S” shaped upright “A” frame triangle. A valid style, but highly over done; every beginner does at least one tree that looks like this. I have two. Still, you’ve got to start somewhere. And some the ones that have had years to grow look really great.

I follow a few bonsai blogs [see right sidebar]. Two of these guys, Adam’s Art and Bonsai and eschmidtpabonsai, post fairly regularly and I see more of their trees-in-progress than others. Both of them are fairly aggressive, compared to me, with their trees, especially Sir Adam. I still cringe, but watching what they do has made me somewhat braver.

Back to this vict . . . tree. I just revamped it from what you see here. Having watched posts on the blogs listed above with morbid fascination, looking at some of my trees and being completely at a loss for ideas, knowing I really ought to do something to save my upright S curve A frame trees from mundacity. So I checked out some bonsai blogs, put on some great ’80s rock, looked at my tree, approached this little guy with intent, and suddenly saw something new that I hadn’t seen before.

Voi la! An idea! Action!
Check again tomorrow to see what happened. . . .

Thank You

Thank You

Through the past few weeks, several new people are checking out and have started watching my weblog. I won’t say it’s unexpected, but it is a bit of a surprise having people I’ve never met signing up. Thanks!
So, for everyone out there, here is your Certificate Of Appreciation. I’d suggest printing it and filling in the info for yourself, but the site I downloaded the image from says it may be subject to copyright.* Guess it’s Use The Ol’ Imagination time. Just pretend that I am sending each of you your very own certificate, with your name, dated, signed, the whole works!
Thank you very much, each of you, whether I’ve known you my whole life, for several years, or am just getting you know you via blogging!

*image downloaded from: https://www.google.com/search?q=certificate+of+appreciation&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=U90sUoDJBoqgiAKthICoCQ&sqi=2&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=656#facrc=0%3Bblank%20certificate%20of%20appreciation&imgdii=_&imgrc=_