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I unloaded my van today after spending the weekend in Santa Rosa at the REBS show. The REBS show is one of the finest shows in California. If you get a chance, log onto their website and check out the photo’s of this years trees that are on display. Boy was it hot in Santa Rosa. When I drove up on Friday to set up, it was 95 degrees in Santa Rosa. On Saturday, Santa Rosa recorded a temperature of 100 degrees! We were inside a large room where the vendors were set up. Since the Veterans Memorial building is so old, there is no air conditioning. Since there were a lot of trees, the inside of the building was quite humid. To add to our misery, there were 50 to 80 people on any given time breathing. If everyone would stop breathing, it would not have been so humid. On the bright side, it was very busy. Not just for me, but for everyone. This was by far the largest sale that I had at this event. I was up by over 50 percent over last year. Also, there was a large bus tour of about 40 people who came from down south to experience the REBS show. After I left on Sunday at about 5:00 pm, I headed to Redwood City to have dinner with my daughter. Redwood City is only about 50 miles away. I did not get to her apartment until 7:00pm! The traffic was horrendous. When I was driving over the Bay Bridge towards San Francisco, the skyline was awesome. Then the fog started to roll in! What a relief after the two days of oppressive heat.(Normally the average temperature for Santa Rosa would be in the mid 70’s.). After I ate dinner with my daughter, I started on my drive home. I got home at around midnight. Just another one of those 18 hour days. Another day in the life of a bonsai nursery owner. If you want to log onto the REBS website, just do a google search with the letters REBS and it will lead you to their website. George
Today I am loading my cargo van up for a trip to the REBS show in Santa Rosa. This is the first convention that I have been to since the economy has turned sour. I did go to the show last year and that is when the economy started to turn downward. I did fine last year, but many people were disappointed. I am also looking forward to finding bargains in the consignment room. I just hope I don’t forget to take anything. The trip should only take 5 hours, but the last 45 miles from San Francisco to Santa Rosa can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half or more! I also am looking forward to the trip home. My daughter lives up north and I will stop by on my way home to have dinner with her. Last year was quite and adventure. I left Santa Rosa at 5:00pm and told my daughter that I would see her at 6:30pm. That was wishful thinking. Traffic was worse than normal and I didn’t get to her place until 7:00. Then she wanted to go to a popular pizza place(popular means extremely busy!) After about and hour of waiting we were seated. Than we waited for the food to arrive. It took awhile because she brought a few friends. After Dad paid for dinner I left at around 9:30 to head for home, which was another 4 hours away. This year she wants Thai food. I love Thai food and I can’t wait to see her. I will let you know how my trip went. George
I was pruning the sucker growth off of the bottoms of the dwarf apricot today. The sucker growth needs to be removed periodically to keep the rest of the tree strong. If they are not removed, the suckers gain strength and weaken the main trunk of the tree. As I was pruning, I was thinking of my kids. How does pruning suckers relate to my kids you may ask? I have three wonderful kids and they are so different. They were all raised under a loving household by my wife and I, but how did they turn out so differently. My son loves to draw and loves computer animation. He is currently working as a graphic artist. My eldest daughter is getting married, but is moving back with us because she lost her job. My youngest, who is 18 years old, just graduated college and is working for a law firm as a clerk. We raised our kids the same, but they turned out differently because they have their own friends and there own identity. Just like the plants growing in the ground. All the dwarf apricots started as seed and were planted into one gallon cans. Later they were placed into the ground. They are all different also. They are placed in rows, however some get more sunlight then others, some get more water because the ground is heavier in places. Some produce a lot of sucker growth while others produce hardly any at all. They all came from seed from the same mother plant, but the environment of each is slightly different for all of them. My plan is for all of them to grow uniformly so that I can produce the same quality bonsai. I have to adjust my techniques to each of the unique trees. Sometimes the best plan is to adapt and change….
Today I went to Vandenberg Air Force Base for their annual Cultural Heritage Day. There were displays tables for Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asians, African American, Hispanic Americans and Women. Each Display included flags, cultural items, books, famous people of that particular heritage. There were also two live demonstrations. The first was a Hawaiian dance. The dance was done by a lady who worked closely with Don Ho for many years. She moved to the music and her movements were graceful and effortless. The second live demonstration was a karate demo. They broke bricks, fought with wooden staffs and did some hand to hand combat. There were women and kids that were also included in the demonstration. Then of course there was the fantastic food. The problem was that there were probably twice as many people that turned out for the event over previous years. I was talking to some members of the Air Force so I was not immediately able to get in line for the food. Since there were over 60 people already in line, I decided to wait until the lines thinned out. After about 20 minutes, there were only about 15-20 people in line, so I made my move. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the front of the line, they ran out of plates! ARGHHHHH! So I grabbed a napkin and settled on finger foods. The only thing I could pick up with my hand were taquitos and these mini open faced sandwiches that had thinly sliced fresh salmon and dill. They were delicious. I went back to my display and were talking to some people when I saw out of the corner of my eye, someone coming out with plates. So, the first chance I got, I went to the buffet to pick up a plate, only to find that most of the food was gone. Even the taquitos, which were piled high a few minutes earlier were gone. Boy can those Air Force guys eat. Oh well, I made a lot of new contacts and everyone seemed to enjoy the display. Even the Vice Commander came by to thank me for coming! I am getting my appetite ready for next years feast. Maybe I’ll bring my own plate…… George
Today I was asked to speak at a retirement home. At first I was apprehensive. I have gone to schools, garden clubs, and church groups, but never to a retirement home. I did not know what to expect. The people at the home were very interested and interesting. As I worked through my demonstration we started talking about various life topics. One of them was about what they used to do for a living before they got to the retirement home. There were teachers, accountants and retail managers. They were quite interesting and had some very interesting stories. Many of the stories took place over 50 years ago. It was like listening to a living history book. I think I had much fun as the audience did. Bonsai is worked on in the present, but the past has a lot to do with the present and the future of the tree. Listening to the older generation gave me a new perspective of living in the present. Tomorrow, I am participating in a diversity program at Vandenberg Air Force Base. I will be putting together a bonsai display for them. This is my third year of participating. The best thing about cultural diversity day at the Base is the fantastic foods that they prepare for the occasion. There is food from many diverse cultures. I can’t wait. Catch you later. George