Thanksgiving with relatives in Texas.

I just got back from spending Thanksgiving in Austin Texas.  My two daughters live there and my brother in law and wife live near there.  I just met my new niece(3months old).  She is the cutest little girl.  I also got to spend time with my four year old nephew that I have not seen in about a year.  He is cute, smart and full of energy.  I hope everyone out there is doing well and I hope you didn't eat too much turkey.  The weather was just right in Austin.  The weather stayed in the 50's.  My older daughter and her husband are doing well.  My younger daughter has a new boyfriend that we met.  He is very nice person.  My daughter just started a new career path.  She is taking a very intense programming course at a tech school that specializes in programming.  She should be done in 10 - 12 weeks.  She should be able to find a job quickly in Austin.  All the tech giants have a presence there.  Now it is back to normal for me and time to weed.  If you are in the neighborhood, come by and say hi and take a look at the variety of trees that I carry. 

Winter beauty.

I have been weeding out in the field around the cork elms.  I have also been replacing the missing plants.  I will start weeding around the junipers in the next few days.  While I was looking at the trees in the back, I noticed that my winter jasmine was beginning to flower.  The days are getting shorter, but the beauty of the flowers brightens up the day.  As I looked at the winter jasmine, I thought about the long journey to becoming a bonsai nursery owner.  My Father started doing bonsai to release his artistry.  He had come to the United States in 1956 to better his life through greater opportunities.  He came to the US to work any job and was offered a position at Santa Maria Berry Farms.  He was started out at .85 cents per hour.  He was grateful of that amount because it was many times more than he could earn if he stayed in Japan.  The work was long and hard.  To relax he started looking into hobbies that would interest him and he came upon bonsai.  (He went to an art school in college.).  He just couldn't get interested in oil painting so he took up bonsai.  There was not much in the way of information, so he contacted his relatives, and they sent him books on bonsai that were written in Japanese.  After a few years, many of his friends became interested in bonsai when they saw what he was working on.  They would meet informally and would share information.  Their breakthrough came when one of his friends was visiting a relative during the late summer when the Japanese Obon festival was taking place.  This festival was in Los Angeles.  There he saw a magnificent bonsai display.  He asked who was in charge of the display.  That is when he met John Naka.  After a few years, they convinced Mr. Naka to come by once a month to teach them more about bonsai.  After taking a few lessons with Mr. Naka at the bonsai club meetings, my Father was hooked on bonsai.  He started looking for land to be able to grow his own trees.  In 1978 we moved to Nipomo.  My Father started planting junipers and pines in the field for his own bonsai interest.  When his friends saw the trees, they asked if he would grow some trees for them.  That is how his hobby turned into a business.  I started helping my Father in 1993.  I had always been around his trees, but they never interested me.  The reason for this is because I would have to water my Fathers trees after I came home from school.  Bonsai wasn't an art, it was a chore!  I was in retail management for many years and the store I was working at was going to close.  I got tired of moving around, so when my Father asked me if I would like to take over the business, I told him that I would give it a shot.  My Father has been trying to cram 50 years of knowledge into me in a short period of time.  He would tell me the name of the plants and the style of trees, but all in Japanese.  It took me awhile to adjust.  Now I am hooked.  Well I guess the needle doesn't fall too far from the pine tree.........

Smelly beginning to the day.

This morning, around 2:30am, our dog Porkchop decided to mix it up with a skunk.  He barked for a bit and was instantly very quiet(probably because he was getting sprayed!).  All of a sudden there was a horrendous smell in our backyard.  I think the skunk was probably drinking water from the dogs bowl that we keep in the patio on warm days.  He must have followed the skunk to the back of the garage and followed it near the back wall of the garage.  The wall smells terrible.  So when I got up, I washed our dog several times along with his bedding.  He hasn't been sprayed for a few years, but a couple of years ago he was sprayed about 3 times.  Twice he was sprayed in a weeks time.  You would think that the dog would learn to leave the skunk alone.  My sister told me that since my dog is a hunting dog, he instinctively chases after skunks.  Well it was a fun start to a day at the nursery.  Skunk 1/ Porkchop 0!

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