Cemetery Quest


Preface: This is a genealogical post with nothing about roses in it. I know a lot of my subscribers are rosarians, so I thought I should warn you right up front.

My grandfather was a descendant of colonists. All of his ancestral lines had come to Pennsylvania before the Revolution. In the cemetery where he is buried, Faggs Manor, there are 7 generations of my family. The earliest ancestors were the Quakers, of course, some of them coming with William Penn’s fleet. Later, there were Lutherans from Germany, Scottish from Northern Ireland, and Baptists from Wales. When I have the chance to visit that part of the country, I like to rent a car and travel around finding the cemeteries where these ancestors of mine are buried. In late June this year, I went to a Heritage Rose Foundation gathering in Hartford, Conn. That was the excuse for taking a trip East. Afterwards, I drove with friends to New Jersey and spent time visiting longtime friends in Princeton. I had all day to drive from Princeton to Swarthmore where my third cousin Mimi lives. She has also researched our common genealogy and we have a lot of fun discussing our research. So, in preparation for the trip, I looked through my ancestral charts for ancestors whose graves I had not found on previous trips. Then I got on findagrave.com. Their search engine is limited, but if you have the county or village, and first & last names, you have a pretty good chance of finding the right ancestor. For quite a few of the early Quakers, there are no headstones, just a record that they were indeed buried in that particular cemetery. I ended up with a list for this trip of 5 cemeteries to visit and stored maps on my iPad and printed out other helpful information about each of the ancestors I was looking for. Findagrave.com often has photographs of headstones, and I copied some of those to the iPad as well.

I set my Google maps to first take me to Buckingham Friends meeting House. In l708, David Kinsey, son of Welsh Quaker immigrants, married Sarah Ogborn, whose mother and paternal grandparents had emigrated from England with William Penn, were married in Woodbridge, New Jersey, another area with many Quakers even before the founding of Pennsylvania. They moved to Buckingham, PA. At that time there was a log meeting house in part of what is now the cemetery, but originally burials were not marked with headstones. Edmund died in 1759, and his whereabouts are unknown. In 1768, a large stone meetinghouse was built adjacent to the cemetery. It became a model for the design of Quaker meeting houses throughout the region. By the time Sarah died in 1787, at the age of 96, they were beginning to mark burials. I knew from findagrave that I was looking for a small, rounded brown stone marked only with “S. Kinsey”. I wandered around the oldest looking part of the cemetery a couple of times before spotting it. It was smaller than I was expecting. Sarah and Edmund Kinsey were my seventh-great- grandparents. I did the math. I have 512 seventh-great-grandparents (as do we all, unless some ancestors married cousins) and each contributed about 0.2% of my DNA. That is probably less than Ancestry DNA can detect. It’s an interesting thought: there is almost none of her in me, but without her, I wouldn’t exist.

Buckingham Friends Cemetery. There is still the old, very long stone wall around it.

Buckingham Friends Meeting House

Plaque at the Meeting House (click on it to enlarge if you want to read it.)

Sarah Kinsey’s headstone

I cleared off some of the soil at the base. the date is still visible.

On to Chalfont. I went to the Chalfont upper cemetery by the Baptist church two years ago where my 4th great grandparents Philip and Margaret (Lewis) Miller are buried. Baptists practiced their full-immersion baptism in secret in Wales. The town is now a World Heritage site. The practice was outlawed by the Church of England. These Welsh were welcomed by the Quakers, and they attended Quaker meetings when they first arrived in the early 1700 s until they built their own churches. I had known that my Miller ancestors 5 generations back were Baptists, and had seen where William G Miller (born 1789) and his family are buried at Beulah Baptist Church in Russellville, PA, but finding his ancestors was elusive until Ancestry got hold of SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) records. William’s mother (Margaret Lewis Miller) had a brother in the Revolutionary war, and one of his descendants traced his ancestry in order to join SAR. From his work, I found Philip and Margaret, and her parents Henry & Margaret (James) Lewis. From findagrave I found out that the Lewises were buried at the lower cemetery at Chalfont. Google maps had a problem, in that a road was closed for repaving. I eventually was able to get around it from another direction. There is no church near this cemetery- it is in a small town neighborhood. Finding the right Lewis headstones took me quite awhile. There were a lot of Lewises there.

Hilltown Lower Cemetery, Chalfont

Margaret James Lewis’ headstone. I needed to look at the photo on findagrave and match the staining pattern on this headstone. The name is still legible, but not a lot else.

Neither of the stones flanking Margaret are legible beyond the last name being Lewis. The photo on findagrave didn’t help. I just have to assume one of them is Henry Lewis.

The weather was getting hot. It was time for a lunch and cold coffee drink break. I found a lovely local coffee shop in the next town I came to. Then it was on to Limerick. I’d been to this cemetery two years ago to find the monument to one of my Quaker ancestors, William Brooke, who, along with his brother, donated 2 acres for use as a public burial ground. There is also a monument to his brother’s son. Both monuments are large granite blocks with a brass plaque and their original grave marker. This time I was looking for Henry Coulston and his wife Rebecca Braun (Brown) Coulston. It took quite a while to find the headstones because the photo on findagrave showed the graves in the shadow of a tree. It turns out the tree has been cut down. I eventually looked for the shape of the top of Henry’s headstone, realizing that most headstones were more elaborate. I found them very close to the Brooke monuments. The Coulstons were also Quakers, which I hadn’t realized because their daughter, Margaret, married a Presbyterian, and they are buried at Faggs Manor. The Coulstons and Brookes are on different branches of my family tree so it surprised me to find them so close together. They are 6th and 7th great-grandparents, respectively, and the two lines weren’t joined until my grandfather’s parents married around 200 years later. Very little can still be read on the top half of Henry’s headstone. A bit more is visible in the photo on findagrave. Rebecca’s headstone has fallen and broken, but on findagrave there is an older photo, showing the initials R C on it. (Photo credit Andrew Likins). To their left is their other daughter, Grace, whose stone is now illegible although you can see there was a lot written on it. In the older photo on findagrave her name could still be read.

Plaque and original marker on the monument to Matthew Brooke.

The Coulston’s graves showing the stump of the tree that used to shade them.

Front view of the Coulston’s headstones. The monument to William Brooke is in the upper right corner.

Henry Coulston’s headstone. The upper part seems to have eroded away, but the lower part can still be read.

Andrew Likins photo from findagrave. You could read the initials R.C and the date.

The fourth cemetery of the day was in Pottstown by The Zion Reformed church, built in 1796. The headstones have been removed from their original locations and have been repurposed as stepping stones leading to a memorial wall. The wall has brass plaques listing the names and dates of the people who were buried in the area. On The plaque are the names Philip Yost 1718- 1804, and Veronica Yost 1725-1798, 5th great-grandparents of mine, along with a daughter, Salome. The church is the oldest house of worship in Pottstown. The land was donated by John Potts to the early German Reformed and Lutheran settlers. Their daughter Rachel, my 4th great-grandmother, married a Presbyterian, Andrew Ortlip. They are at Faggs Manor. Back in the 1980s my family and I visited Faggs Manor and wondered about an illegible stone next to Andrew and Rachel Ortlip’s headstones. At the church, the deacon and his wife (who turned out to be a third cousin of mine) told us that a Mrs. Lights had a chart of the graves, and gave us directions to her house. On that chart, next to Rachel’s name, was a penciled note saying “Dau. of Yost”. It was that lucky chance that led (with help from Mimi) to my finding of her parents’ cemetery. I have been trying to find out what happened to that chart, but had no luck so far.

Zions Reformed Church, Pottstown

Side view of the church

Next to the door

The walkway to the memorial, made of repurposed headstones.

The memorial to those buried in the area.

Floor of the momorial, made of headstones

Memorial Plaque

Right side list of those buried in the Burial Ground

Closeup showing Philip and Veronica Yost with their birth and death dates.

The last cemetery for the day was southeast of Pottstown in Spring City at Zion Lutheran Church. This is the last resting place of Andreas/Andrew Ortlip, father of the Andrew Ortlip at Faggs Manor. He is buried with his second wife. I have no idea where Andrew’s mother is buried. After the trouble I had finding the right headstones in Chalfont and Limerick, I was surprised how easily I found Andreas.

Zion Cemetery in Spring City with the Ortlip headstones in the front

Andrew Ortlip headstone

Closeup. You can still read this one.

The next day, I stopped in at Faggs Manor to visit a number of family members I used to know, some ancestors I know through photographs, and others about whom I only have stories. It’s sad to see the deterioration of the headstones. Some I could read in the 1980s that are now illegible. I met the groundskeeper, a very nice man. He said his wife works in the church office. I gave him my card in the hope that his wife would contact me so I could ask about a couple ancestors who are known to be buried there, but haven’t been found, and if she has any idea where Mrs. Lights chart is now. Still waiting. Maybe I’ll have to take another trip to the East. Here are a few of my family headstones there.

My mother and sister.

Great grandparents

Great great grandparents.

4th and 5th great grandparents. In the 1980s these were still just barely legible, and the SAR hadn’t put the Revolutionary War headstone in front of the wrong Samuel Bechtel.  (It should be three stones to the right.) 2nd stone to the right of the SAR stone is Margaret Coulston Bachtell, mentioned a few paragraphs back. Fortunately, Wwe have good photos from the trip in 1987.

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A trip to the Galapagos, 2018

January 31, my Son-in-law, Mark, took my friend Ann and me to San Jose airport. Thank goodness he works in San Jose, as this isn’t the first time I’ve hitched a ride on his way to work. We had no problems or delays with our flight, and I enjoyed the views of the southwest out my window on the way to Dallas to change planes. (Clicking on pictures enlarges them.)

View from the plane over New Mexico (I think)

It was still a long time before we got to Quito. Thankfully, after we got our bags and got through customs, as we exited the airport, there was a nice man with a sign with our names on it. Just what I was hoping to see! He took us to a van which took about an hour to get to the Sheraton Hotel in Quito. We made it! That hotel is probably as fancy as any I’ve stayed in and the staff was friendly and helpful.

February 1. We enjoyed the views of Quito out the hotel windows. Cotopaxi volcano was easily visible with its white snow cap.

View to Cotopaxi from the Sheraton Hotel, Quito

The whole Road Scholar group had an orientation after breakfast, then we were off on a tour of Old Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s definitely the nicest looking part of the city. First stop was outside a Gothic-style cathedral. We didn’t go inside, which I would like to have done. On the outside, the gargoyles of European cathedrals were replaced by native and Galapagos animals.

Iguana and Tortoise gargoyles

Our expert guide, Luis, told us a lot about the history of Equador and Quito. He had majored in Ecuadorean history in college with plans of becoming a tour guide. Indigenous people were trying to sell us scarves and paintings. I resisted because I’d left my wallet on the bus. You don’t need to exchange money in Equador because the American dollar is their currency. Next was a museum of Pre-Colombian art and artifacts, Museo Casa del Alabado. It was truly amazing.  There were some themes to their artwork, and some suggested meanings, all explained to us by Luis. There were thousands of items, and I took as many photos as I could, though some were impossible due to reflections on the cases. Duality is one of the themes, which is part of the explanation for a figure of a man trying to give birth.


We spent some time in a gift shop, which seemed to have small rooms going on forever, with different items in each. All kinds of crafts and souvenirs, replicas of Pre-Colombian art, etc. I found a bar of Ecuadorian chocolate flavored with rose. Outside, we again had indigenous people trying to sell scarves and paintings. I bought a small painting with llamas, sheep, peasants, and Cotopaxi in the background, done on sheepskin, and I bought a scarf for my daughter. We walked across the front of the Presidential Palace just in time to see the changing of the guard. Lunch was at Café Plaza Grande, in an old building and featured a special dessert. The dessert was ice cream, but it was served by a person dressed as a cucurucho (Google it) and the bowl with the ice cream is placed over a bowl with some dry ice to keep it cold, so there’s the white mist coming out around it. Also, there are bells chiming as it’s served.

The building where we ate lunch.

Cucurucho serving ice cream over dry ice.

We went inside a Baroque–style cathedral, La Compañía de Jesús,where it seemed everything inside was covered with gold leaf. Truly amazing, and we weren’t allowed to take pictures. One group member bought a few postcards and sent me photos of them. (You can also google more photos)

Outside of the Baroque -style Cathedral

Photo of the postcard of the inside of the cathedral

We then took the bus to Capilla del Hombre which showcases the work of Oswaldo Guayasamin, a famous local artist.There was a very impressive painting of an Andean condor attacking a bull, signifying the determination of the Ecuadoreans to rid themselves of Spanish rule.

Back at the hotel, we had a speaker (didn’t write down his name) who talked about the geography, geology, and history of Equador, the Andes, and the Galapagos. After dinner, we were free to do what we wanted for the evening. We all went to bed immediately.

Feb 2. We had to get up early, pack and get on the bus to the airport to make our flight to the Galapagos.  We arrived at Baltra Airport a few hours later, where we were met by Juan, our third- generation Galapagueno naturalist guide. (Baltra was a US base during WWII  and Juan’s grandfather was an Ecuadorean civilian working at the base. After the war he moved to Galapagos permanently.) Again our bags were screened before we were released. Our luggage went on one vehicle to be taken to our yacht, and we were on a bus to the ferry boat for a short ride to Santa Cruz Island, so two and a half days after leaving Santa Cruz, I was in Santa Cruz.We boarded a bus and went south across the island to a place called Manzanillo, a restaurant where the tortoises come to breed. Manzanillo is also the name of a poisonous tree that looks a bit like a crabapple, so they warn people right away not to touch. The tortoises were everywhere. The 100-year-old males weigh 500 lbs! You can get an idea of their age from the plates on their backs. If the ridges are still prominent, they are relatively young. If they’ve worn down, they are older. They don’t want people coming right up to them, and you’re supposed to stay 6’ away, but they walked fairly close to us.

Me and some friends

There were hammocks strung up to a grove of trees for bus drivers to take a nap while the tourists they bring there have lunch and watch tortoises. The tortoises walked right up to the hammocks. Besides tortoises, we saw Darwin finches, mockingbirds, a yellow warbler, and white-cheeked pintail ducks,  and strange plants. Most of the island is covered with palo santo trees- similar to frankincense. It was supposed to be the rainy season, but like California, the rain was holding off. The Palo Santos hadn’t leafed out yet, so they were bare. All the islands had that for the main tree cover. Some tall trees near the restaurant were called “Seca”. They produced a seed pod that covered the ground near them. Mature pods opened like 5-pointed stars. I haven’t been able to find this tree in books on the yacht or on the internet. I’ve since read that some trees here were planted by the owner, and not endemic to the Galapagos.

My first Darwins FInch

Seca seed pods

A surprise- the owner also grew a few roses. This looked like it might be an old tea rose.

After seeing dozens of tortoises, eating lunch and perusing the gift shop, we got back on the bus for a visit to Puerto Ayora, Juan’s home town and one of the few towns in the Galapagos. It’s full of tourist gift shops, and I got a t-shirt for me, one for Adrienne and a bib for the grandchild I’ll be getting in July. The ice cream shop had free internet, so I posted some photos to Facebook and deleted junk email. If we wanted to rent a wetsuit, we had to do it before we left. I didn’t get one, but the water was cooler than normal for this time of year, which didn’t matter near the central islands, but it was too cold to snorkel without one around Isabela, so I should have rented one. The bus took us back across the island to the ferry landing, where we got on the panga boats and they took us to our yacht. It was dark by the time we were waiting for the pangas and I got a good look at the stars. I was able to find Canopus right away. It was a bit exciting and a bit scary to have our first panga ride in the dark. It seemed like we went several miles, and took quite a long time to get to the yacht with only a couple buoys for guidance. Finally, we pulled up to the back of the Tip Top III and got on board. Felix explained the yacht rules and customs, such as the 5-minute bell before meals, and told us to go down the stairs backwards. Our luggage was already in our assigned rooms. We had dinner, unpacked, plugged in chargers and went to bed. The yacht traveled at night to the next day’s starting point.

February 3. The island I could see through the porthole when I woke up looked somewhat like a large fat man floating with his penis sticking up. Juan told us later that day that the “penis rock” had been used as target practice during WWII, and used to be larger and a somewhat different shape. I’d like to see old photos or drawings of it. It is actually called Pinnacle Rock, and there are lots of good pictures of it online. They say it’s an eroded tuff cone.


View through the porthole

The yacht was anchored in Sullivan Bay, between Bartolomé and Santiago Islands. After breakfast, we rode in the pangas to a 150-year-old lava flow on Santiago. I was once on a 50-year-old lava flow and this didn’t look much different.

On the lava flow

Only 2 plants grow on this lava flow, and they are few and far between. The first plant to colonize lava is Mollugo crockeri. It barely looks like a plant, lying flat on some surfaces.

Mollugo crockeri

More recognizable is the lava cactus, but they are quite rare.

Lava cactus

Jumping around on the lava are painted locusts (which eat Mollugo ), and looking for those are the lava lizards.

Lava locust

Lava lizard

The features of the lava itself are fascinating to me. Being pahoehoe, the flow features are still fresh, looking like it has just happened. Some flat surfaces sheltered from weather and sun were green and glassy. And there was a round ball-like rock with a hole where lava had spattered out all over the outside of it. That’s something I haven’t seen before.

Spattered lava ball

At the beach, the lava was covered with Sally Lightfoot crabs. (We later saw them everywhere that rocks and ocean met.)

Later we went back to the beach with snorkeling gear, got everything adjusted while in the shallow water, then swam along near the rocks for about 20 minutes looking at the fish. I saw Blue Chin Parrotfish, King Angelfish, Sergeant Majors, some Triggerfish and Black-Striped Salema. I tried to use my phone camera underwater in its waterproof plastic bag, but I couldn’t turn it on. It turns on just fine when the bag is dry, but I discovered that if the outside of the plastic is wet, the phone doesn’t register my finger swipe. I did like my full facemask-snorkel combo. It took a bit of adjusting to get all my hair out of the top edge, but after that, I liked it much better than separate parts.

After lunch and a siesta, we took the pangas to the landing at Bartolome, where a boardwalk trail leads to the small light at the top of the highest peak.

Pinnacle Peak from the panga

The peak we needed to climb to get to the light at the top.

The dry landing was a bit dicey because it was high tide, and some waves covered the landing. I think we all managed to get off the pangas between waves. The island is covered with vents from all the volcanic activity that occurred there. There are also more plants, as the rocks there have started breaking down and there is a bit of volcanic sand and gravel on most surfaces. The first area we passed had Tiquilia plants. They are the next stage of pioneer plants on lava.

Hillside covered with tequilia plants

closeup of a tequilia

There was also a type of sedge and lentejilla.

sedge with interesting volcanic channels above it.

Lentijilla plant on rocks

The boardwalk had a few rest areas, for which I was grateful- it gets fairly steep. Between the main part of the island and the penis rock part was a sandy isthmus covered in saltbush and spiny bush. The views from the top were spectacular! All those vents, in many sizes. And so little erosion due to the fairly dry climate.

Near the top, looking down on the many cones

An unidentified plant near the top.

Looking up at the light

A rock showing both glassy surfaces and pumice-like surfaces.

Me at the light.

Juan told us that near the landing there is a large, round, underwater crater that is very deep. We couldn’t see it due to the high tide, but I have since seen photos online (google: Bartolome crater).

In the evening on the  Tip Top III, we finally got around to introductions. Carolyn is from Ontario, Canada, Kay from Colorado, Kitty and Marge live in Texas, Phil and Veronica live in San Diego and Chile, David and Betty in Mendocino, George and Suzanne in Arizona, Jerry and Nancy in New Mexico, and Geri in Florida. Jerry and George have known each other since they were in the Peace Corps in Equador in the late 60s, and both their wives are also RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers). That makes one-third of our group RPCVs.

February 4. Today we woke up in Darwin’s Bay, Isla Genovesa. The bay is a collapsed caldera, and except where it is open to the sea, there are cliffs all around.This island is north of the equator (I crossed it 8 times on this trip.) Our first stop was a landing at the base of El Barranco,  aka the Prince Philip Steps, on the east side of the bay.  Apparently, the Prince had visited the Galapagos in the 1950s. The lower steps are a challenge, and it’s all steep, but there are (somewhat rickety) railings, and we helped each other as needed. At the top were birds: Red-Footed Boobies nesting in the low Palo Santo trees, Nazca Boobies nesting on the ground and Frigate birds scattered around. The Frigate Birds also nest here, but their nests are not next to the trails.

Nazca Booby on ground, Red-Footed Booby in Palo Santo tree.

The row of rocks marks where people can walk. The boobies can and do walk everywhere.

The simple nest is outlined by birdpoo.

Female Frigate birds. They have some white on their chests.

Male Frigate birds have a red inflatable pouch on their chests.

Nazca Boobies ignoring yet another group of tourists.

My best Red-Footed Booby photo.

The boobies make sparse nests and lay 2 eggs. If the first one hatches and does well, the baby will push the other egg out of the nest. The second egg is really just an insurance policy in case the first one doesn’t survive the first couple days after hatching. Boobies never raise both chicks. Juan referred to it as Cain and Abel. There were lots of these birds, and their nests were close to the path. They completely ignored all of us and all the other groups who visit. They have never been harmed, at least since the National Park has regulated access. People can’t just decide to go there. You need to be with an accredited guide. And the Park doesn’t allow too many tourist groups on any day. We followed the trail through the nesting area, where there was also a Galapagos Dove, a Mockingbird, and a short-eared owl in a crevasse.

Galapagos Dove

A large crevasse. An owl was seen in the crevasse but is not in this photo.

Lichen in Palo Santo tree.

Parent and young Red-Footed Boobies.

Parent and young Nazca Boobies. Parents do their best to shade chicks from the intense sun.

Muyuyo (Cordia lutea) plant. We saw this on several islands.

Eventually, we came to a lava field which extended to the cliff. We weren’t allowed on most of the field so we watched the birds in the distance. Hawks and owls prey on abundant shearwaters and storm petrels. A Phalarope and a tropicbird were also seen. One owl was sitting in the path, about where the path ends.

Owl perched above a Nazca Booby.

Both the owl and petrels are active during the day, an uncommon habit for both types of birds. It then flew up into a palo santo. We all tried to get as close as we dared to get photos without disturbing it.

Unidentified plant near lava field.

Booby shading chick

Getting back down the steps was dicier than going up, and I waited for the panga crewman to help me on the last one, as it was a big step and the lower one was wet stone. I was afraid of slipping on it if I didn’t have someone steadying me. Back in the panga we saw a school of golden rays swim by. On the cliff face there were lava gulls and a sleeping sea lion.

Lava Gull

Lava Gull and chick

A while later, we went snorkeling again. This time we had to get in from the panga boat, and the water was a little cooler than Sullivan Bay. It’s not my style to go all the way into cool water at once, but I did it. This time I saw Blue Chin Parrotfish, either Rainbow or Chameleon Wrasse, Yellowtail Surgeonfish, Moorish Idol and Giant Damselfish. There are a lot of books on Galapagos wildlife on the TipTop III, so I spent time after each adventure looking up what I had seen.

After lunch, we had a wet landing on the beach on the north side of the bay. There was also a trail around nesting boobies, and we could see swallow-tail gulls flying above the cliff. A skeleton, probably of an orca, had been laid out next to the trail.


Nearby was a large prickly-pear-type of cactus, but the prickles felt like hairbrush bristles- stiff, but not painful.

Soft-bristled Prickly Pear Cactus

I followed the trail around to where there were mangroves, then sat on the beach and cleaned the sand out of my wading shoes in the water of a small inlet. As I walked back along the beach, a mockingbird stood near me. It would walk ahead a bit and stop, ahead and stop, so I was able to get several good photos of it.

My friendly Mockingbird.

On the beach there were a few sea lions, some with babies.

Sea Lions

February 5. After traveling during the evening and into the night, we woke on the west side of Isla Santiago between Puerto Egas and Buccaneer Bay. We rode the pangas for a wet landing by a black sand beach at Puerto Egas. After drying off and changing shoes we explored the beach . There were a number of sea lions and baby sea lions hanging out on the beach, and they didn’t mind us being there at all. The rocks were thin layers of volcanic tuff.

Manzanillo tree at the base of the cliff.

Sea lion pup.

Sea Lion nursing pup.

Tuff layers by trail up cliff, with sea lion pup.

Spiny Bush next to the trail from the beach to the plateau.


On the plateau above the beach, there used to be a salt producing facility in the 1960s. A few remnants remain. Beside the trail at the top of the bluff, I saw Spiny Bush, Croton scouleri, Desert Thorn (Lycium) and Bitterbush (Castela).  Thanks to Juan knowing at least the common name or Spanish name of every plant I asked him about, I was able to find the Latin names for most online or in books after I got home.



Desert Thorn

We walked along the trail across a small peninsula for about a mile to a lava flow at the shore. On the walk, I saw acacia trees, prickly pear cactus and beach morning glory.


Palo Santo trees were the most common tree.

National Park marker by trail.

Beach Morning Glory

Ann saw that my calves were getting sunburned, and put sunscreen on them. We’d only been in the sun for about 15 minutes. What neither of us noticed was that, with my hair up in a ponytail to keep my cap from blowing off, my neck was also getting sunburned. Not too badly, fortunately, but legs and neck were mildly uncomfortable for the next couple of days, and I wore long pants so it wouldn’t happen again. The beach area was amazing! Our first stop was at “Darwin’s Toilet”. It’s a formation similar to a blowhole, made by a collapsed lava tunnel, but it doesn’t fill very far. Looking down from the top, you see water flow into the round area similarly to filling a toilet bowl, then flow out again with a sort of flushing sound. I could also see fish swimming in the water and the ever-present sally lightfoot crabs, and on a bit of a rock ledge below the top, a yellow-crowned heron hangs out.

Darwin’s Toilet

Fish and Sally Lightfoot crabs in the water.

Yellow -Crowned Heron

Same heron viewed from the side

As we proceeded along, there were marine iguanas on the rocks. They have a special nasal-like structure on their faces where they eject salt, an adaptation for their aquatic lifestyle. Their skin, at least on the large males, is an orangey-red. They are usually in the process of molting some of their skin, giving those parts a gray color. Other iguanas are darker skinned, blending in with the lava rock. When in groups, they usually all face the same direction. We also saw lava lizards, some larger than others we’d seen. They’d climb on and over the iguanas.  Fur seals could be seen in nooks staying in the shade. (The Galapagos fur seals are actually sea lions, but a different species from the other sea lions.) We walked along a sandy beach just inland of the lava rocks, and saw an oyster-catcher on a nest, standing over an egg to shade it, and some Darwin’s Finches. A pelican sat on the rocks by the ocean. There was also a curlew walking by the tidepools.

Marine Iguanas

Oyster-Catcher shading its egg. The plant is Beach Morning Glory.

Sea Urchin

The Curlew is in the middle of the photo.

View of the beach, looking north across James Bay to a volcano that separates the bay from Buccaneer Cove.

We found this sand dollar when we returned to the beach where we had landed.

On the yacht, looking back at the black sand beach on the right, where we had landed. A building on the plateau was a remnant of the salt mining operation.

We had a panga ride along James Bay, looking at the rocks and cliffs. We didn’t go ashore, but this is the area where Darwin spent a couple of weeks ashore and speculated that two different types of lava can come from the same magma chamber, speculating the density settling of crystals in the magma chamber would affect the chemistry of the lava erupting.

In James Bay looking north to the volcanic cone and Acorn Island to the west of it.

A lava flow just south of the volcanic cone, and view toward the shield volcano the forms the core of Isla Santiago.

After rounding the point, there was a cove with remarkable rock features on the north side promontory. This is Buccaneer Cove. One of the rock formations is called “The Monk”. It’s a pillar of lava rock that looks kind of human from some angles (google: The Monk, Galapagos).

The promontory on the north side of the cove. The Monk is toward the right side of the photo.

The Monk, so named because it reminded people of a praying figure.

Another rock looks a bit like a ship.

The ship-like rock

Another view of the promontory showing both The Monk and the Ship rock

More distant view of the promontory

I got one photo from the north side of the promontory, and a great many from the south side. It was a surprise when I looked at a page online showing a drawing by Darwin of the north side. I recognized it immediately.

North side of the promontory. Compare the left half of this photo to the Darwin sketch.


Darwin’s sketch


From here, we rode out and south to a small nearby islet, Isla Albany, to see marine iguanas and sea lions sunning themselves. The crew spotted a large group of birds, and we took the pangas toward them in the hope of seeing what they were after. We didn’t, but I got some cool videos of the birds.

East end of Isla Albany. Iguanas near the water, Sea lions higher up.

Birds very excited about something. In the background is the National Geographic tour ship.

February 6. We woke up later than planned. We were supposed to have set an alarm so we could go up to the Captain’s Bridge and watch the instruments show when we crossed the equator, but one of us forgot to set the alarm. I woke up when I heard the 5 -minute bell for breakfast. During the night, the yacht had gone north and around the top end of Isla Isabela, the largest island, and shaped like a seahorse with a curled up tail. The body of the seahorse comprises three shield volcanoes, the tail has two. Where they join is low-lying, and the two parts probably haven’t been attached for very long, geologically speaking. We anchored a bit south of the seahorse’s nose- Punta Vicente Roca. There were green sea turtles swimming near our yacht. We could see a lot of them at a time, and I took several videos.

Sea turtle

Sea turtle eating some weird stuff that looked like jellyfish tentackes.

I know this isn’t much of a picture, but that white streak is the underside of a “wing” of a Spotted Eagle Ray. I couldn’t tell what it was, but Felix recognized it right away.

On the panga ride at Punta Vicente Roca, there were several small caves formed by cracks or dikes on one side. Lava rock could be seen in some cracks, and in one case it had flowed onto the rocks of the hillside above. There were layers of volcanic tuff forming most of the cliffs.

Layers of tuff forming the sea cliffs







small cave in the cliff


lava dike in the center and a cave on the right


Inside a small sea cave.

View of Punta Vicente Roca


We went close to a cliff face where many birds were resting and grooming themselves on small ledges: Blue-footed Boobies, Lava Gulls, flightless Cormorants, Frigate Birds. Lower down there were crabs and a large, reddish, many-legged sea star. A wave covered it before I could get a picture, and I couldn’t find one in the books that looked like it.

Marine Iguana

Swimming cormorant and Sally Lightfoot crabs

Marine Iguanas

Flightless Cormorant

Marine Iguanas and a pelican

Blue-footed Boobies

Blue-footed Booby

Lava Gulls

We then headed into a large cave where we saw penguins swimming and diving. There were also marine iguanas in the water. From inside the cave looking out we could see Isla Fernandina. Brown noddys dived for fish near the cave entrance.

Brown Noddys at cave entrance

Swimming Penguins

Swimming Iguana

Penguins near the cave entrance

There was another snorkeling adventure, but it didn’t last long. My mask was leaking a bit, and it was difficult to deal with my mask while treading water, so I signaled the panga to come pick me up. Ann got out soon after because the water was too murky for seeing fish well. Then the others also got out. This water was the coldest so far. Some people went kayaking, which I probably should have tried, but didn’t. I took pictures of the others in the kayaks.


Ann and Geri kayaking

After our siesta we went over to Fernandina. It was a dry landing at Punta Espinosa beach, then walking past white mangroves and red mangroves to another lava flow. In the trees, I saw a hawk, an ani and more finches.

White Mangrove

Red Mangrove

Mangrove in the water

Hawk in a tree


In one of the lagoons we saw the rusting remains of what might have been a plane engine- a leftover from our occupation during WWII. There were a great number of marine iguanas on the lava. We saw the largest lava cactus of the trip. The trail markers had arrows painted on them, and I got a couple pictures where the iguanas were all lined up in the direction of the arrow. Juan pointed out the holes in the sand that were iguana nests.

Leftover from WWII

Lots of Marine Iguanas here.

Large Lava Cactus

Iguana headed towards the nest.

Iguanas lined up facing the direction of the arrow on the trail marker.

We saw a group of tourists from the National Geographic ship. They all had huge lenses on their very expensive cameras. Some also carried tripods. There were a number of flightless cormorants on rocks near the ocean. Sea lions were on the beach and in tide pools. Just before we left, one came up to us. It posed in several positions while I took pictures.

Hawk on the rocks

One of my best pictures of the flightless cormorants, showing the size of their wings.

View from Fernandina to Isabela

One of many photos I took of this posing young sea lion.

February 7. It was a short ride to Urbina Bay, so the yacht was at anchor most of the night. My body actually missed the gentle rocking in my bed. It was hard to sleep. Another of our group said the same thing.  After breakfast we had a wet landing on a white sand beach. There were tracks from a sea turtle going up the beach. This area includes their nesting grounds, but the trail avoids getting near them. At the beginning of the trail were some trees with bare branches. Someone asked Juan about birds. He made something of a whistling or blowing noise, like, “whoosh, whoosh” and birds started landing on the branches right above us. A mockingbird, finches, a flycatcher and an ani.



Darwin Finches and a flycatcher

Sea turtle tracks on beach

More turtle tracs along the beach

This area is well vegetated, and we walked by many plants I hadn’t seen before. Sea grass down low, Manzanillo trees, Macrea, Waltheria, Gossypium (Darwin’s Cotton)and Muyuyo trees.

Beach grass

Glossypium- Galapagos sotton








Muyuyo with flowers and fruit

The Muyuyos and Waltheria have yellow flowers. Juan says most plants there have yellow flowers because the only bee native to Galapagos is attracted to only yellow flowers. The bee is large and black like our carpenter bees (xylocopa darwinii).

Galapagos Carpenter Bee

We could see places where land iguanas walked, and some holes to their nests, but we only got a good look at one of them. We saw another cross our path ahead of us, but he/she went down a hole at the edge of the path before we got there. At the end of the trail we saw a couple land tortoises before returning to the yacht.

Land Iguana. The only one I saw close up.

Hole where the iguana I saw from a distance went.

View of what most of the trail looked like.

Another view of the trail

Isabela Tortoise

Another Tortoise

Tortoise looking at us.

Sandy trail near the beach and view of the higher part of Isabela.

View west just before leaving the beach.

There was snorkeling here, too, but I didn’t go. The water was too cold. Someone told me it was the best snorkeling of the trip and they had sea turtles swimming with them. I stayed on the yacht and watched a lava gull on the railing.

Ann painted our toenails to match the Blue-Footed Boobies. This shaded open upper deck was my favorite part of the yacht for taking siestas after lunch.

Lava Gull

From there we headed further south to Elizabeth Bay, which is in the low lying area where the two parts of Isabela meet. We had a long panga ride amongst the mangroves. We would go to the end of a cove and sit quietly looking at the fish and sea turtles in the clear shallow water. We saw mullet, pufferfish and sardines.

Sea Turtles right next to the panga

Mullet. They have gray bodies and blue tails

A small Pufferfish


In the mangroves, we saw a striated heron.


Mangroves with Striated Heron in the center.

Closeup of the heron.

As we were leaving the inlet we saw candelabra cactus and a great blue heron. Penguins swam in the water, and there were cormorants and sea lions on the rocks.


Candelabra Cactus and view of volcanic craters on Isabela.

Great Blue Heron




Sea Lion

Back on the yacht, we started our trip around the tail of Isabela. Just before we left Elizabeth Bay, some fishermen came up (from where?) to the yacht in a small boat to sell fish to the crew. As the crew cleaned the fish on the back of the yacht, frigate birds started coming in droves to catch what the crew threw out to them. We sat on the upper deck taking photos and videos. It was amazing and lasted for many miles. Then we got to watch the sunset over the Pacific.

Frigate birds following us, hoping for handouts

After dinner, we were warned that the passage this night would be rougher than elsewhere in the islands. I didn’t take the dramamine soon enough. Felt lousy for hours and didn’t get to sleep till about 1 am.

February 8. Puerto Villamil. Our first civilalization after 5 days. It turns out that the marine iguanas and sea lions are just as happy living near the panga landing at Las Tintoreras inlet as they are in uninhabited islands. Iguanas would sit on the sidewalks and the sea lions lounged on benches. I saw a docked panga with 2 sea lions sleeping on its sides.

Marine Iguana on the sidewalk

Sea lion enjoying the bench

Visitors on a panga boat.

We had a bus ride (bus- a truck front with benches in back that you climb up to) around the town, which has many shops offering bike rentals and tours of lava tube caves. Plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars, too.

The bus on which we toured the town, and later rose to the start of the trail to Sierra Negra Crater.

There were fairly new expensive hotels charging 10 times the rate of the older simpler beach hotels.

One of the more expensive beach hotels.

We went to the Arnoldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center. There were all sizes and ages of tortoises from all over Isabela.The director showed us eggs- a bit bigger than a golf ball- and a newly hatched baby. When tortoises are sent back to the wild, they are returned to where they or the parents were collected.

newborn tortoise and example egg

One of the Isabela tortoises. Note that the neck part of the shell is more arched than the others we’ve seen, allowing it to reach higher plants.

Opuntia galapageia, tree opuntia. We saw lots of these in both Villamil and Puerto Ayora.

The next stop was overlooking a small lake with flamingos- only four of them on the far side.

Distant flamingos.

We then dropped off a few of the group who didn’t feel like climbing to the caldera of Sierra Negra- the second largest caldera in the world. There were cafes in town, some with internet, but I don’t think they enjoyed the time there. The rest of us stayed on the bus, driving up the flank of the volcano through farm land (part of the 3% of the Galapagos that is not in the National Park.). The big trees were draped in lichen. We stopped by one farm because a Vermillion Flycatcher has been seen there by Juan and he hoped to find it, but no luck. (On the way back we drove by there slowly, but never saw the beautiful little bird.) Eventually, we came to the end of the road and the beginning of the trail to the caldera.

Start of the trail

Darwin Finches in the grass at the beginning of the trail.

The trees in this area were mainly guavas that had been spreading by bird-dropped seeds from the farms. Acres of them were cut down as they try to eradicate them from the park. We saw some tree ferns (Cyathea weatherbyana).



Tree Ferns

The trail wasn’t very steep till the last part, but it was steadily uphill and we stopped to rest a few times (which I REALLY needed). The view down to the ocean and small islets was amazing.

View from the trail

I asked Juan how many times he’s climbed it. He said, “Ooo, about a hundred.” At these higher elevations, ferns were the main understory plant.


Finally we reached the top, the edge of the caldera. The view was totally worth the hour of climbing to get there. The caldera is 6 km across. Part of it is black lava from a 14 square kilometer lava lake that resulted from a 2005 eruption.

View of the caldera to the west . Black area is the lava that was a lava lake in the 2005 eruption.

View to the north in the caldera

East end of the caldera

Proof I was there.

We got several group pictures before heading back down and picking up the others in town. After lunch on the yacht, we came back to explore the town some more. We went into a church that has stained glass windows of native animals, and a wooden tortoise under the altar.

Altar of Church decorated with Galapagos animals

One of the stained glass windows

I got ice cream from a shop, and it was so nice in the heat.  There was a soccer game between our crew and the crew of the TipTop II. Ours trounced theirs. A local bar served “Coco Loco” a coconut with rum added to the coconut water.

The bar that serves Coco Loco, and also has internet.

I didn’t try it, mainly because I don’t like coconut, and they apparently had a lot of rum. Ann, Carolyn and I went to the beach for a dip, which was very refreshing.

The beach where we went swimming

Lava Heron near the dock.

Back aboard the yacht, it was our last evening. On the deck, the whole crew joined us in a cocktail, and they put on some salsa music. Geri and Ann danced a bit with Juan and Felix. One of the crew was adept at napkin folding and towel folding. We found bird shaped napkins in wine glasses at dinner and animal shaped towels on our beds. After dinner, we repacked our bags. The checked luggage needed to be ready by breakfast time.

Cocktails and a toast by Felix. Juan is second from right in the crew. Our chef, Cesar, is wearing his toque

Folded dinner napkins

Folded towel on bed. Some of Ann’s artwork in front.

February 9. Travel to Quito. After breakfast while anchored at Puerto Ayora, we took our bags and rode the pangas to town. Our luggage was already on the waiting bus.

Last view of Puerto Ayora through the bus window

We drove back across the island to the ferry stop. Our luggage was put on the top and us inside for the 5-minute ride across to Baltra Island.

Passengers crowded into the ferry to Baltra

View from Baltra to Daphne Minor

View to Daphne Mayor. I’ve read that the snorkeling here is some of the best, but we didn’t go there.

At the airport, we got our bags, looked through the gift shops, and waited in line to check in. Then we hugged Juan good-bye and went to the departure area. There were at least a dozen shops hoping we’d make some last minute purchases. In the cafeteria, I discovered that a few crumbs from my empanada would get several finches to hop around on the table, posing while I took my best photos of them.

On the flight to Quito, I loved the cloud formations. There is a cloud forest between the lowlands and the high Andes because the coastal clouds can’t rise as high as the mountains, and pile up against them. I could see Cotopaxi peeking up through the puffy cumulus clouds before we landed in Quito. Luis was there to meet us.

Cotopaxi in the clouds

We stayed at a hotel in a town nearer the airport than Quito. It was nice to have a good shower and shampoo. There was a farewell dinner, as some people would be leaving that night. Hugs all around. Ann and I had pre-booked a trip to Otovalo, an indigenous town with a well-known marketplace two hours drive north of Quito for the next day. Three others were interested in joining us. It turned out Luis was to be the tour guide, and was able to make arrangements for the others to join us. That made it much more fun, so I’m glad it could be arranged on such short notice.

February 10. Otovalo trip. Luis had a van with a driver to pick the 5 of us up. We headed north. Cotopaxi was often in view. We followed a river gorge, and I kept trying to get photos of it from the window. The rocks were layers of tuff from the nearby volcanos. We saw that in one area, one type of tuff had been dug out leaving large holes in the hillsides. Luis had names for the rock types- cascajo (brown tuff), and congahua (white tuff) used in buildings and toothpaste.

View to the river gorge, showing tuff on hillsides.

My best picture of the gorge.

Andes scenery

One of the high Andean peaks

View near Otovalu

We drove on the Pan-American Highway through several small towns and stopped in Cayumbe. Luis took us to a side street, up an alley that led into a bizcocho factory. The name comes loosely from biscotti, but these aren’t cookies. The simple dough is cut into small pieces and baked to make a puffy buttery flaky pastry. We each got to try one and see how they were made in the brick oven inside the wall. There is a YouTube video that shows other tourists in that same factory. In the alley were several people selling local crafts. I got a dress and romper for the granddaughter I’ll be getting this summer.

Town of Cayumbe from the van window.

Making Bizcocho

Bizcocho oven

We crossed the equator- my 6th time this trip. The scenery on the drive was spectacular.When we got to Otovalo, Luis took us first to the animal market, as that would be closing up soon.  Mostly they were selling chickens, but I saw cages with other fowl, Guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. One person had a couple kittens to try to rehome. But what I liked was seeing the indigenous people- their faces were so interesting, so much character in them. There were also people selling various types of clothing.

Next, we were turned loose in the market square in town for an hour and a half. Carolyn and I explored it together. Ann found a few things in the market, then sat down to make sketches. Carolyn got a woven belt and I got a woven strap for my ukulele. I also got a carved jade tortoise, an embroidered blouse for me and a sweater for my granddaughter.  The woman selling the sweaters asked how big the child was, and I made a gesture of a pregnant belly. She laughed and looked for her smallest ones. I also found a nice doll for my foreign doll collection. When we got near where we were all to meet I saw Ann making sketches with a small audience- two police officers and a boy of about 8 or so watching what she was drawing.

Woman selling straps and belts.

Sweater for future granddaughter.

Views in the market square and side streets.

I liked this travel chess set- Natives vs. Conquistadors.

Ann attracting lots of attention as she made sketches.

There is a weaver’s guild and store in Otovalo, and that was our next stop. The place is named El Gran Condor. A woman welcomed us and showed us traditional techniques, starting with how alpaca or sheep wool is carded and spun, then things they use for dyes: achiote for red, chilca flowers for green, add walnuts for brown, and coccinila grubs for red. Luis translated for us. Next she demonstrated the traditional methods of weaving, and the larger looms. There were several rooms of handicrafts. We all wanted to buy many things, but the amount of space in our luggage limited us. I got a wall hanging of Galapagos animals and a pair of knitted socks with alpacas. They cost less than most of the socks I buy in Santa Cruz.

Hand-spinning demonstration

One style of traditional weaving. Luis explaining in English for us.

Demonstrating the floor loom.

Lunch was at a Spanish style restaurant with lovely gardens that I wish we’d had time to walk around. The room where we ate had a dome in the ceiling Inside the dome an angel was suspended, and in its hand was a Guinea pig. I really didn’t know what to make of that.

Angel and Guinea Pig.

On the way back we stopped to take photos standing across the equator. My 7th crossing.

Geodetic marker on the equator.

Me, Carolyn and Ann in two hemispheres.

After we got to the hotel, we repacked our bags and I changed into a clean T-shirt. Our flight home was delayed and not much fun, but we were very happy to finally arrive in San Jose Airport 8 hours late. (and one last crossing of the equator.)




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Travels in June, 2016

It was going to be a busy couple of weeks- California Cornish Cousins annual gathering the first weekend in June, looking for some new cemeteries to check for roses, home for a few days, then down to Pasadena for the Great Rosarians event the second weekend, at which Dr. Wang Guoliang was this year’s Honoree.

Part 1: Cornish Cousins

This year’s gathering was in Stockton, a place I usually try to avoid. We were celebrating the 25th annual gathering, and most of the previous presidents were there to discuss the past and future of the society. The meeting was held partly at the University Plaza Hotel, and the rest at University of the Pacific. These are probably two of the nicest places to be in Stockton. I arrived at the hotel and checked in, changed into my swimsuit and got into the pool immediately. The outside temperature was about 100 degrees. The pool was perfect. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my earrings out, and when I was back in the hotel room, I realized one was missing- cute little California poppies, and the store where I bought them went out of business. There was some time before the evening meeting  so I went to the bar in the lobby. The Tregonning brothers were there, so I sat with them and had a nice glass of wine and a nice chat. At the meeting each of the past presidents gave a short talk about what happened during their time in office, then we had a break for a light supper. About the time the business meeting was to start, I went outside to call my daughter who was about to leave on a trip with her husband to Japan and China. After the call, I meant to go back to the meeting, but saw the current president’s wife and another woman and they invited me to sit and chat with them.  I intended to only do that for a few minutes, then go back to the business meeting. Soon, I saw people coming outside who were at the meeting, and realized I’d missed the whole thing. Had I been there, I might well have been talked into being one of the officers, or some other position that would require me to do something. I explained to Gage, the president, that I’d been waylaid by his wife, and he said,”Time well spent.” And it was- she told me a sweet story about how she had come to realize that Gage was the man she was meant to be with.

The next day’s meetings were at the University, and the campus it really beautiful.  All brick and stone buildings. The connection between the University of the Pacific and Cornish Cousins is that it was started as a Methodist school, and Methodism started in Cornwall. During a break, I took a walk around the campus, taking lots of pictures. Here are a few:

One of several rose plantings I saw.

One of several rose plantings I saw.

UoP_Campus4 UoP_Campus2

This campanile played music at noon and 5 pm.

This campanile played music at noon and 5 pm.

Calaveras river from the bridge on campus.

Calaveras River from the bridge on campus.

Lunch was the traditional  Cornish pasties. The crust was excellent, but the filling was a disappointment – not enough vegetables.

There was a joke about how to pronounce pasties. It should be "past-eaze". Someone showed these "paste-eaze" for comparison.

There was a joke about how to pronounce pasties. It should be “past-eaze”. Someone showed these “paste-eaze” for comparison.

The Past Presidents gathered to discuss the organization

The Past Presidents gathered to discuss the organization

We all enjoyed the talk by the University Archivist. The have a great collection of papers and other early California papers, much of which is digitized here: Digital Archives. This includes papers and drawings by John Muir, and recordings of Dave Brubeck. The diaries of Daisy Locke are wonderful!

The highlight of the evening was a performance by the  Grass Valley Male Voice Choir, always a treat at our gatherings, continuing the tradition of male voice choirs in Cornwall and in the mines of the Sierra during the Gold Rush.

The Grass Valley Male-Voice Choir

The Grass Valley Male-Voice Choir

Sunday morning was a traditional Methodist church service in the Morris Chapel on the campus. It is really a beautiful little church, full of stained glass windows. The service was let by Gage, a lay preacher, and other Cornish Cousins. Some of the choir was also there to lead the hymns. The stained glass windows next to the choir loft are in honor of musicians.

Morris Chapel

Morris Chapel

View from the choir loft

View from the choir loft

Window in the choir loft The names in circles are Palestrina and Bach. The window on the other side had Mozart's and Handel's names in the circles.

Window in the choir loft. The names in circles are Palestrina and Bach. The window on the other side had Mozart’s and Handel’s names in the circles.

The Rose Window, above the choir loft

The Rose Window, above the choir loft


Part 2: Cemeteries and Roses

I would love to have gone back to Stockton Rural Cemetery, but it’s not in an area I felt comfortable going to alone. There were lots of roses there when a bunch of us went some years ago. Instead, I drove up to Ione, where I decided to collect a couple of cuttings of the orange-yellowish rose I photographed last year. I also noticed a China-like rose I had missed last year. Perhaps it hadn’t been in bloom. I collected that too. The temperature was again about 100 degrees. (If you click on a picture you can see it full size.)

Kelly rose

Kelly rose

Ione_KellyRose3 Ione_KellyRose4

Brasher China

Brasher China

Closeup of a flower

I then headed up to Plymouth Cemetery to meet up with Beverly Rose Hopper and her husband Martin. The surviving roses are looking much better with the care they’ve been giving them. I had a rose to give them- a plant of either the Roberts rose or the Red Runaround that had been grown from the original plant there, and bought by Robin Pulich. The original of the Roberts rose is trying to live, though most of its leaves show the tell-tale roundup damage. We were sure the Red Runaround was completely gone after a tree trimmer removed the stump and tiny damaged canes it had last year, but as we stood there talking about it, I looked down near my feet and saw a couple small leaves. Rose leaves! Some root at depth was trying to come back! It appears the only complete loss is the Cl.La France. Plants were propagated from it back in 2007, and we hope to be able to get a plant from one of those to replace the original, but the ones at the Heritage will not grow. One is so small, I have it in a pot at my house, and the other is only about a foot tall at the garden. I hope the plant or plants in Sacramento are doing better than that. The Pulich Children and McMillen roses are mostly recovered from the roundup damage, although some canes still show it. We discussed when and whether those damaged canes should be removed, but didn’t come to any conclusion. If anyone has had experience with that, please let me know. We saw that someone had taken cuttings from Pulich Children. The rose is now commercially available, so there is no need to keep taking cuttings from the original plant. Beverly has put signs by all the roses asking people not to, but the sign is on the far side of that one and perhaps whoever took the cuttings didn’t see it. She decided to make a second sign for the closer side.

For those who don't know what roundup damage looks like. The Roberts rose with a few canes showing signs of recovery.

For those who don’t know what roundup damage looks like. The Roberts rose with a few canes showing signs of recovery.

The new bit of Red Runaround, next to a hose, for scale.

The new bit of Red Runaround, next to a hose, for scale.

Pulich Children, withthe typical hybrid perpetual post bloom rusted leaves.

Pulich Children, with the typical hybrid perpetual post bloom rusted leaves.

McMillen rose (aka "Plymouth #2") growing one very tall cane

McMillen rose (aka “Plymouth #2”) growing one very tall cane

Rose of Castile, still showing some roundup damage on the left side

Rose of Castile, still showing some roundup damage on the left side

Duchesse de Brabant

Duchesse de Brabant

Closeup of Duchesse de Brabant bloom

Closeup of Duchesse de Brabant bloom

Martin with the still unidentified "Plymouth #5"

Martin with the still unidentified “Plymouth #5”

Beverly and me (wilting in the 100 degree heat) with Setina (cl. Hermosa"). It was protected from roundup by an encircling ring of oak seedlings. They've now been cut to the ground. The rose will probably regain its former 8' height now that it is in full sun.

Beverly and me (wilting in the 100 degree heat) with Setina (cl. Hermosa”). It was protected from roundup by an encircling ring of oak seedlings. They’ve now been cut to the ground. The rose will probably regain its former 8′ height now that it is in full sun.

We had a nice long lunch at the little store in Plymouth with a sandwich and deli area, espresso bar, gifts and wine tasting (small town, got to do it all.) And air conditioning. After we parted, I headed north on 49 (iced coffee drink in hand) in search of several more cemeteries I’d only found out about last month. First was Diamond Springs. The cemetery isn’t very large, and it’s still active. There were some blooming lavender-blue wildflowers, and one rose at the far side. I’m pretty sure it’s Mlle. Cecile Brunner. There was only one bud left on it, which I took, and between the look of the bloom the next morning, and of the leaves compared to a neighborhood plant, I have little doubt of the identification.

Diamond_Springs2 Diamond_Springs1

The only rose, with the last of the spring bloom fried by the heat.

The only rose, with the last of the spring bloom fried by the heat.

On to the next- Coloma Pioneer Cemetery. There was something on Facebook about it being haunted. From photos, I could see large blooming plants. I suspected they were oleander, and I was right. It’s a fascinating hillside cemetery, though, even if there were no roses.

Coloma Pioneer Cemetery covers a hillside soputh of the State Park.

Coloma Pioneer Cemetery covers a hillside south of the State Park.

The only rose in Coloma Pioneer Cemetery

The only rose in Coloma Pioneer Cemetery

A couple blocks away was an old Catholic Church with a cemetery behind it, also on a hillside. There was one rose there, with no bloom. By the look of the stems and the trailing habit, I’m betting on Red Runaround.

Part of the Coloma Catholic Cemetery which covers the steep hill behind the church.

Part of the Coloma Catholic Cemetery which covers the steep hill behind the church.

The probable Red Runaround in the Catholic Cemetery

The probable Red Runaround in the Catholic Cemetery

I tried to find Shingle Springs Cemetery, but I didn’t have an exact location, so after driving around where I thought it might be with no success, I parked at a playground, used the restroom, and had my Waze app plot the best route home after a very long, very hot day.

Part 3- Great Rosarian weekend in Pasadena

After a few days of rest, cooler weather, doing laundry and repacking, on Thursday I headed south.  I’ve usually taken Hwy 101 all the way to the LA area, then 134 and 201 into Pasadena. I was in more of a hurry this time. At Paso Robles, I turned onto Hwy 46 east to get to I5. I’ve never taken this route before so it was new to me. It’s mostly flat or low hills, fields and orchards, signs about how farmers need water, and not much else. There is one intersection with a gas station and a big store. It’s worth stopping there just to see all the things in the store and stretch your legs. They have all kinds of specialty foods, homemade fudge and chocolates (yes, I did indulge here), a lunch counter, and most importantly, a rest room. If only they had an espresso bar with a good iced coffee drink.

Eventually I made it to I5 and headed toward “the Grapevine”.  I’ve come down the grapevine from the south a couple of times, but this was my first time approaching from the north. 30 years ago I had a part-time job as a 3rd and 4th grade classroom aide. One thing the 4th graders do is make 3D maps of  California using something like play-dough to create the mountain ranges. As an aide, my job was to help them get all the mountain ranges in the right places. I’d explain how the Central Valley was like a bowl with mountains all around the south end. Here I was, driving into that U-shape at the south end of the valley and saw the Coast Range and Sierra mountains joining ahead of me into the Transverse Range. It’s much steeper on the Grapevine side than on the south side. I stayed in the slow line. About this time, my podcasts ran out, and I switched to my sing-along CDs. Good thing I was alone in the car. I was belting out all my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs and some Arlo Guthrie and a few others. I love looking at the rock formation going over this mountain range. Much of the scenery is really beautiful. The interstate is relatively flat across the top part, and the surrounding hills and ridges don’t look very high, but you’re already at 4000′. Some hills in that range go up to 8000′.

Eventually I got to the 210 and Pasadena (in northern Calif. we would say “hwy 210” but in southern Calif, all the freeways are “the 210, the 405”, etc.), and checked into my hotel room about 4pm. I unpacked and dressed up a bit before heading off to the Huntington Library a couple of miles away in San Marino. Dr. Wang Guoliang was giving a talk  in the East Asian Garden Lecture Series on the history of gardens and roses in China. In talks about European and American garden history, speakers usually cover a few hundred years at most. In China, Dr. Wang cover a couple thousand years. He covered the 6 elements of Chinese gardens: 1. Rocks. Huge rocks. 2. Water. Large ponds. 3. Plants (this is where roses come in, but also trees and other plants, including water plants.)  4. Pavilions. Several in different parts of the garden. 5. Bridges. Several, in different styles. 6. Towers. It was fun to see Dr.Wang again. Quite a few of my friends were also at the lecture and it was fun to see them, too. There was a nice reception afterward the talk,  and that gave us all a chance to catch up with each other.

Friday was “The Full Pasadena” (It’s known for Old Town, the Gamble House, The Norton Simon Museum, and being near the Huntington Library). I started by driving to Old Town and parking in a free space I knew about from previous visits to Pasadena. Old Town is full of interesting shops and places to eat. I found a Fair Trade store and got a birthday present to give my daughter next month. I’d only had half a Costco-type muffin for breakfast at the motel and it was getting close to noon. I happened to look in a gelato shop because the gelato was in mounds of swirls, and it looked so much more interesting than the usual flat smooth presentations I’ve seen elsewhere. I just had to have a taste. then I had to have a scoop. So lunch turned out to be as nutritious as breakfast. But it was very tasty. From Old Town, it’s just a few blocks to the Gamble House. It’s one of the best examples of Greene and Greene architecture and interior design. I took the tour, but you can’t take pictures inside, so there are only outside pictures here. The inside is well worth the price of the tour. There are lots of stories about the Gamble family (as in Proctor & Gamble) as well as the amazing decor.

Street view of Gamble house

Street view of Gamble house

Front door

Front door. From inside, the stained glass with light coming through it is spectacular.

View of the pond from the balcony. The wall is made from clinker brick.

View of the pond from the balcony. The wall is made from clinker brick.

The creeping fig is as old as the house

The creeping fig is as old as the house

Rear view of house .

Rear view of house .

Next was the Norton Simon Museum, most famous for being seen while watching the Rose Parade on New Year’s morning. I’ve been there before, but it was enjoyable to walk around all that great art again. You can take pictures if you don’t use flash. Some I took were pretty blurry, but these came out OK.

The Pont des Arts, Paris by Renoir

The Pont des Arts, Paris by Renoir

Still Life with Fruit and Vegetables by Frans Snyders and Cornelius de Vos

Still Life with Fruit and Vegetables by Frans Snyders and Cornelius de Vos

Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidzoon de Heem

Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidzoon de Heem

Couldn't help taking a picture of this 60s icon in their tempora

Couldn’t help taking a picture of this 60s icon in their temporary exhibit.

After that, I was hungry, so I went to BJ’s Brewhouse in Old Town and had a porter and a salad (finally, something nutritious for the day). Then back to the motel to rest, then change and head off to the Huntington for a reception in the Chinese Garden. Yes it has all the elements. Dr. Wang was involved in the design. (and now that my daughter is back from China, she showed me pictures of them in a Chinese garden there, and it also has all the elements. I feel so well-educated.) There’s more to it than there was the last time I went a couple of years ago. Quite a bit more is still planned. The restaurant in one of the pavilions made the food for the reception, and it was delicious. There was also wine. And lots of my rose friends. We all had a great time  chatting for several hours, watching a nice sunset, and having yet another glass of wine.

One of the pavilions.

One of the pavilions.

Tom Carruth giving a short talk.

Tom Carruth giving a short talk.


Dr. Wang Guoliang on the right

Dr. Wang Guoliang on the right. Also Gregg Lowery. I don’t remember the womens’ names.

Sunset was marvelous! More colorful than it appears here.

Sunset was marvelous! More colorful than it appears here.

Dr. Wang loves to take photos.

Dr. Wang loves to take photos.

Saturday was the Huntington all day. First I spent a long time in the rose garden and visiting with friends.  Tom Carruth explained about the repairs to the arbor posts that were designed to look like trees.


How the arbor concrete trees are supposed to look.

Ready to make repairs.

Ready to make repairs.

Loose pieces. I like the cat.

Loose pieces. I like the cat. The sign says, “Calcareodendron eaganii/ Eagan’e concrete tree/ Calcareaceae 1915/ Southern California/ Restored 2013

He’s also done a lot to improve the soil where the tea and China roses grow. In the older hybrid tea beds, there are a lot of young plants where he’s replaced ones that weren’t doing well. The soil is slightly alkaline, and roses prefer slightly acidic, so it’s an ongoing struggle to keep the roses happy. (For non-chemists, you can’t just add acid to alkaline to make it more acidic. acid+base=salt.)

Plant growing from concrete stump.

Plant growing from concrete stump.

Gregg Lowery in the rose garden.

Gregg Lowery in the rose garden.

The statur in the rose garden

The statue in the rose garden



Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan

Later, I wandered off to the Australian garden. The big windstorm a few years ago damaged a lot of trees in this area and it looked rather sad with debris lying around, so I wanted to see how things looked now. I could see a few stumps and places where broken branches had been cut off, and an open area with no plants, but they’ve done their best to  fix the area up again. Some plants I saw as I wandered:

A pink tree in the distance. I never found a way to get to the base to read what it was

A pink tree in the distance. I never found a way to get to the base to read what it was

Another pink tree in the distance. It's a Calodendrum Capense (Cape Chestnut)

Another pink tree in the distance. It’s a Calodendrum Capense (Cape Chestnut).

Closeup of the Cape Chestnut flowers

Closeup of the Cape Chestnut flowers

Lagunaria patersonia- Cow Itch Tree

Lagunaria patersonia- Cow Itch Tree

Velvet Bean Tree (sorry, somewhat out of focus)

Velvet Bean Tree (sorry, somewhat out of focus)

Bamboo forest

Bamboo forest

Trees by the steps from the Japanese garden back up to the rose garden.

Trees by the steps from the Japanese garden back up to the rose garden.

The new gift shop is very nice. Several times someone came up and asked if I needed help finding anything, or would I like to see any of the jewelry in a case. I was beginning to think I looked suspicious and they were really keeping an eye on me. There is a whole area added to what used to be the entrance and the auditorium (which is now a cafe). The old buildings there have different things going on in them. It’s all much nicer.

View from the cafe, which is where Great Rosarian receptions used to be, looking across new garden which used to be just lawn, toward the Huntington house art museum.

View from the cafe, which is where Great Rosarian receptions used to be, looking across a new garden which used to be just lawn, toward the Huntington house art museum.

After lunch, it was time for the talks. We were treated to three talks. First Ping Lim talked about his travels in China. He has had extensive travel in China since 1987, and seen roses in designs up to 7000 years ago. He also mentioned finding a rose last year in Huashan (flower mountain). He said some Chinese use a thorny banksia as a standard for tree roses, but I don’t really understand why anyone would want a thorny banksia for any reason. I found it curious that there is a thorny banksia, as the thornlessness of varieties in the US is one of there best qualities.

Gregg Lowery gave the next talk. He’s floating a theory that the ancestors of Damask and Hybrid Bourbon roses have their ancestors in Asia (not just the China and Tea ancestors.) It’s already known that the original Bourbon roses were grown in India long before they were found on the Ile Bourbon and sent to France. Gregg thinks the Damasks and Musk roses may also have been bred in Asia before making their way to Europe. I’ve been reading Behcet Ciragan’s article in the 2015 Indian Rose Annual, some of which is supportive of things Gregg said, and also raises some questions about other things. I need to have a historical atlas of the area from Turkey to western China next to me as I read it. (So much for feeling well-educated. My history and geography teachers have a lot to answer for in their teaching of history and geography outside of Europe and North America.) It will be some time before I can digest all the information in that article.

Finally it was time for the Great Rosarian award for and talk by Dr. Wang Guoliang. The title was “Significant Discoveries in Chinese Old Roses”, and was divided into 6 parts. Part 1 was Classification of ancient Chinese roses. He showed the parts of the characters in old writings that indicate certain things like “plant”, “mud wall”, “supported by wood or bamboo”. The three classes of roses there are Wild Roses, going back more than 3000 years, Rugosas dating from 2000 years, and Monthly Roses, going back 1300 years. leaf fossils that clearly look like rose leaves have been dated to 20 to 25 million years old. Part 2: Monthly roses (ancestral to what we call Teas and Chinas)- About 100 monthly roses appeared in the Song Dynasty (1000 years ago) and includes Tipsy Imperial Concubine, described in a book. I know there is controversy over that one. Many people believe it is an HT from the early 20th century that was imported to China, and became confused with the old roses. A good candidate for some DNA work. I tried to grow it once, but it didn’t like it here. There are 10 middle forms found between the single chinensis and the Old Blush style. One is named ‘Red Dancing’ in Japan. I don’t have any notes labeled part 3. Part 4 is the rediscovery of the original Park’s Yellow.  Several nurseries around the world have sold roses they called Park’s Yellow, all found roses, and none likely to be the right rose. Dr. Wang found the real one in Nanjing, called ‘Perpetual Light Yellow’. There are  or have been other intermediate forms, from the single once blooming (some of which can still be found in the wild) to the double repeat flowering. Some other finds- R. odorata ‘Purplish Blush’, a huge double climber, R. odorata ‘Pink Blush’ which is smaller, Zhu Pan Tuo a red semi-double. Part 5 was the discovery of the Tuwei rugosa rose. 2000 years ago there was a single version. By 1000  years ago (Song Dynasty) there were double forms. Tuwei was usually grafted, and was used in brewing wine. It was different from other rugosas, and derived from rugosa and tea rose. Part 6 is on the origin of the rose we call Fortuniana. It’s a fairly commonly found rootstock rose around here, climbing unless kept pruned, and very drought tolerant. I’ve also seen it sold as a rose for covering a fence, and given a name that I recall included the word “Snow”. During the Tang Dynasty the flowers were used in brewing some sort of wine. It was painted in the Song Dynasty as Tumi, so that is the name we should be calling it. He said that DNA has shown it to be a cross of R. laevigata and R. banksia, but that cross is fairly obvious by visual inspection, not needing DNA. He said some plants in China have prickles on the peduncle, or red petal margins. That concluded the talks for the afternoon. I always get a picture of me with the honoree:

Tom Carruth presenting Dr Wang with some books. The actual award would be given to him at the East Coast version of Great Rosarians.

Tom Carruth presenting Dr Wang with some books after the talk. The actual award would be given to him at the East Coast version of Great Rosarians.

me and Dr. Wang Guoliang.

Me and Dr. Wang Guoliang.

Before people left for parts unknown, I asked some friends if they’d like to get together for dinner somewhere. I had half a dozen takers, and we decided to go to BJ’s Brewhouse, since I knew where it was, and knew they served good food (or at least good salads.) Joining we were Sharon Van Enoo, Kim Rupert, Gideon Dollarhide, who is in charge of old roses at Berkeley Botanic Garden, and his friend Joey, Anita Clevenger and Becky Yianilos. We talked for hours!  Here we are enjoying ourselves:

Sharon, Kim and Joey

Sharon, Kim and Joey

Becky, Gideon, me and Anita

Becky, Gideon, me and Anita

The next morning was the drive home. I took a slightly different route, driving north on the 210 to San Fernando and getting on the 118 west. It was a lovely drive through beautiful rock formations, then lots of nurseries and eventually reaching the 101 at Ventura. There were no traffic delays as I’ve often had when taking the 210-134-101 route, so it probably didn’t cost me much in time. I had a nice visit with my college friend Pete in San Luis Obispo, which also made a nice break from driving before heading north the rest of the way.


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A Walk in the Redwoods

Every year for my friend Julie’s birthday, friends are invited on a hike. Her husband Randy does the organizing. This year, as her kids are getting older, they decided to to the big one- Big Basin to the Sea. It’s 12 miles, starting at the park headquarters, climbing a ridge, then slowly down into the Waddell Valley to Berry Creek Falls, and out through Rancho Del Oso to Waddell Beach. My memory of the trip (I’ve done it 2 or 3 times, but something like 10 or 15 years ago) was that the climb up that first ridge had me huffing and puffing and wishing I’d had a walking stick. The long walk down after that had made the bottoms of my feet ache before I’d even reached Berry Creek Falls for lunch. I decided to prepare in advance- I wanted to carry less with me- a fanny pack instead of a shoulder bag, new athletic shoes instead of hiking boots, and a walking stick I’d collected on another hike about a decade ago, and had never used.  The result- happy feet, happy back, and surprise at how much better shape I’m in now than I was the last time. I couldn’t believe how soon we reached the top of the ridge. Not huffing at all. The 6 miles to Berry Creek Falls didn’t wear me out, and even after the last 6 miles, my feet were fine. I’ll admit to having lots of achy areas the next day, and a few minor aches still, 3 days after, but I’m really happy about the whole thing. I took lots of pictures along the way, so here’s a photo essay of the hike I hope you’ll enjoy. You can click on any picture for a full sized version of it.

To start the trip, we met at the bus depot at 8:30 am for the one bus going to Big Basin. When we got to headquarters, we availed ourselves of the facilities, then all posed in the Auto Tree for a photo. The Auto Tree is no longer marked as such and you can no longer back a car into it for photos, but in the early park history, that was done all the time, and there are lots of photos and postcards of it.

Randy sent me this picture of our group in the Auto Tree just before we started hiking

Randy sent me this picture of our group in the Auto Tree just before we started hiking


Randy watching the kids (his and others) climb on the big fallen log by the amphitheater near the start of the hike.

I chatted with Randy on the way up the hill, and with Julie part of the way down. I kept stopping to take photos, while the parents in the group had to keep up with the kids, so I ended up bringing up the rear for quite a bit of the hike. Fortunately, although I enjoy walking with others and getting to know them better, I also enjoy walking alone in the peace and quiet, and hearing the small trickling creeks and babbling brooks, so a long hike like this gave me the best of both. In these photos, low light in the forest affects the colors and sharpness. Point and shoot cameras are convenient, but limited.


We saw 4 banana slugs along the upper part of the trail.


View down the hillside just below the ridge.


Upper part of one branch of Waddell Creek. Pictures below are the same spot, where trees have fallen across path and creek. Julie reading sign.

More scenery in this area:

Log with fungi:


Creek crossing just before the Berry Creek Falls overlook.


View of the falls from the overlook. A bit blurry, due to low light in the forest.

Some of us took the side trail up to the falls where there is a deck and benches. Had lunch and enjoyed the rainbow across the middle of the falls.


From this point on, there were only two other non-parents in the group that strolled for the remaining 6 miles (while parents and all kids headed fairly quickly toward the beach, where the kids wanted to go.) They were sometimes walking with me, sometimes in front a minute or so, and sometimes a bit behind. The old road I remembered had washed out in a couple places during the intervening decade, so there are some trails going up and down on the hillsides where it used to be flat. More interesting, but I was starting to notice the climbing up and down muscles more.


This sign shelter was made by my husband many years ago. It is now just west of a washout on the old road, at the place where the new trail around the washout crosses the creek.


Steep fern covered hill near the sign shelter.

More scenery along the trail:

More fungi:


At the center of this picture is a bright spot that is a big-leaf maple with the sun on it’s yellow autumn leaves. When I couldn’t get it to show up any better than this, I tried to zoom in for a close up, but in the low light, zoom is blurry without a tripod:


Well, you’ll just have to imagine how pretty this looked in the center of the previous view.

At one point when the others were ahead of me, I came around a corner to see this:


I decided to lie down next to them and enjoy the view for a few minutes:


Scenery from the lower part of the forest:


This stump appears to have had some human intervention in its appearance.


From a bridge over Waddell Creek


This bay tree reminds me of an Ent.


Eventually, out of the forest, and onto the lower part of the dirt road:

In this area, we again met up with others from our group coming back up to meet us, along with some who drove to the beach to meet up with Julie and kids there, and wanted a short hike. We all walked together past the farms in the lower valley and the marsh , before crossing the highway to the beach.

In the beach picture, you can see a person at the far end where Waddell Creek enters the ocean. That’s where all the kids were playing.  Some more of Julie’s friends joined us, and we all stayed to see the sunset, which was spectacular and lasted a very long time:


Someone saw this nearly full moon rising to the east as we were watching the sun going down in the west.



Julie and Randy enjoying the sunset



Pink glow on clouds to the east.

After sunset we got into cars of those who had met us at the beach, and drove to Whale City Cafe in Davenport for dinner and pie. More of Julie’s friends, and my husband Frank, showed up there, and we pretty well filled the place. I took one more sunset picture out the restaurant window, and a couple of the group in the restaurant, singing Happy Birthday to Julie (in birthday hat), and her twin sons (yes they were born on her birthday 9 years ago):

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Road trip- Cornish Cousins and lots of cemeteries

Part 1- Getting there is half the fun

The first weekend of June was the California Cornish Cousins gathering in Grass Valley. They aren’t my actual cousins, they are other people of Cornish descent. And for those still wondering, Cornish people come from Cornwall, the “toe” of England. The original Cornish were Celtic, like the Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Breton and Galicians. By now, many have some Anglo-Saxon in them, and many who left Cornwall married other non-Celts. My mother’s mother was Cornish, so I’m ¼, but it’s the heritage I knew most about while I was growing up. The Cornish were world renowned hard-rock miners, and went wherever miners were needed during the 1800s when the Cornish mines were closing down. My ancestors went to Pennsylvania to mine anthracite after tin and copper became scarce in Cornwall. So I joined CCC as a life member to keep in touch with my roots (and if any readers have the last names of Eddy or Tredinnick, we’re probably related.)

Of course, I can’t just take the freeways and get places quickly. I take the scenic routes, and visit cemeteries looking for heritage roses on the way. My first detour was to avoid Hwy 580 by taking the road through Livermore. I like downtown Livermore- it’s a nice small-town type of downtown, and a nice place to stop for a cold coffee drink. Then on to Vasco Rd to Byron where there is a great fruit/vegetable stand just before getting on Hwy 4 toward Stockton. Their strawberries are the tastiest I’ve ever had, but need to be eaten right away. They don’t keep well. Fresno St. and Luftus Hwy avoid actually seeing any of Stockton, then up several highways to Ione. I wanted to look at the cemetery there. We have a rose in the Heritage from this cemetery, and I was happy to see it is still quite happy in its original location. I also saw 2 plants of Red Runaround and one of Hermosa, both almost ubiquitous in central Calif. cemeteries. I would have stopped for lunch or another coffee drink here, but the town is only a block long and all the parking was taken. It was also very hot, so I didn’t want to park a couple blocks away and walk.

This Lawrenciana rose in Ione Cemetery is the one we have at the Heritage Rose Garden. Still doing well in both places.

This Lawrenciana rose in Ione Cemetery is the one we have at the Heritage Rose Garden. Still doing well in both places.


A modern rose. The color should be peachier than in this photo. I have no idea what it is, but it certainly thrives on neglect.


Old headstone in front of a Red Runaround plant.


Hermosa is one of those roses you find in almost every cemetery in central California

I continued up 124 to 49 and Plymouth Cemetery. In 2008, I was really impressed with the condition of the roses there. Many were unknown to me them, but most have been identified since. (I must repeat what I’ve said before- If you aren’t an expert at propagating roses from cuttings, please don’t collect cuttings in cemeteries. The roses are often stressed, and taking cuttings could damage them. Also most have already been propagated and you can buy plants from some nurseries and at sales at Sacramento Cemetery’s Historic Rose Garden or the Heritage.) By 2010, someone pruned the roses. A climbing Hybrid Tea cut back to 3′ is a sad sight, but now a crew has gone through spraying weeds with Roundup. Two of the roses will probably die as a result, and a group of us are trying to get a group of volunteers in the area to take over caring for the cemetery to prevent it happening to the rest of the roses. Several other central California cemeteries have volunteer groups who make sure the roses are watered, weeded and otherwise cared for, so I’m hopeful this will work out for Plymouth, too.

All that's left of one rose.

All that’s left of one rose.


A part of the plant when I first saw it.

A part of the plant when I first saw it.

I stopped at a store in Plymouth that advertised espresso drinks. It was pretty hot and I really wanted a frozen blended pick-me-up. Turns out they also sell a lot of interesting foods, and have a wine bar. I sampled some gourmet chips and dip while waiting for the frappe, which turned out so much better than the ones that well-known coffee chain makes. Drove straight to Nevada City from there, though I was tempted to stop at several wine tasting rooms on the way. There were also a lot of yard sales and some cemeteries, but I wanted to get to my friends Kathryn and Doug’s house by 4pm, so I’d have time to visit a bit before heading back to Grass Valley for the Cornish Cousins dinner.

Part 2- The Gathering

The first part of the gathering was held at the North Star House in Grass Valley on Friday evening. I’ve been there a couple times before. The first time, in 2008, I was invited to take a look at the roses and tell them anything I could about them. In the process, I met a couple of local rose enthusiasts, Joy and Kathy. The North Star House was designed by Julia Morgan, who also designed Hearst Castle, and was where Arthur and Mary Hallock Foote lived. I’ve been reading ‘Angle of Repose’ lately, which is a fictionalized account of their lives before they lived in Grass Valley. Some of it very fictionalized. The house is now run by the North Star Historic Conservancy (http://www.northstarconservancy.org). Dinner was Cornish pasties, of course. There are several places in Grass Valley that make them. We had musical performances by two local acoustic groups before dinner. Then we had singing by the Grass Valley Male Voice Choir. After dessert, we adjourned to the other side of the house for a Cornish sing-along and view of the sunset. It was all quite lovely.

Dinner with Male Voice Choir

Dinner with Male Voice Choir

Courtyard of North Star house

Courtyard of North Star house




West side porch for the sing-along.

View of the west side from the lawn

View of the west side from the lawn




Saturday started with a presentation on the history of Cornish miners in the Adelaide area of Australia by one of their descendants, Greg Drew.  Greg also has relatives in California he’d never met before this trip. This was held in the Masons building in Grass Valley. Then we went to a park in nearby Penn Valley for a lunch of Cornish pasties. Following lunch we had a talk by Duane Niesen on what it was like to grow up as a Cornish cowboy. Yes, there were Cornish cowboys in the Sierra. Starting at age 12, Duane, with his family, drove cattle from Penn Valley up to higher meadows for the summer, and back down in autumn.

Duane Niesen talking about his cowboy days

Duane Niesen talking about his cowboy days



Pasty lunch at Penn Valley

Pasty lunch at Penn Valley

After lunch we had a few free hours in which to explore, so I drove back to Nevada City and collected Kathryn and we drove up to North San Juan to see how the roses in the cemetery and town were doing. The last time I was there, I’d collected cuttings from a large older modern rose near the church. That rose is no longer there. Some of the other roses that were in a row with it, along a side street, are still there. One looked like it might be Talisman, and we’d recently lost one of the plants in the Heritage, so I collected a couple cuttings from this one. The cemetery had two pleasant surprises. First, there were lots of roses despite years of drought, including one we call “Orange Smith” for the name on the nearest headstone. It was even blooming! As far as I could tell, no roses had been lost since I was there 9 years ago. The other surprise came with meeting a woman who was walking through, and told us she maintains the cemetery, getting help from others to clear away dead branches that have fallen, keeping down weeds, etc. I wish we’d had more time to chat, but she was on her way to meet someone. I took pictures of each rose and of its associated headstone.

Probably the Mme Plantier some of us remember. It has just finished bloom. Mme Plantier is another rose we find in one cemetery after another.

Probably the Mme Plantier some of us remember. It has just finished bloom. Mme Plantier is another rose we find in one cemetery after another.


“Orange Smith”


When we got back to Kathryn’s house, she, Doug and I watched the recording of the Belmont Stakes. What a thrill that was! I’ve watched the Triple Crown races since I was a kid, whenever I had access to a TV. I’d been in the Peace Corps when Secretariat won, and only had a small B&W when Seattle Slew and Affirmed won, so this was the first time I’d seen a Triple Crown winner on a large color screen.

For the evening, it was back to the Mason’s for dinner (not Cornish pasties), singing a few Cornish songs and another presentation. This one was by Prof. Roger Burt from England, whose interest is in the influence of the Masons and other groups like IOOF on the worldwide Cornish migration. Apparently, by joining these groups, the miners were able to get help in moving their families to the new mining towns in the US, Australia and elsewhere. I’d known that many of the foothills cemeteries had Masons and IOOF sections, but never understood the significance before. Some of my English coal mining ancestors are buried in an IOOF cemetery in Pennsylvania, so this talk had real relevance to me. (I even have the deed to the one remaining plot in the family’s section, along with the perpetual care agreement, but I don’t think I’ll be buried there.)



CCC-dinner2 CCC-dinner3

Part 3- More Roses, Cemeteries and the Trip Home

Joy had found a rose at the Empire Mine, where she works, that she wanted to show me, so Kathryn and I headed there first thing on Sunday morning. My best guess is Debutante (Walsh, 1901 rambler), but it might have too much pink. It had been hidden by other plants till she started doing some work in that part of the rose garden. She moved it over where it had room to climb on the wall, and it’s doing quite well. I had to watch my step near it, as there was a pile of (wait for it…) bear poo! next to the stone wall. Not sure why a bear would want to climb a stone wall to get into a rose garden, but it clearly had done it several times, and the outside of the wall now needs some resetting of stones. They plan to set up a motion sensitive camera to get pictures now that they’ve found where it comes in.

The newly discovered rose. Is it Debutante or ?

The newly discovered rose. Is it Debutante or ? Pictures by Kathryn. I forgot to take my camera here.

IMG_5435 IMG_5436 IMG_5438

Next stop- Pine Grove Cemetery in Nevada City. Kathy was watering the Masons section when Kathryn and I arrived. I first went there in 2006, and there were a lot of large healthy roses. I went there with Kathy in 2008, and soon after, she and Joy talked to the Masons about taking care of their section, adding more Heritage roses, plus annuals and perennials, and keeping it watered and weeded. That’s the only section that has water available, and some roses in the rest of the cemetery have died over the intervening years, but some are amazingly drought tolerant. They’ve cut back watering in the Masons section, but hope to keep all the roses there alive. (Sorry, no pictures of this one this time.)

Our third stop for the day was Georgetown Cemetery, where we were met by Susan, who is part of a Master Gardeners group that takes care of the roses there. The Heritage had many roses from there 20 years ago, but a few of ours have died. So have some of theirs. They’ve placed wire cages around the remaining roses to keep deer from nibbling too much.  We once had roses named for the Schmeder family and one for Fred Schmeder, and we each have one left. Luckily they are different, so I got cuttings of theirs, and I’m now trying to root cuttings of ours to give them a replacement. Their Jerrett plot has one rose left (there were three), and we have two, so I will try to replace the second one, but we’ve both lost the third. I collected cuttings of five roses we don’t have. We also looked at a rose garden behind the Art Center. It had been planted many years ago, and contains many Heritage roses, and some from the 1940s and 50s.

Two roses from Georgetown Cemetery. Note the deer cage.

Two roses from Georgetown Cemetery. Note the deer cage.


After getting cold drinks, we headed back down the hill toward 49. We’d noticed a small cemetery by the road on our way up, so we stopped to look around. Greenwood Cemetery. No roses, but some very old graves, and some fairly recent ones, too. And lots of big shady trees- which were nice considering the 90 degree weather.

Monday morning, I took my leave of Kathryn and Doug, and of Nevada City and Grass Valley, and headed south to Placerville Union Cemetery. The Heritage has nearly a dozen roses from this cemetery, but with the drought the cemetery has lost quite a few. I walked around writing down which ones were still there. The rose we call “The Rose of Many Names” (TROMN) because we’ve found it in so many places in central California is still quite happy, as is the white Noisette, but “John S. DiBernardi” is barely hanging on. It was nearly my height in 2006, a lovely, fragrant red hybrid tea. (Yes, we have it at the Heritage.) And the “Rustler’s Gold”, Red Talisman and “Rosa Davey” tea are nowhere to be found. Very sad, but all are at the Heritage. If a group starts up to care for that cemetery, they can be propagated and planted there again. Assuming severe drought is not our permanent state of existence.

Next stop- El Dorado Cemetery. Another sad tale- We can’t replace our “James Askew” tea rose that died last year. And the Chrometella by Dr. Hinman is gone. But his Rose of Castile is quite healthy. “Sam Hill” (another TROMN) is alive and well, as are the Standiford plot roses.

Dr. Hinman p

Dr. Hinman plot, with Rose of Castile

I drove down to Sutter’s Creek, a town I know well from years ago- my Master’s thesis in Earth Science encompassed the area east of Sutter’s Creek to Volcano, and south to near Mokulmne Hill. I’ve looked at every roadcut on every road, and every accessible exposure of rocks I could find half a lifetime ago. There are a lot more roads in the area now, as more people move there. Also a lot more vinyards. With a cold coffee drink from a little shop in town, I headed up the ridge to Pine Grove and my friend Beverly’s house. We spent several hours chatting about roses, and the problems in cemeteries, and I showed her my thesis map, and explained a bit about what the rock formation is beneath her house. (After our visit, Beverly visited Plymouth Cemetery, and talked with several people, and spent time thinking about it and has decided to try to organize a group of volunteers to help the roses in Plymouth Cemetery! Thank you, Beverly!)

Altaville- last stop before heading home. I looked for a Talisman that was there a few years ago. Not there anymore. In the Protestant Cemetery, a few of the roses I knew, like “Tylor Carll” are still fine, and I didn’t look for all the ones I knew, so some others may be fine, too. But there is no water at all. I looked for the Dorroh plot and the Johnson plot, but couldn’t find either, and there were no roses on that whole side of the cemetery to guide me to them, so I’m pretty sure those have died. Although it’s possible my memory of where they were is wrong. We have “Frank Dorroh”, and I think I can get cuttings of “Ernest Johnson” from Sacramento Cemetery’s lovely Historic Rose Garden. In the Catholic Cemetery there is also no water. (They have water systems in the cemeteries, but signs on all gates say “No water”). The roses seem to be doing OK, though. I was able to get cuttings of one rose I’ve tried to root a couple times before. The rose is actually looking better than the last time I saw it. The Lady Mary Fitzwilliam isn’t as lush as she has been in years past, but will survive. There’s talk of next year being an El Niño year- they are very rainy. For the roses sake, I hope they are right.

Posted in Rose Stories, Travels | Tagged , , | 2 Comments


I’ve always wanted to do art. I love botanical paintings, especially. Back when I was a college student, I took some art classes, and thought of minoring in art, but the classes required so many hours per unit, so I minored in physical science instead. I tried many times to draw roses, but could never get them right. This winter, I saw there was a “Realistic Watercolor Painting” class at Jade St. Community Center, which isn’t far from me, so I decided to sign up. It’s taught by Hanya Fojaco, who is very talented (see http://hanyafojaco.com/). Some instructors demonstrate methods and have students copy. Hanya walks around the room and sees what each person is doing and makes suggestions and comments. Class is pretty low-key. You can keep signing up for classes on a continuing basis, so you can keep getting her advice. Newcomers sit at the front tables, returning artists at all the others. So besides learning to paint, we also get to make new friends and watch each others paintings come to life.

Watercolor painting is a slow process. She has us make a print or a photo of the size we want to paint. Of course, I chose a rose. Actually I printed half a dozen photos of different roses, and asked her which she thought would be good for a first painting. She thought the simplest one- “Durst Plot” (Which may or may not be Sutter’s Gold) would be best, so that’s what I did. The first thing to do is put a piece of graphite paper between the print and the watercolor paper, and trace all the petal edges. Then use the kneaded eraser to soften the darker lines so they won’t be too visible in the final painting. Then, using artist’s tape, tape along the edges of the area to be painted. We also each made a card with samples of each of our paint colors, first at full strength, then diluted, and then as a wash. These are really helpful in planning what to mix and how much to thin the color to get it just right.

Eventually, if one is going to do a painting, one must start putting color on the paper. This is very scary- don’t want to get it too dark, as it’s pretty hard to make paint lighter once it’s on the paper.  I started with very light yellow, and it was still darker than I wanted it to be. In a panic, I carefully thinned the color and spread it out, so that the lightest places weren’t already too dark. Here’s how it looked after the first day of painting:

Hanya said I shouldn't have started the pink yet, but it was too late for that, and turned out fine in the end.

Hanya said I shouldn’t have started the pink yet, but it was too late for that, and turned out fine in the end.

The next week I tried to define the petals a bit more and started adding orange to some of the outer ones.


I mixed the orange color. Hanya said I should have increased the yellow color, then used pink over it to get the orange, since watercolors are translucent.

The third week, I filled in some of the darker color of the interior and shadows.


The fourth week I started putting in the background to get the flower to stand out more.


Next I put in vague leaves with light and dark areas. The plan at this point is for the background to end up out of focus, so it will all be reworked.


At this point I went back to defining more detail in the petals, then smudging details in the background.


At this point Hanya said “Don’t be afraid of the dark.” It was time to add more color to the petals. I had been afraid to go darker, but with the background taking shape, it was easier to see what needed to be done to the flower.


Almost there. At this point I was mostly painting with water- smoothing out places where a color had a sharp transition when it should have a smooth one. Lightening or darkening small areas to create depth and 3-dimensionality. Eventually, I decided that if I did any more, I would probably do as much harm as good. It was done.

I showed it to my daughter and my husband, and both said, “It’s done.” I removed the artist tape and signed it. My daughter went looking through some mats we have and found this one which was exactly the right size and color. It’s now also framed in a dark green frame. I’m thankful for Hanya’s guidance. I tell the new students that she saved me from making many mistakes.

PaintDurst3-14I’m quite pleased with the result, but not ready to start in on another rose. I’m doing a landscape.

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Split second decisions

We make them all the time. There are often options, such as which route to take on a drive or walk. Whether to change lanes or stick with the one we’re in. Whether to stop at a store or winery we just happen to be passing. All kinds of things. Sometimes I’ve wondered what effect those decisions make on the future. Could it be that by altering my route, I missed being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Wednesday I made one of those split second decisions. I was driving on Mission Street from the Westside of Santa Cruz toward town. Mission St is a very busy thoroughfare, also being Highway 1. I planned to go to a pottery store on the left side of Mission. It’s on the east side of Palm St. On the west side of Palm St is a parking lot for a drug store. As I was approaching the parking lot entrance, there was a gap in westbound traffic on Mission, and I could see a car in the distance that I’d have to wait for if I continued driving to Palm. That car could have been followed by 20 more, and I’d have to wait to turn left until they had all passed. So I decided in that split second to turn left into the parking lot while the lane was clear. I drove through the lot and parked on the west side of Palm, facing Mission. Had I turned left on Palm instead, I’d have parked on the east side next to the pottery shop. Normally, crossing a street is no big deal, but this time it turns out it was. The street is concrete, and the middle is cracked and had broken pieces not flat and even with the rest of the street. I was well aware of that, of course. But I got distracted. A car came around the corner from Mission onto Palm. He slowed during the turn to give me time to finish crossing. The car behind him nearly rear-ended him and honked as he braked. I looked at the cars. Then I fell. I can only assume I tripped on the uneven concrete, but I don’t know for sure. It happened so fast. My head was still turned to the right, so I landed on the left side of my face, all around my eye, but thankfully, not on my eyeball. My glasses now have scratched lenses and tweaked frames, and came off during the impact, giving me a small scratch on the right side of my nose.

The driver of the car came over to ask if I was OK after he parked. By then I was sitting on the curb assessing the damages. Skinned both knees and left shoulder, but didn’t damage the jeans or shirt. Some skin abrasions above and below the left side of my eye and eyebrow. Nothing actually bleeding. Nothing broken. Guess I wouldn’t need medical attention. I’d seen someone do the exact same type of fall a few weeks ago, but she’d broken her patella, and and hit the top of her forehead. She was taken away by ambulance. I saw her again last week with a kneebrace and a cap covering her forehead. I let her know what she’d tripped on, as she had no idea.

I went back to sit in my car till I stopped shaking. Another witness came up to the door and asked if I was OK, and on seeing my injury, said I should have it looked at. No way was I going to Urgent Care to spend a couple hours waiting to be seen. And I still wanted to go to the pottery store. So after a few minutes, I put my glasses back on and went in. I know the owners- my former landlord and his wife from where I lived in the 80s. Nina helped me pick out the pottery I wanted, asked several times if I was sure I was OK, and walked the goods to my car for for me in case I was still shaky. We also caught up on what our kids were doing now while I shopped so other then the obvious, it was a pleasant visit.

Now it’s two days later. Bruise from cheek to brow, with swelling. And the abrasions are still tender to the touch. Upper and lower eyelids are very red despite not being directly hit. spread along broken capillaries, I assume. But with lots of concealer makeup and my other glasses that hide some of the swelling behind the frame, I don’t think I’ll frighten anyone. Yesterday I wore my big, very dark sunglasses, which do a pretty good job of covering the area.

So a split second decision that turned out to be the wrong one. I wouldn’t have been crossing Palm St if I’d waited and turned onto Palm instead of the parking lot. Those who believe in karma may think I’d have tripped on the curb or the steps up to the store entrance instead. I’ll never know. You’ll understand why there are no pictures included with this post. I’d love to hear other stories of split second decisions that made a difference for the good or the bad.

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Spring in February

Those of you who follow my blog may have noticed my long absence from posting. There have been a lot of family issues taking up my time. For those who read my posts but don’t actually know me, here’s a quick summary. Our house was built on my husband’s mother’s property, the remnant of her parents property. Having her living next door to us was a blessing for us when the children were growing up, and as she grew old, it was a blessing for her to have us nearby, but the last couple years of her life meant we needed to help her more and more, giving me less and less time for other things during much of 2014. She passed away October 9, aged 96. I then went to Florida, where my brother was dying of cancer. He passed away in early November. Then, the holidays were upon us, including a visit from my older daughter’s in-laws. With all these events, writing my blog hasn’t been a priority, but I’m starting to get in the mood to write again.

As anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows, California is having a serious drought. Wells in the Central Valley are running dry, lakes are low, and if we don’t get a lot more rain this winter, lots of things are going to get much worse this summer. When we have a beautiful warm day, people start grumbling, “We really need rain.” It seems very strange to be complaining about good weather. As I can’t make it rain, I’ve decided to just enjoy the nice weather while we have it. The plants seem to be enjoying it, too. They think spring has arrived, and some roses are blooming a month early. I took pictures of this early spring bloom yesterday, and thought it would be nice to share them with you.

My ‘Rosa gigantea’ normally peaks in late March. You can compare these pictures of it now with those  in the blog post from four years ago-  My Gigantea.


This is the part of the rose that is trying to block entry to the shed


This is the south part between the sheds, which is what my neighbors see when they look at our place.


This is the northwest part of the rose, behind the hothouse.


This is the southwest part behind the hothouse.


Closeup of a newly opened bloom. They’re only this yellow color the day they open.

Each year, this rose grows new shoots out the top, which weighs down the lower parts, so they spread outwards. After bloom, I remove much of the lower parts to try to contain the size of the rose, and make access alongside it possible. This year will require major surgery to reopen the pathway. Last year I left some canes that should have been cut, but they curved back and up toward the center of it, and I didn’t want to have dead wood in the top of the plant where it is inaccessible. Removing canes from within the plant is nearly impossible due to the hooked prickles that grab anything passing by- you can’t just grab the cut end and pull. But those canes are making it very difficult to get by already, and it’s only going to get worse, so this spring they go.

Other roses blooming-

Archduke Joseph. The bloom form and color both change with the weather.

Archduke Joseph. The bloom form and color both change with the weather.


“Keith’s Bourbon-Noisette”, a rose I found at a friend’s Victorian house. The interior of the rose is normally white.

A 'Souvenir d'un Ami candidate. It's a rather sprawling Tea rose I got from Bill Grant. Blooms all year, and actually smells like tea.

A ‘Souvenir d’un Ami’ candidate. It’s a rather sprawling Tea rose I got from Bill Grant. Blooms all year, and actually smells like tea.

Other plants that think it’s Spring-

Our neighbors' flowering cherry-plum. This part hangs over our parking area.

Our neighbors’ flowering cherry-plum. This part hangs over our parking area.

Callas. We have these scattered around the property. This one is under the part of the gigantea that needs major surgery.

Callas. We have these scattered around the property. This one is under the part of the gigantea that needs major surgery.

I hope those of you who are buried in snow this month get some pleasure from these blooms. There is a rumor of another storm late next week, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. In the mean time, I’ll continue to enjoy these sunny 75 degree days.

[In case anyone is interested, my husband created a memorial website for his mother with her biography and photos of her life at http://editheperry.weebly.com/, and I made a memorial page for my brother at http://jamesfredmiller3.weebly.com/. ]

Posted in Home garden | 1 Comment

Wharf to Wharf race

First of all- I don’t run. I love long walks, but I’ve never been able to run very far, and I don’t find anything enjoyable about it. But lots of other people love to run, and every year one of the big summer events here is the Wharf to Wharf race. 16,000 entered it this year. Registration filled up in 19 hours. It starts by the Santa Cruz wharf and goes to the Capitola wharf, mostly near the ocean. Every year, I get a cup of coffee and walk to the end of 41st Ave where it meets East Cliff Dr. and wait for the action to start. Why there? Because that’s where the Blue and Red Circus Band plays. There are bands all along the route, but this is the one I like. A couple minutes after I got there, they started playing ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’.


The Blue and Red Circus Band

The Blue and Red Circus Band

The race starts at 8:30, and this location is just before the 5-mile mark, so I get there about 8:45. At about 8:50, a truck goes by, indicating that the first runners aren’t far behind.

Official vehicles signaling the first runners aren't far behind.

Official vehicles signaling the first runners aren’t far behind.

Next come the motor cycle riding police or sheriffs.


They are followed by the big truck.



The small van behind the truck has the back open and someone inside filming the lead racer. And finally we get to see him:

The man who won the race a few minutes later.

The man who won the race a few minutes later.

He is Simon Ndirangu of Kenya. The winners are nearly always from Kenya or Ethiopia. Some years it’s not clear at the 5-mile mark just who is going to win, but Simon had a sizable lead. Often, the next several runners are also Africans, but we got a surprise this year. Second place went to Scott Bauhs of San Luis Obispo.


Here’s Scott followed by Ben Bruce of Arizona, and Nelson Oyugi of Kenya. Last year, Nelson won, Ben was 5th and Scott was 9th. Here are pictures of Ben and Nelson as they passed by the band:




After these leaders, runners start coming along in multiples, and women are among them.



She is Caroline Rotich of Kenya, fastest woman, and 13th place overall. Just three places behind her was Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton of Kenya:


As the crowds start coming it becomes a sea of bobbing heads:



P1030090P1030093And pretty soon the costumes start coming, and I start walking down to Pleasure Point.

There were a number of people in tutus advertising instaGift.com

There were a number of people in tutus advertising instaGift.com


It worked- I looked up the website when I got home, but doubt I would ever use their products.

It worked- I looked up the website when I got home, but doubt I would ever use their products.

Cute hats

Cute hats

A Viking hat across the street

A Viking 


Hula ladies

Runners and walkers as far as I can see.

Runners and walkers as far as I can see.

The view on the other side of the fence.

The view on the other side of the fence.



I found Waldo. (Actually, this is the second Waldo I found). I can go back home now.



Posted in Local | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Absolutely Perfect

It has been such a beautiful summer here. In normal years, the inland valleys heat up, and the fog is pulled over the coastal areas. The weather forecast is always “night and morning fog and low clouds, partial clearing in the afternoon, highs about 65 near the coast…” Lately they’ve started calling it the “marine layer”. But this year, it was apparently cooler inland much of the time, and the fog has not been our constant summer companion. You can’t imagine how happy it makes me. Sometimes that marine layer stopped just past my house, and I could be in the sun by walking fifty yards up the street. We’ve still gotten fog this year, just not the all-day-long, or even all-week-long that we usually get. Instead, I’ve spent my lunchtimes on the patio swing reading books on a nearly daily basis. The old law has been broken- the one that says we’re only allowed three days of sun before the fog returns. And the one that says you don’t need to get your shorts out of the drawer unless you’re packing to go somewhere else. It’s usually well into September before we start getting the warm fog-free days referred to as “weather for the locals” because it occurs only after the summer tourists have stopped coming.

The traditional end of summer for children and resort towns like Santa Cruz is Labor Day weekend, and I’m mainly writing about it because it was absolutely perfect. I’m going to want to remind myself of it during our cool rainy winter. (At least I hope it’s rainy- our water supply is completely local, and last year we didn’t have a lot of rain.)

Friday night was an Opening Event at the Museum of Art and History. This time it celebrated a new book by Geoff Dunn. Geoff went to High School with my husband, Frank, and comes from another family that’s been in Santa Cruz for about 100 years. His new book is “Santa Cruz is in the Heart, volume 2”, and the exhibit has pictures of people from Santa Cruz history and their stories and some artifacts. For the event, Geoff barbequed hot dogs on the outdoor patio of the museum while his daughter Tess Dunn and her band played music in the Atrium. She writes, sings and plays the piano. Tess has severe health challenges, and is determined to live her life to the fullest. Search for her on YouTube and prepare to be impressed. I enjoyed her music, but the noise and acoustics in the Atrium made it so I couldn’t understand the words. It was still warm enough when we left that we didn’t need sweaters. Warm days in Santa Cruz are rare. Warm evenings are extremely rare.

Saturday was the Highland Games in Pleasanton, and I drove a couple of friends up to them. If you are anywhere around the fairgrounds you can hear bagpipes. The many bands are either standing practicing, marching practicing or performing all over the place. Many of the Scottish Country Dance classes perform (including mine, but I wasn’t in the demo group). Clans have tents and invite people with the right ancestry to join them. I’m a member of the Guthrie clan based on an ancestor, John Guthrie, who left Scotland in 1700 for Northern Ireland, and his son who came to Pennsylvania in 1730. So I spend time at the Guthrie tent, and march with them in the Clan Parade. We’re a small group- three in the parade this year- me, Clan Guthrie USA President Jack Moore, and Mel Guthrie. Here we are with our banner:


It was very hot, but fortunately there are many indoor shops where you can buy Scottish or Celtic items, eat scones with clotted cream, taste whiskeys, etc. Outdoors there were also Highland cattle, sheepdog trials, a birds of prey exhibit, and lots of food booths.


After leaving the games I joined my friends and other Scottish dancers at Gay 90s pizza place in downtown Pleasanton, just a couple blocks from the fairgrounds. We eat on their outdoor patio, which is especially nice considering how rare it is to have evenings warm enough to eat outside on the coast. They serve huge amounts of food, and quite a few of us split an order with someone else. We didn’t want to eat too much, because after dinner was the Scottish Country Dance Ball at the Vet’s Hall. Fifteen dances, some of them done a second time because we liked them so much, but I didn’t feel as worn out as I often do at the end of a Scottish dance party. This was followed by refreshments, then the long drive back to Santa Cruz. We got home about 12:30 am.

This weekend was also the Begonia Festival in Capitola. Sunday morning, while I slept in, my husband was roped into helping women decorate hats with begonia flowers. This is because the hats are sponsored by the Capitola Museum, and my husband has been the curator there for about a month now. He didn’t have a suitable Hawaiian shirt, but I had a large one I loaned to him. He got several compliments on it.

Thanks to John Nicol for this picture.

Thanks to John Nicol for this picture.

After he got back, I walked down to Capitola to watch the Nautical Parade. As I approached the village, the beach was PACKED TO THE GILLS!


At the bridge that the floats went under, I saw it was PACKED TO THE GILLS!


I couldn’t see a thing from the bridge, so I walked down the Esplanade. There are several places where you can walk between buildings to balconies overlooking the lagoon, but they were PACKED TO THE GILLS! I walked onto the beach where the area of sand surrounding the lagoon was PACKED TO THE GILLS! But I managed to find a place where I could get a fairly good view between beach umbrellas to take pictures of the floats covered in begonia flowers. One float is a Genie in a teapot. One is a Magic Schoolbus, with octopus on top. One appears to be a pirate/dragon ship. I’m not sure about the others. The crowds thinned out after all the floats had paraded around for awhile, and I looked around at other things. Here are some pictures:

P1020259 P1020264 P1020276 P1020268 P1020267 P1020272

Also around town I took these pictures before going home:

Chalk art on the seawall

Chalk art on the seawall