Search This Blog

Saturday, October 22, 2011

La Villita Up Coming Events

When October rolls around, La Villita really starts rocking. We explode out of the long sweltering summer like race horses breaking from the gate.. The temps have dropped down into the civilized range. Skies are a brilliant blue. La Villitanos have had a big case of cabin fever so we are ready to roll.  

Coming up in the next few weeks we'll be celebrating our Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, events. Many of the shops and galleries will honor the dead with altars for family or theme altars.

Friday, October 28th at noon we'll have our South San High School Student Day of the Dead Art Show.
This is a juried show. Cash prizes go to the winning students. We also exhibit and sell their work in our shops. All sales go to the student artist. Its a our way of supporingt and encouraging youth artists. They are the next generation of innovators. Let's give them a leg up, as they say. Nothing is more motivating to a youngster than cold cash. Might as well be for something they have imagined and made.. 

On Saturday, October 29th all the little hoolie goblins show up for tricks or treats at our "Treat Street" festivity. Deck your little one out and come down to the village to collect their treats. Prizes for the best costume will be awarded. 

Sunday, October 30 from noon to 6PM we will be hosting the Los Monas Performance Group enacting our Dia de los Muertos Giant Skeleton Procession. There will also be salsa jazz entertainment by James Martin & Medionoche and Armando Martinez "Beyondomando".

We even have a few impromtu surpises during the month if you just want to drop by on a Saturday morning. About brunch time occasionally we cook al fresco potato & egg tacos.We just had one this morning about 11 AM. These are hosted by Alejandro and myself. He cooks the eggs. I pour the mimosas. We have these in the alley between our shops. Alejandro says his mission is to build community. I support that role. Building community is very important if we are all going to continue on the peaceful path as People of the Way.  

Then we slip into November and I'll give you just a preview because November is just as much fun as October was. We start things off with our First Friday Art Walk on Friday, November 4th from 3 to 8 PM. We'll be hosting entertainment, refreshments, working artist's booths and new showings. 

So there's plenty of things going on in La Villita to fill up your dance card. Come on by, experience some of the best art in our city, visit the artists, and be a big part of building community. We'll be glad to see you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Peace Poem

In bad times
     we talk peace.
In good times
     we talk about the weather.
Why is that?

The weather we can do
     nothing about.
But peace
     we have total control.

Oh, no, you say.
     Peace is illusive.
     It keeps a step or two away.
     It's like grasping at fog.

Truly, I say to you,
     That's not so.

Peace is like raising children.
     Women can teach a child to play.
     They teach them how to behave.
     They teach them manners.
     If we can teach them their numbers,
     If they can teach the little ones how to dress,
     If we can teach them how to draw, dance, sing,

Then they can teach them
     The critical importance of peace.
     How to make peace with others.

We're the ones who
          And car pool.

We also, rocket into outer space,
     Run political parties,
     Head up European Unions,
     Bale out bankrupt countries,
     Refinance governments,
     Secretary State Departments,
     Run corporations, museums, cities, states, universities, hospitals...
We even athletically direct football teams.

We ride Kentucky Derby horses,
     Drive race cars,
     Win golf tournaments and Grand Slams,
     Swim ocean channels...
          When we're in our seventies.
     Solo Capitan circumnavigate sail boats....
          When we're teenagers.

Ladies we've run out of excuses.
     We must do this.
     We're the last man standing.
     It's on our shoulders.
     All others have fallen short.

The crib is our domain.
     We have so little time to claim
     To put this peace thing in place.
     Just a few short years
         Before others take aim.

But we must.
     It's not about us.
     For the sake of the future
     Because all human kind
     Begins and ends
      in our soft tender touch.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Rain of Life!

Alas! Life giving rain has come! Summer is officially over. Although I'm sure we'll get hammered a time or two  again before our first "Blue Norther" storms down from Canada. The rain broke the drought and for that we are most grateful. The temps have dropped into the comfortable zone. "The Big Bake of Ought Eleven" is just a fading memory. Fall is definitely here. Most civilized.. The Fall season in South Texas is one of the best. It's unsung and unheralded but for those of us who have to slog our way through the serious sweat of the summers it's the time of year when we exhale. We live for this. The days are comfortable. There's freshness in the air. The sky is the most beautiful shade of clear blue.

The best yet is that it's the start up of the Fall Festivals. And San Antonio loves her festivals. The Oktober Fest will be in full umpah swing in a matter of days. Here in La Villita we will be having our "Art Walk on First Friday". Come by and check out the jazz and artists in the plaza and the shops will extend their hours.

In my neck of the Village, we have a Triumvirate of my neighbors; Village Weavers and Alejandro Sifuentes' Equinox, who will be hosting our own version of an Oktober Biergarten. We'll throw some sausage on the grill and share some good eats. Alejandro loves to grill and we love to eat whatever he cooks. So pencil us in and drop by.

At Bonsai Arbor, we'll be trotting out the first of our Mini Bonsai Hollies. They are so cute. They're full of tiny white flowers and are just beginning to set their green berries. As we get closer to the Holiday Season and have a few cold snaps, the green berries will turn red. They are already trying to color up but the persistant hot weather is discouraging them from doing so. With red berries they make for a most unique Holiday centerpiece. Our Green Island and Mistletoe Figs are in season. Plus our standards are in full display in the shop. The Fukien Teas are full of blooms. The Zelkova Elms and Scheflera have full dense canopies of leaves and their trunks have sized up and tapered nicely.

Don't miss our SALE on Junipers. In celebration of our "First Friday Art Walk" kick off I will have some very nice ones ON SALE.

Hope to see you that night, if not sooner.
Peace and Harmony in Bonsai,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Heat Stress Relief for Bonsai

Here's some tips on how to get your bonsai through these horrifically high summer temperatures.
The first thing to do is throw some shade cloth over the top of your collection. If you have some nice shady trees in your landscape you can just move them under shade. Easy enough. If that's not an option, then just raid your linen closet and spread some sheets over the trees. Come on, everybody has old sheets that can be repurposed for bonsai shade. I prefer pale green or blue sheets. Pound some stakes in the ground. Anything will do to elevate the sheets off the canopy's of the trees...rebar, old broom handles, bamboo poles...Use some plastic ties to attach the sheets.

If you want something a little bit more sophisticated, get 3 or 4 joints of 1/4" pvc pipe, and a joint of 3/4" pipe. Cut the 3/4" into 8 to 10" sections. Cap one end. Pound the capped ends into wet ground (its easier to pound if its wet dirt) leaving a couple of inches out of the ground. Put one on each corner of your collection of trees.  Take the 1/4" pipe, insert it into a 3/4" piece, bend it and put the other 1/4" end into the opposite corner. Repeat this until you have a series of hoops. Throw the sheeting over the hoops. Secure with plastic ties or clamps.

This is easy, quick, and flexible. You can put it up and take it down whenever you'd like. I like to shower the sheets for evaporative cooling. They will keep the trees 5 to 7 degrees cooler which is just enough difference to improve the quality of your trees.

Before I sign off I want to share another thing with you. If you're buying your el cheapo wantabe bonsai at big box stores, for heavens sake do the poor tree a favor and remove the gravel that's glued on top of the pot. Gads! That's a terrible thing to do to a tree. Its half dead before your even pay for it. You can't ever water it properly with that concrete-like layer of aggregate on top of the soil. Oxygen can't reach the roots. Oxygen to roots will be a topic I'll talk about at another time. I do alot of damage control here at my shop with customers who have purchased one of these trees and are having problems with it. I just had another couple in today asking for help. They had bought their tree from some mass marketer, I forget which one, and all the leaves were turning brown and falling off.

Growers who sell to mass marketers ship their plant products on pallets in the back of long haul semi trucks. That's the reason they glue the aggregate onto the top of the pots. The little trees would never make it to market if one piece after bumping around in the back of a truck for several days. When the truck would reach its destination, the dock worker would open the doors all they would find would be a heap of uprooted trees, soil, and broken pots. So they're glued.  Its a cheap way to ship. However, the chance of getting a healthy tree is slim to none. When I ship a tree I hand wrap each individual tree and then they are wrapped again in bubble wrap. Sometimes with expensive, older specimen trees they have a third wrapping of single walled corrugated cardboard. When I prepare my trees for shipping they are wrapped for nuclear attack. So anyway, take the clued gravel off the potting mix. The tree just might recover.

So that's it for today. I'm signing off. Take care and remember...Promote Harmony...Grow Bonsai.      

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Welcome to Bonsai Lady's Blog

"The artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture." quote by Jean Cocteau.
Well since I'm a horticulturist and because I grow bonsai I'll lay claim to being qualified to discuss plants as well as art. I'm not too sure I agree with the above quote. My business is located in a village full of weird eccentric artists and that's about all they know how to talk about. Art and whatever the Complaint of the Day is.
I'm happy to report that my trees are  non verbally communing just fine. They're dealing with the heat better than I am. Each evening when the sun slides down below the horizon and the evening breeze picks up, I go out into my garden and water, water, water. We've had months of bone dry scorching days with 100 plus degrees. The sun's radiation is so strong that it stings uncovered skin. It's hard enough to deal with much less dwell on it. I prefer not to do either but I have no choice about the heat. I skip the weather reports and I've taken down all thermometers. I know how hot it is. I don't need to hear any more about it. Knowing the temperature doesn't make it any easier to live with. I like to putter in my garden.The greenery softens the heat and I imagine its cooler. I pull a few weeds, do some light pruning, rearrange things. My garden is like my living room. I'm always moving things around. Actually my garden IS my living room. I spend more time living in my garden than in my living room. I have one of those living rooms that no one uses. It just looks nice.
Its a useless waste of space. Well that's not fair. It is a space for much of my art stuff.

Currently, I'm working on some Texas Ebony bonsai. They're related to the Mesquite. The South Texas heat doesn't faze them. They are as heat hardy as the Esperanza. They just keep blooming. The hotter it gets the more they bloom. "HEAT, WHAT HEAT? Heat don't mean nothin' to me. I'll just bloom like crazy anyway." Their bloom is this little buff colored brushy thing. It shows up nicely against the dark green foliage. When the bloom blasts it is replaced with a tiny cluster of green berries.
There's a hurricane moving into the Carribean right now but it doesn't look like it will move in our direction. It doesn't look strong enough either. That's the only thing that will shove off this high pressure dome that's stuck on top of us, a nice big hurricane. But South Texas eats hurricanes like they where nachos. They come tearing across the Gulf acting real bad, like they mean business, but then when they reach the Gulf Coastline they slam up against it like they've run into a brick wall. Very few make it inland. The Texas coast just man handles them. It takes a really macho one for San Antonio to even feel it. San Antonio is very far back away from the coast and is butted up against the Edwards Plateau. Hurricanes have to trans hundreds of miles of coastal plain called the Wild Horse Desert. The flat expansive ranch land has a thick covering of brush, sage, cactus, and Mesquite that scours a storm system like a brillo pad cuts through grease on an iron skillet.It slows them down, throws them off course, and busts them up. So we'll just have to wait for the seasonal shift. We'll wait for the planet to dip away from the trajectory of the sun. As St. Augustine said, "Patience is the companion of wisdom."

 Bare with me. I'm just getting the handle on this blog thing. If I can share anything about plants, trees, current or historic San Antonio, or Texas, or just general blab let me know. Everyone has an opinion on something.      

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Welcome to Bonsai Lady's Blog

Just getting started. We will back with more blogs later. Keep fallowing us for more on Bonsai and San Antonio!