Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Pink Flamingos and Saving San Francisco Bay

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a walking, hiking, running, biking trail that circles the Bay and its estuaries.

There was a report in the paper today that a genuine pink flamingo had been spotted in the estuaries of San Francisco Bay, just adjacent to the Sunnyvale Water Quality Control Plant. Since it is a Lesser Flamingo, native to Africa, and it is solo, locals suspect it is an escapee from someone's estate. All the local zoos have counted flamingo heads and have found no pink birds absent without leave.

Didn't see the elusive flamingo, but I was reminded yet again about the beauties of this incredible region. It is also remarkable to me how California has had the foresight to preserve and in some cases restore some of the most important features here for future generations to enjoy.

Events and Signings for "California Apricots": Updated Wednesday, August 14!

I signed books at Andy's Orchard July 6, where his apricot tasting and tour attracted  more than 400 people.

We have completed more than a twenty events for CALIFORNIA APRICOTS, and we still have at almost twenty more on tap. We haven't even started bookings for the holiday season yet! I will keep this events list active on my blog, so please check it for any changes and updates.

Click the  button below to find the rest of the list through November!

Wednesday, August 14: 7:30 p.m. Capitola Book CafĂ©: author presentation and book signing with special "apricot menu" at the Cafe. 1475 41st Avenue,  Capitola, CA. 95010. 831-462-4415. I am looking forward to this one because it means a trip to the beach!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stanford Bookstore Evokes Valley Memories

Stanford's Hoover Tower, constructed in 1941.

All roads lead to Stanford University, as least they seem to here in the Santa Clara Valley. I just confirmed an event there for my book California Apricots, an event that came from Stanford to me, not the other way around. Their bookstore manager had heard in the industry that the book was "doing very well" and called the History Press to ask me to come and speak.

This is an honor. Stanford is a powerhouse in our region and is one of the reasons Silicon Valley became Silicon Valley. It is a fabulous school; a beautiful campus; and its history and growth parallel California's. It was the favored school for many young people from orchard families in our region including Yvonne Olson Jacobson, of the CJ Olson family of Sunnyvale, who authored Passing Farms, Enduring Values (California History Center, 1984) the definitive book about the orchards in our region. It was edited by another Stanford great, Los Altos Hills resident, Wallace Stegner.

Monday, July 8, 2013

(Just Updated!!) Do You Know the Way to Hyderabad? Events List for "California Apricots"

At Andy's Orchard this weekend, the apricot tasting and orchard tour attracted four hundred people.

I honestly did not know it would get this big. I wrote California Apricots (History Press 2013) from my heart, using a fairly exotic fruit as the thread with which to weave the story of my valley.  I hoped a few folks would enjoy it. But today, with my book in its second printing, at my fourth event in three days, I signed books at the high tech company XiLinx, and one of them was to their Community Connection team in Hyderabad. That's an ancient city in India, one of the many places I did not expect my book to appear!

We've had eleven events so far and there are at least fourteeen more to go! Here's an updated list (stateside):

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream Waters

Fort Chapman celebrates.

From encounters with con men selling cars, to cancelled health insurance, to crooks in the business world, to well-meaning people who simply let one down, I've been reminded this week that life is not always a cabaret, old chum.

But in the midst of it all, I find moments of almost heartbreaking beauty. Last night, as I sat on my patio in the cool of the evening, pondering the vagaries of life in the modern world, a hummingbird cruised the nearby agapanthus and then hovered in mid-air, just beyond my reach, apparently trying to decide if my rose-and-green sundress had any potential for sweetness. You have to store up moments like that.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Going Slowly (Food-Wise) in Northern California

Sunset Magazine, June 2013, features Andy Mariani of Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill, California.

California has been cultivating a trend, these last few years, that you will one day notice at a market near you--if it hasn't popped up in your neighborhood already. The state that is as large as a nation, sits on the shifting tectonic plates of the Pacific Rim, and is known for bringing the world the Internet, surf music, freeways, solar power, Jeans, and drive-thrus, is on the cusp again. 
This time it has discovered Slow Food. Slow Food is the opposite of Fast Food. This is considered a discovery in California.

Monday, July 1, 2013

How the Colonel Got His Groove

This is a copy of a piece I just produced for another blog called "Wideawake Engineers." I thought my general readers might enjoy it, especially as a tribute to Independence Day. Men of my father's generation made this week possible. Thank you all for your service.

William Ashley Chapman on Ascension Island in 1988.

I am working on an article about my father's unit on Ascension Island during World War II and I realize the one thing I haven't written much about here is that he returned to the island in 1988. He wanted to go back in 1982--for the fortieth anniversary of the completion of Wideawake Field--and started pestering anyone and everyone he could. He had to do that, because there were no civilian flights to Ascension in the 1980s.

He was a retired officer, a "full bird Colonel" as they say in the Army, so he could get people in the military to take his calls. But after a short chat any enlisted clerk could tell this old guy didn't have the one thing needed to get him there, i.e. pull. Ascension Island wasn't for tourists. It was a priority base. I think a flight there is unlikely. Sir.