Zen of Barometric Pressure

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Imperial Tea Court garden in Berkeley C

Just lost power for an hour in Sacramento/Natomas and spent time on my cell checking the weather. Got curious about what barometric pressure actually means. Barometers were used in the old days to forecast weather, long before there were satellites and computers and all kinds of sensors.

U.S. Weather Service says barometric pressure in my area is currently at 29.22 and falling. Lowest pressure ever recorded in Sacramento was 28.95 on Jan. 27, 1916. So, things are getting pretty funky low down around here.

Science.com says barometric pressure rarely increases or decreases more than 1 inch of mercury above or below the 30-inch mark unless weather conditions are extreme — or will be in a couple of days.

Weather experts say pressure readings are most useful for forecasting weather during the next 12 to 24 hours — as in telling us what’s about to happen. In general, a falling barometer indicates the approach of a storm. Forecasts for Northern California call for a big storm Sunday night into Monday, which barometers seem to confirm. Just hope it’s not too big.

If the mercury continues to fall, atmospheric scientists say the weather will worsen. When the mercury level is between 30.20 and 29.80 inches and dropping rapidly, (like it is now) expect precipitation. If the reading is less than 29.80 inches and still shooting down, expect, my words, to get walloped.

But not to worry, as of 2010, the lowest air pressure ever recorded for a hurricane was Gilbert in 1988. Its air pressure was just above 26 inches. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 hit a barometric pressure low of 27.92 over Atlantic City, New Jersey. Things could be worse and California water experts say we’ll likely be able to ride out the next series of storms without further damage to Oroville Dam

“Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm, even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.” —-The Buddha.

 

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Wise Up, Skip the Crap

Six months into retirement, contemplating the stretch of 2017 from the fresh vantage point of January – rainy and cold – it looks like carnage, a quiet village overrun by marauders, chairs toppled, sink filled with dirty dishes, windows stripped of coverings, a mound of wet plastic and cardboard in the courtyard, switch plates missing, electric outlets busted. A mess of biblical proportions.

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My post-holiday garage storage space

A friend suggested writing a story about my whole-house update, my remodeling project that has gone on for months, finally overtaking me a few days before Christmas. The idea was to share the before and after images, the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly.

On Dec. 20 at 7:38 p.m., I signed off on installation of the new carpeting. At that point I was just the tiniest bit over budget and a mere two weeks behind schedule. But I had managed to make six fruit cakes and buy and wrap Christmas gifts, if only I could find the boxes they were in in the garage. What I’d hoped would be a triumphant transformation has turned into – well, a lot more work.

My son and his wife arrived from Los Angeles on Dec. 23 to spend two weeks in a house freshly painted and carpeted, yes, but totally empty. Everything I still own was packed tightly into the garage. I got rid of about half the crap I’ve been hoarding for years, but even so it was a tight fit. It was then I realized putting my house back together was going to take a lot more time than I’d expected. I’ve spun a thick cocoon and it’s going to take a bit longer to kick my way out.

So I tried playing Grinch, wanting time to think about how I would put my house back together, winced at the sound of Christmas carols, squinted with disapproval at the neighbor’s festive outdoor lights, refused to buy a Christmas tree.

My sons, who are those annoying Whos from down in Whosville, said, “No! Christmas is coming no matter what,” and proceeded to drag tables, chairs and boxes, what is left of my junk, back into the house. They bought a table-top tree with oscillating fiber optic lights. I have never in my life owned a fake Christmas tree. My friends Carol and Tony also arrived with a couple of energetic teenagers to help with the household liberation. And then we built a fire, broke out the champagne and partied—for days.

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My Grinchy Christmas Tree

Writer Anne Lamott in a Dec. 30 Facebook essay referred to the yearly resolution to lose weight or make other big life changes and pointed out: “Horribly, but as usual, only kindness and grace–spiritual WD-40–can save us.” Here Lamott is referring to saving us from ourselves. In my case, it’s the quest for perfection, order, absolute control and other delusions I really need to let go of. “Grace” is my word for contemplation in 2017. Grace is the grease I’m looking for.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) comes into play in my makeover project. I’m about 80 percent done with my project and the last 20 percent will be the hardest part. I tried to finish my project before the holidays so I could sit around in my black velvet slacks and an ugly Christmas sweater – everything in place for a graceful and stylish celebration with friends and family—and accept compliments about what I was able to accomplish in the home improvement department. After all, I am on a first-name basis with half the staff at the Truxel Road Home Depot. But no.

img_4133My plan to wow folks with my ability as a general contractor and interior design expert, not to mention my multi-tasking skills, quickly turned to shit. As you can see, my hubris got ahead of me. The result was a letting go of my constipated expectations and instead enjoy two weeks of fun and a heart swollen with love.

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My favorite Christmas gift, a butterfly trinket box made by Fortuna CA artisan Lawrence Harvey. From my beloved sister-in-law Melanie. The silver coffee and tea service added a grace note in an otherwise absurd situation.

So, I offer you a sincere Happy New Year! I take comfort in the words of Thomas Merton from his essay Hagie Sophia (Ramparts magazine, March 1963) “There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister. Wisdom.”

In my case and at my age, it’s hard won wisdom. I wish you Grace and Peace in 2017.

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Son Mark and daughter-in-law Janie, who celebrated their first wedding anniversary on Christmas Day.

Pioneer Days in Sacramento

When Great Uncle George died, my Great Aunt Eva, a ponderous woman with a sweet, cinnamon roll personality, took the loss like a flying trapeze artist working without a catcher. The thud of her heart hitting the ground could be heard all the way from the ranch in Montana to my grandmother’s house in San Francisco. Something  would have to be done, my grandmother said, explaining that her oldest sister – 25 years older – could not stay on the ranch alone, a three day ride to town. Aunt Eva had no surviving children.

Of course this story is more complicated than the death of an in-law and his bereaved widow needing care. But, in short, Aunt Eva’s household was packed and shipped to a wheat and pear ranch the family arranged for her to buy near Clearlake in California. The ranch adjoined the one owned by her sister Emma and her husband, Art.

Then a wildfire swept across Eva’s new ranch. We lived there at the time, in the 1950s, while my father was serving in the U.S. Air Force in Korea. With no men to fight the fire, my mother saved the house, but everything else was lost—barns, sheds, fences, water system, some orchards. We survived the fire, my brother Richard and me, by climbing into the cement water cistern with Aunt Eva. Through a crack in the lid, we watched my mother, later joined by local ranchers, beat back the fire advancing through the grasses toward the house with wet pear-packing gunny sacks.

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Me and my beloved Great Aunt Eva on the ranch near Clearlake CA.

Aunt Eva sold what was left of the Clearlake Ranch and moved into my grandmother’s house in Noe Valley, every last steamer trunk and hat box went into the back bedroom where she lived as an invalid until she died in the 1960s. Eventually Aunt Eva’s things were handed down to me. She was accomplished at needlecraft, making lace, embroidery and astonishingly beautiful quilts. When Great Uncle George died there were many completed quilt tops awaiting backing.  The quilts were never finished.

I tell you this as a way to say goodbye, my friends, at least for a month or so. You see, I inherited those quilt tops and have been storing them under my bed for more than 40 dusty years. Yesterday my son helped me move the quilt boxes to my garage, where we will be sleeping tonight and for many nights to come.

Years, I’ve been packing and counting the years, across decades and millennia. I have lived in my Sacramento house 17 years. Finally, I have the time and money to tear it apart and paint the whole house – entrance to exit – and get new flooring. Every single thing must be out by the end of today. Yes, I have considered dynamite and matches.

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Packing, packing, still more to pack today.

Clearing out means those dusty quilt tops, broken lamps and bed frames, underwear drawers, my adult children’s kindergarten art and the curated collection of their baby teeth, the dusty blue hat with the big bow in the back – price tag still attached (what was I thinking?) – the lapel pin that missed being stowed in my jewelry box, Aunt Eva’s pear coring tool, the suet grinder and food mill for putting up applesauce in the summer kitchen, the photo slides and obsolete diskettes, flimsy particle board book cases, boxes of tear sheets from my days as a journalist, a half-full bottle of blackstrap molasses, stacks of business cards that stretch back to the beginning of my 40-year professional career, the ashes of my former husband, who died seven years ago, his remains still awaiting dignified disposition. The unexpectedly, this ————

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Found this photo of me at a costume fitting  in 1970 for my chorus role in Santa Rosa Community Theater’s revival of the musical “Little Mary Sunshine.” I was surprised to find this reminder of the long-forgotten, playful girl I once was.

Trappist monk and poet Thomas Merton said “as we grow in wisdom, we realize that everything belongs and everything can be received. We see that life and death are not opposites . . .  We don’t have to deny, dismiss, defy, or ignore reality anymore.” At the bottom of all reality is deep goodness, Merton said, calling it the “hidden wholeness.”

So, I’m shutting down, going dark for more than a month  – no electronic chit chat, no messaging, no phone, no Internet, no TV, no connection to the outside world. I will be sleeping with the past in a garage colder than a Montana winter and hoping to find a hidden wholeness, a spiritual reintegration, in the hot mess I’ve made out of my garage.

Back inside the house, there will be renovation going on: new paint, flooring, tile, appliances, light fixtures, window coverings, fences. A total upgrade to usher in a new life, a new creativity, a fresh approach to honoring the past and who I am becoming. This work isn’t easy. It’s physically and emotionally taxing. I’m not sure who I’ll be when I reach the other side. I hope you’ll be there waiting for me.

As forests decline, observers cite mismanagement

From state highways, foothill campgrounds and aerial surveys, it’s easy to see the catastrophic tree die-off in California forests. What isn’t as easily grasped is the scale of rapidly expanding tree mortality in the state’s 40 million acres of forestland — and what to do about it.

Rim Fire aftermath, Stanislaus National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service said in June 2016 that its survey showed more than 66 million trees, mostly pine species, have died in the southern Sierra Nevada alone, and more are dying. Forestry experts say the scale of the die-off is beyond anything ever observed. They attribute the tree mortality to four years of drought, bark beetle infestations, climate change and mismanagement.

“I’m afraid people are going to think the catastrophe we’re seeing in our forests today is just a natural cycle of drought and insect infestations, but there’s a lot more to this story,” Tuolumne County rancher Shaun Crook said. “What we have now is the culmination of 40 years of forest mismanagement that has led to these devastating conditions.”

Under story debris and dead trees, Stanislaus National Forest

Crook said if Sierra forests had been harvested in recent decades using sustainable-yield practices, they would not be as overgrown and would not be as vulnerable to drought, infestation and disease, which occur naturally.

Erin Huston, federal policy consultant for the California Farm Bureau Federation, said forests need to be actively managed for the multiple uses they were intended to serve.

“This includes active management at a pace and scale that keeps our forests resilient,” Huston said. “We’d like to see federal legislation that improves the climate for fuels reduction, for salvage logging and grazing after fires, and for forest watershed management.”

Farm Bureau and other organizations also support legislation to develop a wildfire emergency funding process that provides more reliable funding without harming land management and fire-reduction activities. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said unless Congress acts rapidly to address how the Forest Service pays for firefighting, the agency will not have the resources necessary to fight wildfires, address the tree die-off and restore forests.

Historically, what forest managers have done to protect forest stands against drought and beetle infestations is to reduce the number of large trees and thin the stands, said Bill Stewart, co-director of the Center for Forestry at the University of California, Berkeley.

Severe tree overstocking revealed during 360,000-acre Rim Fire in Stanislaus National Forest

He talks about maintaining “thrifty” forests that are leaner and cleaner, that use far less water than current, overstocked stands and, through natural and vigorous growth, store more carbon dioxide emissions, which improves air quality.

At the same time, he said, healthy Sierra forests can continue to provide improved grazing, recreation and business opportunities.

“Unfortunately, 30 to 40 years ago the public said, ‘Keep all the trees in the forest.’ But now we’re finding out there just isn’t enough water in California to keep all those trees alive,” Stewart said.

Crook noted that when timber was thinned in the past, homeowners and small timberland owners also had markets at nearby sawmills and biomass plants, where they could salvage some of the wood and recoup part of the removal costs.

“Now, there are no wood-processing facilities — or the few that remain are maxed out — again because of (forest) mismanagement,” he said. “The only way to get the processing infrastructure back is to provide a guaranteed supply of timber from federal lands, so it can be turned into useful consumer products.”

Although the southern Sierra has been hit the hardest by the current tree die-off, Brittany Covich of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy said the underlying conditions leading to the tree mortality exist throughout the Sierra.

“We rely on healthy Sierra forests to filter and store the water runoff that feeds the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project, which supply irrigation water for hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland,” Covich said. “The forests of the Sierra Nevada region play a critical role in maintaining a reliable water source for California, but current conditions in the Sierra place that role at risk.”

CFBF Director of Water Resources Danny Merkley said agencies need the resources to thin forests to maintain forest health, noting that only about 3 percent of new forest growth is being removed each year — leaving 97 percent of new growth to compound overstocked conditions.

On the longer term, he said, there’s a need for additional public awareness about what’s needed to maintain healthy, sustainable forests.

“Forests are a major part of our watersheds and directly impact our water supply,” Merkley said. “We need to rethink how we manage our forests, in all their complexity, for resilient forests now and into the future.”

Last fall, Gov. Brown declared a state of emergency because of the tree die-off and formed a multidisciplinary tree mortality task force to help with safe removal of dead and dying trees. The task force includes more than 80 local, state and federal agencies, as well as utilities and other stakeholders, including groups representing ranching and grazing interests.

The state has purchased 10 air-curtain burners — 20-foot long, metal blast-sheet containers that can incinerate up to eight trees an hour, with low air emissions. The purchase was part of a $5 million investment in equipment to address the tree-mortality epidemic.

The trees pose serious public safety risks beyond catastrophic wildfires. Vilsack said the Forest Service is reprioritizing $32 million in California to remove dead trees along roads, trails and recreation sites, where falling timber is likely to threaten people, powerlines and structures.

Forest Service scientists said they expect to see continued elevated levels of tree mortality through 2016 in dense forest stands with root diseases and high levels of bark beetle activity.

Additional surveys across California forestland will be conducted throughout the summer and fall, they said. New tree mortality numbers have not yet been released.

(Kate Campbell is a former assistant editor of Ag Alert, a publication of the California Farm Bureau Federation. She may be contacted at kcamp300@yahoo.com )

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

Fast Freight Running

Fast Freight Running

California Train Museum

After 40 years of working in the journalism trenches, several things strike me about the current state of reporting and commentary. It has become fractured, partisan and suspect as the information load has dramatically increased. As a young reporter, I once had a discussion with a UC Berkeley economist who viewed the media and mass communication as a transportation system — a way to deliver goods and services no different than mule teams, ships, trains, 18-wheelers and automobiles.

He said the media is a system for delivering information — a digital highway. Right now the system is in disarray, but systems rationalize over time, he said, and eventually find their best, highest use in the marketplace, or they cease to exist, think telegrams and the Pony Express. The eminent economist I spoke with said movies did not kill radio, TV did not kill movies, trucks did not kill railroads, railroads did not kill ships and mobile devices have not yet killed telephones.

Experts say the first contact point for engaging audiences, particularly millennials, is to “make informative content entertaining.” Otherwise known as adding chrome to the packaging. In old-school journalism the golden rule was “kids and dogs sell newspapers.” For TV it was “if it bleeds it leads.” Nothing like a 4-alarm fire to get an audience’s attention. For a while broadcast news leaned on T&A to tell stories and engage readers. Today it seems giggles & jiggles, along with the spice of irreverence sprinkled on top, is the audience hook.

Journalism has two duties to audience — educate and entertain. The pendulum has swung heavily to entertainment. Lack of imagination in reporting substantiate news has made the act of informing people dull, leading to audience disinterest. But there’s another a more fundamental problem with the “freight” being pushed today, and young people are picking up on it.

Legitimacy and honesty, which are essential to good journalism and are sorely lacking today. Audiences, even young ones, know it and turn away when they sense those missing ingredients. Consider how many times recently someone has said to a screen, “That fool doesn’t know what he or she is talking about”? It’s like buying a car and expecting it to have wheels. If the basics are missing, people don’t buy it. Product integrity is essential, not something extra.

Getting people to consume information requires quality content engagingly packaged. It’s about telling a valuable story in a logical and exciting manner and spreading it around. It has been said that information delivery systems — the Internet, mobile devices, cable —all together are like drinking from a fire hose. We’re swimming in a flood of information and nothing makes sense. We’re drowning.

Getting people to drink comfortably requires deft packaging and on-time delivery. In other words, good editing and efficient delivery, like FedEx to your doorstep. And, behind every good journalist is a great editor who understands the audience being targeted and how best to serve them with the information they need to keep the rig on the road.

It’s true, television news media and responsible journalism are not the same things. So, what’s happening in the media now is the process of rationalizing delivery systems. Hyper-local news outlets, blogs, on-line magazines, independent videos and podcasts break down the content loads and efficiently deliver editorial products on time to the right address. Some systems will work and strengthen over time, some will serve micro-audience segments, some will go away. The point is that people — the market for information — expect integrity while being educated and entertained through seamless, cost-effective delivery.

Gathering facts and telling stories continues to be essential to people, just as it was in ancient times. What’s changing is how news moves down the highway and is delivered. It’s interesting to watch it happen and be a part of it. The information highway systems will firm up, but journalists still need to load their best stuff on the pallets and send it fast freight to their target destinations. In today’s marketplace of ideas well-built mental merchandise is sorely needed and there are plenty of people who’ll help unload and distribute the goods, if information products that meet demand.


In addition to writing fiction and poetry, Kate Campbell is an environmental and political writer. She lives at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers and publishes the Word Garden blog at https://kcamp300.wordpress.com/ Her acclaimed novel Adrift in the Sound is available through online booksellers.

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Indelible Dahlias

Picture Perfect

I got my first “grown-up” camera in 1980 after graduating from journalism school at San Francisco State. Back in the day, cub reporters needed a camera and a car to get a foot in the door at a newspaper. I had a yellow Volkswagen bug, but no camera. To make matters worse, my training focused on writing and I’d never held anything more complicated in my hand than an old Instamatic.

To remedy this gap in my professional training, I took my brand new Konica T4 to Golden Gate Park to learn my way around the equipment and take practice shots, using Kodachrome film in 24-shot rolls. At the time digital was still connected to fingers and complicated math problems, not cameras. Not like today’s sophisticated point-and-shoot cameras.

San Francisco dahlia expert Erik Juul in the dell outside the Conservatory of Flowers. Photo by Gerda Juul

My first stop on my test run was the Dahlia Dell at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. My beginner’s shots weren’t always in focus or properly lighted, but the experience of looking deeply into the color and bloom structure of dahlias created a love for this wildly beautiful flower and I was hooked.

Native to Mexico and Central America, the flower has been cultivated and bred for ever more showy flowers for more than 200 years in Europe and North America. The flowering ornamental is named for Andreas Dahl, Swedish scientist and environmentalist. They generally flower from May to November, with the heaviest bloom in late summer into fall.


While history and science are important, I was reminded of my emotional attachment to dahlias the other day when my friend Kasey Kronquist, head of the California Cut Flower Commission, posted some photos from an amazing Field to Vase Dinner at the farm of world-renowned celebrity event designer — turned American flower farmer — David Beahm.

David Beahm, courtesy David Beahm

He owns Thistle Dew Farm in Quakertown Pennsylvania and a major events company in New York City. Think parties for the Oscars, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Christian Dior, McDonald’s and Louis Vuitton, to name a few. He does weddings and social events all over the world. As to the price tag for these parties, one can only guess.

Beyond high society event planners turned farmers, these dinners are held at premier flower farms around the country. They feature gourmet food, fine wines and elegant settings. Of course, there are flowers. I mean lots and lots of flowers at the peak of perfection.

The next event will be Oct. 16 at Cornerstone in Sonoma California. Guests will be among the first to experience the new home of Sunset Magazine’s test garden at Cornerstone. Guests will be greeted by Sunset garden editor Johanna Silver, who will host the sneak peak of the test gardens. Usually a sellout, tickets can be purchased online athttp://www.americangrownflowers.org/fieldtovase/

Field to Vase dinners are sponsored by the American Grown Flower organization to promote the nation’s floral industry. The events are more romantic than chick flicks, more fun than pulling weeds and more delicious than a mere 5-stars.

And then, when you toss in specialty flower farmers like Michael Genovese, owner of Summer Dreams Farm Oxford, Michigan, well, I’m done here. I’m just telling you, when I started out with a camera and some vague career dreams, there weren’t any farmers like Michael hanging out at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

David Beahm, courtesy Summer Dreams Farm

Michael Genovese and friend on the farm. Courtesy Summer Drams Farm

But, if you’re ready to be seduced, as I was — by the beauty of dahlias — I mean, here’s a list of display gardens throughout the U.S. and Canada: http://www.dahlias.net/OGtopbox/opengarden.htm

If you want to grow dahlias, here’s a link to the American Dahlia Society:http://www.dahlia.org/ They have chapters around the U.S. where experts and enthusiasts gather to teach and trade the latest dahlia hybrids.

And, it’s not too late to catch the last of the dahlia bloom in Golden Gate Park, but hurry. Bye the way, dahlias have been the City of San Francisco’s official flower since 1926. More info on visiting the park is online athttps://goldengatepark.com/dahlia-dell-garden-in-golden-gate-park.html

Can’t get enough dahlias? Here’s a link to free dahlia flower computer wallpaper: http://collectwall.com/topwallpaper/dahlia-flower-hd-wallpaper.html


For more art, gardens, food and out and about in California, visit the Word Garden. Native Californian Kate Campbell is a novelist, poet and award-winning investigative reporter.

Dahlias: Picture Perfect

I got my first “grown-up” camera in 1980 after graduating from journalism school at San Francisco State. Back in the day, cub reporters needed a camera and a car to get a foot in the door at a newspaper. I had a yellow Volkswagen bug, but no camera. To make matters worse, my training focused on writing and I’d never held anything more complicated in my hand than an old Instamatic.

To remedy this gap in my professional training, I took my brand new Konica T4 to Golden Gate Park to learn my way around the equipment and take practice shots, using Kodachrome film in 24-shot rolls. At the time digital was still connected to fingers and complicated math problems, not cameras. Not like today’s sophisticated point-and-shoot cameras.

juul-in-dahlia-dell-large

San Francisco dahlia expert Erik Juul in the dell outside the Conservatory of Flowers.       Photo by Gerda Juul

My first stop on my test run was the Dahlia Dell at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. My beginner’s shots weren’t always in focus or properly lighted, but the experience of looking deeply into the color and bloom structure of dahlias created a love for this wildly beautiful flower and I was hooked.

Native to Mexico and Central America, the flower has been cultivated and bred for ever more showy flowers for more than 200 years in Europe and North America. The flowering ornamental is named for Andreas Dahl, Swedish scientist and environmentalist. They generally flower from May to November, with the heaviest bloom in late summer into fall.

pink-dahlia-wallpaper-3929-4149-hd-wallpapers

While history and science are important, I was reminded of my emotional attachment to dahlias the other day when my friend Kasey Kronquist, head of the California Cut Flower Commission, posted some photos from an amazing Field to Vase Dinner at the farm of world-renowned celebrity event designer—turned American flower farmer—David Beahm.

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David Beahm

He owns Thistle Dew Farm in Quakertown Pennsylvania and a major events company in New York City. Think parties for the Oscars, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Christian Dior, McDonald’s and Louis Vuitton, to name a few. He does weddings and social events all over the world. As to the price tag for these parties, one can only guess.

Beyond high society event planners turned farmers, these dinners are held at premier flower farms around the country. They feature gourmet food, fine wines and elegant settings. Of course, there are flowers.  I mean lots and lots of flowers at the peak of perfection.

The next event will be Oct. 16 at Cornerstone in Sonoma California. Guests will be among the first to experience the new home of Sunset Magazine’s test garden at Cornerstone. Guests will be greeted by Sunset garden editor Johanna Silver, who will host the sneak peak of the test gardens. Usually a sellout, tickets can be purchased online at http://www.americangrownflowers.org/fieldtovase/

Field to Vase dinners are sponsored by the American Grown Flower organization to promote the nation’s floral industry. The events are more romantic than chick flicks, more fun than pulling weeds and more delicious than a mere 5-stars.

And then, when you toss in specialty flower farmers like Michael Genovese, owner of Summer Dreams Farm Oxford, Michigan, well, I’m done here.  I’m just telling you, when I started out with a camera and some vague career dreams, there weren’t any farmers like Michael hanging out at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

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Michael Genovese, owner of Summer Dreams Farm, Oxford, Michigan

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Michael Genovese and friend on the farm.

But, if you’re ready to be seduced, as I was — by the beauty of dahlias — I mean, here’s a list of display gardens throughout the U.S. and Canada:  http://www.dahlias.net/OGtopbox/opengarden.htm

If you want to grow dahlias, here’s a link to the American Dahlia Society: http://www.dahlia.org/ They have chapters around the U.S. where experts and enthusiasts gather to teach and trade the latest dahlia hybrids.

And, it’s not too late to catch the last of the dahlia bloom in Golden Gate Park, but hurry. Bye the way, dahlias have been the City of San Francisco’s official flower since 1926. More info on visiting the park is online at https://goldengatepark.com/dahlia-dell-garden-in-golden-gate-park.html

Can’t get enough dahlias? Here’s a link to free dahlia flower computer wallpaper: http://collectwall.com/topwallpaper/dahlia-flower-hd-wallpaper.html

dahlia-flower-hd-wallpaper