Here's hoping you are warm and dry but I expect if you are in the Northwest and just came in from collecting seeds to read this you are probably wet and cold. A musician friend of mine sings a song about Oregon with a phrase, "It's all this rain that keeps Oregon sane, so let rain some more!". Actually I try to look at the weather forecast and stay home and clean seed on the wettest days but when I
am out this time of year my rain gear is definitely with me. Even with it, twice this fall I have come home completely soaked.
The reason for this email is to let you know that next Friday, November 17th we will be driving south to southern California to dry, warm sunshine for 10 days or so. If you know you need to order some seed soon, look at the attached list and let me know what you need before I head off. And if you will be wanting Aesculus californica (California buckeye) or Juniperus californica (California juniper) let me know how much you will want as I plan to harvest seed of both species on the trip and probably some other species as well.
I do have a couple new species on my list since I last wrote. Yesterday I cleaned the big bag of Baccharis pilularis (coyote bush) I collected over at the coast a week ago. It is a tricky seed to clean but I ended up with a little over 2.5 clean ounces of the tiny seed. I intended to harvest the coyote bush seed but I was surprised to also find some plants of Vaccinium uliginosum (bog blueberry) with fruit on them. I didn't know the species grew at the coast. I only ended up .16 ounces of the minute seed but I also have .14 ounces of it from the Siskiyou Mountains from earlier in the year.
I do have a story to tell. Two weeks ago I drove over to central Oregon to harvest Rosa woodsii (Woods rose) as the long range weather forecast looked like it would be my last opportunity for good picking weather over there. It turned out to be a nice day but not until the fog lifted and the sun came over the ridge in the early morning. At 36° F, even though I was bundled up, I was getting quite chilled . Alas, the seed yield was terrible. When I got the rose hips cleaned I found that most of the seed was either empty or weevil eaten. I was thinking I would have at least 6.5 pounds of seed and only ended up with 2.25 pounds.
Disappointing, but I did come home with the attached photo. Stuck to the outside wall of a pit toilet was a bumper sticker that read, "Be nice... you're in Oregon." Flip was with me and we chuckled at the sign, remembering when my sister's son, Craig Nishimoto, spent part of the summer of 2003 working with us when we owned Sevenoaks Native Nursery. Craig's summer was filled with stories of Oregonians being extra nice to him.
The kindness started from the moment he flew into Portland in the middle of the night. A woman he didn't know asked where he was going and gave Craig a ride from the airport to the bus station. Every few weeks he would have another new story of people being nice. Once a couple gave him a gift of a nice wooden spoon when they saw him eating ice cream. The strangers told him ice cream tastes better eaten with a wooden spoon. Another time while Craig and I were off collecting Acer circinatum (vine maple) seed together we stopped in at a fruit stand to see if they had any late peaches. They didn't but they did have a bin of the largest apples either of us had ever seen. The apples were huge and Craig was holding one marveling at it. The sales person told Craig to take the apple as a gift. The summer was filled with stories of Oregonians being nice to Craig.
Fast forward to mid-September when I gave Craig a ride home so I could get to Escondido, CA to surprise one of my brothers for his 50th birthday. Craig and I hauled a load of 4" pots of Fragaria vesca (woodland strawberry) to Menzie's Native Nursery in Weed, CA. As we were driving along the freeway I noticed a wild prune tree loaded with fruit just before the off ramp to Mount Shasta City in northern California. My mom loves fresh fruit and since I would soon be seeing her, Craig and I parked along the off ramp and walked back to the prune tree and began filling a bucket with fruit. That came to a halt when a California Highway Patrol officer stopped to run us off. He walked with us to where my pick up was parked and asked if I had noticed the sign standing right in front of the truck. NO PARKING AT ANY TIME. Whoops! The officer was quite upset with us. He looked at my license plate and told us, "Get out of here. You aren't in Oregon any more!" Sorry Craig, no more people being nice. (Craig went on to get a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard. He now has owns a business called The Treeist.)
Happy Thanksgiving. Take care and be nice... (where ever you are),
P.S. Here is a link to the Oregon song. Carry Me Back