Smell the blossoms in the Valley of Heart’s Delight

Smell the blossoms in the Valley of Heart’s Delight

“No brush can paint the picture

No pen describe the sight

That one can find in April

In the Valley of Heart’s Delight”

Poem: The Valley of Heart’s Delight by Clara Louise Lawrence

 

Postcard of automobile routes around Santa Clara Valley to view spring blossoms, circa 1940.Before there was Silicon Valley this part of the world was known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight. It used to be orchards everywhere. A few of these orchards have been kept, most a fractions of their original size, but still a pretty sight in bloom. Back in the 1940 there was even an automobile tour around Santa Clara to see the blossoms. In a postcard from that time the blooming times were stated as: Almonds: Jan 15 to Feb 15, Apricots: Feb 23rd to March 1, Prunes: March 15 to March 22, Cherries: March 22 to April 5

Cherry blossomsThe Heritage Museum in Sunnyvale has an Apricot orchard, but unfortunately they have already bloomed. Now it is time to see the cherry blossoms. A patch of the old Olson’s cherry orchard can be found at S. Mathilda Ave in Sunnyvale, near the tennis courts.

 

Do you know of any other orchards in the Valley of Heart’s Delight?

 

Spot some hummingbirds

Spot some hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds in the world. They get their name from the humming sound they create by beating their wings about 50 times per second. I have always been fascinated by them and they give me joy when I spot them.

 

Hummingbird at the Hummingbird trail at UC Santa Cruz ArboretumThe UC Santa Cruz Arboretum has a hummingbird trail where the plants in bloom are sure to attract the little birds. For $5 you can wander the grounds and learn about plants from all over the world. And if you like to see more flying objects, they also have a butterfly walk. Butterfly chart from the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

 

Where do you spot hummingbirds?

Claim Women’s History month

Claim Women’s History month

I hope you all celebrated the International Women’s Day. Just one day? you thought. No, women get a whole month! [insert sarcastic comments here]

Nevertheless I think it is important to celebrate the diverse and beautiful females all around us. I have compiled some options for you.

 

Raging GranniesA Woman’s Fight – exhibit of 100+ years history of The Women’s International League For Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and its Palo Alto Chapter, and a tribute to the Raging Grannies. Ends March 24th.

The California History Center at De Anza College

Tuesday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to noon, 1:00-4:00 p.m. and Friday by appointment.

Free

 

Sheroes! – A powerful poster exhibit focuses on female heroes.

Foothill College, Campus Center Dining Room (Room 2201)

Free

 

Women’s History Tour

March 25th, 10 a.m.

Free tour by the Mountain View Cemetery

5000 Piedmont Avenue

Oakland, CA 94611

(510) 658-2588

 

Edit-a-thon – edit, update and add articles on Wikipedia

Less than 10% of contributors of Wikipedia are females, here is when this changes.

 

March 11th, 10am – 4:30pm

Bowes Art & Architecture Library, Stanford University

 

March 13th, 11 am – 2 pm

MLK Library, San Jose, CA

 

March 21, 1pm – 6pm

UC Berkeley

 

Are you going to any Women’s History events in the Bay Area?

 

See Justice for All?

See Justice for All?

Justice for All? is an exhibit at the Euphrat Museum of Art, DeAnza College in Cupertino that will run until March 23rd, 2017.

The large ‘Liberty Weeps’ sculpture made from cardboard by artist Joseph DeLappe sets the tone. This show is about injustice, inclusion and exclusion. The theme was chosen before last year’s presidential election, but hence makes it more important than ever.

The art show is in conjunction with Silicon Valley Reads which encourages the reading of  “Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice” by Adam Benforado and  “Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison,” a memoir by Shaka Senghor. There are additional events around the area.

‘Pledge Alliance” by Judy ShintaniAnother piece of artwork that I found very moving was ‘Pledge Alliance” by Judy Shintani. She collected wood on a pilgrimage with her father to Tule Lake, a Japanese American incarceration camp, where her father was imprisoned as a teenager.

Do you have a favorite social justice art piece?

 

Opening hours:

Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.,

Other events:

Art & Empathy: Saturday, March 4, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m

Silicon Valley Reads events

 

Related links:

Metroactive: Art vs. Injustice at De Anza

Mercury News: De Anza’s Euphrat exhibit brings to light injustice through art

Mercury News: Pizarro: De Anza College art exhibit takes on social justice issues

 

Hail to the water

Hail to the water

Water in California is a major topic. Coming out of a drought that gave us wildfires and restrictions on water use, we now have had a lot of rain. This downpour was a huge test for the tallest dam in the U.S., Oroville, CA. My thoughts go out to the people affected by flooding in all of California.

Ceiling of the Sunol Water TempleThis is probably not the reason why there are two water temples in the area. But if you like the sound of running water and are looking for a peaceful place this might be your next stop.

Sunil Water TempleSo far I only visited the Sunol water temple. I was there by myself (except for some city workers next to the field who had their picnic lunch). The water temple was modeled after the ancient Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, by Willis Polk. Built in 1910, in its early years half of San Francisco’s water supply would pass through it. Today only a small amount is used for San Francisco’s water and sewer needs, the rest flows into the Alameda Creek.

Unfortunately the Sunol Water Temple is no longer accessible, closed until November 2018 for construction of the nearby Sunol Corporation Yard. This can only mean that we all have to explore the second water temple in the area: The Pulgas Water Temple 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, California.

Sunol Water Temple, 505 Paloma Way in Sunol, California

Where do you go to pay tribute to water?

Related Links:

The San Francisco public utilities commission

 

Sí se puede

Sí se puede

It’s been now about a month that the former meeting place of Cesar Chavez and his followers was honored as a Historic National Landmark. Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel in San Jose, before it became know as McDonnell Hall, was essential for the San Jose United Farm Workers movement during the 1950s and 1960s. It supported local migrant workers with basic services and a space for organisational meetings.

McDonnell Hall, San JoseCesar Chavez was introduced to Father McDonnell in 1952. McDonnell was a big influence on Chavez and started educating him on nonviolence and social justice teaching using the examples of Gandhi and St. Francis.

When McDonnell opened his parish in East San Jose it was still known as Sal Si Puedes [or “Get Out If You Can”]. In 1972 Chavez and Dolores Huerta came up with the revised phrase: Sí se puede, which Obama used in his campaign as ‘Yes, we can!”

The city of San Jose’s memorial walk for Cesar Chavez from 2009 lists the McDonnell Hall, but also Chavez Family Home, 53 Scharff Ave., San Joseincludes other places such as Chavez house and school.

http://www.sanjoseca.gov/documentcenter/view/6813

 

Who is your favourite non-violent leader?

 

Related links:

Mercury News:

San Jose: Cesar Chavez meeting house now national landmark

United Farm Workers:

Father McDonnell introduced a young Cesar Chavez to social justice teachings

 

Commemorate black history

Commemorate black history

February is black history month. A good way to educate yourself on an aspect of black history is the current exhibit of the Oakland Museum of California: All power to the people: Black Panthers at 50.

Unity is the solution poster from the Black Panthers at 50 exhibit at the Oakland Museum of CaliforniaUntil February 26th this will show original documents of the panthers, never seen photos, and the cultural component of the movement. 

It was surprising to me that the movement was composed by 2/3 of woman, who also held leadership positions.  In an early draft of their program it showed that they thought about a basic income, which is a much discussed topic all around the world right now.

When I visited on Super Bowl Sunday I hoped to be there pretty much by myself. Due to this highly popular exhibit and the fact that on every first Sunday of the month the entry is free (they ask for donations), I had to wait for about half an hour in line.

Besides the Black Panther exhibit I also saw: Out of the box: The rise of sneaker culture. I never thought that sneakers could be so interesting! The story of Carl Lewis’s shoes or a sole making Obama prints is very cool.

Sign to warn drivers that immigrants might cross, at the Oakland Museum of CaliforniaTo complete my visit I went to see the Gallery of California history exhibit. Very well organized time periods of Californian history. What struck me was the timeliness of their showing of the Mexican border and the last piece of the exhibit some food for thought about the Dakota Native Americans.

There are also the art and science exhibits that I did not have time to visit.

Opening hours:

Mon – Tue: closed, Wed – Thur: 11am – 5pm, Fri: 11am – 9pm, Sat – Sun: 10am – 6pm

How do you celebrate black history?

Learn from Executive Order history

Learn from Executive Order history

February 19th, also known as the Day of Remembrance, marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 which led to the forced incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens.

Shoes and bed of the living quarters in the Japanese American Museum in San JoseTo learn about the incarceration, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose put together an extensive exhibit, not only detailing the different camps, but also showing a rebuild of a living quarter of Tule Lake.

This museum presents the history of Japanese Americans from the gold rush to the resettlement. I was led through the exhibit by Abe, who was an excellent tour guide and very knowledgeable. For only $5 (seniors and students pay $3) this interesting museum about Japanese American history should be on everyone’s must-see-in-San-Jose list.

Will you remember?

Japanese American Museum of San Jose

535 N 5th St, San Jose, CA 95112
Opening hours are: Thursday through Sunday, 12 – 4 pm

February 19th, Day of Remembrance

5:30 p.m – 7:30 p.m
This year under the theme: Stand up to Hate
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin
640 North Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112

Ask what you can do

Ask what you can do

Last Saturday way more than 1.5 Million all around the world took to the streets to show unity against the new government that threatens so many of our American rights.

Whether this was your first march or, like one sign read: “I can’t believe I’m still marching for this!”, this marked a new beginning.

Now the question arises: What’s next?

Get involved

I think the first step to keep the momentum going is to organize a group of like-minded, get to know your neighbors and/or volunteer in your community. The greatest strength comes from compassion.organize

10 different actions for the next 100 days – form the official women’s march team
The indivisible guide
– lets you search by zip code for groups in your area

Next steps salon –  a web site to help on community building

100daysaction.net/ Bay Area artists response to Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office

Find your cause and volunteer

Volunteermatch.org

Idealst.org

Handson Network

 

Contact your representatives, get virtual active and vote

www.house.gov/representatives/find/ – find out who your representative is and contact them with concerns

Call the halls – a guide to citizen advocacy

There are a lot of campaigning communities, here are few:

Avaaz

Sum of us

Move on

Change.org

Stay angry. Care. Be compassionate.

Or like  Aziz Ansari put it in last weeks SNL Monologue: “[…]if you look at our country’s history, change doesn’t come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if Day 1 is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen.

 

What is your next step?

Get some old recipes

Get some old recipes

The new exhibit at the Los Altos History Museum is called: Seaweed, Salmon and Manzanita Cider. Until April 16, 2017 you can learn how the Native Americans prepared their food and valued their relationship with nature.

Recipe collection from the exhibit 'Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider' at the Los Alto History Museum, Los AltosRight at the beginning they offer some recipes to take home. I came back with inspirations on  Rose Hip or Elderberry Syrup and how to cook Salmon on Redwood Sticks.

Thanks to a wonderful volunteer, I was also shown around the J. Gilbert Smith House.

The upstairs is currently home of the Raggedy Ann and Andy exhibit. Raggedy Ann and Andy collection at the J. Gilbert Smith House, Los AltosThe whole home has been outfitted with things from the early 1900s. The cupboards are stuffed with the packaging of this time. The sleeping quarters are upstairs, with toys and cloth to imagine the life of the former inhabitants.

You can find  the permanent exhibit: Crown of the Peninsula back in the museum on the second floor. This shows the usage of the land from the Ohlone Indians, to the Mexicans, to the early American settlers and orchard growers. What makes this collection most appealing for little children is the First St. model railroad or the signs that invite ‘Try us on’ or ‘Open me’.

Admission is free (donations are appreciated)

Opening hours are: Thursday – Sunday noon to 4

What is your favorite time period in history?