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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

"I'm a bonsaiist, Jim, not a photographer!"

     I have a confession to make: I am not a shutterbug.

My wife can be counted on to get plenty of pictures almost anywhere she goes. I, on the other hand, often have to be reminded to take a camera at all! And when I do take one, I don't always remember to use it. That last is especially true when I go not to see something (as at a bonsai display) but to participate (as at a picnic.)

Which explains why I didn't remember to get many pictures at the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club's annual picnic-and-auction on July 15th. And that is rather a shame, because the picnic was as good as ever, and the auction had more to offer, I think, than it ever had before.

Jerry and Darlene Kittle hosted us, to everyone's appreciation and as they always do. Jerry is also the chef responsible for preparing the meat, and the pork ribs were falling-off-the-bone tender. The rest of the food was carry-in, and most of it measured up, I'd say, to the standard set by the ribs. (Some things about this part of Indiana are not widely known, and the general level of cooking skill is one of them.)

But, photographically-challenged or not, I did get a few pictures.

Eating and talking under the sun shelters. You can see a few of the silent auction offerings to the right. 
Always get a banker as your club treasurer if you can. Ed Hake has been handling the club's money competently and
faithfully for many years. To his own left is Cody Harris, club VP and volunteer live auctioneer.
Yes, all those plants on the tables are for sale in the silent auction. And there's a fixed-price table for the smallest items,
as well as a dozen or so trees on the live-auction table. I don't think we've ever had so many before.
Ed answers a question for Deanna as Maria, Shay and David consider all the possibilities on the silent-auction tables.
We gave up live auctions several years ago: none of us had auctioneering experience, and the result was dragged-out proceedings, sometimes excruciatingly slow. (I'm not pointing fingers at anyone else; I'm a terrible auctioneer myself.) Finally we went to silent auctions, which have worked well.

But this year Cody Harris, club VP, wanted to try a live auction, for just a limited number of items. Cody had been inspired by Jim Doyle's performance a week before as auctioneer at the MABA 2017 convention. Jim not only knows how to keep an auction moving right along, he also has a knack for making an auction fun. (Which, I admit, I would once have thought to be a contradiction in terms.) I suspect Cody hoped to make our Ft. Wayne auction fun as well; if so, I think he succeeded. No dragged-out bidding, and people enjoyed it. Jim would be proud to have him for an understudy, I think.

And this is where I really regret my tendency to forget to take pictures, because I have none of Cody as auctioneer! I apologize for that. But you don't have to take just my word for it that he did a good job - ask anyone else who was there.

I bought one item myself: a small Siberian elm stump, Ulmus pumila, that Ed Hake collected from his own yard. (Ed's mother tree is extremely prolific.) It looks like it will be challenging, and will probably teach me some things. I'm aiming for an eventual upright shohin, featuring a heavy and probably hollowed trunk. A recent blog post by Juan Antonio Pérez, of Cádiz, Spain, inspired my thinking (and inspired the purchase). Gracias, Juan Antonio! Que mi árbol queda tan formidable como el tuyo! (May my tree be as impressive as yours.)

(If you know Spanish, you can read his blog post here. If not, I hope to translate it in the not-too-distant future and post the translation on my blog, with his permission.)

My silent-auction acquisition: Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila, perhaps 8 years old.
And next year - more pictures!

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