The General Sherman Tree is a giant sequoia. Sequoias only reproduce through seed, and this particular tree started growing 2,000 years ago in what is now the Kings Canyon National Park. The General Sherman tree is among the tallest, widest and longest-lived of all trees on the planet. The General Sherman tree is still growing and according to the California State Park’s website, “has added enough wood each year to construct a five or six room house. “ Purrs, Gulliver
“Mail in a Pail”? Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office. Michigan has many huge rivers and lakes which are used by big ships called freighters to transport things. These ships cannot stop in the middle of a river so people can get off and mail a letter or go shopping. So in 1874 J.W. Westcott started a US mail delivery service by rowing a boat out to the freighter, who would toss a bucket or pail over the side for its mail. The current boat, J.W. Westcott II even has its own zip code – 48222. In addition to the mail, deliveries have included books, candy and even the occasional pizza!
Mmmm, I love all the fruit I found on Kauai. The oldest island on the Hawaiian Islands grows guava, mango, banana, papaya, avacado, starfruit, kava and pineapple. Pretty amazing for a volcano that erupted with fire and hot rocks six million years ago! The “Garden Isle” has a tropical rain forest covering much of the land, and it gets more rain than any of the other “Sandwich Islands” which is an old name for Hawaii. I normally don’t like being in water, so I skipped the snorkeling and surfing and enjoyed stretching out on the sandy beaches for a nap every day. I also went hiking in the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is a large canyon, approximately 10 miles long and 3000 feet deep. I certainly got my exercise there! Purrs, Gulliver.
It’s been a rainy week; here are some expressions for rain from around the world. In Danish, it rains “shoemaker boys”, In Wales, it rains old women and sticks, but across the border in England, it rains cats and dogs… or even stair-rods. In Poland it rains frogs. In Germany it rains twine (string). They also say “it’s raining puppies”. In Russia, the saying is it’s “raining from a bucket” while in Norway, it rains male cats, or just cats. In Mandarin Chinese, the expression is raining fur/hair. The Netherland rains are called pipestems. They also say “het is hondenweer” or “it’s dogsweather”! Purrs, Gulliver
I love visiting Italy. Pasta, pizza, pianos and violins were all created by Italians, and the first operas (stories set to music) were written in Italy. The name Italy comes from the word italia, meaning “calf land,” perhaps because the bull was a symbol of the Southern Italian tribes. Italy is slightly larger than Arizona. It is shaped like a high heel boot kicking a rock or piece of dirt. Nearly 80% of Italy is either mountainous or hilly. There are many famous explores who were Italian, including Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, John Cabot, and Amerigo Vespucci – his name was adapted to America. Maybe someday I will discover a new land and have it named Gully! Purrs, Gulliver
Early American settlers called bison “bufello” due to the similar look between the two animals, and the name “buffalo” stuck for the American kind. But it’s wrong. The American bison lives only in North America, while the two kinds of real buffalo live in Africa and Asia. Scientists think that bison crossed over a land bridge that once connected Asia and North America over a space of many many years. Through the centuries buffalo slowly moved southward, eventually reaching Mexico and east to the Atlantic Coast. The largest herds settled on the plains and prairies of Central Unites States and Canada. Bison were a symbol of abundance and a sacred life for the Native Americans, with many stories and legends told about them. Purrs, Gulliver
I spent some time camping at several of our national parks this past summer. Arches National Park is in eastern Utah. I did a lot of hiking and saw many of the 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to sky-high peaks and giant balanced rocks. One evening, a ranger talked about the kinds of wildlife that live in the parks. Desert bighorn sheep and mule deer can be seen often, but mountain lions come out at night. Kangaroo rats, lizards, spadefoot toads and many types of birds also live in the park. Take pictures when it is safe, but don’t bother the wildlife, the ranger said. Purrs, Gulliver
Do you like to read? I do, so I plan to find a Spanish sweetheart in Barcelona next April and celebrate Saint Jordi’s day with her. Like Valentine’s Day it is a romantic holiday. On April 23rd the man gives a rose to a woman as sign of love and in return, the woman gives a book as a sign for eternal love. Thousands of stands of roses and bookstalls are set up for the celebration. Around 4 million roses and 800,000 books are purchased on this day for lovers to declare their love. An interesting fact: The City of Love (Paris, France) is home to the Eiffel Tower, but the original location was supposed to be Barcelona! Barcelona is over 2,000 years old and has a lot of history to explore. I also enjoyed sunbathing on the Mediterranean coast during my trip! Purrs, Gulliver
“Bean Town” is just one of Boston’s nicknames. The name was used by sailors and traders because in colonial days beans cooked in molasses were a popular dish. There is so much history here because Boston was a major city and port even before the American Revolution. Harvard University was started in 1635. The Boston Tea Party was a revolt of citizens objecting to high taxes on tea, so they dumped the imported tea into the bay. Paul Revere was one of several people who raised the alarm that British troops were coming at the beginning of the American Revolution. It is a great city to walk around in, and I sailed in a boat under the Boston University Bridge, one of the only places in the world where a boat can sail under a train going under a car that is driving under a plane! Purrs, Gulliver
Cats are happy to have one coat of fur – no worries about matching accessories, socks or shoes. I love to look at people’s fashions though, and learn where they came from. The áo dài (long garment) is a Vietnamese national costume. It is a tight-fitting silk tunic worn over trousers. It looks simple, but the dress must be individually fitted and usually requires several weeks for a tailor to complete. An ao dai costs about $200 in the United States and about $40 in Vietnam. The áo dài is worn at weddings, for celebrating the New Year and for other formal events. A plain white áo dài is a common high school uniform, and may also be the uniform of flight attendants, receptionists, bank staff, restaurant staff, and hotel workers in Vietnam. Purrs, Gulliver