Mt. Lassen

Ready for a geology lesson? Geology is the study of the earth and how it was formed. Mt. Lassen is an active volcano which was born about 27,000 years ago. Scientists believe that with a lot of eruptions of lava, the volcano rose and reached its current height of over 10,000 feet in just a few years. The most recent eruption was just about 100 years ago starting in May 1914 and lasting until 1921. Because Mt Lassen is unique, it became a national park in 1916. Today visitors go hiking to Bumpass Hell, a stinky, noisy area in the park named after explorer Kendall Bumpass, who severely burned his leg after breaking through a thin crust of earth into a boiling pool. I saw the earth belch mud, steam that smelled of sulfur, and bubbling springs too hot to dip a paw into! Other parts of the park have beautiful forests and sparkling lakes which I enjoyed very much. Purrs, Gulliver



I was visiting Yosemite National Park and heard a legend from a local Native American tribe which explained how parts of Yosemite were created. Here is the story. Many, many years ago, a Native American couple lived in the desert around Mono Lake, California.  Learning about the beautiful Valley of Ahwahnee, they  decided to go there and make it their home. Along the way, the couple began to argue. The wife wanted to go back, the husband refused. They argued so loudly, the Creator grew angry and turned the two into stone. The husband became North Dome and the wife became Half Dome, two large rocks in what is now Yosemite National Park.  The wife felt bad about the quarrel and the rock she became began to cry, creating Mirror Lake. In the local Paiute language she is known as T’ssikakka or Tissayack.   Purrs, Gulliver


Fly like a butterfly

This week I met some long distance travelers in Pacific Grove, California.  The Monarch butterflies come over 800 miles south from British Columbia, Canada to spend the winter near the coast where it is warmer and there is no snow. The butterflies can travel between 50 and 100 miles a day. They float like a bird with the wind pushing them instead of using their wings all day long. They sleep in the leaves of trees, snuggled close together for warmth. After the winter is over, they will have babies who will fly up to Canada to where their parents  once livedButterflies in the middle of Canada fly all the way to Mexico to spend their winters there.   Purrs, Gulliver



Mooooo, Cow!

Did you know cattle can walk up a flight of stairs, but once there, they can’t walk back down? Their knees just don’t bend the right way, so they have to use a ramp. The first cattle in the Americas arrived with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. Cow is the name for adult female cattle. Male cattle are bulls. Young cattle are called calves. In addition to butter and cream, foods like ice cream, cheese, yogurt, whipped cream and cottage cheese can all made from milk. To make all that food, cows eat about 40 pounds of grass or hay and drink about a bathtub full of water every day. Not only that, they have four stomachs. They must like to eat as much as I do!

Purrs, Gulliver



Sacramento is California’s State Capitol. It became a city in 1850, following a gold rush which brought many people to the area looking for gold. Sacramento was built between two rivers – the Sacramento River and the American River.  In 1861 there were floods, and the Governor had to attend his inauguration in a row boat.  The flood waters were so bad, the legend says, that when he returned to his house, he had to enter it through the second floor window!  Here is a postcard of the State Capitol.  Purrs, Gulliver



Last summer I attended a wedding in Ukraine.  Many old traditions were used.  To become engaged, the man must take his parents and friends to the girl’s family home and have his father ask for the girl’s hand for him. If the answer is no, the poor man is given a pumpkin!  In Ukraine, a wedding is a three day celebration.  There is a civil ceremony where the marriage is registered. Then the couple goes to a church to be crowned. This ceremony is sung rather than spoken as the maid of honor and best man hold crowns over the couple’s heads.  Instead of cake, Ukrainians serve a special bread called Korovai.  It is made by the married women from both families as a symbol of two families becoming one.  We all sang “Mnohaya Lita” which means “many happy years” to the newlyweds.  Purrs, Gulliver


General Sherman Tree

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


Big Scissors, Little Cat

Gulliver is eagerly awaiting International Post Day, October 9, 2013.  He has been trying his paw at making his own postcard, cutting card stock in halves and quarters and gluing old map sections to the card stock.  To celebrate this day, the classrooms who have been receiving cards will be making their own postcards describing their community and what they like to do. Those cards are then put in a large envelope and mailed to another classroom.  The classrooms will receive an envelope in return, though not necessarily the same number of cards sent, depending on class sizes. At this time, there are no international classrooms set up to swap with. Maybe next year.

The cards may vary from hand drawn to photographs to stickers, map sections and collages of pictures from local magazines.   The most important part is not the picture, but what is written by the student. This is an exercise in creative thinking, evaluating his/her surroundings and communicating in complete sentences.  Cats are always aware of their surroundings, now it is time to take a page from their “book of life” and stretch your horizons.

As a side note, here is an excellent short history on the origin of the postcard:     gulliver with scissors





 Ms. Ownby’s classroom is rejoining the project, and Gulliver is hoping that the teacher from Las Vegas who inquired about the project will be joining. Lots of requests were individually given out to both teachers and parents over the summer, they may be bearing fruit over the next month.  Please note that the postcards included in the posts may or may not have already been sent out, and we cannot promise anyone a specific card. They are shown for variety and to spice up the posts.



  3040 niagra falls

Salinas Californian Article on Cards4Kids classroom exchange 2013

postcards sandi mccafferty

Schoolkids share glimpses of Salinas with peers in Texas

May 3, 2013 3:06 AM   |

Salinas Californian

 Written by  Roberto M. Robledo

To get involved: To donate postcards or participate in the student postcard exchange, contact Inez Don Carlos at

No tweets. No texts. No Facebook. No YouTube.

Just old-school messages in pen or pencil, on postcards.

In the digital age, it’s very possible many kids have never sent a postcard to anyone. After all, postcards are so 30 years ago.

But, last year, postcard collector Inez Don Carlos had an epiphany and decided to contribute to the literacy rate.

The Salinas resident and assistant manager of the California Welcome Center at 1213 N. Davis Road, distributed more than 100 postcards to classrooms in Salinas, Watsonville, Oregon and Texas “to help educate the children about the greater world around them.”

She included factoids about place names, history, geography and science.  Now she hopes to launch a more organized exchange of postcards between classrooms near and far. She wants school kids to share their views about their city and learn about someone else’s.

Dear Post Card pen pal,

… In Salinas the crops are amazing! They are good for salads, salsa and sandwiches. All of these contain tomatoes. They grow in Salinas.

Sincerely, Veronica.

Don Carlos has enlisted six local classrooms in Salinas and Watsonville to write postcards to their peers in Austin, Texas. Fourth-graders at New Republic School in the Santa Rita Union, Natividad School in Salinas City and Steinbeck School in Alisal Union school districts are participating.

Thanks to the Salinas Woman’s Club, which paid for the stamps, and Don Carlos’ postcard donations, the exchange is free.

Sandi McCafferty’s fourth-grade class at New Republic is taking part. McCafferty took photos of various still life and marine life and had her pupils make their own postcards to share.

“Reaching out to other classes through National Postcard Week (May 5-11) is a way to show off Salinas, connect our students with those from another area, find common ground and share their lives,” Don Carlos said.


We live in Salinas. Have you ever been to a Rodeo? I have. They’re fun. I also like it because you get to see cool animals like bulls, cows and horses. If you’ve ever been to a Rodeo I know you will like it.

Your friend,


Don Carlos said the effort is not a pen-pal project but more of an exchange of “This is where I live” from a child’s perspective. “Most of us are geographically challenged,” she said.

And getting fourth-graders away from texting and into writing in complete sentences can’t hurt.

By next week Don Carlos will have collected 250 postcards, bundled them and mailed them in bulk to Austin, Texas. There, pupils at Anderson Mill Elementary School will get them and see a snapshot of Salinas.

The exchange is sort of a pilot project. Don Carlos said she hopes more local schools find out about it and join in. She envisions a monthly exchange of postcards between schools. Her project, Sandy Martin’s Cards4Kids, is named in memory of a longtime Salinas elementary school teacher.  Don Carlos said she hopes that one day her project lives up to its mission to facilitate “the exchange of information, education, values and customs between children and classrooms throughout the world.”

Dear Postcard pal,

This is a picture of an oak tree and some lupines on a highway called 68 in Salinas. The hills over Salinas have lots of mountain lions, lizards and snakes. Salinas has lots of other things like farms and the Pacific Ocean.