National Geographic : 1939 Feb
CALIFORNIA'S COASTAL REDWOOD REALM The builder had a sense of drama, for it was not until the dedication services, one Sunday in 1873, that he announced to the congregation that their commodious church was built entirely from a single redwood. After it was completed there was enough lumber left over to erect a five-room house near by. WHEN FORD TOLD ABOUT HIS TRACTOR At Santa Rosa I chatted long with the blind newspaper man, now State senator, who scooped the world with the story of Henry Ford's first low-priced tractor being ready to market. For here Luther Burbank "invented" his plants, here he lies buried beneath a cedar of Lebanon, and here came the immortal cronies, Edison and Ford, for a visit with their friend. As a compliment to Mr. Burbank's home town, Mr. Ford that day casually related to the reporter-those were the days before public relations' counsel with long mimeo graphed statements-the news that lifted the face of American agriculture. Later an editor there showed me a clock for which an early settler traded several hundred acres of rich farm land in the early forties when the land flowed with milk and meat, fruits and wine, but me chanical devices were as rare as they are today in the heart of China. Along the Redwood Highway, north and south of Santa Rosa, a predatory traveler might collect a table d'h6te dinner-fruit tramps have landed in police stations for trying it. MAKINGS OF A TABLE D'HOTE DINNER We sped past a fruit-cup panorama of apple, peach, plum trees, and date palms, into a veritable salad bowl of potatoes, tomatoes, green vegetables, and vivid yel low mustard, while sheep and dairy cows roamed ranches that roll away across the hills in wavy patterns and changing colors. Big fields disclosed row after row of small spheres that looked like discolored golf balls. They were onions, set out on top of the ground, later to be covered with the good earth. Cloverdale announces its citrus groves, away up here north of San Fran cisco, with a mammoth painted orange as big as Petaluma's roadside hen. The imaginary meal may be accom panied by your choice of 22 wines made from the 16 kinds of grapes that grow in one vast vineyard-nearly 2,000 acres of grapes-of the Italian Swiss Colony at Asti. There we paused to see the "Wine Bar rel Church," a chapel with its roof shaped like the round containers that store raw wine which awaits bottling, and chatted with a veteran and vigorous winemaker from Italy's sunny vineyards. "It's the red fingernails of American girls, and their stiff backs, that's wrong with this country," he told us. "They wear girdles, and stand up straight, until they can't bend their backs to work in the fields any more; and now they paint on nail polish so they can't wash dishes." Around Sebastopol the Gravenstein is the major variety of nearly 15,000 acres of apple orchards. They ship out the apples, upwards of 2,000 carloads a season, and 40,000 tons more after drying. Fruit here also is raw material for industries such as making cider, vinegar, apple brandy, can ning, and especially for apple pectin. By the Aladdin's lamp of modern chem istry this "water jelly" may be contained in your toothpaste, ice cream, hand lotion, fruit sundae, fudge candy, and even in the cotton evening dress of your dancing part ner, for it is used to stiffen cloth before burning off the fiber. BUDDHIST TEMPLE AMID ORCHARDS After hours among whirring "apple ma chinery," it was restful to sit in a richly carved Buddhist temple, a "knockdown" shipment from Tokyo to the Chicago World's Fair, and thence reshipped to Se bastopol and assembled again to remain as a permanent good-will gift in a grove of Japanese cherry trees. It is easier now to drive westward through Guerneville to the fishing village of Jenner, where the Russian River sprawls out to meet the sea; one stretch of road which turned 47 times in three miles is being straightened. A heavy truck crunched along, piled high with bicycles for summer camps at places where only a few years ago hunters and fishermen engaged guides. At Jenner-by-the-Sea we watched scores of men, women, and children scooping up surf fish with handnets. The talk is all about striped bass, salmon, and steelheads.* "What do you year-round residents live on?" I asked an old-timer. * See "Treasures of the Pacific," by Leonard P. Schultz, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, Octo ber, 1938, and page 185, this issue.