Monday, July 28, 2008

A Visit To The Farm

Working at the University has brought me in contact with many people from other countries. Most often visitors come feeling unsure about their language barrier but over the years I have found that no matter the language we find ways to communicate and I always, always learn interesting things about their homeland. I think I make the farmer uncomfortable because I invite these families out to our home and of course he does not know them personally. But he is a friendly guy and I always know he will be a kind host, even if he frowns and moans when I inform him. Besides, I always feel that if I can be kind to our visitors I would hope that someone would be kind to my children or myself while traveling to foreign countries, sort of a pay it forward, if you will.

This past weekend the lovely Tang family from Beijing China spent the morning with us. I work with Mr. Tang, who has been here for a year. He brought his family this past December and they plan on being here for another two years.

Professor Tang wanted to show  his wife and daughter what blueberry plants looked like as well as our chickens. He told us of the many good benefits of blueberries.

He also was able to tell us some of the benefits of Chinese medicine. One thing we talked about was the great value of the Ecninacea (or cone flower) which I have growing around our swimming pool.  Purple flowers.....

And white flowers, but both Echinacea.

They were fascinated by the hens and we talked about what we feed them, how we raise the chicks and Catherine, their daughter got to collect eggs. His wife told me of the many benefits of chicken soup, many the same as in our culture. Did you know that you need to drink chicken soup after having a baby in China to rid your body of impurities and heal quicker?

The Tang's came bearing gifts. This is a beautiful traditional screen from China with the fours seasons painted on one side which represents the fourth step of rhythm in the nine steps to Feng Shui. On the back are the four flowers/plants important in China; the plum, chrysanthemum, orchid and bamboo which are popularly know as the "Four Gentlemen," for each is said to embody the noble qualities of the ideal Confucian gentleman-scholar. The second thing they brought was Chinese tea but of course it is in Chinese and I can't read it. I will have to ask him the type when I see him again.

They left bearing our gifts of blueberries, mid morning tea and dessert and ....

eggs.  Seems kind of  unbalanced doesn't it?

8 comments:

Twinville said...

Wow. I learned so much today in your post. I like to play Majhong on line and in the Dynasty version there are always the plum, chrysanthemum, orchid and bamboo on the tiles. And I've often wondered why. Now I know. Thank you to you and the beautiful Tang Family.

I really like your covered chicken run, too.

Oh, and by the way, I think you're awesome! Come visit my blog to pick up you award.

"JEANNELLE" said...

Unbalanced?? No. Lovely gifts on both sides. Your photos are beautiful, the Chinese screen looks exquisite. I wonder what parts of the cone flower they put to use? I used to have echinacea tablets around to help when a head cold hit.

noble pig said...

Wow, I bet they loved seeing all that stuff, how wonderful!

Jill said...

You really remember all the details of these stories, that is what always impresses me! I never feel like I can capture the full story when someone is talking about their own culture--I forget most of what they've said! So I love that you can always remember all these interesting facts!

The pictures are pretty, as always, but I really like the one of the eggs!

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

I think it is interesting to learn about other cultures too. How fun for all of you to have this time sharing cultures! That screen is cool.

odd chick said...

Your blueberry photograph was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, and your eggs - just so simple - your gifts were the sweetest of all and thanks for sharing them with all of us too

Tipper said...

You are so nice! And your pictures are great on this post.

Junebug said...

I wonder if they wish they were still in Beijing for the Olympics?