Musings in Chinese on gardening

Snow Pea Flower
Pink Snow Pea Flower

Well, I don’t exactly have zucchinis coming out of my ears, but this year I took care to spray the plants with a 1:10 hydrogen peroxide solution at the first appearance of powdery mildew, and we have enough zucchinis to enjoy and share with our 100-year-old neighbor.

我喜欢园艺, 尤其是种蔬菜.
Wǒ xǐhuān yuányì, yóuqí shì zhòng shūcài.
I enjoy gardening, especially growing vegetables.

看着幼小的植物逐渐长大, 心中无比高兴。
Kànzhe yòuxiǎo de zhíwù zhújiàn zhǎng dà, xīnzhōng wúbǐ gāoxìng.
It gives me immense pleasure to watch the young plants grow up gradually.

能为家人提供新鲜的蔬菜, 令我引以为豪.
Néng wéi jiārén tígōng xīnxiān de shūcài, lìng wǒ yǐn yǐ wéi háo.
It makes me proud to be able to provide my family with fresh vegetables.

此外, 园艺还给了我许多人生道理的启示.
Cǐwài, yuányì hái gěi le wǒ xǔduō rénshēng dàolǐ de qǐshì.
Besides, gardening has also given me many revelations about life.

俗话说: “春耕,夏耘,秋收,冬藏.”
Súhuà shuō: “Chūn gēng, xià yún, qiū shōu, dōng cáng.”
As the adage goes, “Plough in spring, weed in summer, harvest in autumn, store in winter.”

种适合在您的地区生长植物, 而不是您梦想可以种植的植物.
Zhòng shìhé zài nín de dìqū shēngzhǎng de zhíwù, ér bùshì nín mèngxiǎng kěyǐ zhòngzhí de zhíwù.
Plant what will grow in your region, not what you dream would grow.

我们做事不也要看天时, 地利, 人和吗?
Wǒmen zuòshì bù yě yào kàn tiānshí, dìlì, rén hé ma?
When we do a project, don’t we also need to consider the right timing, the right place, and the right team?

一颗小种子可以长成一棵大树。
Yī kē xiǎo zhǒngzǐ kěyǐ zhǎng chéngyī kē dà shù.
A tiny seed could grow into a large tree.

我认为每个人也都有很大的潜力。
Wǒ rènwéi měi gèrén yě dōu yǒu hěn dà de qiánlì.
I think there is also great potential in each person.

植物需要肥料, 就像人体需要营养一样。
Zhíwù xūyào féiliào, jiù xiàng réntǐ xūyào yíngyǎng yīyàng.
Plants need fertilizers just like a human body needs nourishment.

人们也需要教育和修养来滋养他们的心灵。
Rénmen yě xūyào jiàoyù hé xiūyǎng lái zīyǎng tāmen de xīnlíng.
People also need education and cultivation to nourish their minds.

种瓜得瓜, 种豆得豆.
Zhòngguādéguā, zhòngdòudédòu.
You get what you sow.

但是,我们必须付出努力并且要有耐心。
Dànshì, wǒmen bìxū fùchū nǔlì bìng qiě yào yǒu nàixīn.
However, we must put in the effort and have patience.

当然, 我们不应该试图揠苗助长.
Of course, we should not try to help the shoots grow by pulling them upward (i.e. spoil things by excessive enthusiasm).

坏习惯就像杂草;它们阻碍我们的发展。
Huài xíguàn jiù xiàng zá cǎo; tāmen zǔ’ài wǒmen de fǎzhǎn.
Bad habits are like weeds; they hinder our development.

就像去芜存菁, 我们可以保留我们的优良人品并消除缺点.
Jiù xiàng qù wú cún jīng, wǒmen kěyǐ bǎoliú wǒmen de yōuliáng rénpǐn bìng xiāochú quēdiǎn.
Like culling the plants, we could keep our good qualities and elminate the shortcomings.

行行出状元; 我们应该虚心向有经验的人学习.
Háng háng chū zhuàngyuán; wǒmen yīnggāi xūxīn xiàng yǒu jīngyàn de rén xuéxí.
There are masters in every profession; we should learn humbly from experienced people.

如果您失败了, 不要气馁. 明年再试试.
Rúguǒ nín shībàile, bùyào qìněi. Míngnián zài shì shì.
If you fail, don’t lose heart. Try again next year.

找出问题所在, 对症下药.
Zhǎo chū wèntí suǒzài, duìzhèngxiàyào.
Find out where the problem is and apply the proper remedy.

一粒米, 一滴汗.
Yī lì mǐ, yīdī hàn
A grain of rice, a drop of sweat.

在感激有菜蔬享用之际, 我们应该尽力保护地球和环境.
Zài gǎnjī yǒu càishū xiǎngyòng zhī jì, wǒmen yīnggāi jìnlì bǎohù dìqiú hé huánjìng.
While we appreciate having fresh produce to enjoy, we should do our best to protect the earth and the environment.

Learn Chinese characters that look so darned similar (2)

ll-Autumn-s

What a coincidence! 真巧! (Zhēn qiǎo!) In today’s date, all three numbers are the same in the mm/dd/yy date format. In Chinese, 12/12/12 reads, for the last century: 一九一二年十二月十二日 (yī jiǔ yī èr nián shíèryuè shíèr rì). For the 21st century, it reads: 二零一二年十二月十二日 (èr líng yī èr nián shíèryuè shíèr rì). Although the temperatures have dropped quite a bit, officially we are still in autumn.

All right, let’s look at (ér son, youngster) and (jǐ several, how many). You can see that their difference could easily be glossed over. You already know that a son is called 儿子 (érzi), while a daughter is called 女儿 (nǚér). You would refer to your child as 我的儿子 (wǒde érzi) or 我的女儿 (wǒde nǚér). To be polite in writing, some people refer to their son as 小犬 (xiǎo quǎn my puppy).

When referring to someone else’s son or daughter, you can generally use 儿子 (érzi) or 女儿 (nǚér) . If you want to be extra polite, then you would use 贵公子 (guì gōngzǐ your valuable, noble son) or 贵千金 (guì qiānjīn your valuable, noble daughter) instead.

Yet another way to refer to someone else’s son or daughter is to make use of the word (lìng). This character looks similar to (jīn), as in 今天 (jīntiān today) and 今年 (jīnnián this year). (lìng) has several different meanings. For example, 命令 (mìnglìng) is an order or a command. (lìng) also means excellent. Therefore, 令郎 (lìng láng) means your excellent son, and 令嫒 (lìng ài) means your excellent daughter.

The pseudonym I put on the above painting contains (ling excellent) as well as (jiā), which means “of fine quality”, or “to praise”. Hey, if one is to adopt a pseudonym, one might as well pick the best characters possible. By the way, this little painting was inspired by a video demonstration I watched at BlueHeronArts.com. I went there to purchase the silicone paper I want to try for dry-mounting paintings done on rice paper. (I’ve messed up a couple paintings before while using the traditional wet-mounting method.) If you are interested in Chinese brush painting, check out Mr. Henry Li’s numerous video demonstrations on youtube. Mrs Li, Victoria, teaches Chinese Calligraphy.

The only difference between (dà big) and (tài greatest, excessively) is one tiny mark. It make sense that when one adds to something that is already large, it would become excessively large. If you haven’t heard the story involving these two characters and the ancient Chinese calligrapher, 王献之 (Wáng Xiànzhī), please click on this link.

(quǎn) is the formal word for a dog. If you are not careful and let the last stroke curve up, then you will get a totally different character, namely (yóu), which is a Chinese surname and has several different meanings. 尤其 (yóuqí) is an adverb that means “particularly” or “especially”. 尤物 (yóuwù) is a sensational object, usually referring to a gorgeous woman.

他不喜欢吃鱼, 尤其是带鱼.
Tā bù xǐhuān chī yú, yóuqí shì dàiyú.
He does not like to eat fish, especially hairtail.

(tián) means farmland. It is also a Chinese surname. If you let the middle vertical stroke stick out, then it becomes (yóu), which has several different meanings. In 理由 (lǐyóu), it means cause or reason. In 由此可见 (yóucǐkějiàn You can see from this that …), it means “from”.

(zǎo) means early morming or “Good morning.”, but (hàn) is a dry spell.

(kuài) means quickly or happy, but if you add an extra stroke to it, you will get (yàng), which means discontented.

(míng), as you know, means fame or a name. As a verb in formal Chinese, it means to describe. Extend one of the strokes to get (gè), which means each or various, as in 各地 (gèdì in various places).

(mǔ) means mother or female. Some people do their own simplification and write one longer stroke instead of the two small strokes. This results in a different character, (wú), which is one of the formal words for “no” or “not”.

I’m sure you have encountered other Chinese characters that are easily confused with one another. Following are a few more to pay attention to:

(jīn) is a unit of weight, a little over one pound, while (chì) means to scold or repel.

她受到无理的斥责.
Tā shòudào wúlǐ de chìzé.
She was reprimanded unjustifiably.

(zú) means the feet, sufficient or satisfied.
(shì) is the “be” verb.

(yǔ) means rain, while (liǎng) means two.

(lá) is to come, while (jiā) means to place between two things or persons. (jiā) as a noun can be a tweezer or a folder. As an adjective, (jiá) means double-layered, with something in between, like a filled Oreo cookie. When you go home to visit, your parents may tell you at lunch or dinner:

多夹些菜吃.
Duō jiā xiē cài chī.
Get (pick up with your chopsticks) more food from the dishes.

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