Sunday, 24 July 2016

Canada's Tulip

"Canada's Tulip -- 150 Years, July, 2017", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Recently, my dear friend, Joyce, sent me an email which contained a photograph of a very special tulip -- the 'Canada 150 Tulip'.  I had heard someone mention it several months ago and had meant to check it out; however, as with so many things these days, I forgot. So I was delighted to receive a reminder.

In fact, I was so delighted that I decided to go ahead and do some drawings of this special tulip.  I ended up with 5 drawings.  I am not quite satisfied with any of them yet; however, here are two with which I am somewhat pleased (see drawings above and below). Now, let me tell you just a bit about this special flower.

"Canada's Tulip -- July, 2017", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

The Canada 150 Tulip was "bred" in the Netherlands.  I googled it and came across a quote from His Excellency Cees Kole, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which read:  

The Canada 150 Tulip represents gratitude and the long-standing friendship between Canada and the Netherlands. Blooming in the colours of Canada’s flag, [the] Canada 150 Tulips will bring both pride and joy to gardens and communities from coast to coast to coast.

By next July, as we celebrate 150 years since Confederation, over 300,000 of these red and white lilies will be showcased in the National Capital Region's flower beds in Ottawa with thousands more expected to be planted in community gardens across Canada. What a glorious sight that will be!

Dows Lake, Commissioners Park, Ottawa
(Wikipedia -- Photo taken 2006)
Wikipedia states the following: 
"The Canada 150 tulip, also known as the Maple Leaf tulip, is the official tulip of Canada’s 150th anniversary and was unveiled May 9, 2016 in Commissioners Park, Ottawa. The tulip was selectively bred with an elegant white flower and red flames, which resembles the flag of Canada." 



"Suki -- the Undercover Cat"

I am delighted to report that Suki has had a good week.  She seems to be handling her medication well.  She is showing only a slight bit of hesitation now as she goes to jump up on something and her limp is barely noticeable.

Thankfully, she has retained her fondness for turkey with gravy.  In an effort to help Suki lose weight and following the vet's advice, I have stopped giving her any dry food at all.  This means, of course, that Suki is very hungry now as we approach her meal times. Hopefully, by the next vet visit, her weight will be down by a pound.  [BTW, in case you have forgotten, Suki needs to lose a bit of weight so that there will be less strain on her ruptured cruciate ligament.] Of course, occasionally I still give her a couple of those little cat treats she loves so much, but I try to do this only once or twice a week and I limit her to just a couple each time.

Otherwise, this has been a reasonably quiet week for both Suki and for me. I did have one medical appointment, but that was an easy, follow-up-type appointment.  Apart from that there was just my usual weekly visit with dear Sharon as well as the regularly scheduled time with the irreplaceable Joycelyn!

As you may recall me mentioning, today, the 24 of July, is the day of my visit with "my boys".  So, I am actually writing this text on Saturday, but I won't be posting it until tomorrow morning just before I leave for early brunch at the home my boys share with their parents.

Here are a couple of recent photos of these two amazingly, wonderful children.  Judging from the photos, I would think that older brother, Braden, is "reading" one of his books to his little brother, Rònàn. After listening for a few moments, little brother decides he has had enough and strikes a pose which shows exactly what he thinks of this particular story!

Braden reads a story to his little brother

Little brother decides to graphically express his opinion of the story being read!

Next Sunday, I can tell you all about my visit -- and maybe, if the boys will stay still long enough, there will even be some photos!



"Icon -- Our Father...", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2016

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us and do not subject us to the final test."

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"  

Luke 11:1-4, 9-13

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Eremurus stenophyllus -- Foxtail Lilies

"Eremurus stenophyllus -- Foxtail Lilies", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

"Kniphofia uvaria -- Torch Lilies",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,
Back in June of 2013, I posted a drawing of Kniphofia uvaria (see left), and even though they are not part of the Lily Family, they are commonly known as Torch Lilies. Today's featured drawing, Eremurus stenophyllus, commonly known as Foxtail Lilies, is, in fact, a member of the Lily Family.  

Although these two plants are barely even distant cousins, they both have something in common other than being called "lilies" -- with both, the "flower-head" is composed of many, many tiny "flowerets".  While I find these types of plants attractive and appealing, all those little flowers and buds require a lot of work -- not only drawing them but also the "building-up" of the whole "flower-head" part of the plant. 

By the time I finish, I have created a huge file which slowly becomes more and  more cumbersome to work with.  I know I need the type of Mac that runs software built to handle large art files, but somehow I never seem to get up the nerve to try to transfer all my art work from Windows to a Mac!

Anyway, enough complaining... let me tell you instead a bit about this fascinating plant from the genus, Eremurus.

Eremurus (family, Liliaceae) is a genus of deciduous perennial flowers, also known as foxtail lilies or desert candles. They are native to eastern Europe (Russia and the Ukraine) and temperate Asia in an area stretching from Turkey, north to Siberia and then eastwards to China. 

The many, small flowers produced crowd together on the long stalk in such a way that Eremurus actually looks similar to a group of bottle-brushes waiting to be used. 

The flowers of Eremurus stenophyllus (the drawing featured in today’s posting) are coppery to bright yellow in colour; however, the flowers of the many other varieties of Eremurus range in colour from white to pink to orange or any combination of those colours. 
The leaves grow in tufts of thin, green, strap-like strips. 

The various species of Eremurus are known for their thick roots which grow out from a central hub as well as for their height -- sometimes rising up to 10 feet over the foliage. 

The genus name, Eremurus, is taken from the Greek and means “single tail”. The species name, stenophyllus, is also taken from the Greek and means “narrow leaves”.

Portions of the above text are taken from various Internet sources.


Suki sits and stares at me!
You may recall my posting of July 3, 2016, wherein I recounted how Suki was commandeering my recliner first thing in the morning just as I was ready to sit in it, sipping my coffee while watching the news.  I made a statement in that posting which read: "I have informed Suki that this is one battle she cannot win."  Perhaps I should not have put it quite so forcibly -- anyway, let me tell you how things have progressed since then.

After pushing Suki out of my chair morning after morning for about a week, she decided that it made sense for her to get into her other favourite chair instead of trying to begin her after-breakfast nap in my recliner. The first morning this happened, I congratulated myself on having achieved a great victory in this ongoing battle between what I want and what Suki wants. However, I soon learned that this was such a Pyrrhic victory that it was really no victory at all. Let me explain by describing the sequence of events of my normal morning these days.

I am awakened at exactly 6 a.m. by Suki rattling the blinds.  Once up, I am "shephered" towards the kitchen by this feline where I sleepily prepare her food.  Once I have served her breakfast, I am free to take care of my own morning ablutions.  

After eating my breakfast, I pour myself a cup of coffee and head for my recliner which, thankfully, these days, is empty of any cats! I sit myself down, turn on the news and settle back in the chair with my coffee cup within easy reach on the end table. This all sounds perfectly lovely, doesn't it?  However, just wait...   

After about 25 minutes, my peaceful morning routine is interrupted by the sound of a cat meowing as she jumps out of the chair nearby where she had appeared to be sleeping soundly.  In fact, she has simply been waiting.... waiting for what she considers to be sufficient time to pass before she claims her absolute right to take her morning nap in my recliner.

I, of course, have no intention of giving up my chair quite yet which is what I tell Suki in my best schoolmarm's voice.  She ignores me and continues to sit in my line of sight and simply stare. So, at this point, I can't watch TV without seeing Suki staring at me.  So, I force myself to try my best to ignore her which, as you can imagine, is almost impossible.  

When I still haven't moved after about 10 minutes, Suki ramps up her campaign by going behind the recliner and using it as a scratching post. Although this is a major infraction of the rules, which all my yelling does nothing to stop, Suki knows I can't reach her without actually getting out of the chair.  

Finally, I give up and get up ... by now I have missed half my morning news show and my remaining coffee is cold.  As soon as Suki hears me begin the process of getting myself out of the recliner, she stops her naughtiness, sneaks past me and quickly jumps up onto the seat cushion the instant it is free.  She quickly settles down to sleep and, I swear, it almost looks as though she is smiling!  When will I learn that the cat always wins?

As for me, I continue to be about the same as usual.  I only have one medical appointment scheduled for the coming week and it will be an easy one.  Otherwise, I expect that, once again, this will be another fairly quiet week for me.  

I do have a big event occurring next Sunday -- I will be visiting "my boys" and their parents.  Since I have to leave here fairly early, I will try to finish my blog posting on Saturday and attempt to set the scheduling timer on Google so that the posting will actually be published on Sunday.  I hope it works!  



"Icon -- 'Mary has chosen the better part' ", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2016

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Sarracenia chelsoni -- Pitcher Plant

"Sarracenia x chelsoni -- Trumpet Pitcher Plant", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Today's featured drawing is another one of those carnivorous, "bug-eating" trumpet pitcher plants.  While these plants do not fit the ideals most of us hold for defining something as beautiful, they are fascinating nonetheless. These are plants with an obvious task -- too help control the bug population -- the same bug population that causes mankind so much distress and suffering whenever it gets out of control.  Thus, this plant is just one more reminder of how interdependent all the components of this planet -- including us -- were meant to be. Yet, we continue to casually destroy the wetlands and grassy plains -- the home of the trumpet plants -- in order to put up industrial parks and parking lots.  Then, when summer arrives with its huge populations of attacking bugs, we bring out the poison spray!  In my opinion, we should have kept the wetlands and allowed the trumpet pitcher plants -- along with the bug-eating birds and larvae-eating snakes -- to help manage the problem naturally... no poison involved.

I will now get off my soapbox and tell you about Sarracenia

Sarracenia x chelsonii, family Sarraceniacee, is a hybrid developed as a result of crossing Sarracenia rubra with Sarracenia purpurea – at least this appears to be the case from my research. 

It is an elegant plant with a wine-red color which it probably inherited from Sarracenia purpurea (see below).

"Sarracenia purpurea"

The genus, Sarracenia, was named for Dr. Michel Sarrazin, 18th century physician and botanist in Quebec, Canada. As for the name of the cultivar, chelsonii, I have, thus far, been unable to determine exactly who this “Chelson” person might be. 

Sarracenia is a genus comprising 8 to 11 species of North American pitcher plants, commonly called trumpet pitchers. These are carnivorous plants indigenous to the eastern seaboard of the United States, Texas, the Great Lakes area and southeastern Canada, with most species occurring only in the southeastern United States. The plant's leaves have evolved into a funnel or pitcher shape in order to trap insects. Sarracenia tend to inhabit permanently wet fens, swamps, and grassy plains.

Once again, I would remind any reader who is eligible to vote in the local elections in the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to please consider helping those who are trying to protect, through state legislation, the land these plants inhabit. This protection needs to include not only public land but privately held land as well. I know that trying to tell a landowner what he can and can’t do on his land goes against the whole American ethos, but, remember, if we don’t start protecting all aspects of the interdependent functioning of our planet, we will end up with a world so broken that, like Humpty-Dumpty, it can never be put together again.

Portions of the information given here were taken from various Internet sources.


Recently, "my boys" went to Cuba for a holiday with their parents and grandparents.  According to the reports I have gotten from their parents, both boys had a great time.  Ro, who was seeing the ocean for the first time, seemed to be particularly delighted by the surf.

Following are a few photos I chose from the many that their mom shared with me upon their return.  While there are a number of pictures I plan to share in the future, today, however, I just wanted to give you a sense of their trip -- showing you a bit of how "my boys" seemed to deal with the whole holiday experience.

The boys check out the hotel lobby after arriving in Cuba with
their parents and grandparents in tow.

The boys discover all sorts of interesting things on the hotel grounds, including this
vehicle.  Braden very kindly offers to take his little brother for a ride!

Next morning, the boys take a good look at the ocean -- and from the expressions on their
faces, I would say that they are not too sure about all that sand, water and waves!

Braden is the first to get into the surf .... and he looks as though he is enjoying it ...

... however, his little brother is close behind!
You can easily see that he is very pleased with this watery experience!

After having a consultation, both brothers agree:  "This is going to be a great vacation!"  
(and according to all the reports I have had thus far, it was a very good holiday, indeed.)



Anyone who regularly reads my postings
about Suki should be able to tell me instantly
what is happening in this photo!
You're correct ... this is indeed a photo (taken
by my friend, Amra) of Suki waiting to be fed. 
Suki and I had a visitor this past week -- my friend, Amra. She is not only my friend but she is a friend of Suki's as well. She even brought a gift for Suki: four cans of her favourite food (turkey with gravy).  Suki was very pleased to see her. After all, the way to Suki's heart is definitely through her stomach!

Did I tell you that I have had to lower the dosage of Suki's medication? Soon after she begin getting a large daily dose of the pain medication just prior to her noon meal, Suki seemed to be unable to keep her food down. After several days of experiencing this problem, I contacted the vet. She suggested that I try cutting the dose of medication in half. I did so and immediately Suki stopped vomiting after her noon meal. 

Since then, there have been no new occurrences of this problem and, as best as I can tell, Suki doesn't seem to be in any additional pain or discomfort. I plan to watch her carefully, however, as we all know how hard cats work at concealing any disabilities they have -- a leftover from the days when predators were always watching for any animal showing signs of weakness as they knew they would be easy prey.

As well as having a guest this past week, I also had a medical appointment.  Nothing serious, just the usual follow-up with a specialist.

This coming week, I only have one medical visit scheduled; otherwise, the coming days should be fairly quiet ones.



"Icon -- The Good Samaritan", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2016

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?"  Jesus replied....  
"A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, 'Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.' Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbour to the robbers' victim?"
He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."  Luke 10:25-37

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Fanfare'

"Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Fanfare' ", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Gaillardia is a flower which I have drawn previously although this is the first time I have tried drawing this unusual hybrid known as 'Fanfare'.  My previous efforts (see below) were done in the autumn of 2009.

Gaillardia -- Blanket Flower

Gaillardia from Cape Breton

Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Fanfare', is a flowering plant in the sunflower family, Asteraceae, native to North and South America. It is a hybrid Blanket Flower – the Blanket Flower is a cross between two North American native wildflowers, Gaillardia aristata and Gaillardia pulchella

Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Fanfare' has large, daisy-like, upward facing flowers with deep reddish/burnt orange centres from which, flaring outwards like trumpets, are the petals. As these open, the colouring of various parts of the blossom go from red to orange to yellow. The bright green leaves are arranged alternately

Following are a couple of legends regarding the Gaillardia flowers:
"The common name of Blanket Flower given to Gaillardia is believed to have arisen as a reference to Native American rug weaving of the south-western U.S. which, to this very day, includes similar colours. 
While the most common name for all Gaillardia is Blanket Flower, it is also widely known as Indian Blanket.  There is even a legend to accompany the name; 
The story is told of an Indian child lost on the prairie. As the sun was going down, she became cold, damp and very afraid. She asked the Great Spirit to provide her with a blanket. When she awoke at dawn, she found herself “covered” with masses of beautiful flowers whose petals contained the very same colours as those found in her mother's woven blankets."  

It has also been suggested that the name, Blanket Flower, arose from the density of these blossoms – the flowers grow so closely together that in early summer a colony of Gaillardia seems to form a continuous blanket of blooms. 

Additionally, there is a story supposedly told by the Aztec peoples that claims that the Gaillardia blossoms were originally solid yellow. However, during those days following the arrival of the Conquistadors, when so much Aztec blood was spilled, these flowers, feeling great sadness, added red to their petals to honour the slain.” [Original text taken from the “Paghat the Ratgirl” web page bearing title: 'Fanfare' Gaillardia grandiflora". 

The genus name of Gaillardia is taken from the name of M. Gaillard de Marentoneau, 18th-century French magistrate and patron of botany. As for the species name, x grandiflora is taken from the Latin and simply means a hybrid with large flowers. Finally, turning to the cultivar name of 'Fanfare', I wonder if it was so named because the "flowerets" look a bit like trumpets? Just a thought...

Much of the above text was taken from various Internet sources and includes my editing and changes.


Suki's nap is disturbed by a noise in the hallway!
I have mentioned on numerous occasions how Suki has selected various chairs and locations throughout our home which she considers to be exclusively hers.

I have also noted how, for the most part, I have tried to tolerate her apparent sense of ownership; although, I must admit, I do feel a bit embarrassed when Suki sits and stares, unblinkingly, at any guest of mine who has had the audacity to sit in one of her chairs!

Although she has claimed several chairs as her own throughout the years we have been together, Suki has never once attempted to claim my favourite chair (the recliner).  She has left it alone until now...  

Recently, I told you how a few months ago, Suki started getting into my chair each morning after I had finished watching the morning news on TV.  [She knows that my routine is breakfast, TV news from both Canadian and U.S. stations and then on to the computer until lunch time.]  

Suki began exhibiting this new behaviour soon after that traumatic visit to the vet a couple of months ago when her ruptured cruciate ligament was first diagnosed and, so, I just assumed that the warm seat I was leaving behind gave her a bit of emotional comfort and maybe even provided some relief to her arthritic joints.  So, I told myself that I was OK with this.

This week, however, things changed dramatically. Since Monday, Suki has been getting onto my chair as soon as she finishes her breakfast so that when I finish my breakfast and go to sit down in MY chair, there is a big, black cat sprawled across the seat pretending to be so soundly asleep that she cannot hear me yelling at her!

This means that I have to set my coffee mug down, return to the chair, pick up this black, furry thing, deposit it elsewhere, pick up my coffee mug and then return to my now-vacant chair.  Of course, occasionally, I forget to pick up my coffee and so, having already seated myself, am forced to painfully get up again, swearing the entire time, and retrieve my coffee mug. Finally I am free to relax comfortably in my own chair for the next hour -- or so you would think.

For the first five days after I moved her, Suki appeared to accept the inevitable and was content to go back to sleep. However, these past two days, she has jumped off wherever I placed her and come over next to my chair in order to try her "sit and stare unblinkingly" routine on me. Fortunately, I have had years of experience in these matters and so I do not make the mistake of trying to out-stare her. Instead, I simply ignore her until she finally gives up and goes elsewhere to continue her napping.

By the way, after Suki finally settles down somewhere while waiting for me to vacate my chair, she appears to return to that deep sleep normal for a post-breakfast nap; however, it is obvious that she "keeps one ear open" the entire time.  I say this because I have watched in amazement these past couple of mornings at how quickly Suki moves the moment she hears me getting out of my chair and heading for the computer! She quickly jumps up onto the recently-vacated seat of my chair, makes one full turn, plops herself down and, with a deep sigh, returns to her sleeping.

I have informed Suki that this is one battle she cannot win.  I will keep you informed on how the war is progressing; although, I do, occasionally, have my doubts as to how long I will able able to hold out against those big, green eyes and that plaintive meow...

Otherwise, things are much the same as usual at our house.  

Suki and I both stayed home and watched the Canada Day celebrations on TV.  I did go out on my balcony when the fireworks began down by the Lake -- I can see just enough of the western sky from there so that the apex of each exploding firework is visible in the night sky for a few seconds. While fireworks can be stunning, I find that after about 5 minutes, I have had enough.

I only had one medical appointment this past week and I only have one this coming week.  So, thankfully, I won't have to often go out into the hot, humid weather which the forecasters predict will be arriving on Tuesday. Best of all, a dear friend is coming by for a visit on Thursday -- something I am looking forward to very much.

Finally, let me wish a.... 

Belated Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians and a Happy 4th of July to all my readers in the U.S. of A.  



"Icon -- Christ -- Theotokos", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2016

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ Luke 10:1-9

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sarracenia x moorei

"Sarracenia x moorei -- Trumpet Pitcher Plant", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

The drawing featured today shows a primary hybrid in the genus Sarracenia. Its full name is Sarracenia x moorei. This cultivar was developed from combining Sarracenia flava and Sarracenia leucophylla (see photos below).

"Sarracenia flava -- Yellow Pitcher Plant"
photograph by Jean-Pol Grandmont 

"Sarracenia leucophylla -- Pitcher Plant"
photograph by
Stephen C. Doonan, Portales, New Mexico

The genus, Sarracenia, was named for Dr. Michel Sarrazin, 18th century physician and botanist in Quebec, Canada. As for the name of the cultivar, moorei, I have, thus far, been unable to determine exactly who this Moore person might be.

For those who are interested, here is more detailed information on this plant.  
Sarracenia is a genus comprising 8 to 11 species of North American pitcher plants, commonly called trumpet pitchers. The genus belongs to the family Sarraceniaceae

Sarracenia is a genus of carnivorous plants indigenous to the eastern seaboard of the United States, Texas, the Great Lakes area and southeastern Canada, with most species occurring only in the southeastern United States (only S. purpurea occurs in cold to temperate regions). 

The plant's leaves have evolved into a funnel or pitcher shape in order to trap insects. The plant attracts its insect prey with a combination of the leaves' color and scent plus appealing secretions on the lip of the pitcher leaves. Slippery footing at the pitcher's rim causes insects to fall inside where they die and are digested by the plant. As well, at least one species uses nectar which is laced with a narcotic drug. 

Flowers are produced early in spring. They are held singly on long stems, generally well separated from the pitcher traps to avoid the trapping of potential pollinators such as bees. 

Sarracenia tend to inhabit permanently wet fens, swamps, and grassy plains where they are threatened by development and the drainage of their habitat. Estimates indicated that approximately 98% of Sarracenia habitat has already been destroyed in the southeastern U.S., the home of all but one subspecies of Sarracenia. Currently the biggest threats to surviving populations are urban development, drainage of habitat for forestry, runoff of herbicides from agriculture, fire suppression and the cut pitcher plant trade for the florist and gardening industries. 

Some protective legislation exists. Several southeastern states, such as Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, have conservation laws which protect Sarracenia. However, most of the remaining wetlands in the southeastern U.S. are privately owned. Plants on this land are not protected by state legislation. The key states of Alabama and Mississippi have no such legislation at all (I’m ashamed to say) so even plants on public land have no protection.  

If there are readers of this posting who have any influence on those who govern in the States of Alabama and Mississippi, perhaps you might want to consider helping to change the status of these fascinating, endangered plants!

Much of the above text was taken from various Internet sources.


"Suki in the Morning",
waiting impatiently for me to get up from
my comfortable chair so that she can take
possession of it for her post-breakfast nap!
As most of you know by now, one of my "distraction techniques" involves streaming videos of movies and TV series -- especially British ones.  I normally do this while reclining in my recliner with my large-screen, iPad propped up with a pillow on my lap.  

If I am watching a really good movie or series, I find that I can "be distracted" up to two hours before I start to notice the pain again and have to get up and move around a bit or take more medication.

Sometimes, however, I have an additional distraction during my distraction exercise and that additional distraction is named Suki. Let me explain...

Following a meal, Suki sleeps for a few hours in one of her favourite locations. She then awakens and begins to meow rather loudly. As soon as I hear this, I know she wants me to start calling her name. This I do as she slowly makes her way to where I am reclining in my big chair. The meowing continues non-stop until she reaches my location.

Once she arrives at my chair, she jumps (very carefully these days) up onto the lower part of the recliner and then makes her way up to my lap.  Once in the lap area, she plops herself down so that part of her is on the chair seat and part is across my lap.  This positions her so that she, like me, is facing the iPad screen.

For the next little while, Suki and I watch the screen together.  I am not sure what she sees other than movement but she does reach out every so often with her paw to touch the moving image on the screen.  Mostly, however, she just sits and watches the show with me.  Eventually, she tires of this, closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep.

Although I know the rule about never moving when your cat is asleep in your lap, I can only last for so long these days before a move becomes necessary.  When my awareness of the pain becomes too great and I know I really need to move about a bit, I gently awaken Suki. She is never pleased about this and grumbles and complains mightily as I push her off the chair so that I can get my feet back on the floor and do whatever it is that I need to do at that point to try and make myself feel better.

I must say, though, that, in my opinion, there is something rather special about having a cat sleep in your lap.  With Suki, I always get this feeling from her of her absolute trust in me. Seeing her there in my lap, I know that she is safe. As I watch her sleeping soundly, I find that this somehow makes me feel safe as well. These are often very special moments for me -- maybe for Suki as well...

As to the other aspects of my life, there is not a great deal to report. I did have a lovely visit with a dear friend -- one of the first friends I made after arriving in Canada so many years ago now. This friend now lives in Burlington so we are not able to see one another very often.  It was wonderful to see her again and to catch up on the news.

I also had one medical appointment -- just another follow-up. All my test results were the same as they have been for the past few months so the doctor was pleased.  Now I don't have to go back for another three months.  Hooray.

There is only one appointment scheduled for the coming week so I hope things will be fairly quiet. 



"Icon -- Come, Follow Me", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." And to another he said, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home." To him Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."  Luke 9:51-62

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Lachenalia Tricolour

"Lachenalia Tricolour", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Once again I was attracted to a particular plant because of the bright colours of its blossoms.  As you know, I find it very difficult to resist the urge to draw anything which contains the colours red/orange and yellow! 

"Kniphofia northiae" drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013 

When I first came across Lachenalia     aloides (Lachenalia Tricolour), I was immediately struck by its bright, bell- shaped blossoms.  It quickly put me in mind of another drawing I did several years ago of Kniphofia northiae (see drawing at right). Of course, upon close examination, they are very different plants, but the colours are similar and striking in both.

Lachenalia aloides (Lachenalia Tricolour), commonly known as Cape Cowslip, is a species of flowering plant in the family Hyacinthaceae (see note below). It is native to the Western Cape of South Africa. 

Grown from a bulb, L. aloides has long, pointed, dark green leaves and fleshy stems bearing tubular flowers. These are usually red at the top and hang down like a pendant on a necklace. The plant blossoms during late winter and spring of the southern hemisphere.

Even though the blossoms of most cultivars of Lachenalia Tricolour retain the three colours of red, yellow and green, the placement of these colours and the shades of these colours can be quite different from one cultivar to another. As well, the colours are constantly changing as the blossoms age.

The genus, Lachenalia, comes from the surname of Prof. Werner de la Chenal, an 18th century Swiss botanist. 
"Aloe vera in Bloom"
(Internet source:

The species name, aloides, comes from the Latin and literally means "aloe-like" although L. aloides, despite its similarity, does not belong to the same family of plants as those in the genus Aloe (see photo at right).

NOTE: There remains still some dispute over which family can actually claim Lachenalia aloides. At this point, the main contenders are:  Asparagaceae, Hyacinthaceae and Liliaceae. 

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


Suki settling down to rest after having been
given her pain medication for the day
followed by a big dish of turkey and gravy!
Well, Suki finally made a decision about which food to eat -- her long-time favourite won after all: Fancy Feast Turkey with Gravy.  

I have no idea why, several weeks ago, she suddenly refused to eat this particular food -- the food that had been her first choice for years.  

Since this change in her behaviour occurred within days after Suki began taking the pain medication, I can only assume that her taste buds must have been affected by the stuff -- so much so that she went off the food she had eaten for so long.

Maybe Suki was searching for the "right taste" as she tried other, similar foods. With each, she would sample just a little of the meat, lap up most of the gravy and then refuse to eat the rest. I wasted a lot of food (and money) trying to find one cat food that she would eat. Perhaps by the time I tried her on her long-time favourite of turkey and gravy again, it didn't seem so bad by comparison. Who knows! 

Anyway, as you can well imagine, Suki's willingness to return to eating her regular food has made my life much more pleasant. Now, after she finishes each meal, Suki settles down for a long nap instead of following me around and meowing and moaning because she is still hungry!

Otherwise, things continue as usual.  I had a couple of medical appointments this past week and have another one scheduled for this coming week.

On Thursday evening, I dropped in on a birthday party being held in the large meeting room in my building. I wasn't able to stay for very long, but this birthday party was so special that I just had to attend. It was the 100th birthday celebration of a friend who, like me, has lived in this building since it opened -- almost 20 years ago now.  It was great to see her looking so well as she sat there surrounded by family and friends.  By the way, she still lives on her own.  Happy 100th, Edith.

Then yesterday, I had a lovely visit from a dear friend.  She didn't stay too long as she could see that I was getting uncomfortable due to the pain. It was good to see her and to hear about all the things that she is doing.

So, at the moment, things are relatively OK for both myself and Suki -- which actually makes me just a bit nervous. Oh, well, let's see what this new week brings...



"Icon -- Mother of God of Magadan", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 rev.

“The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”


Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”
He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.  Luke 9:18-24

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Daubenya aurea

"Daubenya aurea 'Red' ", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

I was attracted to this flowering plant because of the beautiful orange-red colour of the "petals".  As usual, I am not satisfied with the results which means that you will probably be seeing at least one more attempt at this particular plant in the near future.  Now let me tell you a bit about it...

Daubenya aurea is a member of the Hyacinthaceae family. It is a rare species which produces red or yellow flowers and is found growing on clay flats in the Roggeveld -- a plateau located in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, South Africa. 

Daubenya aurea produces two spreading leaves and tubular flowers arranged in a cluster between the two leaves. An author has written about these flowers as follows: “Although it is dormant during summer and autumn and has a very narrow distribution area, this extraordinarily, beautiful member of the Hyacinth family is a must see for every plant lover. The striking red or yellow flowers light up the veld when it flowers in spring.” 

The genus was first described in 1835 by British botanist John Lindley and named in honour of his compatriot, Charles Giles Bridle Daubeny (1795–1867), who explored the horticultural potential of the species at the Oxford Botanical Garden. The specific epithet, aureus, is Latin for “golden” (think of the word “aura”) and refers to the golden yellow flower of this species.

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


Add caption
Do you have any idea just how difficult it is to try to get a cat to lose weight? 

The vet has told me a couple of times lately that Suki really needs to lose a few pounds -- not because she is dangerously overweight but, rather, because less weight means less pressure on her bad left leg. This should lead to less pain and discomfort for her all around.

The vet has suggested that I give Suki mostly canned, all-meat cat food and very little of the carbohydrate-based, dry, crunchy cat food.  So I have been trying to feed her 4-all-meat meals each day while placing a small amount of her low-fat, crunchy food in a dish for her to nibble on if she feels a bit hungry between meals (if I don't give her something to snack on between meals, she pesters me).

Suki, however, is not interested in any sort of weight loss regimen. Instead, she has devised her own diet which is not designed to help her lose weight, but is designed to give her maximum pleasure. How very "catlike" of her!  Let me explain...

At present, I do, indeed, feed Suki meat four times a day, but each day, at Suki's insistence, the food must be of a different preparation: Friskies Turkey with gravy one day; Fancy Feast Chicken with extra gravy the following day; and Fancy Feast Turkey with gravy the day after that.  Then we must repeat the cycle.  However, Suki basically refuses to eat the actual meat (other than a few pieces); instead, she slurps up the gravy -- even going so far as to press the meat down with her tongue and lick up the gravy released by her action.

Once she has gotten every bit of gravy out of the dish, she turns and walks away with a big smile on her face.  Later she will return to the kitchen and fill up on her crunchy, dry food.  When her dry food bowl is empty, she pesters me until I give her just a tiny bit more -- and so it goes day after day.

I have been told that I should just refuse to put any dry food down at all and then, sooner or later, Suki would be forced to eat all of her meat meal to satisfy her hunger.  This sounds like such a great solution; however, I can tell you from experience that it does not work. 

When I tried this solution about a week ago, things begin simply enough.  At first, Suki just came and sat and stared at me each time she discovered that her dry food dish was still empty.  After a while, though, she began to meow for a minute or two each time.  As time passed, she begin to meow for longer and longer periods of time.  Even though all of this was very difficult for me, I held out until bedtime ... but then the battle really began.  Suki cleverly allowed me to fall asleep and then she begin her real torture technique which consisted of waking me up at odd intervals by various and sundry means, over and over again, until I finally reached my breaking point.

Exhausted and defeated, I slowly made my way to the kitchen, put a handful of crunchy food into her dish, crawled back to my bed and, with a grateful smile on my face, fell sound asleep -- and slept soundly for the rest of the night.  I am sorry, but I won't be trying this again.

So, instead, I have now started adding a little water to her gravy and meat dish at each meal which means that the gravy contains fewer calories per total volume.  Since she will be drinking more liquid, hopefully, this will cause Suki to feel a bit fuller and, thus, lead to her eating a smaller amount of the strongly discouraged carbohydrate-based cat food.  What a rigmarole! 

If this plan doesn't work, then I guess Suki's weight will remain the same. Do any of you have any suggestions about how I might help Suki lose a few pounds -- a suggestion will allow me to maintain my mental health while helping Suki actually lose weight?

Otherwise, life goes on as usual.  

I had two medical appointments this past week and have two more this coming week.  As I tell people, this is my social life now -- visiting my various doctors.  I may no longer be well informed about local politics, but I am totally up to date on what's happening in pain management and other related medical fields!



"Kissing the Feet of Her Lord", portion of an unfinished drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner." Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred day's wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?" Simon said in reply, "The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven." He said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The others at table said to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
          Luke 7:36-50