Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Lilium rubellum

Lilium rubellum or Pink Asian Lily
Lilium is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere. They comprise a genus of about 110 species in the lily family (Liliaceae).  They are important as large showy flowering garden plants. Additionally, they are important culturally and in literature in much of the world. Some species are sometimes grown or harvested for the edible bulbs.  The species in this genus are the true lilies. Many other plants exist with "lily" in the common English name, some of which are quite unrelated to the true lilies.

Lilium rubellum (Pink Asian Lily) is, indeed, a true lily of the family, Liliaceae.  It is native to the Island of Honshu in Japan. It grows at 9,000 feet, attains height of 18 inches but may reach 30 inches in cultivation.  Its name in Japanese is Himesa-yuri or Otome-yuri and means "Maiden lily".  It is native to high mountain meadows on N Honshu, the main island. Though it is most plentiful where winter snow is long and deep, it tolerates other temperate climates. The blossoms are described as “deliciously fragrant trumpets, wild-rose pink and slightly re-curved."

I had actually not planned to show this drawing in today's posting, but as I thought about it, I realized that this is a Japanese lily, native to Japan.  Of course, like most people, Japan, and the Japanese people are very much on my mind and in my prayers these days.  So, this seemed, after reflection, to be the perfect time to share my drawing of this lovely, gentle lily with  you.  I pray that it may make us all even more aware of our need to find ways to help the country of Japan to recover from this terrible natural disaster.  The places where this lily grows are far from the tragic effects of the tsunami, but I am sure that the upland heights where these lilies grow, like all of Japan, have felt the aftershocks of this powerful earthquake.

Lilium rubellum using hue correction software
As usual, I had to experiment with the different ways of using my special software to change the appearance of the drawing.  I like the result I got with using the "hue correction" feature.  Personally, I am not really sure why any hue needing correcting; however, I will let the people who made the software answer as to why they named each component as they did!

Next comes my photo exhibit for today!

As you may have guessed by now, I really enjoy selecting photos and using them to tell a story -- usually a silly story, but one that amuses me.  I do hope that the following episode causes you to smile at least a little!  So, now let us turn to the story of Max the Tour Guide.

Max, our tour guide, giving his opening speech
We are introduced to Max, our tour guide at the front door of his home.  After negotiating a fee of 12 Temptations cat treats, Max agrees to take our group on a tour of his garden.  Before leading us outside, Max gives us a quick overview of what we will be seeing.

Max leads our group through the garden while giving us a fascinating commentary
As we follow Max along a well-worn path to the garden, he gives us a fascinating commentary on the various things we can see to our right and to our left.  At least, we assume that is what he was doing since Max only speaks Cat-o-nese and we only speak English!

At our request, Max pauses the tour to pose for a photo
As we reach the patio, Max jumps up on a table with great agility.  Seeing him sitting there in the sunshine and looking so handsome, we all ask if he will allow us to take his photograph.  He agrees but drives a difficult bargain for an additional 5 Temptations cat treats.

As Max describes the beautiful sculptures, he suddenly feels the need to rest while he talks
The highlight of the tour, it seems, are these lovely cat sculptures which Max begin to describe in glowing terms.  However, about halfway through his presentation, he appeared to feel the need to rest as he finished his talk.  This was fine with us as his talk was making us feel the need to rest as well!  We all found a spot to sit quickly as Max resumed his discourse.

As we reach the artistically placed wheelbarrow, Max feels the need of a tummy rub
Once the description of the sculptures was completed, Max slowly led us toward an artistically-placed wheelbarrow.  Evidently it was placed this way, according to Max, so that he could crawl under it when the sun was too hot.  To us it appeared to be the result of someone throwing down the wheelbarrow after finishing a hard day of gardening; however, we did not want to disagree with our tour guide -- the price for this tour was already high enough!

Suddenly, Max threw himself down on the ground, making it quite clear that the price for this tour had just gone up a notch.  He seemed to indicate that unless someone volunteered to give him a quick tummy rub, he would simply leave us out here in the garden to find our own way back.  Fortunately, one of the younger members of our group was willing to oblige.

As the tour ends, Max mumbles something about "too much work" and collapses
With great relief, we all made it back to the house.  Max, who seemed quite lethargic after the tummy rub, mumbled something about "too much work" and promptly collapsed on the floor. 

At this point, we thought that perhaps we were going to get to have our tour without having to pay for it.  Alas, as we tried to open the door, we found it locked and for the first time we saw a big sign which read:  "Place the exact amount of Temptations treats agreed upon into the container below.  If the amount is correct, the door will unlock -- if the amount is not correct, well, you can guess the rest"

We did as we were instructed and as the last of the agreed upon 17 treats hit the bottom of the container, we heard a loud click and the door swung open to release us into freedom.  Hurriedly we left before Max had a change of heart.  I was the last one out and as I quickly glanced back, I saw a sleepy-eyed Max, his head raised and smiling!  I swear, I know it is difficult to believe, but that cat was actually smiling.

The End

Now you are in for a special treat -- another Suki story.  If you have had enough about crazy cats, then you may want to skip this part and go directly to the end!

Well, let me tell you what Suki did....
On the weekend, I was sleeping soundly when around 3:30 a.m. I was suddenly awakened by the banging of a hammer.  It took me a moment or two to put things together as it was still the middle of the night and I had just been awakened from a deep sleep; however, as I listened, I was convinced that someone -- probably that crazy guy in the apartment above me -- was hammering.  I looked at the clock a second time just to make sure that I had read it correctly -- sometimes I do get a bit confused you know.  But there it was as clear as could be: 3:30 a.m.  Meanwhile the hammering continued at irregular intervals.  As I listened, thinking to myself that other people must be disturbed by this loud banging, I began to notice that the hammering seemed to be actually coming from nearby -- not overhead.  As I puzzled over how this could be, I suddenly realized in horror what must be happening.  Leaping out of bed as quickly as a somewhat crippled old lady can leap, I shouted "Suki, what are you doing"?  The moment I shouted, the hammering stopped.  Hurrying into the bathroom, I was greeted by the incriminating evidence of what had been happening.  I could see Suki's paws just behind the shower curtain and the cane I use to help me in and out of the shower still swaying as it hung from the towel rack.  [I leave the cane on the towel rack next to the shower curtain as it makes it easy for me to reach it at bath time.]  Evidently, Suki had created a new game wherein she would hide behind the shower curtain and attack the cane, causing it to bang wildly again the bathroom wall.  I was truly mortified and listened carefully to see if I could hear the sound of a lynch mob gathering outside my front door.  Fortunately, there was just the blessed sound of silence until Suki had the audacity to start meowing to be fed.  What a cat!  Now I keep my cane hidden elsewhere until I am ready to use it for my shower -- after which I put it away again... much to Suki's disgust.

As for me, other than being somewhat sleep deprived, I am doing fine!

May the peace of God be with us all.

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