Friday, 24 June 2011

Lavatera the Third!

Lavatera arborea drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer

First, let me refer back to my previous posting of the icon of Our Lady of the Tree of Life.  You may have noticed that the drawing is changed in some ways.  Let me explain.  I inadvertently used one of the copies I had been playing with using my funny software.  I did not even realize it until I came to check the date of my last posting to see if today, the 24th, was indeed four days since my last entry.  Please excuse my lack of awareness and I will try to make certain it doesn't happen again!

St. John the Baptist
by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer

Also, let me wish each and everyone who may come across this posting today a very happy St. Jean Baptiste Day.  Today is obviously then the feast day of St. John the Baptist and I am inserting one of my icons of this great saint in honour of the occasion.

Now I can begin to tell you about the drawing for today.  As you can see, it is another Lavatera!

Lavatera arborea, the Tree Mallow, is a species of mallow native to the coasts of western Europe and the Mediterranean region, from the British Isles south to Algeria and Libya, and east to Greece. It grows mainly on exposed coastal locations, often on small islands, only rarely any distance inland.

Malva sylvestris
 It is a shrubby plant with, what I would call, floppy leaves.  You can see in my drawing some of the smaller leaves that still retain their shape, but as the leaves grow larger, they tend to become so floppy that their shape is difficult to determine. Although long considered a species of Lavatera, genetic and morphological analysis suggested it was better placed in the genus Malva and should be named Malva arborea. Malva is the Old English form of Mallow the common name for this flower and a number of others. 

To the right is a photo of one of the flowers in the genus, Malva, and you can see the resemblance.  At the present time, however, it is still acceptable to call the plant I have drawn by the name of Lavatera arborea.

Lavatera arborea tolerates sea water to varying degrees, at up to 100% sea water in its natural habitat, excreting salt through glands on its leaves. This salt tolerance can be a competitive advantage over inland plant species in coastal areas.

The leaves of the species are used in herbal medicine to treat sprains, by steeping them in hot water and applying the poultice to the affected area. It is theorised that lighthouse keepers may have spread the plant to some British islands for use as a poultice and to treat burns, an occupational hazard. The seeds are edible and are known in Jersey as "petit pains", or "little breads". Tree Mallow was considered a nutritive animal food in Britain in the 19th century, and is still sometimes used as animal fodder in Europe. And finally,those big, floppy leaves were frequently used in the past as a substitute for toilet paper!

Now for a few new and interesting photos.

"Come on in, the water's fine!"
 This first photo is of one of my favourite creatures, the Polar Bear.  They are such graceful creatures when they are in the water after being so clumsy looking on land.  Of course, it is that clumsiness that makes them so delightfully laughable.  This fellow certainly seems to be having a great time; however, I would not take him up on his offer to go for a swim with him!

The Orator
This character appears to be holding forth like an old-time politician!  I have no idea what he/she is up to, but I can easily imagine him saying something along the lines of "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears"!

This photo appears to me to have been taken by a not very good long-distance lens -- and perhaps the person was even holding the camera in their hands rather than having it on a tripod.  Of course, one would be wise to take a picture of a black bear from a great distance away!  If only the quality of this photo was better, this would be a really good picture -- in my opinion.

Real Babies, Phony Mother!
I did a double-take when I first saw this photo.  For just an instant I tried to convince myself that this was a real owl mother with her babies; however, I couldn't do it since the "mother" is so obviously sewn together!  Perhaps this was a temporary solution that the shelter staff came up with after the real mother was killed.  At any rate, it seems to be working at the moment this photo was taken.  I would really like to know the story behind this photograph.


Well, Suki and I and both doing about the same as we were four days ago.  The only thing different is that I finally got my soft cervical collar which I try to wear for a couple of hours at a time.  I then take it off and rest my neck for the next hour.  It really doesn't accomplish much other than enabling me to hold my head up in something closer to a normal position.  Sadly, it has no curative powers and I have been told that if you wear these collars all the time, you actually lose muscle tone and end up making yourself worse!

Suki continues to behave in the usual way.  Each morning I tell her quite severely that she is definitely going back to the Humane Society that very afternoon.  However, after a few hours of having her behave very lovingly -- purring and cuddling and such -- I always relent and agree to allow her to stay another night!  I am such an old softie.

Finally, I want to show you a recent icon of Our Lady.  I continue to work on icons of the Blessed Mother and the Child Jesus even as I am working on other things.  I do this because I find that when working on an icon of Our Lady, I always experience such peace and joy, moreso than with any other drawings that I do.  I am now thinking about possibly doing a new book just of icons of Our Blessed Mother -- I will keep you informed.  Anyway, here is one of the more recent ones that I haven't shown you before. 

Our Lady of Tender Love an icon by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer

May the peace of God be with us all.

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