Thursday, 2 August 2012

Another Aristolochia!

Aristolochia baetica, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
I have no idea why I like these strange Aristolochia vines so much. They are not pretty or especially sweet smelling. They are all actually somewhat poisonous! Yet, I find them fascinating. Something about the peculiar shapes and colouring of the flowers really appeals to me.

Anyway, whatever the subliminal attraction may be, let me tell you a bit about this most recently drawn species of Aristolochia: baetica.

Aristolochia baetica, or the Andalusian Dutchman's Pipe or Pipe Vine, is a poisonous perennial vine. In Dutch, the plants of the Aristolochiaceae family are known as ´pijpbloemen´ because the shape of the flowers resemble an old German pipe. In Spanish a number of its names refer to a type of candle: candilicos or candilitos, for example.

It is a woody-based, twining climber or rambling ground cover with heart-shaped, pointed, gray-green leaves, abundant tubular purple funnel-shaped flowers. These flowers have a velvety look and feel; however, I have a difficult time trying to give texture to flowers and plants when drawing on the computer.

All Aristolochia species have poisonous alkaloids or aristolochic acid so don't try mixing these pretty leaves into your summer salad!


Aristolochia elegans, drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Aristolochia elegans is more familiar to people living in North America and is the plant we commonly call "Dutchman's Pipe".

As I told you at the time I posted this drawing last year, "the purplish-brown pattern on the surface of the flower is reminiscent of calico fabric, a popular fabric of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This plant is native to Brazil and is considered an invasive species in the southern United States. However, with its beautiful foliage, unusual flowers, freedom from pests and ease of growth, it has become quite popular.


Aristolochia gigantea, drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
When I posted this drawing earlier this year, I stated the following:
"The Giant Dutchman's Pipe Vine Plant (Aristolochia gigantea) is one of the most outrageous flowers in the world. This species from Brazil is huge--over ten inches in length. Each flower displays an intricate pattern of white and mottled reddish brown. The mouth is ringed in black and has a center of golden yellow. Draw close to it and smell its lemon scent.





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THE GARDEN GATE

Recently, I decided to do a playful drawing -- something simple, but different from my usual fare.  I have always had a fascination for gates leading into garden walkways and paths -- especially when I don't know exactly where the path is leading!

So, I created a strange looking flowering tree to put by the gate, gave it a path which curves out of sight and added the obligatory cat -- a Calico.

No-name Flowering Tree at the Garden Gate! 
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
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MORE BRADEN

Of course, there are new photos of Braden.  Truly a man after my own heart!
Not only is he handsome and adorable, he also makes me laugh at the funny faces he makes.  Such an expressive young man -- and when you gaze into his eyes, you just know that he is going to be a truly wise and gentle person.  A friend of mine said that I am just extremely prejudiced in his favour!  I told her that for me to say anything different about Braden would be for me to lie -- and I couldn't do that!  Actually what she said was that I sounded like a grandmother! 

So very sweetly asleep -- is there anything sweeter looking than a baby sleeping?




What an expression!  He looks as though he is getting ready to make
some important announcement! 


What is the first thing his father teaches him to do?  Why, stick out his tongue, of course!
Can you believe it!?  Teaching a one month old baby to stick out his tongue.  Both Braden
and his dad seem to think this is pretty funny.  Men... what can you say?!

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SUKI AND SALLIE

Suki watches food being
put into her dish...





Truly, I have never had a cat in my life before that seemed to really understand how to manipulate me -- not to this extent, anyway.

Lately I have noticed that Suki is getting worse and worse about not eating all of her wet food.  What she does instead is make certain that she has gotten all the gravy sopped up with her tongue.  When all that is left looks rather dry, she stops eating and comes back to wherever I am to beg for more food.

I check out her dish and see that there is food leftover.  I gently but firmly pick her up and set her down in front of her dish and tell her that when she eats just a bit more of that food that I might consider giving her some fresh food.  I have watched her carefully after I have told her this.  What she appears to do is watch me from the corner of her eye and simply push the food around a bit with her tongue.  She doesn't really eat anything at all but moves it around so that it looks like she has actually eaten some of it.

If I then push everything back together with her spoon and point out to her that it looks the same as before, she will go through the same process again, moving everything around and then look up at me expectantly -- almost as though she is saying, "see, I did what you told me to... now can I have more gravy?". 

By this point, I am usually laughing at her and the way she is behaving and so I end up giving her what she wants.  It is no wonder she is so spoiled, but what amazes me is how she is willing to go through all these actions as though she understands what I want and is trying to get me to think that she has done what I want.  Most cats I have known would simply either refuse to have anything to do with the old food and just keep begging or else would walk away indignantly the first time I told them that they had to eat some more of their old food before getting any new.  Not Suki, she is really good at appearing to co-operate when in reality she is just doing whatever it takes to get me to give in and give her what she really wants.  What a clever cat.

As for Sallie, she is doing reasonably well as usual. 

The wound to the top of my head is taking longer to heal than I would like.  It really isn't that bad, but now that it has reached the point in the healing process where the cut itches, I find  myself constantly reaching up to the top of my head wanting to scratch, scratch, scratch.  But, I know this is not good for the wound so I have to keep stopping myself as soon as I realize what I am doing.  It is just so annoying to have an itch which you are trying to keep yourself from scratching.

I was taken out to lunch today by a friend in the building for whom I had done a good bit of work on the photos from her 80th birthday party.  We had a good lunch and a good visit and we returned to our building to discover that one of the many construction projects going on at our intersection had somehow managed to cause us and the co-op behind us to lose access to water!  Hopefully it will be back on soon!  At any rate, I don't need any extra water at the moment so I can be grateful for that. 

Speaking of construction -- there are at least 4 major condo towers being constructed within three to four blocks of where I live.  The people keep coming and they have to have places to live.  The sad part is that so many families have to live in condos now as houses with yards are just too expensive unless you go many miles from the City itself.

Well, I am starting to ramble which means I should go ahead and bring this posting to an end.

I pray that each and every person who stops to read this blog will be blessed in some way.  May the peace and love of God fill your hearts in the days ahead.

St. Alphonsus Liguori (whose feast day was yesterday), please pray for us.



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