Sunday, 1 June 2014

Impatiens flanaganae

"Impatiens flanaganae", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014


Impatiens flanaganae is an endangered species from South Africa with orchid-shaped blooms. These butterfly-shaped blossoms are delightful shades of rosy pink, with yellow markings inside. Cool weather deepens the colours, and the petals can take on a lavender tint. 

This member of the Balsaminaceae family was given its name by William Botting Hemsley in 1897. The genus name is taken from the Latin, impatiens meaning impatient -- the way the ripe seed pods explode when gently touched. The species name, flanaganae, comes from "Mrs. Flanagan", the name of the lady who first botanically described this plant. Thus, the common name for this plant is Mrs. Flanagan's impatiens.

There are just two limited native populations found in the KwaZulu-Natal and the Pondoland regions of South Africa. Its distribution is limited to these two small areas of South Africa and the species is considered threatened due to the invasion of other species as well as habitat destruction.  For example, the building of one resort is threatening an entire population!  


Impatiens flanaganae tubers

As noted previously, this is a tuberous species. The tubers are a startling rose-red colour (see photo).


I do enjoy drawing the various varieties of Impatiens -- most of them are so delicate with that lovely, curving backside. 
Were I still young, healthy and had sufficient income, I would definitely enjoy seeing these beautiful blossoms in real life!  How delightful it would have been to take a trip to the Cape area of South Africa in order to see these and many of the other lovely South African flowers I have drawn! 


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BRADEN REALLY LIKES BIG WHEELS!


As I have mentioned previously, Braden likes anything with wheels -- especially trucks, fire engines, earth moving equipment and so on.  Understandably, whenever he has an opportunity to be involved with the real thing, he is a happy boy.  My evidence can be seen below...



Already drivin' that big rig!  
(Note the special kid-size fire fighter's badge at his waist -- pretty proud).




What a cool place (in more ways than one) to get out of the sun!


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ANOTHER REQUEST

I received a request this past week from a person preparing the poster for an upcoming performance of an English festival choir. The letter says, in part: 
Our November 2014 concert is to be called “Mass in Time of War” and will include Haydn’s “Mass in Time of War”, Ireland’s “Greater love hath no man” and Walford Davies’s “Short Requiem in memory of those fallen in the War”. All this is, of course, to commemorate the start of the First World War, remembering and paying tribute to all those who lived through that time. 

The request asks for permission to use one of my drawings from last year as the illustration on the poster.  The requested drawing was posted on July 28, 2013 and is entitled "Mother and Son in a Field of Poppies".  Unfortunately (or fortunately), I no longer have the July, 2013 drawing! I posted it knowing that it was one of those drawings with which I was still unsatisfied.  As a consequence, I continued to work on it during the months after posting until I reached the place, earlier this year, where I felt I could let it rest.

Here is what the drawing looked like back on July 28, 2013:


"Mother and Child Resting in a Field of Poppies",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Below is the final version of the drawing:


"Mother and Child Resting in a Field of Poppies",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

So, I plan to send the organization the file of this drawing along with my permission for them to use it; however, it is possible that they might still want to use the original drawing.  I will also give them permission to do that as well, but I no longer have a proper computer file for that version.  Of course, they can always take a copy from my blog, but the printing quality will not be nearly as good.  I will let you know what happens.

If any of you want to comment on which version you prefer, please feel free to let me know.

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SUKI AND SALLIE


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Poor Suki came close to losing her life this past week! Her close encounter with the afterlife was due to her behaviour while trying to convince me to feed her. You may think I am joking, but I am quite serious.  Let me tell you what happened...

Early Friday morning, around 4:45 a.m. I think, Suki decided that she desperately needed food or else she would die of starvation!  So, she began her campaign to awaken me and get me out of bed and into the kitchen.  In order to accomplish this, she used the venetian blind technique (I have told you about this previously) and had me awake by 5 a.m.  Once she knew I was awake (you cannot fool a cat about such matters even though I tried), Suki went to stage two:  get Sallie out of bed!

I, however, was not interested in moving any further than the side of the bed.  I actually feel asleep again for a couple of minutes while just sitting there.  Suki quickly remedied this by using the rattling of the plastic bag technique.  Finally, I gave in and, with much painful effort, got myself into a standing position.

Normally, at this point, Suki heads for the kitchen to await my arrival.  This particular morning, however, Suki decided, unbeknownst to me, to stay by my feet.  Perhaps she thought that I might not know the way to the kitchen and needed her guidance in the matter -- I do not know her reasoning. What I do know is that this decision on her part almost cost her at least one of her nine lives and could have possibly cost me my life as well.

As you know, I do not walk very well at the best of times and this is especially true when I first get out of bed in the morning.  I have to hold on to every piece of furniture, doorway or wall that I pass as I move from one point to another.  As well, due to poor circulation, my feet have almost no feeling in them at that time of day so I really cannot tell very much about what I am stepping on.  Walking first thing in the morning is really, for me, a matter of moving out in faith!

So, I began to move not realizing that Suki was still right by my feet.  Just at the point where I was ready to let go of one piece of furniture while reaching out for another, I suddenly sensed something by my leg. I realized in an instant that it must be Suki, and I frantically tried to grab onto something in order to stop myself from taking that next step.  

For a moment, I was sure that I was going to fall and I knew that if I fell, I would probably land on the cat -- the cat who did not seem to have any idea that her life was in imminent danger!  Reaching out in desperation, I was able, just at the last minute, to grab onto a large piece of furniture and stop myself from either falling or from putting my foot down on Suki who was still standing there -- right where my foot had almost come down on top of her.

I was really quite shaken by the experience.  I had, obviously, been able, in that moment, to foresee the consequences of putting my foot down on top of Suki and of the fall that would inevitably follow.  Suki, meanwhile, continued to stand right where she had been, meowing and purring as though nothing had happened.  In her mind, of course, nothing had happened... she did not realize the danger she had been in or the possible consequences.

I remember speaking quite sharply to Suki at this point; however, she did not seem to pay me any mind.  Rather, she began to slowly move towards the kitchen and I, after a moment to steady myself, began to follow her.  As I prepared her food, I told her what a lucky cat she was and I also tried to warn her about getting under my feet. She appeared to be listening, but I know that all she was really listening to was the sound of the spoon filling up her dish with turkey and gravy!  From now on, I will definitely have to be very aware of where Suki is whenever I am moving about our home.

As for me, things remain very much the same as they have been.  I did not have any medical appointments this past week which meant that there were no painful trips to the doctors, labs or hospitals.   This week I do have one doctor's appointment and will have to have blood work done as well.  Thankfully, both will be done on the same day so there should be only one day of really bad pain -- something to be grateful for.

How strange it seems to me sometimes now to realize that I actually welcome days when I do not have anything that has to be done.  So much of my life was spent trying to fill up my days and nights with activities that brought me some semblance of happiness or pleasure -- or, at the very least, kept me from getting bored.  Now, here I am being grateful when all I have to do is as little as possible so that I will experience as little pain as possible!  

We really cannot even imagine where life will take us -- we can only try to be prepared to deal with wherever it takes us when we arrive!

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May the blessings of this feast day, the Ascension of Our Lord, fill our hearts today and always.  
"The Ascension of the Lord",
icon by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,
2009

May we never forget the final words Our Lord spoke as He disappeared from the sight of those who followed Him: "Behold, I am with you always -- even until the end of time."  
(Mt. 28:20)

 Amen. 

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