Sunday, 16 November 2014

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

"Kalanchoe thyrsiflora", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Today's drawing is the fourth one I have done over the years of flowering plants of the genus, Kalanchoe, family, Crassulaceae [see postings for October 5 and 9, 2010, if interested].  

Kalanchoe is a genus of about 125 species of tropical, succulent flowering plants from southern and eastern Africa, Madagascar and parts of south-eastern Asia. Only one species of the genus originated in the Americas. (This is Kalanchoe pinnata, also called the Air Plant. It is found in South America and well known for it medicinal uses.) 

Typical leaves of
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
Like most of the southern African Kalanchoe species, Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, featured in today's drawing, forms a basal rosette of large rounded, fleshy leaves, which are grayish green with red margins. [There is a variety found in Hawaii -- probably a cultivar since it is not native to Hawaii -- which has multi-coloured leaves. This is the one that I have tried to depict in today's drawing.] The plants can grow to about 60 cm. The erect, upward- facing, tightly arranged leaves are stemless. These leafy rosettes send up stalks of dense flowers which are coated with a white powder. The flowers are greenish with yellow re-curved lobes and appear from February to June along the Cape region of South Africa.

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora and other Kalanchoe species found in southern Africa are known locally as Paddle Plant, Flapjacks or Meelplakkie, an Afrikaans name for flour. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, first described by Harvey, is one of 6 species of Kalanchoe listed in Flora Capensis which was published in 1861. It was also the first Kalanchoe to be illustrated in "The Flowering Plants of South Africa". 

The species name thyrsiflora refers to the flowering of the plant which is a “thryse” or many-flowered kind of blooming. Kalanchoe evidently comes from an unknown Chinese epithet. The name was assigned by the botanist, Adanson, who first described the genus Kalanchoe in 1763.

Apart from being used by the Sothos in South Africa as a charm to ease difficulties, no other cultural or traditional uses have been recorded for 
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora.  Horticulturally, the plants are very popular in rock gardens, on rocky embankments and as perennial container plants.

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



Suki are you smiling?
There is really nothing to report on either of us this week.

Suki has been reasonably well behaved.  She did get a bit antsy on Friday when some workmen were making lots of noise on the floor above us; however, the noise soon ceased and Suki able to return to her napping.

I did have an medical appointment this past week, also on Friday; however, it was relatively uneventful as it was simply a yearly follow-up.  After a quick check-over, I was told that the particular part of my anatomy in question was in fine shape and that I did not need to return for another two years!  I said, "Fine.  If I'm still around in two years, I'll come and see you!"  And with that I left and took a taxi home.

So, I am grateful to have had a quiet week and am hoping that the coming one will be similar.  The pain levels haven't gotten any worse and Suki and I both are sleeping well.

It is rather strange to think that I have reached a point in my life when I consider a week where I: stayed at home every day tending to my quiet activities, was able to keep my pain levels from increasing and experienced relatively decent behaviour from Suki to have been a really good week!  Who would have thought....


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Icon -- Holy Mary, Mother of God",
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie"
Thayer, 2011
Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and  gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matt. 25:24-30
"St. Joseph and the Christ Child",
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie"
Thayer, 2012

I decided to use two drawings today -- drawings of the two people who not only doubled the "talents" they were given, but who actually "double-quadrupled" their "talents":  Our Lady and St. Joseph.

Now, as to the Gospel, itself, I have posted only the latter half of today's reading.  Most of us know the story of the "talents" so well that simply a few words from the passage will bring the entire story to mind.

It's a story that I have always had a bit of difficulty with -- not just because I feel that I, too, have probably wasted my "talents", but also because I feel so sorry, each time I read or hear the story. We read that the man, who went and buried his "talent" until the Master returned out of fear of losing what he had been given, ended up losing everything -- and I mean everything.  For when he returns the one "talent" to the Master, he not only loses his one "talent", but he is also "cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth"! Doesn't that sound like fun?

I always wonder what will be done with someone who not only buries their "talent", but then refuses to even dig it up and return it to the Master.  This is often how I feel about the way I have lived my life. So I have to wonder just what even more terrible things might be in store for me!

BTW, "talent" was a term used in that time for something of actual monetary value, but the Church has come to see "talent" not just as money, but as all the "stuff" we are born with and acquire during our lifetimes as well -- both natural abilities and acquired ones, including skills, wealth and power.  So, that is why I have to ask myself:  "what have I done with my "talents'?  What a scary question!

Well, as Fr. Benedict always used to say:  "when I come before God, all I am going to do is to fall on my knees (or whatever I have at that point to fall on) and loudly cry 'mercy', 'mercy', 'mercy'."  I think that's a plan!  Meanwhile, I pray for the grace to just keep trying to get it right.

I pray that I will never forget that God, who is Love, never ceases loving me or any of us. May we never cease loving in return.


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