Sunday, 22 February 2015

Bauhinia galpinii

"Bauhinia galpinii -- Red Orchid Bush", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

Bauhinia galpinii is a species of shrub in the family Fabaceae. It is native to parts of eastern and southern Africa, where its popular names are "Pride of De Kaap" (de kaap mean "cape") and “kameelpoot” (kameelpoot, an Afrikaans word that means “camel’s foot”, referring to the shape of the leaves of this shrub). In other places, however, it is variously known as Red Bauhinia, Nasturtium Bauhinia, African Plume and Red Orchid Bush. 

The genus name is derived from the surname Bauhin, honouring Gaspard and Jean Bauhin, 16th century physicians and botanists. The species name commemorates E. E. Galpin, a South African botanist and banker. 

The flowers of B. galpinii are generally a handsome brick red, but some cultivars have pink or orange-red flowers. The plant is evergreen, with its main growing season in summer. It usually takes the form of a dense, sprawling shrub normally reaching a maximum size of 10 feet, but under some conditions, such as in undergrowth, it may grow as tall as 15 feet. 
Bauhinia galpinii Shrub in bloom

The flowers are attractive to birds and other “pollinators” and it’s entwined branches are popular as a nesting site for small birds. Sheep and goats can safely browse the leaves and twigs.  

Bauhinia galpinii is traditionally used medicinally by the Venda people of the Limpopo Province in southern Africa. The roots are boiled and the resulting stock is drunk to treat stomach worms or to improve male sexual performance! The concoction is also used to make a soft porridge for stomach pains. As well, the bark and leaves of this species are used for treating diarrhea and infertility. 

The species is widely cultivated in the warm zones of many parts of the world including Australia, the U. S. and Mexico. It has escaped cultivation and naturalized in some locations; however, it shows no significant tendency towards becoming invasive.

I found both the flowers and the leaves enjoyable to draw.  I especially liked the shape of the leaves of B. galpinii.  Also, of course, I enjoyed using the various red-orange colours in my palette -- you all know by now how much I enjoy the various shades of red-orange-yellow.  I came to know these colours so well back in the days when I could still work with oils and used so much Cadmium Red, Cadmium Scarlet and all the various Cadmium Yellows especially in paintings of the New Mexico desert and semi-desert (see example).
"Geronimo", oil on canvas by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 1967

Speaking of Cadmium, I find it interesting that something that can be so deadly when ingested can create such beauty when carefully placed on an artist's canvas.

Much of this information was taken from various Internet sources, mainly Wikipedia.


Ronàn with a close friend!

Ronàn obviously loves colour!  A boy after my own heart.

Braden at the Auto Show!



Suki in the chair by the front door -- she sometimes 
gets very concerned by noises from the hallway!
Yesterday morning, as I attempted to go about my usual activities, I realized that I was feeling quite dizzy.  Not wanting to risk having a fall, I decided the better choice between standing and sitting was sitting -- and so I sat down. 

In fact, once seated, I decided that the best thing I could do for myself was to remain sitting and, as I was sitting in my big recliner, I also decided that I should raise the foot rest, allowing to entire chair to recline.  No sooner had I reclined, covering my legs with a nearby throw as I did so, than I noticed Suki's head rising slowly over the arm of the wing-back chair on the other side of the end table.  It seemed to require about 30 seconds for her to fully awaken and take in the unusual situation, but, once she had done so, she was out of her chair in a flash and into mine.

With a contented sigh, Suki settled herself down on top of me. After a moment or two spent licking her paws, she went soundly to sleep.  How little it takes, I thought, to make a kitty-cat happy.

So, for the next couple of hours, Suki slept while I dozed.  I had Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" playing on the iPad, but, otherwise, all was peacefully quiet inside my home.  Even the outside was relatively quiet as the snow was falling quite heavily, muting all the usual Saturday street noises.

No telling how long Suki and I might have stayed this way, but, suddenly, there were loud noises coming from the hallway outside my front door.  I knew immediately that the young children from the apartment down the hall were running and playing on their way to the elevator (accompanied by their parents); however, Suki must have assumed that there was danger.  She went from peaceful slumber to cat-bushy alertness in an instant while emitting a wicked sounding growl.  Leaving my lap, she headed straight for the chair by the front door, moving quietly while looking for all the world like a miniature panther. 

As I sat up from my reclining position, I noticed that I no longer felt at all dizzy and so I decided that I should get up and get about my usual chores for the morning.  Suki, however, remained in the chair by the front door in order, I am sure, to make certain that no monsters were able to invade our territory.

As to why I was feeling dizzy in the first place, I think it was just my cervical vertebrae acting up as there seemed to be an unusual tightness at the top of my spine.  Later, after resting, both the tightness and the dizziness had gone.

Otherwise, I am doing much the same.  Had a good visit with my doctor on Wednesday.  She sent me for blood work, but, since I haven't had a phone call from the nurse yet, I am hopeful that I won't be getting any unhappy news about my potassium levels!  



"Icon -- Christ Remained in the Desert for 40 Days", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  
Mk. 1:12-15

Why does the Church observe 40 days of Lent?  It is a reminder of the 40 days that Christ spent in the desert.  In that barren and lonely place, He was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights, but did not give into temptation.  

I, on the other hand, weak and prideful, seek to try to do as He did. I always fail, of course, but year after year, I make the effort once again to be faithful.  It seems that I never get any better at resisting temptation, but the Church knows that this act of trying to submit my will to the Will of God is changing me -- changing me in ways
that will, one day, through the grace of God, bring me to the fullness of life.

As we begin this Lenten Season, may we all know the peace which comes from the acceptance of who and what we are while, at the same time, trusting in the strength and grace of God to enable us, eventually, to become "fully human, fully alive".


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