Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sarracenia x moorei

"Sarracenia x moorei -- Trumpet Pitcher Plant", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

The drawing featured today shows a primary hybrid in the genus Sarracenia. Its full name is Sarracenia x moorei. This cultivar was developed from combining Sarracenia flava and Sarracenia leucophylla (see photos below).

"Sarracenia flava -- Yellow Pitcher Plant"
photograph by Jean-Pol Grandmont 

"Sarracenia leucophylla -- Pitcher Plant"
photograph by
Stephen C. Doonan, Portales, New Mexico

The genus, Sarracenia, was named for Dr. Michel Sarrazin, 18th century physician and botanist in Quebec, Canada. As for the name of the cultivar, moorei, I have, thus far, been unable to determine exactly who this Moore person might be.

For those who are interested, here is more detailed information on this plant.  
Sarracenia is a genus comprising 8 to 11 species of North American pitcher plants, commonly called trumpet pitchers. The genus belongs to the family Sarraceniaceae

Sarracenia is a genus of carnivorous plants indigenous to the eastern seaboard of the United States, Texas, the Great Lakes area and southeastern Canada, with most species occurring only in the southeastern United States (only S. purpurea occurs in cold to temperate regions). 

The plant's leaves have evolved into a funnel or pitcher shape in order to trap insects. The plant attracts its insect prey with a combination of the leaves' color and scent plus appealing secretions on the lip of the pitcher leaves. Slippery footing at the pitcher's rim causes insects to fall inside where they die and are digested by the plant. As well, at least one species uses nectar which is laced with a narcotic drug. 

Flowers are produced early in spring. They are held singly on long stems, generally well separated from the pitcher traps to avoid the trapping of potential pollinators such as bees. 

Sarracenia tend to inhabit permanently wet fens, swamps, and grassy plains where they are threatened by development and the drainage of their habitat. Estimates indicated that approximately 98% of Sarracenia habitat has already been destroyed in the southeastern U.S., the home of all but one subspecies of Sarracenia. Currently the biggest threats to surviving populations are urban development, drainage of habitat for forestry, runoff of herbicides from agriculture, fire suppression and the cut pitcher plant trade for the florist and gardening industries. 

Some protective legislation exists. Several southeastern states, such as Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, have conservation laws which protect Sarracenia. However, most of the remaining wetlands in the southeastern U.S. are privately owned. Plants on this land are not protected by state legislation. The key states of Alabama and Mississippi have no such legislation at all (I’m ashamed to say) so even plants on public land have no protection.  

If there are readers of this posting who have any influence on those who govern in the States of Alabama and Mississippi, perhaps you might want to consider helping to change the status of these fascinating, endangered plants!

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


"Suki in the Morning",
waiting impatiently for me to get up from
my comfortable chair so that she can take
possession of it for her post-breakfast nap!
As most of you know by now, one of my "distraction techniques" involves streaming videos of movies and TV series -- especially British ones.  I normally do this while reclining in my recliner with my large-screen, iPad propped up with a pillow on my lap.  

If I am watching a really good movie or series, I find that I can "be distracted" up to two hours before I start to notice the pain again and have to get up and move around a bit or take more medication.

Sometimes, however, I have an additional distraction during my distraction exercise and that additional distraction is named Suki. Let me explain...

Following a meal, Suki sleeps for a few hours in one of her favourite locations. She then awakens and begins to meow rather loudly. As soon as I hear this, I know she wants me to start calling her name. This I do as she slowly makes her way to where I am reclining in my big chair. The meowing continues non-stop until she reaches my location.

Once she arrives at my chair, she jumps (very carefully these days) up onto the lower part of the recliner and then makes her way up to my lap.  Once in the lap area, she plops herself down so that part of her is on the chair seat and part is across my lap.  This positions her so that she, like me, is facing the iPad screen.

For the next little while, Suki and I watch the screen together.  I am not sure what she sees other than movement but she does reach out every so often with her paw to touch the moving image on the screen.  Mostly, however, she just sits and watches the show with me.  Eventually, she tires of this, closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep.

Although I know the rule about never moving when your cat is asleep in your lap, I can only last for so long these days before a move becomes necessary.  When my awareness of the pain becomes too great and I know I really need to move about a bit, I gently awaken Suki. She is never pleased about this and grumbles and complains mightily as I push her off the chair so that I can get my feet back on the floor and do whatever it is that I need to do at that point to try and make myself feel better.

I must say, though, that, in my opinion, there is something rather special about having a cat sleep in your lap.  With Suki, I always get this feeling from her of her absolute trust in me. Seeing her there in my lap, I know that she is safe. As I watch her sleeping soundly, I find that this somehow makes me feel safe as well. These are often very special moments for me -- maybe for Suki as well...

As to the other aspects of my life, there is not a great deal to report. I did have a lovely visit with a dear friend -- one of the first friends I made after arriving in Canada so many years ago now. This friend now lives in Burlington so we are not able to see one another very often.  It was wonderful to see her again and to catch up on the news.

I also had one medical appointment -- just another follow-up. All my test results were the same as they have been for the past few months so the doctor was pleased.  Now I don't have to go back for another three months.  Hooray.

There is only one appointment scheduled for the coming week so I hope things will be fairly quiet. 



"Icon -- Come, Follow Me", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." And to another he said, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home." To him Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."  Luke 9:51-62

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Lachenalia Tricolour

"Lachenalia Tricolour", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Once again I was attracted to a particular plant because of the bright colours of its blossoms.  As you know, I find it very difficult to resist the urge to draw anything which contains the colours red/orange and yellow! 

"Kniphofia northiae" drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013 

When I first came across Lachenalia     aloides (Lachenalia Tricolour), I was immediately struck by its bright, bell- shaped blossoms.  It quickly put me in mind of another drawing I did several years ago of Kniphofia northiae (see drawing at right). Of course, upon close examination, they are very different plants, but the colours are similar and striking in both.

Lachenalia aloides (Lachenalia Tricolour), commonly known as Cape Cowslip, is a species of flowering plant in the family Hyacinthaceae (see note below). It is native to the Western Cape of South Africa. 

Grown from a bulb, L. aloides has long, pointed, dark green leaves and fleshy stems bearing tubular flowers. These are usually red at the top and hang down like a pendant on a necklace. The plant blossoms during late winter and spring of the southern hemisphere.

Even though the blossoms of most cultivars of Lachenalia Tricolour retain the three colours of red, yellow and green, the placement of these colours and the shades of these colours can be quite different from one cultivar to another. As well, the colours are constantly changing as the blossoms age.

The genus, Lachenalia, comes from the surname of Prof. Werner de la Chenal, an 18th century Swiss botanist. 
"Aloe vera in Bloom"
(Internet source:

The species name, aloides, comes from the Latin and literally means "aloe-like" although L. aloides, despite its similarity, does not belong to the same family of plants as those in the genus Aloe (see photo at right).

NOTE: There remains still some dispute over which family can actually claim Lachenalia aloides. At this point, the main contenders are:  Asparagaceae, Hyacinthaceae and Liliaceae. 

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


Suki settling down to rest after having been
given her pain medication for the day
followed by a big dish of turkey and gravy!
Well, Suki finally made a decision about which food to eat -- her long-time favourite won after all: Fancy Feast Turkey with Gravy.  

I have no idea why, several weeks ago, she suddenly refused to eat this particular food -- the food that had been her first choice for years.  

Since this change in her behaviour occurred within days after Suki began taking the pain medication, I can only assume that her taste buds must have been affected by the stuff -- so much so that she went off the food she had eaten for so long.

Maybe Suki was searching for the "right taste" as she tried other, similar foods. With each, she would sample just a little of the meat, lap up most of the gravy and then refuse to eat the rest. I wasted a lot of food (and money) trying to find one cat food that she would eat. Perhaps by the time I tried her on her long-time favourite of turkey and gravy again, it didn't seem so bad by comparison. Who knows! 

Anyway, as you can well imagine, Suki's willingness to return to eating her regular food has made my life much more pleasant. Now, after she finishes each meal, Suki settles down for a long nap instead of following me around and meowing and moaning because she is still hungry!

Otherwise, things continue as usual.  I had a couple of medical appointments this past week and have another one scheduled for this coming week.

On Thursday evening, I dropped in on a birthday party being held in the large meeting room in my building. I wasn't able to stay for very long, but this birthday party was so special that I just had to attend. It was the 100th birthday celebration of a friend who, like me, has lived in this building since it opened -- almost 20 years ago now.  It was great to see her looking so well as she sat there surrounded by family and friends.  By the way, she still lives on her own.  Happy 100th, Edith.

Then yesterday, I had a lovely visit from a dear friend.  She didn't stay too long as she could see that I was getting uncomfortable due to the pain. It was good to see her and to hear about all the things that she is doing.

So, at the moment, things are relatively OK for both myself and Suki -- which actually makes me just a bit nervous. Oh, well, let's see what this new week brings...



"Icon -- Mother of God of Magadan", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 rev.

“The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”


Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”
He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.  Luke 9:18-24

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Daubenya aurea

"Daubenya aurea 'Red' ", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

I was attracted to this flowering plant because of the beautiful orange-red colour of the "petals".  As usual, I am not satisfied with the results which means that you will probably be seeing at least one more attempt at this particular plant in the near future.  Now let me tell you a bit about it...

Daubenya aurea is a member of the Hyacinthaceae family. It is a rare species which produces red or yellow flowers and is found growing on clay flats in the Roggeveld -- a plateau located in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, South Africa. 

Daubenya aurea produces two spreading leaves and tubular flowers arranged in a cluster between the two leaves. An author has written about these flowers as follows: “Although it is dormant during summer and autumn and has a very narrow distribution area, this extraordinarily, beautiful member of the Hyacinth family is a must see for every plant lover. The striking red or yellow flowers light up the veld when it flowers in spring.” 

The genus was first described in 1835 by British botanist John Lindley and named in honour of his compatriot, Charles Giles Bridle Daubeny (1795–1867), who explored the horticultural potential of the species at the Oxford Botanical Garden. The specific epithet, aureus, is Latin for “golden” (think of the word “aura”) and refers to the golden yellow flower of this species.

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


Add caption
Do you have any idea just how difficult it is to try to get a cat to lose weight? 

The vet has told me a couple of times lately that Suki really needs to lose a few pounds -- not because she is dangerously overweight but, rather, because less weight means less pressure on her bad left leg. This should lead to less pain and discomfort for her all around.

The vet has suggested that I give Suki mostly canned, all-meat cat food and very little of the carbohydrate-based, dry, crunchy cat food.  So I have been trying to feed her 4-all-meat meals each day while placing a small amount of her low-fat, crunchy food in a dish for her to nibble on if she feels a bit hungry between meals (if I don't give her something to snack on between meals, she pesters me).

Suki, however, is not interested in any sort of weight loss regimen. Instead, she has devised her own diet which is not designed to help her lose weight, but is designed to give her maximum pleasure. How very "catlike" of her!  Let me explain...

At present, I do, indeed, feed Suki meat four times a day, but each day, at Suki's insistence, the food must be of a different preparation: Friskies Turkey with gravy one day; Fancy Feast Chicken with extra gravy the following day; and Fancy Feast Turkey with gravy the day after that.  Then we must repeat the cycle.  However, Suki basically refuses to eat the actual meat (other than a few pieces); instead, she slurps up the gravy -- even going so far as to press the meat down with her tongue and lick up the gravy released by her action.

Once she has gotten every bit of gravy out of the dish, she turns and walks away with a big smile on her face.  Later she will return to the kitchen and fill up on her crunchy, dry food.  When her dry food bowl is empty, she pesters me until I give her just a tiny bit more -- and so it goes day after day.

I have been told that I should just refuse to put any dry food down at all and then, sooner or later, Suki would be forced to eat all of her meat meal to satisfy her hunger.  This sounds like such a great solution; however, I can tell you from experience that it does not work. 

When I tried this solution about a week ago, things begin simply enough.  At first, Suki just came and sat and stared at me each time she discovered that her dry food dish was still empty.  After a while, though, she began to meow for a minute or two each time.  As time passed, she begin to meow for longer and longer periods of time.  Even though all of this was very difficult for me, I held out until bedtime ... but then the battle really began.  Suki cleverly allowed me to fall asleep and then she begin her real torture technique which consisted of waking me up at odd intervals by various and sundry means, over and over again, until I finally reached my breaking point.

Exhausted and defeated, I slowly made my way to the kitchen, put a handful of crunchy food into her dish, crawled back to my bed and, with a grateful smile on my face, fell sound asleep -- and slept soundly for the rest of the night.  I am sorry, but I won't be trying this again.

So, instead, I have now started adding a little water to her gravy and meat dish at each meal which means that the gravy contains fewer calories per total volume.  Since she will be drinking more liquid, hopefully, this will cause Suki to feel a bit fuller and, thus, lead to her eating a smaller amount of the strongly discouraged carbohydrate-based cat food.  What a rigmarole! 

If this plan doesn't work, then I guess Suki's weight will remain the same. Do any of you have any suggestions about how I might help Suki lose a few pounds -- a suggestion will allow me to maintain my mental health while helping Suki actually lose weight?

Otherwise, life goes on as usual.  

I had two medical appointments this past week and have two more this coming week.  As I tell people, this is my social life now -- visiting my various doctors.  I may no longer be well informed about local politics, but I am totally up to date on what's happening in pain management and other related medical fields!



"Kissing the Feet of Her Lord", portion of an unfinished drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner." Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred day's wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?" Simon said in reply, "The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven." He said to him, "You have judged rightly." Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The others at table said to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
          Luke 7:36-50

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Ornithogalum dubium

"Ornithogalum dubium -- Sun Star", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

This is not the first time I have done a drawing of Ornithogalum dubium although my previous efforts were done a number of years ago now.

Below is an example of one of those earlier drawings which was featured in an 2011 posting.

"Ornithogalum dubium", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

If you are interested, here is further information about this very lovely plant with its orange blossoms.

Ornithogalum dubium, commonly known as Sun Star or Star of Bethlehem, is a species of flowering plant which is native to South Africa (Cape Province). There it can be found blooming from early spring until mid-summer (August to December) on mountain slopes and flats, in stony clay soil. 

This long-blooming, showy plant has beautiful large star-shaped or cup-shaped orange flowers. Originally, it was assigned to the family Liliaceae. Now you will find it assigned to either Asparagaceae or Hyacinthaceae. There continues to be controversy about the Family to which it rightly belongs.

The bulbs of all Ornithogalum are considered to be poisonous as they contain cholestane glycosides and calcium oxalate

Ornithogalum is derived from the Greek words 'ornis' meaning bird and 'gala' meaning milk. The Greeks referred to something that seemed fantastical and rare as being “bird’s milk”. 

The species name. dubium, is derived from the Latin word dubiosus, meaning doubtful. The story is told that the author of this species, the Dutch naturalist Martinus Houttuyn, may have been doubtful about certain aspects of the plant when he described it – wondering if it should be placed under a different classification.

As usual, I am still not satisfied with the results of this latest drawing which means that I will probably be trying to "get it right" once again in the months ahead!

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


You may recall my telling you about the CF Walkathon that was scheduled for May 29th.  Braden's and Ro's father was one of the walkers as part of a group called "Rònàn's Warriors" -- they were walking to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research to help Rònàn and all the others out there whose lives are touched by CF.  

Here are a few photos I just received of the boys who also participated in the walkathon.  Enjoy!

The boys do their warm-up exercises before the walk begins!

The Walkathon is underway!  Ro holds the hand of one of 
"Rònàn's Warriors" as Braden takes the lead.

The Walkathon is over!  Well done, young men.



Suki wondering when the pain is going
to go away!
Suki, I think, is beginning to realize that the pain in her hips and back legs is not going to go away.  So, like any creature, she is learning how to live with it as best she can.

Suki has been taking the pain medication long enough so that a therapeutic level is now being maintained by her body.  In evidence, she can once again jump onto her favourite chairs without my assistance -- thank goodness -- she has returned to her normal practice of being my feline alarm clock and I am once again referring to her frequently (but lovingly) as being a "pest and a nuisance". 

The most recent reason for calling her a "pest and a nuisance" has to do with her refusal to eat the food I have for her.  I mean, the food situation was looking good before she started taking all this medication.  

However, within a few days of starting on the drugs, Suki was refusing to eat what had been her absolutely favourite food -- turkey bits swimming in gravy.  At first, I tried going back to one of her earlier favourites consisting of chicken and turkey with a bit of gravy and that seemed to work for a few days.  Then, just as suddenly, she refused to eat that food as well.  

Frantically, I began to search for other foods to try and stumbled upon Friskies Turkey and gravy. She wolfed this stuff down for about a week and then, suddenly, she began to refuse to eat any of it as well.

So, last night, in desperation, I opened a can of the food she had been happily eating prior to starting on all these drugs.  With much trepidation, I set a bowl of this food down in front of Suki and waited for the usual rejection. Amazingly, she gobbled up the entire dish! 

Even though she quite happily ate another dish of the same food this morning for breakfast, I am not yet counting on this as a permanent solution. I mean, over the past weeks, Suki has been given three different foods which she has appeared to enjoy very much for three to seven days before completely going off of each one. So, let me just say that if she is still eating this same food by next Sunday's blog posting, then maybe, just maybe, I might begin to feel that some sort of victory has been won!

Otherwise, life continues as usual.

I did have one medical appointment this past week along with several business and banking appointments.  As you can imagine, all this activity has left me feeling really tired and very aware of the pain.  

So, my plan is to "lose" myself in a new drawing.  Thus far, art work remains the one thing in which I can still "lose" myself sufficiently so that the constant pain seems to fade into the background for a while.  

No doubt, you will be seeing the results of my "art-work-distraction-technique" sometime in the near future! 



"Icon -- Christ the Healer", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, crying out “A great prophet has arisen in our midst, “ and “God has visited his people.” This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.            Luke 7:11-17