Sunday, 11 September 2016

Passion Flowers -- Passiflora parritae

"Passion Flower Vine in Bloom -- Passiflora parritae"
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016





The gold medal winner of passion flowers, Passiflora parritae,
is as rare as it is beautiful. Possibly extinct in the wild, this species is now seen only in botanical gardens. The genus Passiflora contains 465 species and five subspecies; yet, few rival the size and beauty of Passiflora parritae

The genus name of Passiflora is derived from two Latin words: “passio” (passion) and “flos” meaning "flower". The specific title of parritae is taken from the name, Señor Parra (better known as “Parrita”), who first brought collected specimens to the attention of botanists. 


Passiflora parritae vine
Copyright © 2004-2016 by Strange Wonderful Things 
www.strangewonderfulthings.com  
Passiflora parritae is native to the mountain forests of Colombia, South America. The blooms are 5-6 inches wide, and are an exquisite shade of orange-peach-orange. The flower tubes are unusually long, as are the stems. These enable the blooms to swing in the breeze, which attracts its pollinator, a local species of hummingbird. 

It appears that in the wild Passiflora parritae's pollinator is an extraordinary hummingbird by the name of Ensifera ensifera. Sadly, it is very likely that global warming has caused a shift in the population of E. ensifera to higher altitudes leaving the massive P. parritae flowers unpollinated in an evolutionary dead end. 


Sword-billed Hummingbird - Ensifera ensifera
[By Joseph C Boone - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25209566]

It is generally accepted as a fatal error for both plant and pollinator to become exclusively dependent on each other. In this case it appears to be P. parritae that made the evolutionary error since E. ensifera, which can feed from many flowers, is not at risk.

How sad to think that this beautifully flowering vine may now exist only in a few botanical gardens throughout the world.  Its fragile existence has been irrevocably damaged by slight changes in the earth's temperature... 








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





Just a few snaps of the boys -- four taken on Tuesday morning as Braden set off for his first day of JK and two taken later in the week as the boys enjoy Baka's krofne! (Serbian/Croatian for Grandma's donuts).






First Day of JK for Braden




The Brothers hug goodbye as they go to their separate schools!




Braden waves to his parents
as he enters his school for the first time





Ro, minus Braden, talks
to his teacher at playschool






Braden all "present and correct" for his first day of JK




Enjoying Baka's krofne! (Serbian/Croat for Grandma's donuts)






Ro is all set to dig into his second krofne -- deliciously made by his Baka






While Braden may not be as messy as his younger brother,
he, too, is wearing a bit of chocolate as he gets ready
to eat his second delicious krofne!






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SUKI AND SALLIE



Suki pensively contemplating tactics in
her never-ending battle to outsmart me!

I have been shocked and dismayed, over and over again, each time I realize that Suki has played me one more time!

No matter how careful I try to be, Suki continues to be one move ahead of me all the time -- it is almost like she has the ability to hypnotize me! I am really getting tired of being conned over and over again... I mean, it starts to make me feel more than just a little stupid each time I have to admit to myself that, once again,  I have been outsmarted by a cat.

OK, let me stop ranting and explain....

You know that the vet insisted that I find some way to get Suki's weight down by a pound or two.  I took her admonitions seriously as I had seen for myself just how much pain Suki was experiencing and I wanted to do whatever was necessary to help her.  Thus, several months ago, I began to restrict Suki's food to meat and animal by-products only -- no carbs.  

In the wild, cats do not normally eat carbs except for whatever may be in the stomach of the poor creature they have killed and on which they are feeding. They eat any creature they can catch and kill but they do not have this main course along with potatoes, peas and carrots on the side.  Yes, you do see cats eating grass occasionally, but that is more in aid of helping them to get rid of fur balls in their stomachs.

Anyway, back to Suki.  After about six weeks on this diet, I placed Suki on the scales and was delighted to see that she had lost two pounds (remember, her top weight was only 13 lbs.).  Since I did not want her to lose any additional weight, I decided to relax the "no carbs" rule just a tiny bit.  That day, for the first time in almost two months, I gave Suki about 10 pieces of her beloved Iams TM crunchies when she started begging for a second helping of her lunch.  Suki was delighted.

As the days have passed since, I have continued to give Suki a small handful of her crunchies each time she begs for a little something extra after finishing her dish of turkey and gravy. Almost without thinking, I have simply responded to her begging by giving her 10 or so pieces of her favourite, crunchy carbs.  It was only yesterday that I suddenly realized, almost like coming out of a trance, just how often I am now giving Suki extra food -- after every single meal. How did this happen?

I really need to check Suki's weight again as any day now the vet may be calling me -- it could be as soon as tomorrow -- to check up on Suki.  When she calls, I am sure she will be asking me:  "Is Suki keeping the weight off?". This means that I had better place Suki on the scales today. I mean, the sooner the better, right? Obviously, if she has gained the weight back, I am going to need a fair bit of time to work out a version of the story that keeps me from looking quite so dumb.  I mean, how do I make myself look good when it is going to be so obvious that, once again, I have been outsmarted by Suki?

Other than feeling just a bit blindsided by Suki, I am much the same as last Sunday.  It has been a fairly normal week for me with no appointments other than a visit to my family doctor mid-week. 

I had to see my GP to get some prescriptions renewed and we also discussed her plans to refer me to a neurologist once again.  My family doctor will be asking him if he can figure out why the nerves in my feet and certain parts of my legs appear to be malfunctioning so frequently -- causing me extreme numbness, discomfort and actual pain. I think my GP has her ideas as to why this is happening, but wants to have it confirmed by a specialist who will know if there is any sort of treatment available. Meanwhile, I just have to deal with what is and not fret about what might have been.

Otherwise, I have an appointment scheduled for the week ahead at the ophthalmology department at St. Mike's Hospital where I will be having some specialized tests checking on the glaucoma.  I do hope they won't insist on putting in those drops that dilate your pupils.  If they do, that means 4 or so hours of not being able to focus properly!

Enough grumbling...  Instead, let me be thankful for all that I have. As I look at the coming week, I am hopeful that it will be a peaceful one for me, Suki and all those reading this posting.  I say that even though today is the day we remember what happened on September 11th, 15 years ago -- a day that was anything but peaceful -- a day of death and destruction for so may -- a day which changed forever the way we look at the world and at each other.







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TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME






"Icon -- The Prodigal Son", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2015



". . .  Then Jesus said:  “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns, who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ ” Luke 15:11-32

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