Sunday, 23 July 2017

Lewisia and Lewisiopsis

"Lewisia cotyledon -- Cliff Maids", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Lewisia cotyledon is a species of flowering plant in the Purslane (Portulacaceae) family known by the common name of Cliff Maids. It is native to southern Oregon and northern California, where it grows in a rocky, sub-alpine, mountain habitat. 

It is an evergreen perennial growing from a thick taproot. It produces a basal rosette of many thick, fleshy oval- or spoon-shaped leaves up to 9 cm (4 in) long. The flowers have 7 to 13 petals. These petals may be whitish with pinkish-orange striping, solid orange to yellow or pale pink with darker veining. 

Lewisia cotyledon was among 178 species of plants that were first collected by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800s during their quest for the Northwest Passage. Thus the genus name of Lewisia in honour of Meriwether Lewis. The species name of cotyledon comes from the Greek, “kotulēdōn,” meaning a cup-shaped cavity,

"Lewisiopsis tweedyi -- Tweedy's Bitterroot", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Lewisiopsis tweedyi is the only species in the genus, Lewisiopsis. The species, formerly known as Lewisia tweedyi, is now classified in the Montiaceae family instead of the Portulacaceae family. The plant is known by the common names of Tweedy's Bitterroot and Tweedy's Lewisia. It is native to western North America, particularly in certain areas of British Columbia and adjacent north-central Washington State. 

Lewisiopsis tweedyi, a perennial, is typically found at elevations of 1,500 to 4,500 feet (460 to 1,370 m). The plants produce blossoms in May, June or July, depending on elevation. The blossoms normally have eight to twelve broad petals which are cream-coloured at the base, becoming lavender, apricot or pink near the tips with 12 to 25 stamens. It has numerous, evergreen, smooth, succulent leaves. 

The genus name of Lewisiopsis retains the original genus name honouring Capt. Merriweather Lewis, who - with William Clark - made the first transcontinental expedition across North America (1804-1806) and brought back samples of this plant. I am not sure exactly what Lewisiopsis is supposed to mean. I do know that “opsis” is a Greek word meaning “appearance” so, perhaps, Lewisiopsis means “appearing to be Lewisia” but isn't. Just a guess. 

The species name of tweedyi is taken from the name of Frank Tweedy, an American, 19th-century, topographic engineer who collected specimens for the US Geological Survey of the States of Montana, Idaho and Washington.

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


Suki refusing to eat her wet food
Life has not been easy for Suki (nor for the person with whom she lives!) this past week.  

On Monday morning, she suddenly refused to eat any of her vet-prescribed, wet food.  I have been aware for some time that she really didn't like it all that much, but, at least, she has been willing to eat it -- until this week.  

I wasted 4 (very expensive) cans of this food before I finally gave up. For the next four days, she only ate the vet-prescribed, dry food, grudgingly, complaining morning, noon and night about not having the food she wanted.  I felt that she was waiting to see if finally, in desperation, I would go out and get her some cans of Fancy Feast Turkey with Gravy!  

Then, on Thursday evening, as I was preparing for bed, I suddenly had an idea.  "Why not stop off at the pet food store close to my house on my way home from the doctor's visit on Friday morning?" So, there and then I decided to get the taxi driver to simply drop me off on the corner near my building, just across the street from the store, I wanted to see if the folks who run the store could help me help Suki.

So, on Friday morning, after I had seen the doctor (it was just a follow-up visit), I arranged things as described above.  Fortunately, when I entered the store there were just a few other customers and so I was able to get a nice young woman to assist me right away.  I described the type of food Suki needed, showed her one of the cans of the food prescribed by the vet and, then, asked her if she had any suggestions.  She proceeded to show me various possibilities, all of which I rejected. Finally, she brought down a case off one of the top shelves which I thought just might work.

After buying a case (that is the only way they sell stuff) and packing it securely in my walker basket, I set off for home with much fear and trembling.  By the time I reached my front door, it was just about 12 noon and there was Suki waiting for me.  She began immediately to try to shepherd me into the kitchen.  I allowed myself to be "shepherded" (which seemed to please Suki greatly) and quickly set about preparing a small dish of this new food.

I placed the bowl on the floor and watched in amazement as Suki gobbled up every last bite.  She then drank a bit of water, gave one of those full-body stretches expressing absolute contentment that cats are so famous for and then, after jumping into her favourite chair, set about giving herself a thorough bath.

There have been six more feeding times since that first one and, so far, she continues to appear to really enjoy this new food.  I know how fickle cats can be so I am just keeping my fingers crossed that this will turn out to be a food that Suki continues to like for years -- just like she did with the Fancy Feast.

As for me, I had quite an exciting outing on July 15th: I had a visit with Braden and Ro and their parents!  You may recall that we had to cancel the visit we had planned for sometime back in May. Then on Tuesday, the 11th, I received an email from the boys' father saying that Saturday morning would be fine for a visit if I was able to make it. I immediately wrote back and said that I was definitely available (even if I had had an appointment, I would have cancelled it in order to visit with the family and see the boys).

So early Saturday morning, I set off in a taxi to take the 40 minute drive to their house where we had a wonderful visit.  I stayed until around noon and then set off, by taxi once again, for Toronto.  This time the normally 40 minute drive took almost two hours!  First of all, there was a big accident on the other side of the highway -- which meant, of course, that all the folks in the four lanes on our side had to slow down and take a look!  

Then, there was the fact that the Toronto Indy was going strong at the CNE grounds that weekend (I could hear the roar of the cars underneath us as we travelled the major "overpass" highway across the bottom of the city). This meant that large portions of the 4-lane major artery along the lake shore was closed off and made into part of the speedway.  In turn, this meant that all those cars that would normally be travelling from one part of the downtown to another using local access streets now had to use the major highway on which the taxi driver and I were travelling.

Fortunately, I had a very pleasant driver so we were able to chat during the times traffic slowed to a crawl.  Finally, I reached my home where I found a very concerned kitty waiting for me by my front door -- after all, I was almost two hours late in feeding her! After taking care of Suki and changing into my house clothes, I collapsed into my recliner where I stayed until supper time. Yes, I was tired and in pain, but I had had a wonderful visit so that made any discomfort easy to take.

Big brother "reading" to younger brother -- one of those
precious quiet moments that parents of young children value so highly!

These next two weeks (before I post again) should be fairly quiet. I have no appointments scheduled and there are no visits planned with anyone -- even my friend, Sharon, has gone off to visit family for a week or so.  Of course, as we all know, just because nothing is planned doesn't mean that interesting things won't occur.  However, these are now the dog days of summer which are, in my opinion, meant to be "hazy, lazy days" (as the song says) -- so an empty appointment book for this time of year is not a bad thing!

Writing the above paragraph made me stop and think about the meaning behind the expression "dog days of summer".  So, I went and checked the details, for accuracy, online.  Here is what one web site says: 
The "dog days of summer" actually refers to an astronomical event. From mid-July to late-August, the star, Sirius, the Dog Star, Canis major, in the Orion constellation (which is represented by a dog in ancient Greek and Roman mythology) appears to rise and set with the sun. As the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius was already associated with light and heat. Its perceived proximity to the sun during the summertime only added to this reputation. 

So, keep cool.  
Hope the next two weeks are full of good things for you all.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Two Kalanchoe Repeats and a Primula

"Kalanchoe blossfeldiana -- Flaming Katy",  drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

From my blog posting of 05 October 2010:

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a member of the family, Crassulaceae. The plants in the genus, Kalanchoe, are succulents of the same family as the Jade plant. Common names for this plant include Flaming Katy and Christmas Kalanchoe The Christmas name refers to the fact that Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is often purchased at Christmastime – particularly, the variety which has bright, reddish/orange blossoms such as those in the featured drawing above. 

These plants are native to Madagascar. They produce clusters of small flowers above dark green, waxy leaves. The flowers of four petals each are found in many colours including red, white, orange, yellow and pink. Parts of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana are poisonous if ingested. 

The generic name of Kalanchoe allegedly originated "from the Chinese name for one variety of this species." The specific name of blossfeldiana is derived from the name of the German botanist (Robert Blossfeld) who introduced this species to the West in 1932.

"Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) manginii - Beach Bells", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) manginii is a species of flowering plant in the family, Crassulaceae, native to Madagascar. It is commonly known as Beach Bells or Chandelier Plant. 

As regards this plant’s binomial nomenclature, there are two camps – one using Kalanchoe manginii while the other uses Bryophyllum manginii. The generic name of Kalanchoe allegedly originated "from the Chinese name for one variety of this species." The generic name of Bryophyllum is derived from the Greek bryo (sprout) and phyllon (leaf), referring to the ability of the plant to propagate via leaf cuttings. The specific name of manginii, is used to honour Louis Mangin (1852-1937), professor at the Natural History Museum of Paris. 

Kalanchoe manginii is a succulent perennial, it has branches of fleshy, narrow, spoon-shaped leaves paired along wiry red-tinged stems. Small clusters of bright pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers with protruding yellow anthers dangle from the stem tips in spring.

"Primula japonica - Japanese Primrose", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Primula japonica, commonly known as Japanese Primrose or Candelabra Primrose, is a species of flowering plant in the family, Primulaceae, and is native to Japan. 

Primula japonica produces whorls of blossoms, suggestive of candelabras, emerging from rosettes of dark green leaves. This species, and its cultivars, features flowers in a range of shades, from white through pink, to purple. 

The genus name of Primula is taken from the Latin word “prime”, meaning first (blooming). The specific name of japonica, means, obviously, something of or from the country of Japan.

Portions of the above three texts were taken from various Internet sites.


I recently received a bunch of wonderful new photos of the boys taken, mainly, I think, by their mother.  She has taken many excellent photos, but one from this recent batch, to me, seemed outstanding in its simplicity and beauty.  

“ Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” – Marc Brown.
Brothers walking down the road of life, hand in hand.



"Why are you bothering me?  Can't you see that I am
engaged in very important work here?"
-- Suki
Poor Suki!  She, once again, had to suffer the indignity of attending the vet and having blood taken. Since she had been fasting from the night before, I was grateful that I was able to get her an early morning appointment.

The vet's first attempt to take blood from the large vein in her left leg was unsuccessful so she tried the same vein in her right leg and this time she was successful. Ever-patient Suki was very concerned about the pressure bandage that the vet put on her left leg to stop the bleeding. Fortunately, it was taken off after a few minutes as Suki was in danger of tipping herself off the examination table as she tried, unsuccessfully, to dislodge the pressure wrapping from her leg.

Finally, all was completed and, with Joycelyn's assistance, I managed to return home with a reasonably-subdued kitty, 2 cases of her special low-calcium wet food and a big bag of her low-calcium "crunchies".  Fortunately, we had a very helpful taxi driver who assisted us in get everything into the lobby of my building.

As soon as we reached my apartment, I opened the carrying case so that Suki could be free again.  She was out in an instant and then begin to meow, loudly telling me how hungry she was. So, I left everything else and set about feeding her as she had been fasting for well over fifteen hours prior by this time.  

Suki was delighted to see food again and ate greedily until I finally took the bowl away from her and suggested she digest what she had eaten before having any more food.  She must have already eaten her fill as she promptly left the kitchen, jumped into her favourite chair, gave herself a good bath -- especially where the vet had been working on her and then settled down for a long nap before lunch time! 

Now I will have to wait for at least a week before the lab results are in as these samples, once again, have to be sent to a special lab somewhere.  I hope everyone is still keeping their fingers crossed that the results will be good news.

As for me, I continue to be about the same as last reported.  I did have a few very painful days last week, but the pain was the price I paid for giving into my desire to see a certain exhibit at the Ontario Art Gallery.

The AGO has been hosting an exhibition of the works of the painter, Georgia O'Keefe, along with photos by some of the important photographers in her life, including:  Alfred Stieglitz (whom she eventually married), Paul Strand and Edward Steichen. I have admired O'Keefe's work for years now and it was quite wonderful see her actual canvases along with the photos taken of her by various well-known photographers.

Of course, after all the walking, including standing and looking at all those paintings for over two hours, my feet and legs felt as though they were on fire.  So for the next 48 hours or so, I was most uncomfortable and even with my pain meds, barely able to distract myself or sleep at all.  

I knew that the price I would have to pay for attending the exhibit was going to be a period of discomfort, but I didn't realize that it would last for so long! Anyway, I am better now and well aware that the next time I want to do something like this then I will just have to set my pride aside and rent a wheelchair for the occasion. 

I did have a very pleasant Canada Day on the July 1st (below, please see the drawing I posted on Facebook for Canada Day). Hope all my Canadian readers had a good holiday as well, including my American readers on the 4th.  While it is good to be proud of our countries and to remember all the fine people who have gone before us and whose sacrifices brought our nation into existence, I feel we all need to be careful these days to avoid nationalist fervour and jingoistic thinking.  

Most of us in North America are all immigrants of one kind or another -- other than the Indigenous peoples, of course. Newly arrived immigrants have as much right to be here as we do and, if we are really honest about it, we know that our countries need new people with new ways of thinking and new approaches to creating a better life for everyone.  I also think it is good to remember as we celebrate that many of our ancestors were crooks, scoundrels and such like -- some were even illegal immigrants.  Yet, look how positively many of our family members, over the generations, have contributed to our various countries and cultures.

Enough preaching -- I do get carried away at times, don't I.... 

Anyway, until I post again in two weeks time, things should be fairly quiet for me and Suki (unless we get bad news from the vet, that is).  I do have a few more medical appointments scheduled but they are all just follow-up appointments.  Additionally, I am hoping to hear soon about when I can next visit my two favourite little boys and their parents. 

So, until next time, take care and remember to keep your fingers crossed that there will be good news for Suki!

"Indigenous Dancer", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2017