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.


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