Monthly Archives: April 2018

SNIPPETS (4-29-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I honestly admit that it has been a long time since I have been as passionate about something—anything!—as I am about my newfound interest in cactus & succulents (C&S), my role as newsletter editor for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society, and my new company, A+R POTTERY.

In order to sell anything at C&S shows throughout Southern California, including my Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY, one has to be a member of that specific C&S society.

Yesterday I visited the Palomar C&S Society in Escondido, 31 miles north of me, which I joined last month. San Diego C&S Society will be my home chapter, and Palomar C&S Society will be my secondary chapter.

Most chapters have what they call a “Brag Table” at their meetings where members can bring in plants and kind of (kind of?) brag about them in front of other similar-minded (i.e., obsessive about cactus & succulents) people.

There usually are three experience levels: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced. One’s rating is determined by how many ribbons one has won at their meetings and shows, not how much one knows about cactus and succulents, or how long one has been growing them.

There are two main categories: Cactus, and Succulents.

Even though I’ve been growing cactus and succulents since 1966, I’m a Novice as to showing them in competitions. I entered five plants in the Palomar C&S Society Brag Table competition yesterday and came away with a 1st place cactus and a clean sweep—1st, 2nd, and 3rd—in succulents.

They announced that it was their largest meeting ever with 92 members in attendance, and I counted 37 entries in the succulent category, so I wasn’t just competing against myself………..lol

All are in Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY (that’s me!), and the 1st place cactus also won 1st place cactus at the San Diego C&S Society Brag Table competition on April 14. Here they are:

1st place cactus Mammilaria plumosa pcss 042818 framed

1st place succulent Aloe castilloniae pcss

2nd place succulent Crassula corymbulosa

3rd place succulent Crassula

And here’s the loser, an Echevieria ‘Dondo’ in a cute glass pot on a framed San Diego tile:

Echeveriera 'Dondo' on a San Diego framed tile

SNIPPET 2

Did I say something about being passionate?

The San Diego County Fair, the nation’s fifth largest by attendance, begins June 1 and ends July 4, making it the Fair’s longest run ever. Each year they have a huge gardening section with bonsai, cactus & succulents, landscaping, and more. That’s the main reason I go to the Fair each year. This year, however, I shall be entering two plants in the “Container” competition. These two:

1st place succulent Aloe castilloniae pcss

Euphorbia ferox

The second picture is a Euphorbia ferox in what I call my “Stephen King” pot since it looks like a devilish creature out of one of his novels. That pot sold (to me!) for $100 at the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society Winter Show, and is the pot that is directly attributable to me founding my A+R POTTERY company.

I might also enter some more plants but the Fair’s criteria for judging actually does include artistic creativeness and originality, so it depends on how original and creative I can get by May 4, which is the deadline for entering Container plants.

SNIPPET 3

I’m thinking that the problem with home schooling is that the children get no interaction with other children who, uh, might not be exactly like them. All they get is what mommy and daddy want them to get, and that includes religious indoctrination and hatred of others who are different. I think education includes—or should include—much more than simply Reading, ‘Riting, & ‘Rithmatic. It needs to include socialization with other people, music appreciation, sports (learning how to lose graciously), history (My wise old grandmother said, “If we don’t study and understand history, we are bound to repeat it.” That could explain why it seems like America is back in the 1850’s instead of 2018.

SNIPPET 4

I spent several hours on Friday looking at the ground planting cacti, succulents, and rocks. It was late evening, so I took a break, looked up, and saw this:

Sunset in El Cajon, California

I didn’t have my DSLR out in the dirt with me so I had to take that with my Samsung Galaxy S8 smarty-pants phone.

SNIPPET 5

Back in 1987 I dated a woman who asked God everything, when to call in sick, when to take vacation, when to do genealogy research, when to call me, when to come visit me.

I had a home-based business and one Saturday night she was in my bedroom studying her Bible lesson for Sunday. I decided to take a break and take the two dogs for a walk. I went into my room and asked her, “Do you want to take the dogs for a walk with me?” She rolled over, looked at me ever so sweetly, and answered, “No. God hasn’t told me to take the dogs for a walk with you.”

I broke up with her two days later.

That was the beginning of the end of any respect I had for religion.

If God was talking in such detail with that one woman, I thought s/he was neglecting a few billion other people, like children dying of cancer or other such diseases (leprosy, smallpox, etc., in the days of yore), family and friends of children dying of cancer. Then, just for fun, add in deaths and injuries from tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, blizzards, floods.

Death and destruction everywhere. If that’s God, I don’t want anything to do with it.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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SNIPPETS (4-22-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

It’s been a month since I was able to work on my Succulent Wall due to rain; brother-in-law having a stroke; a lonely, scared cat (Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat) which came to visit us while BIL was in the hospital; more rain; too cold to work outside (lower than 70°F).

Yesterday was warm and sunny. Wonderful gardening weather.

Every time I put a rock or plant in the ground at by Succulent Wall, I take a picture. When I’m finished, I’ll be able to make a time-lapse GIF.

Following is the final picture from yesterday evening, 7:30. The cruddy fence belongs to the Open Space Preserve next door and is one of the reason why I chose to build my Succulent Wall right there. The beautiful plants & flowers take one’s eyes away from the cruddy fence.

Succulent Wall

SNIPPET 2

I miss the days of yore when we could sample food in the grocery store. Just take off the lid, stick your finger in, lick it, put the lid back on, place back on shelf. No problem. Now we have all these adult-proof plastic thingies on the lids, and if you get it off, you still have another plastic thingie under the lid. Life just ain’t what it used to be. Here’s the “Swiss Army Knife” that I used to sample food in the grocery store back in the ’60s:

Swiss Army Knife

SNIPPET 3

My new BFF gardening friend. I believe this is a huge specimen of the Pinacate beetle. Eleodes sp. Stink bug. Clown beetle.

Pinacate beetle

SNIPPET 4

Seems I wake up every morning to news of a shooting in one of the time zones ahead of me. This morning it’s in Tennessee.

The gun nuts, of course, blame it on the person, not the gun—I’m pretty sure the gun helps—and want to ban everything except guns, even though no one is suggesting banning all guns, only guns used exclusively to commit mass murder. I mean, when was the last time you saw Facebook or Instagram pictures of the deer, or rabbit, or pheasant, that some hunter killed with his AK-47?

This morning’s mass murder was nude except for a green jacket. I guess we need to ban all nudity. Those poor nudists at their nudist resort….

Gun evidence

SNIPPET 5

A+R POTTERY—Designer Pots for your small cactus & succulentsA+R POTTERY had its first official sale as a business entity at the General Meeting of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society on April 14.

It sold for $40.

Here it is:

First official sale for A+R POTTERY

SNIPPET 6

A+R POTTERY is going against conventional wisdom in its business venture because the #1 general rule for caring for cactus & succulents is:

Make sure your pot has a drainage hole.

I created a little 4-page, 4.25″ x 5.5″ brochure to explain all about Designer Pots. Here it is for your reading pleasure:

Look ma!

SNIPPET 7

Zoey the Cool Cat has a propensity to yawn twice, the second one exactly 30 seconds after the first.

Once I knew that, it was easy to get photos like this one:

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 8

Studies conducted by social psychologists Hart Blanton and Christopher Burrows of the College of Liberal Arts at my alma mater, Texas A&M University, showed that participants had a reduced willingness to drive under the influence of alcohol after playing video games that contained anti-DUI messages.

I’m all for research and trying to improve the world, but I can also see this kind of technology in the hands of people like Twitler, McConnell, Ryan, Cruz, Rubio, the Koch Brothers, the rich, corporations, just about the whole current crop of Republicans, and, of course, the Russians. My vision isn’t pretty.

SNIPPET 9

Last week we knew that the rapture would occur before the end of April. Now we know that it is tomorrow.

Are you prepared?

I won’t be going, of course, because I still have a cat and gardens to take care of……………..

SNIPPET 10

After completing our tax returns on the seventeenth, I can definitively tell you that it’s far more lucrative to get your inheritance via life insurance rather than retirement accounts, bank accounts, savings accounts, CD’s, Roth IRA’s, and 401(k)’s.

Taxes eat up a significant portion of everything except life insurance.

Sadly, our continuing inheritance puts us just under the borderline for next year’s Twitler tax cuts, so we’re going to get hit hard.

Canada, Mexico, and Australia are looking pretty good…..

SNIPPET 11

The other day my bank account had a deposit of $3.15 in it from an entity which I did not recognize. These types of deposits show up occasionally, and whenever they do, it’s usually a class action settlement, as it was this time.

Uber.

My best payday in a class action settlement was a little over $96.

My worst and most ridiculous class action settlement was a penny. Yep. A penny. And it arrived via the mail as a check. Who in the hell writes a check for a penny?

SNIPPET 12

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

It’s looking like I will finish my leftover October 2017 Halloween candy by the end of April 2018.

I’m sooooooooooo happy!

This is all I have left out of the original two container stuffed full:

Halloween 2017 leftover candy

SNIPPET 13

Those of us who have studied history know that politics has always involved favors and money. Here’s an excerpt from “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, published in 1943:

[Wynand, the extraordinarily rich guy] asked to be connected with an eminent Senator in Washington.

“Good morning, Senator,” he said when the gentleman came on the wire within two minutes. “It is so kind of you to answer this call. I appreciate it. I do not wish to impose on your time. But I felt I owed you an expression of my deepest gratitude. I called to thank you for your work in passing the Hayes-Langston Bill.”

“But . . . Mr. Wynand!” The Senator’s voice seemed to squirm. “It’s so nice of you, but . . . the Bill hasn’t been passed.”

“Oh, that’s right. My mistake. It will be passed tomorrow.”

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

SNIPPETS (4-15-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

Yahoooooooooo! First place in the Cactus Novice category at the April 14 General Meeting of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society. Novice simply means I don’t have a lot of experience showing plants. Judges rarely comment on presentation but this one did. He was gushing over the black metal pot and black/gray top dressing sandwiched between the white cactus (Mammilaria plumosa) and the white tile. My “Reverse Oreo” look.

1st place, Cactus Novice, Russel Ray, San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

I also got a third place in the Succulent Novice category. A Crassula corymbulosa (Red pagoda).

3rd place, Succulent Novice, Russel Ray, San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

Both plants are in Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY (that’s me!).

SNIPPET 2

Thursday night, April 13, was Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat’s last night with J&R Rescue Service. She went back home to her daddy on Friday. Following is the last picture I took of Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat. She and Zoey the Cool Cat were tolerating each other but were none too happy, Ninja at being in a strange home, and Zoey at having a strange cat in her home of 10 years.

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat & Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 3

One of my favorite candies in my youth was candy corn. I haven’t eaten any in several decades, so imagine my surprise when candy corn showed up in my garden this past week.

Candy corn succulent

SNIPPET 4

One of the neighborhood kids (we’ll call him Joe Bob) came by this past Friday. Turns out that he missed his school bus so, uh, he didn’t go to school. Gosh, when I missed my school bus when I was his age, my wise old grandmother drove me to school, which made her none too happy.

Joe Bob wanted to rescue bees from my Wildlife Corner pond where the thirsty bees drink after their long journey collecting pollen. We’ve done this twice before.

Normally we use sticks and leaves to rescue the little ones that are drowning and too weak to get out of the water. In this case, Joe Bob cupped his hands, dipped them in the water, and came out with a rescued honeybee which rested on his hand for a minute until its wings were dry enough to fly away. Here’s Joe Bob with his BFF honeybee on his hand.

Rescuing drowning honey bees

Although you can’t see all of Joe Bob’s face, his look was priceless, which you can kind of tell by the smile on his face.

I must admit that I was smiling, too, at seeing a young child taking pleasure in Mother & Father Nature’s creations and helping them out.

I’m always leery of taking pictures of other people’s children so later that evening,  I put the picture on a flash drive and walked it over to Joe Bob’s house, explained what had happened and why I had a picture of their son, and gave the picture to them. They seemed quite happy with me.

SNIPPET 5

I have survived so many end-of-world predictions that I have lost count. The latest prediction is that the end of the world will come by the end of April 2018. I shall wash & dry every day through the end of the month to make sure that I have clean underwear.

SNIPPET 6

This morning I drove by a church out in the boondocks. This message was on their marquee:

“There is nothing too hard for God.”

“Hmmm,” I thought. “The Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, slavery, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, cancer, just to name a few.” I continued: “If there is nothing too hard for God and s/he’s not doing anything, I don’t want to be associated with that God because s/he’s cruel, mean, and heartless.”

SNIPPET 7

Who knew that the Easter Cactus grows little beards after the dead blossoms fall off?

Easter cactus

SNIPPET 8

My new Echevieria ‘Dondo’ planted in a Designer Pot by A+R POTTERY.

Echevieria 'Dondo'

The San Diego platform base actually is attached to the pot using 100% silicone.

SNIPPET 9

Many plants respond to sunlight by turning various shades of red. Here’s an Aeonium which spend a lot of time in the sun and has morning mist drops on it.

Aeonium with raindrops

SNIPPET 10

Baby ducky season is upon us but who knew that daddies could dance? And on water?

Male Mallard dancing on water

SNIPPET 11

And here are a few baby duckies, two of them trying to clamber up the concrete wall of the pond to reach momma and the other little baby duckies.

Baby duckies

SNIPPET 12

Huge, monster, gigantic, big, really really really really big soap bubbles seem to be the latest rage here in San Diego. Tide pods?

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

SNIPPETS (4/8/18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I joined the Internet as soon as it was available because previously I had been connected from Texas A&M University to co-workers at other universities like Wisconsin, LSU, Georgia, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State through the ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network.

Although ARPANET was run by the United States Department of Defense, it wasn’t so much a defense network per sé as it was a way for researchers throughout the nation to connect with each other in writing without relying on the U.S. Mail.

With ARPANET, though, to the best of my knowledge after forty years, we had a little privacy. Such is not true with today’s Internet. Searches using Google, Bing, and Yahoo, are great examples.

If I ever thought that my little ol’ blog here was just an out-of-the-limelight set of musings, I realized very early after starting to blog in July 2007 that such was not the case. It got to the point in 2015 where I could publish a blog post and, within just a couple of minutes, my post would be indexed by Google and Yahoo. Because I don’t publish as often, it will take over an hour for this post to be indexed.

And now we have Facebook. If, after the Facebook fiasco, anyone thinks their information is private, well, I have news for you. I’m thinking that there needs to be a sequel to the 2010 movie, “The Social Network.”

SNIPPET 2

I have always loved pictures of raindrops on plants but I never was happy with my own pictures. That was the purpose of me buying the Tamron 90mm Macro lens several months ago. I just wasn’t happy with the raindrops pictures I was getting with my Tamron 18-300mm lens, which didn’t completely surprise me because it’s not a macro lens.

My gardens have had over 13 inches of rain in 2018, and that has allowed me plenty of opportunities to get pictures of raindrops on plants. Here are five of my favorites:

#1 — Raindrops on Sprenger asparagus fern (not a true fern)Raindrops

#2 — Raindrops on Aloe flower
Raindrops

#3 — Raindrops on a succulent flower stalk
Raindrops

#4 — Raindrops on leaves of Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
Raindrops

#5 — Raindrops on a Graptopetalum leaf
(Might be in the NSFW category)
Raindrops

SNIPPET 3

I have been working tirelessly on getting a good inventory of Designer Pots for my new company, A+R POTTERY. There are about 50 completed pots, some of which will be kept as display pots to provide inspiration for those looking to buy but wondering what to do with such a small pot. Remember that my tagline is Designer Pots For Your Small Cactus And Succulents.

I shall be selling at cactus & succulent shows throughout Southern California. There are 15 such shows through August 12, although I don’t know if I’ll be able to participate in all of them. I sure would like to.

In order to be a vendor at a show, though, there usually are two basic requirements: (1) One has to be a member of the Cactus & Succulent Society that is hosting the show, and (2) One has to enter anywhere from two to eight entries into the show. They don’t have to be competitive entries, but obviously a show has to have plants in the show in order to have a show. Makes sense.

Of course, members and even the general public can enter plants into the show, but of vendors, it is a requirement. Here are five of my Designer Pots with plants for entering shows:

#1
These plants are stonecrops, so I call this my Stonecrop Swimming Pool.
Stonecrop Swimming Pool

#2
The larger plant at the back is Graptoveria olivia.
I bought it from a person on Facebook that I met
in the Cactus & Succulents Marketplace group.
Show pot & plants

#3
Many shows have auctions with the proceeds going to scholarships,
libraries, or special functions. It’s a great way to get publicity.
This one will be donated to the Benefit Auction on April 14
for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society,
which benefits their scholarship fund.
Benefit Auction Designer Pot & plant

#4
Many people don’t like “scraggly” plants. I’m a big fan of them.
They look so cool hanging over the edge of one of my Designer Pots.
Designer Pot with scraggly plant

#5
This is Crassula corymbulosa (Red Pagoda).
This one will be entered into show competitions.
Crassula corymbulosa (Red Pagoda)

#6
These five plants are Aloe varieties.
I call this Aloe Avenue.
It will be for inspiration only display.
Aloe Avenue

#7
I call this one Cactus Condominiums.
It also will be for inspiration only display.
Cactus Condominiums

#8
Lastly, I like this one so much
that I will be making more of them today and tomorrow.
San Diego Designer Pot by A+R Pottery

Each Designer Pot is different and numbered, so even if I make more starting with the same San Diego tile, the glass pot and frame on each one will be different, making each pot unique.

SNIPPET 4

Jim’s brother, Steve, had a stroke on March 19 and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital and rehab after successful surgery. Steve has a cat named Ninja. Since he lives just 120 miles from us, the Jim & Russel Rescue Service sprang into action and took Ninja in to care for her and love her while her daddy is recovering. Ninja will be returning to her daddy this coming Friday. Ninja is an older cat, and quite large. I call her Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat. She and Zoey the Cool Cat don’t really like each other but they do tolerate each other.

Here are a few pictures of Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat:

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

It took a little while for Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat
to get comfortable in her new home.
She did that by creating bed tunnels
to hide in while she was acclimating.
Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat

Eventually they were able to get pretty close to each other
without growling and hissing.
Zoey the Cool Cat & Ninja the visiting Fat Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat & Ninja the visiting Fat Cat

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post