Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Photographer career began in sixth grade in 1966.

SNIPPETS (5-20-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I scored a Trichocereus bridgesii at the Palomar C&SS meeting in Escondido yesterday. It poked me
when I picked it up off the table,
when I set it by my other stuff,
when I picked it up to take it to the car,
when I put it in the car,
when I got it out of the car,
when I set it down in my “to-be-planted” collection,
when I picked it up to take it to a spot to get this picture,
when I set it down,
and when I picked it up to take it back to my “to-be-planted” collection.

I’m thinking it doesn’t like me

I did get the last laugh, though, because it tried to poke me when I set it down for the last time.

It missed!

Ha ha!

Trichocereus bridgesii

SNIPPET 2

When I get depressed, I go talk to my plants. They listen to me. They don’t talk back. Sometimes they do say something to cheer me up, like this Rebutia krainziana did earlier today.

This little dish garden won 1st place plant-of-the-month dish garden at the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society meeting yesterday. Created by me in Designer Pot #8 by A+R POTTERY (also me!).

Left to right: Rebutia narvaecense, Rebutia marsoneri, Rebutia krainziana

Rebutia krainziana

Rebutia krainziana

SNIPPET 3

I have had 8 of my beauties selected for inclusion in the C&S display at the San Diego County Fair.

The first one, Echinopsis chamaecereus (Peanut cactus), will be replanted into a Designer Pot by A+R POTTERY (that’s me!).

All except the last one will be in Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY.

Here they are.

Echinopsis chamaecereus

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

2018 San Diego County Fair entry

SNIPPET 4

I have found that, if your plants are not blooming, a magic stone placed near them often helps.

Bloom dammit!

SNIPPET 5

Costco is selling their Kirkland brand Premium Golden Margarita for just $6.99 for a 750mL bottle. Ready to drink. That means it already has alcohol in it.

I understand why.

This stuff is nasty, nasty, nasty.

I’m going to have to eat it down with some extra jalapeños.

SNIPPET 6

I always thought this sound was some kind of bird.

Recently, I had a wildlife expert inform me that it’s a ground squirrel.

Here’s one on YouTube

SNIPPET 7

I had to choose yesterday between a San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society Coffee-in-the-Garden or the monthly meeting of the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society (PCSS). Although the Coffee-in-the-Garden was just down the road from me, I chose to drive 40 miles to Escondido for the PCSS meeting, mainly because I’m helping them create their C&S display at the San Diego County Fair this week, and will have 8 of my cactus creations in the display, so I needed to get Fair credentials and such. This will be the first year that I have gone to the Fair FREE since exhibitors get 2 free tickets. Yahoooooooooo!

2018 San Diego County Fair tickets, FREE!

SNIPPET 8

Many decades ago I was on my way from College Station TX to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I stopped at a religious bookstore in Shreveport LA. They had 48 different versions of the Bible but the most interesting one was a Bible that had 8 versions on each 2-page spread so you could compare them. That was the final straw that convinced me that the Bible was a bunch of hooey.

SNIPPET 9

First picture is Meatball, employee of the month at Ottavio’s Italian Restaurant in Lakeside CA, my favorite place to get barbecued chicken pizza. Second picture is Meatball doing what Meatball does best in her favorite spot.

Meatball

Meatball

SNIPPET 10

I can definitively tell you that old age does, indeed, come, and it’s not kind to your ability to clean the house, so get that cleaning out of the way while you’re young.

SNIPPET 11

Tumbleweed growing season is in full swing.

Field of growing tumbleweeds

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

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SNIPPETS (5-13-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

If it’s cactus, cacti, it should be agapanthus, agapanthi, yes? Well, whatever.

On May 25, 1979, I flew my wise old grandmother (MWOG) and my two oldest nieces from Kingsville to Houston to Los Angeles to visit MWOG’s oldest living son’s family. My dad was her oldest son, but he committed suicide in 1961 when I was 6.

I remember the date because we were going to fly just hours after AA Flight 191 from Chicago to Los Angeles crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 273 people, still the deadliest air crash in the United States. I had to convince MWOG and teenage girls that flying was safer than driving, and that the absolute safest time to fly is right after an air crash. Odds. Statistics. Nonetheless….

Her oldest living, Charles, had the most beautiful yard I had ever seen because it had so many beautiful plants that I had never seen, and they all were blooming. April showers bring May flowers. Little did I know that they didn’t have April showers in Los Angeles; all watering by hand at that time.

One of his plants was an agapanthus. Its flower stalk was taller than me, and I’m 6’3″. I have always wanted one but never got one. In our new home, I have many, planted by the previous owners. Over 20 flower buds, and this one, about four feet tall, was the first to open, the night of May 8-9.

SNIPPET 2

I abandoned Texas on April 15, 1993, winding up in San Diego, California, on April 27, 1993. For the last days of April, I stayed at the KOA in Chula Vista. On the night of April 30, I was watching news/weather/sports at the KOA community room. The weatherman came on to announce that for the third consecutive month San Diego had no rain, not even a trace. Less than two inches for the first four months of 1993. I thought to myself, “This is my kind of weather. Think I’ll stay.” I did.

Although I can definitively say that it’s more expensive to live in California, I can also definitively say that I would never had made the kind of money in Texas that I have made in California. It might have something to do with the entrepreneurial spirit in this state that led to the announcement this past week that California’s economy is now the fifth largest in the world, having surpassed the United Kingdom.

I love it here.

SNIPPET 3

I have a problem with floor spots in our new home. I don’t know what brand vinyl flooring the previous owners installed in the kitchen, but I’m thinking it might be time to rip it out and install tile. Tile’s expensive, though, and I’m not sure it will solve this floor spot problem.

Floor spot

SNIPPET 4

The Summer Show & Sale for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society is coming up June 2-3. I have heard that it is the largest cactus & succulent show and sale in the nation. My new A+R POTTERY business will be a vendor. In order to be a vendor, said vendor has to enter 8 plants in the show. Considering that there are at least 40 vendors, that’s 320 plants right there. However….

There also is an education category, which I’m going to enter because I love doing research. My exhibit will be on Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Spiral/Fermat’s Spiral in cactus & succulents. Longtime readers might remember my blog on the subject from March 9, 2013, using sunflowers:

Speaking of sunflowers, Fermat’s spiral, and Fibonacci numbers….

Sunflower showing Fermat's spirals

SNIPPET 5

Plants grow very slowly relative to other things so you might not notice what they are doing until months, or even years, later. I’m sure this little pot full of Euphorbia obesa started out as just one, the biggest one in the middle. Over the years, momma has had a few babies, and they are stretching this plastic container, trying to get out on their own. Well, I’m here to help them. Can’t stay with momma forever.

Euphorbia obesa

SNIPPET 6

Last July I sat in for Jeff Moore at his boutique nursery, Solana Succulents, in Solana Beach, California, while Jeff visited the Bay Area to talk with cactus & succulent societies up there. I came home from Solana Succulents with an Operculicarya decaryii. Looks like this:

Operculicarya decaryii

It looks kind of dead, but it’s simply been dormant for the winter. This past Tuesday I noticed that it’s waking up. The leaves are very small so even in full leaf it looks almost dead. While I was looking at the first of its little leaves, I noticed that some of the little leaves are not leaves at all.

They are flowers!

Itsty bitsy teeny tiny little really really really small flowers, so small that I could not measure them. I think they’re about a tenth of an inch in diameter.

I got a good picture with my DSLR and the 90mm macro lens, though:

Operculicarya decaryii flower

SNIPPET 7

I have always liked Tillandsias but I’ve never had too many because I had never found a good way to display them. I don’t like bare roots hanging all over the place.

Now I have a way to display them—Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY (that’s me!).

I filled Designer Pot #59 with a couple of big rocks, then a layer of smaller rocks, then smaller pebbles, then even smaller pebbles. I placed some of the pebbles from the top layer over the Tillandsia roots to hold the plant in place, and then poured water in up to the copper ring so that the top layer where the Tillandsia is “rooted” is dry except for the humidity rising up through the rocks.

In just six hours, the Tillandsia responded to the humidity, basically telling me that he loves it!

Here he is in his new home:

Tillandsia in Designer Pot #59 by A+R POTTERY

SNIPPET 8

I have decided to take on a new nickname.

Just call me ADH Russel.

Stands for “Anti-Drainage Hole Russel.”

Here’s the story, from my brand new website for A+R POTTERY, the anti-drainage hole Designer Pots:

http://www.arpottery.gallery/about-us

SNIPPET 9

Along with the new A+R POTTERY web site, we now have an A+R POTTERY Facebook page!

Yahooooooooooooo!

LIKE us on Facebook!

SNIPPET 10

We added a new book to our classical music library.

New library book

SNIPPET 11

When I rejoined the work force in February 1994 after 10 months of my second retirement, I helped set up offices throughout the nation for Nextel Communications.

I noticed that those beautiful leather, high-back executive office chairs were $1,500 to $2,000.

I always wanted one.

Yesterday, I bought one.

For $129.99.

At Office Depot.

Made in China.

Leather office chair

Zoey the Cool Cat is not yet ready to give up the old chair. She took possession of it while I was assembling the new chair. And I didn’t even buy the new chair at IKEA!

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 12

From the best meme seen on Facebook this past week:

My heart goes out to any aspiring dystopian fiction authors who keep having their ideas stolen by the Republican Party.

SNIPPET 13

Best research summary released last week:

People over 40 should only work 3 days a week, experts say

SNIPPET 14

If you missed the Iranian and Israeli missiles flying through the air this past week……… Those missiles are expensive…….. Putin sells missiles to Iran………… The U.S. sells missiles to Israel………… Someone’s making a lot of money!

SNIPPET 15

Got my California ballot in the mail today since I’m a permanent mail voter. When a Republican was in charge of California, the state was billions of dollars in the red. A Democrat took over and now is leaving the state with the world’s fifth largest economy and a billion dollar annual surplus.
With all that money available, 27 people are running for Governor of California.

27.

Yes, 27.

SNIPPET 16

I like meat, especially fish, chicken, and bacon.

I grew up in a ranching/farming family, so we had lots of pigs, cows, and chickens. One thing I learned on that farm is not to name an animal that I intended to eat.

Naming things makes it personal, and one doesn’t want to get personal with the animal one intends to kill and eat.

I applied that thinking to my vegetables, too.

I name my carrots and peas.

Problem solved.

SNIPPET 18

I have been involved in many different industries during my business career. Word processing, computer sales, real estate buying and selling. landscaping, property renovation, roofing, plumbing, office management, project management, editing, graphic design, home inspections. In every one of them, I knew a great deal about a specific industry before every getting involved in it. Such is not the case with my newest business:

A+R POTTERY—Designer Pots for your small cactus & succulents

A+R POTTERY sold two Designer Pots yesterday at the general meeting of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society. That was a 100% volume increase of April, and a 125% income increase! I’m quite pleased. Especially since yesterday’s meeting was the worst I’ve been to. There might have been 100 members in attendance, and maybe 20 walk-throughs from the general public. Afterwards I found out why. We were competing with many Mother’s Day weekend events in Balboa Park, and three of the biggest were within 50 feet of our meeting. So to get to us, one had to walk through the crowds for the San Diego Youth Opera, the San Diego Youth Symphony, and the annual San Diego Epiphyllum Society Show & Sale.

I can definitively say that one doesn’t want people walking through monster, gigantic, beautiful, luscious Epiphyllum flowers to get to your meeting because they will never make it. Would YOU have made it through several hundred of these flowering plants?

Epiphyllum flowers

So I’m quite pleased with my progress in the two months I have officially been in business.

Here are the two pots that I sold yesterday:

Designer Pot #13 by A+R POTTERY

Designer Pot #14 by A+R POTTERY

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

SNIPPETS (5-6-18)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

Back in 1966, I stopped by a field on the way home from school and picked some flowers for my wise old grandmother. She was appreciative but also upset. She told me that if I loved the flowers, I should leave them in the field to grow and produce seeds so we’ll have more flowers. I think that was our first conversation about the birds and the bees………..lol

So I’ve never been a fan of cut flowers. However, when a flower falls off or is pulled of by, uh, a ground squirrel or rabbit, I’m not averse to picking it up and putting it in a glass of water

I bought several cactus and succulents at the Huntington Gardens plant sale last Sunday in San Marino. One had a beautiful orange flower on it. Due to high-speed Southern California driving for two hours (one has to drive with the prevailing speed), the cactus fell over and broke the flower off. Saved the flower, and it’s looked amazing for three days.

Cactus flower

SNIPPET 2

If you have never been to the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Garden in San Marino, California (northeast of downtown Los Angeles, near Pasadena), I can highly recommend it. In fact, I think it should be on everyone’s Bucket List.

The property comprises 207 acres, of which 120 acres are gardens. I could spend a day wandering around the gardens. I did spend a day wandering around the gardens! My favorite plant during my visit last Sunday was the Tower of Jewels (Echium  sp.):

Tower of Jewels (Echium sp.)

SNIPPET 3

Yesterday, 25 members of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society were treated to a private tour of Western Cactus, the nation’s largest cactus grower. Wow! What an experience. Following are a couple of pictures inside two of their 50 green houses. Those are hundreds of trays full of many thousands of cactus seedlings.

Western Cactus of Vista, California

Western Cactus of Vista, California

SNIPPET 4

I accidentally stepped into a low branch of this 4-foot tall “Fat Boy” cactus yesterday. I can definitively tell you that those long spines hurt like hell. I have seven puncture wounds, and that poor ankle still is hurting.

Fat Boy cactus

SNIPPET 5

Out in the wild, only about one in a thousand cactus seeds germinates and grows into a plant. It’s tough out there. It’s only marginally better in a greenhouse simply because caretakers can’t care for each seedling individually, so there will be natural die-off. Here are seed trays containing a thousand cactus seedlings of Astrophytum myriostigma each.

Aastrophytum myriostigma seedlings about 3 weeks old.

SNIPPET 6

And here is a picture from Wikipedia of what those seedlings will grow into; vastly different. Bishop’s Cap photo by Petar43 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27717413

Bishop's Cap

SNIPPET 7

I have 50+ years of botany experience, so I know that cacti are dicots, which means that their seeds will send up two cotyledons to take care of photosynthesis while the seed grows into a little plant and then starts its own photosynthesis.

However, until yesterday, I had never seen the cotyledons of a cactus seed. I used a 90mm macro lens on my Canon 760D to get this picture of two half-inch tall cacti still growing out of their cotyledons, which seem to be quite a bit plumper than, say, sweet pea or corn cotyledons, both of which I’m very familiar with.

Cactus cotyledons

SNIPPET 8

I haven’t had a true passion since 2001 when I started my home inspection business. Sadly, due to the 1% jerk Realtors, the 1% jerk home inspectors in the trade associations, and the 1% jerk buying/selling Clients, that passion lasted only for about 3 years. Then it became just a job, a way to pay the bills, buy a new car every other year, and buy my annual membership to the San Diego Zoo.

It’s just amazing how the 1% can ruin everything for the rest of us. President Twitler and his ilk are great examples.

SNIPPET 9

Western Cactus is  wholesale only. They ship cactus to retail entities throughout the world. The smallest cactus they ship is in a 4-inch plastic pot, which retail nurseries then re-plant into larger pots (so they can charge more) or decorative pots that add perceived value.

The first picture is of cactus in their 4-inch growing trays ready to be pulled and planted in 4-inch pots. The second picture are plants that have been pulled from the growing trays and are ready to be put in 4-inch plastic pots. The third picture are plants in those 4-inch plastic pots and ready to be shipped out to your local nursery. The pictures are of three different cactus species.

Western Cactus

Western Cactus

Western Cactus

SNIPPET 10

Well isn’t Zoey the Cool Cat just a special little queen enjoying her private catio.

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 11

I seem to be noticing cacti & succulents like I’ve never noticed them before. Here’s a huge Opuntia (Prickly Pear) growing in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. I would not be surprised if this one was planted in 1827 when Casa de Estudillo, where it was located, was planted. They certainly never grew this tall in my hometown of Kingsville TX.

Opuntia in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

SNIPPET 12

I had a margarita for Cinco de Mayo. You knew that, though, right? I had it in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park where I was serenaded by a Mexican trio playing “Tequila!” Here’s the trio, surrounded by cacti & succulents, and the song:

Tequila!

SNIPPET 13

Why are we allowing for-profit companies to litter our streets with these ugly bikes? I call them “litter bikes.” One can’t move them if one wants to take a picture, and they are so ugly that one is encouraged not to take the pictures, notwithstanding how expert one might be with Photoshop.

Litter bikes

SNIPPET 14

Today’s “Still Life” by Russel Ray Photos. I might have to question the part about “clean” since this was litter.

Clean, polite, and honest

The fine for littering is $1,000. Here’s my take on the litterer’s conversation with the litter police:

Litterer: Throws litter on the ground
Litter Police: “Hey, you! I just saw you throw that on the ground!”
Litterer: “Wasn’t me.”
Litter Police: “I saw you!”
Litterer: “You can’t possibly have been watching me and only me with these thousands of people here.”
Litter Police: “I don’t have to be watching only you. I only have to have my eyes on you as you’re littering.”
Litterer: “Wasn’t me.”
Litter Police: “All you have to do is pick it up and put it in the trash and we can end this.”
Litterer: “I’m not picking it up. It’s not mine! And who knows where it’s been or how long it’s been there or what kind of germs are on it.”
Litter Police: “I’ll pick it up and put it in the trash. However, I suggest you go home now because once a litterer always a litterer, and I’m going to follow you for the rest of the time that you’re here.”

SNIPPET 15

I grew up in Kingsville, Texas, just 70 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border. Lots of dry, desert land down there, so I’m quite experienced with Opuntia cactus poking holes in my arms and legs. That was 45+ years ago, so it’s been many decades since I had growing experience with Opuntia. In my old age, I’ve been kind of out of the OUCH! stage of my life since I don’t heal as quickly as I did decades ago. Yesterday, though, I saw Opuntia quimilo at Home Depot. I call it Opuntia Wowthosearesomelongspinesii. $14.48. I had to buy it.

Opuntia quimilo

SNIPPET 16

After 24 years with AOL, I’m now ready to close that email account. Unfortunately, AOL provides no way to do that. It’s one of their free accounts.

Anyone have any ideas?

The first 100 pages of a Google search (yes, I went through 100 pages!) provided no help; everything was out of date or not relevant to the free accounts.

SNIPPET 17

In Spring 1976, I had Professor Phil Gramm for Economics 301 at Texas A&M University. He went on to become United States Senator Phil Gramm. I disliked him and his class. One thing he constantly emphasized to us, though, had nothing to do with Economics:

“All politicians lie. It’s part of the job description for getting elected and re-elected. What you have to do is determine whose lies you like the best and then vote for that person.”

Twitler and his ilk, though, have taken lying to a level never before seen. All these liars lying about the lies they told to cover up the lies about the lies. It’s like lies are becoming the norm in America. It’s amazing that I will believe a porn star before I believe the President of the United States.

SNIPPET 18

Here is my third attempt as the Newsletter Editor of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society:

May newsletter for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

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

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

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