Tag Archives: cactus

SNIPPETS (5/17/2019)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

I finished my second video of the two Union Pacific steam locomotives, this one titled “They’ll be coming round the mountain when they come. They’ll be high up on the mountain when they come.” The scenery is just as beautiful as the train!

SNIPPET 2

The lead locomotive, Big Boy #4014, recently restored after sitting in static display at Rail Giants Museum in Pomona, California, from 1959 to 2014, derailed yesterday. The public didn’t know the extent of any damage for about thirty minutes. Fortunately, the train was entering the yard in Rawlins, Wyoming, so it was going rather slow. It took them a little over three hours to get Big Boy up on the rails again. We rail fans were tense for a time there.

SNIPPET 3

All the cacti that had bloomed in my gardens two days ago bloomed again yesterday. However, someone was late to the party but finally made it, but it was worth the wait. It’s a Trichocereus grandiflorus Thai hybrid.

SNIPPET 4

My neighbors have a huge loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) in their back yard which I can see from my kitchen window. It is in full fruit right now, and the ground squirrels are all over it, seeming to forget that they are ground squirrels, not tree squirrels. Here’s one who has found an all-you-can-eat buffet about thirty feet up in the tree:

Ground squirrel eating loquats in the tree

SNIPPET 5

It rained all day yesterday, so I drank some macho juice and went outside to take macro pictures of raindrops on flowers. The first picture below is raindrops on the flowers of Asclepias physocarpa, a type of milkweed called the “Balloon Plant” because it’s seed pods look like balloons, albeit hairy balloons. The second picture is of the seed pods, of which this plant had three last year when it was just a wee plant; it’s now about ten feet tall.

Asclepias physocarpa

Asclepias physocarpa seed pod

SNIPPET 6

My road trip to Promontory Summit and Ogden, Utah, comprised five days and covered 2,282.9 miles (yes, I’m a little detailed). My two favorite scenic parts of the drive were the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona and Interstate 80 from Echo, Utah, to Evanston, Wyoming.

I bought a dash cam last July on that eight-day road trip, so eventually I’ll be able to share these two drives on YouTube. They were that great.

SNIPPET 6

Based on state license plates over the 2,282.9-mile drive, here is my considered opinion of drivers, best to worst:

  1. Wyoming drivers were the best but perhaps only because there were so few of them, right in line with Wyoming being the least populous state with a mere 544,270 people spread out over 97,000 square miles.
  2. Arizona—Interstate 15 went through the northwest corner of Arizona for only about 35 miles so I might not have a large enough sample to truly say anything definitive about Arizona drivers.
  3. Nevada—The speed limit was 70 or 75 mph, and Interstate 15 goes right smack dab through the heart of Las Vegas. I do believe most Nevada drivers also were gambling while driving.
  4. Utah—The speed limit on Interstate 15 in Utah is 70 to 80 miles per hour, mostly 80, only dropping to 70 in construction zones. Sadly, speed limit laws apply equally to the smart and the stupid, but I think the number of stupid people is far greater than smart people. The fact that so many stupid people are driving 80 miles per hour, and often up to 90 miles per hour, in heavy traffic, was a constant source of worry.
  5. California drivers were the worst. I think each person believes all roadways within 10 miles belong to him or her; female drivers were far worse than male drivers.

SNIPPET 7

Speaking of speed limits, it was interesting how each state handles them. California was 65 mph in or near cities and 70 mph in boondocks areas. Arizona was 70 mph and 75 mph, as was Nevada. Utah was 70 mph in construction zones, 75 mph through cities, and 80 mph in the boondocks, which was basically all of southern Utah. Wyoming was 80 mph. My thinking would be that California needs to get with the program!

SNIPPET 8

Gas prices were another issue of mine. When I left the confines of California, gas was $4.799 a gallon for the cheapest grade, usually something like ARCO 87 octane. In Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, gas was $3.049 to $3.159. Interestingly, almost all the brands were the exact same price, so instead of doing ARCO, I went with Shell, Union 76, and ExxonMobil.

As I determined back in the late ’70s when I got my first car, the major brands brought better gas mileage. What was weird, though, was that the major brand cheap gas was 85 octane. Theoretically, 85 octane should give you lower gas mileage than 87 octane.

Gas mileage using California ARCO 87 octane gas ranged from 30.9 mpg to 33.8 mpg. Using Shell, Union 76, and ExxonMobil 85 octane gas provided 35.2 to 40.7 mpg.

A new item this morning indicates that certain entities might be manipulating California gas prices, which I would believe since California gas prices usually aren’t $1.80 higher than surrounding states.

I filled up with Shell gas at a truck stop just south of Las Vegas where I paid $3.089. A few miles later I passed the first truck stop in California where the gas was $4.999. I saved $1.91 a gallon, calculating to $22.92 for my
12-gallon tank. That would buy a lot of margaritas!

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

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Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

An explosion of color in my cactus gardens

I live in my own little world

There currently is a flower explosion happening in my cactus gardens.

Here are some pictures of today’s color:

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

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

….stuck in the kitchen

I live in my own little world

If the weather is good in the morning, I pot or plant in the ground at least one plant. The big ones first. This morning I got quite a few planted in the ground. Here they are.

Cactus

Cactus

Cactus

Cactus

Trichocereus sp.

Mammillaria magnimamma

Mammillaria hahniana

Mammillaria pilcayensis

Oreocereus species

Notocactus leninghausii

Echinocereus reichenbachii v. albispinus

When I came in from the gardens, planning on working in the office, I found an unknown creature at the end of the hallway giving me the evil eye.

Zoey the Cool Cat

There was no way to get to the office, so I was stuck in the kitchen, but at least that’s where the margaritas were.

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

Messing up pictures, intentionally

How I Did It

Long-time readers know that I love photography, and I love the digital photograph editing programs, especially Photoshop.

I also enjoy taking my photographs into Photoshop and messing them up so that they no longer look like photographs.

Here’s a selection of messed up cactus and succulent photographs from yesterday:

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

Photoshopped

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

Come to papa, mama!

I live in my own little world

Jim, Zoey the Cool Cat, and I moved into our new home in July 2017, which coincided with my retirement.

Retirement sucks.

So in my quest for things to do in my retirement years, I have gotten heavily involved in landscaping, especially with cacti and succulents. I have gotten involved with several cactus and succulent societies, of which the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society is my favorite.

At their monthly meetings, they provide an opportunity to bring in plants to show off — their “Brag Table.” Plants get categorized into Cactus or Succulent; their owners get categorized into Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced; and plants are awarded first place, second place, and third place in each plant category and each owner category.

Normally it takes something like 10 blue ribbons before one advances into the next category. There are exceptions, though. I’m an exception.

After just two months in the Novice category, I was asked to move to either Intermediate or Advanced. I moved to Intermediate, but after one month there, I moved myself to Advanced.

We had our monthly meeting yesterday, and I took in four plants to show off, one dish garden, two cacti, and one succulent. My dish garden took first place in the Advanced division:

Dish Garden, first place, advanced, Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society, November 2018

My Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea, won first place in the Cactus, Advanced division:

Opuntia polyacantha var erinacea, first place, cactus, advanced, Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society, November 2018

My Sedum morganianum won third place in the Succulent, Advanced division:

Sedum morganianum, third place, succulent, advanced, Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society, November 2018

Sedum morganianum is a very common plant, and common plants rarely win anything, so this was a nice surprise. The judge did tell us that the staging was exceptional and that he really liked how the sedum trailed over the edges and down the sides.

My Mammillaria magnimamma is feeling sad and depressed because it did not win anything.

Mammillaria magnimamma

How can one discriminate against a plant with such a great name? Mammillaria magnimamma. Come to papa, mama!

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

Macro photography – Raindrops, but not on roses

I live in my own little world

The fact that San Diego gets about eleven inches of rain each year is one of the reasons why I moved here in April 1993 from Texas, where eleven inches of rain sometimes was an afternoon thunderstorm.

Here in the East San Diego County boondocks, though, we get a little more rain. In fact, over two days in February this year, my rain gauge indicated that we got nine inches of rain. Certainly haven’t had to deal with that in 25 years.

There are only two good things about rain: my plants love it, and I love taking macro pictures of raindrops on those plants. Following are ten macro raindrop pictures from February 2018. The first picture won first place in the Photography category at the June 2018 show of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society. The last one (remember, there are ten pictures) might not be safe for work.

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

Macro of raindrops on plants

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

Exhibiting cacti & succulents at the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Show

I live in my own little world

My last post was on October 21. It’s been a long three weeks, most of it having to do with gardening.

The big event was October 27-29. I was getting ready for the Fall Show & Sale for the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society.

These shows are heavy on succulents and short on cacti. The main reason for that is because cacti are difficult to move with all their spines & thorns pointing every which way. Not paying attention, not being careful, can result in some serious and painful skin punctures.

My intent was to exhibit a lot of cacti to make sure that the cactus side of the show room was full. I spent the month leading up to the event cleaning and repotting show-worthy cacti.

I was hoping to enter 50 cactus specimens. Ultimately, I only entered 44 exhibits – 31 were in the Cactus category, twelve in the Succulent category, and one in the Dish Garden category. My Dish Garden, though, had five thorny cacti in it; of the twelve in the Succulent category, six had spines; and of the 31 in the Cactus category, one did not have spines. So it’s not always about those pokey pokey things. My intent, though, was to fill up the Cactus category, and I definitely helped do that.

I exhibit in the Advanced class now, and won….
     12 first places,
          9 second places, and
               13 thirds.

Ten of my plants weren’t appreciated by the judges. Sad and depressed those plants are.

My Mammillaria parkinsonii, below, received one of the two Judge’s Choice awards, and tied for second for the People’s Choice award.

Mammillaria parkinsonii, Judge's Choice & People's Choice second place

…..was awarded the Granddaddy of them all, BEST IN SHOW, my Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’.

Crassula ovata 'Gollum' Best In Show

I created a video of all the plants I exhibited in the show, although I didn’t find out about the second place People’s Choice until recently, so although it’s in the video with its Judge’s Choice award, it’s not in the video with its People’s Choice second place.

Here’s the video:

Russel’s 44 exhibits 

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