Succulent Ramblings

I like to ramble on about my plants... and other things! My hope is to log the progress of plants and talk about my frustrations with others. So, tune in, turn on, or drop out (if you find it boring!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oh boy, oh boy, OH BOY!!  Can you tell I'm excited??  On Sept. 21st, I found a seed pod on my Hoya pachyclada.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  I've been growing Hoyas for 35 years and this is the first time I've ever had one develop a seed pod.  I've only seen them in photos until now.  And most of the people who get them are down in Florida or southern California where they can grow them outside.  So I was definitely excited!  Here are a couple of photos of the pod...

I don't know why it turned my photo, but I guess at least you can see the seed pod emerging from the peduncle.  And here's a closeup of the pod...

It's about 4" long, reminds me of a greenbean.  Very cute!  So I posted on GW about my seed pod and a reader suggested to contain the seeds when it "bursts", use a twist tie spiraled around the pod.  So here's how that looked when I got done:

So I watched, and watched, and watched, and... well, you get the idea.  It was like waiting for water to boil or grass to grow.  I was told that it would probably take "at least a couple weeks" for it to ripen.  But after a month, I was starting to wonder if it was going to do anything at all. 

Well, a couple days ago, I got an e-mail from a Hoya bud in Arizona (Awanda) who sent me a photo of a seed pod.  I opened the e-mail just before I was going to bed and on seeing her photo, realized I hadn't looked at my seed pod for a couple days.  So I went to the GH and pulled the pot out (it's pretty dark in there at night) and sure enough, it had burst!  I was so excited, but it was late and decided I'd deal with the seeds the next day.  So yesterday, I took this photo first:

That was obviously an excellent suggestion on now to contain the seeds - worked like a charm!  Look at all that fluff and all those seeds!!  So I first turned off the ceiling fan, then carefully unwound the twist tie, and I was amazed at now many seeds there were!

And here is a closeup of the dried outer pod and the inner seed-holder (I'm sure there's a technical name for this, but I don't know what it is!)

Interesting, huh?  I guess there's always something new to learn in this hobby! 

So I took a large tomato container I'd saved - you know, one of those you get about a dozen roma tomatos in from Sams.  Clear plastic, about 10" long, 6" wide, maybe 5" deep, with a plastic spring lid.  It's got some air holes in it, though I was told it would be best not to have too much air flow at first so I covered them.  I put a thin layer of soil in the bottom, scattered the seeds evenly, then topped it with just a bit of perlite to hold the "fluff" down.  I set it on top of my aquarium for a bit of heat and I guess now I just wait and see if they germinate.  Yeehaw!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I just wanted to remind myself that though I may be monetarily poor, I am truly rich, in the most important ways.  At the moment I started to write this (last night), I was using the laptop with a kitty on my lap and it was just too difficult to accurately type.  So I'm finishing it today...  I'm rich because I have these three wonderful pets, Pearl and Bella, my kitties, and Lucy, my big ol' German Shepherd, who will lay on me and next to me while I'm watching TV.  It's brings me a wonderful sense of joy to have them want to be so close to me, and I can not imagine life without them.  Here are my babies... Lucy...

120 pounds of orneriness.  She can be such a shithead - bark bark bark at every little thing.  I spend way too much time yelling, at the top of my lungs, "SHUT UP!"  Mark keeps suggesting a shock collar, but I think those things are cruel.  The little bitch just needs some good training, but that's another story altogether!  But she's also a serious love-bug.  She loves to be fussed over and petted and talked to, and she loves to play.  And we have this ritual where around 5:00 every day (after Judge Judy), I go down to the basement (our TV room) and hang out with Mark before supper.  Lucy comes down and joines me on the couch, her big ol' head on my lap, and lets me stroker her whiles she sleeps.  She'll actually start snoring loud enough that we have to turn up the TV!!  It's sweet...  She also likes to sleep with me, at least for awhile each night.  So I have what I call a love/hate relationship with her.  I'd say, though, that I spend quite a bit more time loving her than hating her!

And this is Pearl...  She's my long-hair cow-kitty.  She's super-special with her big, beautiful eyes and perfectly picturesque beauty.  And she's quite the card.  If I stand up from a chair, or get out of bed in the morning, she'll flop down in front of me and roll over on her belly, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out as far as she can, with a little "meow" that says "rub my belly, please!"  She'll lay there for a minute while I rub her belly.  But her beautiful long hair is a little different than past long-hair kitties.  It gets mats in it and in the summer, I give her a new "do" - she gets a lion cut.  When she comes home from getting her new do, once the anesthetic has worn off, she gets super-frisky.  It's like, "ooo, it feels SO good to be running naked!!"  Here's a photo after a lion cut...

Laying in the sunshine on a shelf in the greenhouse.  What fascinated me was that the skin under the black markings is also black!  I had no idea!!  Anyway, she seems to enjoy the cut and by the time the weather starts to cool down, she's got most of her thick coat back.  It's expensive, though - about $110!!  I bet I could have it done cheaper at a groomer (I have it done at the vet), but I'm sure they don't put them out, and I think this might be a pretty traumatic experience if they were concious while the "buzzing" was going on...

And then we have Bella...
It's had to get a good photo of Bella - she's just not quite as photogenic as Pearl.  She's a short-haired cow kitty.  They're actually sisters, but most people think Pearl is mama because she looks so much bigger.  In reality, she's only a little over a pound bigger than Bella, but with her long fur, she looks considerably bigger.  She's also bigger boned - Bella is what I'd call a petite cat.  She has kind of dainty features, but she's healthy as a horse.  She's as close as I'll ever get to having another cat like Sammy - she's very affectionate and very playful.  She loves to play the "chase game."  She'll get in front of either me or Lucy, look back and take off running, at first at a little it of a turtle's pace, then as soon as someone is in pursuit, she's a rocket, slip-sliding across the floor and around corners.  Lucy just loves chasing her and it's a riot to watch!  They have a ball!  Bella is Mark's favorite because she'll sleep with him sometimes.  (Uh-hem, the "tough" guy and his kitty!)

We got Pearl and Bella back in August 2008 from Liane, who works for us at Karen's - she's my co-bartender.  She had this pregnant cat wander up and take up residence at her house just before she gave birth to three kittens.  It was like fate - I had lost Samantha in 2005.  She was my last old cat (20 years old) and she was such a special girl, I just knew no other cat would ever live up to her specialness, so I wanted to be cautious about choosing my next cats.  And all that time elapsed - I don't know how I let that happen, because before that time, I had never lived without a cat more than a month in my entire life.  But this cat came along and Liane needed to find homes for them, and it just seemed like fate was calling me.  And I feel so blessed that I was smart enough to listen, because they have been pure, unadulterated JOY!

So here are a few of my favorite photos: