The Cactus Patch
Volume 9       February 2006      Number 2

Grampa Bruce!
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

Dec. & Jan. involved a lot of shopping, eating in and out, board games and films as the Hargreaves clan gathered for the biggest Christmas ever. We also went to "Cookies at the Museum" ,"Mama Mia" (a truly professional production with a mention of the Kalahari!) and the feast of lights at CALM. (We were supplied with dumplings by Bruce's sister Lora from Micronesia so when we rode the new train we were the "Apple Dumpling Gang".)

There were 28 of us for dinner on the day. A camper was parked in Alice's drive, a tent set up outside Anne's dining room and several couches made up as beds. Only four were missing, but unfortunately one was Michael Asa Hargreaves who was still in hospital across town. He was finally released on the 28th in time for new years and a baby dedication. Michael reached his parents home in New Cuyama on the 2nd of January, passing three coyotes just out of Taft on the way.

The Hale clan (Polly's family of which she is matriarch) formed a smaller gathering in Fresno beginning with a talk by Bruce to the Fresno C&SS on the 5th.

After touring succulent gardens on Friday, we met for breakfast at a coffee shop on Saturday where a South African singer serenaded me with "When I'm 64". I was shocked to realize that will be this year! We also met our older boy John's friend Amy. They seem very friendly.

We got back to Bakersfield in time for the talk on the 10th and then we made one last trip to New Cuyama, spotting Pelicans at Rio Bravo on the way. Then it was back to Botswana for Bruce on the 14th. (Polly stayed two more weeks, unable to leave Michael.)

All of the above was preceded by an equally hectic Nov. in Botswana. Since everyone plans on holidays in December, everything has to be finished before then. The director actually came with us on a field trip to the eastern tip of Botswana to look at sites where new dams will be built to help us overcome future droughts. I found plants of the six-foot milkweed Calotropis procera. This weed has not been previously noted in Botswana. I also found a second plant of Orbea keithei (the first being one I found in 1989) and managed to get a smallish Adenia fruticosa for the garden. We had a beautiful leopard sighting (perched on a rock) - but no honey badgers.

On Sat. the 26th of Nov. we went to National Tree Planting at Manyana, a craft sale just south of town and sang in the President's Concert.On the 27th of Nov. we saw "Mama Jack", a hilarious South African movie that probably won't make it to the States. On Dec. 1 the botanic garden project was declared complete and the museum opened an art exhibit on AIDS. A terrific addition this year was a wall of photos by orphans. Next day I was given keys for the garden buildings and the museum had a show called "VaginaTalk". Yes, they talked about female parts. The next day (3 Dec.) we left for Bakersfield.

By mistake I received the section of the "Flora of Southern Africa" on Aloes (5(1) fascicle 1 (first part); 2000, NBI, Pretoria by H.F. Glen & D.S. Hardy). I had ordered the "Succulent Flora" by Doreen Court! At any rate, it is useful as it has a distribution map of Aloe arborescens which shows a spot in Botswana! Unfortunately, there are some 93 spots but only five localities listed, so I still don't know where and when it was allegedly collected. I doubt that it is natural here (there are a number of garden plants), but at least I now know the source of the claim that it is.

Director Mrs Soso Ruth Lebekwe-Mweendo and Bruce
UNTANGLING Adenium fruiticosa with the Driver Issac Kennekae

Orbea keithii

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