The Cactus Patch
Volume 13       November 2010      Number 11

Fairs and Shows
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

From the 18th thru the 21st of September we helped with the set up for the Kern County Fair. I was worried that the judges would not appreciate the strict interpretation of Japanese art insisted on by Jack Reynolds, but the three ribbons showed I needn’t have worried.

On the 25th many of us went to see “My Fat Oildale Wedding” and celebrate the birthdays of Angela (that day) and Polly (the 29th). It was great to see the melodrama tradition started in Oildale continues in Rosedale.

On the 7th of October we went up early and babysat the succulent exhibit and the Fresno County Fair. The club there no longer has a garden patch but has a marvelous selection of individual specimens. I liked the way they were shown on tiers so that plants were not hidden in the back. Could we do this for our show? The Future Farmers need some advice. They had dozens of aloes labeled Sedum!

We were able to take turns and see some of the rest of the fair. I was especially interested in an exhibit of California State Rocks. It seems there are actually four! The state gemstone is benitoite, the state rock is (of course) serpentine, the state mineral is gold and the state fossil is Smilodon californicus, the saber tooth cat.

I was introduced to Smilodon years ago at the La Brea Pits in LA. It is indeed striking and I have a replica tooth which I bought there. I also dug with my father (a soils scientist) at Sharks Tooth Hill north of Bakersfield and have a collection from there. It is nowhere as good as the ones threatened at the Natural History Museum, but it started a lifelong interest which I have followed around the world.

At the BCSS meeting on the 12th I won a book on state fossils (Stately Fossils, 2002, Stephen Brusatte, Fossil News, Boulder, Colorado). I have already written about the Nevada ichthyosaur and the zebra/horse of Idaho. (Incidentally the U-Haul Van portraying it was parked across the street from us at the beginning of October!) It also turns out the Sharks Tooth is the State Fossil of Georgia. The large teeth of Carchcarocles megalodon are widespread, being found in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The Fresno succulent meeting on the 7th was about pots. I feared it would be boring, but Joe Wujcik of Fallbrook gave an interesting talk about matching plants to pots. I’m afraid I’m not professional. I like pots which are as striking as the plants. Apparently they are not supposed to detract. (Oh, well, I am not a competitor anyway.)

I went to the launching of the calendar at Nancy Harper’s on the 8th. A good beginning. The show and sale on the 9th and 10th was a good continuation even if I did get a People’s Choice award for the deadest looking plant. I liked Anne’s exhibit of tiny Opuntia fragilis she brought back from Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota. Incidentally, she says she went to Lake Superior, not Michigan. I was thinking Michigan because it is the State with the most lighthouses.

I enjoyed giving the aloe talk on the 12th. I hope others liked listening.

The miners trapped in Chile finally were released that evening into the next day. Did you note that the mine is at Copiapo? Not co-incidentally, the cactus genus Copiapoa comes from Chile! To see this genus look at January and the back cover of the new calendar.

Ribbons at the Kern County Fair

Succulents at the Fresno County Fair

Official State Emblems

BCSS Show & Sale

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