The Cactus Patch
Volume 16       April 2013      Number 4

Hargreaves in Bakersfield - minus one, plus one
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

Polly wanted to use up points on her Claim Jumper card before they expired and the nearest one is in Valencia. I suggest we go shopping at Cactus Mart in Piru as it was not open the only time we had gone there. On 2nd March we found it opened and bought too many plants. We then had shrimp stuffed jalapenos and shopped at a nearby Goodwill (with better quality and higher prices). Polly found a wooden mini toilet for my stapeliads.

On 7 March we heard Woody at the Fresno CSS. His talk on the US South West was excellent but, as usual, too long. He should have shown half as many pictures and then told us to buy his forthcoming book on the subject.

We rushed back to Bakersfield for a gathering of the clan on 8 March. We met at Greenlawn SW for a memorial service for Linda Lou Hargreaves, wife of my brother Robert. It was not terribly sad because, as Robert said, “She left us some time ago” (she had Alzheimer’s). There were a few pictures and a number of flower paintings which Linda had done in better times. Even the little kids were present.

Afterwards we had an early supper at Hodel’s. Next morning we had breakfast at IHOP and then the southern contingent left. The rest of us had lunch at Chuy’s on Sunday and then James et al. went back north.

The big news is that John did not go back north. He is moving to Bakersfield and will finish a college degree at long last. He has bought a mobile home across from Beardsley School and is looking for a part time job. He’s not sure what he’ll do later. Incidentally, he has a dynamite video which he shot walking, kayaking and scuba diving in the Channel Islands. He’s willing to show it at a BCSS meeting.

On the 12th, of course we heard Maynard’s talk. I really liked his upside down Mexico illustrating the matching climatic zones with Southern Africa. I’ll have to remember that trick. I apologize for spending time on Khat (Catha edulis), but it bothers me that the term narcotic is used for stimulants. (Narcosis is another word for sleep!) My friend Ben-Eric van Wyk from South Africa has written that “The stimulants in Khat leaves are natural amphetamines…” and “Ephedra species are chemically and pharmacologically similar” (Wink & van Wyk, 2008, Mind-Altering & Poisonous Plants of the World, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon). Incidentally, there are mind-altering and poisonous cacti and other succulents which make this a book of interest for the BCSS.

On the 14th I bought used books at the Beale Library sale and got two copies of Munz’ California Desert Wildflowers, 1962, Univ. Calif. Press, Berkeley, CA. I will donate one to the BCSS library as there are a number of cacti and other succulents. I first learned about Calif. plants at UCSB where we used A California Flora, Munz and Keck, 1959, UC Press as our text. Munz soon realized that non scientists find this too technical (plants are arranged by families, for instance) and soon produced a series of smaller books with lots of pictures and plants arranged by color for the general public. The line drawings are excellent, but some of the color photos are a bit blurry.

I was surprised at the number of Oscars which Argo won. I thought it was a rather dull movie. There were much better ones in competition. We went to the Maya for Les Miserables because we wanted the best sound possible. We were not disappointed. We were even tempted to sing along as we knew the numbers from performing them in Botswana. The Hobbit film was noteworthy for the high number of frames per second, a new technique that makes it very realistic. I thought there was too much fighting and not enough of the peaceful Hobbit life as found in the book. I fear the sequels will be even more like the savage Lord of the Ring series.

Woody @ Fresno

Breakfast @ IHOP

John & Bug

BCSS Meeting

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