The Cactus Patch
Volume 17       October 2014      Number 10

A Slow Beginning and a Fast Ending
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

We’re merrily, merrily, merrily on our way to nowhere in particular;
We’re merrily, merrily, merrily on our way though the roads be perpendicular;
We’re merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily on our way to nowhere at all!
~Disney’s “Wind in the Willows”


We skipped the FCSS meeting- it was a members’ sale night.  On the 7th a mob of family and friends went to the circus.  I was able to enjoy it because they left out the strobe light from previous shows  It was also not as busy – one and a half rings instead if three.  The menagerie before the show was also a great hit

On the 9th, of course, we were at the BCSS meeting at our new venue.  I welcome the pot sale, but noticed only a few were purchased.  I hope we’ll be ready for both the Fair and the Show. Perhaps we should move our show so it doesn’t come so close to the Fair?

On the 13th we took plants to the fair and then took off for Pismo Beach.  When we got there, we turned inland instead of beachward and found ourselves on an absurdly steep road (which our little Prius did not like) and then followed Longview which is on top the ridge.  We passed roads named Fresno, Taft, Visalia, Tulare Delano and , of course, Bakersfield, finally reaching Merced. Merced had a short uphill stretch and then plunged downhill to end at a cliff!  There we found Maggie Wagner (Treasurer of the Central Coast CSS) and Markus Mumper who have a magnificent ridgetop home planted with succulents. Right at the base of a steep flight of stairs up to the house is a large, but unbranched, cardon.

We had a BarBQ supper cooked on a porch which looks down on the beach and town.  We slept on the most comfortable hide a bed I have ever known. (I always thought they were inherently ridged.)  Next morning we had breakfast and toured the back garden.  The greenhouse is small, but in the coastal climate, quite adequate.  We had a sandwich lunch and Polly and I went to Avila Beach to buy strawberries.  We then had to rush onward to San Luis Obispo for the CCCSS meeting.

We arrived just in time to hear “please settle down for the meeting” which started promptly at 2. It is a large group of over 200 members, about half of whom were present.  After business and brag plants (a number by Rob Skillin) and plants of the month (again some by Rob), and a short break to grab snacks and sell plants, they introduced the speaker (me) at 3.  I spoke on Baobabs which they had asked me to do last year and then postponed it til this year.  Then it was suggested I change topics as they had just heard Rob Skillin on Madagascar which, of course, included baobabs.  I assured them my talk was different but offered other topics.  They finally said baobabs would do.  I was told I was very humorous, which I denied, only to be told, “just listen to yourself.”

On the 15th we returned to the fair to set up a display of semi-precious stones of Bobonong, Botswana.  It is called “Beauties of Bobonong” and features blue shoes, a signed copy of Alexander McCall Smith’s book “Blue shoes and Happiness” and a picture of the assistant/associate of the first lady detective (who is from Bobonong).  There were also a lot of semiprecious stones from Bobonong.

The 19th was senior day at the fair and we went immediately to the Bobonong display.  It won a second.  We went up to the BCSS display and found several members there.  Then we caught the train to “Southern Comfort” and bought some alligator which tastes like bland chicken.  (In South Africa the crocodile tastes more like ostrich – which is used to feed them.)  Finally we bought a yummy yam with the new chili verde.  I was told I was the first to order that combo (as I had been told in previous years when I ordered the sweet potato (aka yam) with ordinary chili (which is better)).






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