The Cactus Patch
August 2016

A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

On the 1st of July we saw a great film, “The Free State of Jones”.  Hollywood has redeemed itself after its long standing blockbusters praising the South (e.g. “Birth of a Nation” and “Gone with the Wind”).  At last we have a historic film which tells what the civil war meant to ordinary people.

On the 4th we went to my niece Tina’s new house on Cave (just north of Rosedale Mall).  We had a BBQ and many tested the pool.  Polly and I did not stay for the fireworks and missed a great show.  Daniel was showing off by jumping over a set piece and tripped over his shoelaces.  He broke his nose!

On the 7th we went to Fresno and heard Rob Skillin speak on the highlands of eastern Brazil.  He showed more cephalia than I knew existed.  (These are those flower clusters on top or the side of some cacti such as the genus Melocactus.)  The pictures were great, but I think Rob needed to use less pedantic English (or Latin). Terry Skillin was also there – selling plants.

We got some prickly pear pads from the “freebies” at Fresno and I gave them to Daniel for his giant Tortoise.  His two smaller tortoises did not seem to appreciate them.  They preferred mulberry leaves!

We had plenty of mulberry leaves for them on the 9th.  Our neighborhood watch group came to clear out the easement behind our house as there were signs of people “camping” there (a shopping cart with tins and plastic bottles, ground covers etc.)  I didn’t mind as it meant I had help in trimming back the mulberry trees which grow at a prodigious rate.

On the 12th, of course, we were at the demonstration of displaying plants by Peter Walkowiak.  He had some interesting plants, including a hybrid of Leuchtenbergia and Ferocactus.  His pots were well suited for the plants.

Caves: Part I

On the 14th of July Polly, John and I set forth on a grand caving expedition.  That evening we stayed with Polly’s sister Nancy in Fresno and on the 15th we went all the way to Susanville.  We toured James’ new house.  That evening we had a Thai dinner at The White House with James and his family.

On the 16th we all (except our grandson, Michael, who was not feeling well; and his other grandmother, Margaret, who is staying with them) drove up to Subway Cave which is a lava tube north of Mt. Lassen. It was about 65 years since I had been there and I did not remember the stairs and the rough floor.  In spite of the dark, Matthew ran up and down and even little Alice was not upset.  We posed Alice by a volcanic “burp” and called it her rabbit hole.  We then had lunch at JJ’s at Old Station just south of Subway Cave.  I bought a book on Mt. Lassen and chatted with its author, A. W. Willendrup.

Next day we had lunch at the Pioneer Saloon at the Lassen Ale Works. Polly, John and I then set off on our long journey east.  We had supper at Buffalo Wild Wings in Sparks and then drove to Fallon for the night. (Fallon has a Navy Air Station and is the largest town before setting off on “The Loneliest Road” – Highway 50.) Next month I’ll continue our journey.

Testing the Pool

Terry Selling Plants

Rob Skillin

Daniel and Tortoise


Alice's Rabbit Hole

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