The Cactus Patch
August 2018

Fireworks and Futball
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

The 17th of June was more than father’s day (although we did celebrate that as well).  It was also a celebration of graduation from UCSB (including our niece Angela) and birthdays (Dave’s was the next day and John’s Friday the 29th).  We had dinner and a large cake at Lora and Dave’s. We had breakfast at Denny’s with John on the 29th.

For our 54th anniversary (the 19th) we had lunch at the Knotty Pine which is next door to the building where Polly worked when we got married.  It was the Exploration Division of Shell Oil back then.

On the 30th we joined the march from ICE to the Liberty Bell to protest the separation of children from parents by Immigration.  I wore a shirt that said Mexico and a hat that said Botswana.  This fit the theme of one poster which proclaimed “Love has no boundaries”.

On the 4th of July we all loaded into Dave’s van and drove up to Edwards Air Force Base.  We expected to be vetted at the gate, but Dave showed his ID as a retired Navy Pilot and they waved us all in. We had a light dinner at Burger King and then went to the park for the big show.  Polly and I thought we were overdressed with suspenders and skirt (Polly) and vest, tie and socks (me) in red, white and blue, but there was a lot more of the same.  There was more food there and lots of loud music.  Eventually we got to see one of the best fireworks I’ve ever seen.  (When I say this I might be prejudiced. John helped set up the show. It seems they use a lot of computer work nowadays.  He had previously helped with a show at Baker.)

Next day we heard three club members at the FCSS talk: Tom Meyer spoke on repotting and soil mixes, Karl Church spoke on Adeniums with trays of seedlings as well as mature plants, and Bill Gale spoke on growing succulents from seed to mature plants in a short time.  I was afraid this would be a rather long program, but they managed to fit it all in the allotted time.

We also heard Ernesto Sandoval speak on South Africa at the BCSS meeting on the 10th.  We have heard him a number of times in Fresno, but this particular talk was quite nostalgic for me.  It was good to see Karl Church from Fresno as well as other guests.  I like a small club, but ours could grow a little.

We have been watching the world cup in Futball (a spelling to distinguish the game from American football- we should abandon our lone use of the term soccer and join the world!) It was sad to see African and other non-European teams eliminated.  At least tiny Croatia was there at the end to put up a valiant fight against mighty France.  We watched France win at a hearty breakfast at Lora’s.

The June issue of Veld and Flora (a publication of the South African Botanical Society) has some interesting articles.  One that I enjoyed was “Only one African Baobab species – not two!” by Glynis Cron of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.  I was never happy with the second species proposed in 2012 and am happy to have it lumped back in. Another article of some concern is “Water: at what cost to our unique flora?” by Jasper Slingsby, Ed February and Tony Rebelo.  To quote their abstract,

“During the current drought (2015-18), water consumption in Cape Town and adjacent municipalities has outstripped water replenishment of the bulk water supply dams.  We have, so far, narrowly avoided ‘Day Zero’ in 2018 – when supplies will run so low that the taps run dry – but it remains a concern for 2019.  In a rush to partially make up this shortfall, the authorities are targeting (mainly) ground water, including the Atlantis and Cape Flats sand aquifers and the Table Mountain Group (TMG) fractured rock aquifer.  Whereas the first two are low-lying and may be recharged with treated wastewater, this will not be the case for the TMG aquifer.”  

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