Monthly Archives: June 2014

Introducing Delonix regia

Delonix regia

As mentioned before, the big trip to Nicaragua at the end of May/beginning of June was work-related, which puts certain restrictions on botanical sightseeing. It’s bad enough being the only person in the general party actually thrilled to see my old friend Hylocereus costaricensis, the dragonfruit cactus, in the wild (or possibly its cousin H. undatus), and confirming that they grow best in medium to heavy shade during the hottest parts of the year. It should be understandable that my cohorts weren’t going to stop the bus every time I saw something vaguely interesting along the side of the road, and much of the area around Grenada had very handy cliffs and even a few volcano calderas to throw me into if I didn’t stop whining. Because this was business, I settled for biting my tongue, grumbling slightly, and trying my best to get decent photographs before the drivers had us on the other side of the galaxy.

(Incidentally, I learned something very handy and very thoughtful that hadn’t come up in years of bicycling in the States. For many reasons, Nicaragua is absolutely loaded with bicycles, and I watched fathers with two kids on the top bar cruise through traffic with grace and elan. Only recently have motorists in the States, particularly in Texas, accepted the increasing number of bikes on the road, so I still deal with the occasional jerk who thinks it’s still 1983 and that there’s something fundamentally wrong with someone over the age of 14 on a bike, under any conditions. Because of that, I was still rather defensive of anybody honking behind me, as that usually meant an idiot who expected the bikes to get off the road just for them, even if they were the only other person on the road. I’m serious: I had one bozo blast her horn from her SUV for a good half-mile, tailgating me the whole way, and then finally pull around just in time for us both to look at each other at the stoplight. Well, I looked at her: she stared straight ahead and did her best to avoid eye contact while her kids stared. I just told them “You’re all right, but your mom really needs to up her medication” before pedaling off.

(Anyway, it took a trip of this sort for me to make sense of a horn habit that hadn’t made sense before. As mentioned, I used to get defensive about people honking at me, and would get angry when a motorist would pass with a quick double-tap on the horn. “Yeah, I know, I’m in your way. I’m trying to get out of it.” What I discovered was that for Central America at least, this is a sign of respect: the double-tap is to inform the cyclist that a car or truck is coming up behind, and that the driver saw and acknowledged the cyclist’s presence. Now, when I get this at home, I don’t get surly. Instead, I wave and thank them, and the drivers are always surprised that the crazy white guy on the bike actually gets it.)

One of those minor grumbles came up over and over with a particularly beautiful tree that was so brilliantly orange that it was visible from the air well over the Managua airport. Everywhere we went, these trees followed, so orange that I thought the foliage was orange. Upon closer inspection, the coloration was from the blooms, but what blooms! I thought our native crepe myrtles did a great job of hiding their foliage among brilliant cascades of flowers, but this one could have taught the crepe myrtles about eight or nine lessons. My problem was being given a chance to focus in on an impressive canopy of them while moving at speeds that threatened to blue-shift the pigments.

Delonix regia

Finally, I managed to get close to a small specimen, and just stood and stared at the blooms. Each was easily the size of my hand, looking more like something manufactured from steel or bronze than anything botanical. For the rest of the trip, I’d gaze contentedly at those trees as they passed by on the highway back to the airport, telling myself that one day, I’d come back and give them much more time and attention.

Delonix regia

The real surprise on this is that while I and everyone else in the group thought these were indigenous trees, our not having seen them before was only because we lived far too north. We’d encountered Delonix regia, commonly and appropriately named “flamboyant”. Originally from Madagascar, the flamboyant tree grew enthusiastically and vigorously any place where the conditions were right, and went feral over most of the Earth’s tropics. In the US, they’re apparently only found in the Rio Grande Valley in far southern Texas and in southern Florida, but they’re as cosmopolitan a tropical tree as can be managed.

Delonix regia

That was another big surprise: while the northern half of Nicaragua may be jungle, the area around Grenada was much drier and scrubbier, and I saw a lot of analogues to plants I would have seen in North Texas that were thriving under many of the same conditions. The surprise was seeing so many plants, particularly cacti, that I recognized from just about any garden center or commercial nursery back home. At first, I thought that these may have originated in Central America and gained their current popularity due to imports to America and Europe, but D. regia‘s range makes me wonder about that. Time for more research, and the hope that I might live long enough to finish it.

Travels Abroad: La Bocona

Signs to La Bocona

Among many other wonders in Grenada, Nicaragua, one of the greater mysteries of Grenada was literally across the street from the hotel in which I stayed. Right by the front door of the building across the way was a large statue, carved out of volcanic rock, built into the side of the doorway. A very helpful gentleman working at the hotel passed on what he knew about the statue, which he was the first one to admit wasn’t much. Then again, nobody else seems to know, either.

La Bocona
The statue is called “La Bocona,” which roughly translates to “The Big Mouth”. La Bocona is a fixed point in Grenada: Grenada attracts a large number of international tourists and expatriates, and even those completely inept in Spanish, such as myself, can recite the name and have everyone in the city point you in the direction of the statue. In fact, the statue now has several concrete pillars in front, to prevent drivers and cyclists from taking out the front door while being distracted by its odd shape. La Bocona may not be in the center of Grenada, but it’s close enough that it’s very handy as a guide to the central market, the fire department, and any of the central cathedrals in the city.

La Bocona

With it being a landmark, you’d think that La Bocona would have more of a history, but that’s where things get odd. Apparently it was excavated during the construction of a sidewalk, with different versions saying in the 1940s or 1950s, and the owner of the property had it installed in the front of the building so everyone can see it. Other than that, it’s a mystery. La Bocona has no myths coming up around it, no outre explanations as to how it got there, or why it was constructed. It’s just there, and I suspect that filling in some of the questions about it would disappoint everyone, as the mystery seems to feed upon itself. Trying to give it an explanation would ruin it, but everyone has their own basic ideas, which they keep to themselves.

La Bocona
After a while, I shared that sentiment. I have no doubt that archaeologists have already examined and documented everything they can about La Bocona, and now I want to hunt down what they’ve written. I myself have a sneaking suspicion as to what the artist was trying to capture, and if I’m wrong, you’ll never know. In the meantime, it just perches at that corner, unseeing, as wonderful humanity rushes by. It did so before it was buried, and it’ll probably do so centuries after I’m gone.

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Cat Monday

Leiber

Travels Abroad: Grenada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

I try not to let personal life issues affect Triffid Ranch activities, which is why they very rarely ever come up. One of those involved my previous job, which had been souring for a while. Between regular depletion and bizarrely scheduled annual layoffs, timed to guarantee that the parent company saw a double-digit return for the year, the job was becoming more and more of a chore instead of a career. As with any long-running tech company, it managed to gather its particular collection of dysfunctional characters, and many were brittle enough that you never knew what might be the one factor that caused one or five to come in with high-powered weaponry. Between the birthers, the young-earth creationists, the conspiracy theorists, the Freecycle addicts, and the Cory Doctorow cultists, any given trip to the break area was like reading the comments on a Yahoo! news article. It was probably pure coincidence that my bike tires were slashed at least once after I answered The Vital Question in a project meeting, “Star Wars or Star Trek?” with “Don’t look at me: I’m a Babylon 5 kind of guy,” but the timing fit. Either way, take a bit of advice: you know that guy that every tech company has, who practically curls up on the break room counter in impotent rage because “I’m angry at my government”? When he asks your advice on schools where he can send his unvaccinated children because “vaccinations cause autism,” do NOT bring up that they may have more to worry about genetically inherited connections to paranoid schizophrenia. Just saying.

So it was time to leave, and just in time, too: three months to the day after leaving the old position and the few remaining people for whom I still cared, the company was sold to a crew notorious for liquidating new acquisitions, so I dodged a few bullets. The new position is just as obscure as the old one, which is just exactly what I needed: if anything, I get my fill of the crazy by taking the train to work, and being told by former Texas Instruments and EDS engineers on the same route that I need to get a new bicycle seat because “if it doesn’t have a channel in it, you can get prostate cancer.”

Anyway, one of the criteria for the new position required getting a passport, as the opportunity for making company presentations around the world was a serious possibility. My measured and professional response was “Oh, TWIST my arm!” Previously, world travel was a bit like being handed an operational Green Lantern ring: oh, you can talk about the possibilities, but who’s going to give you the option? And then the word came through that the whole company was making a journey…to see Grenada, Nicaragua. Not what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn’t complaining, as I’d wanted to visit Central America since I was five years old.

Sadly, since this was business, this wasn’t the botanical tour for which I would have arranged had this been purely for pleasure. That said, I have no regrets. Grenada is a stunning city, and I hope to visit it again when my conversational Spanish might be described as something better than “you’re going to starve to death in a restaurant if your waiters don’t know English.”

The streets of Granada

Anyway, over the next few days, I get to resurrect a grand tradition that’s been missing from American culture for the last thirty years: boring friends and relatives to death with photos from your last vacation. This, though, should be a blast.

More fun with UV lasers: The Aloe Edition

Aloe bloom

Let me state up front that I hate Nerine Dorman, the acclaimed South African horror writer. This isn’t a minor hate. I have plans for a vicious and vile repayment for everything she’s done to me and for me, and she’ll have earned every last bit. This was the woman who, along with her husband, introduced me to the fynbos, the smallest and most fecund floral kingdom on the planet. They’ve forgotten more about fynbos flora, particularly aloes and euphorbias, than I’ll ever learn, but that’s not why I plan to gain revenge.

Aloe nobilis

It all started this spring, when my aloes started blooming. At this time, I only have two species on hand, A. vera and A. nobilis, and last winter’s repeated Icepocalypses did wonders for all of my South African and Australian flora. Instead of burning off or freezing off permanently, the cold snaps not only encouraged sprouting and growth in Roridula seeds I’d given up on, but it caused a bloom explosion in the aloes.

Aloe blooms
(As an aside, I’m regularly asked at shows by cactus and succulent beginners about their plants’ blooming or lack thereof. While many require at least some cooling period to encourage blooming, the biggest factor is ambient light. With most barrel cacti, regular interference from streetlights, porch lights, security lamps, and other artificial illumination throws off their circadian rhythms, even if it’s only for a few days during their normal blooming periods. I’ve also noted this in such common succulents as jade plants (Crassula spp.), and it’s absolutely vital for aloes. Protect your aloes from light pollution in the spring, and watch them go nuts.)

Aloe blooms
Now, things got even more interesting when taking a closer look at the blooms themselves. They closely resemble the blooms of indigenous North American plants that depend upon either hummingbirds or hawkmoths for pollination, and the confirmation that they had a similar attraction came when a ruby-throat hummingbird proceeded to give me grief when mowing the grass by the aloe planters. There’s a very good reason why Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war, was often portrayed as a hummingbird, as these little monsters have no fear of man, beast, or god, and this one took severe umbrage at my interrupting his feed. Most people would look at the wonder of being attacked by a dinosaur in this day and age and move on, but I needed to know what set off the sort of response more likely to be encountered when haranguing a hummingbird’s nest.

Well, that night, I dusted off the UV laser flashlight used to view fluorescence in carnivores, and tried it on the A. nobilis blooms. The petals fluoresce slightly under UV, but the tips? Those glow a brilliant cadmium yellow, like a black light poster. Considering similar enthusiastic responses from hummingbirds from bladderwort blooms with comparable yellow fluorescence, this suggests either that blooms of this sort offer trace elements in their nectar needed by hummingbirds, or some other factor makes hummingbirds associate this sort of UV glow, and remember that hummingbirds can see well into the UV spectrum, with particularly good food. Time for more research, or at least time to pass on the observations to botanists and ornithologists who can examine things further.

Aloe bloom spike junction

With that observation, I then asked Nerine, without any other familiarity with aloe pollinators, about which birds might be attracted to the blooms. That’s when she informed me of sunbirds (Nectariniidae), which are enthusiastic aloe pollinators. Two groups of birds separated by the Atlantic Ocean, attracted by the same floral cues for the same reasons, and a group of plants able to be pollinated by a bird group from the other side of the planet for precisely that reason…so do the birds call the shots, or the flowers?

Aloe blooms
This is why I hate Nerine as much as I do, and why I’m not going to rest until I come out to her house and talk her to death. At the same time as all of this, I lucked into a copy of the absolutely incredible book Fynbos: South Africa’s Unique Floral Kingdom by Richard Cowling, Dave Richardson, and Colin Paterson-Jones, and now I know where my next trip outside of the US is going to be. As if I don’t have enough realms to research: now I’m addicted to studying fynbos flora, and I CAN’T STOP.

Essential viewing for rose gardeners

As an aside from normal subjects, I’ve taken issue for quite a long time on the idea that horticulture is too boring a subject to be worthy of popular media renditions. After spending two separate days cleaning up rose bushes only now recovering from last winter’s repeated cold strikes, I beg to differ. Not only is there drama, excitement, and pathos involving roses, but the best documentary about pruning heirloom roses came out last summer:

And you think I’m kidding? After the second round on Thursday evening, call me “Cherno Alpha”, because I almost literally had my ass handed to me. Judging by the blood spray all over the back yard fence, either the rose gave as good as it got, or I had a very intense heavy petting session with a band saw. The moment someone builds real Jaegers for trimming back roses, Osage oranges, citrus, and mesquite, I’m buying it right then and there, because sometimes to fight monsters, you need to make monsters of your own.

Have a Great Weekend

And now some more personal interludes involving well-meaning friends trying to get me to attend that high school reunion. Considering that I have precious few good memories of those days, and in fact fell into an early love of the works of Harlan Ellison because of the parallels, they’re lucky I don’t call them every night at 3 ayem to do nothing but scream. In fact, when my mother related the viciously cruel trope “your high school years are the best of your life,” she’s damn lucky that this song still existed in my future, because I would have been singing it for weeks.

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Cat Monday

Cadigan

Have a Great Weekend

More class reunion theme music…

Introducing Potentilla indica

Potentilla indica

Anybody with any passing familiarity with candy knows that the flavors commonly attributed to various fruits have no real connection to the original. Banana, watermelon, mango, pineapple…none of the confectionary analogues come close to the originals, and don’t even get me started on the horror that is “blue raspberry.” The biggest and most unfair lie of all, though, comes with the overuse of the phrase “wild strawberry.” For those whom have never had the privilege of coming across a hill full of wild strawberries and picked every last tiny morsel, the term “abomination,” when used to describe the artificially flavored nightmares blithely stealing the name, may be a bit extreme. However, it’s also accurate.

This, in a roundabout way, explains my sad and regretful relationship with a common weed rather common in North Texas suburban environments. Potentilla indica is often known as “Indian strawberry“, but it’s best called “false strawberry”. Lying, tricksy, false. In a way, P.indica taught me one of the best object lessons of my entire life.

As far as a garden and lawn weed is concerned, you could do a lot worse than P. indica. In North Texas, at least, it’s not invasive, and it’s not particularly obnoxious, either. It grows low to the ground, in both sun and shade, but doing best in places with a little bit of protection from the worst of local weather. It usually shows thanks to seeds deposited by birds, and birds absolutely adore the ripe fruits. Other than that, it doesn’t choke out more desirable garden plants. It doesn’t attract mosquitoes or armadillos. It doesn’t jam up lawn mowers or Weedeaters. It has no spines or toxic sap, and in fact the leaves are edible both raw and cooked. Compared to most of the flora generally labeled “weeds” this area, P. indica isn’t exactly the visitor who wouldn’t leave.

Potentilla indica

The problem, of course, is that its leaves and runners are very similar to those of wild strawberries, and the green and ripe fruit are also very similar, thus explaining the common name. In fact, that resemblance explains why so many beginning gardeners let it move in. For those lucky enough to have tasted real wild strawberries, it’s completely understandable. Even though the fruit doesn’t look exactly the same, there’s that hope, you know?

Potentilla indica

That’s where P. indica gets you. The fruit isn’t toxic, or even noxious. It just tastes of disappointment. It tastes of school field trips to the bank. Getting school supplies for your birthday. Spending your Christmas bonus on a CT scan to check out that “anomaly” on your lung, and not even getting a chestburster alien for your trouble. Quitting your last job because of the insufferable idiot in the next cubicle who wouldn’t quit braying every last thing that passed through his microscopic mind, and discovering that your next-door neighbor at the new job is an even bigger and more obnoxious idiot. The premiere screening of Star Trek III. Ordering the latest E.L. Doctorow and discovering that Amazon.com shipped you the latest Cory Doctorow instead. With no expectations, false strawberries aren’t absolutely horrible: they’re mostly water, with the slightest hint of wintergreen, but nothing you’d want to cultivate in huge quantities. But with the memory of wild strawberries on the tip of your tongue while popping a false strawberry in your mouth? It’s the taste of ash and despair and your prom date’s mother setting a curfew of midnight because “that’s late enough”.

Yeah, I made the mistake of letting false strawberry get established in my yard, a third of my life ago. The lesson I learned was to take advantage of current thrills, not past regrets, so I never held it against P. indica for trapping me the same way it traps birds into spreading its seeds. I will say, though, that the foliage is quite tasty, both raw and cooked, and that guarantees that it won’t be overtaking my yard again any time soon. If only scarlet trumpetvine were so easy to deal with.

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Cat Monday

Leiber

Introducing Phidippus audax

It’s amazing what you find during a standard greenhouse cleaning, and it’s even more amazing who you find. In the process of moving a growing bench, I had to clear off a shelf, and found someone I haven’t seen in a while. One and all, I’d like to introduce you to M’Nuuuurc, sole remaining diplomatic liaison from Metabilis 3, and someone who definitely appreciates a greenhouse full of terrestrial arthropods needing a bit of population control.

Phiddipus audax

On a more serious basis, the jumping spider Phidippus audax, if you needed a spider in your house, is one of the best choices around. I’d never call any spider friendly, but P. audax is more likely to recognize humans as harmless to them than most others. In return, they’re completely harmless to humans, they don’t spin obtrusive webs, they actively dislike contact with human skin in any way, and they’re absolutely voracious predators. When found indoors, they’re usually feeding on such pests as silverfish and firebrats, but I’ve also seen them take down prey as large as juvenile grasshoppers. In the greenhouse, they’re always welcome, especially with dealing with insect pests, such as those aforementioned grasshoppers, that see nothing wrong with munching on pitcher plants.

Phiddipus audax
But this one? I’ve viewed a lot of jumping spiders over the years, but never have I come across one this size. In many ways, I’m very glad that these spiders only bite humans in the most desperate self-defense, and that their venom doesn’t seem to have any effect on us in any case. The moment they decide to cooperate and go after larger prey, we’re in trouble.

Phiddipus audax

Have a Great Weekend

More high school class reunion theme music…

Another Day, Another Mind-Shredding Horror From Beyond

Moon Over Garland

Yes, yes, today is a Friday the 13th, and yes, we have a full moon this morning. So will one cancel out the other?

Introducing Myocastor coypus

Nutria

I love terrorizing my UK friend Dave Hutchinson with tales of the horrible, vicious wildlife in Dallas, because it’s like poking a Knox Block with a stick. He refers to Texas as “Australia Lite”, because he knows that unlike Australia, not every life form in my native land would try to kill him. No, most just want to knock him out, drag him back to their lairs, and lay their eggs in his chest. Worse, I have a passport now, so I just might come out to London, drag him onto a plane to Dallas, and sing to him the whole way back.

Anyway, so that Dave doesn’t soil his bedsheets every night, I wanted to show him something here that wouldn’t try to kill him, enslave him, or steal his wimminfolk. That can be a tough order, especially coming from a guy nearly taken out by his bicycle being hit by an armadillo in my back alley. (Not only can those little armored pigs run, but they JUMP, too.) It took an exotic intruder in one of the oddest places in the area, but I finally succeeded.

As mentioned a while back, I took a new Day Job out in the Las Colinas area of Irving, close to DFW Airport. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Las Colinas started out in the early Eighties as a tech hub, culminating with it becoming quite the symbol of dotcom excess about 15 years ago. All of that turned back into pumpkins and mice, but some of the oddities remain. First and foremost is the network of canals that run all through the eastern side of the area: apparently originally intended to make slightly hilly Dallas prairie a bit more tolerable, the canals had the side effect of attracting all sorts of wildlife. Egrets, herons, softshelled turtles the size of a garbage can lid, the occasional water snake, and the very occasional alligator all show up in the canals, but one of the biggest surprises here was a little guy I met on the daily commute from the train station to my office.

A few people here may know the story of the nutria, a South American water rodent that pretty much fills the niche there that the muskrat fills in the US and Canada. Nutria were first brought to the US as a possible source of cost-effective furs when beaver became endangered through the States: the market never took off, but nutria breeding numbers did, and they rapidly became a major pest in Louisiana. Part of this was due to their voracious feeding habits, and part was because nutria prefer to dig deep burrows into steep riverbanks. When said “riverbank” is a flood levee…well, you can imagine why they’re not exactly loved through the area.

Even fewer know that nutria are a rather common invasive animal in the Dallas area, but that’s because they’re incredibly shy and secretive. While I’ve seen the occasional burrow along creekbeds through the area, the only time I’d seen one before was when two ran out in front of me in the middle of a raging thunderstorm. They’re usually so secretive that one doesn’t even hear them slip into the water and swim off, which was why spotting “Gustavus” here in the morning light was an even bigger shock. His favorite lounging and feeding spot is a canal bank in the middle of a large park in the middle of Las Colinas, and he’s completely unafraid of the innumerable joggers and bicyclists who race right by his grazing area.

Nutria

That is, until one of those cyclists stops and tries to get his picture. Well, it’s not like he’s going anywhere soon: the three-foot alligator I spotted in another canal is a ways off, and Gustavus is big enough to be a major challenge for a gator that small. Which brings up the eternal question: in such a blatantly artificial and manufactured venue as Las Colinas, are introduced species residing therein really quite the menace they would be in more pristine areas? Or is this just giving them running room to spread out further? Either way, I suspect Gustavus is going to be here for a while.

The Magic Grapefruit Seed Theory

Reunion Tower

I’m regularly asked, by people who don’t live here, why I remain in the Dallas area. It’s definitely been a while: I celebrate the 35th anniversary of my first move to the Metroplex this December, with escapes in 1985, 1996, and 2002, but I keep coming back. In the last ten years, it’s started turning into the city it always could have been, and now I honestly can’t see living anywhere else. I’m not saying the place is perfect, and it’ll never be perfect, but it’s close enough for my needs.

One of the reasons why I love this town is because of the little things that make the place interesting. For decades, Dallas earned its reputation as “all hat, no cattle” by overhyping pretty mediocre venues in a desperate bid for international attention, while elected officials and noted businessmen worked their utmost to scuttle wonders for which they weren’t getting a cut. To this day, we always alternate between wanting an area or event to get proper recognition so it can grow, and trying to hide it so the SMU brats don’t “discover” it and gentrify it to death.

Texas School Book Depository

Sometimes, those little things are in plain sight. For instance, I started a new Day Job back last March. The upshot of this was that I get up at Even The Birds Are Telling Me To Go Back To Sleep Ayem and hitch a ride on the DART rail system practically to DFW Airport. In the process, I go by the notorious Texas School Book Depository twice per day, right along the back, and I see things in the summer morning light. Terrible things.

Hey man, nice shot

Not that this is particularly new: for all of the treasures in the Dallas Arboretum and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, the most famous horticultural display in all of North Texas is the north side of Dealey Plaza. Yes, this is the famed “grassy knoll,” subject of conspiracy theories and Bill Hicks jokes alike. For spending a total of nearly a third of a century here, I’ve only been here maybe three times in my life. Once the original wood fence came down a decade ago, it actually lost some of its charm…if your idea of “charm” consisted of enjoying morbid graffiti on the back of the fence along the lines of “Hey Man, Nice Shot.”

Sixth Floor Museum sign
No, the surprise came from passing by the back of the Sixth Floor Museum. Well, technically, it’s the front of the Museum display, but it’s the back of the original Depository building, For health and safety issues, the original structure has a very robust fire escape, brick painstakingly chosen to match the original building, and as such doesn’t contrast with the original the way far too many Dallas residential “improvements” do.

Texas School Book Depository

After a few weeks of passing by, that’s when I first saw it. At first, all I could see from the train was a clump of green on the sixth floor fire escape. The train rushed by fast enough that I couldn’t make out much more than that, but I could have sworn I caught a glimpse of round leaves, like a citrus tree’s. My first thought? “Someone has a Meyer lemon up there? Cool!”

Lee Harvey Orange

My problem here was getting proof. I finally decided one day about two weeks ago to drag my camera out that way and get a good photo to show friends, and wouldn’t you know it, the plant disappeared the day I was prepared. Any conspiracy theorist worth his salt would have said “they probably brought it inside to repot it or clean it,” but I had no doubt that someone was determined to prevent me from getting a photo of “Lee Harvey Orange”. One online wag joked that it had been taken out by “Jack Ruby Red Grapefruit”, and I was starting to wonder.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it any more. Today was a particularly cloudy and cool day for the middle of June in Dallas, so instead of catching my transfer in downtown, I figured that I could sneak by and sneak a shot of Lee Harvey. He was back in the fire escape again, and without the afternoon sun shining right in my eyes, I figured that I’d have my chance. At least I wasn’t a patsy.

Squeaky Frond

Well, the bad news is that Lee Harvey wasn’t a citrus tree after all. Based on an evaluation of the final image, Lee Harvey is most likely a corn plant (Dracaena fragrans), but a positive ID requires a trip to the Sixth Floor itself, and that’s going to require a free weekend. In fact, I just may bring a citrus tree as a peace offering, because that corn plant just doesn’t fit the space. It would probably be better for the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum, because it’s much less “Lee Harvey Orange” than “Squeaky Frond.”

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Cat Monday

Leiber and Cadigan

Have a Great Weekend

Still contemplating the class reunion, and getting into the moood…

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Cat Monday

Cadigan