Archive for the 'Cactus' Category


In happier news, our Cholla cactus is blooming! I long for this time, every year, and every year I’m just smitten.




Our cholla is blooming in our backyard! We’ve been WAITING for this. Every year, it is spectacular. This time, I got a bee at work, too!

Click on the photo for more detail.

Cholla in Bloom

Was it really five years ago this month that I learned how to remove cactus spines from a toddler? It was? It was. It’s amazing how time flies.

I’m hoping this summer plods along magically and joyfully.

…and with the cactus spines staying right where they’re supposed to.

Dreaming of June

Our Cholla. Click for more detail.

In protest of a winter that is one day longer than normal (Leap Day and all that), here is a sneak peek of what awaits us in the backyard in June.

Beautiful. Dangerous.

It’s June, which means the cactus is blooming in our backyard.

I’m in love.

Why is the title of this post so appropriate? Click here to find out!

Beautiful. Dangerous. There’s a lesson in life in there somewhere…

Cactus in Bloom

I love the cactus in our backyard. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. I love this cactus.

Every year, we wait for it. We wait for the explosion of color. Every year, we gasp when we see it, never fully expecting it.

Yesterday, Claire and I spotted it from the kitchen window at exactly the same moment, so we took Glenda out to check it out.

It’s breathtaking.
It’s intense.
It’s magical.
It’s almost too beautiful to be real.

But, it is.
And, it’s back.

I love it!

Cactus Flowers

We have a huge cholla cactus in our backyard. I wrote about it last year, around this time, and you can check out that post here. (It was a post about how I put Claire a little too close to it during a photo shoot, and she tried to touch the pretty flowers, resulting in Momma and Daddy learning how to remove cactus spines…)

Things are blooming a little later this year than last year, and this cactus has finally exploded into its wonderful magenta color. I dare say that the wonderful color almost detracts from the neighbor’s ramshackle fence and the weeds. 😉

Click photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

Cactus in Bloom, June 2008

As you can see, it’s almost regained most of its height. About four years ago, we got four feet of snow in one fell swoop, during an uncharacteristically bad spring storm. That wreaked havoc all over our city, but most importantly, broke our cactus. The poor thing couldn’t withstand the weight of all the snow and it fell in on itself. We weren’t sure how long it would take for it to reach back up to where it was. Well, it’s made it!

It’s almost five feet high and nearly eight feet wide. And to think the original owners brought it home in a coffee cup.

Granted, that was over 30 years ago…

And, to give some perspective as to how big it is, here is a picture of Claire standing next to it. The first one was taken last year and is one of the pictures that resulted in our impromptu cactus spine removal session. The second picture was taken Sunday evening. (You can see the difference in light between morning and evening, and the cactus is on an incline, so it may be hard to tell how tall it is, based on Claire’s height…but I love seeing the difference a year makes!)

As you can see, both Claire and the cactus have grown.

Cactus in Bloom, June 2007 Claire and the Cactus in Bloom, June 2008

So, like the iris and the roses, we inherited this gorgeous plant. And, just like with the iris and the roses, I can’t take credit for its success. I’m merely along for the ride. I mean, it has little offshoots that grow near the base of it, and we do replant them in other places throughout our landscaping design. We also clean the trash out of it (you’d be amazed at the things that blow over the fence from the street in back) and pull the weeds around it (albeit not that often and not before taking these pictures *cough*), but other than that, it grows all on its own.

Every year, by the time the first day of summer rolls around, I wait anxiously for the magenta blooms to start glowing, wondering when we’ll get a glimpse of this breath-taking color.

Cactus Bloom, June 2008

Parenting 101 – Cactus Spine Removal

The cholla cactus we have in the back yard has erupted into glorious magenta blooms. This cactus is HUGE. The original owners of the house brought it home from the countryside in a coffee cup, and now all its arms create a mass that is over four feet tall and over five feet in diameter. One of the horrible blizzards we had a few years ago knocked it down a couple notches, but it survived and is going strong.

Claire is enthralled with the “Pretty Flowers!” so I wanted to get a picture of it. I decided to put her in the picture to give some idea as to how large and expansive this cactus really is.

I decided to take her out to the cactus in the morning when the blooms were big, and also long before her nap, because she always throws a fit when we have to come inside, and getting her to take a nap after such a travesty of injustice would be nearly impossible.

So, with camera in hand, out we went. Daddy decided to stay in the kitchen to finish breakfast and get started on his projects for the weekend.

Claire and the Cactus

Everything was going really well, and I made her stand where she wouldn’t fall into the cactus. That would be horrible! Removing cactus spines was not on the top of my list of things I wanted to do today.

I clicked a couple pictures, and then about 15 seconds into lining up the third shot, Claire actually touched the “Pretty Flowers!” Yikes!! This kind of cactus actually releases its spines into its victim, rather than keeping them!! (Who knew!?) She had about 45 spines sticking out of her palm and fingers.

I scooped her up so quickly, she had no idea what was happening. She then threw a fit, not so much because of the spines in her hand, but because she didn’t want to go into the house! She was so mad that she made little balls with her fists, and that made the cactus spines dig in even deeper!

Luckily, Daddy was still in the kitchen, and he had to help me hold her hand open and pull the spines out with tweezers.


I think we got most of them out, and then she insisted on going back out to look at the “Pretty Flowers!” She’d shake her head ‘no’ and point to her hand and the flowers and say, “NO TOUCH! Pretty Flowers.” It was pretty funny (and not funny at the same time).

When we got back in the house, I put a piece of mailing tape on her hand and got even more out that way! I hope we got them all. That cactus is so deceiving! I guess we’ve both learned our lessons…and I’m not sure who was in more pain: Momma or Claire.