The Cactus Patch
Volume 14       September 2011      Number 09

Rock Art at China Lake
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

It has been a quiet month. On August 2nd we heard Rob Skillin at Fresno. He gave a well illustrated talk on Namibia. Terry was selling plants which included some large trees such as baobabs.

On the 9th, of course, we joined the Bakersfield Club at the Agave Grill & Cantina for some great food accompanied by lots of noise.

On the 13th we went to the inter-city show at the LA arboretum. We bought a few plants, a lovely T-shirt, a book, and viewed the show plants which, as usual, were even better than previous shows. Chuck Everson was selling books and Woody and Nick were selling plants. We listened to Joe Stead of the Orange County Community College explain the basics of propagating succulents. He gave us each a seedling Beaucarnia recurvata and a Pachypodium lamerei.

We then toured the garden on the tram, which was running for a change. It was a mild yet sunny day and the plants were in good condition. It brought back memories of my first trip there as a botany student at BC.

But back to April:

On the 30th we left San Diego and drove up to Rare Succulents, a new place at Fallbrook which says it has the “largest selection of exotic succulent plants in Southern California”. We were personally escorted around by Petra Crist, the proprietor. Among the many unusual plants there we saw the only Euphorbia decidua which I have seen outside of Africa. We had lunch at Claim Jumpers in Temecula and then drove up to Tehachapi.. Polly and Anne left me at Carol Gates’ place and proceeded on to Bakersfield. Lynn and her grandson Josh joined us later.

Next morning we went up to Ridgecrest for a tour from the Maturango Museum. I have seen lots of rock art, but I was particularly interested in the pictures at China Lake as I had once applied to head the museum which features them. (I went to Botswana instead.) Most of the group was from the Audubon Society and we had a thorough security check on the base.

The rock art was worth it, however. Many of the panels show sheep (though not two headed as at Tehachapi) and one even had a cloud raining on a sheep. This goes with the belief that sheep cause rain. This interested me as I was asked when I said there was no air on the moon (to a 7th grade science class in Malawi), “Then how does the sheep breath?” I asked, “What sheep?” and was answered, “The one that causes rain!”

Other panels had what appeared to be a canoe, a shop-ping cart, and a number of cacti. We did see hedgehog and beavertail cacti. The way was rough (especially the waterfall- fortunately dry) and the required water and boots were a good thing.

That evening I finally returned to Bakersfield. We had originally planned to pick up our friend Isaac Lusunzi at the LA airport Monday morning, but his flight was postponed until Tuesday evening. This left poor John alone at the place he had arranged for us up at Sausalito, but he enjoyed the foreign students he met there and it gave me a needed day of rest.

Next month I will tell of our trip to Greenville with Isaac.

Petra Crist & Monadenium spinosa

Lynn & Josh

Sheep & Rain

Sheep, Cactus & Live Hedgehog

Recent Rock Art
Bruce's opinions are his and are not necessarily that of the BCSS

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