Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tobacco field, Chimarrão, cacti and Wonnie

And here's another piece of what I would like to share. Hello and welcome (back?) on my blog! If you check out my other 'articles', you'll see that they're not 100% consistent. I don't have 1 theme and actually I just write stuff down I feel like sharing at that exact moment. But does that mean that my blog is chaotic and vague? Maybe... But I'm sure that some of you ended up here Googling something that you're interested in. Maybe you were looking for photos of seedlings of that rare cactus species or maybe some type of pipe. It could be a nice single malt whisky (although I'm not an expert yet). Or you were just bored. Nothing wrong with that! Or... Hey! Maybe you're family, a friend or someone that I've met in real life. Nice! You came here to check out what Stan's doing, ah? Well, here we go!

My wife and I had some busy days lately. We went to Brasil, visiting family and friends and I can tell you that it was great! Next time we really need to stay longer, because we were seeing everyone in such a hurry.  Lots of great people and only a few days. Time passes fast when you're busy.

Between all the visits and meetings we've seen some pretty cool stuff again! My wife's grandfather owns a piece of land and there they grow different crops, depending on the season. And guess what season it was when we've arrived there?!


Tobacco field
Exactly! Tobacco! Everyone who knows me well or who reads my blog once in a while knows that I'm a pipe smoker and that - of course - I like tobacco. Visiting this tobacco field was something that made me smile!

Me standing in a tobacco field

Nicotiana tabacum, the tobacco plant, sadly one of the greatest income of many governments. I have a theory about this, but I won't bother you too much with it. I believe that if the government would use all the money they make with excise tax to pay the problems of our bad-organized healthcare, people might be surprised of how low their monthly payment would be.

Of course, smoking a lot of tobacco might cause health problems, but I also believe that if someone smokes his daily pipe, drinks his glass of whisky and really take the time to enjoy it, that person might get a little older than someone who doesn't take the time to enjoy his life. Stress gives you more health problems than smoking!

Ready to be cured!
My wife's grandfather explained a lot about the process, but I didn't took note and thought; 'Ah, I'll rember!',  but no! Let me see. Ah yes! He told me that it's very important to harvest the tobacco plants on the right time. If you wait some days longer, you're stuck with useless plants that can't be used for tobacco production anymore (as he pointed at his neighbor's crops).

Below here I've added some photos of the curing process. They speak for themselves.

Me and my wife's grandfather
He doesn't work on the land anymore like in the old days. Right now he just rents his land and live in peace in his nice and calm house.

Tobacco leafs, hanging to dry and to cure

In here they burn wood. The oven is connected to some pipes that are used  for quickening the curing process.

The pipes I was talking about

Got it, right?

More tobacco, almost ready to leave

This part is even older than the rest. They used to hang tobacco leafs on sticks here

Okay, let's move on!


Yerba mate
 This plant is used for a traditional South American infused drink. Dried out a little and cut, they put some spoons of it in a so called 'cuia' (which is a calabash drinking mug), put a little cold water on the herb to make it stick to the wall of the mug, then stick in the 'bomba' (which is a sort of metal straw) and then add cooked water. They say that it doesn't have any effect, but I don't believe them! Not that I've seen any weird stuff after drinking 'Chimarrão' (the name of the drink), but it woke me up as hell! I love it. It's a little bitter, but it's nice.

More green stuff...

Later on our trip in Brazil, we've visited the uncle of my brother in law, a very nice guy. His wife made me the best Caipirinha I've ever tasted in my life! Okay, back to nature!

Check out all the epiphytes! Amazingly pretty in my opinion!

Another epiphyte...
Are you seeing what I am seeing? Look closer!

Yeah! That's a cactus! A Rhipsalis species. 

I'm not sure about the full name yet, but I'll come back to that later (it's
Rhipsalis elliptica) This isn't the plant you think about when you hear the word cactus, but I can assure you that it is one. Many people confuse cacti with other succulents (even I did in the beginning), but today I'm going to learn you a little trick about how to recognize one!

Areoles!  Only cacti have them, so that's simple, right? Let me show you some!

Cacti are the only plant group that have areoles. Spines, branches and also flowers grow from these small light to dark spots. Great! Now you can identife a cactus.

Take a good look at this plant. It has spines as you can see, but can you also see the areoles? Nope. This is no cactus, but an Euphorbia, a succulent plant from Africa. Very pretty in my opinion by the way! 

As I've already told you in my other article, I've ordered some seeds again and two species that I'll sow are from the Euphorbia family; Euphorbia platyclada and Euphorbia gorgonis. My wife thinks they're ugly (Hmmm... Shit happens!)

Cactolândia 2013!

2013's sowing

  • Bottom left: Lophophora williamsii, L. fricii, L. Diffusa, Macheocereus eruca
  • Top left: Lobivia silvestrii (Echinopsis chamaecereus), Sulcorebutia arenacea, Melocactus matanzanus
  • Top right: Parodia ottonis, Notocactus turecekianus, Gymnocalycium erinaceus
  • Bottom right: Euphorbia platyclada, Euphorbia gorgonis, Pachypodium rosulatum, Haworthia sordida

Just four containers this time! (ow, and one in the bottom right corner; Brighamia insignis, seeds from my own plant. Check Out my other article on this one!)

What can I say about my choices... I'm crazy about Lophophora species. I like the way they're spineless and I like their interesting history. Lophophora williamsii has many other names, but the most famous one is 'Peyote'. I've already written a lot about this plant, so I suggest you should search my blog if you would like to read a little more about it.

Macheocereus eruca, the creeping Devil! I like that name! Haven't I already written about this spiny fellow? I don't think so. Not that I can remember. This species is called 'The Creeping Devil', because he actually creeps. He grows horizontally from one side and dies at the base. This process makes this plant transport himself from one spot to the other. If you Google this plant and check out the huge spines, you'll probably also imagine the Devil-part of the name (imagine stepping on one!)

I've chosen Lobivia silvestrii and Sulcorebutia arenacea because of their pretty flowers and interesting way of growing. Melocactus matanzanus interests me because of its weird cephalium. I've never grown a species of this family, so I'll let them surprise me!

Parodia ottonis, Notocactus turekianus and Gymnocalycium erinaceus were a present of someone from the cacti-forum on (thanks again, Arjen!).

And then there are the plants my wife hates. Offff... Well, they're not THAT ugly, I think. Okay, they're weird, but weird is funny and funny makes you happy and isn't being happy what it's all about? When Euphorbia platyclada is in the rich years of its life, it looks kind of dead. Check Google for this one! Euphorbia Gorgonis is named after a female Greek mythical creature with snakes on her head. The plant looks like the head of this Gorgon. After searching a tree-look-a-like-tiny-succulent for days, I've found Pachypodium rosulatum. What more can I say? Haworthia sordida is similar to the other species of the Haworthia family, but differs in its colors; blackish/reddish, very pretty!

And then I would also like to say that a friend of mine, who always orders seeds together with me and sow around the same time has asked me to pick out one extra species. 'A columnar cactus that will reach about 1,4 m max. Surprise me!' were his words. Well... He'll be surprised, because I've settled him up with the following species; Harrisia pomanensis, also named 'The Midnight Lady'. Yeah, that will cause a mess in his house, but it's also funny I think and funny makes you happy and that's what life's about! Right?! Uhmmm... Next!

I would also like to say that I'll write with more details about the species I've named above in the future. It's just that I don't feel like stealing pics online and would rather to use my own. Ow, by the way! Our camera has died in Brazil, DAMMIT! Now we'll have to buy a new and better one. Finally a good reason!

Peyote News!

The photos below are all taken with my old Nikon 2100 with 2.0 effective Megapixels that I've bought in 2004. My other camera has died as you've read above. But okay, Peyote News! These seedlings are all from 2011, except 2 that were a gift from someone.

Lophophora williamsii, La Popa, Nuevo Leon

Lophophora williamsii, Nuevo Yucatan

Lophophora williamsii (the 2 right seedlings are the gift I was talking about)

Last but not least...

I would like you to meet our latest family member, 'Wonnebald'! You can also call him 'Wonnie' and in Germany they would call him 'Wunibald' or 'Wuni'? Anyway, we think he's great!

That's it for today! See ya next time (hopefully with some seedling-photos taken with my new bad-ass-camera!)!

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