Monday, April 12, 2010

Mexican Fence Post Cactus Succumbs to Wind

My Mexican Fence Post Cactus that WAS taller than our home, succumbed to a powerful East-To-West wind gust Sunday afternoon while Dr Desert Flower and I were making a Costco-Target run. Luckily, it did little damage to the garage and roof when it fell. The adjacent yucca was 1/3 flattened, but has recovered, to approximately 1/2 it's former shape.

It took me the better part of 4 hours to machete, and hacksaw the fallen cactus arm that weighed approximately 1000 lbs - remember, it's about 80% water, and the rest is dense-packed skeletal structural cellulose. I got stabbed multiple times in the hands, forearms, and thighs, despite double gloving, and wearing 2 layers of shirts and thick denim jeans.

My 75 gallon, roll-to-the-street dumpster, has a "max 395 lbs" rated limit. I figure I've reached that with the damaged arms. The other 400 or so lbs, by these four thigh and abdomen sized arms, will have to wait until next week.

The remaining 200 or so lbs, of various arms from 1 foot to 5 feet long, I transplanted, along with other previously amputated arms, beside the "creek bed" and lantana in the front yard. I secured the transplanted arms using old shower trim rubber seals that I had a whole bag of in my garage.

Once next Christmas gets here, I've got some blue lights to simulate "water" in the rocky creek bed - lol. The black throated hummingbird females were very busy drinking from the ocotillo behind the new transplants, and as you can see, the bougainvillea is in massive bloom in the court yard. The milkweed directly behind the fence post cactus is where the tarantula hawks were getting drunk last year.

I was going to proactively trim the now 2nd largest arm that is leaning out towards the street, but a dual nest - mourning dove on top, and vireo below - has been built in one of the nooks of the branching arms. So I will have to wait until the baby birds leave the nest before fore-shortening that massive arm.
Some of the arms I transplanted into some small pots, so if you're interested in getting some of the children from the parent plant that grew 22 feet in 6 years on some kind of mysterious plant steroid, come on by and I'll send you home with one!

I hope if the other arms come off, they wait a while. An hour of yoga was not enough to completely reset my shoulders and lower vertebrae, which are still unhappy with me. More ethanol and naproxin will be required this evening! =)

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