Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aunt Debbi Visits the Texas Triffid Ranch and Lives to Tell about it.

A couple of weekends ago, I took a trip with Baby Monkey to visit Paul Riddell at his home aka the Texas Triffid Ranch. We spent a lovely afternoon with Paul and his beautiful wife Carolyn who Paul sweetly refers to as The Czarina. My only regret of the afternoon was that I did not have enough time to check out Carolyn’s handcrafted jewelry. I did spy one very pretty piece on the dining room table and barely managed to fight off the urge to snatch it, kidding….sort of.

Paul’s obsession with knowledge of carnivorous plants is amazing. He showed us his greenhouse his other greenhouse, his composting bin, his container collection and his nemesis - The Arrogant Tree Rat (squirrel). Baby Monkey happily ran the squirrel off one time, but we are positive it will be back to dig in Paul’s containers.

The real stars of the show were the carnivorous plants. I can’t say that I remember the particulars about each variety, because the information was coming at me fast and furious. The man knows his flesh eating plants. Baby Monkey was mesmerized. I don’t think I have ever seen him that still and focused. We were lucky enough to come when some of the pitcher plants were blooming. The blooms are very interesting. They are shaped in a way that forces pollinators to come into them wander around a little, get pollen on them and then get back out, sort of like bug a maze.

Paul has graciously agreed to come speak to our young library patrons during our Summer Reading Program. After watching my little man completely enthralled by the descriptions of these fascinating plants, I know Paul will be a big hit with the library kids.

The purpose of my trip was actually to pick up a bag of bat guano. Bat guano is excellent plant fertilizer. It also smells funny. I am told it is a very bad idea to inhale any of the dust, so I won’t. Paul volunteers at Bat World, and scooped me up this bag of crap there. I’ve never been more grateful. Look at the print on the bag, cute right?

Fuzzy Picture of a Bag of Bat Guano