Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Have you ever wondered...

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a cactus looks like?

When we moved into our house 3+ years ago we had this beautiful barrel cactus in the front yard:

Like many plants of the world, this cactus has numerous uses. Native Americans who lived in the desert found the barrel cactus very useful. In the vast untamed land and scorching heat, you couldn't really hop in your air-conditioned car and cruise down to the local A&P. The Native Americans had to look hard to find food. The barrel cactus provided some very important provisions for them. They stewed the Barrel Cactus to make a cabbage-like food. They got water to drink from the pulp and they made fish hooks from the spines, which are pointed at the end. The pulp is also made into "cactus candy".

Recently the cactus started laying down.  See that big rock in the front of it?  We propped it up with that for awhile.  Then we used a 2x4.  It just didn't seem to want to stay standing.  We got to talking to one of our neighbors and he said that these cactus have been here since they built the subdivision... late 1970's so this cactus is (was) very likely 25 years old.  

In adulthood, fishhook barrel cacti generally leans southward, toward the sun, earning it the nickname "compass barrel cactus." One theory about why this happens is, the afternoon sun is so intense it slows the growth on the exposed side, causing the plant to grow unevenly. Older barrel can lean so far they uproot themselves and fall over especially after heavy rains when the soil is loose.Its life cycle is 50-100 years.

Cactus absorb water whenever it does rain so that they have a 'reserve' to use when they need it.  Therefore they are VERY HEAVY.  So in order to dispose of it my husband decided that using the ax to chop it up.  He decided at the time to divide it into thirds.  After he was done I went out to look at it. 

 This is after 1/3 of the cactus was gone.

I don't know if any of you have ever watched Rachel Ray when she's said, "MMmm I wish there was smell-a-vision."  Well... right now I wish there was "touch-a-net"  LOL... but truly... I wish I could let all of you feel the inside of the cactus!  It is somewhat like Styrofoam and somewhat like a soft dried sponge.  

 That's the 2x4 my husband used to try to prop the cactus up with.
My husband started to chop up the last third of the cactus.  This bottom picture has the top of the cactus in the bottom right corner of the photo.

My husband says that 1/3 of the cactus can go in the trash can per week.  Therefore it will take 3 weeks to dispose of our dead barrel cactus. (This after it laid on the ground for 2 or 3 weeks.)

Maybe I should cook it for dinner for my husband and let him wonder what it is!  LOL  
What do ya think?

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  1. I say it's time for some cactus lasagna!

  2. I am short on cactus recipes...darn! Thanks for the interesting info though. We have teeny tiny cactus here....nothing that big!

  3. I've never seen a barrel cactus fall over like this. I'd have loved to feel it.

  4. Lovely Light: Thank you for stopping by!


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