Saturday, January 10, 2009
I donned my heaviest jacket and a sturdy pair of boots. Then I pulled on some seriously protective leather gloves. Because today was the day... to take Uncle Henry for a walk.
He's a spiny old fella who's discovered his second childhood. I conducted a bit of liposuction on him this year, removing about 50 pounds of tall, prickly branches.
Henry is an African Milk Tree. The old geezer started out as one of those tiny, dollar cactus plants ~ now he's about 10 feet tall. Every holiday, I kick him out of his sunny window, making a place for the Christmas tree. Today, he's back in his favorite hot spot.
The name 'milk tree' comes from the really nasty white sap that runs from his stems when you give him a haircut. Don't - whatever you do - rub your eyes or get that stuff on your skin. It's mighty painful.
According to West African folklore, sharing a slice of Uncle Henry brings both parties good luck. So, I've been trying to give him away forever, but everybody says no. Which hurts my feelings and Henry's, too. He's not that ugly...
* Euphorbia trigona African Milk Tree: water every week or so. To propagate, place a cut stem into the soil, skip the watering for a week and he'll grow an entirely new plant.