Yellow residue on Golden Barrel spines... ???

I shouldn't need to send a picture, but will email to anyone who asks.
I have several large, and several small cactii. My favorite of all is the Golden Barrel. Perhaps since that was the first cactus I ever owned (owned me?). I have 2 in my current collection, and each is about 6"-7" in diameter (spines included).
They are exhibiting a strange symptom, which may not be bad. New spines growing out from the crown have a hard yellow covering at the base of the new spines. It is quite a color contrast to the white/translucent color of the rest of the spines. The residue can scraped off with a fingernail, but not easily.
Another thing is that the new spines feel like they are 'loose', or not solidly connected to the crown. In fact, they are not that hard to pull out. They may just be weak as they are new...?
They both have lived in the summer sun, outdoors, since they came to me, and both from separate shops. I keep an extremely close eye on their moisture, using a moisture meter.
One more thing... This has happened recently (and the yellow on the spines has been going on since early summer), but they appear to have shrivelled a bit too easily. I can't find anything about this, but the barrels will shrivel at the top, at the crown, by turning white/pale and "wrinkling" visibly. They suck up the water I give them, and I can reduce the shrivelling completely within an amazing 6-8 hours! I had to water them both on successive days due to shrivelling this week.
I have only read that you should only water them once per week during the growing season... OK, but I have also read that a cactus will tell you when it needs water. Well, they were screaming at me to water them-even though it was more frequent than weekly! Mind you, these 2 barrels are apparently as healthy as they can be, and growing fast (well, for a cactus its fast!)...
Ideas on either of these symptoms?
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No, the plants were not screaming at you. They just benefited from some extra water during the heat wave. You are too obsessive a person to enjoy easy going plants like succulents. Stop anthropomorphizing your plants and just let them do their own thing.

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I appreciate the critique of me as a ... anthropomorphizer...
But I'd also like to know if you have an answer concerning the initial point I posted about (yellow on spines)...
Can you comment on that?
TIA...
pat :)
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Its normal new growth.

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and as well as it's normal new growth, you don't want to scrape it off with your fingernail as the new spines are ribbed and quite neat looking. My Hawortia's are all speckled and ribbed and happy with the extra moisture but adequate drainage and heat and sunlight. You should see the spiney Euphorbia's right now. Every one of them are sporting tiny yellow waxy flowers that are attracting small fliers to pollinate them, as well as black and white wasp like fliers to taste of the teeny yellow cups on the Euphorbias. Kinda neat looking at them carefully going around the sharp spines thrusting outwards from the flowers.
I spotted someone's yard today in KNOXVILLE who has planted golden barrel in the front yard to benefit from the summer heat and rains and sunlight along with pad cactus and spiney columnar varieties. I'm curious if this person who has obviously done this for quite awhile digs them up and pots them and takes them inside and has a special place to winter them until springtime when they've replanted them into the front yard to join the more winter hardy pad cactus clump. (it's massive and most impressive) It was a nice change to see cactus in an area where it's lush and green.............where do you live? are these cactus in pots or the ground? Cereus is right though. just enjoy the new growth and let them do their thing.
I just hate I have to bring mine inside this winter, they all look so healthy and lush right now. My Cerius cactus has 11 buds on it already and will be night blooming huge white flowers soon!
if you like the golden barrel, you ought to try some succulents, they're coming out with more and more varieties every day. I'm amazed! madgardener rambling on about sedums, succulents, euphorbia and cacti...........

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