An Upside-Down Rainbow

Rainbow Arc

When putting the BBQ grill away in the garage late this afternoon, we noticed a couple of Sun Dogs on either side of the sun. But, when looking almost straight up, we saw the rainbow which is not actually a rainbow at all but a Circumzenithal Arc. I went back into the house and got my camera to photograph the unusual phenomenon. I stood in the shadow of the big saguaro out front to get the photo above.

The weather was very spring-like today with high thin clouds, a light breeze and a high temperature of 72 degrees. No wonder that the snowbirds are here in force. We also currently have rodeo events which brings out lots of participants and observers.

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Cactus Planting Day

Peruvian Apple CactusAfter our usual Monday morning activities were complete, Damsel and I decided it was time to put some of the potted cacti sitting in the side courtyard into the ground. We should have done this a long time ago, since a couple of the cacti had started sending roots into the courtyard ground through the drain holes in the bottom of their pots.

Today’s weather was Arizona perfect for these outdoor chores. It was mostly overcast with the temperature in the high sixties, nearly perfect conditions for digging a hole.

The first cactus to go into the ground is pictured on the right. The label on the pot said it was a “cereus peruvianus montrose,” or, as I learned from the internet, a Montrose Peruvian Apple Cactus. This cactus has been doing well in the courtyard in its pot and has given us numerous flowers typical of night-blooming cereus.

In addition to the cereus, we had three one-gallon pots, each containing a golden barrel cactus. These three were added in the rock slope in front and to the side of the house where we already had planted five other golden barrels a while back.

There are three or four more potted cacti in the courtyard which we didn’t get to today. But, now that the weather is going to be like this or cooler for a while, we will try and get to the others in the weeks ahead. Of course, we probably won’t stop there as the landscaping is an on-going endeavor that we may never finish.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year form us to you.

Luke 2:11-14 King James Version (KJV)

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Amen!

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SpaceX Satellite Launch

SpaceX Satellite Launch

As Damsel and I were relaxing last evening, we were startled by a knocking at the back porch. It was the UPS delivery guy with a package we ordered from Amazon. But the package drop-off wasn’t the end of it. The driver said “Come out here and look at this!”

We walked down the driveway looking west and we pretty much saw the image depicted above, although we’re in a darker location than the Phoenix area where the photo was taken.

The phenomenon was attributed to a SpaceX Iridium Satellite launch:

At 5:30 pm on Dec. 22nd, SpaceX launched a 2-stage rocket from Vandenburg Air Force Base near the California coast.

The rocket launched 10 communications satellites to low-Earth orbit, adding to the growing Iridium NEXT constellation. This is the fourth such mission that SpaceX has flown for Iridium. Moreover, the rocket used for this mission had been used before. The Falcon 9 previously flew in June for the second Iridium mission.

It was quite spectacular as we watched the rocket move across the sky with its trail of gas lit up by sunlight high in the atmosphere. We’re glad that the UPS guy alerted us to this unusual event.

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First Day of Winter

winter.jpgWell, the first day of winter officially began at 0928 Arizona time this morning. The image snippet I captured from Archaeoastronomy.com shows the time of the solstice in UTC. Arizona time is seven hours earlier.

I know that those in chronically colder places will regard this as whining, but it’s very cold here in the desert today. When I was out with the dogs this morning, it was 43° and wind gusts to 25 knots. I was wearing sweats and, believe me, the wind went right through the thin flannel. Neither I, nor the dogs, could wait to get back into the nice warm 68° inside temperature.

Although the temperature never exceeded 52° here today, the forecast for Christmas weekend is for less wind and warmer with highs back up in the 70s. Today, we’re looking ahead to that.

On a different winter topic, The Patriot Post featured this Rick McKee cartoon with reference to the recently passed GOP Tax Reform:

grinch-dems.jpg

The fine print disclaimer includes apologies to Dr. Seuss. :lol:

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Persistent Second Spring Weather

Bottle Brush Devil’s Tongue Cactus Flower

The butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are still going strong even though we’re in the middle of December. Our daytime temperatures have been in the mid to upper seventies and the nights, although cool, have been mild in the upper forties to lower fifties.

I took both of these photos today. The flower on the left is on a bottle brush shrub in the courtyard and the flower on the right is on a Devil’s Tongue barrel cactus in the rock and cactus xeriscape garden across the driveway to the west.

The official first day of winter will be in a week or so, but we are hoping that our spring-like days will continue for a while. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Desolation

CA Hwy 62

This is a view of the scenery we saw yesterday along CA Hwy 62 in San Bernadino County as we crossed the great desolate Mojave Desert on the last leg of our trip. Damsel took this photo after our departure from Twentynine Palms. We were just north of Joshua Tree National Park, which, in itself, is a very large chunk of real estate.

Other than a few lightly populated areas and the larger town of Parker, AZ, the trip yesterday had us looking at bare desert. The difference between the California deserts and Arizona deserts would be that there are saguaro cacti east of the Colorado River and not so much west of there.

Still, both deserts are amazing examples of geological variety and wonder, with scrub brush and jagged mountains. We enjoyed the crossing very much on a clear, calm and beautiful day.

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