Late Afternoon and Evening Cumulus Clouds

Late Afternoon

Damsel took this photo late this afternoon of the homestead framed by some really big cumulus clouds building up over the mountains to the northeast. As of this evening (nine PM) we stepped out on the courtyard and saw almost continuous lightning to the east through southeast. Monsoon season isn’t over yet.

Looking on the NWS radar website, we see lots of the area down toward Phoenix/Tempe with severe thunderstorm warnings. Hope they will be OK.

The first year we were building the house, there was a severe microburst down that way that took out a large number of old palo verde trees lining the median along a road down in Glendale. We were there the day after, buying granite for the kitchen and bathroom counters and saw the terrific damage to the beautiful old trees. Branches eight inches in diameter were snapped off and laying on the streets.

As I said, we hope everything will be OK tonight.

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Hummingbird at the Feeder

Hummingbird at the Feeder

I have a couple of these feeders outside the back patio screen. This summer, I have had to refill them more often than I seem to recall having done so in the past. The tiny birds browse them all day long and into the evening when it’s almost dark.

This little visitor was white with gray and green tones in his feathers. I have no idea what the name of this variety of hummingbird might be, but it is a cute little guy helping itself to what’s left in the east feeder. The bird and feeder were about five or six feet from where I snapped this photo. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Planning a Vacation

Damsel and I haven’t been on a road trip for nearly a year, so we’re planning to head out sometime next month. We have two objectives that involve family; the first being to be present for our great grandson’s first birthday party in Santa Rosa California and the second is to make a second visit to see our newest grandson who will be in Palm Desert when we visit. The rest of the trip will be for us to enjoy the scenic outdoors of the west.

First LegThe first leg of the roadtrip, depicted to the right, takes us from our town, scenic in its own right, up along US 93 through the Joshua Tree Forest, quaint little town of Wikieup, AZ and dumps us on I-40 heading into Kingman.

From Kingman, we head north along US 95, across the (relatively) new Hoover Dam bypass bridge, and on into Las Vegas. From there, we head briefly into California to visit Death Valley.

After the brief foray into Death Valley, we again take to US 95 into Nevada again and go through some old ghost towns, some still active mining towns and the towns of Tonopah and Hawthorne. Next will be Walker Lake, which often serves as a mirror for the mountain ranges beyond. There is some very breathtaking scenery in Nevada and a photographer’s wonderland.

As we continue northward to Reno, The Biggest Little City in the World, we plan to visit some of the shopping places in town. Afterwards, we will camp in the mountains on the Nevada side of the state line, postponing our entry into the People’s Republik of Kalifornistan. Then after becoming subjects, rather than citizens, we will enter with our weapons stowed in accordance with the unconstitutional laws of that state and travel to the Santa Rosa area where our great grandson and our three granddaughters reside.

Route heading homeAfter the festivities in Santa Rosa have concluded, we will head over to visit one of Damsel’s younger sisters who lives in Stockton. We will probably camp in her driveway before continuing on southward to the next stop in Bakersfield.

Some of the legs of this trip are a bit ambitious, since we tend not to tow the trailer more than four hours per overnight stop, but the timing of this excursion requires a few over six-hour legs with fuel stops as required. Damsel and I conclude that it will be worth the extra endurance to be able to see everyone and everything planned.

The last part of the trip has us to cleverly avoid going into the insane driving mess known as the Los Angeles Basin, but rather to skirt north through the High desert until such time as we can descend through Yucca and Morongo Valleys on our way to the final overnight destination in Palm Desert. After our visit there, we’re headed back to our beautiful little home.

Within a few days of getting home, another branch of the family will probably visit us as guests in our home. It seems like it will be a nice beginning to fall second spring in our Arizona paradise.

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One Dozen Barrel Cactus Flowers

Devil’s Tongue Golden Barrel

This is the time of year that these barrel cacti show their flowers. On the left above, the Devil’s Tongue cactus in my rock and cactus garden displays six flowers open. On the right, my Golden Barrel cactus shows six more flowers that are smaller than the other ones, but the cactus is a bit larger than the Devil’s Tongue. The two cacti are about three feet apart in the garden.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Fortunately, when we had the massive rainfall in July, the runoff spared most of the cacti in the garden since most of what we transplanted here was on higher ground than the creek that flows when it rains a lot. We plan to distribute the rocks and other landscape items to conform to the flow that will most likely happen again.

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Star Cactus Flower Close-Up

Close-Up

I am always intrigued by the delicate inner parts of the cactus flowers. This is an extreme close-up photo of a flower that opened up on my Astrophytum (Star Cactus) yesterday and was open again today. Unlike the Bishop Cap flowers that are only open for a single day, this cactus offers a second look the flower on the next day.

I also took a photo of the whole cactus flower. Click on the link to the left or on the image above for full-sized views.

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My Old Faithful Bishop’s Cap Flowers

Bishop’s Cap Cactus Flowers

I posted about this cactus two months ago when it had three flowers. I did not post last month when it had several more flowers. Today, there are five of them open. This cactus has been with us since the late 1990’s and has been faithful about having flowers ever since its first year of blooms.

I will have photos of our other Astrophytum cactus in a day or so when its flowers open. I just love spring, summer and second spring cactus flowers. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Hot Days, Puffy Clouds and Sunrays

Sun rays

The weather services are all posting excessive heat warnings for the Arizona deserts over the next couple of days. We got up to about 110 degrees in the shade on the patio this afternoon - not the hottest we have seen here, but it is a bit abusive if you have to stay out in it for any substantial period of time.

As dog owners, we have the obligation to take the pups out from time to time. Also, the things we have growing in the courtyard garden need watering and attention, so going out in the heat for brief times is in the cards for us.

We have had a few rain showers over the past week, but today we have a few puffy clouds drifting by. I saw sun rays above this one cloud, so I went inside got my camera and took this shot of them before they eventually disappear. Click on the image to enlarge.

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