I went out onto the courtyard this afternoon to try and photograph sunspotsbut had no luck since there was a thin overcast layer of cirrus clouds. Damsel noticed that there was an arc around the sun so I positioned myself underneath the big saguaro out front and took this image of the phenomenon.
The halo around the sun reminds me of some of the halos around the heads in medieval art works such as “Madonna y Bambino” and other halo-worthy holy figures that we saw in The Vatican, Rome and Florence, Italy a few years ago. Click on the image to enlarge.
My reliable Bishop’s Cap Cactus is adding to the springtime collection of flowers today. I think there were nine or ten of these nice flowers open this afternoon in the courtyard where this little barrel cactus lives. It is very happy here and gives me flowers almost all year long. Click on the image to enlarge.
In addition to this cactus, there are cacti allover the garden and the lot that are getting ready to open flowers. The beavertails (see yesterday) are opening new flowers every day and the cholla, hedgehog and prickly pear all show signs of flower buds to come soon. Stay tuned!
It’s not the first beavertail cactus flower we have seen open in the neighborhood, bit this one is ours. It is on a little beavertail cactus we transplanted to my rock and cactus garden a couple of years ago. We have many such transplants, but this is the first one to have an open flower. Click on the image to enlarge.
There will be many more beavertail flowers over the next couple of months in our gardens and also in the wild up the wash near the back property line. Last fall, we brought four paddles from the wash and have them in the courtyard in pots. They also will have flowers any day now. I love spring cactus flowers!
I took a hike up the hill into the “unimproved” part of our property today. I took photos of some of the cacti located up there and posted them in the slideshow above. All but one of the cacti depicted will produce flowers this spring and summer, some as late as fall. None of the specimens receive any irrigation and depend on natural rainfall and other conditions to survive, which all seem to be doing.
In order of appearance are prickly pear cactus, hedgehog cactus, compass barrel cactus, Christmas cholla cactus, buckhorn cholla cactus and beavertail cactus. Click on the images to advance.
Our flowering plum tree in the courtyard is getting more mature. All of a sudden over the past few days, the bare branches seem to be covered with these tiny blossoms.
I took several photos of the flowers today, most of them included bees busily gathering nectar. Between the plum tree, and the fifty rosemary bushes on the RV drive hill, the bees must be producing a lot of honey in hives somewhere near here courtesy of our flowering plants. The bees will be busy with some cactus flowers very soon. Click on the image to enlarge.
Since about a week ago, we have observed several turkey buzzards (vultures) circling above our area. These scavengers seem to migrate away from us during the colder months, but they are back in force.
Damsel took this photo of a gaggle of the buzzards overhead as we were driving down US 60 on our way to town for an appointment and to do some shopping at one of the “bigger” stores down in the west valley (Wal Mart). Click on the image to enlarge.
It seems to us that this many buzzards would indicate nothing but warm temperatures ahead. We’re still waiting for our favorite time of the year when the daytime temperatures go into triple digits. We think the buzzards like it too.
We had our first sighting of several spring cactus flowers this morning. Our neighbor’s property to the west has a lot of wild native desert cacti including this Beavertail Cactus (opuntia basilaris). We expect to have the beavertail cacti on our side of the fence to open with more vivid pink flowers. I’ll have some close-ups of those as soon as they open. I just LOVE spring cactus flowers. Click on the image to enlarge.
I was out this afternoon walking the dogs after a nice roast beef dinner that Damsel prepared, when I took this image of the hill just to the east of our road. We were having a nice day even though the sky and clouds looked threatening as though we could get more rain. The rain didn’t come, even though the clouds were dark and showing signs of virga in the distance. Temperatures were mild, in the low 60’s with only a little sunshine squeaking through a couple of times today.
The forecast for our area for the rest of the week is for partly cloudy, lots of sunshine and temperatures in the mid to high 70’s. We’ll take it! Click on the image to enlarge.
We went to the discount department store yesterday to get a couple of things for the house. While we were there, I strolled over to their outdoor garden shop in the parking lot. They had lots of ready-to-plant flowers for spring gardens.
The little slideshow above shows some of the colorful flowers on display. Click to advance to the next (of four) photos.