More Spring Cactus Flowers

May 16th, 2022

I took the dogs out this morning for their usual trip to the road outside and noticed that a lot of our May flowers were open on the various cacti around the house. I went back out armed with my Canon Rebel EOS SL1 to try and record some of what I saw when I was out before. I captured the shots as seen in the (clickable) montage above.

The most prevalent flowering cactus is our fourteen foot Saguaro out front of the house. There are buds, open flowers and some transforming into cactus fruit on the tops of the arms of the big guy.

Damsel has some small barrel cacti on the courtyard, a Bishop’s Cap cactus in a pot and a Star Cactus (Astrophytum) in the ground outside of the courtyard gate. Both are relatives of one another and produce flowers not only in May, but other times of the year as well. Both had open flowers today.

Individual photos in the montage above are (click to see each):

We will be seeing more cactus flowers during the summer since there are tell-tale buds on several of them that promise the opening of new flowers soon. Also, be on the lookout for some flowers on other shrubs and trees around the property this summer.

Mise Èireannach

May 5th, 2022

The title is Gaelic for “I Am Irish.” While that assertion is partially correct, both the wife and I are descendants of Scots, Irish, Welsh and English for the most part with traces of Native American and other (mostly) European ancestors. With all that disclosure out of the way, we will identify as Irish this week when we celebrate the cross-quarter feast of Beltane, about halfway between spring equinox and summer solstice.

Modern cultures that recognize Beltane typically celebrate on May Day (01 May), but the actual cross-quarter doesn’t occur until the fifth of May which is coincident with “Cinco de Mayo,” but since we have no Hispanic ancestry that we could find, we’re going with the Celtic celebration. However, due to our busy and crowded schedule as retirees, we have to postpone the festivities until the weekend (of May 07/08). Weekends are when we usually celebrate midweek holidays.

So, we will celebrate Beltane by having a traditional Irish dinner entrée of Shepherd’s Pie. Damsel found a simple recipe for “upside-down” shepherd’s pie, so we will be preparing it that way. We may also indulge in an Irish Cocktail at that time.

Sunday the 8th is, of course, Mother’s Day. Most of us retirees will wish our heavenly Mom’s a happy day in Heaven. Our Sunday meal will be Grilled Tri-Tip roast with braised cabbage and asparagus.

Cheers and Happy Cinco de Beltane to all the Mothers and Others out there.

Happy Easter 2022

April 17th, 2022

Damsel and I wish everyone a blessed and happy Easter Sunday. We will be commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at home with a small feast and our regular Sunday Holy Communion.

Since there are just the two of us, we will be enjoying Ham Steaks with sides of Brussels Sprouts and Mock ‘n’ Cheese.* Dessert will be Ice Cream over Apple Muffins.*

Image: Patriotic Easter Eggs by “KTC” courtesy of The Patriot Post.

* Our diet consists of low-carbohydrate items such as substituting cauliflower for pasta and baking with almond flour. Damsel has to watch the carbs and I have to watch the sodium although we compromise some of the time. We just had our annual lab work at the clinic and the results were normal for us with the Doctor’s recommendation to continue with our maintenance prescriptions.

AZ – The Venomous Critters Capital of the U.S.

April 10th, 2022

Image: Map of U.S. showing venomous animals per state – click on the image to enlarge.

One of the guys in our AZCDL group posted this map on social media. I’m not sure about the source of the data, but this map recognizes that we’re clearly the venomous critter capital of the U.S.

I did some more research on this and found that we have many venomous critters, most of which we’ve not seen here in our little corner of the desert.

Of the thirty or more venomous animals, we have only personally seen the following few:

To be accurate, the toad isn’t actually venomous, but secretes a toxin when handled which can cause problems (i.e. psychedelic hallucinations or illness or death) for the handler. Luckily, neither we nor our dogs have been affected by any of the venoms or toxins of the local wildlife.

Of all the dangerous critters in our desert, only a few are venomous. There are cougars, bears, javelina and coyotes around this area – all can be dangerous for us and/or the dogs. Fortunately, we have only seen the latter two species on our property; javelina and coyotes unless infected with something tend to shy away from two-legged mammals. In case any of the former species show up (bears or cougars) we’re always carrying our 9mm and .38 cal. protection to discourage any advances by them.

First Cactus Flowers of Spring, 2022

March 30th, 2022

Actually, not the first ones*, but this is the first to open on the native cacti around the yard. Damsel took this photo of one of two flowers that were open today on a hedgehog cactus in front of the house.

From Wikipedia

Echinocereus is a genus of ribbed, usually small to medium-sized, cylindrical cacti, comprising about 70 species native to the southern United States and Mexico in very sunny, rocky places. Usually the flowers are large and the fruit edible.

The name comes from the Ancient Greek echinos, meaning “hedgehog” and the Latin cereus meaning “candle”. They are sometimes known as hedgehog cacti, a term also used for the Pediocactus and Echinopsis.

The article at Wikipedia lists most of the species of hedgehog cacti, but we’re not sure of which one this cactus belongs to. Click on the image to enlarge.

*There are several store-bought cacti in planters around the courtyard and other places which have already produced tiny flowers in 2022.

A New Route 66 Neon Sign

March 19th, 2022

Damsel and I hung up this classic “Historic Route 66” neon sign in the garage today. This is the second one of these to hang in the garage. When the previous sign exhibited a “failure to function,” we recycled it and ordered a new one since the garage is quite dark and a “night light” of sorts is a good thing to have in there. Before we had the first Route 66 sign, we had a little Route 66 clock with a neon tube around it. I forget what happened to that one.

Speaking of classics, Damsel snapped the (clickable) photo below of a very nicely restored 1951 Chevrolet Panel Sedan. We were on our way home from delivering some dog food to the Humane Society, when we saw this nice ride coming toward us on Wickenburg Way.

St. Patrick’s Day 2022

March 17th, 2022

Cheers and Happy St Patrick’s Day! Damsel and I enjoyed traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner and a nice Irish Cocktail this afternoon.

It’s a spring-like day with high of 78 and forecast low of 51 overnight. We’re having a little wind out of the west with peak gusts up to 20 mph and mostly 5-10 mph in between gusts. There is no precipitation forecast until maybe a trace next week. This is normally a pretty dry time of year. In the past 30 years it rained 5 out of 30 times on this date.

Technically, Equinox hasn’t come yet (still 3 days off) but according to the solar ephemeris, our days are now showing over 12 hours of sun above the horizon. Sunrise is at 06:38, transit is at 12:39 and sundown is at 18:40 for our long/lat. That’s just a shade over 12 hours.

A word about progress of restoring our Stars and Stripes Theme: Shamefully, I haven’t done much to troubleshoot the theme other than to remove some offensive code that needs to be overhauled for the functions removed. Life gets in the way, and we seem to gravitate to doing chores around the house and RV rather than work on the blog themes. Maybe over the summer we can get some things done with the old theme restoration – if we’re not on the road, that is.