Happy 4th of July!

Town Flags

Happy Independence Day from the little flag-waving town of Wickenburg, AZ!

Our local American Legion Post religiously plants flags all over town on every holiday as seen in the background image above. That image was taken (credit Damsel) along the main part of Wickenburg Way (a.k.a. US 60) in the old historical part of town. I added the greeting with a graphics utility I use from time to time.

To celebrate the holiday, Damsel prepared Star Spangled Chili for dinner yesterday. The dish included a medium-hot chili base with lean ground beef, sliced Hebrew National kosher franks and chopped beef tenderloin chunks garnished with avocado, sour cream and an olive. It was pretty awesome.

The beef tenderloin chunks were leftover meat from a whole tenderloin I butchered myself. Once you separate the “chain” and the “wing” from the main tenderloin, I set those aside to be chopped into the aforementioned chunks.

I cut the rest of the main tenderloin into steaks, a couple of small roasts (Chateaubriand) and tenderloin medallions or small steaks. There is a bit of fat and silver skin that goes to waste, but most of the meat gets used in some form or another. Considering that butcher shop tenderloin steaks (Filet Mignon) are upwards of $20 per pound, butchering our own saves us a considerable amount of cash.

There are a couple of pretty good videos on You Tube (here and here) that guide you through the process of butchering a whole beef tenderloin.

In the meantime, despite all the COVID-19 and BLM/ANTIFA chaos, we’re having a nice holiday weekend here in our little piece of the good old USA and hope that everyone else will be able to enjoy it like we are doing. Happy Birthday America - may she keep on going strong!

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Happy Fathers Day

dads-bw.jpgDamsel and I wish all the Dads out there a very happy Father’s Day. The photos are of Bill, Damsel’s Dad and Jack, my Dad. They are both with the Lord at this time, but we wish them a very Happy Father’s Day as well.

Both of these guys are veterans of the U.S. Navy; Jack served during WWII as an Electricians Mate and as a Warrant Officer (as shown in the photo). Bill served in Naval Aviation as a crewman in a Patrol Squadron in the Mediterranean during the first (and most dangerous) years of the Cold War.

Both were amazing, hard working and caring Dads and we miss them both dearly. If your Dad is still around, make sure you let him know how much you care.

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Flag Day 2020

Flag Day 2020

We would have our USA flag up and flying today except that the winds are forecast to be gusts to 35 which is a bit much for our little flagpole and very hard on the flags themselves (we also fly the AZ state banner). Regardless, for the Flag Day occasion, I dug out this photo of our flag (proudly flying atop the pole) which I took last month with my little SL1 Canon Rebel and the EF 100-400 telephoto lens. Click on the image to enlarge.

We take this occasion to salute the Red, White and Blue, regardless of all the turmoil being reported in the media. Our little niche of desert space and the surrounding community are mostly in normal mode save for minor COVID-19 effects on some businesses and facilities. We have no riots, no looting, no edicts handed arbitrarily down from government bureaucrats and have enjoyed a nice relaxing environment here at home and in town. We thank God Almighty for those blessings.

On a different topic, Damsel and I were tested for our DNA through Ancestry and discovered our “roots.” The results weren’t much of a surprise since our sisters had already done this and shared the results, but it was an interesting experience to locate distant DNA matched possible relatives. I have been building my family tree and the links they provide are quite helpful. In the hobby sense, it is an interesting undertaking to find some of our closet “skeletons.” I have no intent of mentioning any of that here, but the whole genealogy quest has been sort of fun and interesting. YMMV

So, to those patriotic Americans who take the Flag Day occasion to revere and celebrate our Nation as envisioned by the Founders, enjoy the day for what it is - a celebration of our heritage, our legacy and, God willing, the future greatness of America and the Flag for which it stands.

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D-Day - 76 Years Ago

D-Day

Today marks the 76th Anniversary of the Allied invasion in Europe. The Patriot Post said it very well in this article:

Today marks the 76th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of France codenamed Operation Overlord, which commenced in the early hours of June 6, 1944. It was the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Workers (NAZI) Party and its reign of terror across Europe — an epic battle in defense of American Liberty, and by extension, that of all mankind. On that day, and many bloody days that followed on the European and Pacific fronts, American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines purchased Liberty for the next generation at a very heavy human price. It is our sacred responsibility now to extend that inheritance to the next generation.

We invite you to learn more about D-Day in Mark Alexander’s column, “D-Day at 75: Two Flags and a Son’s Promise Kept.” Take time to view D-Day — Freedom Is NOT Free.

Watch composer John Williams’ moving “Hymn to the Fallen” while taking a visual tour of the only real estate Americans kept after WWII — just enough land to bury our dead. Listen to Taps at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” —John 15:13

On this and every day, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces now standing in harm’s way around the world in defense of our liberty, and for the families awaiting their safe return.

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Red Bird of Paradise

Red Bird of Paradise Flower

Today, the first few of the colorful Red Bird of Paradise flowers opened in our courtyard this morning. These flowers (a.k.a. Pride of Barbados) will be opening until fall. We have three of the Red Bird shrubs in the courtyard, so there should be plenty of color throughout the summer.

More about these shrubs from Texas Superstar:

Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) is an evergreen shrub or small tree in frost free climates. The plant is usually tall, growing large even after freezing to the ground the previous winter. The leaves are fern like. Pride–of–Barbados has incredibly showy blossoms of orange and red. The individual flowers are bowl shaped, 2–3 inches across, with five crinkled, unequal red and orange petals, and ten prominent bright red stamens. The striking orange red flowers are an attention grabber!

The flowers get a lot of visits from butterflies, bees, sphinx moths and hummingbirds. We have seen these and more browsing the flowers throughout the summer. The sphinx moths mentioned above usually show up around dusk since they are mostly nocturnal.

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Summer Seems To Be Here

Our First Saguaro Flowers

In spite of the actual summer start date next month, we have had triple digit weather for two days now and the forecast is for more of the same for the next few days. I just went out on the back patio (4:30PM) and saw the temperature gauge showing 105°F. That’s about a degree cooler than an hour ago. We can deal with it since the air conditioner is keeping the house cool enough.

The flowers in the image above were open this morning on our big saguaro cactus out front by the driveway. These are the first two buds to open on this cactus and there are many more to come. There have been saguaro flowers open in other places in town for a couple of weeks now, but these are our first. We look forward to having a lot more of these in the weeks to come.

In the courtyard, I am expecting our Red Bird of Paradise shrubs to have flowers open any day now, and our Cherry Red cactus flowers coming shortly after those.

Despite the warmer temperatures, we always look forward to our summer flowers. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Memorial Day 2020

Rockwell Military

When Norman Rockwell painted this, he could not foresee past WW2 military action, so those conflicts are not included. We all know the conflicts after that only too well and some are still going.

Today, we salute the fallen and pray for those still active, especially those in harm’s way. God Bless Them All.

Artwork purloined from today’s Ace of Spades Art Thread

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