Flag Day 2018

New Flags

Today is also the anniversary of the foundation of the United States Army. Hooah and happy birthday to our active duty Army and Vets!

Damsel and I decided that Flag Day will be the annual hoisting of new flags, both the US and Arizona banners, and the retirement of the old ones. A year in the Arizona weather is just about as much as a flag can take, regardless of the quality of the flag. We purchase the highest quality we can get and proudly fly them here.

These are the new flags just hoisted this morning. The US flag has embroidered stars and sewn stripes with a reinforced header and grommets. Likewise, the Arizona flag is heavy duty and manufactured to the Arizona State flag specification. Both are made in the USA and certified by the Flag Manufacturers Association of America.

We will take the retired flags to our American Legion Post who will properly dispose of them. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Varmint Control

Havahart Small Animal Trap

For the last couple of days, one of our small Antelope Ground Squirrels has been getting into mischief in the courtyard. Damsel has several planters out there and the little varmint tries to dig up the roots for a snack, I guess.

Today, we caught it in the act of burrowing down into one of the pots. After running the squirrel off, I went into the garage where the trap in the image above is kept in between varmint attacks. I got the trap set up and baited it with a peanut butter smeared tortilla chip. When the little critter shows up again, I assume the peanut butter smell will attract it into the cage and ==SNAP== the doors will close with the squirrel inside.

The plan is, that if something other than a squirrel or rat takes the bait, we will release it (cactus wrens, etc.). If it is a rat, I will drown it. If it is a squirrel, I will release it a couple of miles down the road where it can return to a similar habitat.

We’re pretty sure that we have a problem with just one individual squirrel and not a bunch of them. I will update this post when there is something to report.

UPDATE: 06/03/2018 1:32 PM - Gotcha!

Gotcha

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Memorial Day 2018

Memorial Day 2018

May we honor the fallen and those still serving and in harm’s way. God bless them all.

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New Queen of the Night Bud

New Queen of the Night BudOur Queen of the Night (Peniocereus greggii) cactus cutting (image from February of 2015) sprouted a new branch last year which has grown to a length of nearly ten inches. The new branch on the cutting recently sprouted a tiny bud. The bud, seen in the image to the right, is about an inch from the top of the new branch.

We can’t yet tell if it is another new branch or if it will grow into a flower bud this summer. We’re hoping for the latter, although new growth is also good.

We also discovered a new Queen cactus sprouting up on the hill next to (and may be a part of) the large cactus under the palo verde tree up there. We have it in mind that we would like to transplant the new growth from up on the hill to a pot in the courtyard where the first cutting now lives.

More good news is that the QOTN above the rock and cactus garden and the west wash has new growth. Four new branches are starting to pop out when we thought that this cactus had been killed by javelina or something else eating it. At any rate, we’re hoping to have some flowers this summer if all goes well with our crop of Queens. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Saguaro Flower Boom

Happy Cactus

Compared to last year, the number of flowers on the saguaro cacti around the area is many times more this spring. I didn’t get an exact count on our big cactus last year, (and won’t this year either) so the observation is subjective. Most of the older, mature saguaros have flowers on all the arms and new buds are still coming.

It could be the very mild winter we just had or maybe something entirely different that is the cause of the flower proliferation. It’s anybody’s guess. Regardless of the reason, we are very happy to see the cacti being very happy. ;)

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21 Flower Salute

echinopsis-trichocereus-21.jpg

Even more spectacular than last year’s opening, our “Cherry RedTrichocereus Grandiflorus cactus presented us with twenty-one beautiful hot pink flowers this morning. Despite the Cherry Red nomenclature, the color of the petals in bright sunlight has a definite pink tinge.

This is our third, and most spectacular year of flowers on this cactus. It is in it’s original pot from when we bought it, and now needs to be transplanted into a larger pot or into the ground in the rock and cactus garden. The only problem with the latter option is that I’m afraid that the desert wildlife will nibble on the cactus, buds and fruit. I have a larger pot into which we will put the cactus and all of it’s satellite “pups” to remain in the courtyard where it is less likely to be damaged by the critters.

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Safe Arrival at Home

Cactus Wren on Saguaro Buds

We’re safe at home today, after a five week absence. We drove from Bullhead City over to Kingman and then down US 93, also called the Joshua Tree Forrest Arizona Highway, but there is lots more to see along that scenic route going from I-40 down to Wickenburg. Damsel and I are happy to be at home again, having missed our beautiful retirement home. Our two small dogs seem equally happy to be getting back in their routines.

The Cactus Wren in the image above was waiting on the big saguaro out front to greet us. It is our State Bird perched on the buds of our State Flower. Click on the image to enlarge.

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