Archive for June, 2014

Decorating for Independence Day

Patriotic Mailbox

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, I decided to do our usual thing and decorate the mailbox for the holiday. The mailbox is the first thing one sees when approaching our driveway along the road from the east.

I went to the dollar store and got some red, white and blue flowers. I also got a few little American Flags to scatter around, two of which are on the mailbox. The mailbox already has a patriotic cover. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Curve Billed Thrasher Eating Saguaro Fruit

Saguaro Fruit

This is a curve billed thrasher helping itself to the fleshy fruits growing on our giant saguaro in the front yard. We were walking the dogs and heard the bird’s distinctive “weet-witt-weet” call, which made us look up to the top of the saguaro where the bird was feasting. I did not have my camera, so Bob grabbed the little pocket camera and got this shot. Click on the image to enlarge.

We found a reference (sorry, no link) to the saguaro and seed propagation:

The saguaro is the largest columnar cactus found growing naturally in the US and bears the state flower of Arizona. This magnificent cactus represents the botanical symbol of North American deserts for many people around the world. These unique plants are tall, long-lived cacti that occur naturally and only in southern Arizona, northwestern portions of Sonora, Mexico, and sparsely near the lower Colorado River in California. Saguaros can live to be 200 years old, grow 50 feet tall and weigh as much as 20,000 lb. Saguaro roots radiate out from the base up to 50 ft and close to the surface of the ground. The shallow roots allow saguaros to absorb as much water as possible, especially from light precipitation events, which they store for several years if necessary. Flowers bloom in late spring (late April through early June) and fruits ripen about 37 days after flowering. Saguaro flowers are large, elongated, and bloom nocturnally allowing both night (bats and insects) and day foragers (birds, bees, and other insects) to feed on the nectar and aid in pollination.

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Fart Slippers

Fart Slippers

A few weeks ago, Damsel bought a pair of shoes made of molded rubber to use for walking on our gravel landscape cover and the unimproved road in front of the house. Her usual shoes are open thong sandals or some nicer ones to wear to town when we shop, etc., none of which are suitable for walking on the aforementioned areas.

The molded rubber shoes do the job in all respects, keeping her feet comfortable while walking. The only drawback is that when her feet perspire, every step she takes creates a little “putt-putt” noise similar to, well the title of this post says it all. It’s quite funny to hear her “musical” strides.

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Our First Great Grandchild

It’s a Boy!

My granddaughter posted this on the book of face today. She is in her third trimester and is due in early September. It is really weird that people from this generation can know the gender and even see the child’s face in the womb, thanks to medical technology.

She tells me that this isn’t the best resolution ultrasound and she will be getting a “3D” scan next Monday for a better look at the baby’s face. Damsel and I plan to go to Northern California to meet the new baby this fall. In the meantime, we are keeping plenty busy.

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LurkerIf you look near the bottom left of this photo, you will notice a Greater Road Runner (Geococcyx californianus) who, at the time, was being very still. The finch feeders above the bird are usually populated with several goldfinches and/or house finches and, as you can see, there are none present.

We have seen this behavior before, where the road runner will lurk near he base of the feeders and wait for a finch to come. The larger bird will then leap and try to catch one of the smaller birds. We have yet to see it score a finch, but we’re not looking all the time.

Wickipedia has this trivia about the roadrunner’s diet:

It mainly feeds on insects, fruit and seeds with the addition of small reptiles, small rodents,tarantula hawks, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, small birds, their eggs, and carrion, including roadkills. It kills larger prey with a blow from the beak—hitting the base of the neck of small mammals—or by holding it in the beak and beating it against a rock. Two roadrunners sometimes attack a relatively big snake cooperatively.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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New Anti-ID Theft AZ Drivers Licenses

New License Format

Effective this week, Arizona drivers licenses will have a new look. Ours don’t expire until 2015, but we can expect to get this format when we renew. I like the fact that the word “VETERAN,” if appropriate, is prominently displayed on the face of the license.

Via Arizona Highways Blog and ADOT:

Effective this week, Arizona has a new driver’s license that our bosses at the Arizona Department of Transportation say will offer better protection against identity theft.

Among the most notable changes: a new font for the word “Arizona” at the top of the license; a larger portrait, along with a duplicated “ghost” portrait; an Arizona-shaped laser perforation; and a new background image.

On the latter, gone is the Grand Canyon panorama that defined Arizona’s previous driver’s license. In its place is a collage of unique Arizona features, such as geologic formations, a saguaro and a ringtail (the state mammal). The image employs a technique called Guilloché innovative symmetry; an ADOT release says the technique consists of “intricate, repetitive patterns that are interwoven to guard against counterfeiting, altering or other fraudulent use, making for a more secure credential.”

There’s no need to rush out and get a new license; your old one will still be good until it expires.

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First Day of Summer


Today is the first day of summer. The above is a screenshot captured from the Archaeoastronomy website where the eight significant stations of the Earth’s orbit are depicted: solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarters.

Now, it is time to brace yourselves for the inundation of the greenbats cries about global warming, regardless of summer being quite a natural phenomenon. It’s all about their political agenda, not about the weather.

From Joe Bastardi via The Patriot Post:

I have stopped trying to argue with someone who refuses to look at anything but that which supports his own position. It’s pointless. So in an effort to end a debate quickly, I now politely ask individuals to explain how CO2, given how small it is relative to all around it, actually changes the entire system. That usually stops it with most of the crowd. Like many things I see with new age forecasters today, they will jump on one weather factor and not understand its behavior is because of everything around it.

The second thing I do is put the ball in their court. This requires knowing what went on historically with weather/climate. So I ask what the perfect number is for CO2 in the atmosphere. An example: Dr. Bill McKibben – one of the people I am frequently amazed with because his comments indicate he either does not know and understand what the weather has done before, or does and refuses to let that get in the way – runs a group called He and his team want CO2 at 350 ppm (parts per million). So let’s just go to 350 ppm and see what it was like.

First, here is CO2 on the “correct” scale, which is the percentage of the atmosphere. This is not what you commonly see, which is the amount of CO2 in parts per million, where CO2 is grossly over-represented. The scale should be from one to a million, not a tiny fraction of a million.


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