Archive for May, 2015

More Lemon Blossoms

Lemon Blossom

Although there are many lemons already established on our lemon tree, there are bunches of new lemon blossoms popping out. I guess that there are bound to be even more lemons than we originally thought might be the case. This is fine with us - we will be harvesting the lemons for ourselves, our neighbors and a local seniors and disabled persons care center. The more the merrier.

We had a wonderful weekend. The temperatures for both days exceeded triple digits for both days and we’re glad to see the summer season finally starting after an unseasonably cool springtime. We ate a couple of very good weekend meals, including a tasty chicken Marsala entrée on Saturday, followed by grilled flat iron steak sliced on Sunday. The menu was an embellishment to our excellent retirement routine.

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Today was the first triple digit temperature day for us since last fall. We enjoyed watching some NASCAR and MLB on TV today despite the warmer temperatures outside because we decided to run the A/C to keep the puppies cool (and us, too).

Some high thin cirrus clouds appeared over the western horizon to provide us with a simply lovely and colorful sunset. There will be a passage overhead of the International Space Station in about a half hour. There seems to be plenty of moonlight this evening as Venus is setting in the west for us to watch the ISS streak overhead before winking out as it crosses into the Earth’s shadow.

It has been a gorgeous day. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Gambel’s Quail Spring Chicks

Gambel’s Quail Spring Chicks

Spring has sprung loose a lot of new wildfowl near our Arizona home. A breeding pair (or two) brought their brood(s) up on the hill behind the RV drive where I have my bird feeders. There are always a lot of seeds that make their way to the ground from the feeders and these birds were there to take advantage of the spillage.

The two birds in the image were with a group of several little guys being herded around by a couple of adult quail. According to Wikipedia, females usually lay 10 to 12 eggs at a time. When the chicks hatch, they leave the nest within hours and follow their parents as they forage.

It’s always so cute when these little chicks are seen scurrying here and there behind or in front of the parents. I hope to have more photos of them going to and fro this late spring. Click on the image to enlarge.

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New Life for Arizona Queen of the Night Cacti

New Growth on the Hill

Yesterday, I took the short hike up to the back of the lot to check things out. I was interested in whether the Arizona Queen of the Night cactus would be showing signs of new life. I was not disappointed when I saw these small buds on the shaft of the Peniocereus greggii that had been nearly destroyed by a fallen palo verde branch up there. There are also two more four-inch branches growing along another part of the cactus.

In addition, the branch that we cut off last February in order to try and rescue the cactus is showing signs of having taken root (image). It may be too soon to tell if this is a flower bud or a new branch developing on the cutting.

With some luck, we may be able to see the gorgeous flowers from one of the Arizona Queen of the Nights this summer. Click on the image to enlarge.

Hat tip to Crotalus for setting us straight on the binomial designation for this species.

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Pumpkin Flowers and the Veggie Garden

Pumpkin Flowers

It’s springtime and the seeds planted in the courtyard pots are starting to produce. These are typical squash blossoms and are on the pumpkin vines I planted. Click on the image to enlarge.

I also have planted (from a store-bought starter kit) radishes, carrots and several other veggies that I hope to harvest later in the summer, if we can keep the ground squirrels and rabbits away, that is. I also have tomato vines with several new flowers.

We shall see how the garden projects will do. We are still learning about how to deal with the higher temperatures in the desert.

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Never Forget Our Freedom Enablers


Memorial Day is the time for us to stop and remember those brave men and women of the armed services who gave their lives in the ultimate sacrifice for America. Sure, we’ll be grilling up some holiday treats and celebrating the beginning of the patriotic summer season, but we’ll also have our American flag flying at half-staff until noon in accordance with the Memorial Day protocol.

I liked the sentiment in the Ramirez cartoon above with the symbolic spirit of a disabled veteran giving a hand to the next generation of free Americans. Just as we Never Forget the Islamic Terrorism events of 9-11 and other times, we also will Never Forget the honored dead in all the wars from the American Revolution to the War on Terror still raging today. God Bless ‘em All!

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Curve Billed Thrasher Fledgeling in the Nest

Thrasher Fledgeling

I was out in the courtyard on this beautiful morning, camera in hand, hoping for any photo opportunities that might arise. I was alerted by one of the thrasher parents to some activity in their nest in the little cholla cactus just outside of the courtyard.

Sure enough, when the parent bird left the nest, I could see some movement in the nest. From about 20 feet away, I pointed and shot several frames hoping that I could get a close-up of one of the nest’s occupants.

I didn’t see it until downloading the images to the computer, but this is a pretty good image of a thrasher fledgeling that looks as if it’s about ready to come out of the nest. Canon SL1 settings: 1/320sec, ISO 125, F5.6, 220mm focal length. Click on the image to enlarge.

We have given the birds their space since seeing eggs and then several hatchlings in the nest. There could be up to six of the little birds since we observed that many eggs a few weeks ago.

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