Archive for March, 2017

First 2017 Hedgehog Flower

First Hedgehog Flower

Two of the hedgehog cacti in front of the house had open flowers today, one on each. The flower in the image above is on the hedgehog cactus that we transplanted to the front from way up near the back property line where we seldom go to enjoy and take pictures of the flowers. Now that it’s out front, we will likely get to see all the flowers open.

We have a total of four clumps of hedgehogs out front with another in a pot out in the courtyard. The potted hedgehog and two of the ones in the ground out front have flower buds, but two others have none that I can find. Bob was on the hill yesterday and reported that the two clumps up there also have no buds and appear to be dormant.

As flowers continue to appear in our little desert plot, I will continue to take pictures of them and post them here. Click on the image above to enlarge.

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Claret Cup Cactus Flowers

Claret Cup Cactus Flowers

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is the binomial name for the Claret Cup Cactus. I must admit that these beautiful flowers are not in our garden, but are in a xeriscape garden in a local shopping center. I would like to have some of this variety of cactus in our rock and cactus garden someday.

From Wikipedia:

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is a species of hedgehog cactus known by several common names, including kingcup cactus, claretcup, and Mojave mound cactus. This cactus is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it is a resident of varied habitats from low desert to rocky slopes, scrub, and mountain woodland. It is most abundant in shady areas.

There are a number of varieties of this highly variable cactus species, but not all are universally recognized. In general it is a mounding cactus, forming bulbous piles of few to hundreds of spherical to cylindrical stems. It is densely spiny and somewhat woolly. The showy flower is a funnel shaped bloom up to 8 or 9 centimeters wide and bright scarlet red to orange-red tepals. There is a thick nectar chamber and many thready pink stamens at the center of the corolla. The flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Our First 2017 Cactus Flower

Pink Beavertail Cactus Flower

This flower just opened today on a little Opuntia Basilaris planted out front in the red rocks just above the road and below the garage. This cactus is a transplant from another part of the property behind the house.

There are other flowers opening soon or are already open; the lemon tree has blossoms and my golden barrel cactus has a flower opening soon. The plum tree is sprouting leaves and has many open flowers.

Desert springtime is just a very pleasant time for flower lovers. We plan to show a lot of the flowers as they appear.

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Desert Camping Again

Desert Camping Again

Damsel and I drove the usual route down US 60 to I-10 and on into the RV park in Palm Desert, CA. It was a good trip with lots of desert wildflowers, lots of sunshine and at one point, lots of traffic. The latter only lasting a few miles just east of Chiriaco Summit where there was some construction and a one-lane restriction on I-10 westbound. Regardless of the brief slowdown, it was a pleasure to drive the new RV along the route.

As I mentioned in the post about the maiden voyage, this is likely our last trip to this campground for a while. We will, however, be on the road again next month for a longer excursion.

One quick anecdote about this campsite; we backed in to the parking slot and set up camp as usual. However, when we went to deploy the Winegard DirecTV satellite dish, it got fouled up in the low hanging branches of the Chinese Elm tree next to the site. I wound up having to break camp and move the rig to the right and forward on the pad to allow the dish to have unimpeded access to the part of the sky where the geosats hang out. After the move, everything is working great.

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Happy PI Day

pi1.gifThe date 3/14 has lately become known as “PI Day.” For those of us that have worked in science and engineering disciplines, the constant relating to the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is ubiquitous and indispensable in a variety of applications.

The little animation above is a clever method of showing how the ratio π works. I found the graphic in the Wikipedia page on PI. Here’s some more interesting things about it:

Because its definition relates to the circle, π is found in many formulae in trigonometry and geometry, especially those concerning circles, ellipses, and spheres. Because of its special role as an eigenvalue, π appears in areas of mathematics and the sciences having little to do with the geometry of circles, such as number theory and statistics. It is also found in cosmology, thermodynamics, mechanics, and electromagnetism. The ubiquity of π makes it one of the most widely known mathematical constants both inside and outside the scientific community; several books devoted to it have been published, the number is celebrated on Pi Day, and record-setting calculations of the digits of π often result in news headlines. Attempts to memorize the value of π with increasing precision have led to records of over 70,000 digits.

Happy PI Day.

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Springtime is Imminent in The Arizona Desert

Cactus Flower Buds Plum Flowers Lemon Flower Buds

We have been fortunate here in the Arizona upper Sonoran Desert region to have had increasing spring-like temperatures over the past two weeks. It seems like we have turned the corner for springtime with high temps in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. The overnight low temperatures are now at or above 60 degrees.

The three images above were taken this afternoon and are (left to right) cereus cactus buds, flowers on our plum tree and flower buds forming on our lemon tree. We also notice flower buds on many of the native cacti and there has been activity in the bird nests that we can see. As was mentioned on the other blog, we have spotted many of the migratory birds back in the area after their winter absence.

We realize that this is a poor time to brag about our wonderful climate since much of the north eastern part of our nation will be in blizzard mode for a couple of days. We pray for the safety and well being of those in that part of the country as they batten down the hatches.

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“The Science Guy?” Really?

The SunJordan Candler and Joe Bastardi each mentioned Bill Nye in their two articles about climate change. Candler wrote about “Shining the Light on Climate Science” and Bastardi wrote about “Fact-Checking Bill Nye.” Both articles took the “science” guy to task for his blatant misrepresentations of the facts concerning climate change. I used “scary” quotes in the last sentence to illustrate that Nye is a science suppressor rather than his science guy moniker that he has worn for so many years. His tactic is to attempt to silence the discussion rather than debating the facts.

Image: Indisputably, the major cause of Earth’s climate variations

In Candler’s report, he quotes Bastardi as follows:

In an email to The Patriot Post, meteorologist Joe Bastardi responds: “I have not read enough of the study to comment on aspects I have not researched. But given my stated position that the sun is the conductor of the climatic orchestra of the oceans, stochastic events and the very design of the system, it would make sense that the sun should be considered as the source of climatic variations rather than the increase of one molecule of CO2 out of every 10 thousand molecules of air over a 100-year period.” The lesson here is that man’s footprint isn’t just relatively small, it’s minuscule. Perhaps it’s not the skeptics who are, as Nye says, “denying the evidence,” but rather those who want to silence the discussion.

Both authors referenced here are contributors to The Patriot Post.

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