Archive for September, 2017

Queen Cactus Fruit

Cactus Fruit

When Damsel and I were walking our dogs after breakfast this morning, we saw something up on the neighboring hill we could not readily identify. There were three bright red objects up among the natural vegetation on the hill. We conjectured that it might be cardinals perched up there, but at that distance it was difficult to verify. Moreover, the red objects did not move and our observation of cardinals is that they do not stay in one place for very long.

We finished the dog walking and I returned to the road where we see the red objects with my 300mm long lens and Canon SL1 camera. I took a couple of photos and went back into the office to download them to see what it could be so bright red up there. When I zoomed in, albeit low resolution, I could see that these red objects were ripe fruit growing on a Peniocereus greggii (Queen of the Night) cactus. We had no notion that they could be this bright red.

Although the area where the cactus was growing is in a marginally accessible area in the wild desert just west of our house, I ventured up there to try and get some closer photos of the cactus fruit. As you can see, I was able to get close enough to get he photo above. Click on the image to enlarge.

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TwelveToday not only marks the Autumnal Equinox, but an even dozen years that this humble blogger has been posting here. We are still at the status quo from last year when I posted that we were not as dynamically involved in political commenting then and still are today. The only difference is that at this time last year we thought that Donald Trump might be defeated in the POTUS contest, which, thankfully, is contrary to what actually finished with the result of Felonia Pantsuit’s loss.

Life has been good for us over the past year, with our acquisition of a new motorhome, the birth of a second great grandchild and our ability to drive the former vehicle to meet the latter little person. Later this year, we expect to be able to visit with yet another great grandchild after his birth in November.

We will continue to periodically post here on personal events with maybe a little mix of our favorite hot political buttons like fake climate change and what the gutless RINO’s are up to. It is sure to be another interesting year.

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Alex Turns Three

Alex and his new cameraAlex, our eldest great grandchild (we have two total with another expected in November), was celebrating his third birthday today. Last May, when we were visiting the grandkids in Northern California, I let little Alex “borrow” my little pocket sized Canon A710IS. At 2½ years old, he managed to take a few good photos among the messed-up ones you might expect from a kid that age.

So, for his birthday today, we sent him a Kid Zoom Camera designed for kids 3 to 8 years old. The photo above shows him with his new camera just after opening it.

We will likely return to Northern California later this year to celebrate the arrival of Alex’s little brother. We shall see what progress Alex has made with being an expert photobug at that time.

Photo via FecesBook™ posted by my eldest granddaughter. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cassini: The Grand Finalé

Cassini Spacecraft

Early yesterday, I awoke to news that the 20-plus year mission of the Cassini Saturn-probe spacecraft has come to an end. The durable spacecraft, launched in 1997, had more than tripled its four-year scientific mission’s original timeline plan. Early on September 15, 2017, the spacecraft executed it last command to dive into the atmosphere of Saturn and disintegrate.

Since Cassini arrived on station thirteen years ago, we watched the marvelous discoveries and monitored the experiments performed with eager anticipation to see what new facts about the Saturnian system of moons, rings and the planet itself might be revealed. We were not disappointed.

So, adios to Cassini. We look forward to seeing the next explorations planned not only by NASA/JPL, but also by other commercial space exploration entities.

There is considerable information about the now completed mission at the Cassini Grand Finalé toolkit page.

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Never Forget


It is hard for us to believe that it was sixteen years ago that America was viciously attacked by Islamic Terrorists. That morning, we watched in horror as the TV coverage of the events in New York and Washington unfolded.

Now, sixteen years later, America is still under attack, not only from the terrorists abroad, but from within. The radical left and their useful idiots continue to attempt to destroy our Constitutional Republic by numerous means. Climate change, political correctness, unabated abortion and denial of the right to keep and bear arms are a few among the devices being used to suppress true liberty. Two hundred and forty-one years ago, the Founders knew that the attacks on freedom were inevitable when they wrote the Constitution and the ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights.

We still remember the tragedies of 9-11 and we must also galvanize ourselves against ALL of America’s enemies, including those within our borders. Stay vigilant and Never Forget.

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Great American Solar Eclipse - Totality

Totality Sequence

The eclipse last month as seen from our vantage point in Casper, WY: early, mid and late totality. The moon was moving from the upper right to the lower left in this perspective. You will note the vignette of longer wavelength light along the lower left of the first image and along the upper right of the third image. The mid eclipse image did not have much direct sunlight refracting around the limb of the moon.

When you click on the image to enlarge it, you will need to scroll both horizontally and vertically since I left Damsel’s originals at full resolution, each being a bit over 1300 pixels square. You can view the early, mid and late totality by clicking the three previous links.

The images were taken at approximately 11:54, 11:55 and 11:56 AM, on August 21, 2017, Wyoming time. Totality lasted 2 minutes and 26 seconds from our vantage point in Casper.

The next American total eclipse which will take place on April 08, 2024 will have a totality lasting over four minutes from where we currently are planning to watch near Kerrville, Texas. The duration is longer, I guess, because the Earth will be closer to aphelion and the Moon will be closer to perigee than was the case two weeks ago.

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Parked at Home

Parked at Home

When we brought the RV home yesterday, we were unable to get it into the driveway to park behind the house because the roadway was washed out such that driving through the dip would likely bottom out the rear section. We were aware of the problem before we took off for vacation and planned to park it across the road for now.

The RV’s location relative to the house made it more difficult to unload and unpack those items that don’t stay as part of the furnishings and stock. The several trips to do this are extended by a distance of about eight to one. Nevertheless, we got most things relocated yesterday with a few more items transported today.

We plan to have the road filled in with dirt so we can again have access to the hookups behind the house. I still need to flush out the holding tanks and regain access to the electricity back there. It’s still pretty hot in the daytime and our routine is to run one of the A/C units on board to keep the temperature below triple digits inside.

Before we fix the road, we will be waiting until we’re sure the monsoon season is over. No sense fixing it if it will just be washed out again.

In the meantime, we have a few more warranty items we noted on the trip that will require another trip to the dealer down in Avondale. We’re going to arrange for that early next week.

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