Archive for Arizona

Labor Day 2021

Cardinal in Mesquite Tree

While the image above has nothing to do with it being a holiday, it reminds us of the constant array of natural wildlife that we observe here in our little corner of the Sonoran Desert. This is a male of the species Cardinalis Cardinalis or Northern Cardinal perched in our mesquite tree on the little hill behind our RV Drive. Click on the image to enlarge.

Back to the Labor Day topic - The holiday supposedly honors the work done by labor unions to improve life in America. Personally, I believe Americans in the workplace determined to do a good job, regardless of their affiliation with a union, are responsible for the success of our nation. During my careers in Aerospace, Electronics, Aviation and the Navy, we have observed good productivity regardless of the presence of a union in the workplace. Actually, my experience with unions has shown that productivity is decreased by some of their rigid rules in the workplace. YMMV.

goa-brace-feedback.jpgChanging the subject, have you made your comments in opposition to the ATF’s unconstitutional proposed rules for Pistol Stabilizing Braces? The Puppet in Chief’s flunkies have proposed to change the definition of sporting pistols with braces to “Short Barreled Rifles.” The rule, if adopted, would make up to 40,000,000 owners of Pistols to register them and pay the $200 NFA tax. Please go to this GOA website and make your comment in opposition to the rule. Note that while many are not affected by this rule change, that the ATF will likely continue down the path of making legal rifles and pistols similarly NFA items. This and the previously issued NPRM about homebuilt firearms cannot become enforceable. Just do it. The GOA site makes it a simple two minute job to oppose this unconstitutional rule. The QR Code at the right takes you to the GOA link.

In other news, I have been diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. I will be having that surgically repaired in a few days, so your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

Meanwhile, the Labor Day festivities here will be including Grilled Tri-Tip Steaks while Damsel is providing the Baked Beans and ‘Tater Salad on the side. We hope you enjoy your holiday as much as we will enjoy ours.

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A Classic 1955 (or so) Ford V8 Utility Truck

Ford Truck

In the old Minstrel blogging days when the site was still active, I would post Classic cars and trucks from time to time. We now post classics on this blog, but it has been a while. Part of the problem is the cancellation of some of our main car show events due to the DEMpanic pandemic. Hopefully, this year we will get back to normal with the shows.

Regardless of the absence of car shows, we see classic cars and trucks around town either on display like the truck above or on the road being driven by the owner. We see them but sometimes the camera isn’t ready. This time, however, Damsel was ready and captured the classic truck on the lot of our local Ford dealer as we passed out of town on our way for an appointment with the optician to get a new pair of prescription eyeglasses for her.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Spring Quail Chicks

Female and 2 chicks One of the Chicks

Mid afternoon, I was getting drowsy sitting at the desk, so I picked up my SL1 Canon and put the 400mm lens on it to go out and see what I could photograph in our busy little desert. Just as I came out of the back patio screen door, I noticed some quail and their chicks on the hill behind the RV drive. The photos above are of a mama and two of her chicks and a single chick. Click on either image to enlarge.

We have been seeing young quail for a few weeks now that the breeding season is in progress. The young birds leave the nest within the first day after hatching and follow their parents to places where they can forage for themselves. Quail do not feed their young so foraging is necessary for them to survive. The chicks are flightless for the first ten days or so, but shortly after that they can follow their parents as they fly up on the back retention wall behind our RV drive. We have seen a couple of broods back there which is entertaining to watch as the little ones, one by one, flit up to be with the others up on the wall.

You can read more about these interesting birds at All About Birds - Gambel’s Quail.

Photo Details: Cropped and resized by myself - Canon EOS REBEL SL1 - Normal Program Mode, 1/500 sec, F5.6, ISO320, Focal length 340mm. Lens model: EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

There’s always something to photograph out here like Gila Woodpeckers, Cactus Fruit getting ripe and a Birdhouse I recently repaired and hung in a mesquite in the outback.

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First 2021 Cherry Red Cactus Flowers

Cherry Red Flowers

Our first of the season Cherry Red Cactus Flowers opened up today. These two are on top of the original “mama” cactus that we separated from her “pups” in October of 2018. This Trichocereus Grandiflorus cactus is just outside our courtyard gate where they are visible (like a hot red beacon) when approaching our place from the east.

Several of the pups are located in the courtyard in pots and one of them is in the ground not far from where the Mama is located. Most, if not all of them have flower buds which means we will be seeing more of these over the summer. Click on the image above to enlarge.

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Woodpeckers

DrJim, at the Every Blade of Grass blog, posted an interesting article on the appearance of a Northern Flicker Woodpecker in their yard in northern Colorado. Since we have our share of woodpeckers here in mid-central Arizona, I thought I would post about them. We see mostly Gila Woodpeckers but occasionally see Gilded Flickers too.

Gila Woodpeckers in Mesquite Tree Gilded Flicker and House Finch on the Backyard Feeder Gila Woodpecker on the Saguaro

Images: Woodpeckers - Click on any image to enlarge. Left and right images credit me. Center image credit Damsel

The image at the left shows a Gila Woodpecker couple in/on the mesquite tree directly across the road in front of our house. We have been seeing them having activity there since march or so. The image in the center is of a Gilded Flicker flushing a House Finch off of our backyard feeder. On the right is the male of another Gila Woodpecker couple perched adjacent to their hole in our big saguaro by the garage. We just noticed woodpecker activity in the saguaro over the past month.

One of the most interesting things to us in our retirement home is the desert wildlife. We are in a semi-rural area where these critters abound. Just this morning, we observed a Gambel’s Quail pair and their five or six little offspring on the retention wall behind the RV Drive as we were eating breakfast. Unfortunately, by the time the cameras came out, the birds were elsewhere. Maybe another time.

We haven’t been really good about regular blogging lately, but between the two of us, we get some really good photos of our desert wildlife and I think we might resume putting some of those up from time to time. Plus, it is springtime and Flowers are in bloom. Damsel has a bunch of those that we should share.

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Spring in the Desert

Beavertail Cactus Flower Pink Hedgehog Cactus Flower

For the past couple of days, some of our native cacti have had flowers open up. The one on the left is a flower on one of our beavertail cacti and the one on the right is on a hedgehog cactus. Both species are native and were growing here when we moved in over ten years ago (that long?).

Below are a couple of male House Finches who are engaged in their spring rituals of trying to attract the attention of female Finches with their spring songs and aerial dances. These are so nice to watch in addition to Cardinals, Doves, Thrashers, Woodpeckers and Phainopeplas doing their things as well.

There are many other species of birds and mammals running about this patch of desert in the springtime. It’s like having our own private zoo.

House Finch Singing House Finch on Rosemary Shrub

Click on any of the images to enlarge.

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Arizona - We’re Still Number One

I received this via email from AZCDL. Despite the tainted results of Arizona’s election in November, we still came out on top for 2020. I and many others are now engaging with our politicians to keep Arizona safe from those who would infringe on our God-given rights to self defense. In the coming year, we will do our best to keep our state at the top of the list.

azcdl

In the February 2021 issue of Guns and Ammo, Arizona is rated the best state for gun owners. This is the EIGHTH consecutive year Guns and Ammo magazine has rated Arizona as the #1 state for gun owners.

Arizona’s #1 rating is primarily because of what AzCDL has accomplished. Prior to AzCDL’s involvement Arizona’s CCW system was onerous and discouraged applications. Permits were only good for 4 years and required training, testing and additional fingerprinting to renew. Court cases narrowed the interpretation of open carry to a point where the only way to safely openly carry your firearm and avoid arrest was by having a CCW permit. In self-defense situations, the burden of proof was on YOU to prove your innocence – after you admitted to the “crime.” Firearms preemption was Balkanized. Castle doctrine and “no duty to retreat” laws were weak.

AzCDL was created by a handful of activists in 2005 who didn’t like the status quo. By 2010 we achieved Constitutional Carry. CCW permits are now optional and the process to obtain a permit is more realistic. Arizona permits are recognized in the majority of states. Arizona is also one of the few states that recognize all permits from all states – again thanks to AzCDL.

Because of AzCDL’s efforts, you are now “innocent until proven guilty” when defending yourself. Firearms preemption has been strengthened. We were even successful in getting the Arizona Constitution changed to protect law-abiding citizens from law suits when they defend themselves. Visit our Accomplishments and Why AzCDL web pages to learn more about what AzCDL has accomplished.

We are proud that AzCDL’s efforts, with the support of our members, have again garnered this high rating for Arizona from such a prestigious publication. However, from our perspective, there is a lot more that needs to be done to make Arizona truly a free state when it comes to honoring your constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. With your continued support we can achieve that goal.

Here’s the link to join or renew with the Arizona Citizens Defense League:

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