July 11th – 7/11

Today’s date reminded me of the dice game “craps” which is popular in casinos worldwide. We are not particularly gamblers, especially at our advanced ages, but reminisce occasionally about things we did in the past which we thank God that we’re now over those days and urges.

Anyhow, here a couple of notes about the goings-on in our world on July 11th of 2024:

The (clickable) image above shows one of the several mesquite trees around the house which are all fully endowed with green foliage and numerous bean pods. Not shown in the image is the ground beneath the tree covered with more bean pods. The desert critters and other phenomena eventually clean up the pods, so there is no labor involved, which is good since daytime temperatures here are in the 105-115° range during pod season.

These deciduous trees lose all the green (well, most of it) during the colder months, but have lots of bipinnate leaves providing shade during the warmer months. We’re thankful to have these around the property.

We have had Cabela, our Min-Pin, for almost fourteen years now, and she was estimated to be about two years old when we adopted her in August of 2010. In the (clickable) photo, you can see that she has cataracts in both of her eyes, the right eye completely blind now and the left one not far behind. She does OK in bright light, but tends to not see very well in darker conditions. She also seems not to be able to see things close up and her depth perception is certainly impaired judging from her reaction to things around her.

In spite of her vision problems, she is physically able to get around and prances like the little puppy still going inside of her. We worry when she runs around, since she tends to collide with objects from time to time.

This particular breed of miniature pinscher (not related to Doberman Pinschers) has skin problems resulting in bumps and growths on the surface of her (almost) hairless body. These aren’t a significant problem since they are benign and if she doesn’t scratch them and make them bleed, they don’t seem to affect her.

So, we will continue to baby her as long as she remains healthy and spry. Naturally, we dread the day that eventually will come when we lose her. Dog lovers everywhere know the pain of that.

April Flowers

Because we were away from home through late March and over half of April, we thought that we might miss some of the spring cactus flowers opening. We already had flower buds on several of our xeriscape cacti when we began our trip to Texas. Fortunately, we didn’t miss too much since a lot of flowers are now open. We got busy with the cameras and have some photos of some of the open flowers here.

This first pair of flowers is on a beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris) that is growing on the west side of the property:

Next, we have one of the first flowers to open on one of three Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida) trees on our property. The Blue Palo Verde trees were planted here since we have been in Arizona, but there are some wild Foothill Palo Verde (Parkinsonia microphylla) trees up in our back lot. Here is the one flower I saw today:

There are several Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa) growing on the property. This flower is one of many more to come on the several cacti around here:

Desert Marigold wildflowers (Baileya multiradiata) are growing all around us. This batch is off of the property, just to the west of us in the catch basin:

And finally, The Hedgehog Cacti (Echinocereus Engelmannii) out front, have had most of their flowers open before we got home to see them, but there are a couple of buds still ready to open and this flower was open today:

We hope that you have enjoyed seeing these flowers as much as we have. We also are looking forward to enjoying the May and June flowers that likely will come. Watch for more cacti and other flowers soon.

Home, Sweet Home

Although we got home early, it is late now, so this will be brief; we had a good trip back home from Gila Bend today along the so-called “Phoenix Bypass” route, and that was the intent of going the way we did, to avoid the !*&%#^? Phoenix construction and traffic. It worked, although there was a lot of traffic for a Sunday. Anyway, we’re home.

We’re about to watch a movie and then climb into our own bed at home. G’nite!

Gila Bend

We are in a really nice RV campground tonight. We have been blessed on this adventure to have stayed in many really nice RV parks. This park, the Sonoran Desert RV Park, is located in Gila Bend, AZ, and has a number of nice amenities. Our camp spot has it’s own fenced-in dog run, a concrete patio with charcoal grill and a propane “fire feature” where you can sit around and enjoy the warmth of a fire.

Tomorrow, we will be headed home. We are less than two hours from Wickenburg and expect to be home in the early afternoon. It has been quite the adventure and even though it has been enjoyable, we are now anxious to be home again.

Green Ocotillo

Our neighbor, Tim, brought us this Ocotillo a few years back. Since being transplanted here, it has flourished in our backyard. This spring, it has a very showy coat of fine green leaves. The flowers at the tips of the canes haven’t started blooming yet, but they likely will do so this summer.

More about Fouquieria splendens:

These peculiar desert plants bring a sense of wonder to the arid landscapes they thrive in with their distinctive and stunning appearance. They are popular in xeriscape gardens and can be found in many commercial landscaping designs in regions with warm, dry climates. Plants are sometimes grown in medicinal gardens for their healing properties.

Ocotillo may appear to be a cactus because of its spiny branches, but this is a flowering desert shrub. When in flower, the vivid reddish-orange blossoms become heavy, tipping the branches and making for a striking display. Pollinators enjoy the nectar and the blooms are like magnets, drawing hummingbirds and flying insects to them when in bloom. If you’re interested in adding more resilient, unique, and pollinator-friendly plant species to your water-wise garden or landscape, ocotillo is an excellent choice!

(From Gardeners Path)

Sunset Clouds & Travel Preps

Damsel snapped this photo of an alto-cumulus cloud formation this evening. We were enjoying a bit of rest after a busy day (and busy week thus far) getting ready to roll in the motorhome for the Solar Eclipse in a couple of weeks.

We had to do quite a number of chores getting things organized and ready. The list includes shopping, preparing the RV holding tanks, stocking the fridge and pantry, washing the clothing, towels and sheets we keep in the RV and so forth.

I had one major item that needed attention; the latch on the door to the RV had been acting up and come to find out that it had a broken doodad inside of it which turned out to be a common failure for this type of RV door latch. I ordered a replacement latch which arrived today and installed it this afternoon. Suffice to say it was a little bit of a pain getting it done, but it is installed now and works fine.

We also did some food prep. We will be on the road on Easter Sunday and we pre-smoked our turkey breast dinner entrée today. It will be re-heated in the RV microwave on Easter.

We’re looking forward to the excursion and I’m sure all the preparation activities will have made the effort worth it in the end. We will report on our trip progress as we arrive at our various destinations.

Cloudburst Runoff

We finally got some rain and hail today after several weeks of storms missing our area. It got quite noisy in our little house when it started hailing outside. I took these photos of the road in front of the house with lingering runoff looking toward the east (top) and west (bottom), both clickable images. The runoff was gone within 15 minutes and the hail had already melted save for a small pile or two below the rooftop drain spouts.

While all this is going on, we and the pups are warm, dry and safe indoors. Our house is on a slab which is about 10-12 feet higher than the road below us out front. The retention walls we had built behind the RV driveway diverts the water behind the house to the east and west and thence down to the road.

We appreciated getting the rain. Even though it is normal to have rain this time of the year, we have been a little short of normal and today should get us back to the usual amount.

Looking at the radar forecast just now, it looks as if we will be having a couple more showers before this system moves off to the east-northeast.