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More Queen Cactus Fruit

Queen Cactus Fruit

I posted a photo of this peniocereus greggii cactus fruit in a comment to a post I made late in September. This is the current appearance of the cactus fruit ripening on the queen cactus adjacent to the east part of the lot by our driveway.

This one, unlike the ones I posted about then, has not been hollowed out by birds or other critters yet. It looks to me like it is turning red like the other ones. I’ll keep an eye on it and post more when there is a change in appearance.

Encyclopedia of Life has these details about propagation of the Queen Cactus:

Peniocereus greggii blooms for 4 to 12 nights each season, with most flowers opening synchronously at dusk and closing at dawn (Raguso et al. 2003). This species is also known to self-incompatible, so pollination by an insect, usually a hawk moth or honeybee, is required for successful fruit maturation (Raguso et al. 2003). Fruits are red, fleshy and ripe during the fall migration season and are dispersed by birds (Suzan et al. 1994).

Update 10/12/2017: The fruit is now ripe and the birds have begun to peck out the pulp. Click on the image to enlarge.

ripe

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Eight Years

Eight YearsEight years ago today was the first day of retirement for me. Almost immediately, Damsel and I set out to begin looking at places where we could relocate outside of Kalifornistan. Within a week we were in Southern Arizona on a combination of vacationing and looking at potential places to eventually live.

That first trip wasn’t very fruitful other than us having vacation fun in places like Pima Air Museum Tombstone, Mission San Xavier del Bac and Saguaro National Park. Arizona is a very scenic and interesting place.

We took a couple of other trips in the early part of 2010 with more serious focus on relocation. We finally decided on Wickenburg after some research and having visited here several times. We made a deal for some property and after some delay in getting financing, construction on the house began late summer of that year.

It’s coming up on seven years that we have been happily relocated to our retirement home. With continued good health and our nest egg holding out, we expect to have many more blissful years of retirement here and on the road.

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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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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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Last Night on the Road

Holbrook, AZ

Tonight is the last campground stay on this wonderful excursion. We will have covered about 4300 road miles over a period of three weeks. We got as far east as the Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa and as far north as Fargo, North Dakota.

Damsel and I both agree that this was a fun and interesting trip. Personally, I got to knock off some “bucket list” items, including visiting the last two of the fifty American states, driving the “Million Dollar Highway,” watching a total solar eclipse and visited and decorated the graves of some on my ancestors.

In the morning, we will break camp after the usual breakfast and chores and head west toward Flagstaff on I-40 and then south on I-17 to AZ 74, over to US 60 and on into Wickenburg. We look forward to being home again and getting back into our routine. The next anticipated road trip will likely be around Thanksgiving when our third great grandchild is due in Northern California.

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Camping Day One - Holbrook, AZ

Camping Day One

Well, we’re on our way toward the rendezvous with the Great American Eclipse. Tonight finds us camped in Holbrook, AZ, along I-40 in northern Arizona.

We had a pretty good and uneventful (thank God) trip today, with mostly light traffic and minimal delays due to roadwork and no problems with weather. The forecast along our route for the next couple of days looks good too.

The forecast for Casper, WY, where we will be waiting to watch the big event is for some cloudiness, which we hope will change to mostly sunny on eclipse day next Monday morning. We will keep an eye on conditions as our trip progresses.

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Microburst Damage around Town

Broken Branches Uprooted Mesquite Tree

Damsel and I were out to do some shopping today and we saw some of the aftermath of the monsoon storm that hit our town last evening. According to reports, there were many more trees damaged or down in addition to the two shown above. Photos courtesy of Damsel.

The broken branch on the tree above left was adjacent to one of the town’s Historical Markers. Fortunately for the Little Red Schoolhouse, the tree branch fell away from the building. The uprooted mesquite tree above right was along the main road through town where we saw several other damaged and down trees and branches.

Much of the town suffered power loss and a couple of homes were evacuated due to poles or trees falling on them. Damsel and I were fortunate in that God spared us the microbursts that caused the major problems and our power was uninterrupted.

Our back retention walls continue to protect our little house from storms like the one last evening where three inches fell in an hour when the storm cell stalled right overhead. This was similar to, but not as intense as the storm that hit us on July 18 two years ago. This is the second storm this season to cause the little washes to dump flooding along the dirt road directly in front of our house.

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