Archive for Arizona

QOTN Rescue Now Has Flower Buds

QOTN Flower BudsThe Queen of the Night cactus (peniocereus greggii) cutting we rescued from up on the hill several years ago is showing a couple of flower buds. This cactus was brought down after a palo verde branch collapsed in a wind and rain storm back then. Damsel put it in a pot and has nurtured it in the courtyard with weekly waterings since that time.

A couple of years ago, the cutting sprouted a new branch which is where the new flower buds are located. That branch and the main stalk have both shown little buds over the past couple of years that never amounted to much. Now, it seems, we have a good thing going. Click on the image to enlarge.

This will be, if all goes well, the first year that these beautiful flowers will bloom in the courtyard. Having them that close is to our great advantage since when they bloom at night we won’t have to go out into the dark (it is very dark here at night) to see, smell and photograph the flowers.

We have summertime plans to get in the RV and head to Colorado and whatever sightseeing we can do along the way, but that might have to be postponed until we see our little courtyard flowers blooming. It’s a good thing we don’t have too many constraints on our ability to flex our plans as we see fit these days.

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Tombstone Freedom Days June 28 & 29, 2019

I got a dispatch from the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL) announcing the third annual Tombstone Freedom Days. I am posting some of it here:

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The Third Annual Freedom Days celebration in Tombstone will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 28 & 29. A schedule of events for this two day celebration can be found at https://www.tombstonefreedomdays.com/.

This year’s events include a Celebrity Town Hall panel discussion at 7 PM, on Saturday, June 29 featuring:

  • Mark Walters of Armed American Radio
  • Baseball Legend Curt Schilling
  • Actress Morgan Brittany
  • Second Amendment journalist Dr. AWR Hawkins
  • Also on the agenda is Patrick Henry, co-author of the Bill of Rights, as portrayed by Lance Hurely.

Panel discussion tickets are now available for only $12 and can be purchased in advanced by calling (520) 226-5024. Seating is limited. Doors open at 6 PM. All proceeds benefit the Tombstone Lions Club.

Don’t delay, get your tickets today!

While at the celebration, stop by the AzCDL booth and visit with our volunteers.

Unfortunately, we’re tied up with a medical procedure that Friday and won’t be available to travel to Tombstone for the event.

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Pride of Barbados Flowers Now Opening

Pride of Barbados

It’s one of my favorite days of the year when the Pride of Barbados (a.k.a. Red Bird of Paradise) flowers start to open in our courtyard. The flowers are a little late in opening this year, probably due to climate change a cooler than normal spring. The daytime temperatures are now regularly in the high 90’s to low 100’s and the flower buds on all three of my red bird shrubs in the courtyard are ready to go.

More about these flowering shrubs from Wikipedia:

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a species of flowering plant in the pea family.

It is a shrub growing to 3 m tall. In climates with few to no frosts, this plant will grow larger and is semievergreen. Grown in climates with light to moderate freezing, plant will die back to the ground depending on cold, but will rebound in mid- to late spring. This species is more sensitive to cold than others. The leaves are bipinnate, 20–40 cm long, bearing three to 10 pairs of pinnae, each with six to 10 pairs of leaflets 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm broad. The flowers are borne in racemes up to 20 cm long, each flower with five yellow, orange, or red petals. The fruit is a pod 6–12 cm long.

Caesalpina pulcherrima is the national flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and is depicted on the upper left and right corners of the Queen Elizabeth II’s personal Barbadian flag. Claire Waight Keller included pride of Barbados to represent the country in Meghan Markle’s wedding veil, which included the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Supporting The Wickenburg High School Rifle Team

I received the following from AZCDL in a email this evening. I had read about this item elsewhere but now it’s in my inbox. Our local High School (The Wickenburg Wranglers) has possibly the ONLY public school shooting sports team of its kind in the entire US of A. Plus a couple of the team members are invited to shoot in a national event coming up.

I’m not printing the entire AZCDL blurb here, but the full story and support information can be found in the linked article at the Wickenburg Sun.

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Supporting the Wickenburg High School Rifle Team

Two members of the Wickenburg (Arizona) High School (WHS) Rifle Team, which may be the only recognized public high school high-power rifle team in the USA, have been invited to join the United States F Class National Under 25 Team. WHS teams have earned four national records in F Class.

Since the team is a public-school activity, donations are fully tax-deductible to anyone in the USA. However, Arizona residents get a deal that’s hard to refuse: you can write off the full amount of your donation against your state income tax liability… not just as a deduction, but as a tax credit.

To clarify, if you usually owe the state of Arizona $200 for state income tax each year, you can make a donation of $200 to the Wickenburg High School Rifle Team and owe the state nothing next April ($400 for couples). If those taxes have already been withheld from your paycheck, you will actually get a refund from the state!

It’s also a terrific way to send a message to both the school system and to the state tax authorities about where their priorities should be. Some years back, the Wickenburg school board took official notice in their minutes that the Rifle Team was neck and neck with the football team for the most popular recipient of tax credit funding. It was that sort of community acceptance that caused them to upgrade the school rifle “club” to a recognized “sport.”

Donations can be made immediately online - you no longer have to cut a check or even lick a stamp. Visit: https://wickenburg.revtrak.net/tek9.asp

Damsel and I are proud to contribute to THE WICKENBURG HIGH SCHOOL RIFLE TEAM.

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Saguaro Cactus Flowers and Gila Woodpeckers

Saguaro Flowers Gila Woodpecker Browsing Flowers for Nectar
Mama Emerging Mama Aloft

Today was our grocery shopping day and, as usual, we stopped at the post office box to pick up the mail. While Bob was in getting the mail, I noticed that a large saguaro cactus across the parking lot had open flowers, some of the first of the season. When we were both back in the truck, we drove across the lot so I could get some photos of the beautiful open flowers on the cactus.

As we got close, we saw a Gila Woodpecker perched by the bunch of flowers on one arm of the cactus. I began snapping shots of the male bird as he browsed the flowers. Shortly after that, the woodpecker flew up the side of the cactus and perched there until the female woodpecker came out of the hole in the side of the saguaro. I was fortunate to get the shots above as the birds did their thing.

Wikipedia has this about the Gila Woodpecker:

The Gila woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) is a medium-sized woodpecker of the desert regions of the southwestern United States and western Mexico. In the U.S., they range through southeastern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.

They build nests in holes made in saguaro cacti or mesquite trees. Cavities excavated by these woodpeckers in saguaro cacti (known as a “boot”) are later used by a variety of other species, including the elf owl. There, they typically lay 3–4 white eggs, although as many as 6 or 7 have been noted. 2–3 broods are laid a year. Both sexes incubate and feed eggs.

Click on any image to enlarge.

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Cherry Red Cactus Flowers

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Last October, Damsel and I separated the individual stalks from our Cherry Red (Trichocereus Grandiflorus) cactus and planted them in various pots with the hope that they would survive and produce more of the wonderful hot pink flowers that the original produced. Well, we are pleased and amazed that nearly every one of the pups and the mother all have flowers or flower pods this weekend.

Judging from the number of immature flower buds, we should be enjoying Cherry Red flowers for days to come, if not weeks. This cactus (even though we may have overpaid a bit for it) has been a joy in that it reliably produces the attractive flowers each spring. Click on the image to enlarge.

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New Shredder/Chipper

chippa.pngOver the several years we have lived here in Arizona, we have found that the natural vegetation on and around the property requires some maintenance by us. Most notably, the mesquite trees and the creosote bushes. Either of those will overtake its environment given unchecked growth. There are several other vegetation varieties which might require some maintenance, but those are mostly out away from the house and garden.

Image: Assembled Unit

We acquired a light-duty unit since most of what we will shredding is on the order of ½ to ¾ inch branches and such. The unit is capable of chipping branches up to 1½ inches, but we will be saving the larger ones for the neighbor’s fireplace.

I assembled the unit today and did a test run with some of the scraps that are still up in the wash behind the retention wall, where I threw them after maintaining one of the mesquite trees up there a while back. There is a lot to clean up there and the test sample was a tiny bit of it. The rest will come later.

I took the manufacturer’s advise and used gloves, long sleeve shirt, eye and ear protection (courtesy of the shooting range bag) and commenced to feed some of the branches through the hopper. The material I was feeding conformed to our intended use being of small to medium sizes and the chips and sawdust-sized shreddings went into the unit’s built-in catch bin. No problems were encountered. The remains of the material fed through looked suitable to use as garden mulch, although we don’t exactly have that sort of garden here in the desert.

The unit requires 15 amps of 120VAC current. It is actually quieter than would require ear protection with the stuff I shredded today, but I will be using the earmuffs anyhow just in case something comes flying out of the unit backwards which can happen. Having more cover is better under those circumstances.

We’re pleased with it so far and intend to start some more serious cleanup of the wash area and some stuff still laying across the road where we trimmed up some of those mesquites over there.

UPDATE - FRIDAY 04/26/2019: Damsel and I took the shredder, the truck with the Honda generator and a bunch of tools across the road today to clean up an old mess of cut branches and to trim some of the spring growth off of the big mesquite over there. Happy to report the mess is cleaned up and many of the low-hanging branches on the tree are now redistributed at the base of the tree in the form of mulch. The chipper worked great. There is still more to do, but since it was hot (95°) today, we knocked off after we met our initial objectives.

Shredder at work

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