Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

More Spring Cactus Flowers

Monday, May 16th, 2022

I took the dogs out this morning for their usual trip to the road outside and noticed that a lot of our May flowers were open on the various cacti around the house. I went back out armed with my Canon Rebel EOS SL1 to try and record some of what I saw when I was out before. I captured the shots as seen in the (clickable) montage above.

The most prevalent flowering cactus is our fourteen foot Saguaro out front of the house. There are buds, open flowers and some transforming into cactus fruit on the tops of the arms of the big guy.

Damsel has some small barrel cacti on the courtyard, a Bishop’s Cap cactus in a pot and a Star Cactus (Astrophytum) in the ground outside of the courtyard gate. Both are relatives of one another and produce flowers not only in May, but other times of the year as well. Both had open flowers today.

Individual photos in the montage above are (click to see each):

We will be seeing more cactus flowers during the summer since there are tell-tale buds on several of them that promise the opening of new flowers soon. Also, be on the lookout for some flowers on other shrubs and trees around the property this summer.

AZ – The Venomous Critters Capital of the U.S.

Sunday, April 10th, 2022

Image: Map of U.S. showing venomous animals per state – click on the image to enlarge.

One of the guys in our AZCDL group posted this map on social media. I’m not sure about the source of the data, but this map recognizes that we’re clearly the venomous critter capital of the U.S.

I did some more research on this and found that we have many venomous critters, most of which we’ve not seen here in our little corner of the desert.

Of the thirty or more venomous animals, we have only personally seen the following few:

To be accurate, the toad isn’t actually venomous, but secretes a toxin when handled which can cause problems (i.e. psychedelic hallucinations or illness or death) for the handler. Luckily, neither we nor our dogs have been affected by any of the venoms or toxins of the local wildlife.

Of all the dangerous critters in our desert, only a few are venomous. There are cougars, bears, javelina and coyotes around this area – all can be dangerous for us and/or the dogs. Fortunately, we have only seen the latter two species on our property; javelina and coyotes unless infected with something tend to shy away from two-legged mammals. In case any of the former species show up (bears or cougars) we’re always carrying our 9mm and .38 cal. protection to discourage any advances by them.

First Cactus Flowers of Spring, 2022

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

Actually, not the first ones*, but this is the first to open on the native cacti around the yard. Damsel took this photo of one of two flowers that were open today on a hedgehog cactus in front of the house.

From Wikipedia

Echinocereus is a genus of ribbed, usually small to medium-sized, cylindrical cacti, comprising about 70 species native to the southern United States and Mexico in very sunny, rocky places. Usually the flowers are large and the fruit edible.

The name comes from the Ancient Greek echinos, meaning “hedgehog” and the Latin cereus meaning “candle”. They are sometimes known as hedgehog cacti, a term also used for the Pediocactus and Echinopsis.

The article at Wikipedia lists most of the species of hedgehog cacti, but we’re not sure of which one this cactus belongs to. Click on the image to enlarge.

*There are several store-bought cacti in planters around the courtyard and other places which have already produced tiny flowers in 2022.

St. Patrick’s Day 2022

Thursday, March 17th, 2022

Cheers and Happy St Patrick’s Day! Damsel and I enjoyed traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner and a nice Irish Cocktail this afternoon.

It’s a spring-like day with high of 78 and forecast low of 51 overnight. We’re having a little wind out of the west with peak gusts up to 20 mph and mostly 5-10 mph in between gusts. There is no precipitation forecast until maybe a trace next week. This is normally a pretty dry time of year. In the past 30 years it rained 5 out of 30 times on this date.

Technically, Equinox hasn’t come yet (still 3 days off) but according to the solar ephemeris, our days are now showing over 12 hours of sun above the horizon. Sunrise is at 06:38, transit is at 12:39 and sundown is at 18:40 for our long/lat. That’s just a shade over 12 hours.

A word about progress of restoring our Stars and Stripes Theme: Shamefully, I haven’t done much to troubleshoot the theme other than to remove some offensive code that needs to be overhauled for the functions removed. Life gets in the way, and we seem to gravitate to doing chores around the house and RV rather than work on the blog themes. Maybe over the summer we can get some things done with the old theme restoration – if we’re not on the road, that is.

Meet Tucker

Friday, March 11th, 2022

As we mentioned in our comments from last month’s post about losing Bay Bay, we were going to look for another dog to rescue. Well, today the Humane Society of Wickenburg had an adoption event at our local Tractor Supply store and just like that, we adopted Mr. Tuxedo whom we will call Tuck Tuck for short. He is a long haired Chihuahua with mostly black fur and a bit of white here and there. He is about a year old and was found wandering around in Wittman, about 20 miles southeast of Wickenburg.

He has only been “home” for a couple of hours, but is fitting in nicely with our activities and with the other dog. He is a very affectionate little guy and seems to demand a little attention which we happily have given. He has a good appetite, can be frisky at times, is leash trained and mostly housebroken. We are looking forward to taking care of him for a long time. In the (clickable) image above, he is resting his head on Damsel’s leg while getting rubbed. Just now, as I was typing in the story, he came into the office jumped into my lap and is resting as I finish this. I think we’re all happy about our new mutual relationship.

UPDATE 03-16-22: Since the adoption last week, we decided to dump the “Mr. Tuxedo” name and just call him “Tucker.” He is already recognizing and answering to the new moniker.

Return of the Turkey Buzzards

Monday, March 7th, 2022

buzzard.jpg

We know that spring is about to begin when we see cactus flower buds starting to form and the migrating Turkey Buzzards return from their winter repose down in Mexico.

Despite the cooler weather we’re currently experiencing due to a cold frontal passage, we see new cactus flower buds on our Beavertail and Hedgehog Cacti as well as seeing Turkey Buzzards soaring in the skies above. It should start warming up soon probably towards the middle (Beware the Ides) or the end of March. By June, we ought to be in our “dry heat” season during which the Buzzards remain and will so until after October when they again depart for Mexico’s warmer climate.

The photo above is an old one which I took in May of 2011, soon after we made the permanent move to Arizona. That was before we assimilated. Now, after nearly a dozen years, we can foretell seasonal changes via flora and fauna indicators. Click on the image to enlarge.

Almost Done! – 2021 Tax Return

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

UPDATE: Filed 01/26/2022

I used strikeout tags above on the “Almost” in the title because we’re now filed and waiting for the refund.

UPDATE 2: Refund deposited 02/03/2022

This is the fastest we have ever seen a refund deposited. It took the IRS only eight out of the advertised 21 days to deposit our refund. Last year, we similarly filed our return in late January and it took the IRS 23 days before the refund showed up.


The current tax season will soon be over for us since we are completely done with everything except for one consolidated 1099 form from our brokerage; this investment account is always last for some reason, but it has previously been in our (electronic) possession before January is over. We’re expecting it to be available next week. We get a handful of 1099s from several sources including IRA RMD, SSA, pensions and financial institutions. Everything is already input to this year’s tax program except for the one mentioned above.

When the IRS changed the standard deduction under President Trump to be greater than our usual itemized deductions, it made our return so much easier to manage, given our financial particulars. We almost used to be like the dude in the photo on the left, but now we’re relieved of all that tedium under the revised standard deduction. We were happy to see that the current administration left things intact (albeit futzing around with other IRS functions). After we receive that last 1099 form, we will then be just a few clicks away from filing. This year, we are happy to say, that we analyzed our tax situation early and managed our withholding such that we will be receiving a small refund (<1K) from the Feds and, because of our charitable support for Arizona Private Education, we will be paying no state income tax at all.