Arizona

Lemon Harvest Coming Soon

The Lemon Tree with HUNDREDS of Lemons needing to be picked

Our Lemon tree (probably the “Lisbon” lemon variety) is nearing that time of year when we need to start harvesting the fruit. This year, the lemon crop appears to be much larger than in previous years (we have had this tree since 2012) and we may have to invest several days harvesting an estimated one thousand lemons. Last year, we filled the wheelbarrow twice with an estimated total of 600 lemons. There are many more than that on the tree now.

As we begin the lemon picking, we will be doing the usual thing with them, that is, giving them away to neighbors, the food bank, the senior center and anyone else that we can convince to take a bag home. Of course, we will reserve some for our annual Limoncello production.

We still have a little time before any frosty weather happens; the forecast for Thanksgiving week should be highs in the low 70’s and lows well above freezing. That’s still cool enough to layer up on the clothing, but will be OK for this variety of frost-tolerant lemons for the time being.

Our plan for Thanksgiving dinner is going to be similar to the past couple of years when we had a Keto-friendly menu featuring some of Damsel’s homemade goodies. We’re looking forward to the dinner, but more on that in a later post.

2022 Bluegrass Music Festival

Yesterday, 11/11/2022, Damsel and I attended the first part of the opening session of the 43rd Annual Wickenburg Bluegrass Festival Weekend Classic. The Everett Bowman Rodeo Grounds are hosting the Festival as usual this year. The Rodeo Grounds are also hosting food vendors and various other vendors like jewelry, folk art, crafts and some other merchandise. The T-shirt vendor sold us a hooded sweatshirt with this year’s festival logo freshly silkscreened on it (pictured above – clickable). We try and buy a T-shirt or a sweatshirt each year we attend the festival.

A group called The Arizona Wildflowers came on stage first to perform a set of tunes. These three sisters and (recently added) 8 year old brother performed some great tunes including some gospel and other favorite tunes. We thought they were great! In the (clickable) image above, you can see little brother almost dwarfed by the bass fiddle he was playing. Everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy their performance as much as we did.

We made the tour of the vendors to see what was available; as I mentioned before, we bought a Sweatshirt for me. We also bought a beautiful pair of Moonstone Earrings for Damsel. At this point, we were ready to head back home. We can’t leave the dogs alone for very long, so we said adios to the Bluegrass Festival until next year.

One More Run for Staples

In our recent post where we discussed taking a run for staples down to the valley, we commented that we were going to have to make one more run down that way before the holidays (and the traffic congestion that goes with them). Well, today was the final run for the season until after the first of the year unless something urgent comes up.

In the clickable image above (courtesy Damsel), you can see the main drag of our sleepy little town with relatively light traffic even though the snowbirds, rodeo ropers and other seasonal visitors are already here. We were blessed with light traffic all the way until we got into the west valley proper today. Then, we were in the thick of the traffic although it was not as bad as we have seen in past excursions.

Damsel and I arrived at the “Big W,” parked and went into the store with a list of things to get and proceeded to perform what I call “surgical shopping,” which is to navigate to where items on the list are available, put them into the cart and when finished, get to the check-out stand. We did pretty well although we both were distracted from the strict “mission” when seeing something “shiny” or otherwise attractive. Once we had all that was on the list (and a few other items) we headed for the check-out and after a short wait, were headed back out to the truck.

The traffic heading home was not too bad and, as usually is the case, became progressively lighter the closer to home we were. We are glad that this trip, although during a busy season in the valley, was not as big a pain in the backside as it might have been.

Cooler Weather Is Now Happening

Damsel took this photo earlier this month before we cleared out the Red Bird shrubs in the courtyard. A nice butterfly lit on one of the last flowers of the season to sip its nectar. The shrubs are now cut to the ground and will be dormant for the next several months. Photo courtesy of Damsel — Click on the image to enlarge.

We had some rain showers over the last week or so and today the temperatures are quite a bit cooler than when Damsel took the photo above. Then, the highs were in the mid-nineties and today the high was below eighty. Brrrr. It’s time to break out the longies and put the shorts away until spring.

We enjoyed the weekend despite the cooler weather. We had excellent food on the table both days: Cajun Gumbo on Saturday and Jägerschnitzel today. Click on the links for photos and details. Both meals were consistent with our low-carb, low-sodium diets (within reason, that is) and were excellent. Damsel did most of the work, but I collaborated by performing the sous chef tasks she required. What a good eating weekend — and there are leftovers for during the upcoming week.

We will be changing out of our summer garb in favor of the flannel and hoodies we wear during the cooler months. Of course, we are blessed that we live in a climate that isn’t as harsh as some places in the world. We will deal with our climes just fine as we have in the past years since we moved here.

In closing, just a quick note — we’re suffering as many in the nation who are on a fixed income with the increased cost of living due to Brandonomics™. We’re dealing with it, however, and hope that after the coming midterm elections that we can turn the corner back towards fiscal sanity, border security and (thanks to the SCOTUS) Second Amendment rights restoration. Just remember to get out and VOTE. Tell your friends, neighbors and family to do likewise

End of Red Bird Season

It’s that time of the fall when the Red Bird Of Paradise (a.k.a. Pride of Barbados) shrubs in the courtyard are about through with their annual production of gorgeous flowers (and pea pods). Within the next few days, we will be cutting them back to the ground for the winter. However, they will be back by next late May or early June for another colorful season.

This year, we’re going to remove the shrubs one per week; trying to cut back all three of them in one day is pretty labor intensive and fills our trash bin to capacity. So we’re going to attack the first one this week, perhaps in the morning.

We have an appointment with the hospital lab tomorrow morning for blood work — we visited our primary doctor today who ordered some routine tests for us, so the courtyard work will come after we get home and eat a late breakfast (the tests require that we be fasting).

The image above (click to enlarge) is of some of the last flowers on one of the shrubs. Camera: Canon EOS Rebel SL1, 1/200 sec, F28, ISO 1000, Aperture Priority, Lens EF-S55-250mm @ 135mm.

UPDATE 1 — 10/07/2022: One down, two to go. There are still viable flower pods to open on the remaining shrubs, so they will likely remain there for another week or two, to the delight of hummingbirds, bees, sphinx moths and butterflies – and, of course, the humans watching them.

UPDATE 2 — 10/16/2022: We took advantage of a break in the weather (we’ve been getting some rain) and removed shrub #2 and part of shrub #3 this morning. We don’t usually do chores on the Lord’s Day, but the whole operation took less than half an hour, so I guess we’re going to be OK with it.

UPDATE 3 — 10/17/2022: Damsel and I finished off the removal of the last Red Bird shrub today. The courtyard now has only the bottlebrush shrubs which are winter hearty in this climate. There was one last cluster of flowers still remaining on the last red bird.

So, with this last (clickable) image, we say good-bye until spring to these beautiful flowers.

Blogiversary #17 and
Autumnal Equinox

Blogging

Even though this is the “official” 17th Blogiversary of CB&D, we have a history of on-line presence several years prior to having a weblog. I started with an online webpage repository with photos of my grandchildren, some of our friends and radio/flying club activities a couple of years before we started to blog. I had an account at “Keyway” network with those items I mentioned. That was about in 1995 when Keyway was just getting started. Then, just about the time that Damsel and I were getting married in 1998, I found an Internet Service Provider where I could get my own website domain. I started up a family website which eventually became our family blog, the now defunct Wandering Minstrel and Cap’n Bob & the Damsel. I even had a Neighborhood Watch blog (also now defunct) to report on and deal with problems in our neck of the woods at the time.

Before blogging, I was already a software professional, but didn’t have many internet-specific code skills. I spent a lot of time learning commonly-used web languages: JavaScript, PHP, HTML, CSS, W3C Standards and much more. It was all fun and interesting. Then, by that time, blogging struck me as something we might like to get into. I started with BBLOG, a simple interface for on-line posting and after a while I discovered WordPress which resulted in our launching of the blog platform we now employ.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, now that we have upgraded the WordPress Theme to Blogstream, we’ve become inclined to post more regularly. Maybe we’ll be here for the NEXT* seventeen years?

* I should be well into nonagenarian territory by then.

First Day of Autumn

We learned from our landscape crew foreman when we first moved here that Arizona (our part of it, at least) has five seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and Second Spring. The latter starts up around the September Equinox and lasts several weeks until the first autumn-like days show up in late October. The (clickable) image of the “Devil’s Tongue” cactus shows how it looked last year at the beginning of “Second Spring,” with one open flower and several buds around the crown of this barrel cactus.

In closing, we wish for you all to have mild weather, blue skies and green lights this fall season. We’re going to gird our loins for the return of the “snowbirds” that typically increase our local population from around 7K summertime heads to more than 25K during the late fall, winter and early spring months.