Arizona

Red Bird of Paradise
Flowers Now Opening

Now that the 2023 Red Bird of Paradise Flowers are opening, the butterflies seem to know that they are available for nectar browsing. This little beauty visited this morning.

These flowers dominate the courtyard in the summertime. This is one of the first flowers to appear this year.

The “Red Bird of Paradise” a.k.a. “Pride of Barbados” shrubs are ready to “take over” in the courtyard now. More about these from Desert Tropicals:

The Red Bird of Paradise is a relatively frost sensitive Caesalpinia, and it is generally better to trim it close to ground in winter. This keeps it more compact without seeming to delay it in spring. The canes tend to freeze in all but the warmest areas, and even if they don’t, the new growth in April is somewhat ungainly. For this reason many gardeners cut the bush to the ground at the end of November, and it will grow back green and compact in mid spring.

Image information: Canon EOS Rebel J6i, Action Program, ISO 100, T=1/800 sec., A=F5, Lens EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. Click on either image to enlarge.

Spring Flowerburst

We spent the early part of the Holiday yesterday in remembrance of those who were unable to return from the battles that kept America a Free and Sovereign Republic. We also recognize that all of our battles aren’t necessarily “out and out warfare” in the classical sense. We have plenty of troubles domestically with those wishing to disarm and enslave us. So, prepare accordingly.

Now, we will post some of the beautiful flowers that are opening daily in this late spring season in and around our Arizona home. Photo credits are both Damsel and CapnBob. Click on the images to enlarge.

Cherry Red Cactus Flower Cluster:

Cactus flower of unknown species – a gift from our sister, BB:

A Fish Hook Cactus Flower:

A Flower Trio from our Argentine Giant Cactus:

These are but a small fraction of the flowers we see here each spring. Some cacti are native and some are imported from elsewhere. We hope you enjoyed your Holiday and our flower photos. Come back soon.

Flowering Paloverde Trees

This is the time of year when most of the paloverde trees get bright yellow flowers on them. In addition to the naturally occurring native paloverde trees in this part of the desert, we asked our landscape guys to provide some additional trees for us. In July of 2021, they planted a mesquite and a paloverde along the west side of our lot. The tree in the (clickable) image above is how the 2021 paloverde looks today, all decked out in little yellow flowers.

Last August, 2022, we had the landscape guys plant two more little paloverdes in front of the house along the road. Those trees are also showing off their flowers this week (pictured below).

In the preceding (clickable) image, you may notice a few native desert paloverdes also with yellow canopies on the hillside west of our abode (image left). As we took our afternoon stroll today, we enjoyed seeing not only all the desert paloverdes in bloom, but some of the saguaro flowers are starting to open up. Spring is a beautiful time in the desert. Cool too – only 97 today in the shade.

Watching the ISS Fly Over

One of our activities is, and has been for quite a while (since living in California) watching the International Space Station fly over when visible. Last Sunday night’s pass was quite a treat in that it had nearly everything going for it: cloudless skies, convenient timing and an almost direct overhead pass.

In the image above, you can see the ground track of the ISS as it passed over the Southwestern US. The maximum predicted elevation for this particular pass was 88° which barely missed our exact location to the southeast, but watching the fly-over, one could not perceive any difference from a direct overhead pass. Image credit Heavens Above.

Another attribute that is not always the case during a pass is that the ISS remained sunlit during the entire pass. We live in a slight hollow below surrounding terrain and saw the ISS rise in the southwest above some local hills and it few over us and set in the northeast behind some other terrain. We always enjoy watching the ISS and other satellites flying over, but this one was unusually spectacular.

Mid-Spring News —
Busy Week Upcoming

Image above — A Curve-Billed Thrasher was perched atop our big Saguaro Cactus singing its spring songs this morning. I took this shot this morning with my Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and a 250mm lens. Click on the image to enlarge.

Other than celebrating holidays and preparing the feasts associated therewith, we have had a relatively calm early spring with no outstanding chores nor appointments. As of this week, however, that will change as it seems that we made a lot of appointments all in the same week.

Tomorrow, Monday 4/24/23, we’re going to have to get the dogs to the Vet for their annual immunizations; the licenses are due in May and the County Animal Control Bureaucrats will be requiring current Rabies vaccinations for both dogs.

On Tuesday 4/25/23, I have an appointment with the Ophthalmologist for a regular follow-up exam. Both eyes received cataract lens replacements in 2020 and the Doctor wants to admire his work, I guess. Or maybe he wants to check up on things like eye pressure, floaters, retina etc.

On Wednesday 4/26/23, we have our standing appointment at the Pet Groomer for both dogs. Tucker, our little Long-Haired Chihuahua mix pup will be getting a trim which we think will make him more comfortable in the desert heat this summer. He really is a fluffy little guy and won’t need that fur coat when the indoor thermostat is set to 80° and the outside temperatures will be in the low 100° range.

On Thursday 4/27/23, I have a Dermatology appointment. Last visit, the Doctor removed a suspected basal cell lesion from the back of my neck and will probably want to do a follow-up procedure for it by applying Liquid Nitrogen to kill off any remaining basal cells. Plus, I have a couple of other suspicious spots he needs to examine. Wear your sunscreen, kids!

Finally, on Friday 4/28/23, our landscape crew will be reporting to tend to some needed yard work including tree and shrub trimming, weed control and renewing the courtyard quarter minus ground covering. I don’t expect that I will need to help them do their job, but I know some things will come up that we may not have anticipated and we need to be there to authorize additional work.

But wait! There’s More! On Monday May 1st, I have to report to the clinic for blood work as a precursor to my Nephrology appointment in May and on Tuesday, I need a haircut.

This retirement business can be less restful than one might think.

Getting old is not for sissies.

Patriot’s Day — April 19th

248 years ago on this day, the American Revolution began. Damsel and I hoisted our flags today in honor of the commemoration of the beginning of the greatest country in the world — a Republic, if we can keep it.

The “secret orders” intention of the British was to arrest American Patriots and Confiscate Weapons and Ammunition — does that sound familiar?

From the Patriot Post – Mark Alexander’s Column:

On the evening of April 18, 1775, General Thomas Gage, acting as the Crown’s military governor of Massachusetts, dispatched a force of 700 British Army regulars with secret orders. These troops, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were to arrest 53-year-old Boston Tea Party leader Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Provincial Congress President John Hancock, and merchant fleet owner Jeremiah Lee.

But what directly tied Gage’s orders to the later enumeration in our Constitution’s Second Amendment assurance of the innate “right to keep and bear arms” was the primary mission of his Redcoat brigades. They were charged with undertaking a preemptive raid to confiscate arms and ammunition stored by Massachusetts Patriots in the town of Concord.

Patriot militia and minutemen, under the leadership of the “radical” Sons of Liberty, anticipated this raid, and the confrontations with British regulars at Lexington and Concord proved to be the fuse that ignited the American Revolution.

In the early dawn of April 19th, their oaths would be tested with blood. Under the command of 46-year-old farmer and militia Captain John Parker, 77 militiamen assembled on the town green at Lexington, where they soon faced Smith’s overwhelming force of seasoned British regulars. Parker did not expect shots to be exchanged, but his orders were: “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

And then, there was the shot heard around the world.

We, as the modern militia must not forget the lessons of the American Revolution: the intention of tyrants is to disarm us and then have their tyrannical ways with the masses. Evil entities wanting to disarm Americans is, unfortunately, still with us. All the unconstitutional anti-gun laws (which includes any gun laws) be damned.

“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

In Like a Lion

Now that I’m finally posting Damsel’s photo of a light dusting in the local foothills, it has all melted or sublimated away. However, we did get some snow in the area with freezing temperatures in early March which isn’t totally unusual for us. We’re at about 2200 feet above sea level here and have on occasion had snow stick here in town.

I know that other regions in our Nation have had much colder winter weather than we’ve recently experienced and, in fact, so have we here in past years. However, this is the coldest we have had this winter and it’s happening in accordance with the March Proverb.

Normally, this would be the time of late winter when we’re beginning to have cactus flowers blooming and other signs of impending spring. And, as a matter of fact, Damsel and I just walked out into the rock and cactus gardens and verified that there are tiny flower buds appearing on the prickly pear, beavertail, hedgehog and Argentine Giant cacti. I’m sure that Damsel will be posting a few early spring cactus flower pictures in a few weeks or less.

All that remains now, is for the March weather to go out like a lamb and then, in a few more weeks, come back like a fire-breathing dragon when the summer temperatures return to our Sonoran Desert — and we’re OK with that.

p.s. If you think that weather and climate can be influenced by anthropogenic (man-made) activities, please refer to our on-line paper about The Great Climate Hoax.