Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Cloudless Arizona Skies

Monday, November 1st, 2021

GOES East Image 10-28-21

The skies are a little cloudy today, although over the weekend and a couple of days before that, there were no visible clouds over Arizona and much of the Southwest. I captured the GOES East image above last Thursday and cropped/resized it for this post.

Observing the cloud free image reveals some interesting things that can be seen from the satellite. You may have to click on the image to enlarge it to be able to see what I’m going to mention below.

First, in the upper left corner of the image, snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains is visible next to the Owens Valley in California. To the South, you can see the Salton Sea located in Riverside and Imperial Counties. Southeast of the Salton Sea across the Arizona/Mexico border in Sonora is a darker area which is Pinacate Peaks volcanic area just north of the Gulf of California, the north shores of which is at the bottom of the image.

Now, going north along the CA/AZ border (the Colorado River), you eventually come to Lake Mohave on the NV/AZ border. Then, continue up to Lake Mead where the river turns to the east along the border. Lake Mead shows as a couple of blue blobs but it is actually one body of water partially obscured by the overlaid graphic representing the border.

The dark area about one third of the way across Arizona’s north border is the Kaibab National Forest which extends southward to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which can be seen between Kaibab Plateau and the forests of the South Rim below the Canyon.

The dark areas extending south and east below the Grand Canyon are the forested areas of Arizona. The north boundaries of these forests form a semi circular feature which is the Mogollon Rim (say “muggy-yon”). This forms the boundary between the forests and colorful high desert areas of Arizona. We can personally tell you that the scenery up on the Rim is extremely nice.

Moving over into New Mexico, we have a couple of notable features. The white spot in lower central NM is White Sands National Park. Also visible is the Rio Grande River which can be seen flowing from the west Texas town of El Paso up through Albuquerque and although not seen in this image, into southern Colorado.

I like it when the clouds part and I can see all these features and more.

ISP Software Upgrade Progress: I have started migrating our personal family blog to the new software. Progress is impeded by daily life events – dogs – family – home chores – blogging – and the like. I should have a report about the Cap’n Bob site soon.

Autumnal Equinox and 16th Blogiversary

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

16th-blog.png

These two events generally coincide annually, but this is our first post that recognizes them together. Our blog turns 16 today on the same date that autumnal equinox occurs in the northern hemisphere.

Our first blog post was about our rebuke of Senator Feinstein’s NO vote for John Roberts confirmation to SCOTUS. At the time, we thought Roberts was the man for the job, but after his Obamacare vote and several other squish opinions, we’re not so sure that Feinstein’s NO vote was wrong, but for different reasons, of course. A lot can change in 16 years.

That brings us to Equinox – our Arizona weather is showing some signs of letting up on our hot summer temperatures with the thermometer topping out at under 100° the last several days. Our night time temperatures have been in the mid 70s but quickly heating up to over 80 at just after sunrise. Looking at today’s solar ephemeris, the sun is above the horizon for 12 hours and 6 minutes at our latitude. The days will be now be shorter than 12 hours for the next six months.

I really don’t have an update on the upgrading to the blog that needs to take place prior to December 2021. I previously blogged about the potential for discontinuing blogging depending on the upgrade outcome, but being lazy with a perception of plenty of time left, I have done nothing other than some research on how to get the job done. I sort of told myself that we would do some of it during my down-time with the hernia surgery, but the healing and recovery are doing so well that I am almost as active as before the surgery – I guess that’s a good thing in the long run. I’ll post when we start the upgrade on our other site when I should have an idea how arduous the blog conversion task might become.

Our blog has covered a lot of things over the years – the last few years we were employed to the first 11 years of our retirement. We have had a lot of fun reporting about our travels, our tragedies and our triumphs. We hope to see you here next year on our 17th.

Tropical Weather Activity

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Tropical Storm CristinaAs we enter mid-July, the tropics are busily producing waves of disturbances and low pressure systems both in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Pictured is Tropical Storm Cristina in the Eastern Pacific currently moving westward and away from Mexico. We also have Tropical Storm Fay which is currently dumping moisture on the Northeastern US and Canada.

Image: T.S. Cristina (courtesy NOAA and GOES West). Click on the image to enlarge.

While Fay is drenching areas of New Jersey, Delaware, New York and beyond, Cristina poses no weather threat to land areas although it could still develop into hurricane force and dangerous to shipping in the 15° to 25° N latitudes in the Eastern Pacific. The storm is drifting westward at a rate of about fifteen knots.

The only effect Cristina is having on us here in the middle of Arizona is a few high clouds. We have summertime temperatures here for sure with forecast highs in the 110-117° F. range for the weekend. We almost wish the storm would make a hard right turn and bring us some monsoon weather, but I guess monsoons will be coming sooner or later without the help of T.S. Cristina.

In other news, we have been doing genealogy research here and have been discovering some interesting things about our ancestors. We now know that we had several ancestors who were in the military for the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812 and the Civil War (on both sides of it). We already knew about our grandparents and parents involvement in WW1 and WW2.

We also submitted a DNA sample and found out our roots from a general ethnic standpoint. The results dispelled a family rumor that we had Native American ancestors, which proved not to be the case. We have DNA in common with English, Irish, Scottish, German, Dutch and Swedish ancestors with a possibility of some other European lineage thrown in the mix.

The DNA result also proved that I’m related to other family members who also submitted samples: a nephew (my brother’s son) and a granddaughter (my daughter’s daughter). The DNA also shows we’re linked to other users of the service, most of whom we don’t know nor care much about (fourth to eighth cousins twice removed?). Some of those are sort of interesting in understanding the family tree, but we don’t especially want to dig any far distant relatives out of the woodwork at this point.

We are still sorting out facts and hints in the family tree (from a pedigree point of view) and are halfway through our third great grandparents level (of which there are 32 potential ancestors). I will post something further on this if I discover an ancestor built the Brooklyn Bridge or something of similar magnitude.

Summer Seems To Be Here

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

Our First Saguaro Flowers

In spite of the actual summer start date next month, we have had triple digit weather for two days now and the forecast is for more of the same for the next few days. I just went out on the back patio (4:30PM) and saw the temperature gauge showing 105°F. That’s about a degree cooler than an hour ago. We can deal with it since the air conditioner is keeping the house cool enough.

The flowers in the image above were open this morning on our big saguaro cactus out front by the driveway. These are the first two buds to open on this cactus and there are many more to come. There have been saguaro flowers open in other places in town for a couple of weeks now, but these are our first. We look forward to having a lot more of these in the weeks to come.

In the courtyard, I am expecting our Red Bird of Paradise shrubs to have flowers open any day now, and our Cherry Red cactus flowers coming shortly after those.

Despite the warmer temperatures, we always look forward to our summer flowers. Click on the image to enlarge.

Spring Begins in the Northern Hemisphere

Friday, March 20th, 2020

solstice-spring.jpg

Grand Octal Image via archaeoastronomy.com

Today marks the first day of spring North of the Equator. The graphical “Grand Octal” image above shows our planet as of today, passing through the Vernal Equinox portal in its orbit around the Sun. The other portals depicted have special meanings as well, dating back to primitive people whose cultures would depend on knowledge of the position of Earth during the year.

Here in our little patch of Arizona, we have been enjoying occasional spring-like days since February, as well as some not-so-warmish days and nights. Checking with our weather history on this day (courtesy NWS), we find that our forecast high of 65°F will be below the average 78°F temperature for this first spring day while we will be slightly above the record cool for this date (61°F) and well below the record high (92°F). I guess Global Warming has yet to catch up with us.

During these times of the overblown fake news media and democrat demagoguery (but I repeat myself), forecasting doom and gloom, we’re doing fine. We have things in stock, as we always do, that keep our household up and running with all our needs covered. Since we maintain two households on the premises (house and motorhome) there is plenty of everything available until all the bull$#!t blows over.

We hope everyone who reads this has planned accordingly and wish you comfort, safety and good health. We pray for these things.

Drain the Swamp

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Winter Spa

I wish draining the DC Swamp were this easy. This is our patio Spa now winterized. Click on the image to enlarge.

Late last fall, Damsel and I siphoned most of the water from the Spa since the weather was no longer conducive to dipping in it. That exercise got rid of 95 percent of the water, but left some in the bottom of the tub and in the internal plumbing.

We left the spa in that condition for a couple of months, but tonight the weather forecast calls for our first freeze warning of the winter season. There is a cold air mass descending on Lower Arizona which will take us below 0° C. Most of the rest of the country have already been there, but this will be our first freeze of the year.

Back to the Spa; residual water in the internal plumbing can freeze and damage the plastic used for directing water internally. There is also a water filter that can be damaged if frozen. So, today, we got out the wet/dry shop vac and sucked out most of the water from the internal plumbing, as well as removing the puddled water from the seats and the bottom of the tub. I removed about ten gallons of water which is two loads of the vac.

Now, the Spa is drying out and when dry, I will replace the cover.

We can hardly wait for the warm part of spring to show up so we can refill and reheat the Spa and resume enjoying our hot turbo massages and when summer comes, use it as a cool bath when it’s 110° outside.

Rain in the Desert

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Rain in the DesertThe middle of this week is bringing a lot of rain to the area. NWS forecast Tuesday through Thursday for rain showers, thunderstorms and wind. We have experienced all three as of this afternoon. It looks like the weather will lighten up for tomorrow and be nice for the weekend, although with high temperatures below 70 degrees which is pretty cool for us.

Image: Our big Saguaro at the top of the driveway enjoying the rain today – Click to enlarge.

Damsel and I have been in our usual routines but this week we’re planning for celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday which we will enjoy here next week. Our plans include mostly the menus for the four-day holiday. We are still restricting carbohydrates, but even so, we will be having a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving entrée will be smoked boneless breast of turkey with sides of Creamy Brussels sprouts, mashed fauxtatoes*, cranberry sauce and pumpkin mousse for dessert.

* Denotes simulated mashed potatoes using acorn or butternut squash topped with butter and low carb turkey gravy.

The rest of the long weekend we will be having turkey leftovers on Black Friday and undecided for the actual weekend. If the weather cooperates with us, we may cook outside on the grill. Good things always come from the grill.

In the meantime, my 2019 copy of the tax program is now installed and I will amuse myself with tax planning in my spare moments for the next couple of months. As usual, we like to keep ahead of things tax-wise.