Environment

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

Donner und Blitzen

Damsel and I were awakened this morning to the sound of thunderclaps rather nearby. Rain showers started shortly afterwards with some periods of heavy rain but not enough duration to make the little creek on the west side of the rock and cactus garden flow.

As I write this mid-day, the forecast is for more showers and possible embedded thunderstorms this afternoon and evening continuing into Monday. We’re under a flood watch and possibly a flood warning later. The electricity is on, we’re comfy inside and the rain lets up long enough for us to walk the dogs. Life is good.

Clickable image taken from the Windows 10 weather app.

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.

Return of the Turkey Buzzards

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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.

Cloudless Arizona Skies

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

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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.