Archive for Environment

Open Season on Bark Scorpions

scorpio.jpgI just killed one of these in the garage this evening. They like to come out in monsoon season and infest under your “stuff” piled here and there. I sprayed Ortho all over the garage and at the entrance to the house. That particular brand of insect repellent/eradicator has done the trick here since we arrived in Arizona.

Bark scorpions can regularly be found all year long, but in the summer, especially at monsoon season, they are in abundance. We have seen them in sizes from less than an inch in length to over four inches.

They creep Damsel out a lot and I suppose they “bug” me a bit, too. They are fearsome-looking especially with the claws and the arched stinger tail in the strike pose. They appear to have eight appendages, but the “claws” are actually extended jaw parts for it to shove prey in its mouth. It’s not an arachnid, but an insect designated as Centruroides sculpturatus.

It’s the most poisonous scorpion in Arizona. Read more at the Wikipedia Article.

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Spring Weather Finally Here

Turkey Buzzard Antelope Ground Squirrel

A sure sign that the weather will be getting warmer is the reappearance of Turkey Buzzards (Vultures) after their winter migration to Mexico is over. There have been Buzzards overhead for a few weeks now, but they now seem to be circling more frequently over our little parch. I photographed this one as it swooped over our house this afternoon.

Another more subtle sign of spring is with the squirrel above. If you click to enlarge the photo you will see that her little teats are swollen as in she is nursing her offspring hidden away in some tunnel nearby. She was venturing up to see what could be foraged underneath the bird feeders out back when I spotted her and took the photo.

As for the weather itself, Wickenburg and Arizona in general have been experiencing a cooler, longer winter this year as is most of the country. Our daytime temperatures have finally risen to high 70’s or mid 80’s with warmer temperatures to come soon. Nights are still cool, however with lows in the low 50’s.

We actually look forward to the summertime high desert temperatures. That’s one of the many reasons we moved to Arizona. :)

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Vernal Equinox

equinox.jpg

Archaeoastronomy’s Earth Clock Graphic shows Earth’s current position relative to the cusps of equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarters. As you can see, Earth is crossing through the Vernal Equinox cusp along its orbit around the sun. As of 14:58 Arizona Time, we are now officially in the spring has sprung mode.

Our early signs of spring have started. Damsel’s Flowering Plum is full of blossoms and her Daffodils are opening, no thanks to the colder late winter weather here. Wickenburg actually had three or four days of snow this winter which is highly unusual. The high temperatures were seldom above 60 degrees F. for much of February to mid March.

The rest of the xeriscape garden is also showing signs of spring, albeit later than normal. We have several beavertail cacti which all are sprouting flower and paddle buds. The Argentine Giant out front is showing flower buds and a new arm sprouting, maybe two. The other prickly pear cacti will be getting flowers later in spring. The giant saguaro out front should also be getting flowers in late spring.

I’m sure that with the cactus flowers opening and other springtime events, Damsel’s (and my) camera will capture some of it for posting here. Stay tuned . . .

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Happy New Year!

happy-2019.png

We had a pretty good day today. It started out with a little light snow, some of which stuck. Snow is unusual for us here and, coincidentally, it snowed here on New Year’s Eve in 2014, but today’s snowfall was nothing compared to that event. After it warmed up a bit, some gentle rainfall slushed all the snow away this afternoon.

2018 was good to us. Even though we had some surgery on the thyroid last march, there have been no health issues other than the usual arthritis and other aging things. We started a diet a couple of months ago and it has been working. I lost over 10 pounds so far and a couple of notches on the belt. Damsel is doing as well.

In the coming year, we have springtime plans to head to Colorado. This year, we had a marker placed on an ancestor’s grave in Montrose, CO and we are planning to go view the work and to place a wreath or three. We also will be visiting in Pueblo, CO to place more wreaths and perhaps meet up with some long lost cousins.

For 2019, we wish everyone a wonderful, prosperous and happy new year!

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First Day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere

Solstice

Damsel and I were in the office this afternoon when I remarked that I think the winter solstice is today. As I looked up the time of the solstice on the internet I could see that winter had just begun only a little over an hour ago. As of December 20, 2018, 3:23 PM Arizona time, we are officially in the winter season.

We just took the dogs out for their last walk before it gets dark here. The temperature on the patio was still up at 68° F, although it will be falling rapidly after dark. We’re expecting a low of 46° F overnight.

The Northern Hemisphere might be getting a cooler winter this year according to arch-weather guru Joe Bastardi of WeatherBELL Analytics. I read a recent article with an analysis of El Niño and La Niña and some sort of Pacific Decadal Oscillation that we might be in for some really cooler weather in 2019.

So, Damsel and I will be shopping for some warmer winter clothing in the post-Christmas sales. The good news is that the forecast isn’t so severe as to warrant snow tires or parkas or arctic gear. It’s Arizona, after all. The forecast for this weekend will be highs in the 70’s and lows in the mid 40’s, so the deep freeze isn’t here yet!

Screenshot above from the Archaeoastronomy website. Click for a (slightly) larger image.

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Classic Cars, Aircraft and the Weather

Classic Cars on Display

Damsel and I attended the 24th Wickenburg Annual Classic Car Show and Fly-In today. The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Sergio, however, were to cut the festivities short after about two hours into the four hour event. We got there ahead of the rain, though, and scored a souvenir T-shirt and got some pictures. The impending rain caused many of the previous fly-ins to stay at home, so the exhibits were limited today.

Air Medical Helicopter Maule M6 STOL Airplane

The helicopter (above left) is normally parked at the Wickenburg Hospital Helipad when it isn’t airborne in an air ambulance capacity. On the right with the oversized tundra tires is a Maule M6 short takeoff and landing (STOL) airplane. With a 235 HP Lycoming engine, this plane is capable of lifting off before you pass the first set of runway lights, and will land in rather confined areas with an approach speed of 45 MPH with 50° flaps deployed.

Classic 56 Chevy Wagon Arizona Rangers Pontiac Convertible

Here we see a clean classic 1956 Chevy Station Wagon which was one of the better nostalgia inducing displays. The Arizona Rangers were on hand to provide security and traffic control. They brought this lovely Pontiac Bonneville Convertible along with them.

Flooded Roadway View from the Courtyard

We were home and parked in the garage before the heavy rainfall began. I took the photo on the left during an interlude in the rain when we were out walking the dogs and Damsel took the one on the right from the courtyard. This is our usual flash flooding we get when there is a cloudburst.

Click on any image avove to enlarge.

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Tropical Cyclone Rosa

Tropical Cyclone Rosa

It looks like we Arizonans may be in for a taste of the remnants of Hurricane Rosa, currently situated in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California Sur. The storm is expected to head northward and bring rain and flooding to northwestern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. The current forecast track of the storm will bring the center of it directly over us during the next few days.

We can already see signs of the weather that Rosa is going to bring. There are cumulus clouds beginning to form in all directions from here in Wickenburg. There is a layer of thin cirrus covering the southern sky.

The warnings include heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding, which is something we’re used to getting during monsoon season. Damsel and I did our usual thing to go around the property and secure loose objects that the expected winds might blow around. We took down the flags and stored them away until after things calm down.

Rain and embedded thunderstorms are forecast starting tonight and lasting through Thursday. The image above is from the National Weather Service. Click to enlarge.

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