Flowers

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.

Independence Day 2022

Happy 246th Birthday to our great Nation – America the Beautiful! May God’s blessings continue to flow throughout the land! Damsel and I wish you a peaceful and Happy Independence Day!

Babylon Bee Headline:

Flash Flood Warnings Issued As

Liberal Tears Continue To Soak Nation

Although the BEE headline is tongue-in-cheek, there are some seriously anguished folks out there in the wake of Dobbs and Bruen SCOTUS rulings. So, keep safe and watch your 6 if you are in a place where violence may occur during the holiday.

We’re safe at our little home in the desert and have plans for a 4th of July BBQ by grilling Steaks and serving them with Fauxtato Salad* and Beans on the side. We figure to have a safe and sane holiday here at home.

In the highly unlikely event that trouble comes calling, we’re in a Constitutional Carry place and are perpetually prepared for such eventualities. We just don’t post about our equipment, preparations and practice sessions any longer. Nobody needs to know what we have and how many.

Take care and enjoy the holiday.

Photo at the top: Cherry Red Cactus Flowers and Old Glory. Courtesy Damsel. Click to enlarge.

* A Keto diet salad with cauliflower instead of actual potatoes.

2022 Cherry Red Cactus Flowers Now Opening

There are several pots in our courtyard containing Trichocereus Grandiflorus cactus (a.k.a. Cherry Red or Torch Cactus). We have been watching a few of the flower buds getting ready to open and today the first ones were out.

We acquired the “parent” cactus several years ago and at one point separated the “mother” from several “pups” which are now planted in their own pots in the courtyard. The image above is of a flower open on a “grandpup,” or a second-generation from the mother cactus who is still getting ready to open her flowers.

Click on the image to enlarge. In addition to the one above, there were two more open on a first generation pup in another pot.

Update: 06/27 open flower . . .

More Spring Cactus Flowers

I took the dogs out this morning for their usual trip to the road outside and noticed that a lot of our May flowers were open on the various cacti around the house. I went back out armed with my Canon Rebel EOS SL1 to try and record some of what I saw when I was out before. I captured the shots as seen in the (clickable) montage above.

The most prevalent flowering cactus is our fourteen foot Saguaro out front of the house. There are buds, open flowers and some transforming into cactus fruit on the tops of the arms of the big guy.

Damsel has some small barrel cacti on the courtyard, a Bishop’s Cap cactus in a pot and a Star Cactus (Astrophytum) in the ground outside of the courtyard gate. Both are relatives of one another and produce flowers not only in May, but other times of the year as well. Both had open flowers today.

Individual photos in the montage above are (click to see each):

We will be seeing more cactus flowers during the summer since there are tell-tale buds on several of them that promise the opening of new flowers soon. Also, be on the lookout for some flowers on other shrubs and trees around the property this summer.

First Cactus Flowers of Spring, 2022

Actually, not the first ones*, but this is the first to open on the native cacti around the yard. Damsel took this photo of one of two flowers that were open today on a hedgehog cactus in front of the house.

From Wikipedia

Echinocereus is a genus of ribbed, usually small to medium-sized, cylindrical cacti, comprising about 70 species native to the southern United States and Mexico in very sunny, rocky places. Usually the flowers are large and the fruit edible.

The name comes from the Ancient Greek echinos, meaning “hedgehog” and the Latin cereus meaning “candle”. They are sometimes known as hedgehog cacti, a term also used for the Pediocactus and Echinopsis.

The article at Wikipedia lists most of the species of hedgehog cacti, but we’re not sure of which one this cactus belongs to. Click on the image to enlarge.

*There are several store-bought cacti in planters around the courtyard and other places which have already produced tiny flowers in 2022.