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Summer Solstice And Fathers’ Day June 20, 2021

Father’s Day GrillingIn 2021, Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 20. This happens to be the same day as the summer solstice (June 20 at 11:32 P.M. Eastern Time), which makes it the perfect time to kick-off the summer season with grilling a couple of steaks. We’re in the middle of a heat-wave but we’re prepared to go outdoors and cook over the grill by virtue of having plenty of water and perhaps an adult beverage or two.

Image: Ready at the Outdoor Grill - Click on the image to enlarge.

The local sunrise for today is at 5:20 AM and the sunset will take place at 7:45 PM. The longest day at our latitude is 14 Hours and 25 Minutes. The forecast temperature at grilling time is 112° F. As I said before, we’re prepared - the summer heat is one of the reasons we moved here.

The menu today is for Beef; tenderloin steaks for today and a tri-tip roast for later in the week. The side dishes are baked beans and potato salad, both of the KETO variety, i.e. low-carb soy beans and cauliflower instead of potatoes in the salad - both taste the same as the high carb dishes they replace.

Finally, today we salute all the Dads out there and wish them a good day. We also salute our Dads again as we did last year.

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Flag Day 2021

Flag Day 2021

Damsel and I raised the colors this morning over our little house in Wickenburg. We had the flags down the last couple of weeks because of 30 knot gusts and the occasional “dust devils” that roar through the desert. Those, fortunately, have diminished in favor of a nice westerly wind today that is under 15 knots or so - BTW our high temperature today was 114° according to the thermometer out in the back patio. We’re OK with that here in our nice, cool 80° office.

Our local American Legion sets out flags all over town on this and other holidays. They seem to have hundreds of pole holes all up and down the major thoroughfares where the flags are distributed early in the morning and then collected late in the day. It is a pleasant sight to see all those flags, although we didn’t get out to see them today. We’ll have another chance on Independence Day.

From Wikipedia:

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.[1] The Flag Resolution, passed on June 14, 1777, stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

Today marks the 244th Anniversary of that event.

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Woodpeckers

DrJim, at the Every Blade of Grass blog, posted an interesting article on the appearance of a Northern Flicker Woodpecker in their yard in northern Colorado. Since we have our share of woodpeckers here in mid-central Arizona, I thought I would post about them. We see mostly Gila Woodpeckers but occasionally see Gilded Flickers too.

Gila Woodpeckers in Mesquite Tree Gilded Flicker and House Finch on the Backyard Feeder Gila Woodpecker on the Saguaro

Images: Woodpeckers - Click on any image to enlarge. Left and right images credit me. Center image credit Damsel

The image at the left shows a Gila Woodpecker couple in/on the mesquite tree directly across the road in front of our house. We have been seeing them having activity there since march or so. The image in the center is of a Gilded Flicker flushing a House Finch off of our backyard feeder. On the right is the male of another Gila Woodpecker couple perched adjacent to their hole in our big saguaro by the garage. We just noticed woodpecker activity in the saguaro over the past month.

One of the most interesting things to us in our retirement home is the desert wildlife. We are in a semi-rural area where these critters abound. Just this morning, we observed a Gambel’s Quail pair and their five or six little offspring on the retention wall behind the RV Drive as we were eating breakfast. Unfortunately, by the time the cameras came out, the birds were elsewhere. Maybe another time.

We haven’t been really good about regular blogging lately, but between the two of us, we get some really good photos of our desert wildlife and I think we might resume putting some of those up from time to time. Plus, it is springtime and Flowers are in bloom. Damsel has a bunch of those that we should share.

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Beltane - A Celtic Cross Quarter

beltane3.jpgThis 5th of May, 2021, Damsel and I have decided to skip the traditional “Cinco de Mayo” and celebrate “Beltane” instead. The Cross-Quarter day (midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice) of Beltane, an ancient Celtic day of importance, occurs on May 5th this year according to the “Grand Octal Clock” which can be seen at the Archaeoastronomy.com website.

So, to celebrate the Celtic First Day of the Summer Season, we will be preparing a traditional Irish dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage along with some boiled vegetables. I know, we just had that on March 17th for St. Patrick’s Day, but we like to have this meal more than once a year.

I discussed our Irish Ancestry in a post on St. Patrick’s Day last year. I also have English, Welsh, Scottish and some other mixed Northern European heritage along with a couple of Italians and one Choctaw great6th grandmother. Doing the math, that Indian ancestor qualifies me for Native American heritage benefits four times greater than Senator Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren. Of course, I wouldn’t do that - I’m not a Democrat.

So, since neither Damsel nor I have any Hispanic Genealogy, we will probably be more inclined to celebrate Beltane than Cinco de Mayo in the future on May the 5th. That being said, we will still, of course, indulge in Tex/Mex Cuisine from time to time.

Happy (Insert Your Preferred 3/5 Celebration Here) to you!

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Remembering Kate on Her Birthday

Morro Rock

We remember our Mom, Kate, on more occasions than just her birthday, but today she would have turned 101. She passed from us in September of 2013 and we still miss her.

The image above is of Morro Rock in the California town of Morro Bay. It’s a charming place to visit and the rock is where Kate wanted her cremains to be distributed. We can’t see the rock without thinking about Kate. She always told us how much she loved that place on the Pacific Coast west of San Luis Obispo, CA.

Image courtesy of Damsel taken 24 July 2009 at Morro Bay. Click on the image to enlarge.

Out of respect for our Mom, we will refrain from inserting a rant here about the liberal slimes running the show out in K-Stan these days and how we are reluctant to visit in person.

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Another New Camera Lens

SL1 w/New 250mm LensI posted here before about acquiring a 400mm telephoto lens for my little Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and that lens is worth every dime I spent on it. The only drawback is its size and weight when you want to go out into the desert to capture a few photos of critters. It is a bit clunky lugging it around on a walk up the road or for other events where you might want to get photos of subjects that may be dozens of yards away or perhaps more than that.

Image - Camera with the new EF-S 55-250mm Zoom Lens attached. Click on the image to enlarge.

The SL1, when I purchased it in 2014, shipped with the standard 18-55mm lens and an additional 75-300mm telephoto lens, neither of which were of really decent quality. The latter, after a couple of years, developed an autofocus intermittency and had to be scrapped. Plus, in 2019, we replaced the stock lens with a superior quality 18-135mm lens.

So, the bottom line is that I wanted a lightweight intermediate zoom lens for those times that I mentioned above. So far, since I received the new lens last Thursday, I am pleased with its performance. I took the cactus wren photo today at a range of about 35 feet and the lunar photo last Friday during the full February “Snow Moon.” I cropped both images down from the full-frame size to enhance the subjects. Click on either image to enlarge. I am especially pleased with the sharpness of the mountains and craters on the moon which is not bad for an intermediate telephoto lens.

Cactus Wren on Saguaro Snow Moon

I other news, I renewed my expired AZ Driver’s License yesterday. The expiration was covered by an extension due to the pandemic, but that extension ran out at the end of February, so I drove to the MVD and got my renewal. I should get the new license by mail in a week or two.

In other other news, our COVID-19 vaccines have not yet arrived in our area. There are two venues in town through which we can be vaccinated but neither on-line registration is yet available. We’re both eligible for the vaccines by virtue of age.

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38th Annual Toyz 4 Totz Cruise and Car Show

Damsel and I went to our usual first Sunday of December event which is the Cops Who Care and Remember When Cruise Wickenburg Run for the benefit of local kids at Christmas (see poster below). We packed in a couple of unwrapped toys to donate to the cause even though we didn’t participate in the cruise. We consider it a photo op and an enjoyable trek down memory lane.

As usual, Damsel took a lot of photos but these three caught my eye to post here today. There were several Jeeps (Mfg. Willys) on display at the show. The first two images below are of a very clean (and new-looking) Jeep. I recall driving the Navy version of one of these for the Division I served in at NAS Point Mugu in the early 1960s and this one reminded me of that vehicle.

Clean Jeep Front View Clean Jeep Interior Modified Jeep

Well, as you can see, the third image is of a slightly modified Jeep. I didn’t get to talk to the owner, but the card in the window said it had a “blown big 8 cylinder block” for the engine. I had an urge to ask him to start it up so I could hear the unmuffled sounds of the eight chromed exhaust ports. I resisted and was satisfied to have the photo of the beast. Click on any image above to enlarge.

cops38th.jpg

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