Independence Day July 4, 2020

Flag Waving Wickenburg

Happy Independence Day from the little flag-waving town of Wickenburg, AZ!

Our local American Legion Post religiously plants flags all over town on every holiday as seen in the background image above. That image was taken (credit Verna) along the main part of Wickenburg Way (a.k.a. US 60) in the old historical part of town. I added the greeting with a graphics utility I use from time to time.

To celebrate the holiday, Verna prepared Star Spangled Chili for dinner yesterday. The dish included a medium-hot chili base with lean ground beef, sliced Hebrew National kosher franks and chopped beef tenderloin chunks garnished with avocado, sour cream and an olive. It was pretty awesome.

The beef tenderloin chunks were leftover meat from a whole tenderloin I butchered myself. Once you separate the “chain” and the “wing” from the main tenderloin, I set those aside to be chopped into the aforementioned chunks.

I cut the rest of the main tenderloin into steaks, a couple of small roasts (Chateaubriand) and tenderloin medallions or small steaks. There is a bit of fat and silver skin that goes to waste, but most of the meat gets used in some form or another. Considering that butcher shop tenderloin steaks (Filet Mignon) are upwards of $20 per pound, butchering our own saves us a considerable amount of cash.

There are a couple of pretty good videos on You Tube (here and here) that guide you through the process of butchering a whole beef tenderloin.

In the meantime, despite all the COVID-19 and BLM/ANTIFA chaos, we’re having a nice holiday weekend here in our little piece of the good old USA and hope that everyone else will be able to enjoy it like we are doing. Happy Birthday America - may she keep on going strong!

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June Flowers

Saguaro Flowers Red Bird of Paradise Flower
Bishop’s Cap Cactus Flowers Fishhook Cactus Flowers

June is another colorful month here in our Arizona abode in which we have many late spring flowers opening. Upper left above is the Arizona State Flower of the Saguaro Cactus. Our big saguaro had many of these since May and there are a few late comers yet to open. Upper right is the showy and colorful Red Bird of Paradise flower. This is a close up of one of many, many currently open in the courtyard. Lower Left is our reliable old Bishop’s Cap cactus with too many open flowers to count, which is a regular thing for this little barrel cactus, even in the other months of the year. Finally, at lower right is the little rescued Fish Hook Cactus in a pot out back with two open flowers. There will be several more to come as June continues. Click on any of the images to enlarge.

Even though the Fish Hook and Saguaro Cactus Flowers will disappear soon, the Red Birds will continue to adorn our courtyard throughout the entire Summer and into the Second Spring months of Fall. The Bishop’s Cap will produce flowers on and off when it feels like doing so.

Update: 16 June - Some of our Cherry Red Cactus Flowers opened today:

Cherry Red Cactus Flower

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Hassayampa River in 3D

river3d.jpg

It’s been quite a while since I posted an anaglyph photo. Verna took an image pair of the riverbed way back in November of 2015 as we crossed the bridge over the Hassayampa River. I combined the images into the 3D anaglyph above. Click on the image to enlarge.

The river is dry above ground most of the year and looks as it does in this image or in its 2D counterpart (at the link in case you don’t have red/cyan glasses). During monsoon season or at other very heavy rainfall periods, this river gets quite full and flows with vigor downstream. This view is looking toward the north and upstream.

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Fragrant Gardenia Flowers

Fragrant Gardenia

I have been babying a gardenia bush that we bought a couple of years ago at one of the garden shops locally. This year, I moved it from the courtyard where it gets a lot of abusive sun to a nook in the back patio where it gets some sun, but not too much. Pictured above is one of several (6 maybe) open flowers on the bush today.

This is the first year since we bought the bush that it has produced many flowers and buds. They might all open soon and I’m hoping that second spring will bring more on October or so. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Updated Blog Banners

House Current Appearance

The blog header image we were using here has become obsolete because the appearance of our house has changed quite a bit since eight years ago when the original header was created. I went out today and got the image above with a 17mm wide-angle lens on my Canon SL1. I added the graphic titles and cropped the image as shown in the new header at the top of the page.

The old header, shown below for reference, contained landscape items no longer seen and much less mature xeriscape items. We removed several creosote trees and added a retaining wall by the lower RV drive and in front of the house by the road.

Old Banner

I also updated the banner on our Food Blog.

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Paddle Cactus Rescue

Paddle Cactus Rescue

Perhaps the post title should include “In Progress,” since the cactus isn’t yet in it’s ultimate destination. The image above shows the original location and now in the pot to which it has been transplanted. Click on the image to enlarge.

We recently discovered a small (1½ inch) prickly pear cactus trying to grow alongside the concrete RV Drive just west of the house. That particular location is unsuitable for a new cactus start-up for a couple of reasons, First, it is too close to the RV Drive to be able to develop into a larger plant and, second, that location offers little or no protection from cactus-eating wildlife. As a small single paddle, it would be bite-sized for a Javelina.

We took the start-up cactus out of the ground and placed it in a five-inch clay pot for the time being. When it gets a bit bigger, we will move it o a larger pot until it gets developed enough to stick it back in the ground on the west side of the house where it will have a better chance of survival in the wild as a larger cactus.

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Mid-April Cactus Flowers

Star Cactus Flower Hedgehog Cactus Flower
Beavertail Cactus Flowers Two Beavertail Flowers

Spring Months in our part of Arizona is always a colorful spectacle with the various native and some imported flowers. The native flowers above are the three with pink, being Hedgehog Cactus Flower (above right) and Beavertail Cactus Flowers (both lower pictures). The non-native is an Astrophytum (Star Cactus) flower whose cactus species is native to other parts of North America including Mexico.

The Star Cactus does well here and has given us many flowers, not always confined to spring like the others shown. Given our mild winters here, the Star and its cousin the Bishop’s Cap Cactus show flowers several times during the year.

Click on any of the images to enlarge.

UPDATE: 04/22/20 - Argentine Giant Cactus Flowers

Argentine Giant Cactus Flowers

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