Veterans Day 2020

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Armistice was declared for the conflict of World War One on November 11, 1918. That day became celebrated as Armistice Day to commemorate WW1 Vets (Bless ‘em All). Since that time, Armistice Day has evolved into Veterans Day to commemorate all American Veterans who have served in times of peace and war. Today is no exception and we resolve to honor those whose service has been given to our country.

Our family has a number of veterans in our lineage, some alive and some passed on. I did some genealogy work recently and discovered a number of ancestors who served. Several ancestors showed service in the Revolutionary War. Some were in the US Civil War (on both sides) and a few in the Spanish American War. My Grand Dad, Leonard, was in the Navy just after that war.

Verna’s Dad, Bill, served in the US Navy (Aviation) assigned to Patrol Squadron 26 as a crew member on the PB4 Privateer Aircraft with missions around the Mediterranean after WW2.

My Dad, Jack, was aboard the USS Brooklyn during WW2, sometimes in the African theater of operations and also in the Northern Mediterranean supporting Allied forces in Europe.

What is now the senior generation of veterans in our family consists of me. I was in Naval Aviation and served in the capacity of Radio Operator Crewman and Avionics Line Troubleshooter at the Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu, CA. Our mission was to provide airborne targets for the Pacific Missile Range. Those were some fun and interesting times not to mention somewhat risky working around whirling propellers and jet engine intakes and flying aboard some pretty vintage military aircraft. Think Lockheed P2V, Sikorsky SH34, Grumman S2F and various other Convair, Martin, Douglas and Lockheed Airplanes in support of RangeOps.

My two late brothers were also in the Navy; my older brother became an officer under a program where he got a college education at Purdue University in exchange for a career assignment as an Officer. My younger brother, like me, was in for a limited time and served as an Aviation Equipment Technician at NAS Miramar, near San Diego.

Both of my older brother’s kids were in the US Air Force; the older daughter became a linguistic translator for covert operations during the cold war, and his younger son worked as an air traffic controller who, incidentally, went on to make a career as ATC working for the FAA (and still does).

We’re proud of all our family, past and present, who served. We are equally proud of all service men and women that have served, are serving and will serve in the future. May God bless them now and forever, Amen.

For Veterans Day, Verna and I are going to celebrate here at home with a special dinner planned. We hope you have a happy and safe Veteran’s Day as well.

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Desert Garbage Disposal

Desert Cottontail Rabbit

The photo above is a shot of one of our local desert cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus audubonii) about to partake of some of the Brussels sprouts that didn’t make the cut to become part of today’s dinner. Verna will usually take unused portions of fresh veggies and toss them in the little wash behind the retention wall on the northwest side of our back yard. The rabbits don’t seem to mind that they’re getting second quality goods.

When we lived in California, we would dispose of this sort of ‘garbage’ in our compost bin. The compost worms would take care of recycling the kitchen waste. Now that we’re in the semi-rural Arizona desert, we do the recycling thing still with a compost bin, but most fruit and veggie scraps go up in the wash where a variety of critters devour them. We’ve seen everything including lizards, squirrels (several varieties), rabbits, jackrabbits, javelina and coyotes in the wash taking out the garbage, so to speak.

Read more about desert cottontail rabbits on Wikipedia. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Our Ocotillos Like The Rain

Green Ocotillo

In spite of the warm temperature, the ocotillo next to the RV drive is sporting a nice green coat of its tiny leaves. We credit the recent rainfall and the timed irrigation feed for the greening.

This ocotillo, not a true cactus, grows wild in the desert and can sometimes look like they’re lifeless (and leafless) until after a rainfall; then they come to life again. We have a couple of them that have been transplanted into our xeriscape here on the property. The one in the photo came from our neighbor who got it while cleaning up a construction site. We planted it and Verna babied it until it became this magnificent specimen.

The other ocotillo near the courtyard is also green and happy after the recent rainfall.

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Mars in 3D

Mars in 3D

I generally look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day on a daily basis. Last week, I saw this anaglyph taken by the Mars Pathfinder back in 1997. It shows the Martian landscape and some local artifacts in stereoscopic perspective. Sorry, there is no 2D image available without me digging through NASA and JPL archives, so you better get a pair of 3D glasses to enjoy the image in full perspective.

From APOD:

From July of 1997, a ramp from the Pathfinder lander, the Sojourner robot rover, airbags, a couch, Barnacle Bill and Yogi Rock appear together in this 3D stereo view of the surface of Mars. Barnacle Bill is the rock just left of the solar-paneled Sojourner. Yogi is the big friendly-looking boulder at top right. The “couch” is the angular rock shape visible near center on the horizon. Look at the image with red/blue glasses (or just hold a piece of clear red plastic over your left eye and blue or green over your right) to get the dramatic 3D perspective. The stereo view was recorded by the remarkable Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) camera. The IMP had two optical paths for stereo imaging and ranging and was equipped with an array of color filters for spectral analysis.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cabela is 12!

Cabela relaxing at Desert Oasis

Today, our elder dog, Cabela, is approximately twelve years old. I say that since when we adopted her from the Humane Society here in town, she was estimated to be about two years old but her actual birth date was unknown. That was ten years ago this month at the time we were having our Arizona house built.

Cabela is probably a pure bred miniature pinscher “blue” but we have no history on her other than she was found near the rodeo grounds up in Constellation Park here in Wickenburg. We figure she was cropped and bobbed by her original owners who managed to let her run off somehow. I pity their loss. At the same time, we feel fortunate to have this little dog despite her high-strung personality and a tendency to bark at most everything. She truly must think she’s ten feet tall and bullet proof.

At twelve, Cabela shows few signs of growing old. She is quite active, can still jump and run at full speed and when on a leash can drag “The Daddy” along to where she wants to go. Despite being headstrong, she can be a nice companion here at home and still sleeps on the bed with us, sometime stealing the covers. She is quite the character and we love her.

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14th Blogiversary

14th Blogiversary

Image - Cactus Wren perched on Saguaro Flower Buds. Click to enlarge. For a full-sized image of the wren without the titles, click here.

As we said last year, we’re back to post about our 14th anniversary of vernabob.com/blog. During the past year, we have posted about various topics, intermittently of course. Some of the topics concerned, diet, flowers, wildlife, ancestors, wanderlust, a couple or three 3D pictures and so forth.

Since most of the last six months has been weird with COVID-19 and other disturbances, we haven’t been able to get travelling like we might have wanted to do. We hope that those things will soon be resolved so we might be able to get in a few miles on the road. We have a notion to head out to Texas and Oklahoma to visit whatever we find there.

So, again, we will be puttering along with the blogging until the fifteenth blogiversary.

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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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