Goldfinch on Red Bird of Paradise

Goldfinch on Red Bird of Paradise

A curious goldfinch perched on one of the racemes growing on the red bird of paradise shrubs in the courtyard. Sort of like a yellow bird on a red bird.

The finch was probably attracted to the feeder I have just outside of the courtyard wall, but was momentarily distracted by the flower bearing shoots. It perched on several before lighting on this one. Shortly after this photo was taken, the finch returned to the feeder.

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Queen of the Morning

Queen of the Morning

The Arizona Queen of the Night Cactus on the east side of our house had two open flowers last night. If you catch them early enough the morning after, these flowers are still quite beautiful before they fade away in the sunlight.

Last evening was good for night-blooming cacti in the area; the flowers above (two of them) opened east of the house and the Argentine Giant had three flowers still open this morning. It’s a one-night-stand with both of these flower types. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cactus Cousins and Their Flowers

Star Cactus Bishop’s Cap

Two of my favorite cacti were in bloom today; the Star cactus flower on the left is the third flower that has opened this summer on my astrophytum ornatum. The flowers on the right are on my old reliable Bishop’s Cap cactus, astrophytum myriostigma. Both cacti are in the genus astrophytum of which there are five major species and a bucketload of variations.

The latter cactus above gets clusters of flowers on a monthly basis it seems, all spring summer and fall. The other flower is only the third one to open on that cactus, but there are more buds and I expect others to open as the summer progresses. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Casandro Dam Basin

Casandro Dam Basin

The afternoon after our big monsoon thunderstorm and record-breaking rainfall, Verna and I drove up the road to a vantage point near US 60 where the Casandro Dam catch basin can be seen. I caught this panoramic image of the basin with the water level at just about the ten percent full point. If you click on the image to enlarge, you can see the high water mark came up to the top of the spillway. There was a LOT of water that fell on our desert town.

We were OK since our house is protected by retention walls that divert the runoff around the house, but there were a couple of places where the muddy mess piled up on the concrete. That was easily fixed with a shovel, wheelbarrow and hose.

In the panoramic view above, the red arrow points to the approximate place where our house is located below the houses beyond. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Casandro Wash Flowing

Casandro Wash

Perhaps twice a year the Casandro wash just to the southeast of our house, will flow after a monsoon rainstorm deposits a considerable amount of rainfall behind the Casandro Dam. This morning, Verna and I walked the 500 feet or so down the road to look at the wash after torrential rainfall last night.

Much of the town experienced floods, but we were high and dry with the exception of a small amount of flooding into the patio, on the order of less than a tenth of an inch runoff from the driveway in back. We, and the dogs, stayed warm, dry and comfortable for the duration of the storm.

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VERNABOB.COM Ninth Blogiversary

pointvicente.jpg

We posted this photo on the blog on July 17, 2006, shortly after converting our website to the Wordpress blogging format, hence our first blog post. We posed for the robot camera at Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

That was exactly nine years ago. At that time, I was still working in the aerospace business and Verna was a full-time home maker. Less than a week after this photo was taken, we would be in Arizona visiting The Grand Canyon.

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Protecting the Orange Tree

Orange Tree Screen

Verna’s little orange tree sapling has been doing fairly well since being almost completely destroyed last summer. There is a lot of new growth coming out, but lately, the little squirrels and rabbits have been helping themselves to the tender new leaves.

I went on-line last week looking for screened enclosures that would keep critters away from the little orange tree. I found this ‘kit’ of tubes, plastic joints and a net for sale, so I bought it.

This afternoon, I put it together and with Verna’s help we covered the tree. The netting has some shortcomings since it fails to cover the frame, but we stretched it in places and used some of the many rocks on the property to shore up the places that needed to be reinforced.

If I were to give up to five stars approval of the product, it would only get three. When the netting fails (and it will) I plan to use some wire mesh to cover the sides and top in place of the netting. I’ll post on that eventuality when it occurs.

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