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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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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