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Black-Throated Sparrow

Black-Throated Sparrow

I was in the backyard yesterday with my camera* and caught this photo of one of our migrant visitors to the seed feeders up on the little hill out there. I think it is a Black-Throated Sparrow. We don’t see many of these and only do see them when they are either headed south in the fall or north in the spring.

From All About Birds:

A medium-sized sparrow with a large, round head, conical seed-eating bill, and a medium length tail. Larger than a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, smaller than a Horned Lark.

Most striking feature is the face pattern: neat gray bordered by 2 strong white stripes and a black triangular throat patch. Upperparts are grayish brown and the underparts are a paler mix of cream and white. The tail is dark with white spots on the corners. Juveniles look like adults but lack the black throat patch and have faint streaks above and below.

Hops on the ground, pecking for seeds and insects, and makes short low flights between shrubs. Often perches in trees and shrubs giving quiet calls.

I might add that they also visit the seed feeders in people’s back yards.

* Camera: Canon EOS REBEL SL1

  • COPYRIGHT © BOB POOLE
  • 1/400 Sec
  • F8
  • ISO 100
  • Focal Length 135mm

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Weekend Cooking

Grilling with InsetsLike most weekends, this one featured some delicious food. Yesterday, we were treated to Chicken Jalapeño Popper Casserole and today we had Grilled Beef Tenderloin (Filet Mignon) Steaks with “Broc’n'Mock” (Mac’n'Cheese without the mac) and Bacon Collard Greens.

Image: I’m at the grill on a 70° Wickenburg day with insets showing steaks and one of the dinner plates. Click on the image to enlarge.

We generally have Keto-friendly fare with an eye on low sodium content. This weekend we might have had more cheese than necessary, but there was plenty of green and white veggies to compensate. You will seldom see us with no (or too few) vegetables or salad and that’s a good thing.

We have yet to finalize next weekend’s menu (Valentine’s weekend) but you can almost always see what we’re thinking on the Food Blog. I’m sure Verna and I will come up with something wonderful.

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Lemon Harvesting

Before and AfterJust about every year since we got our dwarf lemon tree in 2011, we have had to harvest the fruit when it’s nearly ripe in December. Today was the day we selected to start the harvest. It usually takes a couple of sessions on different days to pick all the lemons. Some of the lemons are still a little green, so we leave those.

Image: Before and After Photos of the Tree - Click on the image to enlarge.

The before image was actually taken after I picked the low-hanging first 2020 lemon from the tree. Verna came out shortly afterward to help and we made quick work of filling up the wheelbarrow with lemons.

As for the remainder of the lemons, we will delve into the interior of the tree next time to get all of the fruit left. The image below shows just a small quantity of the dozens of lemons remaining on the tree. Note that there are more lemons lurking behind those immediately seen in the image. Click to enlarge.

Small Quantity of Remaining Lemons

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Thor Palazzo RV Parked At Home in 3D

Thor Palazzo RV Parked At Home

It’s time for another blog in the 3D category, so I selected an archive photo of our Thor Palazzo 33.5 Motorhome in it’s usual place in the RV drive behind the house when we’re not on the road. This photo was made in April of 2017 but I never posted it until now. Click on the image to enlarge.

If you don’t have your 3D glasses then you can see the 2D image by clicking this link.

So far in 2020 we haven’t been anywhere in the Motorhome. The reason is, of course, this phony pandemic which imposes unnecessary restrictions on much of our normal human activity. We’re hoping to be able to go in spring of 2021 on our next long adventure. We think we will be going to Texas and Oklahoma for some of that trip, but the exact itinerary hasn’t been settled yet. When we do go, we will probably post our trip activities on our other blog, Cap’n Bob & the Damsel. Log in over there to see when, where and what.

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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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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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