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Our First 2020 Cactus Flower

Hedgehog Cactus Flower

One of the Hedgehog Cacti (echinocereus engelmanii) in front of the house had an open flower today. This is the first flower of any cacti around the house and in the courtyard. This cactus is one of the older cacti which was originally right next to our lot and transplanted to its present location. It has flowered every year since put in its present position.

From American Southwest Website:

Like most hedgehog cacti, the spring flowers of echinocereus engelmannii are very bright and colorful. They are followed by spiny, greenish fruits that turn red when ripe. Stems are upright at first but may fall to the ground with old age and grow laterally. This is one of the most common of the hedgehog cacti.

This cactus is “expecting” many more flowers in days to come soon. Click on the image to enlarge.

UPDATE: Cherry Red Cactus Flower opened today!

Cherry Red Cactus Flower

UPDATE: 04APR2020 - Beavertail Flowers now opening - this is the first one on the cactus out front of the house>

Beavertail Flower

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Yard Cleanup - Feeding the Chipper

Feeding the Chipper

Over the past months (maybe over a year) we have trimmed mesquite tree branches away from the driveway and in the back and front yard areas. We also recently removed a few branches from the plum tree in the courtyard to encourage it to grow upward. When we don’t have time to break the limbs down and stuff them into the refuse bin, we sometimes drag them across the road to our lot over there to be dealt with at a future time.

Well, the future is here. Yesterday, Verna and I took the chipper that we bought last spring over there to dispose of the branches and create some mulch for Verna’s gardening. I took the 3KW Honda Generator in the back of the pickup so we could have power to run the chipper.

We got most of the work done in that single session and created a box full of wood chip mulch that Verna can spread on her trees and other items she grows. There remains some thicker branches that we will chop into firewood for our neighbors that have fireplaces.

When operating the chipper, the manufacturer recommends protection for eyes and ears (pieces fly and it’s loud). I borrowed the goggles and earmuffs from the range bag for the job. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Beethoven Is Ten Today

Bay Bay at 10Happy Birthday to our beloved Beethoven (a.k.a “Bay Bay”) who is ten years old today. He is the youngest of the two Miniature Pinchers that run our household. We adopted him about eight and a half years ago and, needless to say, is a beloved family member.

Image: Bay Bay at 10 - click to enlarge

As older dogs go, he is still very alert and seems happy most of the time. Of course, he is showing some signs of having joint pain and has turned grey in his face. He loves to sit with his “parents” watching TV and being wrapped in a warmed-up blanket. We hope he is having a good day.

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Valentine’s Day 2020

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My gift from Bob was this nice little Waterford Heart Box with a nice card. Click on the image to enlarge.

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February Decorations

February DecorationsIt’s February again and that means it is time to decorate for Valentine’s Day! This is the mailbox down by the road in front of the house. I used red and white plastic flowers and a heart-shaped wreath to adorn it.

The mailbox is set into an old milk can and stuck into the ground with concrete stabilizing things. I stuck the flower stems down into the can and fastened the wreath to one of the handles on the milk can. I also have a heart-shaped Mylar balloon that I was going to add in the mix, but it broke away from the stick it was mounted to. I’ll glue them together and add the balloon decoration soon.

Now, neighbors and visitors to the neighborhood will see the decorations appropriate to the season. Next month, I will place some nice spring flowers in the can. Click on the image to enlarge.

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It’s Almost Wintertime And The Bees Are Still Buzzing

Cactus Flowers and a Bee

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are less than two weeks from the official start of winter. Regardless of that fact, and the unusually colder weather happening everywhere else in the country, here in Wickenburg, we are enjoying our usual mild temperatures with highs in the 60’s or 70’s.

This Bishop’s Cap Cactus in the courtyard had a couple of open flowers today. I took this photo of the cactus while a bee was browsing for pollen. The cacti aren’t the only source for pollen in as much as the Rosemary shrubs behind the RV Drive still are producing flowers. You can see the bees browsing them as well.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Landscape Improvements

Path Through the Rocks

Last week we had our landscapers embellish our yard with some additional red rock gravel ground cover. They did a good job by placing the additional rocks and spreading them over the bare ground adjacent to the RV drive.

After the work was done, Verna went to the retention wall by the little wash behind the house and discovered that she had trouble walking on the rocks. She goes back there to feed some table scraps to the cottontails that live out there.

So, we decided to clear a pathway leading to the wall for easier access. I accomplished the project incrementally yesterday and today by raking away the red rocks and lining the path with medium round rocks. The path is “T” shaped so Verna has her access to the wall going left and I have access to the bird feeders out of view up the hill to the right.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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