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Clear Skies Over Arizona

Clear Skies Over Arizona

Last week (10/22/2019), I captured this image from one of the GOES weather satellites in geosynchronous orbit above the western hemisphere. GOES East showed this area of the southwestern US which I cropped to highlight Arizona which is centered, more or less, in the image. The image showed the area mostly clear of clouds at that time.

October in our part of Arizona has the in-between hot summer and cooler winter temperatures which are still warm (80-90 degree highs) and we call “Second Spring” because of the flowers we have open this time of year. As I write this post, the late October temperatures have started to drop and soon we will be back in flannel and long pants.

Anyhow, back to the satellite image; you can clearly see the Mogollon Rim which is defined by the darker forested area at its southern side that extends from the New Mexico border on the east and arcs toward the north across the northeastern part of the state and ends in northern Yavapai county in north central Arizona. The two darker forested areas continuing north are the Kaibab National Forest. The gap between the southern dark area and the northern dark area is where the Grand Canyon is located.

Other interesting features visible in the image can also be seen; over in New Mexico toward the right lower side of the image you can see the White Sands area where WW2 Atomic Bombs were tested. On the left side, in California, you can see the Salton Sea. Finally, at the bottom left corner, the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in Mexico is visible.

I look at the satellite images on a regular basis to help me identify our weather patterns. I use them in addition to radar and other tools to get an insight on our weather. You may click on the image to enlarge.

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Milestone - One Decade of Retirement!

block-10.pngToday marks the tenth year milestone since I began my retirement from the Aerospace Mill for which I worked many years. I must say that those daily routines of getting up out of bed, commuting to the office, participating in whatever the plan of the day might have been, finishing up for the day, commuting back home and attending to home matters were comfortable for me right up until the last day. Now, however, at a decade down the road, I must also state that I don’t miss the old ways a bit.

During the last decade before retirement (starting 20 years ago), Verna and I spent a lot of time planning for the retirement we were to have. It turned out that by the grace of God and our own foresight, we managed to get our basic plan together. Thankfully, my employer had good a retirement plan and an incentivized 401(k) savings plan, both of which we participated in. Upon retirement, we exercised our choice to roll the 401(k) into a managed payout mutual fund designed just for retirees. We opted for the retirement pension payout as well. Bottom line: we’re doing OK.

Sure, there were still some unknowns and other events post-retirement that would shape our destiny, but the foundation for our sustenance was set by the time we were out of there. We weren’t prepared to lose our California house to flooding, for example, but our insurance payout and a fortunate find of a “flipper” to take that property off of our hands made it a sweet departure from home ownership in California. Otherwise, we would have had to do the fixing up and “flipping” ourselves for which we weren’t exactly prepared. Between that example and a couple of other post-retirement glitches, we have managed to stay afloat.

Pardon all the metaphors, but it seems that we’re set for smooth sailing for the next decade of our retirement, God willing.

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Turkey Buzzards’ Farewell

Turkey Buzzards

Now that Summer has abruptly ended (a 20° drop in daily high temperature since the first day of Fall), the Turkey Buzzards (Vultures) have been showing signs of migrating south for the Winter. Today, there were several circling overhead (as they generally do) and these two came to roost on the ridge just to the west of our back yard. It’s as if they dropped in to say adios as they head to Mexico. They will return sometime in the Spring of 2020.

More about Turkey Vultures from Wikipedia:

The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently. It roosts in large community groups. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It nests in caves, hollow trees, or thickets. Each year it generally raises two chicks, which it feeds by regurgitation.

We look forward to seeing the Buzzards in the Spring when their return signals warmer weather ahead for us. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Nice Arizona Sunset Colors

Nice Arizona Sunset Colors

We finally got some decent rain yesterday when a monsoon emptied its thunderstorms in the area. We went all summer without a monsoon and finally, on the first day of autumn, we got a couple of inches of precipitation. In the aftermath today, we had some winds and a few clouds, some of which gathered to our west just as the sun was setting. I took the photo above from the courtyard with our front yard mesquite tree silhouetted against the colorful sky. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Last Desert Sun Ray of the Day

Last Desert Sun Ray

The last sun ray of the afternoon shone through some of the natural desert vegetation on the west side of the house just before the sun went behind the hill over that way. There wasn’t a lot of pastel colors or any brilliant desert sunset, but a nice, mellow sepia-like photo portraying the brief event before fading to dark.

We had a great trip home from our August vacation to Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico. It was a lot of fun and we accomplished our objective of setting memorials on the graves of some of our ancestors. We came away with a good feeling.

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Radiant Beams From Heaven Above

Radiant Beams

Arizona monsoons have several redeeming qualities:

  1. They provide much needed rainfall over the desert
  2. They cool the summer heat down, albeit briefly
  3. Their clouds can produce some pretty spectacular skyscapes

Verna’s camera caught this array of clouds and crepuscular solar rays a couple of days ago. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Hummingbird and Red Bird

Hummingbird Browsing Red Bird of Paradise Flowers

After a recent rainfall, several hummingbirds can be seen browsing the Red Bird of Paradise Flowers in the courtyard here. I managed to capture this photo of one of the tiny birds as it was sipping nectar from one of the brightly colored flowers on the Pride of Barbados shrub nearest the Plum Tree by the gate.

Canon T6i camera settings: 1/1600 second, F5.6, ISO 640, Focal Length 135mm.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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