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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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Summer Cherry Red Cactus Flowers

Cherry Red Cactus Flowers

One of our transplanted Cherry Red (Trichocereus Grandiflorus) cacti has three new flowers today. These are the second to bloom on our cherry reds, the first having opened in late April.

These three flowers opened today on the “mother” cactus from which we separated several “pups” last October. A couple of the pups are also showing signs of flowers coming soon. Click on the image to enlarge.

Elsewhere in the xeriscape are flowers almost ready to open: two queen of the night flowers and a couple of Argentine giant buds will likely be open soon. Pictures to come for those as well.

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