Archive for Home & Garden

Early Spring Flowers Opening

Purple and Yellow Freesias White Freesias
Yellow Freesias Gardenia

Some of my flowers in the courtyard are opening this week. Purple and Yellow Freesias, White Freesias, Yellow Freesias and a Gardenia.

Other than those shown above, we have daffodils and paperwhites that have opened. Also in the courtyard are several Cherry Red cacti which we separated from each other last fall which all seem to have flower buds coming.

Outside of the courtyard, there are numerous buds on the cacti around the yard. There are beavertail and hedgehog cacti with buds about to open soon and other prickly pear cacti with buds just starting to show.

It will be a colorful spring around the house this year. More pictures coming! Click on any image above to enlarge.

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Flowering Plum Tree

Plum Flowers

Spring officially starts tomorrow at about three in the afternoon Arizona time. Already, we are getting flowers in abundance on the plum tree in the courtyard. Click on the image to enlarge.

The rest of the xeriscape garden is also showing signs of spring. We have several beavertail cacti which all are sprouting flower and paddle buds. The Argentine Giant out front is showing flower buds and a new arm sprouting, maybe two. The other prickly pear cacti will be getting flowers later in spring. The giant saguaro out front should also be getting flowers in late spring.

In the courtyard, I have planted daffodil bulbs and the flowers are coming out as well. I love springtime in the desert!

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Queen of the Night Cactus New Branches

New Branches

The queen of the night cactus (Peniocereus Greggii ) on the east side of our driveway has branched out a bit. The two new branches in the photo above started last summer and look to be doing well. We monitor this cactus more since it is in plain sight from the driveway.

This cactus has bloomed with at least one flower over the past two years. We’re hoping to have at least one flower, and maybe more, this coming summer. Click on the image to enlarge.

I took this zoomed close-up of the branches using my DSLR Camera with the new EF-S 18-135mm lens. I shot the photo with the following camera settings:

Model - Canon EOS REBEL SL1
Date Time - 2019:02:28 16:40:11
Copyright - COPYRIGHT (C) VERNABOB.COM
Exposure Time - 1/250 seconds
F Number - 20
Exposure Program - Aperture priority
ISO Speed - 640
Shutter Speed - 1/256 seconds
Focal Length - 135 mm

The focus stayed sharp for the depth of field needed. Love the new lens.

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Tiny Pink Cactus Flowers and an Arizona Sunset

Tiny Pink Flowers

This little barrel cactus is in the xeriscape area in front of the garage wall east of the courtyard. I think it must be happy here since it has this ring of tiny pink flowers around its top.

Sundown

Today was mostly cloudy, but still pretty warm. Our high temperature was nowhere near record for this date, but we’ll take 74° anytime in January. I photographed the clouds as lighted up by the setting sun.

Click on either image to enlarge.

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Rainbow’s End

Rainbow’s End

Yesterday, we had some badly-needed rainfall here in the desert. It didn’t reach flash flood stage, but we got a fair amount of rain.

As the main part of the rain clouds passed to the northeast, conditions were perfect for a full double rainbow, horizon to horizon. I positioned myself to capture this photo of our house with the rainbow seemingly ending on it. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Mailbox Upgrade and Autumn Decor

Mailbox Upgrade and Autumn Decor

I finally got around to painting the milk can under the mailbox this week. I have had the paint since summer, but the instructions on the can said not to use it in temperatures above 85 degrees. Well, that isn’t possible until fall weather brings the temperatures down here in the desert. Anyhow, I painted it white this week as I have been wanting to do for a while now.

The next day, after the paint dried, I decorated it with faux sunflowers and a little scarecrow doll for the changing season. It now looks appropriate for Halloween and Thanksgiving. There will be poinsettias and Christmas decor after that. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Harris’s Hawk

Hawk in Flight

Perched on Flagpole

I noticed a large bird in the Mesquite tree up by the bird feeders while doing dishes in the kitchen. I dried my hands, grabbed my camera and went out to see what it might be. I took the top photo while this juvenile Harris’s Hawk was in flight departing the bird feeder area.

The bottom photo is of another Harris’s Hawk perched on our flagpole. This bird does not have the juvenile speckled feathers on its breast. It flew off shortly after this photo and joined five other Harris’s hawks on the large power pole and wires across the road from our place. Harris’s Hawks hunt in groups two to seven birds. I guess we have a group that hunts locally now.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Wikipedia says this about these hawks:

This species occurs in relatively stable groups. A dominance hierarchy occurs in Harris’s hawks, wherein the mature female is the dominant bird, followed by the adult male and then the young of previous years. Groups typically include from 2 to 7 birds. Not only do birds cooperate in hunting, they also assist in the nesting process. No other bird of prey is known to hunt in groups as routinely as this species.

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