Archive for Home & Garden

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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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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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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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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