Archive for Home & Garden

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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Second Spring Butterfly

Second Spring Butterfly

Every year since we have been here in Arizona we have experienced what the locals (which includes us now) call “second spring.” Around the official end of summer (autumnal equinox) the temperatures become very spring-like and the flora and fauna react accordingly. Flowers open and butterflies and hummingbirds do their thing.

Late this afternoon, I saw a yellow-spotted black butterfly browsing the Red Bird of Paradise shrubs in the courtyard. I was in the great room at the time, so I grabbed my camera and headed out the front door. Luckily, the butterfly kept on doing what it was doing when I first saw it. I snapped a bunch of pictures of which this was probably the best. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Devil’s Tongue Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower

Our Devil’s Tongue cactus had its first open flower today. Flowers open during the Second Spring Arizona pseudo-season. I snapped this in the rock and cactus garden west of the house this morning. Several bees were busily competing for the nectar. One of them is visible in the photo.

Ferocactus latispinus is the binomial nomenclature for what is commonly called the Devil’s Tongue cactus. Wikipedia offers the following information about this cactus:

Ferocactus latispinus is a species of barrel cactus native to Mexico. It grows as a single globular light green cactus reaching the dimensions of 30 cm (12 in) in height and 40 cm (16 in) across, with 21 acute ribs. Its spines range from reddish to white in color and are flattened and reach 4 or 5 cm long. Flowering is in late autumn or early winter. The funnel-shaped flowers are purplish or yellowish and reach 4 cm long, and are followed by oval-shaped scaled fruit which reach 2.5 cm (1 in) long.

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