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2022 Saguaro Cactus Flowers Now Opening

The 2022 spring cactus flower season is well underway with the opening of some of the beautiful Saguaro Cactus Flowers. This one was on our big cactus near the garage and courtyard this morning. Click on the image to enlarge © 2022 VBI Dynamics. Usage OK with Link and/or credit.

  • Camera: Canon EOS REBEL SL1
  • Lens: Canon EF-S55-250mm
  • Exposure: 1/400Sec
  • Aperture: F7.1
  • ISO: 100
  • Focal Length: 250mm

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Photo Status Update

 

It’s been a while since we posted photos of us and our dogs. Life goes on and things change, people get older and pets come and go. So this shows our current configuration of us and our pups – me, holding Cabela and Verna, holding young Tucker. Click on either image to enlarge.

The photos were taken in our courtyard with each of us posing with the big saguaro and ocotillo just outside the gate. In a few weeks, the courtyard will be nearly overtaken with the red bird of paradise (a.k.a. Pride of Barbados) shrubs and their beautiful flowers.

So, that’s our Spring 2022 status update. I don’t plan on doing status updates like this on a scheduled basis, but will probably get to them now and then. Enjoy the rest of Spring and the Summer, too.

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A Friendly Antelope Ground Squirrel

Lately, when I go up the little hill behind the RV Drive to refresh the bird feeders, this little white tailed antelope ground squirrel runs out and begs for me to toss some of the birdseed her way. Yes, I figure this is a female since it is obvious from this photo that she is nursing some young ones back in the burrow.

I say “friendly” in the title because these little squirrels are cautious, but show more interest in being fed than any of the other critters in the area, although Verna’s cottontails will come out when she brings food scraps to the wash west of the house. This particular squirrel will come to within a couple of feet to beg. Of course, as soon as I toss out something, she whisks it away to begin consuming it at a safer distance.

More about Ammospermophilus leucurus:

The White-tailed antelope squirrel is a species of ground squirrel. They have a brown to gray fur with two white stripes running from the shoulder to the hind end. Their bellies and the underside of their tails are white in color and there is a black stripe on the tail.

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First Cactus Flowers of Spring, 2022

Actually, not the first ones*, but this is the first to open on the native cacti around the yard. Verna took this photo of one of two flowers that were open today on a hedgehog cactus in front of the house.

From Wikipedia

Echinocereus is a genus of ribbed, usually small to medium-sized, cylindrical cacti, comprising about 70 species native to the southern United States and Mexico in very sunny, rocky places. Usually the flowers are large and the fruit edible.

The name comes from the Ancient Greek echinos, meaning “hedgehog” and the Latin cereus meaning “candle”. They are sometimes known as hedgehog cacti, a term also used for the Pediocactus and Echinopsis.

The article at Wikipedia lists most of the species of hedgehog cacti, but we’re not sure of which one this cactus belongs to. Click on the image to enlarge.

*There are several store-bought cacti in planters around the courtyard and other places which have already produced tiny flowers in 2022.

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Daffodils

Each spring (well, almost) the flower concession in the Safeway carries gut daffodils that I bring home to put in a vase to open up into the familiar beautiful flowers. I usually get about twenty stems which open a day or so later. I bought these on Thursday when we were doing grocery shopping. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Rocky

This Rock Squirrel is about two or three times the size of the little antelope squirrels that frequently appear in our desert back yard. Regardless of “Rocky’s” relative “immensity,” he is still only about ten inches in length, excluding his long bushy tail.

All of the back yard critters are interesting to watch, but this squirrel, in particular, has an edge on entertainment value. He jumps on the lower bird feeder by the RV drive out back and attempts to consume the seeds in the block inside the cage. I’m not certain how much he gets, but he persists.

If I notice him on the feeder block, I will generally go out and shoo him away since the feeders are, after all, for the birds. In the photo above, I had just run him off when he popped up out of his rosemary bush hiding place to see if the coast was again clear. After I took the photo, Rocky scampered off toward the back of the lot, among the natural and dense desert vegetation. He’ll be back, I’m sure.

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Sun Dogs over Wickenburg

  

A lovely pair of “sun dogs” appeared over the western horizon this afternoon a little after five P.M. The combination of high clouds and frozen water crystals made for a brilliant display of colors in the sky.

No special camera settings were needed – just a little help from the patio post to block out the sun. Click on either image to view in the vernabob.com image viewer.

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