Arizona

Pod Casting

That was our morning courtyard chore today, casting the poisonous seed pods of our Red Bird of Paradise shrubs. When we say “casting,” we mean into a trash receptacle. We remove the pods, as seen growing on the raceme flower stalk in the image to the right (click to enlarge), and dispose of them. If we don’t remove the pods, they could fall to the ground in the courtyard and, while we generally don’t allow the dogs access to the courtyard, one of them might take a notion to eating a pod that has fallen, God forbid.

The Red Bird Flowers themselves, on the other hand, continue to be as beautiful as ever this year. The showy flowers dazzle our senses every spring through late fall. See for yourself in the image below.

A Neighborly Gesture

Our neighbor to the west had an address placard on her fencepost that, unfortunately, got blown away by one of our famous Arizona Monsoon Thundershowers. She is a schoolteacher and a single woman living in her home. Her brother, who usually does chores around the residence is off to their homeland in Minnesota for the summer. So, we decided to take on the task of restoring her address sign to a readable state again.

We had a can of white paint that I was going to use to touch up the rusted spots on our mailbox stand, so I used a little of it to paint the sign. Bob got some numerals at the hardware store and we placed them on the sign after it dried. In the image above, I am driving in the last of the little tacks that hold the numbers to the wooden sign. This installation should survive many storms in years to come. Click on the image to enlarge.

Monsoon Weather

Our usual summer monsoons are upon us. We have been having thundershowers in the area for a couple of weeks and the forecast is for that to continue through this coming weekend and perhaps beyond. Verna took the image above on Monday as we were coming home from picking up our new eyewear from the optometrist – the location is looking west toward the Arizona Outback just before we would be turning right at the signal. There was a large thunderstorm cell dumping a lot of rain in that area. Click on the image to enlarge.

Most of the monsoon cells manage to get around us, but not all of them. We had a magnificent lightning and thundershower event last week during the wee hours that woke us and freaked Cabela and Tucker (our dogs) out for about an hour or so. The storm dumped a lot of rain, but it quickly soaked in or ran off down the wash near our abode.

There has been enough rain near the headwaters of the Hassayampa River that there was some visible water flowing down the usually dry riverbed as we crossed the bridge on US 60 east of town this afternoon.

The image above shows the riverbed looking north. This is just a small amount of runoff since history shows the river during peaks with whitecaps and rapids when the monsoons really get going up toward the headwaters. The “raging” river has been known to overflow the banks and do significant damage to riverfront properties and motorhomes. Fortunately, that has not been the case (so far) this monsoon season. Click on the image (courtesy Verna) to enlarge.

Compass Cactus Flower

I happened to be up in the “outback” (the hill behind the RV drive) yesterday to take photos of our recently recovered RV slide-out toppers when I noticed a flower opened on our Compass Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus). These flowers open generally in May and June, but as has been the case this year, many cacti around town have had late blooming flowers here in mid to late July. Click on the image to enlarge.

From LLIFLE (Edited for brevity):

Origin and Habitat: The various variety of Ferocactus cylindraceus (= Ferocactus acanthodes) are spread in the southern of United States (central and western Arizona, southeastern California Nevada, and Utah) and southwards into Mexico (Baja California and Sonora).

Altitude range: From sea level to 1750 meters.

Habitat: This cactus is locally abundant in arid gravelly or rocky foothills, canyon walls, fans and wash margins, sometimes on the plains among creosote bush scrub, it also utilizes slopes and acid igneous rock lands. The species is limited in its northwards range by frost conditions. To reduce the damage by frost the plant is found on south facing slopes and it leans to the south to protect the sensitive growing tip by placing it for best exposure to the sun.

Common Names include:
Spiny Barrel Cactus, Le Conte Barrel Cactus, Barrel Cactus, Golden-spined Barrel Cactus, Desert Barrel Cactus, Cliff Barrel Cactus, Compass Barrel Cactus, Golden-Spined Barrel, Desert Barrel, California Barrel Cactus, Cliff Barrel, Compass Barrel, Compass Cactus

2022 Cherry Red Cactus Flowers Now Opening

There are several pots in our courtyard containing Trichocereus Grandiflorus cactus (a.k.a. Cherry Red or Torch Cactus). We have been watching a few of the flower buds getting ready to open and today the first ones were out.

We acquired the “parent” cactus several years ago and at one point separated the “mother” from several “pups” which are now planted in their own pots in the courtyard. The one above is a pup with flowers open while the mother is still getting ready to open her flowers.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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