Emmanuel - God Is With Us

The Nativity

The first chapter of Matthew, in the New Testament, describes the lineage from Abraham, down through King David and eventually through forty-two generations in all from Abraham to Joseph, the Husband of Mary, Mother of Jesus. Thus, because of a decree from the Roman Emperor to the citizens of Judea, Mary and Joseph were destined to go to the City of David, in Bethlehem, where the Christ Child was born.

Later, also in the first chapter of Matthew, comes the annunciation of the Angel of the Lord as delivered to Joseph in a Dream:

. . . behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The prophetic scripture referred to in the last sentences is from Isiah 7:14 in the Old Testament.

In these days of muted activity during these unusual times and circumstances, we remind you that the Spirit of God is still as strong as ever and through that Spirit, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope for joy in the new year of 2021. We pray for you to stay well, to be strong and to be prepared for whatever eventualities that may be in store for us in these bizarre and interesting times to come. May God Bless Us All.

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Lemon Harvesting

Before and AfterJust about every year since we got our dwarf lemon tree in 2011, we have had to harvest the fruit when it’s nearly ripe in December. Today was the day we selected to start the harvest. It usually takes a couple of sessions on different days to pick all the lemons. Some of the lemons are still a little green, so we leave those.

Image: Before and After Photos of the Tree - Click on the image to enlarge.

The before image was actually taken after I picked the low-hanging first 2020 lemon from the tree. Verna came out shortly afterward to help and we made quick work of filling up the wheelbarrow with lemons.

As for the remainder of the lemons, we will delve into the interior of the tree next time to get all of the fruit left. The image below shows just a small quantity of the dozens of lemons remaining on the tree. Note that there are more lemons lurking behind those immediately seen in the image. Click to enlarge.

Small Quantity of Remaining Lemons

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Thor Palazzo RV Parked At Home in 3D

Thor Palazzo RV Parked At Home

It’s time for another blog in the 3D category, so I selected an archive photo of our Thor Palazzo 33.5 Motorhome in it’s usual place in the RV drive behind the house when we’re not on the road. This photo was made in April of 2017 but I never posted it until now. Click on the image to enlarge.

If you don’t have your 3D glasses then you can see the 2D image by clicking this link.

So far in 2020 we haven’t been anywhere in the Motorhome. The reason is, of course, this phony pandemic which imposes unnecessary restrictions on much of our normal human activity. We’re hoping to be able to go in spring of 2021 on our next long adventure. We think we will be going to Texas and Oklahoma for some of that trip, but the exact itinerary hasn’t been settled yet. When we do go, we will probably post our trip activities on our other blog, Cap’n Bob & the Damsel. Log in over there to see when, where and what.

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Veterans Day 2020

vets_day.jpg

Armistice was declared for the conflict of World War One on November 11, 1918. That day became celebrated as Armistice Day to commemorate WW1 Vets (Bless ‘em All). Since that time, Armistice Day has evolved into Veterans Day to commemorate all American Veterans who have served in times of peace and war. Today is no exception and we resolve to honor those whose service has been given to our country.

Our family has a number of veterans in our lineage, some alive and some passed on. I did some genealogy work recently and discovered a number of ancestors who served. Several ancestors showed service in the Revolutionary War. Some were in the US Civil War (on both sides) and a few in the Spanish American War. My Grand Dad, Leonard, was in the Navy just after that war.

Verna’s Dad, Bill, served in the US Navy (Aviation) assigned to Patrol Squadron 26 as a crew member on the PB4 Privateer Aircraft with missions around the Mediterranean after WW2.

My Dad, Jack, was aboard the USS Brooklyn during WW2, sometimes in the African theater of operations and also in the Northern Mediterranean supporting Allied forces in Europe.

What is now the senior generation of veterans in our family consists of me. I was in Naval Aviation and served in the capacity of Radio Operator Crewman and Avionics Line Troubleshooter at the Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu, CA. Our mission was to provide airborne targets for the Pacific Missile Range. Those were some fun and interesting times not to mention somewhat risky working around whirling propellers and jet engine intakes and flying aboard some pretty vintage military aircraft. Think Lockheed P2V, Sikorsky SH34, Grumman S2F and various other Convair, Martin, Douglas and Lockheed Airplanes in support of RangeOps.

My two late brothers were also in the Navy; my older brother became an officer under a program where he got a college education at Purdue University in exchange for a career assignment as an Officer. My younger brother, like me, was in for a limited time and served as an Aviation Equipment Technician at NAS Miramar, near San Diego.

Both of my older brother’s kids were in the US Air Force; the older daughter became a linguistic translator for covert operations during the cold war, and his younger son worked as an air traffic controller who, incidentally, went on to make a career as ATC working for the FAA (and still does).

We’re proud of all our family, past and present, who served. We are equally proud of all service men and women that have served, are serving and will serve in the future. May God bless them now and forever, Amen.

For Veterans Day, Verna and I are going to celebrate here at home with a special dinner planned. We hope you have a happy and safe Veteran’s Day as well.

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Desert Garbage Disposal

Desert Cottontail Rabbit

The photo above is a shot of one of our local desert cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus audubonii) about to partake of some of the Brussels sprouts that didn’t make the cut to become part of today’s dinner. Verna will usually take unused portions of fresh veggies and toss them in the little wash behind the retention wall on the northwest side of our back yard. The rabbits don’t seem to mind that they’re getting second quality goods.

When we lived in California, we would dispose of this sort of ‘garbage’ in our compost bin. The compost worms would take care of recycling the kitchen waste. Now that we’re in the semi-rural Arizona desert, we do the recycling thing still with a compost bin, but most fruit and veggie scraps go up in the wash where a variety of critters devour them. We’ve seen everything including lizards, squirrels (several varieties), rabbits, jackrabbits, javelina and coyotes in the wash taking out the garbage, so to speak.

Read more about desert cottontail rabbits on Wikipedia. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Our Ocotillos Like The Rain

Green Ocotillo

In spite of the warm temperature, the ocotillo next to the RV drive is sporting a nice green coat of its tiny leaves. We credit the recent rainfall and the timed irrigation feed for the greening.

This ocotillo, not a true cactus, grows wild in the desert and can sometimes look like they’re lifeless (and leafless) until after a rainfall; then they come to life again. We have a couple of them that have been transplanted into our xeriscape here on the property. The one in the photo came from our neighbor who got it while cleaning up a construction site. We planted it and Verna babied it until it became this magnificent specimen.

The other ocotillo near the courtyard is also green and happy after the recent rainfall.

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Mars in 3D

Mars in 3D

I generally look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day on a daily basis. Last week, I saw this anaglyph taken by the Mars Pathfinder back in 1997. It shows the Martian landscape and some local artifacts in stereoscopic perspective. Sorry, there is no 2D image available without me digging through NASA and JPL archives, so you better get a pair of 3D glasses to enjoy the image in full perspective.

From APOD:

From July of 1997, a ramp from the Pathfinder lander, the Sojourner robot rover, airbags, a couch, Barnacle Bill and Yogi Rock appear together in this 3D stereo view of the surface of Mars. Barnacle Bill is the rock just left of the solar-paneled Sojourner. Yogi is the big friendly-looking boulder at top right. The “couch” is the angular rock shape visible near center on the horizon. Look at the image with red/blue glasses (or just hold a piece of clear red plastic over your left eye and blue or green over your right) to get the dramatic 3D perspective. The stereo view was recorded by the remarkable Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) camera. The IMP had two optical paths for stereo imaging and ranging and was equipped with an array of color filters for spectral analysis.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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