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.

Meet Tucker

As we mentioned in our comments from last month’s post about losing Bay Bay, we were going to look for another dog to rescue. Well, today the Humane Society of Wickenburg had an adoption event at our local Tractor Supply store and just like that, we adopted Mr. Tuxedo whom we will call Tuck Tuck for short. He is a long haired Chihuahua with mostly black fur and a bit of white here and there. He is about a year old and was found wandering around in Wittman, about 20 miles southeast of Wickenburg.

He has only been “home” for a couple of hours, but is fitting in nicely with our activities and with the other dog. He is a very affectionate little guy and seems to demand a little attention which we happily have given. He has a good appetite, can be frisky at times, is leash trained and mostly housebroken. We are looking forward to taking care of him for a long time. In the (clickable) image above, Verna posed with him in the courtyard. Just now, as I was typing in the story, he came into the office jumped into my lap and is resting as I finish this. I think we’re all happy about our new mutual relationship.

UPDATE 03-16-22: Since the adoption last week, we decided to dump the “Tuxedo” name and just call him “Tucker.” He is already recognizing and answering to the new moniker.

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.

So Long, Beethoven

“Beethoven” A.K.A. “Bay Bay,” sadly, is no longer with us. He passed last evening (Valentine’s Day) at the Vet who performed the euthanasia. The poor little guy had acute kidney failure and had lost most of his appetite and finally stopped eating last week and he stopped hydrating on Sunday. We had little choice but to take him in for the procedure. He had lost nearly half of his body weight since a month ago. Verna and I are devastated and miss him terribly.

We adopted him when he was a year and a half old on September 29, 2011 and he had been our constant companion for over ten years, so we can’t complain about having been with him for quite a long time, as dogs go. Bay Bay’s 12th birthday would have been in a couple of weeks on March 2nd.

So Long, Little Buddy – See you on the other side …

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.

Radio Check Day

I try and do a check on the functionality and battery condition monthly for each of these little portable hand-held radios. Each is checked against either another radio or via a local radio “repeater.” Three of these are for amateur “ham” radio frequencies while the last pair are GMRS/FRS two-way citizens radios.

I have been a ham radio “nerd” since 1958, and the little radios for the ham bands are for emergencies or maybe a little “rag chew” with other hams from time to time. The FRS radios are for our use when we’re on the road camping and get out of sight of each other. They are also handy for backing the RV up with her outside guiding me inside doing the driving.

The image above (L to R) shows the three ham radios, the charger, a spare battery and the FRS pair hooked to their charger. Click on the image to enlarge.

Winter Weather in Arizona


 

We’re lucky here in Arizona that the winters are mild. We went out shopping on two consecutive days when I took the above photos at the end of our road before turning onto the pavement. Both pictures are of a little hill across our roadway where desert vegetation grows; in the top instance, the weather is sort of rainy and drizzly and in the bottom, the weather is sunny with some beautiful puffy clouds floating about.

The day and night temperatures on both days were similar, with the highs in the upper 60s and the lows in the mid-40s Fahrenheit. We thank the Almighty for our home and environment. Click on either image to enlarge.