Archive for the 'environment' Category

Uprighting a Drooped Ocotillo

Before and After

About two years ago, we acquired a couple of new ocotillos for the rock and cactus garden. One of them, sadly, did not completely assimilate itself on the rocky slope where we planted it. The shrub eventually sagged, leaning downhill until finally last week we noticed it was completely drooped on its side and in contact with the ground.

This morning, I decided to move the drooping shrub to a nearby, flatter location and to set it more upright. I dug out the base of the ocotillo from the sloped location, dug a hole in which to insert the big guy and plopped it down into its new location. I used a rope and some of my old Navy knots to hold it upright while I shoveled the dirt back down on its roots.

Now, hopefully, the ocotillo will recover, spread out its canes and become an attractive xeriscape asset to The Better Half’s rock and cactus garden. By the way, the other transplant is doing just fine.

Clickable image: Before and After.

AZCDL: No Blood in the Streets

acdllogo.jpgDave Kopp, President of the Arizona Citizens Defense League issued an email to AZCDL members today regarding the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida. He correctly points out that both states affected by these natural tragedies are generally well-heeled with regard to citizen firearm ownership. In spite of that, the post-ravaged areas have few violent incidents reported.

No Blood in the Streets

I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your kind donations to the relief efforts for hurricanes Irma and Harvey. There is still much to be done to help our fellow Americans rebuild their lives, but it serves as a vivid reminder of what can be done if we group together for a common cause.

Historically, Florida and Texas are some of the most-heavily armed states in the country—and yet, there were relatively few cases of firearms related violence during these tragedies. As you and I would expect, responsible firearms owners did not use the chaos of these storms to perpetuate violence. Instead, they—and many others—joined together to help their neighbors in a time of need.

AZCDL works to promote safe gun ownership, and to create laws that enable us to protect our rights. Please, click here to help us continue that mission, and help us to dispel the notion that firearms owners are irresponsible and dangerous.

Thank you,
Dave Kopp
President, Arizona Citizens Defense League

We continue to support AZCDL and are a regular reader of their literature on their site and on social media.

Hurricane Preparedness

TofuThere are currently three hurricanes active in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. All are posing risks to Caribbean islands and to Mainland US destinations. The most significant storm is Irma, currently wreaking havoc on Puerto Rico and likely to devastate its way through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and thence up the east coast of Florida. At 941 millibars central pressure and winds of 160 mph, it is possibly the strongest storm ever seen in the Atlantic. We will be praying for those in the path of the storm to be well and safe.

All seriousness aside, I have included a (clickable) whimsical photo (I forget where I stole it) of the vegan section in the deli department of some store in Houston where folks there stocked up on everything but the tofu crap. Who could blame them?

Oh, and stand by for the calls by “climateers” to blame this on man made greenhouse gasses instead of the natural forces on the planet as intended by its creator.

Moon Shadow

Moon Shadow

I found this image on Spaceweather.com of the moon’s shadow falling on where the Better Half and I watched the total solar eclipse. The text indicated that this was taken from a balloon at 130,000 feet above the Earth.

We still can’t get over how spectacular the eclipse was to see it at near the centerline. Totality lasted almost two and a half minutes and the eerie darkness falling on Casper, WY where we watched was equally astonishing.

The next total eclipse seen in the US won’t be until 2024 and, if we’re in good health, we may try to find totality again. If the Good Lord keeps us feeling this good into our octogenarian years, then it just might happen.

Monsoon Season is Upon Us

Monsoon Radar

Last night, tonight and for the next few afternoons and evenings, the radar image above is typical of the precipitation activity over our state. We experienced our first downpour late yesterday, with the results being a lot of flooding and debris in the usual places. There were reports of downed trees in town and emergency crews restoring electric power and other interrupted services.

We were fine here, albeit a bit shaken when lightning struck just up the hill behind our house. It seemed to rattle the dogs a bit too, but no harm to anything we could detect. None of our utilities were interrupted (other than satellite TV due to the precipitation) and we stayed cool (104° and 77% humid outside).

Our retention walls behind the RV drive did the trick yesterday, with the heavy runoff diverted to the west side of the property and down the creek that The Better Half and I devised in early 2016. We should continue to be OK in the weeks to come.

Heatwave Brings out the Bugs

Bark Scorpion

One of the dogs started to go after a bark scorpion on the patio this afternoon. Luckily, we were able to restrain her while I eliminated the little beastie with a size 10W stomp.

After we finished walking the dogs, I set about to spray the perimeter of the patio and all of the entrances to the house and garage with a commercially available insect spray. We generally call our town exterminator roughly when the monsoons start for the spray service, but the heat is here earlier this season and the bugs are out already. Since I killed one scorpion, The Better Half would feel better if I were to lay down some spray, so I did.

You can see by the patio temperature inset in the image that the heat would be a bit abusive for more than light outdoor activity, so I sprayed the minimum of the essential areas and got back inside where the thermostat keeps us at a “cool” 82°.

Traffic Jam

Main Street, Wickenburg, AZ, USA

The Title of this post is, of course, a tongue-in-cheek description of the (clickable) image above with less than a figurative handful of vehicles on the road in downtown today. The Better Half took this photo as we were enroute to an appointment with the kidney specialist*.

When the temperatures rise in the desert to beyond the three-digit level, the winter population (a.k.a. snowbirds) completely disappears (maybe a few hardy stragglers stay a while) and the summer population dwindles to between five and seven thousand while the peak winter population was about 25 k this year. That makes a big difference in traffic, parking, shopping, etc.

TBH and I welcome the summer heat and the ease of our normal lifestyle chores and errands that it brings. Along about Labor Day, the migration invasion will resume. Meanwhile, we’re content with the lull.

*(Regarding the specialist, the prognosis is good with a marked improvement from the initial diagnosis of partial kidney failure.)

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