Friday, April 16, 2021

Bees in the Pollen

A bee butt in a prickly pear blossom.

A pollen coated bee looking up at me from the blossom.

It was cloudy yesterday, the colors were not very bright.


If you run "boost" up to high in picasa, it makes a nice image.

I was going to write a screed about why do cops have to keep killing Black and Brown people, or why do we have so many mass shootings and stuff like that.  But I think I won't.  This country is just sick in the head, and talking about it does nothing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Flora and Fauna

I took this last night.  We weren't expecting any color, but there was a little.  Sunset has now moved way north and later in the day.  By late June I'll have to be standing out in the street, just me and the rattlesnakes.


Speaking of which, we saw this in the road yesterday morning.  It's a terrible picture because I did not want to get any closer, and had to zoom in.  It's a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.  These things just creep me out - a lot.  Look how he holds his rattle up as he crosses the street.


Here is a better picture which I liberated from the internet.


We also saw Dennis down by the RV storage area.  He tows a large 5th wheel with his tractor trailer.  There is a Smart Car on the back.  A ramp extends and he drives it off so they can go places without taking the tractor.  Nancy, Dennis' wife, was telling us yesterday that friends of hers are unable to book RV slots this summer because they're all full due to the record increase in RV ownership.  Some parks are adding $400 a week facility fees on top of their already inflated rental rates.  While it would be nice to RV during the pandemic, it's not sounding like much fun at the moment, sort of like the Hunger Games.  The other thing I have noticed is that hotels have drastically raised their rates as well.  I guess they're all banking on the fact that people need to be out and about and are willing to pay for it.


 Look dead center in this photo.  See the gray thing looming over the terracotta colored fence?

That's the replaced knocked down section of the fence.  It looks like they're gone up three rows of cinder blocks.  It's sort of looking like a spite fence.


There are some cactus blooming.  This is a hedgehog. Eventually it will clone itself into a colony cactus.

The prickly pear in the front yard.

A prickly pear across the street.  My phone wouldn't pick it up, but there are bees in the flowers.  They land and burrow in as deeply as they can, and wiggle around in the pollen.  They are happy campers.

This is the lizard that poops on our wall.  One must watch where one puts the elbows.


That's it, all I've got is flora and fauna. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

A Long Rambling Post

Greetings Earthlings.  Not much has been happening in Ye Olde Pueblo.  There have been a couple of pretty good sunsets.



The hop seeds continue their bloom.  I had to cut back some of their branches, they were narrowing the walk way between them and the back of the house.  I hate pruning healthy pieces of plants.  They made the effort to grow with wild abandon, and then here I come with the giant loppers. 

This is growing in our neighbor's side yard.  It's a pretty prickly pear.  Ours has turned an unpleasant purple color and even the new pads look desiccated and dead.  I think we may replace it with an agave.  The issue we have is that when we buy a slow growing plant that's big enough to be more than a speck in the yard, it comes with a giant pot of dirt, which requires digging a giant hole, which we can not do. The guys that used to do a lot of work in the yard are so busy they're booked out until July.  Their last text did not explicitly say they weren't working in this area anymore, but I think they're not.  This is very distressing, I feel some what bereft.

An ocotillo blossom from the desert across the street. 

The time has come for the annual sanding, and re-varnishing of the beam and parts of the viga poles.  That structure faces west and the sun is just brutal.  The gel stain we used on the raw wood under the incorrectly installed gutter is not sticking well.  We've decided just to varnish over it and we won't look there.

This is from 2018, after the new gutters were fabricated and attached to the house where they belonged.  Under the stuccoed surface is the raw wood that we have been caring for.  Jim has completed sanding, next is using a tack cloth to remove the dust.  After that, there will be two or three layers of varnish applied to the areas that need it.

Who remembers the wall that was torn down next to a new house going up in the neighborhood?  If you don't remember you can go here to see the destruction.  It's at the bottom of the post from 2019.  Anyway, since then we have wondered what the heck happened that would cause a builder to knock someone's wall down. There is a really nice woman who is looking for a house to buy in the neighborhood.  She's taking the direct approach with sending out postcards and talking to everyone to see if they know someone who is wanting to sell.  Anyway, she talked to the builder of the new house.  The builder said that the lot he built on used to belong to an older couple who bought it.  The man in the couple was very close friends with the man with the knocked down wall.  Quite a while ago, he told the man to feel free to encroach on to his lot with walls, rusting metal art, and etc.  Then he died.  The widow sold the property, and the new owner wanted the full use of it, because it's a very narrow lot.  Thus, the wall was knocked down.  We went by today, and you can see cinder block has gone up where the destruction occurred (note the arrow).  It appears to be a six foot wall.  It will be stuccoed and painted eventually.  So, that's what happened there.

We stopped at the job site where a new house is going in.  I talked about this a little while back because we were shocked at how much dirt they've removed from the base of the wall, which is now even worse than when I took this picture.  We asked one of the guys on site if the house was for being built on spec or if it had an owner.  It's not spec, it's bought.  Then the guy launched into a torrent of how anything related to Covid was causing increased costs and product shortages.  Apparently oriented strand board is not available, so the vendor shipped plywood, which is more expensive.  The cost of concrete is up, lumber is up, appliances, fixtures, sheet rock, you name it it's either not available or the costs have gone up astronomically.  Ok.....  then he ended by saying "I blame one person for this."  Jim and I are still wondering who that is.  Biden hasn't been in office 100 days, so it's hard to see how it's his fault.  The guy is from Colorado, which is sort of liberal, so maybe he meant the orange ectoplasm.  Anyway, it was so strange how quickly he launched into that rant.  We just nodded and smiled.


The farce of a manual vote count in Maricopa county drags on.  Ms Fann, who is spearheading the effort has been stymied by he lack of anywhere to put the two million ballots while she does a hand recount.  American Oversight, a non-partisan watch dog group, has launched an investigation into what the heck she's doing.  There is a good article here.

The investigation follows Arizona Senate President Karen Fann’s announcement last week that the audit team would be led by Cyber Ninjas, whose founder, Doug Logan, has repeatedly circulated lies that the 2020 election was rigged and vocally supported the “Stop the Steal” movement. Moreover, Fann announced the audit would be conducted with no oversight by members of the Senate, and the statement of work signed by Cyber Ninjas indicates the companies plans to engage in direct contact with Arizona voters, the subject of a legal challenge from the group Protect Democracy. Correspondence between the State Senate and Maricopa County suggest that the firm has little background in Arizona law or Arizona election administration.

Cyber Ninjas is a company owned by a person who fervently believes the election was stolen.  How could he possibly be non-partisan in this effort?  Anyway, lawsuits are coming, and hopefully this will be stopped in its tracks.  It just speaks to how far out the AZ wing-nuts are.

The original USNews report is here.

Who remembers Tammy Faye Bakker (and her makeup) and her criminal husband?  He's back on television selling stuff.  This was on twitter the other day.  I guess this is where failed evangelists go when they're released from jail.  If you want to see something really nuts, go to Steve Quayle's website.

So, that's it, that's all I've got. 


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter

Happy Easter, or what ever holiday you support this time of year. When we were out riding this morning, two people said "Happy Easter" to us.  It was kind of weird.  At present we are unchurched, but it was pleasant to hear the words from people we don't know.  It was a hot ride, the forecast for today, April 4, is for 97.  I guess summer starts in April now.

Yesterday we went out to Bach's nursery.  It's way far up north, but it was something to do.  We got behind this restored pick-up at a light.  It's a 50's era Chevy of some sort, according to the car guy.  The paint was just amazing, it looked deep.

We have a prickly pear that appears to be on its last legs.  We're thinking about replacing it with a White Stripe agave.  I forgot to ask if it's in danger from the agave weevils.  Thus far we like it better than the Artichoke and Cabbage Head agaves.  Bach's plants look good, lately many plants we've seen just look terrible.

They had a table full of desert roses.  I would love to have one of these, but they will not take full sun, and so there is nowhere to put them.  The blooming cactus at the bottom is also just cuter than a bug.



This is the agave last Friday, starting to open.


 This is the agave today.


 That's it, that's all I've got! 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Grumbling

Hola - que paso?  We pretty much have nada going on here.  The wind is becoming very tedious.  Today we have sustained wind in the upper 20's and gusts to 45.  The bad thing about this, is that it's shredding the palm tree fronds.  They're broken from being bashed about and they just look sad.  Eventually we'll have them cut off, done by people with longer ladders and no fear of heights, but at present they're just sad.  I am trying not to look there.  Also, it's supposed to his 97 degrees on Sunday, which is pretty dang hot for this early in the year.

We did have a pretty good sunset last Monday.  It's been sitting in my camera because I forgot about it.


 The squirrel came to visit us.  He has a magnificent tail, it's really long.

The agave has started its bloom.  It's putting out some impressive stamens.  We should probably drive over there and see what it's doing today.  There will not be riding of the bike in this weather.


I find that I am not paying so much attention to the federal government as I did when the orange ectoplasm was in office.  Instead, the movement of republican batshit crazy to the state houses has just been horrifying.  One of the most  recent bills passed in AZ is one that proclaims that AZ law enforcement does not have to enforce any federal gun laws.  It won't make it through the courts, federal law trumps state law.  It will be yet another exercise in performative conservative theater.  Today a bill to ban all abortions was announced.  Last year prop 208 passed by a huge margin, providing money for schools by levying a 3.5% tax on incomes over $500,000 (filing jointly).  Now the legislature is writing a bill that would negate this, concurrent with the Gilbert school district laying off 150 employees.  Apparently the "will of the people" does not mean anything anymore.

This is the latest word on energy policy from politicians in a state where solar works pretty well.  

PHOENIX (AP) — As states across the U.S. West beef up their renewable energy mandates, a push to do so in Arizona has been met by fierce resistance from the Republican governor and GOP-dominated Legislature. Lawmakers are looking to strip elected utility regulators of their power to set energy policy in one of the nation’s sunniest states. Utilities are well on their way to meeting Arizona’s 15% renewable energy mandate by 2024. Environmentalists worry that progress would stall if power companies aren’t forced to keep installing green technologies at a time when Arizona faces more extreme heat from climate change. Republican lawmakers supporting the move say the Legislature is the better venue to decide on energy policy.

Let's think about that last sentence.  The people in the legislature are the people who want to suppress the vote and limit voting to "quality voters."  These people are idiots and racists.  Again, it makes us wonder if we should live somewhere else. 

The other thing I am currently complaining about is the orange blossoms.  They're having a banner year of blooming and I swear I can feel pollen accumulating in my bronchioles.  No windows on that side of the house can be opened until blooming is done.

So that's it, that's all the complaining from me for today.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

March 28, 2021

Friday was a hike.  Technically, it was a bike day on the schedule, but too cold, and too windy.  It was an ok hike.  Our feet are doing better with it.  My theory, unencumbered by facts and data, is that feet get out of shape just like any other unused body part.  That's Jim, wearing his Tilley hat and holding my poles.


The clouds moderated the x-ray effect of the sun. 

The ocotillos are blooming.  I was too head on to the open blossom to really see it.  I will try again next time.  The other ones have not opened yet.

This is a monster cholla.  It's old and huge.  It's interesting how new branches just sprout willy nilly on old wood.  


Yesterday was warmer with wind.  It seemed that all uphills were in to the wind.  This is the leaning agave.  It's a terrible picture because of where the sun was.  Anyway,  it's still upright.  We can not come to its aid because it's not on our property.  None of the blossoms have opened yet.  


Lemons from the neighbor's tree.  It's just about done with the fruit.  They're stacked in my vintage Corning pie plate.  It's from ebay, one of the many things I collected while living in West Seattle.  Most of it did not make the trip to Arizona.  After moving from Washington state to North Carolina, we did the mother of all down sizings prior to going full time in the RV.  Craig's list was helpful, there were many posts of  "free, come get it, owner will not help you."  Now, it would probably be Nextdoor.

We peeled 24 ounces of pearl onions for freezing.  Cut the root tips off, boil for two minutes, put in ice bath, and then pick up by the pointy end and squirt out the onion.  So much easier and better than trying to peel with a knife.  Peeling used to be Jim's job as sous chef, but no more.  They are noticeably better than buying them commercially frozen in a bag.

The ship in the Suez canal is contributing to the fraying of the global supply chain.  The talking heads are warning us about new shortages of soft drinks (aluminum shortage), furniture (foam shortage), and toilet paper (wood pulp shortage).  Oil prices are expected to surge just because they can. 

So there you go, you've been warned.

In news that is pissing me off; there is the new voter suppression law passed by the old white men in the Georgia legislature. There are the words of the Michigan head of the republican party; "Our job now is to soften up those three witches and make sure that we have good candidates to run against them, that they are ready for the burning at the stake."  Nice!  Really nice.  Those three witches are the governor, the attorney general and the secretary of state.  He says he was joking, but then he went on to talk about assasinating two republican senators who voted to impeach, so maybe not joking.  Also irritating is the Minnesota court which threw out a rape conviction because the woman was intoxicated.  Hello?  Consensual sex anyone?  There is a case in Tennessee in which the judge denied a 13 year old rape victim access to an abortion unless her rapist, her uncle, agreed to it.  I did a google search to find the state (I forgot) and was horrified at how many hits "13 year old rape victim" returns.  This is a sick planet.

We did have a slight sunset the other night.

So that is what I have to say about things.