Saturday, March 30, 2019

Roosters, Plants and Hummingbirds

A couple of years ago I posted a photo of three roosters living in Wales.  Unfortunately, they are no longer with us.  The same blogger has put up a picture of two feral bantam cockerels.  Are they not lovely?  His post can be found here

That is a Crown of Thorns in the pot.  It's a euphorbia.  To the left is the baby saguaro, to the right is a blue barrel cactus.  We put the pot on a watering line, and I'm hoping enough water drains through the pot to keep the area damp so the cactus don't die in the summer while we're gone.  The euphorbia looks about 100 percent better since we put it on water.  "Drought tolerant" doesn't mean they actually like it.

The Mexican Bird of Paradise is no longer with us.  Despite building tents for it every time temperatures went down to freezing, it was not doing well.  Instead we have planted three opuntia.  The one with the long stickers on the right will get to be four or five feet tall, years from now.  They're cheerful little plants.

This is an oputia gumby.  I'm pretty sure that's not his scientific name.

This morning we saw this.  Look at the agave, just to the right of center.  See the pointy thing sticking up?  That's going to be a flower spike.  It requires so much energy, that after it blooms it dies.   We always thought the plant was on its last legs because it looks so bad, but apparently not.

Look at the base, that is a sad agave.

This is the hummingbird status as of this morning.  There are still two of them in there.

A side view.  Later we saw both heads up, waiting for HRH to bring food.  Look at the edge of the nest closest to the palm trunk.  I think after the babies fledge, we're going to be hosing poop off of that tree.  It's everywhere!

Today B&D blinds came and took away all of our mini-blinds are replaced them with a combination of vertical blinds and two inch horizontals.  Looking through the two inch horizontals, when they're level, really increases our ability to see outside.  The verticals are just huge, because they span essentially three sliding glass doors.

That it!  Birds, plants and window coverings.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Hummingbirds

Yesterday and this morning we were in the slough of despond.  We weren't seeing Her Royal Highness on the nest, and we weren't seeing the babies' heads waving for food.  Things are looking up a little.

Yesterday they were both facing the tree trunk.

This morning they had changed positions and were head to tail.  So, we had reason to believe they weren't dead.

Early this afternoon I could see one head waving.  Sorry it's such a terrible picture, I only have a 200 mm lens and it's never sure exactly what to focus on.

Shortly thereafter, HRH showed up, fed them very quickly and departed.  You can see her on the right side of the photo.

So, one more day that everyone is alive.  It's pretty warm, she may be off the nest more than she was because they don't need the insulation.  There are a lot of gnats in the air, so here's hoping for good hunting.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Trail Behind the Big Rocks

Today we set out on a restorative hike through the desert.  We're going to have to go into a news blackout again.  I've been recording reruns of Stargate SG-1 and we're watching those.  We've seen a lot of them, but I like the characters; the plots, although scientifically improbable are internally consistent and they're diverting.

We headed out towards the big rocks.  There is a trail that goes behind the big rocks and then along side of the ridge off to the left.

Trail is off to the right.  It got steep enough with enough loose shale and small round rocks that we decided that it would be better to press on than try to go back down.

The trail kept going up, we kept wondering where it would come out.  Here we are at the high point of the day.

That big boulder on the right is the high point as seen from below.  The trail joins up with the trail we've taken up to Ringtail Ridge.  We've seen the intersection, and wondered where it went and now we know.  We are never going that way again.  The trail down from the ridge has dried out some, and the rocks are no longer imbedded, coming down was fraught.  Our neighbor did it yesterday, but they cut it short on a social trail that took them down before the high point.  Unfortunately, we did not see it.  We discussed bushwhacking down, but it looked bad.

It was a long walk and I'm really glad it's over.

This sort of looks like a thistle.  The leaves have defensive spikes.

This is the purple flower that was blooming when we returned in October after all of the massive rainfall.

Note the pollen on my shoe.  It was all over my legs as well, but I kept missing it holding my camera upside down.  There was a lot of yellow.

So that was today.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

More Hummingbird in the Nest - With Updates

Here is another picture of the chicks.  Notice the beak that's visible has changed in color and shape.  That would be the one on the right.

Other than that, this is a content free zone at the moment.  OK, well maybe a brief mention of the fact that the administration is again trying to repudiate the entire ACA to include Medicaid expansions and pre-existing conditions protection.

Later the same day.........

Monday, March 25, 2019

Second Ridge and the Barr Letter About the Mueller Report

Yesterday we set out from the Genser Trailhead towards Second Ridge.  There seems to be some controversy within the group of neighbors who hike as to whether it's actually 1st or 3rd ridge.  We don't participate in those discussions, I have maps that have labeled two ridges as 1st and 2nd, Jim and I can communicate as to where it is we're going, so we're happy.   There's a good bloom out there, but the light was so harsh that my attempts to photograph it were futile.  Here are some Mexican Poppies.

Look at the color of this flower.  I didn't do anything with saturation, it really is that color.  I do not know what these are. Update to post:  I am very reliably informed that this is a Desert Mariposa Lily.

After the first steep bit, we stopped at an overlook for some water.  We're out in the middle of nowhere.  Two people (tourists) came ambling down a trail navigating by cell phone.  That always surprises me that people put that much faith in their phones as most of the maps are not complete, wrong, or the trail's not on the map.  We've had to redirect people we've run into who haven't the foggiest idea of where they're going, but cling to the screen.

The peak where one sees this was the goal.  The switch backs up the side of the hill were bad before, but they're worse now.  Going up is not so bad, but going down is tedious due to all of the loose rocks.  The peak farthest away is Golden Gate.  The ridge next to it is Ringtail.

The right arrow is pointing at the top of the neighborhood's water tower.  That's the one that we see from hour front yard.  The left arrow is pointing at the Yetman trail.  It's the Yetman, he's everywhere.

More of Ringtail and the mountains behind it.

Cat Mountain is on the left, Little Cat is on the right.

As everyone knows by now, AG Barr released a highly edited summation of the Barr report, in which he wrote that there was no conclusion about obstruction, but neither was the president exonerated.  The republicans have run with this report and are chanting "no collusion" and demanding the resignations of anyone who participated in the the investigations.  It's interesting that I don't remember this behavior after the White Water investigations revealed nothing. 

The full text of Barr's letter can be found here if you're interested.

We've all watched the emoluments violations at Trump Hotel, we've seen Don Jr. in a room with Russians with the express purpose of getting "dirt" on Hillary.  We've seen the roll backs of environmental protections and the appointments of former coal executives to run the EPA.  Coal fired plants got permission to put more mercury in the air.  Trade wars are putting the farmers in Nebraska out of business.  Voting rights are being undermined.  Relationships with allies are under assault while the president aligns himself with people like Brazil's Bolsonaro who stated publicly that he wanted to remove the scourge of LGBT people from the earth while the president stood there nodding like a drinking bird.  Where does this end?  I have not felt this bad since Hillary lost the election.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Flora and Fauna

Today I have flora and fauna to share.  The desert remains eerily green. 

This is a nursery under a Palo Verde.  There are six cacti in the group on the right, and then one more on the left.  Cactus who start in the shade fare much better than those who begin life in full sun.  They will actually sunburn, they turn purple.  It's unfortunate that the six are so close together, if they touch, they'll start stabbing each other, which will decrease their life spans.

This is a Palo Verde which is about to bloom.  It's covered in what look like little needles, eventually they'll open and spread pollen everywhere.

We saw this at a nursery.  Look at the length of the spines, they're just amazing.  I don't think much of anything will be chewing on this specimen.

Doves in the agave flower spike.

I took this through the mini-blinds from the living room.  This might be a horned toad on the wall.  He looks like he's smiling.

This is cool.  Look dead center at the round spiky plant sitting between two pink leaves.  I did not know, until today, that cactus seeds sprout looking like a dicotyledon, and then put up a teeny tiny cactus.  We were sitting in the gravel, trying to extend a watering line when we saw two of these.  In twenty years or so we might be able to identify it.

Her Royal Highness was off the nest while we were pruning some trees, I snuck out and took this before she returned.  She has decided to use the feeder so we're happy about that.  They don't look significantly different.  The newest hatch has rolled over, so that's progress.

Other than this, I have zippity doo-dah to offer.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hummingbird Number Two

This photo was taken this morning.   It's taken from the living room, shooting between the mini-blinds so photo quality is pretty low.  She appears to be feeding the chick.  I can't tell if I'm seeing the open beak or if that is part of the palm tree getting in the way.

I took this at 4:00 today.  It's mid-hatch.  Notice the shape of the beak.  It will elongate over time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Sunset, the Worm Moon and a Hatchling

Last night was the annual potluck for the street.  While we were sitting outside, we noticed the almost full moon in the eastern sky.  It was pretty amazing, even with the sun up.  Later we had a sunset that was pretty good.  I had to stand in the middle of the street to take the picture, we can no longer see the setting sun from the side yard.

As I was taking this picture, a coyote came up out of the wash beside our house and crossed the road.  Apparently we're having a bumper crop of baby rabbits this year, the coyotes are eating well and they look really good.

The almost full Worm Moon.

Ta-da!!!!!!!  Here is the first baby hummer.  The hatch was sometime this morning.  Does this look fetal or what?

So, we have one hatched and one to go. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Early light, Handy Stuff and the Bird

This morning we were up just past oh:dark:thirty.  Cameron from A Good Handyman was arriving at 7:00.  He's a good guy; he does plumbing, sheet rock, and general stuff that non-handy people could do but would really rather not.  We had plumbing and garage shelves, and some miscellaneous stuff.

Her Majesty, the hummingbird, was off the nest because we were outside.  I did get new pictures of the eggs.  It's hard to tell, but the egg farthest away from the tree trunk looks like it's a different color than it was.  I have no idea what that means, if anything.

It truly was the golden hour for the light.

These are the new shelves in the garage.  They're eight feet long, and two feet deep.  They're supporting what's left of the Christmas collection, the very fake Christmas tree and some moving boxes.  Yes, I'm keeping empty boxes, if we ever move again they'll hold some big porcelain pieces and a couple of expensive lamps.  I'm keeping the Boise paper boxes until I need the space because they're just such nice boxes.  Now that I don't have a job, I can't go to the copier room and empty out a bunch of Xerox paper boxes and take them home.

 Nice tiny rocks from the yard.  I wonder if the turquoise color is from copper.

I liberated this from the Internet.  The California Superbloom is just stupendous after all the rain they had.

Today Jim was buzzed by Her Majesty.  He was out pulling weeds and she came by and hovered by his elbow, indicating that his time was up.