Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Rain, Rudy and Shortages

 It rained!  It's not enough, but we did get precipitation yesterday.  The desert is so dry, the deer are back in droves eating the leaves off the orange trees.  This is the worst eating they have ever done.  Fortunately, they do not like the lemon trees, probably due to the thorns, and those are the only fruit I'm concerned about.  

Look at this poor tree, all the leaves on the bottom are eaten by the evil deer.

We actually had a weather alert yesterday.  It wasn't all that bad here, there was no hail and we're happy about that.

So all of that was exciting, and then we had a decent sunset, which was unexpected.

This morning dawned dark and stormy, the weather system was not quite gone.  About 11:30 the sun came out and we decided not to be such loser slugs, and so got dressed and out on the bikes.  It was a good ride.  By the time we got back the wind was up pretty good.  Then it rained some.  The hummingbirds are not liking this, they all look like tiny drowned rats.  But now the sun is out here, and we are much happier.

That's a mourning dove on the flower spike.  He's a little puffed up due to the chill.

So, they served search warrants on Rudy Giuliani this morning.  They were at his house at 6 am.  This just tickles the living snot out of me.  They also went to his law office.  Apparently, people from Ukraine have been in New York spilling everything they know about Rudy.  One person gave the investigators his email and phone passwords and spent about 10 hours going through each and every text and mail, explaining their significance.  I really hope they nail his worthless hide to the wall.

Moving on to first world problems. 

 Last summer here was pretty hot.  We literally had weeks of 110 degrees.  So, we've been thinking about a summer house since all the RVs have been sold, and all of the slots in the RV parks have been booked until the end of time.  So, we thought how about the PNW?  They have good summers generally, unless there are fires in British Columbia.  We've all heard about how nuts the real estate market is at the moment, but we did not fully appreciate just how nuts.  Tiny, old, dumpy houses are going for 20 to 25% over asking on Whidbey Island and everywhere else in the area.  Brokers put the houses on the market Friday.  Everybody spends the weekend touring these dumpy little houses, some of them are actual old fishing shacks that have been remodeled.  The following Friday, the owners review all of the multiple offers they have received for these tiny dumpy houses, and choose the one they like best.  We were interested in one house, but the agent told us it was going to need a lot of work, and it was going to go for way more than we wanted to pay.  So, we're done with that thought.  

In Hawaii, tourists are renting U-Haul pickup trucks for transportation because the cheapest car rental if $773 a day for a Toyota Camry.  Yes, that's a day.  Rental cars are in short supply because the car rental places dumped their inventory because no one was traveling in 2020.  New cars are in short supply because of the global chip shortage.  Prices of used pickup trucks are sky rocketing.  Additionally, gas shortages are predicted for the coming summer travel season.  It's the perfect storm of lack of demand for gas in 2020, which lead to layoffs of the people who drive tanker trucks and deliver gas.  Many of those people were approaching retirement and decided to pack it in.  The schools that train those drivers closed during the pandemic, so there are not any new drivers in the pipeline.  So, there's gas, but no one to bring it to the pump.  Finally, chlorine shortages are predicted for the summer.  One of the plants that makes chlorine burned down.  Apparently, there aren't many of the plants, so there's now a huge hole in that supply chain.  Pool maintenance will be difficult.  It's more of no matter what you want, you can't have it at the moment.

So, things are not dire for us, but it does look like another summer in the Hot Pueblo. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Weather and the Fraud

 How, you must wonder, has the weather been lately?  Other than hot, it's been like this.  March was like this, as well.  We seem to have a new normal here.

I scraped this off a newspaper site.  They did not identify the road, but I'm pretty sure it's north of here where the ever industrious farmers have scraped the desert and unleashed the dust into the air. 

Back at the end of February, I posted a picture of a lot that had been cleared for building a new house.   Later I mentioned the massive rant one of the builders had launched about shortages and prices.  Now we are in the end of April and two guys have managed to erect all of this.  I'm impressed at how much two middle aged men have been able to accomplish in this time frame.

The peach version of prickly pears.  This is one of my favorite colors.

This color is also nice.  I'm not sure what color that is.

This is a ferocactus, another impulse buy at a nursery.  We have got to stop doing this, there's just not that much room in the side yard.  The sign at the nursery said it was cold tolerant to 10F.  A couple of articles I have read say it's 10C, which is 50F.  He may become a house plant.  We're contemplating having the front yard landscaped, but can not decide what to put out there, so we're in nurseries too much.  Since it requires a jack hammer (literally) to dig out there, help will be required.  So far we've cycled through do nothing, put in a tree, put in an agave, do all of the above.  Our ability to make a decision seems to have suffered in the past year.

The doves were courting on the plant spike, I was hoping to get that picture, but instead captured them flying away.  Wretched doves, they're dropping sticks all over the patio, they're in the process of making one of their miserable nests.  Really, they make the worst nests in the world.  It's a good thing for them that they breed year round.

Today the lunatic fringe republicans have a court date to reveal their processes and procedures for an accurate recount of the votes for the orange ectoplasm and Mark Kelly (democratic senator).  They're only counting the votes they didn't like.  Thus far, the doors to the coliseum where the ballots currently reside have been left unlocked, people have wandered in.  The press is not allowed in at all unless they agree to work a six hour counting shift.  One of the most egregious things is the fact that the man running the effort was unaware of the importance of the ink color in pens being used . Official poll workers are not allowed to even possess a black or blue pen in the counting areas because that is what the election equipment reads.  Only red pens are allowed.  The first day an Arizona Republic (newspaper) reporter had a six hour shift.  She saw the black pens and told the Cyber Ninja guy that this was not allowed.  He thought it would be ok.  Later he banished the pens, but it took awhile.  The AZ Republic reporter has been banned from the coliseum after talking to Rachel Maddow about it.  These people have already lost chain of custody, but it won't stop them from manufacturing lies about election fraud.  There was an article on Yahoo via NYT about the death threats that the board of supervisors are receiving.  Death threats, and this is an open carry state.  

Other than this, there is not much shaking in Ye Olde Pueblo.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day 2021

 Greetings Fellow Inhabitants of Biosphere One.  Happy Earth Day to you all.  Things are looking a little dire these days.  I guess some good news is that Bolsonaro said he would put a stop to burning and cutting down the Amazon if the US gave him a billion dollars.  No word on President Biden's response to this most gracious offer.  

NYT did an article about how people are being affected by climate change.  The primary thread among the accounts was rising water, weird storms, fire, and terrible air quality caused by fire.  It's a long read, but very revelatory.  This one really hit home with me, having just left the full time RV life style and moved to a locale that's running out of water.

Five years ago my husband and I divested our real estate holdings for a life on the road. We tow an Airstream with a clean-diesel Ram truck. We meet people who live on the fringe of society, some who are running from disasters like fires, earthquakes, storm surges and hurricanes. An older couple we met lost their first house in the Northridge earthquake, and their second in the Santa Rosa wildfire. They wander from state to state in their truck and trailer with no plans to settle down permanently. A professor at U.C. Santa Barbara tells me his house will soon be off the grid because of rising tides. He and his wife are practicing living in a trailer. At a glance, they appear to be older retired people out having a good time, but they are already on the run.— Carmen Beaubeaux, On the road

The bloom this year has been paltry.  There are not a lot of blossoms, and they're short lived.  Even the steenking Palo Verdes seem to be cutting back on flowering.  If we don't get monsoon this year, we're going to be in a heap of trouble.

The hedge hog next door.

These are the flowers of a Blue Palo Verde.  They have the good blossoms.

I used to know the name of this, but I've forgotten.  I think it was something's ear.  Lamb, maybe?

A fat cholla.

Vaccine rates were down 11% last week.  It wasn't due to a lack of vaccines.  It was the vaccine hesitant and the Covid deniers.  I just saw the following on twitter.  How do you reason with people who think this?

I will close with a picture of the pretty bantam cockerel who lives in Wales.  There used to be two of them, but a fox got one.  He's a feral bird, but he knows where the treats come from.  The photo was screen scraped from Going Gently.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021


 The jury voted to convict former police officer Chauvin after eleven hours of deliberation; guilty on all three charges in the killing of George Floyd.  I never thought this would happen.

I really hope it's a significant sentence, he earned it. 

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


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!