Anna’s Hummingbird

Arizona

Anna’s Hummingbird on a Pepper Tree branch.

Arizona

A Hummingbird tongue: “…the tongue works as an elastic micropump. “Fluid at the tip is driven into the tongue’s grooves by forces resulting from re-expansion of a collapsed section” of the tongue closer to the mouth.” Live Science Hummingbird Tongue

Arizona

Anna’s Hummingbird during a rain storm – sitting on an Agave spine.

Arizona

The Feather Files
Name: Anna’s Hummingbird
Species: Calypte anna
Native to and Migration: These hummingbirds live exclusively in the Western United States, North Western Mexico and coastal South Western Canada. They either don’t migrate or else migrate a very short distance to better feeding grounds.
Date Seen: February 20, 2019
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona

Notes: These hummingbirds were feeding on the nectar of the red flowers of the Valentine bush (Eremophila Maculata Valentine or Emu Bush). When not feeding or diving, they would sit on the branches of our Pepper Tree or an Agave.

Mildly Amusing Missives – Straw Craft, Misc

The Lighter Side of Arts, Crafts and Leisure Activities

I’m a ‘jack of all trades’ in the crafts department. I’ve never stuck with anything long enough to get really good at it… except for collecting quotes.

On the Crafts front, I’ve been collecting red Tim’s Iced Capp straws (so I can keep them out of where ever discarded straws go in my prairie province.) I wasn’t sure what to make out of them until I saw this sculpture by the artist David Moreno who makes these out of steel rods. I think I could use my red straws for a project like this – I have just about enough straws for the house on the far left…

In some Future Time or State

I believe in the hereafter.
Every time I walk into a room, I ask, “What am I here after?”
Andrew’s View of the Week

Grapefruit and the Post Office

We have a grapefruit tree at the Arizona house. Sometimes the fruit is oddly shaped, but it is delicious. I am more than optimistic that there will be enough fruit to last me until we go home, in addition to the fruit we will take to the post office every few days. No, we don’t mail it. Our post office simply has a box on a bench near the door where people share their fruit harvest.

Our post office also has an ‘alpha box’. This is a series of ‘pigeon holes’, each with a letter of the alphabet on it. You can ‘mail’ letters to anyone in our community (without buying postage) by putting them in the appropriate alpha box.

A Great Horned Owl on the Fence

It is impossible to not be optimistic about life when a Great Horned Owl sits on your fence.

He respects Owl, because you can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right.
– A. A. Milne –

How to Know When a Politician is Out of Touch

Catherine McKenna is Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. She was lamenting about the cold. She had apparently not noticed how cold Canada gets every winter.

What examples have you heard where politicians in your community appear to have lost touch with common sense?

One Thing Leads to Another – Telemarketers

We are kind of like this dog when it comes to our home phone. Even though we know that 99% of the time a ringing home phone is a telemarketer, we still go over to the phone to check the call display!

Apparently, the best way to get a telemarketer to stop calling you is to say: “Please put me on your do not call list.” Don’t give them any other information. Don’t engage with them. Don’t get upset.

One of my daughters used to respond to telemarketers by immediately putting her Small Child on the phone. Small Child was always full of questions and observations. Telemarketers with heavy foreign accents were easy prey for a boy without much of a filter between his young brain and his mouth.

Pied-billed Grebe

Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona

The Feather Files
Name: Pied-billed Grebe
Species: Podilymbus podiceps
Native to and Migration: Breeds from northern Canada through the West Indies and Central America to southern South America. It is seldom seen in flight, in part because it migrates by night, landing on the nearest body of water before or at dawn.
Date Seen: February 17, 2019
Location: Fountain Hills, Arizona

Notes: The nest of this species is a floating platform. It lives in freshwater marshes, lakes, and sluggish rivers, and, in winter, brackish estuaries.

Bronzed Cowbird

North of Fountain Hills Arizona

North of Fountain Hills Arizona

The Feather Files
Name: Bronzed Cowbird
Species: Molothrus aeneus
Native to and Migration: A Central American bird that makes its way to the United States in the border states and Louisiana.
Date Seen: April 30, 2018
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona

Notes: Like other cowbirds, the female does not make a nest, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species. (Brood parasites.)

Arizona Snow Yesterday and Today

North of Fountain Hills

Yesterday (Friday, February 22, 2019): Our Arizona back yard (north of Fountain Hills). Heavy wet snow caused quite a bit of damage to trees in our area.

North of Fountain Hills

Today (Saturday, February 23): View from our roof top patio – The Foothills just north of us.

I’m not going to complain about the cold weather and snow we’ve had here this month. It is vastly warmer than our northern home in Alberta. We are, however, flying back to Alberta for a few weeks to attend a few family events. It is still pretty cold there, but the upside is Alberta home heating systems are vastly superior! I won’t need to be sitting in my chair with a couple blankets and a heating pad, waiting for the furnace to take the chill off the room!

What has your winter been like this year?

Moon and Venus Sunrise

Moon and Venus Sunrise. January 31, 2019

Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.
– Glen Cook, Sweet Silver Blues –

Early morning cheerfulness can be extremely obnoxious.
– William Feather –

It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
– H.G. Wells, The Time Machine –

I get up early and go to bed early. The Car Guy gets up late and goes to bed late. That gives each of us a 2-3 hour bit of solitude. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Canadian Flag Pin and Bobbins

A simple photo of a Canadian Flag lapel pin and the bobbins from my sewing machine. Why? Good question that has no answer. I bought an old sewing machine at an estate sale in Arizona. The owner had recently died, so I couldn’t ask her why she had a Canadian flag lapel pin in the box of sewing supplies and bobbins!

Photo altered with an Edward Hopper filter in Topaz Studio.
Photo altered with a Fine Wine filter in Topaz Studio.
Photo altered with an Impasto filter in Topaz Studio.

Springtime Blooms – Arizona and Alberta

My Place in the World is in the Garden with my camera!

The best part about living part time in Arizona is that I get to experience spring twice! In April, when Alberta might still be experiencing snow storms, our Arizona home is at the height of spring blooming!

pink flowers Arizona
Olneya tesota – Ironwood tree

We have a large old Ironwood tree on our property. It is estimated that these trees can live for hundreds and hundreds of years. It sheds its leaves annually just before it blooms. The flowers are pea like (because it is a member of that family) and the entire tree becomes a dusky pink colour during full bloom.

white flowers Arizona
Carnegiea gigantea – Saguaro Cactus

The Ironwood often serves as a backdrop to the giant Saguaro cactus. The Saguaro can live for 150 to 200 years and it can grow 40 to 60 ft tall (12 to 18 meters). It is very slow growing and can be decades old before it sprouts arms or blooms.

yellow flowers Arizona
Opuntia – Prickly Pear Cactus

The Prickly Pear cactus is the ‘rat’ of the neighbourhood for the simple reason that the resident rodents live in holes under the prickly shelter of this plant. We have a large specimen that isn’t actually on our property, but it thinks it should be. We have to carefully ‘prune’ it off our property every few years.

white flowers Arizona
Trichocereus candicans – Argentine Giant

My favourite cactus is the Argentine Giant. It is a common enough looking cactus with multiple stems up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall. The wow factor is when it blooms. The white flowers can be 6 to 8 inches across (15 to 20 cm). The flowers come out at night, and only last about 24 hours.

A week after my Argentine Giant bloomed, I was back in Alberta where an extremely long and cold winter had finally ended. The last of the snow had just melted, and the earth quickly exploded with greenery.

blue white flower Alberta
Puschkinia libanotica – Striped Squill

The first flower to bloom was the Striped Squill, a starry pale blue and white flower that is only about 4 inches (10 cm) tall.

blue flower Alberta
Scilla siberica – Siberian Squill

Another squill, the Siberian Squill, mingles with the Striped ones. Neither Squill seem anxious to expand their territory much, but they might simply be unable to compete with the other residents in that location – the prolific Grape hyacinths (Muscari).

yellow flower Alberta
Forsythia Northern Gold

The only other flower blooming right now is a bush – the Forsythia Northern Gold. I’m expecting great things from this fast growing bush. In addition to spectacular early blooms, it should help a lot with the task of masking the silvery wall of The Car Guy’s new quonset metal garage.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Place in the World.

What blooms in your part of the world each spring?

Line Up of Sunrises

We have a roof top patio in Arizona – a perfect place for watching sunrises, sunsets, and star gazing.

Sunrise with plane contrails.

The science behind contrails is fascinating. Contrails should never be a cause for alarm; after all, folks don’t flip out on chilly days when their breath forms a cloud. If it’s cold enough and the air is still, you might even notice a cloud hanging behind you for several meters.
What really comes out of an airplane? Contrails, not chemtrails, The Washington Post –

Clouds aligned in rows.
The jagged lines of the mountains on the horizon and the palm trees in the neighbours yard.
Clouds are in line with the horizon.
The lines of palm fronds.

Are you on a flight path? Are the planes loud and noisy, or so high you don’t even notice them?

This week’s WordPress.com photo Challenge is Lines.