Thursday, June 24, 2010

Golden Torch Cactus

I was a bit surprised to see this one bloom. I've had these for some time and this is just a cutting planted late winter. None of the others have bloomed. I had known the name Golden Torch but never bothered to look it up.  Echinopsis spachiana if you want the scientific name to see for yourself.

And, of course, the close up:

Flow Rider 2

Another session of swimming, diving and flow riding is over. Friday afternoon the pool has a fun competition for the kids in the flow rider camp.  I hope to get some video - some of the kids are quite good already.
Jake is about average.

Body surfing - they drop the board and it comes to you.

Kneeling, which is very likely harder than it looks.

And standing, which is hard no matter how it looks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rooms with a View

First up is a nice, open-air room with plenty of viewing space and plenty of protection.

Do you see the dove now? Look about mid picture.

Here's a closer look at it.

Next is easily missed. See the little odd-shaped hole under the arm of the saguaro?

Not such a little hole, is it?

Saguaro Jam Time Again

Shortly after the doves start opening holes in some of the earliest ripe fruit it is time to start gathering saguaro fruit.  Afternoon temps are often 105 (F) or more - in the shade - and there is usually little shade to be found.

The fruit need to be picked before the birds get to them and way before they open up like these.

I look for a little pink or red at the tip and those are the ones I pick. Some saguaros have 4 or 5, some have 1 or 2 and many have none. 

The dried flower comes off easily and has a sharp edge to it.

So sharp that it can be used to cut open the fruit.

The pulp inside is what I use. I cut the fruit (with a knife) and dig out the pulp with a thumb into a bowl.

When I have enough pulp, I can boil it down and remove some of the seed. This year I'm going to take out a few hundred seed first and see what I can get to grow later in the fall.

Ready? 4 cups saguaro fruit, 5 cups sugar, 1 packet of pectin.  That's my secret saguaro jam recipe. I may get a few batches this year...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another Perspective (or Illusion)

Not traffic cones this time.


People tend to 'see' things based on what they know.

Here is an old, old photo of a chain fruit cholla

From the angle of the shot and the surrounding scrub brush, one could easily make the assumption that this is about 3' - 4' tall (about a meter or just over).

This is old, and yes this is (was) really me...

And no altering of the photo...

I am reaching up to some of the chain fruit! This is about 10' (3 meters) tall!!

And yes, I've put on some weight since this was taken over 20 years ago...

Flow Rider (1)

I am fairly certain there will be more Flow Rider shots coming. Jake is in a class now and Erik will be when he gets out of school.  It looks like a hoot!
Here's Jake jumping on the board.

He's supposed to be more on his elbows and he leans from side to side to steer.

Pulling up allows more water to push you up the wave

He hasn't gotten to the point where he can get on his knees, but that's the next step before standing.  Some of the kids were standing (even if only a very short time) today.

Big Jack

I almost didn't see this guy until he made a movement preparing to run. He didn't, which surprised me, so I grabbed the camera and managed a few shots.
I imagine he had to figure out if it was worth leaving a nice shady spot .  A little further one did run from cover and it was farther away from the road.