Newcomers to deserts might think barrel or fish hook cactus are the worst due to their vicious, spiky needles. Nope. Cholla are. Their thin needles and pods will attach themselves to anything that brushes them. One species is called the Jumping Cholla because you swear you didn’t get near it yet there it is embedded in you.
My father-in-law once plucked Jumping Cholla needles out of me with tweezers and marveled that even though the needles were wispy they still stuck themselves half an inch deep in me.
However, they make perfect nesting areas for small birds. No predator can get near a bird nest deep in a cholla.
The “jumping cholla” name comes from the ease with which the stems detach when brushed, giving the impression that the stem jumped. Often the merest touch will leave a person with bits of cactus hanging on their clothes to be discovered later when either sitting or leaning on them. The ground around a mature plant will often be covered with dead stems, and young plants are started from stems that have fallen from the adult. They attach themselves to desert animals and are dispersed for short distances.
Absolutely amazing glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix AZ.
Artist Dale Chihuly returns to the Desert Botanical Garden this fall with a stunning exhibition of his extraordinary and vibrant works of art. Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from craft to fine art.
The Obama Administration needs to get honest about healthcare.gov instead of making perky comments then immediately backtracking. Crucial back-end functions still aren’t done. Without a functioning back-end, touting front-end improvements is meaningless.
The back-end is dysfunctional at best. The Administration keeps trying to spin this like it’s just a pesky PR image problem. Yet, by their own admission, healthcare.gov still can’t properly process enrollments. Thus, it remains broken. Feeble lies and deliberate evasions by federal officials simply make a bad situation worse.
Federal officials said they had largely succeeded in repairing parts of the site that had most snarled users in the two months since its troubled launch, but acknowledged they only had begun to make headway on the biggest underlying problems: the system’s ability to verify users’ identities and accurately transmit enrollment data to insurers.
Mock James O’Keefe at your peril. His videos just forced a sleazy Enroll America director in Texas to resign. Me, I appluad what he’s doing. Tarango appears to be just another compromised politico.
Chris Tarango, Texas Communications Director for Enroll America, a Sebelius-linked group dedicated to signing people up for Obamacare, resigned following a Project Veritas investigation. The video exposé showed Tarango conspiring to release private data to help a political action committee.
Obama said healthcare.gov would have 80% functionality by today, yet 30-40% of crucial back-end work remains to be done. We need a full investigation as to why a third-tier consulting company in Canada got this no-bid contract, especially since they’d already botched a similar health care website in Canada.
Technicians are still working on the back-end functions of the site, or the portion that makes sure insurers get their checks when people who will receive subsidies enroll. As of last week, 30% to 40% of that work remained to be done.
This is pathetic. Despite perky assessments from Team Obama, if the back-end is nowhere near completion then neither is the website.
Dean’s Beans sells top quality organic and fair trade coffee at attractive prices. Their roasted blends are $8.59 lb. Green beans are $6.25 lb. This is way less than Starbucks or Peet’s and the quality, taste, and roasting is excellent. Shipping costs are reasonable.
I’ve tried numerous mail order stores for coffee as well as buying locally, and keep coming back to Deans’s Beans.
Check out some of their descriptions:
Ring of Fire
A dark, smokin’ blend of high mountain beans from the active volcanic soils of Indonesia, Timor and Papua-New Guinea. Eye-opening!
Rise up singing with this soft and smooth blend of Vienna roasts: Bolivian and El Salvadoran(hearty), Peruvian (sweet), Nicaraguan (bold and dry).
Combines the dry, rich cocoa undertones of hard bean Nicaraguan and the full body of Indonesian Sumatran and Java. Our best seller, feels like silk on your palate. Wow!
Our truckers wanted a high test, low acid coffee to help them beat that white line fever. Dark-roasted Nicaraguan and Mexican help you go the distance.
Tecopa Hot Springs Resort Bistro offers wonderful gourmet food.
Sue and I spent last night at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort in a tiny hamlet of one hundred in the California desert about 90 minutes from Vegas. Guests have access to private hot springs tubs just a few steps from their rooms. The water is toasty hot with refreshing minerals in it. The Bistro was an unexpected treat. The gourmet food was magnificent, all the dishes, from the hand made salad dressing made with special limes, to Sue’s chicken and rice and my Mediterranean sampler were delicious.
The cook traveled to North Dakota last summer, setting up gourmet Italian food trucks to service the gargantuan appetites of those working in the booming natural gas industry there. He comes back to Tecopa when summer is over (temperatures in Tecopa can easily be 120 in the summer and the resort is closed.)
On the way back we stopped at the China Ranch Date Farm. The Amargosa River flows through it, providing water for the date farms. Sometimes the river is dry, sometimes a dangerous torrent. That’s how the desert is. The area is also an oasis, with lots of vegetation in the river bed, surrounded by barren mud hills which were formed by sediment when the entire area was a lake 20,000 years ago.
The desert is always full of surprises.
Amargosa River at China Ranch Date Farm. Note the complete lack of vegetation on the surrounding mud hills. This is a baking desert in the summer.