Yellopig Is Free

Or, Recreating A Life From Scratch

Wildflower Season 2015 — Part 2

Greetings from the wet and wonderful Sonoran Desert!

I mentioned that I moved to the desert because it was supposed to be dry and sunny most of the time. Clouds make me sad. I like to see that endless blue sky, day after day all spring, and the whole Milky Way at night. This year, though, not so much of that.

OK, it’s mostly sunny, most days. But we’ve been getting a shower about every two weeks — which means there are three days out of every 14 with clouds, and a half hour of light rain. Clouds! And Rain! In May! Yeesh.

As of the end of April (latest figures available), we’re six tenths of an inch above normal, making this the 36th wettest of the last 120 years! Well, yes, we measure rainfall in the hundredths of an inch here, and when the totals are so small (3.48″ average YTD), there obviously can’t be much variability. The wettest of all those years (1905) only had a bit over six inches by the end of April. Woo. Shoot, once when I lived in Florida, it rained 36 inches in a single day! Sure, it was a hurricane that day, but still. I honestly think most of my yard would wash away if it ever did that here.

What all these clouds are also doing (besides making me sad) is keeping the temperatures down. That’s good for my electric bill, I guess. I surely wish I had planted more peas in February though; I might be getting some by now. Darn. But I didn’t, because it’s usually too hot for them come May. The average date for Ice Break Day (when it goes over 100°F) is 22 May, and that’s going to be late this year. I’m still keeping my sweater handy, and have put it on the last two evenings. OK, I put on a sweater whenever the temperature goes below 80°. My blood is very thin. And cold makes me sad too.

Other side effects: all of that water is keeping the dirt diggable around the tree moat, and serious progress has been made there. It’s nearing completion, which is good since I need to get started digging the second garden bed. But also, there are billions of gnats while I dig the moat, and a few mosquitoes too. The birds are fatter than I’ve ever seen them, but even they can’t keep up with the bugs.

There have been plenty of bees too, because there have been so many flowers. Here are some of the ones you’ve seen before: first, my favorite spring flower, Caliche Globemallow.


The Catclaw Acacia really went wild this year.


Here’s a group shot of Miniature Woollystars & Golden Linanthus:


Now that I recognize California Buckwheat, I see it all around the yard.


The Desert Zinnias grow in little clumps everywhere. Here are a bunch of bunches of them with some prickly pear cacti, and a stand of yellow Paperflowers at the back.


And a small field with California Poppies.


That orange one at the back is also a California Poppy; maybe a mutant. The dead-looking sticks at the upper left are my mystery plant, the Jatropha. It won’t leaf out for a couple more months.

Wildflower Season 2015 — Part 1

I specifically moved to the Sonoran Desert for the weather, or at least what I imagined the weather would be: hot and dry. That’s how I like it. Other places, such as Sweden, Denmark or even Canada seem like better places to live in general, but they all look so cold and gray (in my imagination), and cold and gray sounds depressing. Besides, it’s going to become increasingly expensive to heat a house to my comfort level (say, 80°F) in any of those places, so here I am.

That said, Arizona is probably heading for a much hotter and much drier climate later in this century, and I’m supposed to be thankful for whatever rain does happen here, and rain it did this winter! I would prefer less, but then my garden likes the rain just fine. I already mentioned that we’re ahead of normal precipitation this spring, and that translates into a bumper crop of wildflowers, many of which were new to me this year.

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Winter Garden 2015

Rumor has it, Southern Arizona has two gardening seasons: the winter season when we grow root crops (potatoes, carrots, etc.) and the leafy vegetables that burn easily (such as lettuce, spinach & peas), and then the summer season, when we grow tomatoes, beans, peppers & cucurbits (cucumbers, gourds & melons). In my ever-futile attempt to learn how to follow instructions, I planted lettuce, peas, potatoes and carrots in late October.

And then I waited. And waited.

The winter monsoon started. During the winter monsoon, the clouds close in and there is drizzle for about two days per week. At least, this is my impression of the winter monsoon these days. When the total yearly rainfall is around 13.5″, it’s hard to feel like it’s adding up when the weekly value is somewhere between trace and 0.05″. Months went by. The lettuce was barely sprouted; the peas were leggy and pale from lack of adequate light.

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First Year in the Garden

According to my (spotty) records, I planted the first vegetables in the garden on 23 February last year. So it’s time to assess.

That day I planted a row of lettuce, a row of spinach & three potatoes. All but one of the lettuce plants and all of the spinach became bird food. Darn! Two of the potato plants were also lost. But the third one did eventually give me a dozen potatoes, and they were the best-tasting potatoes I’ve had in years!

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WordPress Changes – Your Poll #1 – Herded ?


For those of you affected by the new WordPress “enhancements”, plz add your vote & thoughts to GrahamInHats’ post. He may be able to help us. More voices may get TPTB to listen.

For others, please excuse the meta. The WordPress blogging interface is being changed, and mostly for the worse and with much consternation amongst the small bloggers (such as myself), and without “consent of the governed”. I’d like to keep this blog going, and the changes will make that cumbersome. More than the “stats” page is involved…

Originally posted on Freed from Time:

Duck back 2This is your opportunity to vote on the recent changes to WordPress and there are two vital reasons to do so.

Firstly, the survey is unlikely to be published, so this is your opportunity to be heard. Secondly, by ourselves it is unlikely that we can bring about improvement but, investors and allied businesses do not like management that alienates it’s customers and fails in new endeavours.  They can make a difference.

Our endeavour is to rescue WP, for desktop users and for the new mobile market.

Workarounds are here , more articles are here and, for surety, you might wish to note my standby blog:-

The subjects for these polls will include: Herded ?,  Democratized Blogging,  Transparency,  The New Interface Failures,   Misleading Claims,  Censorship,  Privacy/Security and Management.  Each will have a Link when available and I will post every couple of days.  So if you don’t…

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About WordPress Changes and What We Can Do



WordPress is implementing changes. Feedback concerning these changes is uniformly negative. In fact, the changes make it impossible to for me to tell if you have seen my posts unless you “like” them or comment. So please: I know you have been reading, but in the future I will not be able to tell, so again please, drop a “like” or comment (even if empty), to let me know you came by. Thanks!

Originally posted on Freed from Time:

For Help with the changes (workarounds) please click here.    This content is about Underlying Motive, The Problems, Probable Cause, How We Can Make a Difference and Remaining Questions.

*** There is now a reply from CEO Matt Mullenweg, (Jan 29, 2015 at 17:57) in comments and your very welcome to respond. ***

Underlying Motive

Matt Mullenweg, owner and recently appointed CEO of WordPress, has himself indicated a wish to pursue the mobile market which is made clear in and interview with Forbes click here ! (page 5/6) .  However that interview does not indicate any intention to abandon desk top users.

Add to this, Tiger Global now have at a total of $110 million invested in WP here !.  Tiger Global also have investments in the expanding Indian and South American mobile and e-commerce markets.

Amended/Addition:  From WSJ/Digits  “We both have a long term…

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Midwinter Blues

I knew it would come to this, and I prepared ahead.


These are Desert Tansyasters (Arida arizonica), and there are almost always some of these blooming around the yard somewhere. Since I get pictures of these almost every month, I hadn’t been showing them, since there was always something else to show you. January, though, is flowerless this year — dreary and cold. OK, not cold compared to other places, but enough to make me feel a bit cranky. And I so miss the sunshine.

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‘Tis the Season


Desert mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum) growing on a Chilean mesquite tree in my front yard. I took this picture only 2 days ago. When I showed it to a plant-nerd friend, he said it was weird, because it’s completely off-cycle. Like by six months!

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December Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), glaring at his reflection in the window, during an argument he thought he was having.

Beneficial Pests

When it rains in the desert it’s like an alarm going off, and then suddenly everything happens all at once. Billions of eggs are laid, billions of seeds germinate, the daytime air is one long buzz and the night is filled with creaks and croaks and hoots. And those baby critters all arrive hungry!


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