Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ABC Wednesday and Thanksgiving Eve

This week we have come to the letter S, which stands for . . .

The Saguaro Cactus

The Saguaro (pronounced sah-wah-roh) is the familiar symbol of the Southwest. A native of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, its blossom is the state flower of Arizona. The Saguaro is an impressive specimen, growing as tall as 45 feet, but it takes a long time to reach that height. The cactus may live for more than 150 years. Because of its slow growth, it is protected by the state of Arizona: it is illegal to cut one down, and developers must transplant any that have to be moved during building projects.

The saguaro also has natural pests--rabbits like to chew holes near the bottom of the cactus, sometimes causing irreparable damage to the plant. In the photo you'll also notice holes near the top of the cactus, which are quite common. The Gila Woodpecker, the Gilded Flicker, and other birds dig these holes for their nests and then abandon them each year, leaving the holes for other occupants, such as owls and snakes.

I took this photo last January at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, while visiting my daughter. Next Wednesday I am leaving for another visit with her in Phoenix, and I'm planning to take an afternoon to visit these gardens again. For a country girl used to tall oaks, green grass, and cornfields, the plant life and landscape of Arizona is a fascinating departure.

I do plan to post next Wednesday, however; I have a special guest who will provide his unique perspective on the letter T, so I hope you'll drop by then. To see other ABC posts please visit Mrs. Nesbitt or the ABC Anthology.

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, another great S word would be Stuffing or even Sweet Potato Casserole. But of course I don't have pictures of either of them because they won't be made until tomorrow morning. Today is the day for advance prep--salads, desserts, and anything else that can be made ahead. But tomorrow morning the cooking begins in earnest, including the centerpiece of our meal, the turkey. While I do almost all the cooking and baking myself, Husband is in charge of the turkey. Yes, Mr. I-Don't-Cook likes to make his one specialty--deep-fried turkey! For anyone who thinks this sounds strange, trust me, it produces a very moist, delicious meat, especially after soaking overnight in a citrus brine ala Martha Stewart.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's the perfect day to spend precious time with family. There's no stress involved with buying presents or decorating the whole house. It's a day to relax and give thanks for all the blessings you have been given.

Whether you are spending the holiday with family or friends or with one special person, I wish you all a very . . .

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. What perfect timing for the letter 'S' to come up. I know you will be taking lots of pictures this year when you are in Arizona. Wish I was going with you-think of the gardens we could tour.

    I wish you all a wonderful day!

  2. Dear Rose........It must be lovely to see gardens so different from those in Illinois. Arizona is I know a very special landscape. What an interesting plant and that one was reminds me of all the old westerns that I watched as a teenager.....
    Have a wonderful trip.....I know you will enjoy spending special time with your daughter.......

    We do not celebrate thanksgiving but I think it is a wonderful thing to do. We all spend a lot of time talking about what is wrong in life.......I shall celebrate in my little way tomorrow thinking about all that is good in my world......have a peaceful and happy time with your family.......

  3. Excellent post! Have a great time.

  4. Very interesting and somthing completely different for me.

  5. Happy Thanksgiving Rose. I hope you and yours have a wonderful feast.

    I can't wait to see all your AZ photos. It is one of my favorite places to visit. I love your photo. Aren't the cactus wrens out there fun to watch. They are so much larger than our wrens but act much like them.

  6. Hi Rose! Hope you have a great time tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving! It's fun to have a get-together with families. Since I deal with customers from North America, I hear Thanksgiving is what everyone's been eagerly awaiting. I'm sure it's gonna be fun for ya!

  7. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Rose!

  8. I'm very envious! We totally miss out on this lovely occasion and the food sounds superb :)

    We will have Turkey at Christmas and Husband takes charge of it then. Funny, when they don't do much for the rest of the year !!


  9. Have fun in Arizona and Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  10. Dear Rose,

    I do love this cactus! We visited the Saguaro National Forest in Tucson several years ago and I was blown over by the size of the tallest and oldest cacti...magnificent.

    How delightful to visit your daughter, be a bit warmer and know it will be sunny in December!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

  11. I have heard that the Saguaro cactus is in decline - also that vandals shoot at them! How childish and destructive!

    We don't have Thanksgiving over this side of The Pond, of course, so tomorrow will be just another day for us, but I wish all my American friends a good day!

  12. I took saguaro pictures yesterday, as we are visiting our daughters in the Phoenix area this week. We went out to Payson and the hills were covered with them. Did you know that they do not start to get arms till they are nearly 70?

  13. Your Thanksgiving plans sound lovely -- enjoy your holiday!

  14. Hi Rose, what a regal cactus that is. I agree that seeing the landscape of Arizona is like going to another planet! I know you will enjoy your time spent with your daughter there. I love Thanksgiving too, you are so right about it being so much more relaxed without the presents and decorating and stress, just food, family and fun for us. Love it, even the work to prepare the meals and the house. So worth it. Enjoy your holidays.


  15. I would love to see one of those cactus in person someday. Amazing!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Turkey that has been brined first is THE BEST!

  16. I have not ever had fried turkey before but I understand it is delicious. I'm glad your husband likes to do that for you.

    We will be having dinner with my in-laws and the whole family. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow and have a fantastic time in Arizona. Take lots of pics at the gardens. It will be fun for us to see a different type landscape.

  17. Happy Thanksgiving! You make it sound just perfect! I would be glad to hand over responsibility for cooking the Christmas turkey to Husband because it always stresses me out.

    That's one big cactus!

  18. That is one big Cactus.
    For years dear husband has been nurturing a much smaller cactus but it had an unfortunate incident this year.
    Time to get him a new one.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    Bear((( )))

  19. I love your choices for ABC today! This is the first time I have had a free moment all day! I did post Sparty here and here!
    Have a great Thanksgiving! Shannon is home tonight from New Zealand and then she is off to Singapore with her 88 y/o grandma Dec 22.

  20. Wonderful! They are such a part of the old Western films I loved when I was younger. I hadn't realised they grew to such an age, nor that they are now protected.

    On behalf of the ABC team, thanks for participating this week.

  21. Hey Rose .. have a great holiday with the family .. and do take lots of pictures while in the south west ! I would love to see those plants up close and real time myself ! : )

  22. Ooh, pout pout pout--I'd love to go to the DSB! Another cool thing about the Saguaro is that it's sometimes pollinated by bats! :)

  23. That plant is amazing isn't it?

    And what a feast in that picture! Makes me hungry just looking at it. Sweet potatoes........ lovely.
    Have a great time.

  24. Happy Thanksgiving, Rose!

    A southwestern cactus always intrigues me.

    Thank you.


  25. Happy Thanksgiving Rose! I loved your choice of Norman Rockwell. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday also. Have a wonderful time in AZ--I hope you enjoy every moment of your time there.

  26. Dear Rose - I do hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Mmmmm I could smell all the turkey wafting across the Pond from you guys ;)

  27. Beckie, We would have such fun touring the gardens in AZ! Maybe you could save up some vacation days:)

    Cheryl, Yes, this cactus reminds me of the old Westerns, too. And some of the area around Phoenix looks like the setting of those films as well. Thank you for the holiday wishes; you may not celebrate Thanksgiving per se, but you have the spirit of the holiday:)

    Antigoni, Thank you!

    Babooshka, Thanks; the Arizona scenery is definitely different for me as well.

    Lisa, Thank you, and I will be on the lookout for some Arizona birds this time.

    Chandra, Thank you; we had a very nice holiday, and my fridge is stocked with lots of leftovers:)

    Joyce, Thank you; I hope you had a wonderful day as well.

    Suburbia, Thanksgiving is definitely a day for food and overeating:) Husband actually cooked the turkey to perfection yesterday!

    Tina, Thanks; now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to start thinking about packing.

    Gail, It's supposed to snow here this weekend, so I think I will appreciate some sunny, warm weather next week!

  28. Jay, Yes, it is protected by the state, and there are poachers who actually try to steal them--they face criminal charges if caught.

    Katney, What a coincidence! Yes, I learned a little about them on my last trip; isn't that amazing--it means ones like the one in my picture are quite old.

    Nancy, Yes, we had a lovely day yesterday; hope you had a good holiday, too.

    Frances, I love Thanksgiving, too. I was exhausted by late Wed. night, but it was well worth it as everything went smoothly Thursday. I'm taking today (Friday) off!

    Amy, Last January was my first trip to the Southwest; so interesting! And last year was the first year I soaked the turkey in a brine--it really does make it so much moister.

    Susie, Hope you had a good Thanksgiving; yes, deep-fried turkey sounded weird to me this first time I heard of it, but it tastes excellent--not greasy, as you might expect. I'm looking forward to having some pictures of green to show for the next few weeks:)

    Liz, Hubby doesn't cook anything other than canned soup usually, so it's amazing he has mastered this task:)

    Bear Naked, This cactus must be well over 100 years old, because they don't even develop an "arm" till they're 50 or 70 years old. Thank you for the good wishes.

    Neva, I haven't been on to blog since Wed. morning for just a short while. I'll check out Sparty's photos soon. Your children are quite the world travelers!

    Dragonstar, Thank you, and thanks for hosting this week. I didn't know much about these cacti either until this year when I visited Arizona for the first time.

    Joy, Thank you, and I will be taking lots of pictures. It will give me something to post for awhile, since my garden is done for the winter:)

    Monika, Yes, I think I had heard that about the bats. The DSB is very different from any Midwest botanical garden, for sure.

    Maggie May, We did have a feast yesterday, but I was thinking when I posted this famous Normal Rockwell picture that the "little old lady" looks like my grandmother, certainly not me!:)

    Mary, Thank you; I hope you had a good holiday, too!

    Morning Glories, Norman Rockwell's drawings have always represented mainstream Americana to me--I love them. And thank you--I'm really looking forward to my trip.

    VP, Thank you. Yes, my kitchen smelled wonderful yesterday!

  29. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Rose! I love how you combine the Norman Rockwell with the contemporary Martha Stewart recipe. My English in laws enjoyed our holiday so much after they visited one year that they now celebrate it with their neighbors every year back in England. I do love the food and family without the materialism of gifts. Well put! Also enjoyed your cactus.

  30. Thanks, Sarah. Although I love Christmas, the commercialism and the stress of everything to do at Christmas--partly self-imposed--makes it less enjoyable. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

  31. I'm so jealous, you're going to AZ! I love it there, especially Tucson, with the desert & the cacti. Have a great time!

  32. If you get to DBG this year, you'll see the Chihuly glass exhibit. It's just unbelievable. Have fun in Phoenix. We're having wonderful weather right now.


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