On the way to Prescott (see previous posts), Cookie and I passed through Congress, AZ, and decided to check out one of the Escapee's parks, North Ranch. The park is a nice one, with a large number of deeded lots in addition to the campground. But what makes this park extra special is their amazing cactus garden. Every kind of cactus imaginable is there, and signs mark each species. Here are some images of the garden:
The star of the garden is a huge Saguaro aptly named "Methuselah," and his sign indicates that he has been dated circa 1600! Since a saguaro doesn't start growing arms until they are 50-75 years old, his "armage" indicates that he has indeed lived a long, long life!
So what was happening in the world around the time that Methuselah was just a little bud on the desert floor?
- Giordano Bruno, whose "crimes" included expounding that the sun was the center of the solar system and holding opinions contrary to the Catholic Church is burned at the stake for heresy in Rome
- The Dutch East Indian Company is chartered
- Elizabeth I of England dies and is succeeded by James VI of Scotland
- The Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe so accurately catalogs 1000 stars that Johannes Kepler, his assistant, uses these measurements when he constructs his laws of planetary motions (the laws can be found here, but with a warning -- they are only for the math-obsessed!)
- A famine kills around a third of Russia's population
- Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is performed for the first time
- Rembrandt is a just a baby, Rubens is painting plus-sized ladies, and DaVinci's Mona Lisa is already a hundred years old
- Galileo's daughter, Marie Celeste is born (her story is told in Dana Sobel's wonderful book, Galileo's Daughter)
- The King James Bible is written
- Jamestown, the Colony of Virginia, and New York (as New Amsterdam) are founded
- St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, begun around the time the Mona Lisa was painted, is finally completed and
- Sumo wrestling becomes a professional sport in Japan.