The Dancer

The Dancer
Graceful dead tree up above Deep Canyon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's blooming~Nature's Notes~041714

Lots of plants, shrubs, and trees are blooming here in the desert and up in our local mountains right now.  While there aren't a lot of wildflowers, they are a lot of planted flowers.  The sunflower and sweet peas are from my garden.  The roses are from up at the horse ranch and the rest are from around here in the desert.  While it has been an abysmal year for wildflowers, for cultivated flowers, it has been okay.  I have cosmos growing in my yard, California poppies, a few lupines, and of course, my sweet peas and sunflowers.  Nature's Notes for April 17, 2014.   To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sweet peas and memories of my grandfather

My grandfather was an old farmer from Missouri and then Kansas.  My mother was born in Lawrence, Kansas, but the family moved to California in 1924, after Grandpa injured his back while working the farm.  They built a small house in Arcadia, CA, only a mile from the Santa Anita racetrack.

Anyway, being an old farmer, Granddad could grow anything.  He actually had a double lot in Arcadia and on one side, I remember his garden.  He grew carrots, radishes, onions, peas, beans, rhubarb (remember that?), and in the summer, corn.  He had an avocado tree and a peach tree.  Grandma canned the vegetables and made fruit jam.  Those were the days, eh?

My parents' house (my mom was his daughter) was only a mile away from the track also, but north of it.  Granddad would also tend the vegetables that he planted at my parents' house.  Let's see...we had boysenberries, a fig tree, an apple tree, a peach tree, as well as corn, beans, peas, and...sweet peas!  He grew them up a 6 foot area of chicken wire and I've NEVER seen sweet peas like his!  Mine (see bottom photo) are scrawny compared to his.  This year, I did throw out some horse manure for them, and they are much better than any previous years' crops, but I also watered them with horse manure "tea".  They responded by doubling in size almost overnight!  I'm so proud of my meager sweet peas this year!  Every time I pick them and smell them, I am reminded of Granddad.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The grosbeaks are back!

I was just thinking about them yesterday.  They don't usually show up until May, but I just glanced out front and saw a male at one of the bird feeding stations.  So, I ran out and put 1/2 an orange out there just for him!  Good thing I stopped and bought oranges yesterday.  I was wondering when they would I just have to get a photo of them!  Last year there were 3 of them...

Yucca blossoms~Today's Flowers~041314

There just aren't many yuccas in bloom this year.  Apparently it is the drought.  I see many, many stubs of ones from previous years, but VERY few new ones this year.  I did find the three yuccas at a turnout on Highway 371, down to Anza and Temecula, but there are actually few of them on Highway 74.  I did find the top one at a turnout yesterday.  This, to me, is very sad.  I remember years when whole hillsides were covered with them, but not this year.  Additionally, there are very, very, very few wildflowers.  I actually didn't see ANY yesterday on Highway 74, although I did see a few on 371.  Today's Flowers for April 13, 2014.   To visit Today's Flowers and see gorgeous flowers, please go to:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

For our Canadian friends....what's going on here...and a selfie with my cat

This is for my Canadian friends and fellow bloggers:  an update of what's going on here in the desert.

First, this is the first of two weekends of Coachella (the music festival).  What do we locals think about it?   Pffffffffttttttt!  I avoid the area.  I could care less.  This festival was hyped that it would give local hotels and merchants extra $$$$, but I notice this year the promoters have put up tents (complete with air conditioning) for the festival-goers, for $65.00 a night.  Well, there go the local hotels hopes!   I mean, why go to a hotel when you can stagger to a tent on the property and collapse there after the festival?

Second, yesterday was one of the nicest days we've had here.  Yes, it was 98 degrees on our front porch when I got home (hubby was home all day), but it was a dry heat, with a slight breeze.  It was... PERFECT!  I came home and watered my sweet peas and plucked off the ones that had gone to seed.  I also pulled out some unwanted weeds, so now I can go out and take some photos of them this morning.

Third, dinner last night was sandwiches, but DELICIOUS, YUMMY ones.  Some kind of sliced ham from Bristol Farms and some Havarti cheese and a olive/rosemary bread.  DELICIOUS!  (no photos...sorry...the sandwiches were gone in a flash!)

Finally, I'm planning on driving up to the horses this morning.  I haven't been up there for a couple of weekends (I was sick last weekend) and I want to see the foal.  Another horse is due to foal about the 15th, so next weekend, I should have more baby pics!   :-)

And, I made it through the week without having to take a day off, although Wednesday, by noon, I was TOAST.  Thursday, too.  I did manage to make it through Friday, however.  That's always a good thing!

That's my 17 year old cat, Loki, giving me a good sniff.  He doesn't wander away from the porch now.  He enjoys sneaking a bite of dog food every now and then and he cuddles with our German Shepherd, Lady.  That's "his" chair that I'm sitting in!  I enjoy sitting in it every afternoon, listening to the birds, and watching them at the feeding stations.  I'm hoping the Grosbeaks show up this year, but I haven't seen them yet.  I'm also hoping for a fantastic weekend because my cold/flu thing is going away.  I still have the cough, but I otherwise seem to be back to normal!   :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rustic fence and tavern~Good Fences~041114

On our way home from Solvang, we stopped at the Cold Spring Tavern, which was right below the road to Lake Cucamaya.  It lies back in the hills, just a short drive from the highway.  What an enchanted place it is!  It is like stepping back in time!  I liked this old fence and another one at the tavern.  Good Fences for Friday, April 11, 2014.  To visit Good Fences, please go to:
How did we find this little place?  We had actually been there 40 years ago for lunch.  Hubby was representing some wineries and we stopped there with another wine broker.  Yes, it is off the highway, but the drive back there is incredible.  I've added a couple more photos below.  It is actually a tavern on an old stagecoach route!

Bronchitis update

I'm sitting here at 3:30 a.m. drinking a hot toddy of Manuka honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a pinch of tumeric.  I woke up coughing about a half hour ago and decided rather than keep hubby awake, I better get up and DO SOMETHING!  I can't take NyQuil as I'll just nod off in class.  I really do need to go into school today as my class is scheduled for the new, common core testing this morning. I sure hope this stuff works!

It was 99 degrees AGAIN yesterday afternoon.  I put on two fans (we are really trying to NOT turn on the air conditioner this early!).  It should be a few degrees lower today, however, and in the 80's by the weekend.  Phew!  If that is an introduction to summer, I want no part of it!

And, thank you all for your kind comments.  No, being a teacher these days is extremely difficult when parents send sick kids to school.  This virus is now all over the school and my colleague and dear friend has it, too, I'm afraid for her...sigh...Poor thing, by 2:00 yesterday afternoon, she had wilted and was ready to go home!  I doubt she'll be there today or tomorrow.