Bighorn sheep herd 05/26/14

Bighorn sheep herd 05/26/14
There were about a dozen bighorn sheep this date 052614 up on Highway 74, above Palm Desert, CA, and right above Deep Canyon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

4 weeks of vacation left and school memories

I just realized today that I have 4 weeks of summer vacation left.  WHERE did the summer go?  And, those 4 weeks will be busy ones.  A couple of trips up to the horses, a couple of nights in Idyllwild, a few days in Arizona, and BOTTA BING!  It's back to school.  Ugh.

The nightmares will begin shortly.  One year I dreamed my principal walked into my room and all the kids jumped up and gave him "the finger"!  I took a peek at my class list and I only have 23 kiddos, but 4 of them were... SUSPENDED last year.  One boy told a yard supervisor to "kiss my butt"!  Oh,joy.  I get THIS ONE?  Another one had 3 suspensions last year for shooting a rubber band in class, and throwing crayons.  Another incident involved him rolling around on the floor despite his teacher reminding him to behave...sigh...What is WRONG with kids today?  School isn't just babysitting...

I did read an article which stated that kids need MORE recess, not less.  We only have a 10 minute recess and a VERY LONG morning.  Last year, we went from 8:05 - 11:30, with only a 10 minute recess at 10:20.  The kids had to SIT from 8:05 - 10:20.  That is a VERY long time for 8 year olds.  I have already decided to break up that long spell this year...maybe get them out for a walk around the field or something to get them moving.  The article also stated that after a break, they can concentrate better.  I certainly hope so!  Afternoon session was 12:30 - 2:30, but they had PE at 2:00, so it wasn't as long.  HOWEVER, after lunch, last year's group just could not sit and focus!  They were all over the place..out of their seats, talking,  goofing off (I had 30 kidlets)...It's hard these days to get kids to sit and focus when there is NO science, social studies, art, or music.  It's "embedded" in the stories they read.  Yeah, right!  I always tried to find a video or website where I could show them more information.  It seems you have to "entertain" kids nowadays.

I remember when I was in school.  We sat and listened and did what the teacher told us to do.  And, I LEARNED!  How about you?  What are your school memories?  I was in school from 1958 - 1970, when I graduated from high school and these are a couple of the desks we used:

I LOVED these desks because I could open mine up and HIDE behind it!  He, he!  I actually found a supplier of these up in Lancaster one time.  I forget how much they wanted for each desk, but they weren't cheap.  I want to think about $40 each... The top one is listed on Ebay for $49.99!!!  $50???  Wow...
And, in college, I used to sit in this:
I remember these also: (in the lecture halls)
Nowadays students have desks like this, but with a small cubby inside for their books:  I HATE THEM.
So, you always have two students at one desk and you have to TRY to separate kids who shouldn't be together  (... pulling out hair...)  Aaaarrrrrggggghhhhhh!  And, of course, with 30 students packed into a classroom like sardines, with NO place to sit on the floor, it gets a little cramped.  Remember OUR classrooms, with a whole side of windows?  NO MORE!  My school looks like a prison.  One door in, 1 tiny window...sigh...Remember how we used to decorate the windows with our holiday drawings?  NO MORE.  NO holiday coloring.  Period.

At some point, people need to ask:  "Is this REALLY working for our kids?"  Denying them science, social studies, art, and music?  Is it turning out smarter kids?  (I THINK NOT)  Is it better for them?  (I THINK NOT)...but that's a rant for another day!   :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A bunch of hoodlums! (i.e. ravens)

I now look forward to seeing (and hearing) the raven family of 5 that lives up at the horse ranch.  There are 3 young ravens and 2 VERY attentive parents.  Their nest is a mess of sticks up in one of the oak trees up there right next to the driveway.  Now the youngsters are taking longer and longer flights, often to their parents' dismay!  I always count noses and make sure they are all around (they were yesterday!) because hawks also frequent the ranch.

Three of the hoodlums on one of their telephone poles.
 Coming in for a landing!
 Keeping an eye out for pesky hawks.
 In flight.
4 of the 5 ravens.  One was off in another tree.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yucca and dark skies~SkyWatch Friday~071814

A lone yucca and dark skies last week up by Pinyon.  SkyWatch Friday for July 18, 2014.   To visit SWF, please go to this link:

The antics of ravens and Scout

There is a family of ravens up at the horse ranch and now I just like to sit and listen and watch their antics.  Two parents and 3 juveniles.  I was worried that I wouldn't see them after a hawk showed up near the ranch, but one of the parents harried it until it flew away last week.  I wanted to count noses, which I did yesterday, and all are accounted for.  I sat and listened to them call to one another yesterday, when I drove up to give the horses psyllium because they are ALL (except Scout) full of sand again...sigh...It was a peaceful day up there, not hot at all, with a slight breeze.  I let Scout out into the arena, but she didn't run~she just stood in one spot for 30 minutes.  That is VERY unlike her!  I'm going up again tomorrow morning for my trainer's lesson with the herd, so we'll check on them all again at that time.

This is normal Scout behavior:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Anza got RAIN!

Of course, it rained AFTER I left the horse ranch last Friday.  Up to 1/2 inch of rain!  Lake Anza is back (next to the community center).  I noticed the spotches on the ground this morning when I returned to the ranch right away.  And, you can see the tractor tracks in the arena.

I had to return today because I had to give the horses psyllium and I bought 3 large bags of the powdered kind.  Plus, Lucille, who was running a fever, needed to be checked.  She was back to normal today, but Scout was unusually quiet.  In fact, when I took her down to the arena, she just STOOD there (VERY unusual for her!)...I'm not sure if some kind of virus is going around or maybe she's having a reaction to her shots?  Any ideas?  I'm more concerned now about Scout than Lucille...sigh...

Monday, July 14, 2014

FINALLY! Monsoon moisture!

I was hit by a wave of humidity when I walked out the front door about 5 a.m. today.  Man, was it THICK!  Monsoon moisture moved into the valley and I could see clouds lingering around Santa Rosa mountain.  I had to drive up to the horse ranch this morning as a new vet was coming to give the horses their annual West Nile/rabies shots at 9 a.m., so I left the house about 7:30.  I wanted to get up there, get them all haltered, and sweep off their rubber mats.  Of course, I had to stop and take photos along the way and it was a good morning to do so.  The clouds were hugging the mountain tops.  I've waited all summer for a day like this and we even got some sprinkles up at the horse ranch in Anza.  One of the horses, Lucille, was running a slight temperature, so she didn't get her shots.  Quad even got his teeth filed down, as he had several sharp ones and he was having trouble eating his alfalfa.  Now he's all better!   :-)

Sorry the photos are so dark, but it was a really DARK day!  No rain in the desert, however.

Man, it was HOT here yesterday!

Apparently it was 113 here yesterday.  The thermometer on our front porch said 109 degrees, but that's on the south side of the house, under the front porch roof.  And, that whole area gets constant shade from our trees.  All I know is that it was HOT!

My task for the day was to clean out the dryer vents, both from the inside and outside.  The inside part was easy (fairly...).  I was able to drag out the dryer, unattach the hose, look inside (it wasn't plugged).  I swept behind it, found an old bra, and 3 dish towels!  Oh, and LOTS of lint.  But, it wasn't overly impacted.  Outside, however, was another story.  I've been wondering why it has been taking our dryer 2 1/2 HOURS to dry a load of clothes.  That isn't normal.  I removed the screen from the vent (the screen is to keep critters OUT), got a pair of BBQ tongs, and started removing chunks of nearly-solid lint.  I kept going further and further in and my waste pile kept getting bigger and bigger!  I finally got in, up to my elbow, AND as far back as I could reach with the tongs.  MY GOODNESS!  Now I see why it was taking so long for a load of clothes to dry!  I've been using an outdoor clothesline for a week now, just because it took so long.  I'm going to ask hubby (who has longer arms than me) to reach in one last time before I attempt to use it again.  No, we don't have a garage vac.  We gave it to our son and he REFUSES to let us borrow it because of all the dog hair.  Isn't that what a garage vac is for?  Oh, some point (after I see how much my vet bill is today for the horses), we'll buy a new one.

The vet is coming today to float Quad's teeth.  The ranch owner noticed a while ago that he was having trouble chewing.  So, the vet will come and take a look.  AND, all the horses will get their shots today also.  So, depending on how much that bill is, I may or may not be able to afford a new garage vacuum.

I took this pic with my cell phone.  My photos are always BLUE and I've adjusted my settings...sigh...oh, well, you get the idea.
Isn't that DISGUSTING?  Ugh...ALL of that was inside the dryer vent out back.