Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014

Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014
This big guy crossed the highway, October 2014.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Santa Ana winds and the mountains

The Santa Ana winds were back Sunday.  Santa Anas are winds from the high desert which swoop down into the low desert and areas of Los Angeles.  Normally, our winds come from the ocean...moist and cool.  Santa Anas come dry, from the high desert and dry out everything in their path. Those of us who live in Southern California dread Santa Ana winds.  I'm a native Southern Californian myself and I shudder when they means hot, dry air, restless kids and animals, and a general "off" feeling.  They stir up dust, mold, fungi, and cause allergies.  I've lived through too many fires during the Santa Anas and waves of crime, too.  Everybody is "on edge" during them.  So, when I noticed that the wind was blowing in the opposite direction on Sunday, I knew it was a Santa Ana wind.  I also noticed that the local fire station in Pinyon had its doors open, engines ready to roll.  Fortunately, a cold front from Canada is heading our way and temps will be dropping 30 degrees during the daytime later this week. 

Palm tree fronds~Mellow Yellow Monday~103111

No, this isn't my hair on a Monday morning!  These are palm tree fronds.  I found them up at the Santa Rosa mountain visitor center yesterday morning when I was out taking photos for Sunday Stills Challenge.  The quail were out feeding, the doves were was a beautiful autumn morning!  The Cahuilla Indians, who lived in this valley, would cut the fronds and make their homes out of them.  I've walked into a palm grove and it is always cooler inside the grove.  They do a good job shading us from the desert sun!  Mellow Yellow Monday for October 31, 2011. To visit MYMonday, please go to:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Santa Rosa Mountains visitor center~Sunday Stills Challenge~103011

I took the challenge this week for Sunday Stills Challenge.  It was to walk 25 feet, STOP, pivot, and take 3 photos.  I actually took 4, one in each direction. Then, walk another 25 feet and do it again.  I headed up to the Santa Rosa mountain visitor center, one of my favorite places to walk in the morning.  And, the first 4 photos show what I saw.  The next 4 show what I saw after another 25 feet. As you can see, it was early morning when I went there.  Sunday Stills Challenge for October 30, 2011. To visit Sunday Stills Challenge, please go to this link:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trees in the window~Weekend Reflections~102911

Pine trees reflected in a window of the old real estate office in the previous post.  Weekend Reflections for October 29, 2011. To visit Weekend Reflections, please go to:

old real estate office, Garner Valley

This old real estate office is next to the expensive new one, which, frankly, I find BORING.  I love this old one, which apparently is a historical landmark in Garner Valley.  Just look at its character.  I walked around it last weekend and took these photos.  It has Virginia creeper growing up the fireplace on the back and I'll post photos of that another day.  Look at the old porch. And, the wooden seats.  They just don't make buildings like this anymore!  When we bought our property up in the valley 33 years ago, this was the office we used.  It was thriving then.  Now, it is a home for ground squirrels and night animals.  I hope it doesn't disappear one day, so I'll continue to return to it and take photos of it. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

post and wire~Friday Fences~102811

I love the look of old fences, especially those with wood posts, like this one.  It is near the spot where I found the cattle in yesterday's post.  Friday Fences for October 28, 2011.  To visit Friday Fences, please go to:

Manzanita~SkyWatch Friday~102811

I love morning light and last weekend I found this manzanita in the early morning.  It should be clear again this weekend, so I can't wait to go back there.  SkyWatch Friday for October 28,2011. To visit SWF, please go to:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cattle~Nature Notes~102711

On Sunday, I took a forest road through Garner Valley and was surprised to see some dark shapes looming ahead of me.  Turns out, it was a herd of cattle.  Yup...some of them had ear tags, so they weren't wild.  In fact, I drove right through the middle of them and they didn't move at all.  I even turned around and came back through them.  I don't know who they belong to...I don't believe they belong to the Garner Valley Cattle Company because they weren't in their pasture.  I'm going back this weekend to investigate further!  Nature Notes for October 27, 2011. To visit Nature Notes, please visit:

Riders~Outdoor Wednesday~102611

After driving up the road to Little Thomas Mountain on Sunday, I headed out toward a large meadow in Garner Valley.  There are many dirt roads there and I'm usually the only person out there, but I saw some trucks and trailers parked on one of them, so I drove over to investigate. And, here's what I saw... Outdoor Wednesday for October 26, 2011. To visit Outdoor Wednesday, please go to:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Little Thomas Mountain~Our World Today~102411

A different road beckoned to me Sunday.  It was the dirt road up to Little Thomas Mountain, which sits above Garner Valley.  And, look at the views!  That's Lake Hemet below.  I didn't take it all the way to the top, as it was 8 miles up there, but I certainly enjoyed the views.  And, look at this hoodoo!  There were plenty of pine trees and scrub jays up there and I'll return with hubby another time before the snows come and the road is too muddy to travel.  Our World Tuesday for October 24, 2011. To visit OWT, please go to:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yucca~Mellow Yellow Monday~102411

The hillsides of our local mountains, the Santa Rosas, are covered with leftover yucca blooms, including these three I spotted yesterday.  I took my favorite side dirt road up through Pinyon.  The road was deserted and I took my time driving along it, admiring the views down into Palm Canyon and beyond.  These leftover yucca blossoms were actually from last spring.  Most of the others have died and don't have the flowers on them, but for some reason, these still do.  These actually are a variety of yucca and their spikes line the rocky mountains from yesterday's post as well as the dried agave blooms which also line the pinyon forest along Deep Canyon.  Mellow Yellow Monday for October 24, 2011. To visit Mellow Yellow Monday, please go to:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rock formations~Sunday Stills Challenge~102211

There are plenty of rock formations going up along Highway 74 and Deep Canyon.  At least, until I reach the pinyon forest and then beyond.  I stopped this morning and took these photos from one of the turnouts.  Further up is Vista Point and from there, you can see all the way across the Coachella Valley to Joshua Tree National Park.  These formations are much more dramatic when clouds hover around and above them, but we have clear weather forecast for the next ten days.  Sometimes, in the winter, they are sprinkled with snow.  Then, the dark color of the rocks stands out against the white snow and it is very striking.  Sunday Stills Challenge for October 22, 2011. This is actually Carizzo Canyon, which runs parallel to Deep Canyon along Highway 74 above Palm Desert, CA.  To visit the Sunday Stills Challenge website, please head on over to:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gnarled tree~Creative Exchange~October 21, 2011

I LOVE weekends and I look forward to them all week while I'm busy at school.  I find that I NEED this time outdoors, out in nature.  Last weekend I put my Honda CRV in 2nd gear and drove up a rutted road to the top of Thomas Mountain.  On the way back down, I saw this gnarled tree and stopped to take a photo of it.  Creative Exchange for October 21, 2011.  I hope you like it!  To visit the Creative Exchange, please go to:

Old wooden fence~Friday's Fences~October 21, 2011

I found this old wooden fence in a little enclave of houses up in Garner Valley.  These lots aren't 5 acres.  In fact, they are very small and close together.  They aren't part of the 5 acre parcels in the valley and they aren't as expensive.  And, they aren't all painted white either.  I like this old, weathered fence, and the house with it, too!  Friday Fences for October 21, 2011. To view Friday Fences, please go to:

red leaves~Nature Notes~102011

I found these red leaves last weekend while driving through Garner Valley.  Their color immediately attracted me to them.  They were along a fence (see bottom photo) next to a small local park, which was closed when I arrived.  I don't know what they are, but aren't they pretty?  Nature Notes for October 20, 2011.  To visit Nature Notes, please go to: