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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pinyons~Nature Notes~120111

This weekend I wanted to stop by the pinyon area of Deep Canyon to pick up some pinyon nuts for our scrub jay who lives in our neighborhood.  There were so many on the ground that I picked up some in my hand (see photo).  They were all over the place!  I brought these home for the jay, but he prefers unshelled peanuts!  (go figure!)...I always enjoy the pinyon areas of this canyon and this road is a well used dirt road that leads up to a housing settlement there.  Nature Notes for December 1, 2011. To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Monday, November 28, 2011

On a sad note...

I'm sorry to report that a young man, age 14, was shot and killed this weekend up at Little Thomas Mountain.  He was out on a family outing when the tragedy occurred. I just drove up that road not long ago and many, many horse people ride up there.   Anyway, since his family is from Coachella, and that's where I teach, I wish to extend my condolences to his family. Here is one of the photos I took when I drove up the road to Little Thomas Mountain, which is off Highway 74, on the road to Idyllwild, near the Garner Valley Cattle Company. My prayers and sympathy go out to this family. Apparently he was shot by his cousin, who was also 14.  Here's a link to the story:|topnews|text|Frontpage

Sunday, November 27, 2011

3's a crowd!

I brought my friend Susan up with me to the horse ranch today.  She needed some horse time and I was happy to have her come help me with the herd.  Five horses needed brushing and grooming.  And, Susan really enjoyed the horses and they eagerly responded to her!  Here's Scout and Cali, my two mustangs, with Susan.  She brushed them first.  It got a little crowded with Scout demanding attention, too!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Clouds hugging the mountains

When I leave the desert floor and head up Highway 74 to our local mountains, I never really know what the weather at the top will be like.  Sometimes it is clear.  Sometimes not.  This weekend, it was clear and sunny in the desert, but up on top of the mountains, clouds were moving in, it was breezy, and soon clouds were everywhere!  I thought it might even be snowing at the higher elevations, but I don't think it got that cold.  As I came around one corner, this is what I saw.  Don't you just love the way the clouds hang onto the mountains?

horse ranch and snow~Ranch tour, part 3

The ranch gets snow maybe 3 or 4 times each year.  I took these photos in 2009 right after a storm.  It looks so different and the horses are all wolly!  They already have their winter coats.  Scout, who is light in summer, actually turns brown during the winter months!  Go figure.  You'd think that she would have a lighter colored coat in winter than summer, right?  Nope! The mountains around the ranch have already had snow a couple of times, but there hasn't been any down at the ranch yet this year.

Around the ranch, part 2~ranch tour

I went back through my archives and found these photos around the ranch, from 2009. The top photo shows the large arena. The second one down shows some of the horse pens.  There are 9 pens which face down into the arena, but they are higher above it. The third one shows the mustangs' corral, which is up above and away from the arena.  My tack room is next to this large corral.  That's our German Shepherd, Rommel, up with the horses.  He likes to go visit the ranch and he's very good around the horses.  He sniffs them and they sniff him and all is okay!

Around the ranch and horse story part 1

Some of you have asked about the horses and the ranch.  First of all, it isn't our ranch.  It's a 9 acre ranch up in our local mountains, at 4,000 feet elevation, where I board my horses.  It is owned by a wonderful couple, Cathy and Bill, who raise Peruvian Paso horses.  They are in the Rose Parade every year, so you can look for the Southern California Peruvian Paso group on January 1st.  I found Cathy through the Horse Trader, which is a magazine for horse people (and other interested ones) ...gosh...what?  4 years ago.  I had my horses up in Lancaster, which was 3 HOURS away from our home in the desert, up in the high desert.  I originally started with 1 horse, Sunni, who I adopted from United Pegasus, when they were in Hemet (they are now in Tehachipi).  I boarded him with a friend down here in the low desert.  Then, in September of 2006, my husband took our son with him on a vacation to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons while I was in school.  (Hmmmpppffffttttt!) So, while they were gone, I began cruising the Internet, looking at horse rescues.  I found Beauty and Gigondas on a so-called horse rescue (that's a WHOLE other story...) up in Washington state and adopted both of them.  Then, I had to get them to Southern California.  Fortunately, a wonderful couple did haul horses for a living and were familiar with the rescue, so $1,000 later, I had 2 more horses.  Unfortunately, my friend refused to board another 2 horses, (don't ask me why and no, we are no longer friends!), so I was left to scramble and find somewhere to put 3 horses!  There was a gal who also got a couple of horses from the same so-called rescue and she offered to board all 3 of mine.  BUT, she was 3 hours away!  I didn't know about the Horse Trader then, so I took up her offer and hubby and I spent almost a year driving up to Lancaster every other weekend.  She had a trainer and a couple of them were saddle broke, but that's as far as I went with them.  Hubby got "horse fever" too and found Cali and Scout on a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) online auction, bid on them, and we ended up with 2 mustangs and a total of 5 horses!  The Lancaster gal kept raising her board and finally, in frustration, I picked up an issue of the Horse Trader and found Cathy's ad for boarding and she was a LOT closer to home.  I called and asked to see her ranch and immediately fell in love.  She has a round pen, a large arena, individual corrals for the horses, a wash rack, and a tack room.  I found a gal to haul "the herd" from Lancaster to Anza.  I remember that day...she had a 5 horse trailer (thank goodness) and ALL the horses loaded except Scout.  But, Scout was calling to the other horses.  She just refused to be haltered.  Finally, the gal said in frustration, "I'm going to try ONCE MORE and if I can't get her haltered, we are LEAVING!"  Now, I'm always reluctant to split up my horses and I wasn't going to have ANY horse left behind, so finally Scout relented and off we went!  MOVING DAY!!!!  It sure is a lot easier having them all just 35 minutes away than 3 HOURS!!!!!  And, they receive wonderful care up in the mountains and occasionally they get snow in the winter!  Anyway, here are some photos of the ranch yesterday and the red leaves on a few of the maples.  It was a nice, clear, warm day and I drove up to my 6 bags of pellets for the herd and it took me an hour to unload it all!  I'll go back through my archives after I post here and post some more photos of the ranch.  It really is delightful!  It's much cooler up there in the summer and in winter, it's nice to see some snow! If you really wish to follow my horses, please go to my main horse blog, which is at:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Friday Fences~wooden fence and manzanita~112511

I took a side road up on Highway 74 and Highway 371 today and drove up by some of the houses on the hill.  I saw this wooden fence and manzanita, which was well maintained, even if it is old.  I always seem to be on the lookout now for fences to photograph!  Ha~a new interest!  There are quite a few houses on this hill and I'll return another time to take more photographs of the fences up there.  Friday Fences for November 25, 2011. To view Friday Fences, please go to:

The maples have finally turned~Nature Notes~112411

When I went up to the horse ranch where I board my horses on Tuesday, I was thrilled to see the maples there had turned bright red.  One tree, however, is already bare.  But, three still had their leaves, so after the lesson with three of my horses, I wandered over to take a look.  Aren't they beautiful?  I hadn't been up to visit my horses for a couple of weeks, so I'm glad I have this week off school, even though Monday and Tuesday were furlough days.  I was there for the horses' lesson and they've made a LOT of progress since August, when I was last able to attend a lesson with them.  They all now patiently stand at the tie rack and they don't pull back.  That was a real problem for Quad, my off the track thoroughbred, and Sunni, my big gelding. Each of them got a turnout in the arena and Quad was the only one who took off running and bucking!  Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your family time.  I'm making a quick trip up to the ranch this morning to give the horses some psyllium, then back home for a shower and then dinner with the family. To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I drove up to check on the horses this morning and to be there for their weekly lesson with my trainer.  Unfortunately, she hasn't been able to work with any of them for over two weeks because of all the rain, rain, rain!  Hmmmm......It rains, then clears for several days, then rains again and the arena is VERY slippery.  But, since I'm home this week, I was hoping she would come today and she did.  She worked 3 of my 5 horses (not the two mustangs) and I can see how they have progressed since August.  They all have much softer eyes and that's a big thing for a PMU gelding who was terrified of every sound and leaf moving and a hyper thoroughbred!  I'll post pics from the lesson later this week.  I stopped at the oak forest, which is on Cahuilla Indian land, to gather some acorns for our scrub jay, who inhabits our neighborhood.  I thought I saw snow on one of the hillsides there, but it turned out to be a heavy frost.  I grabbed my camera and did my best to capture the frost on the weeds and log.

"The Dancer" and clouds~Our World Tuesday~112211

I stopped by to visit my favorite dead tree up in the pinyon forest last weekend, as a storm was gathering.  I always worry that someday I'll drive by and she will be gone, but she was still there, limbs stretching into the wind.  The clouds were moving down the mountain.  I'll be heading back up the mountain today to go check on the horses.  There is a new dusting of snow on the Santa Rosa mountains behind these smaller ones, so I'll need to bundle up!  Our World Tuesday for November 22, 2011.  To visit OWT, please go to:

Monday, November 21, 2011

More clouds and mountains

Well, it was cloudy all day here yesterday in the desert and up on the mountain.  I haven't been outside yet this morning, but the news reported that we got rain last night.  If so, I'll head out this morning for my walk.  These are some pics from last weekend, which was similiar to yesterday's weather.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Living Desert, Part 3~the trains!

Yes, the little guy was fascinated by the trains!  He especially liked the little train that went by with logs on the cars!  These trains are very authentic-looking and are supported by the local miniature train association.  The volunteers spend HOURS maintaining the trains, buildings, and exhibits.  This gentleman was busy putting a sealant on the roofs of the buildings!  You can see the size of the exhibits by looking at him.  Both my husband's father and grandfather were railroad men, so I can see why the grandson is so fascinated, although, I must admit, I was too!!!

Living Desert~part 2

And the adventure continued...No, that isn't a real wart hog.  There are statues of a momma and baby and GUESS WHO went over to the baby and pulled its tail...sigh...just like a little boy!  He wasn't sure about the vicious goats (see them basking in the sun?) apparently because one did head butt another Ben kept his distance from them.  But, he LOVED to hear the moos of the hungry African cattle (LOOK at those horns!)  They were demanding their breakfast! be continued...