Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014

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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Looking down Deep Canyon~Nature Notes~030112

It isn't every day that I can get views like this down into Deep Canyon.  I often have cars right behind me when I come down the mountain and I can't stop to take photos.  However, a couple of weeks ago, there weren't any cars behind me and I was able to just stop the click away!  There are so few turnouts that even if there wasn't any traffic, I would be able to get decent photos.  I'm glad I had this opportunity to take pictures of the drive down next to Deep Canyon.  I saw vultures up by Coyote Canyon, which intersects Deep Canyon this same trip, so I'm going to keep my eyes out for them from now on.  Nature Notes for March 1, 2012.  To stop by Nature Notes, please go to this link:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Seagulls~World Bird Wednesday~022912

You know, even here in the desert we have seagulls, especially near the Salton Sea.  Sometimes we also see them flying the thermals near Joshua Tree National Park.  So, last weekend, we saw lots of seagulls at the ocean by Laguna Beach.  At one spot, they were flying right above us and we had to dive for cover!  It was like the movie, "The Birds"! By the way, I've spotted some vultures out in Coyote Canyon and I'm hoping I'll see some this weekend!  World Bird Wednesday for February 29, 2012.  To visit WBW, please go to:

LOTS more snow~~~

This was the scene two weeks ago up in the ponderosa forest above Deep Canyon.  However, we had a HUGE storm move through yesterday and last night.  I haven't even been outside yet today, but snow was forecast down to 3,000 feet.  This is actually up at about 4,500 feet.  I can't wait for the weekend to go exploring and see how much is left! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gnarled tree~Sunday Stills Challenge~022612

Hubby and I aren't in the desert this weekend.  Instead, since his birthday is tomorrow, he wanted to drive to Orange County and so we are in San Juan Capistrano.  It is nice to get out of the desert every now and then and visit another place, which is one reason we travel as much as we do.  I hadn't visited this area since our own two children were 12 and 10 years old, about 20 years ago.  We did a lot of sightseeing today and at one point, we stopped along the Pacific Coast Highway to take some photos of the beach.  This gnarled tree was growing there and I have no idea what it is.  Can you believe the trunk?  I wonder if it gets a lot of wind and that is why it is so gnarled? And, what kind of tree IS it?  Sunday Stills Challenge for February 26, 2012.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thoroughbred farm fences~Friday Fences~022412

Last weekend, I drove up to the horse ranch and I had time to stop alongside the thoroughbred ranch which is on the way.  The place's fences are deteriorating, as you can see.  I guess this is a sign of the state of the economy.  There are few thoroughbreds there now, but they do board other horses there now.  Isn't it pretty with the storm clouds?  Friday Fences for February 24, 2012. To visit Friday Fences, please go to:

Snow on the mountains~Nature Notes~022312

Our local mountains got a LOT of snow in a storm last week and over the three day weekend, I headed up into them. I was actually surprised to still see snow several days after the big storm.  There are Ponderosa pines way up past Deep Canyon, in Garner Valley, and I wanted to see what the snow looked like up there.  Actually, there was snow starting at the pinyon forest, and then all the way up.  The pinyons grow at about 2,000 feet, but this is up at about 4,500 feet.  It looks like there was some excitement in the snow in the last photo.  I love driving through this part of the mountains, as we used to own 5 acres up there, when I was pregnant with our daughter.  Of course, we couldn't afford to keep it, so every now and then I drive by the lot, which is the second photo down.  It is so relaxing to drive by and hear the woodpeckers and the red tailed hawks.  There is a dead end street at one point and SOMEDAY I'm going to take my backpack and go hiking up there.  There are also rattlesnakes in this area!  It won't be this weekend~we are heading down to Orange County, but we'll be driving by the horse ranch, so I'll be able to stop and see them.  Nature Notes for February 23, 2012. To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Egret~World Bird Wednesday~022212

I found a new meme today...World Bird Wednesday!  I'm so excited to find this!  As some of you know, I have several other blogs and one one of them, Deserts and Beyond, I've been documenting my "duck adventures".  But, you know, the desert around Deep Canyon has many other birds.  On Saturday when I visited the Living Desert Reserve, I stopped in both aviaries to check out what birds were there.  Both had cattle egrets.  These long-legged birds are seen all over our desert and sometimes I see them out in the fields, along with cattle.  Often, they are just there in small groups.  I see them frequently on my morning walks along the golf course. So, here are my photos of the egrets at the Living Desert.  World Bird Wednesday for February 22, 2012.  To visit WB, please go to: 
By the way, I did spot a vulture on the top of the mountain Saturday, gliding out by Coyote Canyon, but by the time I was able to grab my camera, it was GONE!  Maybe next time...

The lagoon at the Living Desert Reserve~Watery Wednesday~022212

The lagoon at the Living Desert Reserve has been there for ever since I can remember (and that's 35 years!).  I've watched the reeds slowly engulf it.  Honestly, it's more than doubled its reed size in the last few years.  I often wonder how much water will be left in a few more!  But, it is such a quiet, restful spot.  They have benches there where you can sit.  Tadpoles swim around the border and birds gather here early in the morning, including a few ducks.  I wonder what it will look like in a few years?  Watery Wednesday for February 22, 2012. To visit Watery Wednesday, please follow this link:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thematic Photographic~Curved~022112

I'm also posted these photos for the Thematic Photographic theme of the week, "curved".  I found all of these items at the Living Desert Reserve in Palm Desert.  I think these are interesting curves!  What do you think?  I really like the curved dome and the curved wall at the discovery center.  And, look at the curly threads on the yucca!  Finally, look at the curves on a basket in the gift shop.  Interesting challenge for this theme, eh?  Thematic Photographic for February 21, 2012.  Here's a link to that site:

More from the Living Desert ~ Our World Tuesday~022112

The Living Desert Reserve is located at the bottom of Deep Canyon and I really should post more about it on this blog. Please see yesterday's post about the Cahuilla Indian hut. I've been a member there since I was pregnant with our daughter, who is now 33.  There was a devastating flood in the summer of 1976 and much of the reserve was washed away.  Cement berms have now been built to prevent this and in 1979 we had another flood and much of the preserve was protected.  Our own house wasn't, however.  My husband was away on business and I was at home alone with a 1 year old and I was pregnant with our son.  I grabbed both babies, our German shepherd, my purse, and a flashlight, put the babies and dog in our van, and walked across the street to wake up my elderly neighbor.  Then, I came back across our flooded street and woke up the neighbors next door because they had a house full of antiques.  My Siamese cat was smart enough to head for the roof, so I left her alone and headed out to find higher ground.  I found some, but then was stranded.  A firetruck came by and rescued all of us and we all spent the night at a local fireman's house.  The water and mud had gone 18" up on every house in our neighborhood and caused a lot of damage.  This was 3 years after the "100 year flood" of 1976...sigh...for years after that, every time it rained, I ran around the house and picked up ALL our shoes!  We lost everything that was on the floor...couches, chairs, our bed, shoes.  We got a SBA loan and new furniture.  I no longer panic in the desert monsoons, but I always keep a watchful eye out toward Deep Canyon, which is to the south of our home.  We actually didn't get water from Deep Canyon, but from Carrizo Canyon, which is to the west of DC.

Anyway, the Reserve is a wonderful place to take the family.  I've watched it grow since 1976.  It has grown from just a few buildings to a place now filled with plants and animals and lots of exhibits.  It really is very educational.  We are now taking the grandson there so that he can enjoy it.  Here are some pics from this weekend at the Living Desert.  Our World Tuesday for February 21, 2012.  To visit OWT, please go to:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cahuilla Indian hut~Whimsical Windows and Delirious Doors~022012

This is an authentic Cahuilla Indian hut which is at the Living Desert Reserve in Palm Desert, CA.  The reserve is at the end of Deep Canyon and I've been a member there for over 30 years.  A Cahuilla elder actually built this house and it is cool in summer, thanks to the palm fronds.  And, the breeze gently flows through it.  I love stopping by it and soaking in all of its smells.  It's a delightful place to visit and just stop and listen and close your eyes. While it doesn't have formal windows or a door, it is an integral part of the Cahuilla culture which is still in our valley.   WWDD for February 20, 2012.  If you would like to read more about the Cahuilla Indians, here is a link:  And, to visit WWDD, please go to:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Textures~Sunday Stills Challenge~021912

I like to call these "dragon teeth", but they actually are agaves.  There are a lot of these up on Highway 74, along Deep Canyon, but I actually found these at our local park  Aren't they interesting?  Don't get caught by one of these!  Sunday Stills Challenge for February 19, 2012.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Desert fence~Friday Fences~021712

This is typical of many of the fences in our desert and high desert.  It has space between the posts to allow the wind to pass through it. If it were a normal fence without space, it would quickly be blown over!  I found this one out by the Palm Springs windmills last Monday.  Ahhh...another 3 day weekend!  :-)  Friday Fences for February 17, 2012. To visit FF, please go to:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dove~Nature Notes~021612

There are so many doves out right now and this little fellow was keeping his eye on me last weekend when I went walking at the Santa Rosa Mountains visitor center.  There were quite a few cars lined up across the road and hikers were out on the trails all weekend.   Our mountains got quite a lot of snow last night and yesterday afternoon, but this weekend should be warm and clear. Nature Notes for February 16, 2012. To visit NN, please go to:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I kind of like this shot, even with dust blobs on it.  It shows how windy it was Monday afternoon.  And, I mean WINDY!  There were gusts up to 60 mph!  YIKES!  This was taken near Thousand Palms Canyon Drive, looking up toward the mountains of Deep Canyon, which are all the way across the valley.  Another storm is moving in this afternoon and snow is forecast down to 3,000 feet, so I'll be out again Thursday morning with my camera!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Looking up toward Deep Canyon~Our World Tuesday~021412

Yes, the wind was blowing today.  Right now, it's howling outside and all of our trees and being blown about!  This afternoon, I took a drive out around the valley to get some views of the mountains and clouds.  We don't always have views like these and I wanted to travel around and get into the coming storm.  I traveled away from Deep Canyon and instead went up to Morongo Valley, which is on the other side of the valley, then Desert Hot Springs, and finally up through Sky Valley and down Thousand Palms Canyon Road.  It took me 3 hours to do the complete drive, but I got some great photos!  I looked up, as I was driving home, and saw these clouds over Deep Canyon, so I pulled off and took this photo.  Our World Tuesday for February 14, 2012.  To visit OWT, please go to:  And, if you want to see more of this afternoon's photos, please go on over to my other blog, Deserts and Beyond.  Here's the link:

Jeep in the rocks

This is one of the last pullouts as one heads back down the mountain toward the desert.  I've never pulled off here because of all the ruts.  But, there were two Jeeps there on Saturday as I drove home from the horse ranch.  I should have pulled off here when I had the RAV4, but it is long gone...sigh...Someday I will stop here and hike up to the viewpoint.  I bet it's a spectacular view!  It won't be today as there is a wind advisory and snow is forecast at the top of the mountains and I have a headache.  The stomach flu is making the rounds down here and I need to rest up for the rest of the week.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Looking down the canyon~Santa Rosa mountains visitor center

I wanted to get out for a walk this morning so I headed up toward the Santa Rosa mountain visitor center, which is at the base of Deep Canyon.  There were a lot of cars parked across the street and people were out hiking, but the visitor center was deserted.  GOOD!  I saw finches, quail, and a cactus wren feeding on their feeders.  I had the whole place to myself.  At 8:00 a.m., it wasn't even open yet, so I walked around the trails there.  It was a beautiful, warm morning.  We haven't had much of a winter this year and we are having an early spring, so I can only IMAGINE what this summer will be like...sigh...But, I intend to take advantage of this beautiful weather while I can!  :-)  This is a view from the visitor center trails looking down toward Palm Desert.

Clouds and mountain

I drove up to stop and visit the horses yesterday.  A storm front was moving into the mountains and it was windy and COLD!  I got out of my car to take this photo and I had to put another layer on!  I already had a shirt and zip up sweater, but I got out my long fleece-lined denim jacket.  Brrrrrrrr!   The ranch owners were at a ride with some friends, so I had the ranch to myself.  I gave all my horses an extra meal and some oil to help them keep warm with the wind and cold temps.  I actually caught this image in my rear view mirror on the way up.  I sometimes see this cloud effect~where the clouds spill over the top of the mountains and then down below.  I don't know the name of it...if you do, please let me know!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dead tree and blue sky~SkyWatch Friday~021012

It was another sunny and clear weekend here in the desert and mountains last weekend.  Tomorrow, however, a cold front will be moving through and rain is forecast.  I'm not really sure which I prefer~clear, blue skies or moody, cloudy ones up in the pinyon forest.  I'm looking forward to taking some photos of the clouds and the mountain moods this weekend, especially since I also have no school on Monday!  :-)  SkyWatch Friday for February 10, 2012.  To visit SWF, please go to:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Twin agaves~Nature Notes~020912

I was driving up Highway 74, along Deep Canyon last weekend when I looked up and saw these twin agaves.  Fortunately there wasn't anybody behind me and I was able to just stop and shoot!  There are many agaves left over from last year, along with yuccas.  The difference is that the agaves shoot straight up and then the blossoms appear, where the yuccas have blooms all the way up.  Yuccas also have the curly fibers on their leaves, while agaves do not. Finally, yucca leaves are long and slender, while agaves are more fat and fiborous, like aloes.  I'm afraid that the lack of rainfall this year will result in a less-than-spectacular showing of wildflowers, agaves, and yuccas, but who knows?  Nature Notes for February 9, 2012.  To stop by Nature Notes, please go to this link: