Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014

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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fields of yellow~Mellow Yellow Monday~043012

I drove up through Garner Valley on Saturday.  It was a gorgeous morning and I really wanted to get out and see some scenery.  And, to my delight, the meadows were awash with yellow wildflowers!  They were everywhere!  I drove out one road next to a huge meadow and just sat and stared and listened to the meadowlarks!  These are some of the scenes I saw for Mellow Yellow Monday.  To visit MYM, please go to:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beauty in mud~Sunday Stills Challenge~042912

See?  Mud CAN be beautiful, especially when there are fresh tracks in it, like these dog tracks..  Our local mountains had TONS of rain Wednesday evening, so I was anxious to drive up there yesterday (and see my horses).  On the way home, I took one of my favorite side roads up in Pinyon because I know it always is muddy after a rain storm and I found these undisturbed tracks.  There were no human tracks around them, but people do walk their dogs up there. Maybe coyote tracks?  Definitely canine... They were the only tracks in the mud.  I may return there today for another look.  Sunday Stills Challenge for April 29, 2012.  To visit SSC, please go to:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bighorn sheep and a close call!

Well, a bighorn sheep was hit and killed up on the highway this week.  Some elderly gentleman was driving up the mountain and SPLAT! ran into a bighorn sheep and struck it and mortally wounded it.  Somebody wrote in to the local newspaper and stated that he'd seen the sheep hanging around the area for about a week.  Hmmm...that doesn't sound good (or healthy...)  The driver apparently wasn't cited.  And, I nearly was hit by an oncoming truck and horse trailer while I was trying to drive by a bicyclist on a curve today.  That road is BARELY wide enough for two cars, let alone bicyclists.  Frankly, I believe that bicyclists should be BANNED from the road.  Period.  There just isn't anywhere to go when you have to TRY to go around one and there is oncoming traffic!!!  I sped up to pass him, then, to my horror, the truck and trailer were slightly over their lane and we nearly hit.  I slammed on my brakes and avoided a collision (the LAST thing I want to do is to hit either an animal or a horse trailer!)...I blew my horn at the bicyclist and continued on, shaken but in one piece.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fence post and clouds~Friday's Fences~042712

When I drove up the mountain highway Monday afternoon to get to the feed store before it closed, these clouds were spilling over the mountain.  I stopped along the way and snapped a couple of photos which happened to be right by a fence.  I like the mood of the top one, with the clouds spilling down the mountain. They were moving quickly because a low front was moving in.  We actually got rain down in the desert last night and this morning!  Strange weather, indeed!  Friday's Fences for April 27, 2012.  To visit Friday's Fences, please go to:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Animal tracks~Nature Notes~042612

Last weekend I stopped and parked at the end of the street where we had our 5 acres 35 years ago up in Garner Valley.  I've always continued to drive by the lot.  For years (many years...) it sat empty.  It was only a few years ago that somebody finally built a house up in the rocks on the lot.  My husband and I used to take our VW camper and our German Shepherd and drive up there from the desert and camp out on the weekends.  We took our little propane stove and had a blast.  This was BK (before kids).  I was pregnant with our daughter and we still continued to camp up there.  However, once she was born and our son was on his way, we could no longer make the $99 a month payment on it, so we sold it...sigh...I still enjoy driving by it, however, and at the end of the street there's a locked gate.  But it is also a trail to an old, abandoned mine further up on the mountain, which I've never hiked to before.  Last Sunday, however, I did hike back along the wash which runs down from the mountains.  I used to walk in that wash 35 years ago and saw bobcat footprints and even a bobcat.  My first owl flew over my head silently in that wash, too.  I had never hiked back 1/4 mile to where I was on Sunday and I was surprised to see a cabin back there, nestled among the trees.  I was so busy looking at all the interesting footprints in the sand that I nearly walked right up to the cabin!  I believe it is on private property, so I didn't intrude.  I did see all these neat footprints in the wash.  I think one set is a raccoon.  I don't know what the small ones next to my foot are...can anybody identify them for me?  I'd like to return again to this spot...maybe this next weekend?  Nature Notes for April 26, 2012.  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Preparing for summer~Our World Today~042412

When I drove up the mountain highway to check on my horses yesterday, I was surprised to see all these water bottles neatly placed on one of the turnouts.  There is a trail here which a lot of people use (I've never been on it, however).  I occasionally see a couple of water bottles there for hikers, but never this many.  It made me stop and think that with our recent high temperatures (it was 105 degrees down in the desert yesterday) that summer is nearly upon us!  ACK!  Here it is, the last week of April and people are placing water bottles already.  Believe me, there are times when somebody would welcome a bottle of water, like one of these!  However, today was only 92 degrees!  I took a quick run up the mountain road to stop at the feed store and buy bags of pellets for the horses because a storm front is moving in.  As I drove to the summit of the highway, clouds were spilling over the tops of the mountains and the Anza valley was totally shrouded with clouds.  And, it was sprinkling.  Er, uh...I think Thursday's storm is already here!  So, we've gone from 90 and 100+ degree days to cold, wet weather up in the mountains and a storm rolling in!  Ahhhh....spring!  Our World Tuesday for April 24, 2012. Oh, and if you are wondering, yes, I have left full water bottles here, also.  This seems to be a major trail which I believe leads down into Carrizo Canyon, a parallel canyon to Deep Canyon, but it runs along the western edge of Palm Desert.  To visit OWT, please go to:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The enchanted forest

I've been trying to locate a trail which leads up to an old miner's cabin up in Garner Valley.  Apparently it begins on the road where we had our property 35 years ago!  I've driven to the end of the road several times, but this morning I actually had the energy to go explore it.  So, off I went with my camera, my hat, and my water!  It is at the top of a large wash and I was able to see many animal footprints along the sand there.  Also, a large hawk (I think it was a red-tailed hawk) took off from one of the trees next to the cabin, but I couldn't adjust my lens speed quickly enough to get a decent photo of him...darn!  It snowed up there last weekend and the ground was moist and wet and smelled...WONDERFUL!  I discovered a rock-lined trail which led up to a cabin (which I never knew existed).  It didn't look like anybody was home, but I steered clear of it.  I hiked back about 1/2 mile from the road.  I'll return another time for a better look.  After all, it was my second hike of the morning.  Here are a couple of photos of the trail and cabin.

Mountain time

I didn't head up the mountain yesterday.  I'm finding that after teaching all week, I'm still exhausted on Saturdays, so I stayed home, did laundry, and planted my cosmos, black eyed Susan seeds, and more sunflower seeds.  The dogs "helped" me.  HA!  If you call walking all over my newly-planted seeds helping!!!!  I really didn't do much else.  I stayed in my work clothes all day...sigh...I did wander over to my neighbor's yard sale and saw a little TV for sale for $10, so I bought it and put it in my office.  I needed one in there because I moved my laptop there (it's our daughter's old room) and I now spend most of my waking time at my laptop in there, looking out the window at the birds out front.  When I get up in the mornings, at 4:30 a.m., it would be nice to have the news on while I blog, so I figured $10 wasn't a bad deal for a little TV.  I like my office (my "woman cave") because I can sit and look at the birds in the front yard and as soon as I wash the windows, I'll start taking photos of some of them.  The scrub jay comes to visit every now and then, although he's been quiet lately and we think he's out looking for a mate.  We do now have a male Oriole who comes and enjoys the sunflower seeds, along with various finches and sparrows and doves.  I have two sock feeders for some kind of little bird with yellow feathers (I haven't identified it yet).  There is also a Cooper's hawk who now claims our neighborhood as his territory and I notice that when the birds spot him, they ALL disappear!  Anyway, hubby has to leave for work early this morning, so I'll head out and drive up the mountain and take photos.  He's taking my Canon to work with him, so I'll be using my Nikon.  I don't really have any new photos, but I took these during my morning walk last week and also I took these pics of my flowers with my Nikon and also the one on the bottom, which is looking up toward Deep Canyon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cal State Palm Desert campus~Weekend Reflections~ 042112

There's a new satellite campus of Cal State San Bernardino in Palm Desert now, along with a satellite campus of UC Riverside.  They are on acreage right next to one another and it's hard to tell where one begins and the other ends.  I drove through the parking lot and got out one weekend morning a few weeks ago because I had time to go exploring.  I'm glad I stopped.  Just look at the reflections!  And, look at this beautiful bronze horse statue.  Isn't he magnificent?  He reminds me of Sunni, my quarter horse/draft gelding.  The statue is called "Freedom Horse".  I need to return to this campus and take more photos.  Maybe I'll do that in August when the thunderheads return.  Weekend Reflections for April 21, 2012.  To visit Weekend Reflections, please go to:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Horses, snow, and fences~Friday's Fences~042012

Really, what words are needed?  Friday Fences for April 20, 2012.  To visit other fences, please go to:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center~Nature Notes~041912

Hubby was home last weekend, but was too tired to do anything, so Saturday morning, I headed down to Indio to the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center.  The center has been open for 16 years and I'd never been there.  I have a good friend who volunteers down there and has a large cage full of morning doves up at her ranch, so I knew about it.  I just never took the time to go there myself.  And, since Saturday was still a stormy day and I didn't wish to drive up the mountain road to my horses, I decided to stay close to home.  I'm glad I finally visited the center.  They have an owl who lives on the premises and various other birds who come to visit.  Most of their birds are caged or in enclosures because they cannot be released back into the wild due to the injuries or the fact that they were hand raised and don't know how to hunt prey.  I saw several species of owls, which I have NEVER photographed in the wild (that's on my "to do" list), so I was pleased to be able to get up close and view them (sorry for the bars in some photos, but the birds were in cages)...We used to have a barn owl come visit our cottonwood tree in the back yard, but I haven't heard one for several years.  The bird with the yellow head is a yellow-headed blackbird who comes to visit the quail and eat the feed that they throw out of their cage!  There was a hawk who was doing duty as a surrogate mother to a brood of eggs and we had to carefully avoid making noise around her or disturbing her.  I believe she was a red-tailed hawk.  I learned quite a bit in my short time at the center and I bought a bird pocket identification guide called "golf course wildlife" which lists most of the birds I see here in the desert.  The center is located at the water district reclamation ponds, which have been planted with reeds so that migrating birds may stop and get water and food on their way north or south.  Speaking of migrating birds, when I do my morning walks, I now hear Canadian geese.  I'm assuming they are on their way north.  They are off in the distance and I don't see them, but I sure can hear them! Anyway, I plan on returning to the bird center in a few weeks for another tour.  Hopefully the day won't be so gray!  Nature Notes for April 19, 2012.  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:  Does anybody have any tips about how to photograph an owl in the wild?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More yucca blossoms, different camera

I had both my Canon and my Nikon with me last weekend when I stopped to take photos of the yucca blossom.  Yesterday's photos were taken with the Canon (which I'm STILL learning how to use...).  These were taken with my Nikon (D40x).  Which do you like better?  It seems to me that the Nikon ones are more crisp and clear, but I'm biased toward the Nikon.  I've always loved that camera.  (It's the one that went flying, THUMP! on the floor of the cabin up at Mammoth last fall and when I fell SPLAT on my face after coming into the cabin with snow on my boots and sliding on the kitchen floor. The viewfinder on it was smashed).  Hubby sent it out for repairs and I really haven't used it much lately, but I did take it with me this weekend.  Anyway, let me know which set of photos you like better...The Nikon is MUCH lighter than the Canon, but it's an older model and it is more difficult to change the settings on it.  The Canon is a newer model, but I'm still learning how to use its settings and frankly, I was disappointed with the photos I took last weekend.  The sky was washed out on every single one of the photos I took and I was taking some at 250/second...I noticed that one these, the sky isn't washed out.  Tomorrow I'll do some more comparisons.  I prefer the Nikon for sunrise and sunset photos because it seems to capture the colors better than the Canon...any thoughts, or ideas?  Which do you use?

Yucca blossoms~Macro Monday, Our World Tuesday~041712

As I was speeding driving by the little community of Pinyon Pines last Sunday, I noticed a single yucca blooming alongside the road.  Good thing I pulled over, as a California Highway Patrol vehicle went by!  Actually, I wasn't speeding.  I DO NOT speed on that road...EVER!  I'm always on the lookout for wildlife on it and I actually saw a coyote running along the side of it on my way back.  He/she could have darted right out into oncoming cars, so I honked and yelled at it and it dove into the cover of the manzanita along the road.  Phew!  ANYWAY, I pulled over to take some photos of this yucca, since it is one of the very few I've seen up on the mountain this year.  There are some down in the desert, next to the Bighorn development, but I would have to park and walk a long way to see them as the city doesn't allow parking along that stretch of road.  I really wanted to get up close and see these blooms.  There were water droplets still on them from Friday's snowfall and this was Sunday morning.  Aren't they beautiful?  I also included a photo of the whole stalk so that you could see how many blooms there were! Macro Monday and Our World Tuesday for April 17, 2012. To visit OWT, please go to:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Burnt Cabin

There's a road up in our local mountains called "Burnt Cabin Road" and yes, indeed, near that road there IS a burnt-out cabin.  It's been this way ever since I can remember...I haven't found a road down TO it yet.  Hmmm...I wish I still had the 4-wheel Toyota RAV!  Anyway, I know there is a road because I've seen people down there once.  I'd like to go investigate it someday, when hubby is with me.  I wouldn't do it alone, however!  Guess that's on my "to do" list!  Anyway, over the winter the roof finally caved in and this is what it looked like this past weekend.  It is down in a hollow and I've never seen a road which goes to the cabin, but I'll ask around town and see what I can find out!

Back to Deep Canyon and snow!!!

We had a low pressure system come through here Friday afternoon and evening.  The ranch owners came down here to the desert and got caught in it on their way home that late afternoon.  They said the truck in front of them slid off the road!  Fortunately, they made it back to the ranch without incident.  It was still cloudy and cold Saturday and I couldn't even see the tops of the mountains, but Sunday was crisp and clear and I was anxious to see how much snow was on our mountains.  It was down to about 4,500 feet.  I left home here in the desert about 7:30 a.m. and drove up the road to see the snow and my horses.  There was still some snow at the ranch and it was very muddy up there.  Quite a few cars had stopped along the road so that kids could play in the snow.  With temperatures forecast to the 90's this week, and even 100 degrees by Friday, the snow won't last long.  I did notice that there were more wildflowers blooming along the roadside and I'll take some photos of them next weekend.  Here are some pics from Sunday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sedona river trail

Hubby and I stopped at the Red Rock state park near Sedona and we walked down along the river.  Hubby had done this before, but I hadn't.  I'm so glad that I did!  It was beautiful and cool down there and the sound of the rushing water was soothing.  It was a pleasant experience.  We could hear a hawk or other bird of prety off in the distance.  We never saw it, but just hearing it was enough.  If you are ever in Sedona, make sure you stop at the Red Rock state park.  They have a beautiful visitors' center there and well-marked trails.