Deserts and Beyond

Deserts and beyond...places in and around the southern California deserts and beyond. Photo taken at Canyon Lake, in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, December 2011. A few minutes later, after the sun disappeared, these cliffs were their normal color. They were only golden for a short time and I'm glad we were able to view them in their glory.






Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ducks, ducks, and more ducks!!! Nature Notes~120111




I've been walking around our local park in the late afternoons now, instead of in the morning, with a group of friends.  We always see people feeding the ducks there.  There's one lady who we call, "The Duck Lady".  She is an older woman with white hair and she always brings bags of bread crusts and bread for them.  Youngsters and their parents feed them, couples feed them, all ages of people feed them.  And, they seem to be multiplying!  I believe there are more ducks now than a few weeks ago!  I always enjoy watching the ducks and sometime I'm going to take my tripod with me and take more photos!  Nature Notes for December 1, 2011.  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:   http://ramblingwoods.com/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Park in the morning~Watery Wednesday~113011


Once again, I stopped by our local park in the morning before school.  Now I've joined a group of friends who walk it after they get off work, about 5 p.m.  However, none of us could make it tonight!  I'm not sure when I like the park more...early morning or late afternoon.  It's more crowded in the afternoon, but people stop there and feed the ducks, so there's more activity.  Children play on the slides and climb the toys, but all is silent and still in the morning...Watery Wednesday for November 30, 2011. To see Watery Wednesday, please go to;  http://waterywednesday.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 28, 2011

Red bell flowers~Our World Tuesday~112911



No, these aren't Christmas bells!  They are some kind of flower here in our desert and I have NO IDEA what they are!  But, aren't they adorable?  Our World Tuesday for November 29, 2011  To visit OWT, please go to:  http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pretty geranium~Macro Monday~112811

I headed out early this morning to meet a friend who was coming up to the mountains with me to help groom all my horses and I drove down El Paseo.  The sprinklers had just turned off and their flower beds were all sparkling with water drops.  Isn't this geranium pretty with the water drops on it?  Macro Monday for November 28, 2011. To visit Lisa's Macro Monday, please go to:  http://lisaschaos.com/

Saturday, November 26, 2011

water fountain



I stopped by our local community college over the holiday.  It was peaceful and deserted.  I noticed that the water fountain was on, so I stopped by to take a few photos.  I'm glad it was working and I had a chance to see it because this place is usually very crowded and visitor parking is in the lot miles away! Don't you love the palms?  There are two different species here...the tall palms and the shorter ones, which have the dates.  I forget their names...I'll have to look them up!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ranch gate~Friday Fences~112511

The Joshua Tree Ranch, which is now deserted, stands empty and quiet near the west entrance to the park.  We are heading up there tomorrow for a day of exploring and picture-taking.  I always like to stop by this ranch on our way back home.  Can you see the two saddles on top of the posts?  Friday Fences for November 25, 2011.  To visit Friday Fences, please go to:  http://lifeaccordingtojanandjer.blogspot.com/

Ducks lined up in a row

It was a warm, sunny morning at the park this week and all the ducks WERE lined up in a row next to the lake!  Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day today!  I'm heading up to the horse ranch to give the horses some psyllium, then back down the mountain to have dinner with the family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

park in the morning~Watery Wednesday~112311

I stopped by our local park the other morning.  It was early and very few people were there. The ducks were lined up, sleeping in the warm sun.  There were just a couple of people out walking their dogs, so I had the park to myself.  How nice!  I like the fall colors in this pic. Watery Wednesday for November 23, 2011. To visit Watery Wednesday, please go to:  http://waterywednesday.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Palms and dates



I went to our local park yesterday morning and was surprised to see dates on the palm trees there.  A couple of palms hadn't been trimmed and were FULL of dates!  Our local community college doesn't trim their dates and they will harvest theirs in January.  Don't these look yummy?  I've grown to love dates.  When we first moved here, about 35 years ago, I didn't eat them, but I've read up on their health benefits and now I eat them and savor them.  I used to feed some to my quarter horse, Sunni, when I boarded him down in Indio and he loved them!  There are groves of date palms further down in the valley and I'll head out that way another time.

Monday, November 21, 2011

After the storm~Our World Tuesday~112211





Our local mountains got snow last night and the desert floor got rain, so I went out early this morning for my walk.  And, this is what I saw!  Beautiful, snow-lined mountains surrounding our valley!  :-)  I wanted to get out and see the snow before most of it melted today.  It's my week off for the Thanksgiving break and I'm anxious to get out and take photos while I'm home this week.  Our World Tuesday for November 22, 2011.  To visit OWT, please go to:  http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/

Cheetah~Mellow Yellow Monday~11/21/11

Can you see it hidden among the tall grass?  Yup, the Living Desert Reserve actually let their cheetahs out on Saturday!  And, we saw one of them.  They usually aren't out in their exhibit (for some reason...), but this one was lounging up on top of their hill, enjoying the morning sun.  Mellow Yellow Monday for November 21,  2011.  To visit MYM, please go to:  http://mellowyellowmonday.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Living Desert Reserve





So, yesterday, as promised, we took the grandson up to the Living Desert Reserve to see the trains.  Only, we got there so early, they weren't running.  The LDR has a huge miniature train exhibit, complete with cities, farms, mountains, and a Grand Canyon!  It's really incredible.  Some of the volunteers from the local miniature train club were there doing some maintenance on the trains and little buildings.  You can see the size of the exhibit from the top photo.  And, the big adventure begins!  The LDR rents out the little strollers, which come with a strap.  Unfortunately, every time we stopped, we had to unstrap Ben, let him out, and then strap him back in!  He finally learned to do it himself (he's almost 3...in February)...We stopped to look at the leopards, since they were both out.  They have a male and female and they were playing with each other.  Grandpa got some good photos of them, but I was holding the munchkin.

WHY is it that when you take your kids or grandkid to some place special, their favorite thing is some oddball object?  We used to take our children to the San Diego zoo, where they liked the free-roaming chickens and baby chicks the best!  Here, Ben liked this little statute of a wart hog.  See piggy's tail?  PULL piggy's tail!...go figure!

To be continued...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just This and That~~and my camera




Hubby is sending my camera into the shop today to have the viewfinder fixed and for it to have a thorough cleaning.  Every time I take it up to the horses, dust seems to get in it and then I have "floaters" on my photos...spots of dust which show up on the photos...I took it with me yesterday morning and after cleaning it while I walked, they were still there...sigh...I'm going to miss my camera, but I'll have the new Canon EOS 7D.  However, you know, I just don't get the sharp, vibrant colors that I get with my Nikon, which is a D40x.  I LOVE this little camera.  If you don't know or remember the story, while hubby and I were up in the Sierra, at Mammoth last month, it snowed overnight and when I went out the next morning, I didn't remove my boots right away coming back into the cabin and I went "SPLAT" on the slippery kitchen floor and my Nikon went flying and "SPLAT" it hit the floor.  I was actually more concerned about my camera than myself, although I now have a swollen right knee and my right shoulder HURTS LIKE #$%%!  I threw my arms out to soften the blow and landed on my right side...BUT the viewfinder on my Nikon is busted and it will cost $150 just to fix it....sigh...I know, I know, I SHOULD have removed my boots immediately upon entering the cabin!  Believe me, hubby told me 10,000 times!!!!!  As you can see, however, the Nikon still takes photos...it's just that I can't view them!  So, I've been leaving it on shutter priority and hoping for the best!  We are taking the grandson today to the Living Desert to see the miniature train exhibit and I'll take the Nikon with me, but after that, she gets shipped off to the camera repair shop!  (....biting nails....)  All these photos were taken after the time change, during my morning walk.  I don't see any dust spots on these, but my later ones do have globs of dust all over them!  I'm not even sure I would have seen the spots using the viewfinder...sigh...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Anza sunset September, 2009~SkyWatch Friday~111811

I took these photos back in September of 2009.  I was up at the horse ranch where I board my horses one afternoon after school.  I drove up there because I had some things to do.  Then I remembered the date, September 11th...8 years after 2001.  And, that night, the sky displayed one of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen.  It was very moving and I'll never forget it.  SkyWatch Friday for November 18, 2011.

Thanksgiving week plans

Thanksgiving week is next week.  I usually have school Monday and Tuesday, but my school district is giving ALL teachers two days of furloughs (that means NO PAY...:-( on Monday and Tuesday.  We will also get another furlough day after spring break...sigh...   So, my plans for next week are to rent a rug shampooer and do all the carpets in the house one day, drive up Tuesday for a lesson with the horses, stuff myself on Thursday, then...who knows?  Hubby is off the entire week, so we may head over to Joshua Tree national park one day.  What are your plans for the holiday?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

time change~park in the early morning


I was going through my archives, looking at the photos I took before our latest Sierra trip and I found some I took early one morning at the park.  I didn't have my tripod with me, so I'm surprised this one came out at all!  Yes, it was dark there that morning.  I was waking up early because of the time change.  I still wake up early, but now it's lighter!  I'll have to do an "after" photo of the same spot, but after the time change!  The ducks were all lined up, ready for people to feed them, but I didn't have any food for them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Napa Valley vineyards~Our World Tuesday~111511







My sister-in-law works for Burgess Cellars in Napa, CA and we usually drive up there at Christmas to celebrate with the family.  I took these photos back in 2006, in December.  I thought you might like to see these mature vines, as opposed to the "babies" in the Anza vineyards that I posted yesterday.  These vines are 50+ years old and are in their prime.  They produced zinfandel wine and I found some grapes still on the vines which were still on the vine after the fall harvest. (see 5th photo) Now they have been grafted over and produce cabernet or merlot.  I love to walk among the vines and just look at them.  To me, there is something magical about them.  Maybe it's that to get a really good wine, the vines have to struggle, to undergo challenges of rocky soil and sparce water.  My sister-in-law has 10 acres of merlot herself and believe me, it IS a struggle to produce quality wine!  One year, while she was in Europe, a hard frost occurred and her vineyard manager couldn't get the pots lit in time to save her entire crop.  It was destroyed by the frost.  It has taken her over 4 years to recover from that one hard frost...sigh...On the other hand, she paid for a month-long European summer vacation for both of our children upon their graduation from college and they got to explore France and its vineyards with Aunt Cathy!  Our daughter stayed in southern France with her, but our son went out exploring to Florence, Berlin, Munich, and Amsterdam.  I am eternally grateful to her for her generosity and I can't wait to visit the Napa Valley again.  Our World Tuesday for November 15, 2011. To visit OWT, please go to:  http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/

Anza vineyards


There was an article recently in the Los Angeles Times about wine grapes being grown up in Anza.  That's near where I board my 5 horses, so I drove by one of the small vineyards.  My sister-in-law has 10 acres of Merlot up in Napa and my husband used to be a wine broker, so I'm fairly familiar with vineyards.  I love to see them in the autumn.  The leaves turn brown and other colors.  It's a quiet time for them.  It was a dark and dreay, rainy day on Saturday, when I drove by this small vineyard.  The problem with growing wine grapes in Anza is that they do get late frosts, which would severely damage the grapes on the vines.  I guess time will tell whether or not Anza becomes another wine growing region in Southern California.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Clouds a few seconds later~Sunday Stills Challenge~111311


It's interesting what a difference just a few seconds can make when I'm out taking photos.  Today was a dull, dreary, rainy day...perfect for leaving the desert and driving up to the mountains!  I headed out early, about 7:30 a.m. hoping to catch some interesting clouds along the mountains.  My first photo was...blah...but, just a couple of seconds later, look at the difference! It's all about the light...it's all about the light...it's all about the light.  I think I get it now!  Sunday Stills Challenge for November 13, 2011.  The challenge was to take a poor photo of a subject and then to take a better one, so I hope I've accomplished that!  Top photo is the blah one.  Bottom photo was taken just a few seconds later. I think it is much more dramatic than the top one.  What do you think?  To visit SSC, please go to:  http://sundaystills.wordpress.com/