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.






Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sonoma



Yesterday morning we headed up to Healdsburg for breakfast and then to Sonoma before driving over to Napa for our Christmas family dinner.  I always love stopping in Sonoma, but we got there about noon and the parking was really crowded.  We drove around the town square a couple of times before a spot opened up.  Our daughter and son-in-law wanted to find a little cooking shop, but it has gone out of business, so they headed over to the Sonoma Cheese Factory.  Hubby and I walked around the park.  The plaza there in Sonoma is the largest in California, and is just over 8 acres. Sonoma was the seat of the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846 and served as the capital for a while.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Solvang, CA



Solvang is a small Danish-themed town in California, about 30 minutes outside of Santa Barbara.  We frequently stay in Buellton, which is next to Solvang, on our trips to northern California.  My sister-in-law lives in Napa and we are heading up there for an after-Christmas dinner tomorrow night.  We love to stay in Solvang and eat breakfast at the Little Mermaid restaurant.  We always have the abelskevier (round pancakes) and relax before hitting the road.  Don't they look yummy?  I forgot to take a photo before I devoured them, so I'm sorry for the messy plate!  Yum, yum!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Arizona afternoon~SkyWatch Friday~122311

As we were driving back to Scottsdale from Wickenburg the other afternoon, I stopped to take just a couple of photos of the saguaros in the late afternoon light.  Clouds were to the north of us, up toward Prescott.  But this area of the desert was clear and the light was golden.  SkyWatch Friday for December 22, 2011.  To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:   http://skyley.blogspot.com/

UPDATE on blog

Okay.  After emails from a couple of readers, I went ahead and updated my storage to 20 GB on Google.  It was only $5.00 a year, which isn't that much and now I'll have lots of room for photos and my header.  Thank you for your comments and suggestions!  Problem solved!  Now, I need to find my header photo!
~~Cheryl Ann~~

I lost my header and Google storage question~I'm HEADERLESS

Yes, I've lost my header photo.  I tried deleting it and putting up a new one yesterday and Picasa tells me I'm at my 1 MB limit and I have to purchase more storage!  WHAT???  I don't want to start deleting posts and photos, and it's only $5.00 for more storage, but it's the principle of the thing....(I'm STUBBORN...)...any ideas or suggestions?  What program do you use to store your photos?  I use Picasa/Google.  I only have it because I need some sort of program to crop/resize/lighten photos and I don't have Photoshop....any suggestions?  If not, when we get home, I'll just order the $5.00 storage from Google.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cave Creek regional park







By noon yesterday, the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds and I was ready to head out.  Hubby was lollygagging around ...sigh...but finally got it together.  I'd heard about the regional park at Cave Creek, so we headed over there.  For $6.00, you can enter the park and hike and take photos.  There is a visitor center there with two very friendly folks and I stopped and bought some postcards to take home.  We ate our lunch there (lunch from AJ's...I had a salad) and then headed up one of the trails.  I could see a mountain biker coming down the trail, so I warned hubby to watch for him as he was zooming down the trail.  Clouds started turning dark up there and we didn't wish to get too far up the trail, but isn't the afternoon light gorgeous?  As we drove away, it got darker and darker.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Windows galore and a door, too~Windows and Doors~122011

No, this isn't Arizona.  Rather, this building is up in Morongo Valley, CA.  I was going through my archives to find something to post for Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors, a new weekly meme and I found this one.  WWDD for December 20, 2011.  To visit this meme, please go to:  http://iwishiwereaphotographer.blogspot.com/2011/12/whimsical-windows-delirious-doors-3.html

Monday, December 19, 2011

Arizona pics



Hubby and I are over in Arizona for a few days vacation before Christmas.  We drove out to the Superstition Mountains and Canyon Lake, which is on the same road, today.  Tomorrow we are heading to Cave Creek. We enjoy our trips to Arizona, since it is only 4 hours from home, not like the 6-8 hours we travel to the Sierras.  While I miss the Sierra Nevada, Arizona has its own special places for us, like the Superstition Mountains.  I always insist that we drive out there, no matter what the weather.  Today, clouds were hanging on the mountains and it was dark and cloudy.  But, further up the road,especially Canyon Lake, the sun was out...go figure!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Early morning at the park and ducks


I had to stop and drive a fellow teacher to school yesterday morning, and I had about 20 extra minutes before picking her up, so I stopped by the park.  It was just barely sunrise and I had my tripod in the car (THANK GOODNESS!), so I set it up and took some photos.  I also had some pigeon food from a 50 pound bag that I bought at the feed store, which I bought at a discount because it had ripped open.  So, I had two ziploc bags full of pigeon food.  The ducks were all hungry and quacking at me, so I decided to feed them.  OH. MY. GOODNESS!  Once I started putting out food, there were ducks flying across the park in my direction!  I nearly got struck twice!  I could just see the headline:  "Local teacher killed by ducks in the park!"  OYE!  Then, I felt tugging on my pants and looked down to see a white duck with its mouth open (after tugging on my pants).  He was quite an amusing fellow!  I guess that's how he gets people to feed him!  There must have been over 100 ducks all around me as I made my backward exit to my car and safety!  I think I'll go back this morning and feed them again!  Hehehehehehe!  (If you click on the bottom photo, you can see the little Christmas lights on the wreath....)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mountain fence and snow~Friday Fences~121811


Snow-covered fence and snow and a fire in the fireplace...ahhhhhhh!  I wish I lived here!  It's always such a change to drive through the mountain communities, especially after a snow storm.  Friday Fences for December 16, 2011.  To stop by and visit Friday Fences, please go to:   http://lifeaccordingtojanandjer.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mountain snow



I went for an early morning walk today and was able to see all the snow on the local San Bernardino mountains.  It was still cloudy and snowing toward the south, and I couldn't even see the mountains there.  It was cloudy all day today and this storm is now heading over to Arizona and New Mexico.

fire engine in the park~Ruby Tuesday~121311




I stayed home yesterday because I'd been exhausted and sick all weekend.  However, I did have to run out and buy cat food as my cats looked at me with sad eyes which said, "We're STARVING!"...sigh...(Believe me, they are NOT starving!)  Anyway, I stopped by another local park and took some pics.  This fire engine for kids is in the Rancho Mirage park.  When our children were small, I always took them to this park.  The engine wasn't there then, but they had lots of swings at the other end.  The park was completely deserted, but on weekends, there sometimes are art shows there.  They have tennis courts at the far side and that's where the swings and picnic benches are located.  I may return today, as I need to run out and buy groceries for lunch, and I also want to see our mountains covered with last night's snow!  Ruby Tuesday for December 13, 2011. Isn't it cute?  I mean, what kid wouldn't want to climb on it, right?  Hmmmm....I'll need to take the grandson over to see it!  To visit Ruby Tuesday, please go to:   http://workofthepoet.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 12, 2011

Surprise~fall leaves



I thought I'd post these this morning because a severe winter storm is bearing down upon the Coachella Valley, with snow forecast down to 4,000 feet.  And, that's 8-12 inches of snow in our local mountains.  My horses may even get snow because they are boarded at a ranch at 4,000 feet in our local mountains.  Anyway, these are the LAST of the fall leaves up at the ranch, and, on this dreary morning, I thought I'd post them and bring you some color!  Enjoy your day.  I'm home sick...I've been sick all weekend...sigh...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crop loss~peppers







I posted the story of the loss of the Coachella Valley's entire pepper crop on my other blog (http://rav4adventures.blogspot.com) last week, but then I realize I'd written nothing about it on this one.  So, here goes.  Our valley had several nights of hard frosts this week.  Now, with a 365 day growing season, the large growers rotate their crops from summer crops to winter crops such as broccoli, lettuce, green onions, artichokes, and peppers.  On my way to school for several mornings, I saw smoke on the horizon down by my school where I teach, in Coachella.  Finally, on Thursday morning, I took my camera with me to investigate.  I have to be extremely careful driving out by these fields as a young woman from Indio was found dead in one of them last spring and her death remains unsolved.  So, I don't get out of my car.  I just point and use my telefoto lens.  Anyway, the smoke that morning was horrible.  It got all over me, my clothes, my car, my hair!  I must have smelled awful to the kids at school!  I noticed that at the end of the pepper rows, something was burning.  The last time our valley had a hard frost (about two years ago), the growers brought in bales of hay and set them on fire, attempting to save their crop.  This time, however, it didn't work.  The ENTIRE pepper crop (red, yellow, and green peppers) was lost.  They froze and turned to mush inside.  This worker was out trying to keep the fires going and several trucks were driving by to make sure they were burning.  It was very busy out there.  I also took my camera on Friday and that's when I noticed that the table grape vineyards had been trimmed.  It wasn't freezing Friday morning, but there was still smoke way back in the fields and I wasn't about to drive down unmarked dirt roads to try to get a photo!  I did take a few, but they were mostly of the artichokes growing in the fields.  We are supposed to get rain here Monday and Tuesday this coming week.  It's sad to see an entire crop lost to nature, but that's how it is.  I remember the year my sister-in-law lost her entire vineyard of Merlot grapes to a hard frost.  It took the vines several years to recover and she lost her income for several years. Anyway, here are some photos from last week.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The day after~vineyards are trimmed!!!!!!



I drove back out toward the vineyards near my school this morning and to my shock, they'd all been trimmed yesterday!  I mean, I didn't even get the memo!!!!!!!!  The leaves on the vines were just gone!  Actually, however, if you click on the photos, they are on the ground next to the grape stalks.  It was very busy out there this morning!  At one field, the workers were getting ready to harvest the broccoli.  There was a huge machine with arms on both sides of it sticking out.  Workers were arriving and parking their cars.  I should have taken photos, but I didn't wish to intrude.  Maybe next week....???  Some of these workers probably were the parents of some of my students and I didn't wish to bother them at work.  They all do NOT wish their children to do this, and were all very supportive for parent conferences this week.  I'll keep tabs on the grapes, but I'm NOT getting out of my car.  A young woman from Indio was killed last spring at this exact vineyard and her death has never been solved.  So, I just stay in my car and use my zoom lens.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Table grape fences~Friday Fences~120911



I drove out toward the table grape vineyards near my school this morning to take some photos of the smudge pots at work.  Along the way, I saw the table grapes quietly standing away from the smoke, in the morning sunlight.  To me, grapes are always a calming scene.  They stand quietly and regally, their sugar concentrating on the grapes which I didn't even see on them this morning.  I plan to return tomorrow morning once again as we've had nights of freezing temps here in the Coachella Valley.  These table grapes, when mature, will be shipped all over California and the country, but for now they are sleeping.  These are the well, not fences, but wires which hold them up.  Friday Fences for December 9, 2011.  To visit Friday Fences, please go to:   http://lifeaccordingtojanandjer.blogspot.com/

Roses in the Park~Nature Notes~120811 and Creative Exchange






I love going to our local civic center park and taking photos of the roses there.  They are so colorful and bright!  ...sigh...I just wish I could grow my own, but, for the last 40 years, I've killed every rose bush I've ever planted!  So, I go down to the park and admire theirs!  Aren't they beautiful?  Their petals are so delicate!  I actually used my tripod to take these.  I enjoy visiting the roses at the park and I've had a couple of early morning walkers stop by and chat with me.  It's a great way for me to begin the day!  Nature Notes for December 8, 2011.  I hope their color and vibrance bring a smile to you today!  :-)  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:  http://ramblingwoods.com/  To visit Creative Exchange, please go to:  http://www.the-creative-exchange.com/