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, May 30, 2012

Idyllwild frost!


The family all drove up to Idyllwild over the holiday weekend and we stayed in a two story cabin, complete with a full kitchen.  We basically just stayed there and went around town a little bit.  We all wanted to relax and enjoy a different environment and boy, was it different!  Hubby and I drove up Friday afternoon (I had a furlough day), got the food put away in the cabin, figured out who got which bedroom, and lit a fire in the wood-burning stove. It was COLD Saturday morning and when our daughter and I headed out to the store to buy some coffee creamer, I took these photos.  I thought it was snow, but the local merchants told me it was frost.  Isn't it amazing?  I can't wait for our next trip back up there.  Idyllwild is at about 6,000 feet, up a solid granite mountain (formed from the nearby San Andreas fault).  We all had a relaxing weekend and we had some good family time together.  The grandson got to feed peanuts to the blue jays and squirrels and he discovered a caterpillar making its way across the railing (probably a meal for one of the blue jays!)  For those of you who commented that how could there be frost in May, remember this is at 6,000 feet in our local mountains and a storm front moved in overnight.  We could see the clouds Saturday morning at sunrise.  And, the desert was cooler that morning, also...it was only 82 degrees that day and it had been in the 100's the previous week.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yucca sunrise~SkyWatch Friday~052512

Yuccas and a desert sunrise...what more could I want? Well, it would have been nice to see some coyotes, but not on this morning, when I woke up at 4 a.m. and was out the door by 5:15 a.m. for my morning walk.  I got quite a surprise yesterday morning.  I decided to walk around the way I used to go (counterclockwise) and I stumbled upon a homeless person's bedding!  He wasn't there, but it spooked me enough to go the other way! SkyWatch Friday for May 25, 2012.  To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:   http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sprinklers in the morning

Sometimes, if I get up early enough, I can catch the sprinklers at the city-owned golf course, like on this morning.  I actually awoke at 4:00 a.m. and was out the door by 5:15 a.m.  This was about 6:00.  I love the look of sprinklers here in the desert.  We have so few opportunities to see water!  I was going to post this on Watery Wednesday, but I see it's been closed since March.  Does anybody know what happened?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peek-A-Boo~Ducks at the Park~World Bird Wednesday~052312




I've always loved birds and I've always enjoyed the white ducks at our local park.  I found these guys on Saturday morning. Aren't they adorable?  I thought one was playing peek-a-boo with me, but he was just separated from his gang.  There were three of them.  The white ducks appear to be very healthy and they've been at the park for years. I've never seen any of them fly...apparently they are content to stay at the park.  No wonder~ so many people feed them!  World Bird Wednesday for May 23, 2012. To see other birds, please go to WBW at:   http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 21, 2012

Just around town...



And sorry for not posting today.  My laptop is giving me fits.  I couldn't even load photos this morning and this afternoon I got the dreaded Microsoft "screen of death".  Ack!  That really scared me!  I turned off the computer, let it sit for several hours while I watched my tape of Dancing with the Stars, turned it back on, crossed my fingers, and it's now working again, but I really don't know how much time I have with this laptop.  It's old.  It's SLOW.  It's CRANKY!  It's a hand-me-down from hubby.  Frankly, I need a new laptop.  I'm constantly losing my Internet connection...sigh...I'll have to save up for a few months in order to buy a new one, so I'm crossing my fingers that this one will at least last for a few more weeks.  In the meantime, here are some pics from this weekend.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Yucca bloom in the morning

Pretty yucca bloom in the early morning.  I haven't seen hide nor hair of a coyote now for 4 days.  I DID see one last week, on a morning when I only had my little camera and I took an hour's walk yesterday morning without seeing an ear twitch.  I now believe that they are on the other side of the block eating their breakfast scraps and then they mosey down to where I'm walking and take a nap when I'm out and around.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Befunky sunrise


I was playing around with Befunky this afternoon because, while I liked this photo, I didn't like the black dust smudge in the upper left corner.  I don't have PhotoShop, don't know how to use it, don't WANT to use it, so I used Befunky to see if it had something that would get rid of the blob.  I tried something called "blur edge" or something and it seems to have removed it (or maybe it just blurred it?)...anyway, the top one is the edited one and the bottom one is the original.  I have since cleaned my polarizing filter and no longer have smudges and blurs on it!!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rabbits and rabbit holes~Nature Notes~051712





I saw something interesting the other morning when I was out looking for the coyotes (I now haven't seen or heard them for a week...sigh...).  I was walking along the dirt road and I saw a rabbit lying on its side.  At first I thought it was injured and I went closer to see.  However, it quickly got up, dusted itself off, and ran off!  Another jackrabbit was next to it (a lookout?).  It was taking a dirt bath!  It had scooped out a little hollow and was enjoying a morning dirt bath!  I had seen these hollows all along the road where I walk and I'd never seen this before.  Apparently these hollows are used by the rabbits.  And, I might add, there are plenty of them in the road!  There are also many, many jackrabbits up in this area, which is coyote country.  I guess the rabbits enjoy a nice dirt bath every now and then!  Nature Notes for May 17, 2012. Look at the 2nd and 3rd photos from the top to see the jackrabbit taking its dirt bath!  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:   http://ramblingwoods.com/

Monday, May 14, 2012

WHERE did the weekend go???


I tell you, this past weekend certainly went by quickly!  I spent 5 hours up at the ranch where I board my horses.  I cleaned out two water troughs, unloaded and put away 4 bags of pellets, brushed out both mustangs, took Cali up to the round pen, led Quad down to the arena for some exercise, and cleaned out the mess in my tack room.  I'm not sure where all this energy came from, but I sure do appreciate it!!!  That was the most work I've done in 6 months!  Now that the school year is winding down, I'll have more "horse time".  I took a short morning walk today and didn't see a coyote ear twitch or a white chest the whole time.  Apparently they've moved to the far side of their territory and I don't walk that way!!!  I did see lots of rabbits, however, like these two.  That whole area is hopping with rabbits!  They are EVERYWHERE!  No wonder the coyotes enjoy it so much and are so well fed!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fences~Friday's Fences~May 11, 2012


From the desert to the mountains!  I found this beautiful white fence and lot of wildflowers up in Garner Valley, not far from where we had our 5 acres 34 years ago.  I frequently travel back up there to see our old lot, which now has a house on it, and to do some hiking on the weekends.  There are plenty of washes up there for me to find animal footprints.  I find it extremely relaxing to hike up in the mountains.  Friday's Fences for May 11, 2012.  Yes, I saw another one of the coyotes this morning.  I also ran into a couple from San Francisco, out walking their dog.  They hadn't seen the coyotes, but they had seen an owl in the same area where I hike.  Hmmmm....now I'm going to have to go hunt for the owl!  To see other Friday Fences posts, please go to:   http://lifeaccordingtojanandjer.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coyotes ~Nature Notes~051012




I've been posting recently about a pack of coyotes which I recently spotted while taking my morning walk.  Now, mind you, we live in the middle of Palm Desert, CA.  The area where I go walking is in the city-owned golf course.  We plebians aren't allowed into the golf course (that's reserve for PAYING members), but on the outskirts of it are some nicely maintained dirt roads.  I see people walking their dogs along these roads all the time, some off leash.  Frankly, I was walking around this area in a counter-clockwise manner until recently and that was only because one morning when I pulled in, I just decided to walk the other way.  So, I don't know how many times I walked right past these coyotes.  I've identified one female and now call her "Flat Ears" because her ears are always flattened out, not in an agressive mode, but she probably has ear mites (I'm guessing)...or maybe, she's just curious.  She likes to sit and keep an eye on me.  She isn't afraid of me, just cautious.  I actually prefer it that way.  Then, one morning, I saw her mate (or, so I think it is, as there were two of them).  I noticed him because his white chest was sticking out among the brown and tan bushes.  So, now there were two.  I'd actually heard a pack of them one morning way off in the distance (this IS, after all, an area covering a whole city block).  It's actually on the edge of town, almost to the train tracks and Interstate 10, which I don't believe they would cross.  I've seen too many coyotes killed by cars on my way to school.  They seem to like this area.  There are plenty of water courses for them which provide water.  There are palm trees which provide shade and moisture and dates.  There are ducks on the ponds, which provide dinner.  And, there are PLENTY of cottontails and jackrabbits for them to eat.  I've heard that the kitchen helpers at the golf course restaurant throw out food scraps for them and that DOES worry me a bit.  I hope they don't think I'm a meal!  And, then two mornings ago, when I pulled in, I spotted "Flat Ears" right away, and then soon a second coyote.  I did a short walk that morning, an turned around, and spotted them AND another coyote.  That was 3.  Soon, however, I saw ANOTHER one...that was 4.  That was a pack.  And, I was out there ALONE, armed only with a cell phone.  They weren't agressive at all and two of them hightailed to the other side of the bushes when I clapped my hands and yelled at them.  I figured a little dose of reality was in store for them.  I believe most people, especially those with dogs, wouldn't be happy to see a pack of coyotes.  And, I really didn't wish for the coyotes to come any closer to me.  This morning, yup...one of them was sitting up on the little ridge, watching.  He/she quickly disappeared when I went walking by (I'm always at least 50-75 yards away from them).  I find them as interesting as they find me and I hope to continue to learn about them.  I think I found a spot where one of them napped during the day last Friday when I walked up there after school.  In fact, one of them ran from the water pond across the dirt road right in front of me and kept going!  I don't mind them studying me (they probably know my scent by now), as long as they don't approach me.  And, I, in turn, am improving my tracking skills by studying their movements.  Nature Notes for May 10, 2012.   To visit Nature Notes, please go to:   http://ramblingwoods.com/   NOTE:  Somebody asked if I was nervous around the coyotes.  No, I'm not.  I'm more nervous around my horses because I can't move fast enough to get out of their way and they are so big!  I've always had dogs and I did scare these coyotes off once by yelling and waving my arms when all 4 of them were staring at me.  I only hope they do NOT attack a small dog because many people DO take their dogs for a walk right through their territory.  Heck, I walked right by them for MONTHS and never saw them myself!  Coyotes HAVE snatched small dogs from people in Palm Springs, right in the city.  These attacks are documented.  I do keep a wary eye on them and they do keep wary eyes on me, so we are at an unwritten understanding right now.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

And then there were 4 (coyotes)~Outdoor Wednesday 050912



My coyote adventures continue.  This morning I wasn't sure if I'd even make it out for my morning walk.  I've had a stomach virus for 3 days and well, I was tired and weak.  But, as I was driving by, my car turned out toward the golf course and I was there!  So, I decided to take only a short walk.  But, as I got out of my car, I immediately spotted a coyote up in their usual spot, which is a slight ridge on the outer fringes of the golf course.  There are some acacia trees up there and they like to sit there and survey their "kingdom" and all who enter it.  So, I walked down the dirt road which parallels the water courses and on my way back, I saw 1 coyote, then 2...then 3...and finally 4!!!  I've never seen 4 of them together in one spot and the most I'd ever seen up until now was 2 of them together.  Four, however, was a little intimidating, so I yelled at them and waved my arms, "I am NOT your breakfast!"  They immediately scattered.  I managed to take a couple of photos with my hands shaking, but only 2 are actually visible.  However, there WERE four of them!  It makes me a little nervous now knowing that they are so close to where people (and dogs) actually walk.  I had heard them off in the distance one morning, but now that they all appear to be in one spot, I'm a little more cautious.  Outdoor Wednesday for May 9, 2012.  I took these pics with my little Nikon Coolpix. I didn't have my big Nikon or Canon with me.  Seems like every time I have either one of those cameras, there are no coyotes to be spotted!  To visit Outdoor Wednesday, please go to:   http://asoutherndaydreamer.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Coyote sighting


I went for my morning walk yesterday and didn't see hide nor hair of the coyote.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Not a flicker of an ear.  Not a speck of white among the tan bushes.  so, off to school I went.  I did have my Canon with me, so after dinner (we ate dinner down in Indio with our daughter and son-in-law), I stopped by again.  Nothing.  Nada. Zilch.  I DID go investigate the area where I'd previously seen the coyotes and I did see a hollow where I think they sleep during the heat of the day.  It was under a big shrub and looked quite cool.  Since I had the time, I walked out past the acacia trees.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  One my way back, however, a coyote ran up from the golf course pond right in front of me!  By the time I fumbled around to get my camera, he/she was long gone!  But, at least I know they are still in the area!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Desert sunrise~Skywatch Friday~050412

This is the kind of morning I life for.  We don't get many of them here in the desert, but we had a late winter storm a couple of weeks ago and I headed out for my morning walk, camera in hand.  I'm noticing that it is getting lighter earlier and earlier.  Soon I'll have to head out about 6:00 a.m.!!!  (I usually leave about 6:30).  Skywatch Friday for May 4, 2012.  To visit SWF, please go to:   http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Follow up to coyote post~Nature Notes~050312



I wanted to follow up on my previous coyote post.  Since I took those photos, I've been back walking in that area twice and I've seen coyotes there both times.  The first time there were indeed TWO of them.  Did I have my camera that day?  NOPE!  :-(    One sat and intently watched me and moved away.  The other one (I'm assuming it is its mate...) sat and watched me and flattened its ears.  I didn't move toward them.  They both were up on a little ridge, about 75 yards from me.  I turned around and left.  I'm thinking that they have pups somewhere up there and this is in the middle of the city.  Actually, there is open desert pretty much to the railroad tracks and freeway (Interstate 10).  However, there aren't any trails in this particular spot and they have free range for several acres of bush surrounding the city-owned golf course.  They have access to water and there are plenty of rabbits to eat.  The second time, this morning, I only saw one and it quickly disappeared.  How quick?  QUICK!  I couldn't even get my camera out to take a decent shot...So apparently this IS their territory.  People don't walk through their territory, although they do walk on 3 sides of it and they DO walk their dogs on the dirt roads around it.  But, I've walked through the middle of their area and there is no trail there.  It's an ideal spot for them...lots of cover and water nearby.  I hope people don't intrude on the family and I will continue to observe them.  Nature Notes for May 3, 2012.  You can just make out the coyote in the top photo.  Since he/she moved off, I took a couple of photos of their territory.  See...no trails through it and people don't usually walk through it either, although there are dirt roads around it.  To visit Nature Notes, please go here:   http://ramblingwoods.com/

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Desert Spring~Our World Tuesday~050112


Ah, yes...Spring in the desert.  We've already had to turn on our air conditioner several times this year.  I remember a few years that we didn't have to turn it on until after July 4th...sigh...it looks like a really hot summer is in store for us desert dwellers!  But, who can argue with mornings like this?  Our World Tuesday for May 1, 2012.  To visit OWT, please go to this link:   http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/