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.






Monday, July 30, 2012

Taking a break from the desert




Hubby and I drove up to Hurkey Creek county park, which is near Idyllwild, CA, across the highway from Lake Hemet.  It was 107 in the desert and 83 degrees up there.  Hmmmm...that wasn't a difficult decision!  Hubby prepped dinner ~~ chicken, lamb, asparagas, and yellow squash, packed a bottle of wine (for himself) and off we went about 3:30 yesterday afternoon.  By the time we arrived there, about 4:30 p.m., the park was pretty much cleared out and QUIET (not like last Sunday...) We set up our BBQ spot and hubby got to work.  I went for a short walk around the park.It was a good break from the desert heat.  Today we have monsoon clouds and it is like a sauna outside...:-(

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I've been AWOL because...

I've been taking riding lessons for the past couple of weeks!  At first, it was just basic horsemanship...grooming, picking up feet, leading, flexing, etc.  But this week, I've ridden twice now!  This was my second time and I brought my little Nikon Coolpix with me!  (The batteries died three photos later...)  AND, I've been busy researching my family roots back on the female side of my dad's family.  They were much more interesting than a bunch of Connecticut farmers!  I've found people murdered, beheaded, and hanged by King John!  I've found Norman knights as well as one line that IS Saxon.  It can be traced all the way back to England before the conquest!  I've even managed to find an Irish ancestor among all the English lines, so now I can tell my husband, "See, you DO have an Irish wife!" I've found some very interesting people and I've started up a new blog on my discoveries so that I can pass this info on to my children.

I haven't been out around town much this summer.  It's just been too darn hot.  I only have a couple of weeks left, then I report to school for a 3 day training, then we take off to the Sierra Nevada for about a week, then come home and I return to school.  WHERE did the summer go?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mountain sunset





We spent Thursday afternoon and evening up in Pinyon, at my friend Barb's place.  Hubby grilled some chicken, steak, and vegetables.  I went for a walk while he was busy grilling and was pleased to view the sunset from the mountains.  Down in the desert, once the sun sets behind Mt. San Jacinto, we just don't get views like these!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Clouds and sunburst~SkyWatch Friday~072012

I was at a friend's house yesterday afternoon.  While we were in her barn, I glanced out to see this sunburst, so I ran outside to take a closer look.  It was a nice break from the desert heat to go visit her.  She lives up in Pinyon, which is up at about 4,000 feet in our local mountains.  SkyWatch Friday for July 20, 2012.  To visit SWF, please go to:   http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 16, 2012

Macro Monday 071612~owl feathers


I leaned in and took these photos of the soft downy feathers of the barn owl I found in the road last week, since I'll never have a chance to examine a living one... There were several of them in the yellow weeds along the road and I wanted to remember him or her.  Macro Monday for July 16, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Desert skies



It's the monsoon season here in the desert and a couple of days ago, I headed out early with my camera.  I'm not posting these to SkyWatch Friday because I've already posted them on my other blogs, but here they are altogether.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hawk~World Bird Wednesday~071112

This guy actually let me stop my car, hop out, and snap his photo!  Most of the hawks up by the horse ranch in our local mountains aren't so friendly.  They usually take off when I get out of the car.  I'm learning how difficult it is to take photos of birds!  World Bird Wednesday for July 11, 2012.  To visit World Bird Wednesday, please go to:    http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer vacation and owl sighting


So, I've FINALLY settled into summer vacation.  Phew!  It took a few weeks.  We spent the first week up in a cabin in the Sierra Nevada, then home for a few days.  Then we went to San Marcos, then home now for a while.  It's HOT here in the desert~114 degrees yesterday and it will be 115 today.  We should get some thunderstorms Thursday.  I'm keeping the dogs inside and feeding the outside birds 3x a day.  I leave the hose running for them.  We have mourning doves, black-necked doves, our scrub jay, various finches, and even some grosbeaks who come into the yard.  We used to have a family of quail in our neighborhood, but they lost their habitat when the two-story homes went in down the street.  I did see a roadrunner about a month ago.  We also used to have a family of them here in town, but I didn't see them for several years.  One of them used to chase our little cat, Daisy, down the street!  Our neighbors fed them hamburger!  I'm glad to see the roadrunner again and I miss the quail, but I see them all the time up at the ranch.  I also saw a family with 8 babies down by my aunt's home in Sun City, Indio.  The babies were little fuzzballs!  She had a female roadrunner with 2 babies who would come visit her, but she hasn't seen her for several weeks and she thinks a coyote got them.  Speaking of birds, I found a recently-hit barn owl up by the horse ranch on Saturday.  I was driving down a road looking for hawks (I found one on a telephone pole) and I noticed something in the street.  Thinking it was the mate to the shoe I just saw, I kept on going (being careful to avoid it) and took some other photos.  But, something was nagging at me and I returned.  To my horror, I saw that it was a barn owl, apparently hit by a car.  He was dead, but in beautiful condition.  I moved him off the road, not wishing him further destruction, and took these photos of his feathers. I've been wishing to get a photo of an owl this summer, but not under these circumstances...sigh...I'm reading "Wesley the Owl", which is a book about a barn owl found as a 4-day-old baby.  Wesley had an injured wing and could never be released back into the wild, so a gal who was a researcher at the CalTech owl lab took him and raised him and lived with him for 19 years.  I haven't finished the book yet, but I've learned a lot about owls so far.  The father owl has to hunt for rodents every night and has to furnish at least 6 rodents per baby owl PER NIGHT!  That's a LOT of rodents!!!  Stacy, the author, estimates that she fed Wesley 28,000 mice in his lifetime, at $1.00 each!  If you want more info on Stacy and Wesley, here's a link:   http://www.wesleytheowl.com/

Friday, July 6, 2012

Carrillo ranch gate and fence~Friday Fences~070612

Gate and fence at the Carrillo Ranch near San Diego, CA.  Friday's Fences for July 6, 2012.  To visit Friday's Fences, please go to:   http://lifeaccordingtojanandjer.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Carrillo Ranch







As I stated in an earlier post, we stopped at the Carrillo Ranch state park last Sunday, but got there only 15 minutes before it closed.  We would love to return and be able to take our time.  Maybe next visit?  Here are a few pics from Sunday.  I LOVE the old Spanish architecture which was used during this time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

White peacock~World Bird Wednesday~070412



Last Sunday hubby and I drove to the Leo Carrillo state park, but arrived only 15 minutes before they closed for the day.  Hubby took off one way and I wandered down by the stables.  Along the way, a white peacock strolled by.  I snapped these photos of him.  Now, I've never seen a white peacock and I grew up right next to the Los Angeles County arboretum in Arcadia and I was around peacocks for over 20 years. I saw plenty of them, but never a white one.  I couldn't get closer to him.  He seemed to be on a mission!  I overheard two ladies saying that he only appears in the afternoons and then, only briefly.  What a beautiful specimen!  And, yes, even his peacock "eyes" on his tail are white!  World Bird Wednesday for July 4, 2012.  To visit Wild Bird Wednesday, please go to:   http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/  UPDATE:  I found out this is a white peacock.  Here's a link for more info:   http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2010/05/10/facts-on-the-stunningly-regal-peacock/

Fog!

Hubby and I drove home yesterday from San Marcus.  The ocean area was socked in with fog and we drove through fog until we hit Highway 371 to Anza and Highway 79 to Warner Springs.  I stopped at one point, hopped out of the car, and took this photo. We don't often see fog here in the desert and we enjoyed it down by the ocean last weekend.  We awoke this morning to...RAIN!  Yup.  "Subtropical moisture" from the Gulf of California and from Mexico came up through out valley.  It's a nice change, but the weather forecast for next week is HEAT, HEAT, and more HEAT...110 degrees (ugh!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mission San Juan Capistrano~Our World Tuesday~070212






Hubby and I took a couple days off the desert heat and headed toward the ocean.  We found a room in San Marcus and today we headed over to mission San Juan Capistrano again.  We hadn't been there for some time and we were both amazed by all the flowers in bloom!  It was awash with color today.  We just wandered around with our mouths open!  And, it was cool here...much nicer than the 101 degrees in the desert today!  And, we had lunch at Sanducci's, which is right along the Amtrak line there in San Juan Capistrano.  We got to eat a delicious lunch AND watch the trains come and go and stop.  Our World Tuesday for July 2, 2012.  To visit OWT, please go to:    http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Deer by the road

We saw a lot of deer up in the Sierra Nevada last week, including this one who was crossing a dirt road right in front of us.  Talk about a deer in the headlights (no headlights, just our white car!)