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.






Saturday, March 29, 2014

HOME!

While it is always good to get away for a couple of days and see new sights (or old ones), it's always good to be home.  And, hubby and I are just enjoying a nice, pleasant spring day here in the desert...a light breeze, NO blowing sand, mid 70's temps...ahhh...how enjoyable!  The birds are at the feeders, the lazy cat is dozing in the sunshine, and our two dogs and glad we are home.  And, boy, did we get an earful from Abby, our indoor cat!  Wow!

Here are some more photos of our trip up to Buellton and Solvang below.  I LOVED the old phone booth!  Isn't it adorable?  And, yes, it had a working pay phone in it!  Those stork things were all over the roofs in downtown Solvang ~ maybe to keep pigeons away?  That's an old windmill right outside of town...And, beautiful, green rolling hills everywhere!   :-)



Friday, March 28, 2014

Solvang and lush, green hills in Central California

Hubby and I visited Solvang, Buellton, and Los Olivos this past week.  He wanted to get out of the desert for a couple of days, and, of course, I tagged along.  It's so different up here.  Water shortage?  Um...the hillsides here are ALL green!  And, the fields are lush, including the agricultural fields.  Sure doesn't look like a drought up here.  We enjoyed our time up here in Central California.  I believe the first photo is asparagas, but I'm not sure...And, look how green the hills are in the second photo!  WOW!

Friday Four Fill-In for March 28, 2014

I found this meme on another blog I was visiting this morning and I decided to give it a try:

The statements:
  1. I love to ____________in the _____________.
  2. I _______________a lot when I’m ___________________.
  3. My least favorite household chore is _______.
  4.  When I walk through the ice cream aisle at the supermarket, I think _______.
You have to fill in the blanks and then post your answers, to here goes:

1.  I love to grab my camera and go hiking in the mountains.  :-)
2.  I smile a lot when I'm outdoors.  :-)
My least favorite household chore is to wash out the wine glasses.  I always break them!  We only have two left.
4.  When I walk through the ice cream aisle at the supermarket, I think, "WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR FOR ME!" and I keep going!

Okay..I'm done!  Now, wasn't that easy?

Fence and California poppies~Good Fences#1~March 28, 2014

We drove out toward Los Olivos yesterday afternoon and I spotted this beautifully kept white fence with California poppies.  I, of course, had to swerve off the road, nearly upending hubby, to take a couple of photos of it.  He wasn't too happy with me!  (OH WELL...) I mean, who could pass this up?  So beautiful and restful!  Los Olivos is a little town, mostly wine tasting shops, near Solvang.  There really wasn't much of interest there, but we did stop at Blackjack Winery just down the road and had a good time there.  Good Fences #1 for March 28, 2014.  To visit Good Fences, please go to:  http://www.run-a-roundranch.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 27, 2014

From the quiet desert to crashing waves

Hubby and I recently took a quick trip up north to Buellton/Solvang.  One afternoon we drove out to Surf Beach, rightly named.  A storm was moving in from the west and the waves were crashing!  We were the only people out on the beach that afternoon as it had rained there earlier.  What a difference from our quiet desert!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Santa Rosa mountains visitor center~Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors~032414

Today was the second day of my 9 day spring break and I was READY to get out and enjoy it.  Yesterday I stayed home all day in my pajamas, just completely exhausted mentally AND physically.  We had parent/teacher conferences last week and that was exhausting.  But, this morning, I felt refreshed and ready to hit the road.  There were many people parked across from the parking lot here and they were out hiking toward the west.  A few people had parked in the parking lot and they were out hiking before it got too hot.  I'm sure a good day was had by all.  It was in the mid 80's here today...just PERFECT!  I snapped this view of the desert from the back windows of the visitor center.  Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors for March 24, 2014. To visit WWDD, please go to this link:    http://iwishiwereaphotographer.blogspot.com/2014/03/whimsical-windows-delirious-doors-121.html

Friday, March 21, 2014

Flowers in my garden and SPRING BREAK!

I don't know WHY we are getting spring break so early, but we are.  It's next week!   :-)  YEAH! I also have Good Friday (April 18th) off, so that's another break.  Then, a LONG haul until Memorial Day.  Frankly, I doubt I can go that long without another 3 day weekend.  I'm finding that I just don't have the stamina or energy or the desire anymore.  Teaching really isn't enjoyable these days...30 kids, MANY disabilities (and we have to accommodate them), apathetic parents, administrative demands, Common Core...the list is endless.  A LOT of us are taking "mental health" days, including me.

So, I walk out among my blooming flowers and enjoy this BEAUTIFUL weather we've been having!  Days are 80 degrees, which is very comfortable here in the desert!  Nights are about 60 degrees.  Ahhhh....paradise!

All of these beauties are in my yard.





Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Scrub jay~Nature Notes~031914

Last weekend hubby and I drove up to our local mountains to check out one of the campgrounds there.  We were getting ready to leave when I spotted this fellow in one of the shrubs...a scrub jay.  He didn't seem to be frightened of us.  In fact, he clung to the branch and let me drive right next to him!  Isn't he gorgeous?  Nature Notes for March 19, 2014.  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:   http://ramblingwoods.com/

Monday, March 17, 2014

At the park~Our World Tuesday~031814

View of the oldest dwelling in Rancho Mirage through the snapdragons and other flowers growing at the park.  Our World Tuesday for March 18, 2014.   To visit OWT, please go to:   http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 14, 2014

Just around the desert and things are a'bloomin'

Things are blooming here in our desert~the palo verdes are in full bloom, the ocotillos are blooming.  It's still WAY too early for the smoke trees, but WHO KNOWS?  This year has been so unusual.  Everything is blooming early, so I'll have to keep an eye on them as they only bloom for about a week.  Here are some pics I took last weekend...


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ranger station door and windows, Whitewater Preserve~Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors~031014

I'd never gone around to the side of the ranger station at the Whitewater Preserve until last weekend.  This was the view!  Isn't it adorable?  I have always loved wooden structures like this.  Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors for March 10, 2014.   To visit WWDD, please go to:   http://iwishiwereaphotographer.blogspot.com/

Door shadows~Shadow Shot Sunday~030914

I've been trying to get this shot for YEARS!  I finally got it yesterday, when hubby was yelling at me to "HURRY UP" so he could get back into cell phone range.  We were up at the Whitewater Preserve and he had a mini-crisis to attend to at work (even though it was his day off!)...sigh...Whatever...I'm just glad I got it!  Shadow Shot Sunday for March 9, 2014.  To visit SSS, please go to:   http://shadowshotsunday2.blogspot.com/

Palo verdes are BLOOMING!

Boy, are the palo verde trees blooming EARLY this year!  I can't believe it...it's only March.  They usually don't bloom until they get heat~like in May!  But, right now, they are ALL lovely to see, like this branch.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Palm Springs Indian Canyons





I drove over to the Palm Springs Indian canyons on Sunday afternoon, as my final spot that day.  I had not been there for over 6 months and I wanted to see how much water was running through the washes and canyons.  There was quite a bit!  And, it was dirty and muddy, since it was pouring down the mountains where the big fire was last summer near Idyllwild.  The bottom photo shows Murray Canyon.  I had never hiked over to it before and it is only 300 feet from the trading post at Palm Canyon!  Unfortunately, there was a lot of people there and I was tired and I didn't want to hike down to it considering that there were that many people.  Water was also flowing through Palm Canyon and if you enlarge the second photo, you can see a standing pool of it.  We definitely needed all this water, but it also closed several major streets that crossed the wash in Palm Springs, such as Indian, Gene Autry, and Golf Cart Drive.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Water, water EVERYWHERE! Water World Wednesday~030514



After our storms here Friday and Friday night, I drove up to the Whitewater Preserve.  This is in Whitewater Canyon.  The San Bernardino mountains are behind it and they were covered with snow. The river was flowing so quickly that the road to the preserve was CLOSED.  Nobody was going over it~not with that much water flowing!  I was able to walk up and take these photos, however.  By Sunday morning, the water had stopped flowing and a bulldozer had been up there, cleaning up the road, and the road was open.  All of this water flows into the aquifer that serves the Coachella Valley and believe me, we NEED this water!  Water World Wednesday for March 5, 2014.  To visit Water World Wednesday, please go to:   http://www.kissess4u.com/2014/03/water-world-wednesday.html

Monday, March 3, 2014

Grapes~Our World Tuesday~030414

I grabbed my Nikon (backup) camera Friday because I thought I'd go for a drive after school.  Maybe it wouldn't even be raining then?  It POURED about 10 minutes before school let out for the day, but by the time the kids left for home, it stopped.  I know because I had back gate duty!  Anyway, I headed out toward the vineyards off the Dillon Road exit.  I always like to stop and see how they are doing.

There were tiny, tiny grapes growing on the vines.  I really had to search to find them!  But, later, they will be tasty green grapes from Coachella and Indio, so look for them in the stores!   Our World Tuesday for March 4, 2014.  To visit OWT, please go to:  http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/




Sunday, March 2, 2014

I took a photo and then fell on my PATOOTIE!

This morning I awoke to snow on all of our mountains around the Coachella Valley, so I was anxious to get in my car and take off.  I wanted to also get some photos of the windmills and maybe even drive up to the Whitewater Preserve, if the road was open.  It was, so up the road I went.  Along the way, I passed a bulldozer, so I knew it was open.  There had been a lot of debris in the roadway, and I even saw logs which were brought down by the water yesterday.  On my way up to the preserve's entry, I spotted a nice view of Mt. San Jacinto and some nearby windmills, so I pulled over to take some photos.  Unfortunately, it was difficult to get the shot I wanted.  So, I spotted a fallen, dead tree that looked like I could walk out along and get the photo I was after.  I tested it and it held, so I walked out on it, balancing carefully.  OOPS!  Maybe not so careful...I lost my balance (old age, I guess!) and I tumbled to the ground, right into the ... MUD!  Ugh!  I managed to save my camera (thank goodness!), but my ego was bruised. ... I mean, there was a time I would have balanced myself, taken the shot, and lightly bounded off the tree, but today wasn't that day.  My jeans were wet, they had MUD on them, and my day was ruined.  HELL NO!  I put on a sweater and drove up to the preserve and had a wonderful visit there.  In fact, I had a great day!  My left knee, however, is slightly bruised, but I'm going to my doctor tomorrow anyway, and I'll have her take a look at it.

So, here is the photo I took BEFORE my tumble, and the one I apparently snapped going down...that's my hair!

A couple of idiots ignored the "ROAD CLOSED" signs...



Now, anybody with half a brain knows you don't attempt to drive down Indian Canyon when it is raining.  Or, when MUD is flowing, but these two drivers did and they both got stuck.  And, YES...do you see the ROAD CLOSED sign and all the other ones?  And, there were signs on the other side of the mud, too...(shaking head...).  I was out that way taking photos of the windmills when I saw the flashing lights of the CalTrans truck (no...they didn't pull them out of the mud...).  They were there putting up MORE signs, warning drivers to turn around.  A tour bus even traveled down that road and had to turn around.  I mean, PEOPLE...really?  This is one of the most-frequently closed roads here in the desert...GET A CLUE!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sand!

It was an extremely gusty and windy day here in the desert and it rained on and off all day.  It's 2:00 a.m. and it is still raining. (I had to get up and put the dogs out...) We really need the rain, so I'm not complaining.  Besides, I scattered my wild sunflower, coneflower, zinnia, and cosmos seeds earlier this week, as soon as I heard a storm was heading our way!  They will all sprout in this lovely rain!

I took my backup camera with me to school yesterday (my Nikon D40) and took a detour on the way home.  There's a road off the Washington Street exit, off Interstate 10, that parallels one edge of the Coachella Valley Preserve.  There are some huge sand dunes along it and I like to drive there and take photos of the patterns in the sand.  Well, yesterday, I spotted huge clouds of dust and sand, so I stopped to take photos along the road.  I'll be posting more pics in the next few days, but here are a couple of them.