Saturday, August 30, 2008

Santa Rosa mountain

Santa Rosa mountain is a special place. Maybe it is because there aren't any roads up into it...maybe it is because it stands so majestically above other mountains, maybe it is the complete isolation. It is a special mountain to the Cahuilla Indians and I thank the elders of the tribe and members for sharing it with me! It always clears my head when I drive by and pay homage to it. These are some pics I took today on my way back down the hill after working my horses. I know this sounds strange, but it is as if this mountain is a living thing. I LOVE to stop and admire it. In summer, the monsoon clouds hang around it. In winter it is covered with snow! For me, it is a very special place and I wanted to share it with you.

Driving into Zion National Park

Driving into Zion is nearly as interesting as actually being in Zion! The rocks are various shades of colors (see pics). Aren't the clouds pretty against the blue sky?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is one of our favorite places to visit! We've been there twice together and I've been there as a kid (before the trams). I remember going one Thanksgiving weekend and it was C-O-L-D! (a word us "desert dwellers" don't like!) Anyway, these pics are from our visit in August 2007. See the squirrel? HA! He was one of the few times that I've actually been able to photograph "wildlife". Hubby does a much better job and is more patient! I usually can't stand still long enough to get decent photos and my cameras don't have telephoto lenses like his! Hhhuuuummmmpppppphhhhhhh! Next post, I'll do pics of the road UP BEHIND Zion. Yes, you actually look over and down into Zion from that road and it is BEAUTIFUL! "Shhhhhhh!" Don't tell anyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Desert thunderheads and mountain thunderstorm

Thunderheads developed over the desert and mountains yesterday afternoon and I wasn't sure if we would be able to work the horses up in the mountains. There was a terrific storm to the left of us in the mountains on our way up to the horses, but it had moved on by the time we drove up to the ranch. See the big, black thunderhead? It rained A LOT at the ranch and the horses were filthy!!!! When we drove back home, down the mountain, the storm had moved to the Colorado River and Joshua Tree and we saw heat lightning. We pulled off the road and watched it for a while. The forecast is for continued thunderstorms throughout the week as moisture from tropical depression Juan settles into our area. The weather service has already (5:30 a.m.) issued a flash flood watch, which means to watch for areas of heavy rainfall. Not sure if we will be able to make it up the hill to the ranch this afternoon....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What's outside my window? August 24, 2008

These are some of the birds I see from my window when I sit at my computer. Yes, the desert has birds! Actually, birds are warm blooded and live quite comfortably in the desert! I see Anna's hummingbirds, morning doves, the brown towhees (they make a LOT of noise!), and our back yard is part of the territory of a blue kestrel. Isn't he cute? HA! He dive bombs and catches the neighborhood pigeons! He likes to them...on a branch of a pine tree that is directly out my computer window! I've seen him several times plucking the feathers off a pigeon he has killed. Kestrels are falcons and this little guy is quite the hunter! Our cottonwood has been the home for a family of orioles now for over 20 years and the occasional owl who alights there for the night. I think it is a barn owl, at least that's what I've been told from his "whoo, whooo, whoo"! We also have a roadrunner family in our neighborhood. They are hilarious! They eat lizards, small snakes, and even small birds and baby birds. Our neighbor told me once that one of them was chasing Daisy, our little 5 pound cat, DOWN THE STREET! Go, Daisy, go!!! We used to have California quail in our neighborhood when we first moved in 30 years ago and they are still around here. I DID see one on our front fence about a year ago! Isn't that great? (We DO live IN the city!) I always have plenty of water out for the dogs and cats and the birds enjoy a bath in a pie plate every now and then! Oh, and mockingbirds! The males sing their songs in the evening in May, early June and nearly drive everybody NUTS! We have a family out front and another one in the back yard. UNFORTUNATELY, every once in a while, I find baby mockingbirds that either the cats have caught or have fallen out of the nest and haven't survived. I DID find a baby mockingbird several years ago that my white cat cornered (it must have fallen out of the nest and hit Loki on the head!)'s cries alerted me to its whereabouts in the grass! I couldn't find the parents or the nest, so I took it up to the Living Desert and they rehabbed it. My school also has a family of orioles that live in the palm trees right outside my classroom pod. A baby oriole fell out this year and some of the kids...well...I just didn't trust them and another teacher and I were able to get it back to its tree (NOT into the nest as it was in the top of the palm tree). Apparently the baby DID survive and flew back into the nest!

*** I would like to give credit for the oriole photo to Tales from the Canyon: This was not my photo! I haven't been able to get a photo of the orioles yet (HA! after 30 years?), but she was able to walk outside among her trees and get that BEAUTIFUL photo! Congratulations! Maybe it will take me another 30 years to get one as nice as that!!! Isn't it beautiful? If you haven't visited her blog yet, please do so! It will be an enjoyable experience!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

desert sunset

We had about a week of GORGEOUS desert sunsets! I ran outside and took these pics in my neighborhood. They only lasted for a few minutes and then the beautiful colors disappeared! I wish I could have driven up the hill to take more pics, but the colors faded too quickly! Can you see the palm trees?

Dreaming of winter

While driving down the mountain yesterday, I suddenly realized that winter is not that far away! The dog days of summer are upon us! The long shadows, the lazy afternoons, that "autumn" feel....soon THIS will be upon us! These were taken in Spring of 2006, when a storm from Alaska dumped snow on our local mountains near Palm Springs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mural in Prescott, AZ

This large, interesting, and colorful mural was on one wall of The Palace Restaurant in Prescott, AZ. Look at all the interesting photos and colors! I would like to do something like this with my class next year, but have it contain things from their community like palm trees, crops, desert animals, and mountains. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kokopelli wall

Kokopelli was the "trickster" in Native American legends. He was much like coyote: always getting into trouble! These were on a wall in Williams, AZ, and OF COURSE, I just HAD to get a couple of pics of them!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Williams, AZ train to the Grand Canyon

The five minute warning whistle blasted! This is the train that goes from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon. You can check ticket prices online. We stood and watched it as it whistled LOUDLY and pulled out of the visitor center at Williams. It was great hearing the actual whistle, a sound that my husband grew up hearing in Meadville, PA when his father and grandfather both worked on trains.

Friday, August 15, 2008

sheep in the desert

This herd of sheep crossed the road while we were driving from Farmington, NM to Monument Valley, UT. The dogs were herding the sheep and keeping an eye on them. Sometimes the dogs were their only companions. Other times, we did see people with the sheep. Can you see the babies in the upper right photo?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Canyon de Chelly water

Thunderstorms happen a lot at Canyon de Chelly. When we arrived the previous evening, there was one. Thunderheads were still lingering the next morning. I wanted to get some pics of the water and the ripples in the clay at Canyon de Chelly, especially in the early morning light! I woke up at sunrise and we headed out to the canyon.

Williams, AZ

Williams, AZ is a small town about 60 miles outside the Grand Canyon. There are many hotels there. The town also has the train that goes to the Grand Canyon. We've never taken it and I'd like to do that someday! The train station is right across from our favorite restaurant, the Pine Country Restaurant. It is decorated with real pine floors and walls and a ceiling! Very homey and the food is always delicious! The coffee is hot and fresh! They also serve pie, but we are always too full to indulge! Anyway, here are some pics of Williams.

sunset and afternoon storm Canyon de Chelly

We were quickly losing light, but I wanted to get these late afternoon photos of a sunset at Canyon de Chelly. That evening there was a terrific thunderstorm! The power at the hotel went out twice.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

John Wayne at Goulding's Lodge, Monument Valley

Here's a life size poster of The Duke at the Goulding's Lodge outside of Monument Valley. There is a museum there with lots of John Wayne items, books, posters, and other momentos. Of course, this is one of hubby's FAVORITE places to stop!

cow skull Hubbell Trading Post

This skull was above the door at the Hubbell Trading post.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monument Valley Part 3

Our trip continues...see, there WAS standing water in Monument Valley! Also, the washes and gullies showed where water had recently flowed. This area got a LOT of rain this summer!

Monument Valley Part 2

Monument Valley is one of my husband's FAVORITE places! I remember one time we drove across the country when our daughter was looking at graduate schools. We had been in the van for 4 weeks. I drove home the last part of the trip and I was so tired, we didn't even STOP in MV. Hubby didn't forgive me for years! This is our 4th or 5th trip now. It seems we have to break in every new car and take it down the dirt road there! I have a Honda CRV and it took the road with no problem! Lots of cars and people from France, Germany, and Italy were seen and heard! The bottom two pics show the three sisters.