Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking toward the new year: That's My World, December 31, 2008

I took all of these photos at the Living Desert, in Palm Desert, CA....looking forward to the new year! Enjoy! HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Desert-like southwest? December 30, 2008

I just heard on our local news that so far this year we've had over 6 inches of rain~ That no longer qualifies our area as a desert, since a desert gets less than 4 inches of rain, according to our local weatherman. I looked it up online and most deserts are defined as having less than 10 inches of rain a year. That's a calendar year, so at 6 inches, we are still lacking 4 inches of rain, which we aren't expected to get in the next two days because it is clear and sunny here in CA! And, our rainy season has just begun! Actually, our desert has two rainy seasons: October through February and the summer monsoon season. During the monsoon season, moisture comes up from the Gulf of California and Mexico and produces tropical storms. So, during the summer, we watch for clouds coming from the south. That is typically the season that our desert gets flash floods, as well as the deserts in Arizona. In fact, our house was flooded during a summer tropical storm in 1979! I was alone at home, pregnant, with a 1 year old when the storm moved in, begain raining, and rained for 12 hours! I grabbed our daughter and our German Shepherd, my purse, and the bills (HA! I'd NEVER grab the bills again!) and headed out in our 1977 VW van, only to get stuck in high water. Fortunately, some WONDERFUL firemen came by and rescued us and we all spent the night in their house! Hubby was working in Los Angeles at the time and had to drive all the way to Indio to find a bridge to cross the flooded washes! During the fall/winter/spring, we watch for clouds coming from the west. I know these pics aren't from the desert. They are from our trip to Northern California,to Napa and Sonoma and San Anselmo, but here in the sunny California desert, we have so few rainy and foggy days, it was a pleasure to see them!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

SKYWATCH Friday, December 26, 2008

The same morning I took the photos of the frost on the golf course, a flock of Canadian geese flew right over me, not just once, but three times! Here they are. Ducks and geese and other migratory birds like to "winter" here in our desert. Some are on their way south, while others like to stay and enjoy our sunshine!

For other SkyWatch photos, please visit:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Frost and mist December 21, 2008 Scenic Sunday

We've had frosts here in the lower desert the past few mornings. One morning, on my way to work, I crossed the bridge over this golf course and saw mist rising! There was still frost on the grass, but as soon as the sunlight appeared, so did the morning mist. Isn't that unusual? I ran across the busy street and snapped a few photos of it before it disappeared.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Harvest time Friday, December 19, 2008

We had over 1 inch of rain on Wednesday and our sandy soil is saturated. I was early Friday morning on my way to school, so I stopped to take these photos of the fields out by my school. It was such a beautiful morning! I pulled over, careful to have my driver's side tires still on the asphalt, in case the mud was deep (old desert NEVER drive on dirt with all 4 wheels...that's how people get stuck!). The fields were ready for harvesting and I wanted to get some pics of them before all the produce was picked. Unfortunately, as I stepped onto the dirt, I sank in mud nearly up to the tops of my shoes (walking shoes)...! I SHOULD have known better! But, I did get these pics and I had a story to tell my class! By late afternoon, as I headed home, these crops were being harvested. Good thing because a deep frost was forecast for last night. The Coachella Valley has a year-round growing season, but frost can wipe out certain frosts, so I guess this farmer decided to harvest his and get them to market! Can you see all the mud in the bottom one? I don't know how the trucks got through it, but they did!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Skywatch Friday December 19, 2008 desert sunrise

The morning after our big, cold snowstorm, I left for work early and stopped to take some pics of the snow. However, the sunrise was so beautiful I didn't take many snow pictures. Instead, I concentrated on the sunrise. Sunrises here are so beautiful with the palm trees against the rising sun, don't you think? For other beautiful sky photos, please visit:

Snow! December 18, 2008

I took these pics on Tuesday morning, on my way to work. We had a MASSIVE storm yesterday (Wednesday). It rained all day on the desert floor and the mountains had snow down below 4,000 feet. I haven't seen them yet this morning, but I'll take my camera with me again today. My horses, who are at 4,000 feet up in the mountains, got a taste of the snow yesterday and they were covered by it! We don't often get VERY COLD storms like this one and it was "rainy day schedule" at school. That meant no recess and a 30 minute lunch. We had to keep the kids inside during their lunch recess, so I got out the flashcards and let some of them practice their reading skills on the computers. Some of them had to walk home in the rain and it was COLD for the desert! I'm not sure we'll be able to drive the mountain road to see the horses this weekend, so we may just drive back out to the Indian canyons and take pictures instead.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ducks...Watery Wednesday Dec. 17, 2008

I used to walk around the Living Desert several afternoons a week a couple of years ago. One place I always stopped to visit was their pond. It is filled with reeds and many ducks and other birds stop there for a visit. These ducks were enjoying their swim one afternoon. For other watery photos, please visit Watery Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trees and snow December 16, 2008 That's My World Tuesday

I thought for sure the horses would be in snow Sunday morning, but they weren't. There was snow on the mountains right above the horse ranch where I board them and I drove up the road to try to get a picture of the trees. Unfortunately, the asphalt ended and since the dirt road was still wet and muddy, I didn't want to take a chance and get stuck, since I was alone! There also isn't cell phone service in this area! So, I used my little zoom on my Canon and took this photo. Hubby says he will buy me a new camera for my birthday in February, but I LOVE my Canon! I'm so used to it! However, it doesn't have a good zoom and sometimes I wish it did! Well, I guess I'll have two cameras in a couple of months! For other views, please visit:

Monday, December 15, 2008

First snowfall December 15, 2008

Our local mountains had their first snowfall Saturday night. Actually, it was an ice storm. I drove up to see my horses Sunday morning and stopped along the way to view the snow. Sunday was a very cold day with some wind, and next time I'll take a scarf with me, but it was so beautiful outside, I braved the cold to take these pics! While the bigger mountains have had snowfall, this was actually the first in the Santa Rosas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Scenic Sunday December 14, 2008

Last weekend I stopped by the Santa Rosa mountains visitor center in Palm Desert, CA. It is at the base of highway 74 and is free to the public. You can wander around the gardens and desert landscape there and see quail and other birds. They provide a water hole for desert animals also. I like the smoke trees there. Did you know that smoke trees will ONLY grow when their seeds are scratched during a desert flood? Yes. So, if you see smoke trees in the desert, you know you are in a flood zone. The Living Desert has many of them also and they were last flooded in 1976. Also, some smoke trees have mistletoe in them. The phainopepola (a large black bird) eats the mistletoe seeds and spreads them to other trees. If you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see the mistletoe in the smoke tree. For other terrific views, please visit Scenic Sunday at:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Indian ancestors Saturday, December 13, 2008 Andreas Canyon

Toward the end of our visit to Andreas Canyon, we spotted an area set aside for modern Cahuilla Indians to show how their ancestors lived. The Cahuilla used whatever they could from the palm trees for housing and for racks. These were put together by modern Cahuilla for the public to view.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Skywatch Friday, December 12, 2008

As I was driving down the mountain last weekend, I stopped at the Santa Rosa Mountains visitor center. I went for a short walk and when I looked up, the moon was poking through the clouds that were drifting by. That's a smoke tree in the foreground.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Watery Wednesday for December 10, 2008

I saw this leaf in the water when we visited Andreas Canyon and I loved the pretty color of it!

Doesn't it look peaceful?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Andreas Canyon Part 3 December 10, 2008

The journey continues...I love the way these palm trees just seem to sprout up from the desert~aren't they pretty?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That's My World for Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm taking a break from the Indian canyons to show this view of the Coachella Valley from Highway 74, which travels from the desert floor up to Idyllwild. On my way down Sunday, the shifting clouds created such beautiful shadows that I had to pull over several times and take photos. I liked this one because it gave a view of the valley floor below and the hills between the top of the mountain and the desert. Aren't the shadows pretty? We don't get many cloudy days, so when we do get one, I'm always amazed by the clarity and beauty of the shadows.To see other entries, please visit:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Andreas Canyon Part 2 December 8, 2008

As we continued our walk through Andreas Canyon, we continued to be amazed by its beauty! Maybe it was the autumn leaves, or the long afternoon shadows, but AC was truly an inspirational place!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Andreas Canyon is VERY different from Palm Canyon, as I previously posted. It has sycamore trees that line the stream and when we went to visit it, they had changed into the beautiful fall colors. AC has stark rocks that contrast well with the trees. And, the wild grapes were GORGEOUS! What a beautiful spot. A sign said that when the Spanish came through the Coachella Valley and found the Indian canyons, the Indians were growing fields of squash, beans, and corn. These canyons are and still are sacred to them. I can see why. They have a great energy there.

I thought the rocks looked like a sitting dog, so I called it "dog rock". Can you see the dog?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Andreas Canyon Part 1 December 6, 2008

After leaving the quiet calm of Palm Canyon, we stopped at Andreas Canyon. AC is right past the entrance to the Palm Springs' Indian Canyons' entrance. It is very different from Palm Canyon. We were fortunate to have decent sunlight when we arrived there and the wild grapes had turned beautiful fall colors! While Palm Canyon seemed to have a quiet elegance, Andreas Canyon, to me, seemed to have more energy! Maybe that was because the water there is in an active stream? I just felt more energy there and really enjoyed exploring it. This photos are part 1 of our trip to Andreas Canyon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Leaving Palm Canyon Fri Dec 5, 2008

As we left Palm Canyon to travel to Andreas Canyon, off in the distance was a terrific thunderstorm. It appeared to be over Joshua Tree National Monument. You can see the rain coming down from the thunderheads! What a beautiful day to visit the canyons! Tomorrow...Andreas Canyon!