Sunday, January 31, 2010

Textures~Desert after the storm~Sunday Stills Challenge 013110

This week's challenge really IS a challenge! I went through some of my archived photos and, after finding so many pictures which could fit this challenge, I finally settled on these. I took these the week before last, right after a break in our five days of rain. It was a beautiful and unique time to venture out and around our desert southwest. The plants smelled of rain and wet earth. The creosote smelled...well, of creosote! Water drops were clinging to the smoke tree branches, and even the cholla was wet. It was a good day to experience our desert southwest. Sunday Stills Challenge for January 31, 2010. Enjoy your day!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cattle Egrets~Camera Critters for 013010

As I was driving to school yesterday, I spotted something white go flying by and I stopped at an overpass to take a look. There wasn't much room and the big semis were flying by, on their way to be loaded with vegetables. There was a flock of cattle egrets in the trees in the wash near my school. Cattle egrets are very common here in our desert southwest. They love the farms and I frequently see them out in the fields. But, this flock had decided to land in the wash and many of them were perched up in the trees. Camera Critters for January 30, 2010.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow and wind~After the Storm~SkyWatch Friday 012910

I went driving early Sunday morning, after our 5 days of rain and snow in the mountains last week. Those mountains are up by Joshua Tree National Park. The higher elevations there sometimes get snow. I wish we could have driven up there, but we had problems at home with our Edison lines and decided to call Edison and report the problem and stay home. So, while hubby sat home and rerouted extension cords to power up his laptop, I ventured out. The wind was blowing and if you click on the photos, you can see the palm trees swaying. The morning was crisp and clear, perfect to see the new snow! SkyWatch Friday for January 29, 2010.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow in Idyllwild

Hubby and I took a drive up to Idyllwild last weekend, on Saturday, after our 5 days of rain and snow up in the mountains. At 6,000 feet, Idyllwild sits at the top of Mt. San Jacinto, which towers above Palm Springs. What a difference an hour makes, from the desert floor to the top of the mountain! I now see why the signs that say, "CHAINS REQUIRED" are there. We had our little Toyota RAV 4-wheel drive and it did just fine, but the roads were covered in ice. Lots of people were out & about and our favorite breakfast place, The Bread Basket, was full and there was no place to park, so we left Idyllwild and got hamburgers at Dairy Queen! Here are some pics from our day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bright snow~ABC Wednesday 012710

Hubby and I headed out Saturday morning to view our local mountains and all the snow they received in the storms last week. We didn't have to go very far. About 8 minutes up the hill, we ran into snow. I decided, since we had our son's Toyota RAV 4 wheel drive, that we should take that road, even though it was muddy. So, off we went! And, what beautiful views we saw! At the top of the road, however, I wasn't sure how to turn around (in the snow), so hubby, who is from Pennsylvania, and I traded spots and he carefully turned the car around and we headed back out to the highway. ABC Wednesday for January 27, 2010.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Palo Verde trees reflection~Weekend Reflections 012310

I took a drive around town yesterday morning during a break from our 5 days of rain and found this palo verde tree reflected in a pool of standing water. Our desert southwest, here near Palm Springs, CA, has now received our YEARLY rainfall total in the last 6 days! That's incredible! I remember the last El Nino winter, back in the 80's. We will have a break in the rain for a few days, then a 30% chance of rain early next week. Time to get out and about today! Weekend Reflections for January 23, 2010.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Desert rain~SkyWatch Friday 012210

Our desert sands, plants, and even animals are saturated by 5 days of rain this week. I was surprised to see my front yard full of doves yesterday morning. I had thrown out some birdseed the previous afternoon and there they were, in the rain, feeding. Poor little things! I went for a drive and found our mountains hidden by clouds and our washes full of water. At this point, I pulled into the parking lot of a popular hiking spot and took these photos. One more day of scattered showers and then tomorrow our skies should clear! SkyWatch Friday for January 22, 2010.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Snow on our mountains

We had a one-day break between our recent storms on Tuesday and, grabbing my camera, off I went to work. But, I had to stop and take these photos of the snow on our local mountains. That's Mt. San Jacinto rising above Palm Springs, CA. I took these photos in Palm Desert, right before I got on Interstate 10, which takes me to my school. It has rained since then and the forecast is for snow down to 4,000 feet, which means my horses will be in snow. This is at about 5,000 feet. Our skies should clear out by Saturday. With three storms all in a row, we have now had our yearly rainfall total!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wagon~That's My World 011910

I LOVE this old wagon, which quietly sits at the entrance to the ranch where I board my horses. I love it in winter, I love it in fall, spring, and summer. I like to document the trees behind it each season, too. They are sycamore and maple and I enjoy watching them change with the seasons. They actually have seasons up in our local mountains. It's harder to see seasons in the desert. Yes, we have seasons, but mainly winter and summer. Fall and spring come and go so quickly we hardly notice them, except when there are desert wildflowers. I'm hoping that with this week's rains, we will have a bounty of wildflowers this spring! That's My World for Tuesday, January 19, 2010.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mountain Lion~That's My World 011910

Hubby and I drove up over a very poorly maintained dirt road on Saturday to take a peek at an 18-acre ranch for sale. It is only 10 minutes away from where I currently board our horses. We're just in the "looking" stage as we haven't even put our own home on the market, and frankly, don't even know if we want to at this point in time. But, we LOVE to look! So, up and over the dirt road we went. It's a good thing I have new tires (a $750 bill last May). (And, why do tires only last a year???) As we came down the road (...trail...), we spied another valley. This is at the western edge of the Anza-Borrego state park, California's largest state park. There were a couple of horse ranches there and a neighbor stopped us to see what we were doing and explain that one of them was a polo pony breeding farm. I have mixed feelings about that, since I have two rescued thoroughbreds myself. If I were this guy's neighbor, I'd probably take in his culled horses, but that's another story. On this day, we stopped to admire the beauty of the valley and the ranch for sale, which included TWO houses and a barn converted into more living quarters. Hmmm...just how many people WERE living on that ranch? But, once again, I digress. Hubby and I followed the nice neighbor up the road, further, to her place, and from nearby, we could see the entire ranch below us. We got out, hiked up through some rocks and bushes and cacti, and looked down on the ranch. VERY IMPRESSIVE! Although, it seems to be located in a flood plain, we couldn't observe any water damage to the ranch or buildings. Behind it are cottonwoods, which do indicate water. Almost all of the 18 acres are usable, except on the east side, which was composed of rocks. NICE, NICE pasture for horses! Unfortunately, the buildings have seen better days and the main ranch house is nearly uninhabitable and its roof is in terrible shape! While we were walking on top of the hill behind it, hubby grabbed my arm and pointed down. MOUNTAIN LION TRACKS! ACK! It must have been a young one as they weren't full size. There were also coyote tracks and we were on the lookout for snakes. I picked up some beautiful rocks laced with mica and rose quartz to share with my third graders. Here are some pics of the ranch and the nearby hills. That's My World (I wish...) for January 19, 2010. Our kids bluntly told us, "You two are TOO OLD to be taking care of an 18 acre ranch by yourselves! Are you NUTS?"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Big Morongo Preserve~Scenic Sunday 011710

Last winter, hubby and I visited the Big Morongo Preserve, which is only about an hour from our home in Palm Desert, CA. I used to have the rangers come down to my third grade class and do a presentation for my students, but we aren't allowed to do that kind of thing anymore because of low test scores. So, the students miss out on a morning full of all kinds of interesting facts about desert plants and animals, and instead have to concentrate on test practice, but that's another story. On this day, hubby and I stayed on the boardwalk and took our time and tried to observe as much as we could. I knew those boards were there for a reason (see photo), and yes, we stayed on them! The Big Morongo Preserve has a large variety of plants and trees, from palm trees to pines and lots of sycamores and cottonwoods! Deserts aren't always dry and lifeless and this area is an example that shows a variety of plants and animals that can live in the desert. It backs up to Joshua Tree National Park, if you are looking for it on a map. Scenic Sunday for January 17, 2010.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Coming Storm~SkyWatch Friday 011510

A storm moved into our desert this week, but by the same afternoon, it had blown away. However, it provided us with a peek of a beautiful rainbow at one point, and even a double rainbow. I was driving to school and I had already stopped to take several photos, but I couldn't resist taking these as well..."the coming storm"...SkyWatch Friday for January 15, 2010.