Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rain In The Desert

A long time ago, when rainfall used to be more plentiful, hardy folk grazed cattle in what is now Joshua Tree National Park. Dams (sometimes called "tanks") were built to trap rainwater for the cattle, and there are a handful in the park that survive to this day. The best known is Barker Dam. Seems like every time I've hiked the area in the past few years, Barker Dam has been dry or with an underwhelming amount of water. Usually not much more than a mud hole.

Enter the recent rains we've been having, and Barker Dam has been transformed!! I took these photos Sunday morning, before all the rain of Sunday afternoon and evening, so there is even more water now!
The morning started out with a nice view of a rainbow out our kitchen window. It actually looks like the end of the rainbow lands in our front yard! What a nice way to start off our day!!

Not your typical desert view, wouldn't you agree!!?
Start planning now for the spring wildflower blooms in the CA desert. They should be fantastic!

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Halo of Clouds

I couldn't resist taking a few iPhone shots of my granddaughter while she was playing at the local elementary school playground recently. The sky was beautiful with nice big, fluffy clouds!

Happy dance!!
Backboard for handball
Climbing to the clouds??!!
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Desert Cabins & Wild Skies!

We were out in the Joshua Tree area last weekend and were treated to some really beautiful and dramatic skies. This big dark cloud caught my eye and got me out of the house with my camera and tripod.
As is common with sunsets, the sky was changing quickly. I hurried up our road to a couple of little homestead cabins that I haven't photographed in a while, fingers crossed that I didn't lose the drama going on in the sky!

This little brick homestead cabin hasn't been used in years. It's probably in pretty bad shape inside. The composition roof litters the ground, and I'm sure it has significant water damage. It's in an amazing location, very close to the property line of Joshua Tree National Park, with a beautiful view. I keep waiting for the "For Sale" sign to go up!!

Right next door is this little pink stucco cabin. It doesn't get much use either, but it's in better shape. Incredible sky, don't you think?!! Back in the day, you could get 5 acres for free if you "improved" the property you were homesteading by adding a house or cabin. That's why you see these little box cabins all over the place out here!

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Coyote Crossing

Happy 2017!! Not sure why, but we are seeing coyotes cruising through out property near Joshua Tree nearly every time we go out to the desert. Much more frequently than in the past. Usually early morning, and recently three coyotes together. I usually just watch them cruise by, but occasionally I'll grab my camera and try to get a shot.
Why did the coyote cross the road??
Last weekend, I heard my granddaughter yell "coyote!!" while my wife was out walking our chihuahua. This was before my first cup of coffee, so I was moving pretty slow. Fortunately, our chihuahua lived to yap another day, but you always have to be on guard and definitely need to keep small dogs on a leash.
Not a great photo (shot through a dirty window), but this fellow (gal?) was busy taking a dirt bath for quite a while. She just kept rolling around in the sand, which I've never seen a coyote do. Then she got up, moved on, and I moved on to the bedroom where I could get a better shot.
Isn't she beautiful? She heard me gently sliding the door open (so I didn't have to shoot through glass) but she didn't seem concerned. She stopped, posed for a moment, then moved on.
Shortly after the coyotes leave, the jackrabbits show up. Funny looking creatures! I'm pretty sure they are the primary food source of the coyotes. They have big buggy eyes, huge ears, and always seem to be on alert!

Later in the day, I was treated to this nice sunset.
If you've not heard the eerie yapping of a small pack of coyotes, here's what they sound like. This was taken from my front porch, and it's best toward the end of the clip. I know the coyotes were very close, but it was interesting that they were virtually invisible. Turn up the volume and enjoy! 

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