Desert Horses

Welcome to my horse blog, Desert Horses. We live in the desert southwest, near Palm Springs, CA, but board our horses up in our local mountains where it is cooler in the summer. I have 4 horses, all rescues. Here is the ranch up the mountains where the horses stay.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A break in the storms and off I went!

We had RAIN (almost an inch) here Wednesday and Thursday and I saw there was a break between that storm and another one heading in late Friday afternoon, so I took off up the mountain to go buy pellets for the horses.  I had emailed the ranch owner and she said they were almost completely out of their midday pellets, so I knew I had to get up there before the Christmas holiday.  They get 2 feedings of pellets (am and pm), but they all also get a noon snack.  I provide the noon snack pellets and I try to always make sure they have some Timothy pellets and some Integrity senior (for calories).  Otherwise they either get alfalfa hay or pellets for their two meals.

It was a BEAUTIFUL morning here in the desert, with fog all over.  We only get that effect after a tropical storm and Wednesday's storm WAS tropical.  LOTS of moisture, but not cold.  Friday's storm, however, WAS COLD.  Our mountains are now COVERED with snow!!!

I took the time driving up the mountain to stop and take photos along the way.  Here are a few of them:

 Fog moving up along Highway 74...

 Looking down from Highway 74 into the Palm Springs Indian canyons...
 Lone tree and empty field up in Anza...
My favorite view of the ranch.

P.S.  Quad wasn't feeling well (again)...lots of stretching, peeing, he even laid down at one point.  We kept an eye on him, but then he was well enough to go eat more pellets.  The ranch owner said she would keep an eye on him for the next couple of days...sigh...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


The house is pretty much cleaned up now.  I just do a little bit every day, although yesterday I was a real slacker and I didn't even get out of my pajamas ALL DAY!!!!  It was WONDERFUL!

Kitchen...clean, sparkly, and smells like orange essential oil
Living room...clean
Desk...clean and decorated with Christmas decorations
Lights out on the front porch...ON!
Front porch...swept!
Office...cleaned!  (That took 4 days!)
Bedroom...uh, cleaner, not entirely and thoroughly cleaned, but progress has been made.  12 pair of socks are now matched and put away

Bathrooms...clean and sparkly! (also smell like orange essential oil)
Front yard...clean
Back yard...clean
Side porch...uh, cleaner...still needs some work

I now have a couple dozen pine cones scented with orange, clove, and cinnamon essential oils, so when one walks into the house, you are hit with holiday smells.  My Yankee candles are out and lit most of the time.

My Christmas tablecloth is on the kitchen table.  I haven't done this much decorating in 20 years!!!!!

Laundry is up-to-date and folded and put away.  Dishes are done first thing every morning.  It's nice to settle into a "retirement" routine!   :-)

Our local mountains got a fresh dusting of snow last week.  This is the view from the Toro Peak webcam, at 8,500 feet, looking out over the Coachella Valley.  I stop by their webcams every day to see what they see.  And, we have 2 winter storms moving in starting today and the 2nd one on Friday, so the mountains may get more snow!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Horse visit~Finally!!!

I had a good visit with the herd this week.  I drove up on Wednesday.  It was a nice day the low 80's.  A storm front was on its way and we actually had some clouds.  It was COLD up at the ranch, however.  I have to always remember to bring a jacket from now on!

The horses are all looking good.  They all have their winter coats!  Scout is now brown.  She's almost white in the summer, but her winter coat is now on and she's brown.  Sunni is woolly and Quad...well, he has very coarse hair.

I cleaned out water troughs and gave them all a couple scoops of pellets (and some chia seeds).  I really need to go back this week and brush them and clean their hooves.  And, they ALL need another trim.

Here are pics from Wednesday:  I actually went in Gigo's corral with her and she was fine.  I was fine, too, so that's a big step forward.

 Quad was very interest in... FOOD!
 Sunni at least paid attention to me.
Scout was ONLY interested in food!  See how dark she is now?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ready to visit the horses~Finally~~~

It's been over a month since I've been up to the horse ranch to even visit the horses.  After Gigondas knocked me down, I had a long time recuperating and frankly, now I'm scared of them.

I have a husband, two grown children, and four grandchildren WHO NEED ME. I can't afford to be seriously injured.

I have pellets to unload and get out of my car, but whether or not I even take a horse out today depends.  I need to get over my fear.

Any advice/suggestions?
~Cheryl Ann~

Friday, November 4, 2016

Just around town

Just some photos from around here.  I have some to upload, but I'm too tired this afternoon.  Hubby is settling in to his new routine and meds.  

Dove on a tree up at the Santa Rosa Mountains visitor center...

Pretty flowers 

Fall decorations around my front door
 I love smoketrees!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hubby is HOME!

I brought hubby home yesterday (Monday).  He finally finished his last round of tests and was cleared to be released (THANK GOODNESS!)

He does have Bradycardia (low heart rate) and a slight blockage in his left artery.  No pacemaker needed at this time.  Phew!  We drove over to our son's to see the grandkids decked out in their Halloween costumes, then home.  We got home at 8 p.m.  That's twice now I've driven Highway 74 at night.  It sure is pretty driving through Anza.  I can see stars there that we can't see here from home (too much light pollution).

Today he had to go out and buy dinner because I was dizzy all day.  I'm not sure if it was the stress or if I just had a virus, but I'm headed to the doctor tomorrow (with him and then my own appointment).  It was pretty bad.

That's all for now.  Will keep you posted.  Ripley is glad to have us BOTH home.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Husband in hospital

My husband drove over the mountain Thursday to go to our grandson's baseball game.  During dinner, he slumped over the table.  I wasn't there.  I stayed home with the damn dog.  Our son quickly called the paramedics and he fell unconscious.

He is in the hospital there in Temecula and won't be home for at least another couple of days.  They are doing all kinds of tests on him.  It wasn't a heart attack.  Rather, his heart rate sank to 30...I have been driving back and forth from here to Temecula because the dog clawed her way out of the gate and was found down the street (again)...2nd time.

The cardiologist is trying to figure out if the medication he was on for blood pressure caused this.

I may be not be posting for a while, then.

Please take care of your loved ones and tell them you love them each and every day.  Life is precious.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Eastern Sierra trip

So, now that hubby and I are BOTH happily retired, we had planned an eastern Sierra trip, one more than 4 days long.  We actually were gone for 8 nights!  And, we took our dog with us (her first EVER road trip!)

Last summer we traveled 6 nights over to Colorado and New Mexico, home through Overgaard.  Unfortunately, while we were heading to Overgaard, a man down the street in the apartments called me to tell me that Ripley, our black lab, had gotten OUT of our front fenced yard.  We had a 6' wooden fence, with a gate, in the front yard for over 20 years until one of our eucalyptus trees blew over this past spring and fell on it.  We have it no more.  But, Ripley had clawed her way out of the front gate.  I asked him if he could stuff her back into the yard and put a trash can in front of the gate (which he did).  Fortunately for us, he had also owned a black lab at one time.  So, I spent a sleepless night in Overgaard and drove home the next morning at record-breaking speed!  Then, this summer, on one of our overnight trips to Temecula to visit our son and his family, she once again destroyed a gate (on the other side of the house).  She didn't get out, but she nearly did.

So, we decided (rightly) that we had to take her with us.  Hubby looked at motels, Air B&B cabins, and found a motel in Bishop (the Vagabond) that was dog friendly.  We stayed there our first night.  Then, we spent 4 nights at a cabin in Mammoth.  It was the downstairs of a 2 story cabin.  Fortunately for us, nobody was in the upper cabin, or it would have been very noisy!  There also was no fenced yard for Ripley, and there ARE bears in Mammoth, so I kept her on leash for 2 days (she won't pee or poop on leash unless she is desperate!).  She finally was able to do her business off leash and I stood near her!  I heard a great horned owl hooting our first night there and I heard a coyote howling a couple of nights later.  That cabin was on the outskirts of town, near the end of Old Mammoth Road.  The cabin was actually well stocked and comfortable, but the bed was SO HARD that even hubby couldn't sleep on it and he slept on the living room couch for 2 nights!  I'm not sure we would book this cabin again...

Anyway, here are some pics from the day trip we took up in Bishop Canyon:

Ripley's first dip in a lake!  And, yes, she IS a lab!!!  She LOVES water!  Every summer here in the desert I fill up a kiddie plastic pool for her and she goes and sits in it on hot days!

The Parchers Resort is getting ready to close, up in Bishop Canyon.  The Silver Lake Resort is closing this week, and (Nuzzling Muzzles...) WALKER BURGER closed yesterday for the season!  We got lunch there going up to Lake Tahoe, and then coming back down.  Ripley really enjoyed their grassy area!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

RETURN to Oak Glen

After sitting around the house trying to allow my ankle to heal (remember Gigondas knocked me down last Sunday), and hubby sitting around the house forever, we decided to drive back to Oak Glen and buy an apple pie and some Spartan apples.  Spartan apples are an early variety and they are sweet and juicy.  It was a beautiful day for driving yesterday~clouds were hanging over the mountains and it looked like we might get some sprinkles!

 This is Riley's Farm, a recreated old farm....One of the many places to stop and enjoy!

 I had to use the privy!  Very nice and clean!
 Beautiful views
 Thunderheads developing
 Look out into one of the apple orchards through this curved vine
 Skies got darker and daarker
Lovely grove of sequoias, cedars, and conifers.

We ate lunch and hubby bought his pie.  I bought a bag of Spartan apples.  On the way home, we saw sprinkles down by Hemet and Lake Elsinore.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

We saw pelicans and I howled with the coyotes!

Yesterday afternoon was magical.  First, the two-day storm was beginning to clear out.  We had rain on and off for two days and the storm was finally moving east and breaking up.  It was GORGEOUS yesterday afternoon, so I took a couple of routes home.  Hubby and I ended up at the Desert willow golf course here in town.  I parked the car (we had gone to Indio to babysit the grandkids) and we walked along the ponds until the damn mosquitoes got to us.  I drove down the road a little way and something white caught my eye.  I thought it was egrets, but when we quietly got out, we discovered a dozen white pelicans!  This was unusual.  There are brown pelicans at the Salton Sea, but I haven't seen white ones.  They were probably migrating somewhere...

We snuck up on them and I got a few photos before they heard us and flew off in a huff and a puff!  WELL!  Good thing they did, because a pack of coyotes was howling right behind the pond!  They howled and I howled back at them!  It was quite a conversation!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Oak Glen apples

Oak Glen is a prime Southern California area for growing apples.  It is located in the hills of the San Bernardino mountains, about an hour's drive from Palm Springs.  We like to drive up there every fall and buy cider and apples.  The other apple area is up in Julian, which is in San Diego county, the other direction.  We don't get over there as often.

We first stopped at Riley's Farm.  Riley's Farm is an authentic old farm, with sheep, a bakery, a house, and they grow apples, strawberries, and another crop, which I didn't see.  They have tours for schools.  I know our first grades have always gone up there.  If you go, get there when they open (10 a.m.), otherwise it is quite crowded.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Accident with Gigondas

Horse accident

So, I went up to the horse ranch yesterday and got 3 horses out for exercise.  I didn't even try with my gelding, Sunni, due to the er..."breezy" conditions.  Rattling leaves would have spooked him in a second.

I took Quad up to the round pen, Scout down to the arena, and I moved Gigondas into Quad's super large corral.  Then I aimlessly wandered around doing chores:  cleaning water troughs, brushing Gigondas, putting pellets away.

I took Scout back to her pen, then it was Gigo's turn to go from Quad's corral to her own, which is only about 21 feet away.  She led fine, but the gate was at an odd angle and I had to make a right turn to get her into her corral.  I should have just stopped and moved the manure buckets which were in the way.  Did I stop to do that?  Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

The result of which was this:  She spooked and slammed into me.  I went face down into the hard dirt of her corral.  FORTUNATELY she didn't jump over me, possibly decapitating me!  She stood where she was (I think she knew I was hurt).  My hands were shaking, but I was still holding her and the lead rope because I didn't shut the gate.  I was dazed and I remember thinking, "This is IT!" I was too shaken to even try to get up.

Then I saw her right front leg go up, meaning she WAS going to walk over me, so I swung the lead rope at her, let it go, screamed "NO!" at her,  and she moved to the far corner of her corral and stood until I could SLOWLY get up.  She never tried to get out, fortunately, because I wouldn't have been able to catch her and the ranch gate was open.  I don't think she wanted to deal with the gate, like it was.

Anyway, I now have two cut fingers, a sore shoulder, but my ankle is the worst.  It is THROBBING.  It isn't broken and I can hobble around on it, but it HURTS LIKE $%##. I took an Advil yesterday and I'm just going to stay in and rest today.

Monday morning update:  My shoulder has recovered.  My right hand still has two fingers with scrapes and I have a HUGE scrape on my right elbow.  My ankle is still swollen and sore.  I'm hoping 1 more day of rest will help.

Friday, September 16, 2016

mountain fog

I know several of my readers do have fog where they live (Barbara, Carson)...but we don't here in the desert.  I can count days with fog in the 40 years we have lived here on one hand.  It is very unusual.  I always tried to get out and take photos on foggy days for that reason.

But, up in our local San Jacinto mountains, low clouds are common.  And, Tuesday morning, the clouds were rolling through Idyllwild.  I had to run out and buy two coffee mugs for myself and hubby, since the cabin's coffee cups were too small for both of us!  After I purchased two gorgeous mugs, I turned around to see the clouds moving through town.  It was magical!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Summer's last blast?

I'm SO anxious for this dang heat to end!  Yesterday was 108 and today will be 106.  Then, by the middle of next week, mid 90's, but then the temps go up again.  Grrrrrr!  COME ON!  It's been a long, hot summer and I'm ready for fall!

I put up some fall leaves from Michael's on our west window.  I have to cover it during the summer because it gets the full blast of afternoon sun.  I actually have 2 layers of insulation on it:  first, the black mesh which is SUPPOSED to keep out 95% of the sun's rays and heat (it does work!), and then I added the leftover wooden boards from our fence that fall over last spring.  I couldn't just toss them!

I drove to Temecula Friday morning to babysit the granddaughter (20 months) so her mom could go out on a job interview.  She was fine.  We played silly games together.  I left our dog at home with hubby because they can't have a dog at their rental house.  So, SOMEBODY had to babysit the dog.

Well, hubby let her out Friday night, after feeding her, and he forgot about her for an hour. He went to let her in and...NO DOG!  She didn't come to the back side door.  Now, our back yard is completely fenced, but the one night we BOTH drove to Temecula 2 weeks ago, Ripley managed to scratch two of the boards on the side gate.  She didn't get out, but she tore up the gate.  I did a temporary repair on it, but I didn't nail the boards back in or replace the ones that needed to be replaced.  So, he got worried.  He got out his flashlight and searched the back yard.  NO Ripley.  He called her.  No dog.  he finally opened up the front door, and GUESS WHO was sitting there, wagging her tail?

Good thing he didn't tell me or I would have had a heart attack!  We are just one block away from one of the busiest streets in town and I always worry that she'll get out and go out there and get hit by a car.  So, I have another 10,000 new gray hairs!

The breakout artist!  That's the front fence before one of our eucalyptus trees fell over on it during a wind storm last spring and destroyed it.