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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Textures~Sunday Stills Challenge~January 31, 2010

Oh, boy! While this isn't a hard Sunday Stills Challenge, it did post a problem~~~Which photos should I pick? I finally decided just to limit it to the ones that I've taken up at the ranch where I board our horses. Otherwise, I'd be posting all day! I've posted other series of photos on my other blogs, so if you wish to see those, check out my other blogs, which are listed on the sidebar. So, these are ALL either about the horses or were taken up at the ranch in the mountains. Several readers have asked if I live up there. No, I do not. My husband and I live down on the desert valley, near Palm Springs, CA. BUT, we board our horses up in our local mountains. First, they escape the brutal summer heat and humidity which we have down here. Yes, they get snow in the winter up in the mountains, but they have shelters and they get excellent care! I figured it would be easier for them to adjust to the mountain winters than to have to deal with the sweltering summer heat down here in the desert. And, besides, it is a completely different world for me to visit when I visit them up in the mountains! I actually get to see the seasons and since, as a teacher, I have summers off, I get to enjoy the mountain weather! So, here goes with the pics! Have a great day and enjoy these Sunday Stills Challenge photos!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Normally I would post something about the horses, but, frankly, I'm tired of snow and mud! And, my sunflowers at our desert home are blooming, so I decided to add some COLOR this morning and share them with you! These are all out in front, next to our fence by the street. It gets full sun daily and is nice and warm. I planted these in December. Now, mind you, the Southern California desert has a 365 day growing season. Right now our farmers are growing cool season crops like lettuce, carrots, onions, broccoli, and radishes. But last year I planted my mammoth sunflowers in January and they were 7 feet tall by Spring! I honestly don't know why these are so much smaller, but they are! Last year's crop towered above the top of the fence line. These haven't even made it there yet, but they sure are pretty! I also stopped after school and frequently pulled seeds off the wild desert sunflowers, which are more compact, but have many blooms on them. For some reason, they don't germinate as well as the domestic variety, although after our 5 days of rain, even they should be sprouting now that we are having clear weather again...I'll have to update you on those seeds. I just broadcast them out front. I haven't seen any of them sprout yet, and I threw out hundreds of seeds, but maybe they needed a massive amount of rainfall, like we just got! We got our yearly rain total last week in 5 days! Yup! Can you believe it? Anyway, enjoy the sunflowers' color and have a great day! I'm driving up to the mountains to buy 2 bags of sweet feed for the horses, since nights up there are once again in the freezing range.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mom~Where's my jacket?

Here's Gigondas after the snow storm. All the horses have nice, long winter coats. And, Gigondas was from WA state and has been in snow many times up there. And, she's only about 7 years old, so she's still young! But, do you think she looks cold? I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll be able to drive up to the ranch and buy 2 bags of sweet feed for the horses and give them some! We have now had 2 days of nice, WARM weather, with another 7 in the forecast, then more rain. Ahhhhh.....winter! But, as you all know, California desperately needs snow and rain to replentish our reservoirs!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tracks in the snow

It's official! This is the most snowfall our local mountains have had in five years! I remember last winter. The horses got a slight snowfall, but NOTHING like this! I'll have to look up the official snowfall amount, since I don't even know how much snow they got. But, I eyeballed about 6 inches on top of one of the feed cans. And, after yesterday's sprinkles, there is still snow on the mountains. Anyway, I went out and around the ranch with my camera, intent on finding animal tracks. I found quite a few and some were from the ranch dogs. And, there were tractor tracks, too! I'm not sure how muddy it will be this weekend, and I need to get up there and buy more sweet feed for the horses, so I'll probably drive up Saturday. Oh, in the meantime, let's see...the electricity went out at the house, my washer KONKED OUT, and the little Toyota RAV's battery went dead. So, we have LOTS of things to fix at home! Here are some pics from the ranch on Saturday. Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's raining again!!!

Woke up at 4:50 a.m. thi smorning to rain again...sigh...We are already SATURATED down here and more rain will mean that the already-saturated soil simply cannot absorb any more water. It's too dark to see what the mountains look like and whether they are receiving rain or snow. In the meantime, it sure is good to have the fridge working again! Here are a couple of pics of Cali and Scout from Saturday, the morning after it stopped snowing. The snow around the ranch and corrals was covered with little bird tracks! It was fun to see all the animal tracks in the fresh snow! The horses were out and about and didn't seem to mind it at all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yeah~We have electricity

Well, we FINALLY have electricity in the whole house again. I found out that 4 other neighbors were also affected. Edison came out late in the afternoon and fixed the problem. I lost my entire refrigerator and freezer full of food, but I did take the opportunity to completely wash down the fridge. YIKES! It's amazing what can go on in there! I'm hoping that this afternoon hubby and I can move my desk into the spare bedroom and set up my desktop in there and get it OUT of the kitchen! We are supposed to have another day of rain either today or tomorrow...sigh...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Horses and SNOW~~~

I awoke this morning to NO electricity in our kitchen! NONE. No washer. No dryer. No stove. No microwave. No fridge. OOPS! No fridge! ACK! I bundled up what I could and dashed over to our daughter's house and her fridge. We made coffee on the stove with a match. Of course, it being Sunday, there are NO electricians available! It looks like an old circuit breaker went out...and hubby isn't savvy enough to fix it, so it probably will be a couple of days. That, on top of my washer going hasn't been a good weekend! Of course, hubby did manage to jerryrig his laptop, but all my photos are on my own desktop, which has no power....sigh... These are some pics that he took yesterday when we drove up the mountain to see how the horses were doing in the snow. It looks like they got about 4-6 inches of snow! Not sure when I'll be back on...until then, give your horse(s) a smooch from me!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It was SNOWING!!!

Yesterday morning, during a break in the rain, (or so I thought...) I took a ride up the mountain. Nope. Not the end of the rain. There had been many, many more small rock slides and I could tell that the CALTRANS crew (bulldozer and truck) had been up and down the mountainous road. From behind the clouds, I could get glimpses of snow and I wanted to take a look for myself, so up the mountain road I headed. Hmmm...why am I the only car going up? I stopped at Vista Point, a huge overlook, and it was deserted except for one other car. A woman was looking over the stone pillars and I stopped to chat with her. Turns out, she was from Canada. Nice lady. She was planning to drive to Idyllwild!!! I laughed. I told her, "No way. The road is closed ahead. Didn't you see the sign?" The dreaded "CHAINS REQUIRED" sign was up again...sigh...and I asked her if she had chains. NOPE. Oh, well...she said she would drive as far as she could and she and I played tag for the rest of the morning! And, no, she didn't get much further than I did. I passed her as she was going DOWN the mountain! The rain was cold and near freezing and was eerily quiet. But, white stuff was coming down...SNOW! It was so neat. I stopped my car, rolled down the window, and just listened. Silence. Ah, wonderful silence! I only drove as far as I went the previous day, not wishing to get stuck in the stuff myself, and, being a native Californian, I have NO IDEA how to drive in snow, so I just went slowly and stayed on the main highway and turnouts which I knew were paved. Up came the CALTRANS crew and back down the highway they went. Apparently they turn around at about the same spot (the Sugarloaf Cafe) that I did. I found them at the bottom of the hill, stopped, and got out out my car to chat with them. Turns out, they are from Indio and on Thursday they spent 14 hours going up and down the mountain, clearing the road! They expected to do another 14 hour day yesterday. Nice fellows! I thanked them for their hard work and told them I'd been playing tag with them all morning! It's still snowing in the mountains this morning, so hubby and I will drive up either late this morning or early afternoon. And, the Palm Springs tram had to shut down due to ice on the cables. A few people were stuck on top and had to wait until crews could clear the ice off the cables before they were put back into tram cars and brought down the hill! It was 19 degrees at the top of Mt. San Jacinto yesterday!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rain and snow and hail, oh my!

I stayed home yesterday, nursing a severe sore throat. It was raining all day, the most rain I've seen here in the desert for many years. I heated up some leftovers for lunch and headed out in the afternoon, during a slight lull in the rain. I knew that the road to the horses would be closed at 4,000 feet and I wouldn't be able to get to the ranch, but I thought I might see some interesting things along the way. The mountains were shrouded in clouds and it was foggy, so off I went! At about 3,000 feet, it looked like the ground was covered with hail. Further up, it was snowing and the rain was very cold! There were a lot of minor rock slides and one major one which covered one lane of the 2-lane road. The CALTRANS bulldozer and snow tractors were out and about, going up and down the mountain road and 3 California Highway Patrol cars were out patrolling. Highway 74 is dangerous in good weather and I'm sure they were on the lookout for cars that got in trouble either driving up or down the road.