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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Desert storm sunset~SkyWatch Friday~013114

Tonight's sunset as a storm moved into the Coachella Valley.  SkyWatch Friday for January 31, 2014.  To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:

The END of another week

Well, Friday is nearly here (again)...another week gone by!

How were the kiddos this week?  Well, yesterday they had to put their heads down for 10 minutes before lunch.  They were so loud and noisy!  I can tolerate quite a bit of noise, but I have one girl who is VERY loud and obnoxious.  She'll NEVER be Student of the Week, believe me!  She gets the whole class a rockin' and a rollin', so off she went, to the classroom next door, while I attempted to regain control of the class.  But, after lunch, when we visited the library (...dread...) we got 3 tickets for being quiet (GO FIGURE).  Our librarian likes to be able to hear her radio when classes are in the library, which means DEAD SILENCE!  I even remarked to her, "I can't even hear your radio, it's so quiet!", but she only glared at me...oh, well.

We have a storm moving into our valley tonight.  On my way home, on the freeway, dust was blowing across the lanes and traffic was down to a crawl.  NOBODY could see...

Tomorrow should be an interesting day!

Yes, our bougenvillas are blooming!  They started blooming last month!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A visit with my friend

I spent Saturday morning visiting my friend Barb.  She's in a neck brace and will be out another 6 weeks from back surgery.  She's also in a LOT of pain!  Poor thing!  I never had back surgery after my fall from HER HORSE over 4 years ago.  My back never is my legs and feet that constantly tingle 24/7 and my thighs.  My discs are L4 and L5 and I think she said hers were L4, L5, L6, and L7!  ACK!

Anyway, we sat and visited for 3 hours on Saturday.  I didn't take any photos, except a couple with my cell phone.  We couldn't go out to her barn anyway...too painful for her.  She's hired somebody to come feed the horses twice a day because she can't do that.

Oh, and she has the CUTEST pot bellied pig (I'm not sure where she got him).  His name is "Harley" and he comes to her when she calls him!  He also loves to have his tummy rubbed and he'll roll over for that.  He also loves to sack out on her dogs' beds!  It's funny to watch the dogs try to get him OFF their beds!  THEY LOSE!  :-)

I did take a couple of cell phone photos of her huge pinyon tree in her back yard.  It's dead now and she had to have it trimmed because some of its branches were in Edison's power lines (YIKES!), and they've been able to burn that wood all autumn and winter.  It's still a home for birds and owls and it still looks magnificent, don't you think?

WHERE is everybody?

No comments for my last two posts...sigh...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Silly Quad!

What a goofball!  He's just like a silly, fun-loving 8 year old!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lil' cowgirl!

Look who's in Grammy's boots!  That's Ellie, our granddaughter.  She's 9 months old now and 2 teeth are popping out!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Birds looking for breakfast ~ Birds~ ABC Wednesday~ 012214

I was up at the mountains early enough Monday morning to see several BIRDS (hawks) on telephone poles up there.  I haven't seen any bald eagles for almost a year now, but I think that's just because I haven't been getting up there as early in the mornings as I used to.  I did see several hawks, however, including these two, who were out hunting for their BREAKFAST!  The bottom one let me get right under him, but the top one flew off the minute I edged closer!  I love to observe their leg feathers.  I noticed that the eagles have very feathered legs.  BIRDS~ABC Wednesday for January 22, 2014.  To visit ABC Wednesday, please go to this BLOG:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Horse lesson Monday

Thank goodness for 3 day weekends!  I'll have two more next month...whoo, whoo!

I stayed at home Saturday because, frankly, I was just too tired to go anywhere.  I'm finding that after working all week, by Saturday, I'm DONE.  I'm FINISHED.  I'm TOAST.  So, I usually stay home, clean the house, clean up the dog poop, take a nap, cuddle with the cat, and watch TV in the afternoon.

Sunday morning I did get out and go a short hike along the Henderson trail.  However, it was getting hot and I was on the trail alone (again), so I didn't go over 1/4 mile.  It just isn't safe.  I also stopped in to check out our new neighborhood (small) Walmart.  It is in the old Toys R Us building, which is two blocks away.  I could actually walk up there!  It was nice and clean.  It just opened last week.  Now, while I don't agree with WalMart and the wages they pay their employees, it IS going to be convenient.  I can run up there and buy coffee creamer or bread.  They did have a couple of items that I needed, so I bought them as I checked out the store.  It was only 9:00 a.m. and was deserted and the cashier was very polite and helpful.

By Monday morning, I was ready for some horse time, so I actually left the house before hubby.  It was a gorgeous morning (no rain in the forecast), and I zoomed up the mountain in no time.  My trainer was supposed to be there by 9:00, but she didn't arrive until about 10:00 a.m.  I took Gigondas out, groomed her, cleaned her feet, lunged her, and then let her have some free time in the arena.  She was a very good girl.  I went in with her and she followed me around.  That's a big step for a horse that originally hated people!  She now enjoys her grooming.  She'll never be a real people-friendly horse, but now at least she tolerates us and enjoys a few things!  :-)

By then, my trainer arrived.  I took Scout out.  Scout now has MANNERS and waits inside her corral.  Remember, she used to bust out? more!  She didn't try to mow me down, either.  She always goes into the arena to get her energy out before Maia works with her....

Next was Quad...silly Quad.  Apparently he was tied at the wash rack last week, busted loose, and dragged the lead rope all over the place...sigh...I found the busted halter and the lead rope is now in tatters. I'm not quite sure what exactly happened, but he didn't get any treats.  Oh, that was a couple of weeks ago because the next visit, he was a gentleman.  I guess withholding his treats taught him to THINK about his behavior!  He was pretty good yesterday, but spooked at the "SCARY TREES" by the tie rack, so Maia practiced walking him back and forth next to them.  Otherwise, he was perfect.

She took Sunni up to the arena and let him self-exercise.  He's really good at that...

Last was Lucille, my riding horse.  Apparently she did a little hop while lunging (she looked off all morning) and pulled something in her shoulder, so we put her away.  She did at least get a nice grooming and got some attention.  Poor thing...she is SO DARN SWEET!  She nickers the minute she sees my car pull into the driveway!

Then, I had to drive home, eat lunch, take a shower, and head over to our daughter's house to babysit.  Turns out, our daughter and son-in-law both have a virus and they spent 2 hours in urgent care.  They wanted me to watch the baby so that they could go out and do their shopping and little Ellie could have some time at home.  They had spent the weekend in Anaheim, and the Disney 1/2 marathon.  And, they were exhausted.  The little one has a walker and now she careens all around their tile floor!  She'll be walking soon!

Home by 5:30...dinner, watched "Klondike" and then off to bed!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Finally got a few bird pics!

I put out several bird feeders and filled them up in my front yard yesterday, having nothing else to do.  I also put my camera on its tripod.  NOTHING. I got a chair, lowered the tripod so I could view through it, and SAT.   NOTHING...It was too dark in the front yard anyway, so I moved tripod, camera, and another chair out front, by the driveway, where I set up more feeder stations and waited.  FINALLY, some finches and sparrows arrived.  But, I was getting burned by the sun (remember I'm a melanoma survivor!), so I quit.  I did learn a couple of things.  First, you have to be really quick to get the little birds!  The doves are pretty easy, but finches & sparrows aren't.  Second, you can capture their movement if you spy an aggressive bird who will chase off the others OR if you can anticipate their movements!  Lessons learned!

Friday, January 17, 2014

I know I shouldn't complain, BUT...

It has now been over 4 weeks that we haven't had any clouds or rain.  While I know that the snowbirds enjoy this weather (it was 80 degrees here yesterday), those of us who live in the desert full time are now talking about the approaching summer.  If it is this hot now, what will our next summer be like?  We were fortunate last summer to not have many days over 120 degrees (YES...120!)  I think we had 4?  But, if it is already 80 IN JANUARY, then what will the temps be here in July?  And, our air conditioner is 13 years old and probably won't make it through a very hot summer...sigh...

Every morning I look out and see a cloudless sky.  We REALLY need rain.  We REALLY need snow up in our mountains.

Apparently the jet stream has been pushed way north and our storms are hitting Canada and Alaska.  Nobody knows how long this "bubble" will continue, but in the meantime, it should only be 79 degrees today, then down into the high 70's for the next week, with NO relief in sight...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Afternoon walks

I'm thinking about taking up my walking plans again, but doing it in the afternoon.  I just don't have time in the mornings and I'm too rushed.  I HAVE to be at school by 7:45 a.m. and it takes 30 minutes to get there, so I'd mostly just be walking in the dark anyway in the mornings, but afternoons are perfect!  Maybe I'll go up to the Living Desert (if I can get there before 4:00 p.m.) or go up to the Santa Rosa visitor center (which is open until 4:00 also, but the grounds are open...) or just go down to the park.  I usually just come home, fill up the bird feeders (I need a new one as my multiple bird feeder finally broke and crashed to the ground...), give the dogs a peanut butter treat from Trader Joe's, check Facebook, sit down, and COLLAPSE!  Oye!  It would actually be better for me to do my walk and then come home and collapse!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


My mother was a teacher.  My aunt was a teacher.  Our daughter and son-in-law are teachers.  I guess it is in our blood?  Anyway, as I am FINALLY nearing retirement, I've been doing a lot of thinking.  Basically, I had a 5 week rest over winter break because I was off work for 6 days after my concussion, went back to work for 4 days, and then was off for 3 more weeks (our winter break).  So, I had a LOT of time on my hands.  It's difficult to do much here in the summer because of the heat, but during the winter months, the desert is gorgeous!  I really didn't do much...I visited the horses 3 or 4 times, had lunch with a colleague, and we did spend one weekend up in Idyllwild.  Otherwise, I stayed home.  I trimmed trees out front, I weed wacked, I cleaned up ALL the dog poop (YEAH!), I trimmed trees out back, and I even washed my car!  The house is now SUPER CLEAN and I got rid of piles of clothes which needed to be folded.  I washed and washed and washed the kitchen floor, I washed old pots and pans, and I even found the two cast iron skillets that we have out in the garage!  But, ... (and I hate to say this...) I was ... BORED.  I can only do housework for so long.  I read 3 books over vacation and watched countless movies.  But then my desktop computer crashed and now I only have hubby's laptop (which I have to use while he's asleep).   He had an older SONY laptop which always had battery problems that he has now sent in for repair, and I should be getting that in the mail next week.  He offered to pay for its repair rather than me having to buy a new laptop.  I used to use that SONY one and it's a VERY nice laptop, so I am glad he offered to do that!   :-)  So, by next weekend, I should be up and running again and able to post photos...The first thing I'll do is install a virus protection program (I didn't update one on my desktop and it was FULL of MALWARE!)...ACK!  I though hubby did it, he thought I did it, and neither one of us DID IT!  ... lesson learned...

Anyway, back to my original thoughts about retirement...I will limp through this year (this year's class is the MOST difficult one I've had in 28 years of teaching)...and the next 2 years.  NO promises after that!  I'll be 62 next month (February 14th) and if I teach 2 more years, I'll retire at age 64.  I really don't think I can last until 65, BUT, as you all know, I DO have 5 horses to feed!!!  Sometimes I get overwhelmed with that thought because their food and care will be 1/4 of my retirement income...Do any of you have any thoughts or ideas about retirement?

In the meantime, here is an old photo of me with the kids at Disneyland, about ... 1981?  Hal is about two and he was born in 1979...???  YES, they BOTH sucked their thumbs!  I didn't use a binkie with either one of them...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back to school...sigh...

Yesterday I returned to school after our 3 week winter break.  We have 3 weeks because so many families go to Mexico over the holidays.  Out of 30 students, I only had 2 that didn't show up yesterday.  So, I had 28 sleepy, yawning students yesterday.  They couldn't write.  They couldn't figure out there, their, and they're.  One boy put his head down for a nap after lunch, during math time.  Oh, boy!  I finally took them out for PE about 2:00 (our day ends at 2:35 p.m.)...I just gave up.  And, several of them were coughing, so this morning, I have a sore throat.  I'm going to take my Vitamin C and my zinc with me today and LOTS of hand sanitizer!  And, I'll stay after bus duty and wipe down their desks.  I make my own NON-TOXIC spray, using Sal Suds, peppermint Dr. Bonner soap, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil.  I find tea tree oil too strong (although I may take a bottle of it because it is so potent)...after all, the kids will be gone!  ( "evil" plan...) We have a 3 day weekend coming up, so if I can JUST make it through the week, I'll have 3 days to rest and visit the horses...Anyway, that's my plan!  This is pretty much how they all looked yesterday...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Some horse time Saturday

So, the grandson, who is 4, wanted to come up and see the horses yesterday.  His dad was off work and his mom got out of class early, so we all piled in my Honda CRV and up to the mountains we went!  It was a beautiful, warm afternoon (yes, here in California we have had warm days!).  The ranch owners weren't home, so I didn't want to take the horses out, so I fed them some beet pulp and psyllium.  The grandson got to help and asked why alfalfa was stacked outside their corrals.  I explained to him that when they go on an overnight camping/horse ride, another lady comes to feed the horses, and to make it easier for her, they leave each horse's ration right outside their corral.  He thought about that and seemed to understand it.  He got to meet and greet each horse, but announced that Quad is now "my horse"!  We stayed for about an hour, then headed back to the desert because he wanted a peanut butter sandwich!  Now, he had just eaten a hamburger BEFORE we headed up there...hungry, growing boy!  Here are a couple of my cell phone photos from yesterday (still no computer for me...sigh...)  That's Quad, our son Hal, and grandson, Ben and then Sunni and me.  Apparently Sunni slobbered all over the back of my shirt!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


So yesterday I actually had enough energy to ...SIT DOWN... wash my car!  By hand!  I haven't done that in over a year (wash it by hand).  I usually do the $8 drive through car wash to get the bird poop off my car.  I feed them out front and they reward me by pooping all over my car!  Oh,'s the price of their feeding, I guess.  Anyway, I bought a green smoothie and had a shot of wheatgrass at our local health food store this week and I bought 3 bags of organic salad greens at the local farmers' market Wednesday, so I've also been eating healthy salads every day.  What a difference!  My energy level has increased!  The house is clean, the yard is clean, dog poop is cleaned up, I filled up 7 huge trash containers this week, I trimmed trees, I weed wacked, and then yesterday I washed the car.  I bought some Sal Suds from Dr. Bonner and boy, that stuff WORKS GREAT!  I even wiped down the interior of the car, picked up all the bird seed, rocks, hair bands, and old kleenex that were in it and filled up a huge box full of STUFF that I've been lugging around in the car for over a year.  Now I just hope I don't get the flu when I return to school on Monday...any ideas on how to prevent that?  I'll be taking a HUGE bottle of hand sanitizer with me and I have a homemade bottle of peppermint, lavender, and Dr. Bonner soap to wash down desks...

I babysat little Ellie Thursday afternoon so that her mother could lie down and take a nap.  It was Jennifer's first week back at school and she was exhausted.  I know the feeling.  Basically, I've had a 5 week break (6 school days off because of my concussion) and I only went back for the 4 days prior to winter break and for some reason, the kids were pretty subdued...So, it feels like I've had 5 weeks vacation!  I'm pretty rested, but my eye twitch is already returning...sigh...

Anyway, I still don't have my own computer (except for my iPad), but I took this photo of Ellie and Jennifer on Thursday afternoon.

Friday, January 10, 2014


So, I had errands to run yesterday morning, which included driving to my credit union to get a new debit card, since I had used mine at Target during the "security breach" was on my "to do" list.  I grabbed my keys, locked the front door, locked the gate, and hit the button to unlock the car doors...NOTHING.  Nothing!  Not even a ping.  I tried it 3 more times before I realized that I'd grabbed the keys to hubby's car, which meant my house keys were still on the ring IN the house, next to the door....sigh...what's a woman to do?

Turns out, the neighbors' workers just pulled in across the street, so I ran over and asked for a phillips head screwdriver, thinking I could unscrew the screws and pull off the gate lock.  No way.  The latch covered the screws.  So, now I was REALLY in a pickle.  We don't have an extra key to the gate lock and we have a 6 foot fence all around the front of the house, so you can see the pickle I was in, right?
So, I asked one of the workers if he could bring a crowbar and pry off the latch, which he kindly did.  Also, there was NO WAY I could get OVER the fence!

So, I got into the front yard.  We do have an extra key for the house (thank goodness), and today I think I'll have an extra key made for the gate lock.

And, yes, I was able to get a new debit card at my bank.  I ordered one 10 days ago and never got it, so they cancelled that one.  I believe it either got "lost" in the mail or someone took it...sigh...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Well, I had a productive day yesterday! (for once)

For some reason, I had a productive day yesterday.  First, I went out front and completely cleaned whatever I hadn't cleaned up in the front yard and put birdseed in the feeders.  Then, I scrubbed out 4 of my plastic buckets that I had up at the ranch.  I got rid of the crusted-on beet pulp and powdered psyllium.  YEAH!!! I went out to the back yard (we have about 1/3 acre) and dragged along one of our huge trash bins.  The city provides us with green trash bins for green waste, brown ones for garbage, and gray ones for recycling glass and plastic and aluminum foil.  You have to pay for the green and brown bins and we have 6 green ones and 2  brown ones.  So, I began by dragging one of the brown ones out back, intending to pick up all the TRASH I've let accumulate in the back yard (yes, I'm ashamed!).  Instead, I started raking up leaves.  And raking and raking.  I moved over to the side of our house where our unkind neighbors keep throwing the leaves from THEIR tree over the fence into our yard.  I hadn't tackled that area in a couple of years and the leaves were about a foot thick (I'm ashamed again, but remember ALL last year I had chronic bronchitis!)...Anyway, I filled up all 6 green bins and 1 brown bin with leaves.  YES!  There were that many!  While I'm only halfway done (I'll have to wait a week to continue), I'm glad that I had the ENERGY to do this.  This is the first day I've had in over a year that I've been able to work outside basically all day.  However, I can feel the mucus coming back...sigh... Today I'm going to run errands and hopefully make it to the certified organic farmers' market which is here in town every Wednesday.  I normally can't make it to the market and the last two Wednesdays it was cancelled due to the holidays, so I really want to go today.  I won't be able to go to another one until spring break in March, so I better get there today!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2:30 p.m. and 71 degrees

Don't hate me...I know most of the country is suffering through freezing cold, but it is 71 degrees here and overcast.  Dull and dreary, but not cold.  It will be down to 45 degrees tonight and about the same for the next few nights, with two more days of clouds.  Just how cloudy is it?  Here's a photo from the Toro Peak webcam, which is at 8,000 feet and sits and looks over the Coachella Valley to the north, Hemet to the west, and the Salton Sea to the east.  I'm not really sure what is south of us...Anza-Borrego?  Anyway, you can see that there isn't currently ANY snow!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A day at the vet's and there was a strange man at my front door!

I have certain blogs that I read every day (or whenever folks post...) and one of them is Nuzzling Muzzles at:

I also read Travels of the Bayfield Bunch: and, of course, The 7 MSN:  I do visit and check out other blogs, but those are my "morning reads".  I'll catch other ones after school.  I usually try to do my blogging in the morning, but sometimes I'll post something the night before.  I do have 3 blogs which I'm trying to keep going, so that's quite a bit.  HOWEVER, now that my computer has crashed, my blogging will slow down as I have NO new photos to post (unless I go through my archives and I've already posted most of what I want...), so I'll have to bore you with my daily adventures, I guess.

We have a similar problem to Nuzzling Muzzles~~ALL the vets here in the Coachella Valley belong to that dang VCA.  I used to go to a vet's office down in Indio, but their PRICES are OUTRAGEOUS.  Finally, in desperation, I took our dogs a couple of years ago to one of the animal rescue places in Thousand Palms:  Animal Samaritans.  Their prices are quite reasonable and they do offer vet services, although, until yesterday, I was never able to get in for an appointment.  I took Ripley in on Thursday for her booster shots and made an appointment for Lady yesterday for shots and a thorough exam (she is the German Shepherd that a colleage gave me last October...FREE!).  And, believe me, this nice lady vet was THOROUGH!  Lady has been itching a lot, her ears are CONSTANTLY full of goop (even when I flush them...) and her eyes were all red and looked horrible...The vet checked her heart, her lungs,her teeth,  her legs, her eyes, ears, and even checked her hips.  Other than the allergies and side effects of those, Lady, who is about 7 years old, is in EXCELLENT health.  She was amazed by Lady's lack of tartar on her teeth, but I do feed our dogs raw chicken when I can, so maybe that helps clean them?  Anyway, her exam was only $57.00.  I got eyedrops, ear drops, ear cleaning stuff, and 10 days of antibiotics for Lady and this morning, she already looks better!

So, after that 2 hour vet visit (YES, it was 2 HOURS!), I dropped off the antibiotic RX at WalMart (they wanted $34.00 for it at the clinic, but it was only $6.00 at WalMart), I was finally home.  Lady was pretty exhausted from all the poking, proding, and ear flushes, so we both took a nap on the bed.  Ripley, our black lab, sleeps in our closet and Abby, my black cat, sleeps on top of me!  So, our bed is always quite crowded!   Anyway, I'd texted our son and asked him to stop by and take a look at my computer and when I heard the doorbell ring, I thought it was him.  Nope.  Some STRANGE MAN was at our front door!  Now, remember, we have a 6 foot wooden fence all around our front yard with a gate.  I hadn't locked the gate from the inside because our son said he'd stop by...Turns out, he was the guy who trimmed our trees a couple of years ago.  He wanted to speak to my husband (EXCUSE ME, what am I, chopped liver?), so I told him to leave his card and I would let my husband know he had stopped by.  I was a little puzzled...WHY would someone come through a gate when they obviously see that it is shut?  Especially since we have two big dogs?  Hmmm....I'm going to have to think this over...I'm NOT liking that...

Anyway, our son FINALLY stopped by, took a look at my computer and said, "You know this thing is 8 years old...why don't you just buy a new one?"  Uh...because I have 5 horses to feed and I don't have $300 for a new one?  Duh...  He just shook his head and mumbled something about it being too old to even repair.  So, I'm in limbo land right now.  I can use hubby's laptop until he gets up in the morning, which is one reason I like to post in the a.m., but once he's up, it is HIS!  I HATE my iPad...I really can't do that much with it and it isn't the same as having a real computer.  It's okay for reading, but I haven't figured out how to blog and post photos from it...sigh...I may just have to do that...

I'll keep you updated on the computer.  He also said he would take it apart and blow out the dust.  It's on my desk, right next to the front door and you cannot BELIEVE the amount of dust that blows in and how much the dogs drag into the house!!!

Photo courtesy of hubby...This is the road from Anza-Borrego up to Julian, in March last year after a snow storm.

Friday, January 3, 2014

I started the New Year with a crashed computer

...sigh...Well, the new year isn't exactly off to a wonderful desktop is FUBAR.  I never had an antivirus program on it (it was a hand-me-down desktop computer) and now it is FULL of malware and probably virusus, which the husband is blaming on my BLOGGING FRIENDS and Facebook!  Fortunately, last week he removed ALL my photos from it and I only have 3 files of photos on it, but our son is going to have to come over today and decide if it is worth it to pay $49 for an antivirus program or if we should just junk it.

Don't you just love computer issues?

Have any of you ever got a virus from Facebook?

***UPDATE***Laptop fixed!   :-)