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, June 27, 2016

Mockingbird and hawk

I bought a bag of mealworms a while ago and I've been putting them out on a tree stump left over from when our 25 year old eucalyptus blew over in a wind storm back in May?  June?   (I forget...).  Anyway, the mealworms disappeared every day and I finally figured out that a mockingbird was eating them.

So, I watched and yup...there he was!  He now enjoys them twice a day.  I went through my first bag and had to make a Walmart run to buy another one yesterday.  I moved the tree stump to where I can observe it and I also put out a shallow bowl of water out under our sumac tree for the birds to enjoy out front.

There are now 2 mockingbirds that come to eat the mealworms.  I think they are mates.  One is smaller than the other one (the female, I believe).  They seem to live across the street as I see them flying over there several times a day.

Anyway, I looked out yesterday and to my HORROR the damn hawk (Cooper's hawk) was standing in the water bowl having sips of water!  AYE!  He stayed for quite a while and kept sipping and dipping.  The male mockingbird landed in the sumac and was scolding the hawk and I watched for a few minutes until the hawk also went up ionto the tree and I went outside.  Hawk flew down the street, all the while being chased by the mockingbird.

I don't mind if the hawk visits the yard IF he doesn't eat the mockingbirds!  He killed my blue jay (remember "Burt" the blue jay?)  Burt visited us for 3 1/2 years until the damn hawk got him.  Now the mockingbirds imitate his calls, so I always have to look and see WHO is making those calls!

Anyway, this morning both mockingbirds are in the yard, taking turns eating the mealworms.  It's a cloudy day here (monsoon moisture is coming up from Mexico), so I was able to go out this morning and rake up piles of mesquite leaves at 6 a.m.

I hope the mockingbirds survive the hawk.  From what I've been reading, they DO chase hawks and they DO seem to survive, so I'll be crossing my fingers.

I got about 20 photos of the hawk, but I don't have a single photo of the mockingbirds.  They are just too fast.

Monday, June 20, 2016


There is a high settled over California and Arizona for the next several days and we've already had record-breaking temps here yesterday.  It was 119 in Palm Springs.  Today, it is expected to be 123 degrees.

Hubby and I aren't going ANYWHERE.  We are hunkering down, closing all the drapes, and staying inside with the air conditioning.  I bought some solar screen material for the west facing windows and, you know, it seems to be helping.  The windows don't have heat blasting right through them.  It is supposed to reflect 98% of the sun's rays and heat and I do think it is working.  I also put up some old drapes in our bedroom (to prevent the air conditioning from getting out and the heat from coming in), and I think that is helping, too.  So, we are nice and cool inside.

I only let the dog out to do her business and she's trained now to let us know.  She comes up to either myself or hubby and puts her head in our lap and LOOKS at us pleadingly!  She goes out, does her business, and then takes a dip in her wading pool, and comes back inside.

I've been leaving the hose on just a tiny, tiny bit to provide some water for the birds who show up panting every afternoon.  I have two shallow bowls with water out front for them, in my garden, which now has sunflowers, Tithonia, mint, and blue penstamon.  Right now 2 birds are at one of the shallow bowls, bird butts in the air, drinking!   :-)  The hummingbirds love the Tithonia and are out there every morning, visiting it and the penstamon.

 Tithonia (Mexican sunflower)
One of my 3 sunflowers out front.  The little verdins like to come and enjoy the pollen!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Linda Carson, over at the 7 MSN blog, recently did a story about her Navajo rug which she bid on and bought:

That got me to thinking about the family spinning wheel out in the garage.  I put it there while the kids were growing up because I didn't want their little fingers caught in the wheels.  I need to go out there and bring it in, especially before this weekend, when temps will be in the 118 and 119, and finally 123 range!  YES!  It's supposed to be 123 degrees on Monday.  Ugh.  And, then, in the "teens" for the rest of the week and nighttime temps in the 88-90 range.  I'm NOT looking forward to that, especially when this week, I've been able to open up all the doors and windows each morning and turn off the air conditioner.

Anyway, this spinning wheel was handed down on my dad's side.  What's interesting is that I have a long line of Wheeler there, but I do believe it was from my Jelliff line.  They had a mill pond back in New Canaan, CT, and my dad's maternal grandmother was a Jelliff and there was a weaver in that family.  I'll get it out today and put it back together.  I packed it away many years ago, but I think it deserves to be back among us.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Horse visit and 3 bird tales

Since our temps were low this past weekend, I drove up to the horses yesterday.  Quad is now getting a noon feeding, in addition to his morning and evening feeds.  He is starting to fill out.  I bought him some senior feed, some CocoSoya, and some probiotics.  I'm hoping that all of these will help him put on some weight.  All the other horses look good.  Gigondas is super shiny and fit!  Scout needs to be brushed out, as her summer coat is coming in.  Sunni is AWESOME!  He's super shiny, too, and his dark bay coat looks very good.  I'm going to have to return this week (someday) and put fly repellent on all of them.  Yes, fly season is HERE.

Anyway, the ranch owner was out & about feeding her birds (she raises birds to help finance her horses).  I found broken eggs in a couple places on the ranch and she told me the ravens steal them from the nearby chickens!  Interesting!  She also told me that one of the parents was ... dead!  It got into the poison bait that they put out for the ground squirrels.  That leaves 3 juveniles with 1 parent.  The family has lived on their ranch for many years.  Very sad indeed, but there are so many ground squirrels that I'm always stepping in holes myself!  As I pulled into the are up by the tack room, 2 huge, FAT ones scampered away.  Ugh.  I hate them.

So, one morning she went out and found one of the young ravens tangled up in some of the string from the various bags of pellets she just unloaded the afternoon before.  She heard a commotion and went to see what it was.  The poor thing had so much string wrapped around its leg!  She tried to get close to it to remove it...NO DEAL.  She went out later and one of the other babies was entangled in the other end of the string!  For heaven's sake!  Now they were both flopping around.  Since they couldn't fly, she was able to get the string cut off the first bird's feet and she was able to capture the 2nd one (it was so exhausted).  She gently took it up to her porch, got the scissors out, and snipped away.  She told me the raven didn't even try to peck or bite her.  It was as if it knew she was helping it.  So, she was able to release that one, too.  I looked yesterday and all 3 of the juveniles were out flying, so apparently it has recovered nicely.

Then, after I took Scout up to the round pen, I heard a hawk crying.  I looked up and one of the ravens (the adult) was chasing the hawk!  They were doing an aerial ballet.  I wasn't able to run and grab my camera, but it was interest to watch.  Cathy says that the ravens are driving out the hawks, who drove out the owls.  There used to be an owl in the pine tree right by their driveway, but I haven't seen it for quite a while.  So, the hawks drove out the owl and now the ravens are driving off the hawks.  She informed me that the family of quail, which had 15 babies, now only has 2.

And, then, to top off my visit, we went out front to look at the new tile her husband put down next to their huge fountain.  Unfortunately, a female scrub jay was floating in the fountain water.  She had apparently swooped down to get a nice, fat worm which was at the bottom of the pool, not seeing the water and she drowned.  OYE!  Such is the cycle of life, eh?

It was a pleasantly cool day up there.  Next weekend, however, temps will be in the 100's.  We're supposed to have rising temps this week and by next weekend, it will be 118 and 120 here in the desert.  OUCH!

 Goofy Quad!  He wouldn't leave me alone yesterday!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Idyllwild weekend

We have a family tradition now of renting either a huge cabin or several smaller ones for Memorial Day.  Last year we had 13 people in a large, 2 story cabin, but that was just too much confusion for the hubby and for me!  So, this year, 3 families rented their own individual cabin.  That was much more peaceful for us old folks!

Our son couldn't get away for the weekend, but he was able to take his family down to Coronado Island for 1 night.  Our daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, and 1 month old grandson rented the large cabin with the full kitchen and they cooked breakfast 3 mornings.  We all ate there for dinner, too.

We rented a small cabin which unfortunately had steps going down to it.  That was really hard on my knees and hubby's.  Oh, and he fell out of bed one morning.  And, the shower was so small that neither he or I could turn around in it!  Oy vei!

We took our black lab, Ripley, with us because she gets separation anxiety and we were gone for 3 nights.  She doesn't eat when we aren't home and, at her age, I didn't wish to make it difficult for her.  So, we brought her and she was a GOOD GIRL!  She slept on her blanket and Saturday I went yard sale shopping and at the ARF (animal rescue foundation), I bought her 2 pet beds, a new, long leash, 2 bowls, and 2 new toys to chew on and destroy...all that for $15.00!  She enjoyed just sitting on the side porch grassy area and watching the blue jays and the squirrels.  She put up with 2 toddlers trying to pet her and pull out her hair, but she didn't enjoy the owner's boxer pup who only wanted to smell her butt!  BUTT DOWN and a growl...that was it.  I took her on nice, long walks and she really enjoyed that.

Here are some photos from our weekend:

 Fences up at the Silver Pines Lodge.  The lodge has 3 individual, large cabins, and some smaller attached cabins, as well as smaller rooms attached to the lodge.
 Thunderheads moving in.  No, it didn't rain...
 The toddlers are trying to escape!
 The fish pond...the toddlers and our dog enjoyed the pond.
 My favorite gate in town.
 Our black lab, Ripley, resting on her blanket in our cabin.
 This is how hubby chilled down our wine!~
Snuggle time with mommy and baby.