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.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Got a LOT of work to do!

 An Edison crew showed up 60 days ago and said they wanted to completely remove 6 trees from our property which were under their lines.   So, we said yes.   One was a 40 year old DEAD pine tree which I planted the year after our daughter was born.   The doves loved that tree, but they can find other ones.   There were 3 eucalyptus, the dead pine, and 1 Chinaberry (which actually wasn't under their lines), but they took them all out completely.   The good thing is that it has now opened up about 1/3 of our yard to direct sunlight and I now have a huge area to plant flower seeds!   So, I placed a $40 order for black eyed Susans, California poppies, African daisies, lupine, larkspur, and I forget what else.   In the meantime I'm busy planting hollyhocks and sunflowers all along the block wall next to our neighbor.   By Spring, it will completely be covered with sunflowers and hollyhocks!   and, I have plenty of room for everything else.   So, I go out every day for about an hour and putter around.   I'm getting exercise and Vitamin D, so that's good.

We DID see the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn on the 21st, so that was good.   Last night it was too cloudy to see anything and they weren't lined up anyway.

Not much else new here.   I have at least 3 hummingbirds who have stayed in the yard.   Oh, and the neighborhood roadrunner comes every day and eats grubs and an occasional sparrow or finch..sigh... She can sure hunker down when the Cooper's hawk flies through the yard!

So far we are still healthy.   I only go out to the store once a week and I ONLY go out first thing in the morning.   NEVER in the afternoon...and I ALWAYS wear a mask, take hand sanitizer, and I scrub my hands when I get home.   We don't go anywhere else, except to our daughter's home and they are both very careful.  I do babysit the 7 year old for 2 weeks every month.   Now I just basically see that she is on task.   Those little fingers sure can move quickly on the iPad!   And, in the afternoon she has small groups on Zoom, so I have to make sure she's ready for that.   Then, I drive home and take a 2 hour nap.

Stay safe and STAY WELL!


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Visit to the horses today

 I HAD to go up for a visit to the horses today.   I start my 2 weeks with the second grader, Miss Ellie tomorrow and I'll be too EXHAUSTED every day to do so.   I needed to put some medicine on Quad's two back hooves because he has a fungal infection.   So, off I went this morning after going to COSTCO on Friday to have my tire pressure checked.   GOOD THING I WENT!   ALL my tires were about 7 pounds low!   I haven't been driving my own car much.   It's just been sitting in the driveway.   And, I filled her up with gas, so away we went.

It was a pleasant drive up, but with a LOT of traffic.   And, with traffic comes impatient drivers.   I think I pulled over into turnouts about 4x.

The horses are all doing fine and are getting their winter coats.  It's amazing to watch (and feel) their coats coming in.   I managed to brush all of them, so I got a good feel as to their coats.

The leaves are just starting to turn on the sycamores and maples up there...still a little early.

Here are some photos of the horses:

Quad.   He has bandages on his front feet from an abscess.   But, he is now able to run and buck and chase his girlfriend up and down the fence.

Quad and his girlfriend.   He has managed to eat half of her tail!
My pretty chestnut thoroughbred mare, Gigondas.   She came up for some loving and a nice brushing today.

I brushed all the horses, so I know that their winter coats are coming in.   I was too tired to take photos of Sunni and Scout.   Maybe next time.

Friday, October 9, 2020

What I've learned from watching birds

 I used to have my laptop next to my window in the craft room.  Unfortunately, due to the poor reception there, I've had to take it and move it out into the living room.   I'm going to have to rearrange some furniture so that I can sit next to that huge window and be able to look out into our front yard, so that will take a couple of days.

Anyway, during my window sitting time and time spent gazing out of my craft room window (formerly our daughter's bedroom and it is still painted a deep shade of forest green), I've learned a few things about birds.

First, birds are NOT STUPID.   They've been on this planet millions of years longer than we have.

Second, birds have an early warning system built in against predators (yes, that includes other birds).   If one bird takes flight (PANICKED FLIGHT)...they ALL do.   I assume that is a survival mechanism.   The roadrunner was out front this morning when ALL the doves and sparrows and finches took flight and she, too, disappeared.

Third, birds have very light sensitive eyes.   If' I'm at my desk and I even move a muscle, they spot it and take off. The roadrunner is getting used to me and I move VERY SLOWLY if I spot her.   But the doves...nope...they don't want any part of me.

Fourth, don't let them fool you.   Roadrunners CAN move at lightning speed.   I've seen this one CATCH and batter and eat 2 sparrows that she caught.   Yesterday afternoon she lunged at some on the ground, but those got away.   It really IS survival of the fittest.

Fifth, I don't have a photograph of her.  Our windows are 30 years old and I need to get out and wash them, so no photos (yet)...She really is quite colorful and I'm HOPING I'll get one of her soon.  Hubby, who grew up down here, says this one is a female because she isn't brightly colored enough.

60 degrees outside this morning.   We have 3 more days of double digit temps, then next week we are back up in the 100's....sigh...

That's all for now.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Cheryl Ann

Thursday, October 8, 2020

The more I listen to the news, the more art work I do!


Listening to the news is so depressing I find myself spending HOURS in my craft room the 2 weeks I'm not helping the second grade granddaughter. And, my 2 weeks off are this week and next.  We don't even have the TV on down at their house because it is too distracting for her and she needs to focus on her school work.

I find myself getting outdoors more and more every day, especially now that we are down into the 70's and 60's at night.   I bought 4 plants at Lowe's yesterday.   One is a purple salvia to replace the one that seems to have died the last 2 days.   The hummingbirds enjoy those, so I wanted to buy another one.   I got 2 lavender and 1 rosemary also.  

Hubby turns off the TV midmorning and either takes a nap or listens to jazz on our Alexa.   Really, who can take this NONSENSE day after day?



Some of my daisies from 2017.   Lowe's didn't have any of these so I'll have to look elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Birds and gophers

 We have pesky gophers in the back yard.   I constantly see new holes...sigh...Our dog has caught 2 of them and is very interested in a couple of spots out back, but for 2 days now I haven't spotted any new holes.   So, I'm hoping he got the last one.

We have a cottontail who comes to visit every now and then and a female roadrunner who comes every morning now.   At first she scared off the doves, but now they tolerate her.   They are too big for her, but she does catch a sparrow every now and then (NOT a pretty sight!)...She also digs for huge slugs in the dirt which I didn't even know were there!   She is quite entertaining, but she is also cunning like a Velociraptor. I have seen her HIDE in the bushes and then rush out, scaring all the birds away (and catching a sparrow!)   She delights in scaring the smaller birds.

I did our weekly shopping this morning:  WalMart and Whole Foods and I was lucky to get out during their senior hours, so both stores were almost EMPTY!   YAY!   In & out in no time at all and without running into a lot of people!   :-)

I MAY drive across town to COSTCO today.   I'm getting low on bird seed and TP.

Until next time,

Cheryl ~~ Ripley and her bear about 2016.   RIP sweet thing.   I still miss her.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

We're still here and sad news from Oak Glen, Los Rios apple farm

 Well, we're still here!   We just don't do much and we don't go out except to our daughter's.   I'm babysitting the 7 year old during the day for 2 weeks each month to make sure she is on task with her distance learning.   Her other grandma comes for 2 weeks after my stretch is done.   One can ONLY do 2 weeks at a time because she can be exhausting!    Mommie is trying to teach middle school band from the bedroom!   OY!

Sad news from Oak Glen:   The Los Rios apple ranch main building and packing shed were all destroyed by fire last week.   The fire started at 2:30 a.m.   The bakery is GONE.   The store is GONE.   Part of the adjacent Wildlands Conservacy was burned, too.  I remember going up there as a kid with my grandparents.   100 years of history...GONE.

I am busy planting my fall garden.   I'm going to have to replace one of my blue salvias because overnight something ate the leaves and it is ready to be pulled out.   Oh, and we have gophers out back.   Our lab mix, Bodie, loves to stick his nose down their hole and DIG horrible holes!   He has actually caught 2 of them.   I thought we were done, but noooooooooooooooooo!   Another one is already pushing up dirt...sigh...

Oh, and we have HORNETS at the hummingbird feeders, so I brought them all in this morning.   Pesky little things and they fly around my face!

Until next time.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Horses get their shots and Quad had an abscess

 So, it was that time of year for the herd to get their shots and my wonderful vet, Dr. Lindsey Crowley, came with 2 assistants yesterday.   First of all, I had her look at Quad because Cathy, the ranch owner, said he was lame.   He stood in one spot yesterday, legs stiff, and didn't move.   Poor guy.   Well, Dr. Lindsey took a look at his front hooves and discovered a big, nasty abscess in one of them, so she went to work!   Then she bandaged that one up and looked at the other one and bandaged it up, too.   He has thrush in his back 2 hooves, so I'm going to buy some Thrust Buster today and I'll go back Saturday to drop it off.   By the time she was done with him, he was running and bucking in his corral!    So good to see him back to normal!   She almost forgot to give him his shot!

Gigondas was a GOOD GIRL, as usual.   Scout?   Scout was a brat, as usual.   She didn't want NO DAMN SHOT and she let everybody know!   The doc passed on Sunni because last year he was a complete IDIOT and wouldn't let anybody near him, so Cathy will give him his shot.

I'm glad that is over.   PHEW!   It was 95 degrees up there and I drank a whole bottle of Vitamin water, and I came home and drank...4 glasses of herbal iced tea!   And, I took a nap for an hour!   That warm weather is deceiving even with a nice breeze.

So, they are all done for a year,   Quad, however, will need to get pads and shoes on his front feet.

I'm going out this morning and planting some hollyhock seeds...tis the season!



Quad and Crystal, his neighbor.   He has managed to chew off most of her tail!   HOW RUDE!   He is much more spotted now (he's 16 years old) and his mane and tail and both white now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

FALL has officially arrived!

 Well, it is 64 degrees on our porch this morning.   Yesterday at this time it was 82 degrees.   I ran around and opened up EVERY window in the house!   The cool air feels WONDERFUL and we will be in double digits for the next 3 days!   Whoo, whoo!    What a relief!

I also filled up every bird feeder and added 3 more this morning, since it is about time for the migratory birds to come through.  They are very busy feeding this morning, but a hawk just flew through the yard and they have now all scattered...sigh...

I have a couple of appointments next week...the vet is coming up to give the herd their shots on Wednesday.   Sunni was a real BRAT last year and the ranch owner had to give him his shots, so if he isn't a gentleman, she will do that again this year.   He mistrusts people, even now.   Let's see...he is now 16 years old, same as Quad and Scout.   We don't know how old Gigondas is, but we are thinking she is in her 20's.

Our water heater died over the weekend, so yesterday the company we bought it from came out and installed a new one, fixed the faucet next to the sink out back, and now we are out $1500.   And, I'll have at least a $300 vet bill next week....OY!   Good thing I saved our tax refund!   The guy is going to come back next week and install a new garbage disposal, since I haven't had one for... 4 years!   YES!   4 YEARS.   I actually don't mind, but it sure would be nice to have a new, working one!   After that, at some point, our refrigerator is a 2000 model, so I suppose it will go out next...sigh...always something, eh?

Take care, stay healthy, be safe, and...  WEAR YOUR MASK!   I noticed the guy had his on yesterday morning, so I ran and grabbed one, too.

Cheryl Ann

Saturday, September 5, 2020

WHEN will fall finally arrive?

 This Labor Day weekend here in California and the Southwest is expected to break all records.   It is forecast to be 120 degrees here in Palm Desert tomorrow and 119 for the next 2 days after that.   By Tuesday, temps will be down 10 degrees both during the daytime and at night.


It certainly isn't here yet and one forecaster predicts that September will continue to have above-average temperatures... ALL MONTH!    I looked ahead at the 10 day forecast and by the end of the 10 days, temps will be back up to 110!   YIKES!   In September!   That's awful!

I'm SO ready this weekend to work on my garden out front, but it is already 91 degrees at 6:30 in the morning, so I don't see that happening.   I'm free from babysitting the 7 year old 2nd grade granddaughter for the next 2 weeks since her other grandma will be coming down to stay with the family.   SOMEONE has to fix her breakfast, lunch, and keep an eye on her during the day while Mommie teaches middle school band online (try that one, eh?)

Horses get their shots on the 16th and I may have to make an appointment with a dermatologist for a raised, bumpy "thing" on my leg.   Oh, joy!   I'm already having nightmares about sitting in a doctor's office during COVID.

Hubby and I WILL be getting our flu shots during my 2 weeks off.

Here are a few recent photos for you: Both were VERY interested in the koi fish pond up at the Idyllwild cabins!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Still here and most of the state is on fire

 We're still here...healthy and at least partially sane!   We don't go out much.   I run errands and hubby stays home.   And, I don't run errands often, maybe once a week.   I always wear my mask and I get in and out as quickly as I can...NO DAWDLING!

Most of California is on fire.   The Apple Fire is now 95% contained, but now Whitewater Canyon and Preserve are closed due to... flash flood danger!   We are having afternoon thunderstorms and they have been hit by rain in the fire-damaged areas.  Northern California has been hit by lightning strikes causing many fires up there.   How sad.   One of the redwood parks has been completely burned, even the visitors' center...sigh...Our president will say we didn't rake up enough pine needles...(eye roll...)

August is dragging on and on and on.   It looks like we will FINALLY get a break from the heat & humidity around the end of the month.   In the meantime, a Coopers' hawk comes every day now and sips water at the bird bath, although one day he did kill a dove and I found the bird bath when I filled it up the next morning!   Ugh.   

Bunny comes to visit, too.   I have 3 hummingbirds in the yard and I clean and refill their feeders often.  The bees emptied two of them yesterday.

I'm currently babysitting (taking turns with the other grandma) the 7 year old second grade granddaughter now for 2 weeks at a time.   She is doing distance learning and we take turns sitting with her making sure she is ON TASK and not picking her nose on Zoom.  She has to get dressed, eat her breakfast, and brush her teeth and get her hair up in a ponytail every morning for school.   They do the pledge and their school motto first thing every morning and then they do 15 minutes of quiet math.   She was tested on her math ability and scored at a 4th grade in algebra!   SO PROUD OF HER!   She does math problems in her head. Once in a while I see her counting on her fingers, but not very often.   She is definitely way ahead of me!   She DOES, however, need to work on her writing skills.

So, life goes on.   Our son and his family are now all the way across the country, so we communicate via Messenger.   His youngest is 3 years old today.

Stay healthy!



Enjoying the koi pond up in Idyllwild a few weekends ago...That's Bodie, our dog.   He goes with us.

Monday, August 3, 2020


There is a huge fire (20,000 acres this morning) about 45 minutes away from us, near Beaumont and another one up in Whitewater Canyon.   YES, the canyon with the Whitewater Preserve.  The Beaumont fire was heading up toward Oak Glen and all of the apple orchards and farms, but the winds have now pushed that one east, toward Pioneertown.   The Whitewater fire is heading UP the mountain, away from the preserve...sigh...Arson is suspected as the cause of these fires since there have been NO thunderheads.   We haven't had much of a monsoon season so far this summer and August doesn't look like we'll have any storms, so we have been without rain for some time now.

We are keeping an eye on both fires.   Yesterday driving back down Highway 74 from Idyllwild we could see that the entire Coachella Valley was FULL of smoke!   Ugh!   It is drifting east over our valley and we are FULL of smoke.   People are being advised to stay indoors.   Well, with a temperature of 118 degrees here today, we will do so!

Will post updates as they become available.

Here are some links for you:

The dog days of summer

All is normal here.   I'm now making art journals and experimenting with various art techniques.   One of my best customers ordered a custom art journal, which I've been working on for a month! All I have to do now is the cover and she's DONE!

Horses are fine.   I drove up last Monday and brushed them all and trimmed Quad's mane, since he had a LOT of tangles!   They just had their feet done and I'll have to get my vet out next month for their yearly shots.

We spent the weekend up in Idyllwild with our daughter and her family.   we rented 2 cabins adjoining each other, with a huge patio deck to share.   We took our dog Bodie with us and he was fascinated by the squirrels!  Most of the cabins there were occupied for the weekend and many people brought their dogs, as it is a pet friendly place.   Friday it was 120 degrees here in the desert and 94 up there and they don't have air conditioning in the cabins, so we turned on every fan and finally came out about 5 p.m. to enjoy the evening coolness.  

We are back home this morning (August 3rd) and I'll have to babysit Miss Ellie for the next 2 weeks while her mother is doing distance learning classes and she (Miss Ellie) will start 2nd grade online.   In fact, she and her mom are driving to her school this morning to pick up her Chrome book and anything else she will need for online learning.

I'll be posting photos later today.
Cheryl Ann

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Now on ko-fi (new)

I'm now on ko-fi, which is a website that promotes and encourages artists such as writers, journal makers, educators, painters, etc.   I just finished my profile, so PLEASE come take a look.

And, if you "buy me a coffee", you donate $3.00 to my effort to replenish all my fabric and thread which I used to make masks these last 10 weeks.

Thank you so much!
Cheryl Ann

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Just around the garden~Nature Notes~May 26, 2020

I always love to putter around my two gardens in the morning, before it gets too hot and I have to retreat indoors because of the heat.   Living near Palm Springs, CA is great for about 7 months of the year.   We never know, however, what we are going to get in May, June, or September.   They can either be hot, HOT, HOTTTT or mild.

I still have flowers blooming and now I have squash blossoms!   I planted zucchini and yellow squash in several different locations and I even have one hanging pot (which I put on the ground) full of them. 

So, here's what's blooming in my gardens right now:

 Gorgeous squash blossom this morning
 Sunflower and bee
 Look at all the pollen that bee has!
 Unopened hollyhock
One of my black eyed Susans.   I have several plants of these which came up on their own from last year's seeds.
To visit Nature Notes, please go to this link:

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Just some odds & ends from my gardens~Nature Notes~May 12, 2020

I actually have 2 garden spots (or "jungles" as the grandkids call them) in the front yard and then most of the back yard.   I have no lawn in the front, except on the west side of the driveway.   The back yard, alas, does have a lawn, but I've managed to plant sunflowers, hollyhocks, and now beans & squash in various spots.   I have bird feeders set up in both yards.

I went around yesterday and took photos of the "hollyhock jungle" and some odds & ends.  It's good to view things other than the flowers every now & then.   I had a hummingbird accompany me for a while and I enjoyed seeing all the bees in the hollyhocks, but that's another story for another day.

 Front yard
 Bird bath

 Even the dead cottonwood has a certain beauty
 acacia blooms and yes, they smell sweet!
 Dried sunflower from last summer
My favorite watering can

To visit Nature Notes, please go to this link:

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Still here , same routine

We are still here and healthy, so far.   My daily routine is this:   Wake up about 4:30 or 5 a.m., see if there is any leftover coffee from the previous day, stick it in microwave, go out and feed the birds, the outdoor old cat, and the dog, check my ETSY shop, check Facebook, mess around on my computer until about 9 a.m...

I finished 2 journals this past week, and it was good to get back and make journals.   I have TONS of fabric and I need to start using it!   They are in my ETSY shop:

I even started a journal with the 7 year old granddaughter, but she now has 12 pages of work A DAY (first grade), plus her own school journal to do!   That seems like a LOT of work.   Plus, she is required to do reading online for 45 minutes a day.   So, she doesn't have much free time!

I just don't see how schools can reopen.   22+ students in a classroom?   First graders wearing masks?   What about recess and lunch?   Maybe no lunch, maybe just 1/2 day of formal instruction?  How?   Their desks are tables designed for 2 per table. And, classrooms aren't large enough to have 1 child per table.   Lots to think about...

My flowers are gorgeous, but my hollyhocks seem to be fading quicker than last year.   It is probably the heat.   It will be 107 here today, then 109, then 108, then "down" to 106, then the high 90's next week.   Ugh.   It is going to be a LONG, HOT summer.   We open up the house every morning to get the cool air in and so it isn't as stuffy.

Photos of more plants from my garden:

Saturday, May 2, 2020

More garden photos~Nature Notes for May 2, 2020

I actually have 2 gardens~one in the front yard and one in the back.   We haven't had a lawn in over 20 years and I DO NOT use pesticides or Round Up.   I have bird feeding stations in the acacias right outside my craft room window and we also have a 2 tier fountain, which the birds love.   Our mornings start with the sounds of birds chirping.   They all disappear around noon, but reappear in the afternoons and early evenings.   We also have a cottontail who comes in the yard and I've found its resting place among the hollyhocks.   I often scare him or her out of their hiding place!

My gardens keep me sane in this time of insanity and uncertainty. My county, Riverside, has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in California.  Meanwhile I tend to my sunflowers, hollyhocks, cosmos, marigolds, and try to ignore the chaos outside my little corner.

I believe my hollyhocks are at their peak right now.   They are blooming profusely and colorfully.   Every day another one opens up.   I have them both in the front and back.  They are under the mesquite out front and along the pathway to the front door.   I have a virtual forest of them there.  In the back yard, however, I scattered them in different "plots".   They are also along our chain link fence, with my sweet peas.   That makes for a nice combination.

Here are some photos of the hollyhocks:

Nature Notes for May 2, 2020.    To find Nature Notes, please go to this link:

Friday, April 24, 2020

More photos from my garden

I'm really enjoying having all this time to focus on my front and back yard gardens.   The front yard is now pretty lush.   I may have to do a You Tube video walk through!   The back yard has patches of sunflowers and hollyhocks.   There are also a few sweet peas growing up along the chain link fence.   Here are some photos below.   I moved the bird bath next to a clump of hollyhocks and i left the hose to drip, so I have many bird visitors this morning!

 A patch of sunflowers

 Hollyhocks along the fence
 Another view of sunflower patch
 Pretty hollyhocks
 Hollyhocks out in the front patio
sweet peas

Enjoy your day and stay safe!
Cheryl Ann

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Photos of flowers from my garden/Nature Notes

Thank goodness I do have my garden to keep me busy!   Every morning now I go outside for about 15-20 minutes and pull weeds and Bermuda grass.   I just planted 4 mounds of beans and squash this week and I still have some seeds left to put along the chain link fence in the back yard, so I'll do that too.   I like to plant in different places, so at least SOMETHING survives!

My hollyhocks are...simply breathtaking!   They have completely taken over the little dirt patch to the west of our front porch and are providing long-wanted SHADE!   They stand up very well to the winds which come in that direction, too.

We have a semi-permanent resident in our front yard:   a cottontail rabbit!   I can't tell if it is a male or female, but he/she appears now every morning and eveery late afternoon to forage among all the unwanted grass (and some of my flowers!).   I don't mind.   AND...unfortunately one of the hawks is back, so I run out and scream "SWOOSH" to it whenever I can.

Our grosbeaks seem to have moved on, although I SWEAR I heard one out back yesterday and then this morning I actually saw one in the back yard, so who knows?   Once we get our triple digit temps, they will leave and that is about Thursday this week.   YES!   Ugh.   that means we will have to turn on the air conditioner.

So, enjoy the photos!

Linking to Nature Notes, which is here: