Theme ~ My 50 Years in America
In 2005, we bought a small house in the mountains between the Mojave desert and the San Joaquin Valley in California. The house sits on hilly acres of dry grass and juniper trees at 4,100 feet in a desert mountain canyon. It came with a small barn, built with solid beautiful beams, and then wrapped in metal, two sheds, a chicken coop and assorted junk left behind. Since I devoted the 2011 A to Z Challenge to our life in the canyon, I will just share some seasonal photos, accompanied by a few words here.
When we left our beautiful home in Los Angeles behind and moved up here, I was a bit worried at first. I wondered how I would adjust to an arid desert environment of dry winds and hot sun. We lived and worked on the west side of Los Angeles, in an area where ocean breezes managed to snake their way through the L.A. traffic to keep us cool most of the time. Here, the temperatures could reach 110 in the summer and it would be sunny and dry for months on end.
However, the billboard that welcomes visitors to our town declares it to be The Land of Four Seasons, so fall is beautiful, snow comes in winter, spring is lovely with the yard covered in small lavender flowers and the scent of lilacs in the air.
Summer is my least favorite season here in the desert. Every year there's been a fire or two somewhere close, but not in the canyon, except for last year when there were two that threatened us here. Summer is too hot and dry for this old Swede, so around the first of July, I begin my countdown of 100 days until it's over. That takes me to mid-October, by then the heat has subsided and life becomes good once again.
We grow some of our own vegetables and we have a garden, but last year it was so dry that we just grew them in planters.
California quail, ravens, and the red-tailed hawk are the most common larger birds in the canyon. Cotton tail rabbits, Jack rabbits (hares), and ground squirrels are pray animals here, with the coyote the most frequently seen predator. We also see bobcats, but less often, and when we hike, we find tracks and scat left by black bears; mountain lions usually keep to higher ground, as do deer. Herds of elk graze in the mountains on the other side of town. Finally, we have lizards, snakes, and tarantulas too; and, of course, lots of small twittering birds.
In fall, the Gray Rabbit Brush, an invasive bush that takes over our fields, breaks out in pretty yellow flowers.
And our land, up above in the hills, turns rust colored and so beautiful.