Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Nature

My theme for the A to Z Challenge: Desert Canyon Living

N for Nature was, of course, a natural for me and my theme of Canyon Living. After I decided on Nature, I looked through my old photos and realized how much it changes even here in the desert mountains of California. With that in mind, I divided this post in four segments, each representing a season in the mountains.

In spring, the hills turn green and many of them are covered in yellow spring flowers.

California poppies thrive in the surrounding fields, not so many in the canyon, but plenty in town. 

Strong winds blow here in the spring, birds are nesting and singing happy songs as they gather twigs for their nests and insects to eat. Some birds return after spending the winter somewhere else, this year the western meadow lark came back to nest and I'm hoping for the return of the road runner couple. Little rabbits play in the hills and my lawn is full of holes, belonging to ground squirrels and gophers, whose young ones are as cute as can be.

On warmer days, I have seen fence lizards, but it is still a little early for snakes. The canyon is lovely in spring.


I must confess that I don't like summers in the canyon. They are way, way too hot for an old Swede. So, I make an effort -- I get up early, walk my dogs, work in my yard, and so on. Then I rest in the afternoons. 

Last year, there were several wild fires in our area, not close enough to put us in danger here, but I can't help being scared of them. I have my emergency bags packed and have figured a way to handle the dogs. I even leave a note on my bags to remember my bird, just in case I panic. Hopefully, my husband will be around more this summer. 

It also gets very dry here in the summer and it's hard to keep flowers alive. Here I created my own color palette to help cheer up Nature a bit. I love hanging clothes on the line and I'm often surrounded by California quail that hide in the junipers and twitter in their very special way when I do this. It is so peaceful and  sweet.

These hardy flowers grow along our road to the mail boxes, where the donkey rescue trucks and tractors drive by. 

I admire them, they survive and stay pretty like this for so long each summer. Sometimes a truck drives over them and they get squashed, but they always seem to come back, cheerfully. 


In autumn everything turns yellow and dries even more. Where no efforts were made to keep the weeds at bay, it looks like in the picture above. 

Welcome rain clouds gather around the mountains and hillsides. My few trees lose their leaves.

The light changes and some of my photos may come out looking like a painting by Turner. Not because of any talent on my part, other than being observant and capturing the moment. The rest is Nature.

The gray rabbitbrush, our very invasive and pesky weed, breaks out in glorious yellow blooms, a welcome sight at the end of summer. Just like in spring, the canyon is blanketed by yellow flowers. The Native Americans who lived here made good use of this plant, as do bees from what I understand.

Our land turns the color of rust, the air cools, and the eastern mountain range is often shrouded in mist. It is so lovely and special this morning mist. 

We usually get quite a bit of snow in the winter. Not all at once and it doesn't stay long. It snows, perhaps for a day and a night, then it stays cold enough to keep for a day or two, but then it melts. They plow and sand the roads, but only once in the five years we have lived here did we have a storm that lasted and left a lot of snow for about a week.

Up here by our barn, you can see so many animal tracks in the snow. Coyotes, rabbits, jack rabbits, quail, bobcats; well, those are the ones I recognize.

This my first winter here with little snow and I was very disappointed. However, it rained, rained and rained again, so that will make up for the lack of snow as far as Nature is concerned. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a long forgotten lake re-appeared in a field on the way to town.

On the last day of 2009, I saw this rainbow and took several photos. As you can see, there is no snow, only yellow weeds and grass. 

This is how I like a winter's day to look. Fresh and cold, giving me lots of energy to be out there having fun with my husband and dogs as we venture out on a Nature hike.


Related Posts with Thumbnails