With close to 50% humidity in Borrego Springs, it feels like the tropics minus the greenery. The gnats are everywhere and flies are circling, seeking out your eyes and nose for moisture. The cicadas too are buzzing furiously and “batgirl” has her job cut out for her. Seeing as I won’t let her catch any birds on my watch…. cicadas are all that is left besides dry palm fronds blowing dustily in the wind… PS You will have to look carefully, she is very clever and difficult to spot, and will only be discovered once it is too late!
When I headed out for my early morning bike ride before the inferno kicked in, ( it is suppose to reach 113 today) I happened to spot four hen turkeys getting ready to jump over my back wall in search of food… Turkeys in Anza Borrego Desert State Park? Amazing! I have yet to see a tom- turkey, but the four hens today all looked the same age and are probably sisters.
Wild turkeys are omnivorous and will eat both animal and vegetable products. They forage as they roam and when moving along, one behind the other in single file, they peck at seeds and insects, looking up and all around in a constant search for danger and possible predators.
This is the first summer I have witnessed turkeys in the desert, I also saw two hens about a month ago along Henderson Canyon where I shoot all of my wildflower photographs. I wonder if there has been a big spike in their population growth due to ample rainfall and the lush vegetation that followed this spring? Neighboring Julian and Ramona, at much higher elevations, and up in the mountains, are known for wild turkeys, but in the desert? These four hens looked healthy and alert, and they were obviously enjoying the bright, early morning sunshine. It hadn’t warmed up yet, and birds were singing and insects buzzing. I left them alone as soon as I shot a few photographs, and they headed back out into the desert in a slow and meandering way, glancing back at me often in silent, calm, curiosity.
Joe Hutto in The Sun Magazine- May-2017, issue 497, gives a wonderful interview in which he shares his experience with living for a couple of years with mule deer and again with wild turkeys. He has the utmost respect for these beautiful creatures, and developed long lasting relationships with some of them. It was quite an honor to watch these four hens obviously thriving in the harshest of climates, and looking out for each other- as only good sisters will do.
This morning on my bike ride with Lara and Michael, we saw many cottontail bunnies, jackrabbits, roadrunners, a hawk soaking in a puddle, one lean coyote and common grackles. Hummingbirds are still braving it out, along with quail. It is amazing that anything can survive in the summer heat. It will be 117 on Friday and thunder strorms are expected on Sunday. We are going to try and pack up the RV and head to the beach for a few days. Hope we can find a camping site!
Rise and shine and let your little light pour through for all to see…. Callie is responding to the antibiotic and climbed her beloved olive tree and asked for rough and tumble playtime. She is still coughing, but less often. She has always done well on the antibiotics, so I am still guarded in my enthusiasm for a cure, but at least for today, it is a happy day!
Callie and I went to see Dr Laporte in Poway, on Wednesday afternoon, and after a culture and sensitivity, X- ray and examination, he sent us home without an antibiotic until the culture grows, so that he can determine what we are up against.
It is now Saturday, and of course the 4th of July weekend, and the pharmacy is closed until Monday. Callie’s cough has turned into a wretched wheeze and she is worsening by the day. I had to drive over to the middle of the De Anza Golf Course to pick up a signal with the phone, and I called up the Poway office and told them I needed to get Callie on an antibiotic today. Michael has some Cipro at the house and after some discussion on my part, they did the research and determined that it would be ok to give it to her.
Michael, being a retired podiatrist, measured out the dosage after grinding up the pills, and we divided it up and put one dose in a small amount (1cc) of half and half and loaded up the syringe. Michael then went and got her and I wrapped her up in a towel and administered the medicine. Wow did we get a reaction! She lurched out of my arms and foamed at the mouth and attempted to run and hide under the bed. We had to drag her back out in full protest, to give her a little bit more because she had gagged some of it out. Poor little thing. It has been a rough road for her. She has been sick on and off since the beginning of March.
She is resting comfortably now, and we will know in 24 hours whether it is helping her. We only have until Monday, and then the culture should be able to be read. If she is showing improvement, we will keep her on the vile tasting Cipro. It is hard on the kidneys so you can only use this antibiotic sparingly. Thank goodness for the discovery of antibiotics. She would probably be dead by now if she wasn’t under medical care.
Callie is exhausted and sleeping in her favorite bed, and it is quiet out except for the roar of the swamp cooler that is blasting out cool air. At least she is safe and sound and well looked after here at the house. She can sleep uninterrupted for hours at a time and try to get well. I make sure to check on her without disturbing her often. I hope this does the trick. I give Callie credit for my attempts at writing and starting this blog. If it weren’t for her, I don’t think traveling around in the RV would be nearly as much fun…….
Having returned to Borrego Springs and neighboring Anza Borrego Desert State Park, you have to find ways in which to endure and stay sane while living in the inferno! Temperatures are hovering in the triple digits, but less than the 122 of two weeks ago. Thank goodness we were up in Mammoth during that heat wave….
Getting up early and going for a bike ride while it is still cool enough is a treat. It is still cooling off around 3am and if we hit the road by 6:00, we can get in an hour and a half bike ride, before the sun intensifies and we have to seek shelter in the house. We can only use the swamp cooler because of the high cost of air conditioning, so finding ways to play before being a prisoner in your house the rest of the day, is the only way to avoid going stark, raving mad. Nothing moves outside in this kind of heat, and I have joked that birds drop from the sky fully roasted when the temperature is over 115. Sadly, we saw a young coyote pup hit and killed on the road this morning, and he or she looked like she was bringing up the rear in a pack and killed before she had a chance to grow up. I adore the coyotes out here in the desert, with their sing song howls and yips, fierce independence, and ability to survive in such a hostile climate. This spring brought a lot of rain, and the jack rabbits and cottontails are prolific too! Such is the life in the desert and the balance that must ensue. A bumper crop of flowers and greens produces more small mammals which in turn feed the coyotes. The pack is the largest I have heard howling at night, but it will also be a long, hot, dangerous, summer for all the living creatures of Anza Borrego.
Michael and I had a fabulous bike ride and rode out to S22… Henderson Canyon is still partially shaded early in the morning because of the foothills, and we biked along the road that I have shot all my desert, wildflower photographs. Compare the diffence from the spring this year, to the summer time now! Everything is burned to a crisp, and the sand dunes only show the prints of tiny mammals and the wave patterns of the wind.
We have a couple more weeks in the desert, and then we are heading to the coast.
We dropped the RV off to be serviced after our bike ride, and Michael and I picked up 2 gallons of Tillamook ice cream to make the day even better!:)
It was with a somewhat heavy heart that we had to head back to the inferno, but with Callie’s cough getting worse by the day, we had no choice but to hit the road toward home.
I took her to the vet yesterday, and we should know in the next 72 hours what type of bacterial infection she has. It could be a chronic bronchitis because there was a spot on her left lung. She has lost some weight, but is still eating and drinking with gusto and still climbing her beloved olive trees!
It actually feels good to be back in Borrego Springs, in spite of the 106 degree temperature expected later today. Michael and I went on an early morning, road-bike ride, and had to marvel at how much stronger both of us are after having biked up in the mountains at high altitude and on rocky, sandy, hiking trails. Riding along a flat, well paved surface, and on my Cannondale, felt like riding a thoroughbred horse instead of a Welch Pony!
Callie loved the drive back toward home and rode on the dash most of the way! She is happy to be home though and can once again roam around and snuggle in her Kong bed on top of the hutch in the master bedroom. Living in a 24ft RV for weeks at a time needs some getting use to!
Poor Borrego Springs is suppose to hit 122 degrees today. As I write, it is 121 out. Oh the poor creatures that I love so much in Anza Borrego. How can they possibly survive? Our dear friend, Salvador keeps an eye on our house and plants while we are away, but what about him? How does he manage? Thank you Salvador for all your hard work and you do it with such grace and dignity. We appreciate you so much.
Here at Silver Lake at the series of lakes called: June Lake, it is 83 outside and Callie thinks it is way too warm and she can hardly open her eyes and move about. She is hanging out on the top loft but we have the air conditioning on and she is still being lazy. Thunder and lightening storms are expected on Thursday and it should be quite exciting hanging out in the RV. Callie isn’t afraid of thunder and lightening like our jack russel dog, Addy was. Thunder and lightening would send Addy into my closet and she would bury herself under any discarded clothing or pile of shoes she was fortunate enough to find. She would cower and shake and shiver until the storm would pass. Attacking a coyote was nothing for Addy, but thunder and lightening did her in.
We are having a fabulous time in the RV and it is another beautiful day. I suppose it is cooler for those that don’t wear fur coats!
The morning started out bright and early with Callie once again expecting me to get up and serve breakfast so that she and Michael could go back to sleep for a couple of hours. It is rather funny and because I am a morning person, it is no big deal. As soon as I fed Callie, Michael was already sleeping and Callie tucked herself into the tent I created for her on the sofa. It is chilly at night but today it reached 85 and it felt warm to me. It is nothing compared to Anza Borrego though, which will hit a high of 121 on Tuesday. Those kinds of temperatures are a killer for birds and mammals and plants. It is so hot that when you take in a deep breath, your lungs feel scorched.
Michael and I went on a fabulous off road bike ride again this morning and because it was so difficult, I am considering packing a first aid kit. I wear a scarf around my neck in case I will ever need a tourniquet, but can see the use of bandages and wraps for all kinds of injuries. You can’t see the deep sand in the shadows when it is mixed with dappled light and the ruts in the trails trap you before stopping you in your tracks. I had air put in my tires this morning and I think the added pressure made for a much more difficult ride. We made it back to the RV in one piece though and felt the zen of having a strenuous workout roll over our shoulders all day today.
Fred decided to head back home this morning so Michael, Callie and I have the rest of the vacation to ourselves. I will be able to celebrate Father’s Day and not worry about Fred anymore. He blew a tire heading home and is waiting for a tow service as I write. The same right back tire that we had a flat fire with! RV’s sit a lot and the tires are the first to show wear and tear. He has a long way to go yet to get home, I wish him the best.
Callie got a morning walk and was able to hang out on the picnic table most of the day while Michael worked on the bikes. She is getting more than her fair share of excitement and the strain is starting to show. When I find her up in the loft in between the rungs of the step up ladder to the loft bed, I know I have sufficiently worn her out from dawn to dusk. Wearing out a cat is always a good thing!
Michael and I had a fabulous bike ride to Henderson Canyon this morning. The weather has cooled off and that is always a nice surprise. We didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and when we got to Henderson Canyon, we noticed that a new sign had been posted that read- Anza Borrego Desert State Park. I am so happy to see that the park has expanded and that this favorite bike ride of ours will be protected. This canyon is where I take photographs every springtime for the spectacular desert wildflower bloom. This particular spring we had a super bloom! It is famous world wide for sand verbena, dune primrose and sunflowers. Today I took photographs of a few stragglers that had found reason to bloom because of a storm that passed through last week; but these will be the last of the flowers until next spring. I am so heartened to see that this valley will remain wild and that no developement will destroy the beauty of the place. *
* super bloom- be sure to check out stories and photos I uploaded during the super bloom as a comparison to now!
It doesn’t get any better than this. After dropping Callie off to continue biking, we headed to Coyote Canyon which is something we have only done with a 4 wheel drive car. Riding the sandy trail with bikes was as close as it gets to riding a horse; which is my all time favorite thing to do with my sister Gayle. The day was gorgeous and still cool enough to enjoy exerting oneself under the sun.
When we got about half way to our finish line, I noticed one Hawk-moth pollinating a lovely scented Desert Willow tree. We had just passed through the second wash of deep sand, and I was getting use to biking off road. The tree was covered with bees buzzing all around it and I just happened to see the one moth. I raced over and was able to get a couple shots of it before it headed out into the vast desert. I was just writing about this moth yesterday when I posted about the Sacred Datura and how it depends on this type of moth to help pollinate it. They look just like hummingbirds in flight and their size is somewhat off putting because they are so large.
The bike ride was fabulous and I love off road biking. There is a trick to driving over soft sand but I got the hang of it right away and feel like a natural. I can’t wait to take the bikes to Mount Laguna. When we hiked there in early March, the trails were perfect for biking. Not too steep and rocky and wide enough to guide yourself around obstacles. What a fun day so far. Callie is resting and I was able to do the photography that I so much wanted to do. A Hawk-moth in flight in the middle of the desert. You cannot ask for more!