Escaping the Furnace

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!

From Dawn to Dusk

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!

Hot & Bothered

Borrego Springs peaked at 104 today and Callie doesn’t like the heat. It makes her hot and bothered and she can’t play outside. Because we had so much rain this spring, there are a lot of insects outdoors and the gnats are the worst. They go for your eyes and ears and make doing anything outside, difficult and annoying. Taking walks is uncomfortable when the gnats swarm you, but you can get away with biking early in the morning, just as long as you keep your mouth closed and your sunglasses on.

So Callie had a long and boring day of moping around and she slept a lot. I had to make sure that she got some playtime in before bedtime though, so I invited her up on the bed to play and I snap her with a wand that has a pile of feathers at the end of it, and a mouse that has catnip stuffed inside. We have about 10 minutes of rough and tumble playtime and then she is ready to have an evening snack and climbs up onto the hutch where her two beds are, and will sleep for awhile. She gets up several times at night to eat small amounts of kibble, and then back up to either the Kong bed or the round one depending on her mood. Her cough is improving every day, but she still has several spells of hacking and wheezing. Her energy level is better though and she has a sparkle back in her eyes. Her desire to play has increased again and I think she is getting better from her upper respiratory infection….. YAY!

A Protest of Trump in Borrego Springs, California

I can’t believe it! Trump protesters in the teeny tiny town of Borrego Springs, California!!! Why should that surprise me? There are people here who value clean water and our environment. They understand that Trump is a disaster and I am so proud to see them protesting around our famous community park, Christmas Circle. Christmas Circle is a round-about and park centered in the middle of town and is home to art shows, old car exhibits, motorcycle and RV clubs, and is the community hub of most public events in Borrego Springs. When you are finished protesting or looking at art work, you can walk over to Carlee’s, an old time bar and restaurant. People care about our fragile desert State Park- Anza Borrego and our environment and health care. The Latino community do most of the hard labor around here cultivating the grapefruits and oranges and tending to the yards and houses of retired residents. Thank you protesters for coming out and protesting Donald Trump. America deserves better!

And anyone who is offended by this post can choose not to follow me anymore. I do understand how political this is…I have  tried not to interject my spiritual or political views into my stories, but these are special circumstances and demand an honest and open dialogue.  

Test Drive 1/27/17

Yesterday late afternoon we scooped Callie up from her nap to test drive the RV. It was a lovely day in Borrego Springs with temperatures reaching up to the high 60’s and the sun still low in the sky, turning the Santa Rosa mountains a beautiful shade of purple. The shadows were long and deep and the desert is at its best after many days of torrential rain. You can almost sense the relief of the red ocotillo and sage, and all the plants that will be able to germinate and grow in the spring because of the rain. We headed over to Christmas Circle and then on to Club Circle at about 35 mph. Borrego Springs is a tiny desert community and there are no stop lights and very few stop signs. Most are yield signs and you have to be extremely vigilant when entering an intersection because where there are few accidents that do happen out here, many prove to be fatal. People get a sense of complacency because there are so few cars out on the road. But having said all that, driving around at 35 mph is the perfect speed for Callie so that she can hang out the window and not have the wind blow too hard in her face, and in her ears. Her curiosity is endless and it is so much fun to watch her take in the world and all that it has to offer. She can’t get enough of it. The RV handled really well and Callie was able to walk around and explore inside the RV while we were driving. She still preferred my lap though, and loves to stand up and hang her head out the window. This was our test drive in anticipation of many adventures soon to come. It was a big success!

Let Your Little Light Shine

I am a morning person and Callie is a morning cat and sadly, Michael is neither one… It is still dark out when I get up and Callie is waiting for the moment when she can dash outside and run up the first olive tree. She isn’t allowed to leave the yard unless I am with her, so olive tree climbing will have to do.  There are always hummingbirds around that scold Callie and zip from one branch to the next while teasing her and putting on a show. Callie loves it and tries to outdo her personal best from yesterday and climb just a wee bit higher. It is a little nerve wracking when the branches become so thin that they bend under her weight, but watching her little light shine and the glow of the hillside at dawn, makes it all worth while. Callie loves this time of day best, when she can be free to climb and chase the birds and wait for the morning light to fill up the sky. The desert is peaceful at this time of day, even in the middle of summer, and Callie and I have made it a morning ritual. When we have had our fun, and the foothills have lost their golden glow, we come back inside and have breakfast and I finish my cup of coffee. Michael is ready to get up by then and we prepare to go on a bike ride. Biking in Borrego Springs and Anza Borrego complete my morning ritual and I am ready to let my little light shine too…

To Kill a Mockingbird

When we moved to Borrego Springs around 16 months ago, there were a pair of mockingbirds that frequented the backyard looking for insects. The male was particularly flashy and had a big personality and in retrospect, I don’t think he had ever encountered a cat before Callie came along. He would broadcast his song every night and hop around the yard like he owned the place. He had a cocky attitude and was a very handsome fellow. One day, while we were sitting out back enjoying the sunrise, we watched this bird get closer and closer to Callie and he did not seem to exhibit any fear or concern about his safety. He hopped along the top of the back wall and Callie waited patiently at the base. I kept a close eye on his antics because I didn’t want to see him become breakfast on the wing. Now cats will be cats, and Callie is no different. She is an adept huntress and has on the rare occasion, caught one bird that I know of, but I didn’t intend on allowing her to catch any more. She may hunt all the moths, crickets and grasshoppers she wants, but birds are off the menu! So, along comes this bird and it hops right over the wall and lands almost on top of Callie before he realizes his mistake and makes a frantic dash straight up into the air to get away. Of course, Callie was ready for it and she jumped straight up into the air herself and deftly nabbed him with both paws and smacked him down on the ground with both wings spread. He let out a heart wrenching scream and I was on top of them before much harm could be done.  He did loose a few pin feathers in the scuffle but was able to fly away so I know he did not sustain any life threatening injuries and I still see him around next door. His pride and dignity were hurt and it was quite the scare, but he learned his lesson and only hangs out at the neighbors’s yard. He is one lucky bird and successfully raised a brood of young over the springtime with his much quieter mate. I once again can hear his song in the middle of the night and he displays his cockiness and handsomeness for all to see. He can be seen on occasion flying straight up into the air like there is a cat chasing after him, but now he turns it into a beautiful swan dive and returns to his perch with feathers intact and no harm done. He is much wiser for the near death experience and I know it will take much more than one little cat named Callie, to kill a mockingbird.

Off-roading in Coyote Canyon, Anza Borrego State Park

Michael, Callie, my brother Tom and his wife Frances and I went off-roading this morning to Coyote Canyon in Anza Borrego State Park. It is autumn now but we had a lovely rainstorm about 2 weeks ago and the red ocotillo took no time at all to leaf out and in some cases have even bloomed. The creosote and desert willow were also blooming and the desert was fragrant and filled with the sound of bees buzzing and birds singing.  The weather was a pleasant 80 degrees and the sky was a powder blue. There was just enough of a breeze to keep it cool. We went as far as lower coyote canyon and stopped at the spring. I was surprised to find as much water as we did so late in the year. Summer has just left its searing mark and the nights are crisp and the desert has sighed with relief. The high this summer was a deathly 124 degrees and at that temperature, it is very difficult to enjoy yourself outdoors. I felt for the plants and animals during the brutal summer. You can almost sense that the threat of eminent death from sunstroke and lack of water has passed. Callie loved the ride and enjoyed walking around the spring waters edge. Hummingbirds were abundant and the bees were prolific. It felt reassuring to see a healthy population of wild bees pollinating and working so diligently. Callie rolled in the warm sand and enjoyed discovering bugs and scents that only she could pick up. I could tell she had smelled something especially intoxicating because she stands still, closes her eyes and breathes in deep with her upper lip curled, she is so expressive. When we headed back, we drove through town and I showed off Carlees and the Art Institute. I am proud of Borrego Springs. It is a resort destination but closes down for the summer, and only a few diehards manage to survive the hot season of summer. Michael and I were here all but the month of August and we had the town mostly to ourselves. Borrego Springs is welcoming her human population back again and the town is just beginning to receive her guests with open arms.

Extending an Olive Branch

Before moving to Borrego Springs, California, Callie had free rein of the outside world. I was always vigilant about keeping her in at night but allowed her to explore her surroundings during the daytime.  She usually stayed close to home and preferred to have me around so that the local tom cats left her alone. In the desert, it is not safe even in broad daylight, because of all the predators around that would love to have cat on the menu. We have a beautiful silver kit fox that hunts right outside of the backyard and coyotes, rattlesnakes, scorpions and even owls and hawks are abundant here. The coyote population is steady and you can hear them yipping and howling most nights. Michael and I see them during the day when we are on a hike or biking and even though they are shy, they wouldn’t hesitate to snatch Callie if they could. Because Callie loves dogs and when I watch her response to midnight coyote serenades, she has no fear of coyotes. She would probably let a coyote come up to her to touch noses and that is my worst nightmare. So, Callie cannot be left unattended in the backyard, and I have had to teach her to stay and not go over the wall. She is tempted and when we first moved here, she on several occasion, went butterfly chasing out into the desert. She knows that it is wrong now, but because of a cat’s nature, I don’t trust her in the least. So, in order to keep her safe and happy, and to feel some freedom off the leash and harness, most mornings we have a routine of climbing the olive trees. There are three trees in the backyard that she loves to climb. She  usually flattens herself on the ground for a minute or two before dashing up the nearest tree and running as high as the branch will allow. She loves climbing trees and she is good at it. She will follow me from tree to tree and does her personal best at getting to the top of the tree before climbing back down and starting all over again. The sun is just starting to rise in the east and the light reflects off the foothills in the desert behind the house. It is a beautiful time of day and Callie and I both look forward to it. I can have a cup of coffee and watch her play in the trees and she can work off some pent up energy. Of course, there are hummingbirds that flit in and out of the foliage and she tries to catch them. It is fun for both of us. When she is finished with playing she is brought back into the house and served a nice breakfast. She has adapted to this routine and seems quite content as long as I find other activities later in the day to entertain her. It has been over a year now living in the desert, and except for the inferno during July and August, Borrego Springs has been a wonderful place to live and retire in… I think that Callie would agree with me. Extending an olive tree branch has kept the peace, and best of all, Callie is safe and sound.