The Perks of Being a Preserve Host

For 7 months Jeff and I are living under palm trees in an oasis on the San Andreas Fault. We are volunteering as hosts at the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve in the Coachella Valley. As the New Year begins, I reflect back on all the special moments from the past 3 months.


A rainbow appears after a few large splats of rain…


SUNRISES…


Gregg’s sense of humor…

Gregg is another host who lives in his RV next to ours.


Rattlesnakes…

Gregg discovered the one below in our supply hut behind the bathrooms…


Guided hikes…


Climbing a sand dune with ginny…

Ginny is our Preserve Manager. Jeff and I were searching with her for evidence of campers after Athena and I observed 2 people trespassing onto Barney Powell’s land and buildings at Chimney Ranch.

From the top of the sand dune, McCallum Oasis and Simone Pond are hidden under the cluster of palm groves on the right.

In the distance are the Little San Bernardino Mountains. The 2 white rectangles in the middle are our supply crates. Beyond them is the Lane House, where Ginny’s office is located. To their right is the “Crab Shack” and where Athena and David, the other 2 hosts, park their RV.

Another view of McCallum Trail from off the beaten path…


A great horned owl…


Buddy and bear…

These are Gregg’s little dogs.

Auntie L babysits.


Marcia and i take a break repairing the  MCCALLUM trail…

We walk to the pond and she calls my attention to the screwbean mesquite.

Marcia is a docent here and a Master Gardener who leads a guided hike called Native Plants and Their Uses.


Sunset…


Moon rise…


An engagement… (I was the first to know!)


Gregg’s New Mini-cooper…


An unkindness of ravens…

These noisy birds pick off the palm fruit to eat but manage to drop even more on top of the roof of our RV. We are getting used to the hail-like sounds of dropping palm fruit.


A gathering of poets…

One Sunday morning contributors to the anthology Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California and others (including one raven, circled in the photo above) joined for poetry under the palms. Ginny just completed her MFA in creative writing and 2 of her poems were selected for publication.

Ursula K. Le Guin is also featured in this anthology.

She is an American novelist famous for her fantasy and science fiction. She also authored children’s books, short stories, poetry, and essays. She died in 2018 at age 88. (en.m.wikipedia.org)


Rain clouds…


Desert blooms… in DECEMBER?

Brittle Bush

Sand Verbena

Desert Sunflower

And yet there’s snow on San Gorgonio…


Weeding the desert…

Sahara Mustard is an invasive species of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts and the Coachella and Imperial Valleys of southern California. This mustard is native to the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East, probably hitching a ride on the imported date palms. Thick strands of the plant can crowd out native flora by monopolizing any moisture in the soil before other plants can access it. Also,  it forms seeds before other species do, as early as January. This mustard self-fertilizes and propagates by dropping large numbers of viable seeds in the soil. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

It’s back-breaking work, but someone has to do it! Jeff and I have helped Dan, the Preserve Ranger, a few times pulling these weeds in Moon Country. We also pull them out if we see them on our hikes.


A PROUD GROUP CELEBRATES AFTER HIKING PUSHAWALLA…

They wanted me to document their successful accomplishment.


Christmas Morning…


Christmas brunch…

Quiche and mimosas…

Happy 2019!

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