Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hiking Black Lava Butte

We live at the base of Black Lava Butte. It is in our back yard. I stare at it as I lay in bed. The photo below is pretty much what I see at night. This is facing east. The moon rises over that butte and it can be pretty amazing sometime.

Yesterday and today I hiked up there (yesterday with Paul, today alone). In fact do you see that tiny little line at the top of the butte, kind of in the center of the photo? That is me. Paul took this shot from our roof deck. We were trying to figure out the perspective. It is so wacky out here in this landscape. Things look closer than they are, bigger and smaller than they really are depending on the angle.

The photo below is looking off the east side of Black Lava Butte. You see the curve of BLB on the left, Flat Top Mesa on the right and the wash in between and further out would be Highway 247 and the Landers area.

Black Lava Butte is 4,708 feet above sea level. It is a long skinny curved shape butte, unlike its neighbor Flat Top Mesa which is right next to BLB but really wide. We climbed on top of Flat Top once and it felt like being in the east African savannah. As far as the eyes can see you are just in desert grass. Being on top of Black Lava Butte feels like being on the moon, but with plants. It is desolate, with lava rocks and dirt and scrub grass. There are quite a lot of Creosote bushes and surprisingly a few Joshua Trees and Junipers, quite a few Yuccas and some cacti every so often. We were up there a year ago and saw some swallows and a hummingbird. Yesterday and today I saw no sign of life. Its up there, just not easy to spot.

Below I am looking west off of BLB. That is our house down there. You can see the solar panels on the roof. The road to the left is Gods Way Love.

Another western viewing shot from atop BLB, looking more north. There are a few folks living way out there. Being on top of BLB you can see it all.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Road Trip Shots

Caught a few shots during last week's drive from California to Utah.

Southern Utah 
Virgin River Gorge - always amazing

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Getting Back into the Swing of Things...Life in Our New Home

I've been a terrible blogger these past few months. Life has just been too busy and has gotten in the way. Very little time and energy for picture taking and none for writing. Between all that was going on building and finishing the house and moving in plus work being busy - creativity was tapped out.

I have a lot of things in my head that I want to write about...that I need to write about, and I think I am getting closer to being able to do that and do it regularly. Until then, here are some photos from some recent walks around our property and "the neighborhood."

We moved into our house on April 14th. I can't believe we've already been here a month. We still have a lot of work to do on the house but the big things are done. The rest is cosmetic things. The things I love most about living here?

The absolute silence and tranquility. It is like living in a national park but without the visitors. We hear nothing but the wind, the occasional bird or plane. The crazy, changing weather and the fact that there is usually a very nice breeze running through the house. Since we've moved it its been kind of chilly, way too hot and all the way back to very pleasant - which it is most of the time. We had our first heavy rain, which we missed because we were up in Utah visiting family and getting the last of our things out of storage. Last night we watched a huge dust devil pick up and move across the land. Those things are so wild. And loud.

The wildlife. We throw out bird seed and all veggie scraps go out for cottontails and others. So now we have a regular group of quail, bunnies, scrub jays, ground squirrels, antelope squirrels (they look like tiny chipmunks) and others that come around. Almost every day you spot something fun. A road runner running by the bedroom patio door while I was staring out the window. A mouse climbing up the outside screen wanting to get in. Bats in the evenings. Some kind of shrew like rodent digging a huge hole in the ground right outside the door. Most of the time you can stand right near a door or window and watch. They don't see that you are in there and they are not afraid.

With the windows and large sliding glass doors open, sometimes, especially at night, it feels like we are luxury camping - because you are just there in the middle of nature, but you are in a comfortable bed with all of your stuff around you, not just sleeping in a bag on the ground. I love it.

We call this one Whale Rock.

Baby bunny sitting in a bush just outside our kitchen window.

Bunny taking a break in the shade. 
Creosote bushes are blooming right now.

Up the road - someone else's land.
Roadrunner Rut Road in front of our house.

Our house is tucked back there in the left corner. Perspective with size is always wacky out here. Things look huge and small depending on what is in your view. Sometimes our house looks like a tiny model. 

View out our large door like kitchen window.

This is my view when I am doing dishes. I love doing dishes. 
Walking up RRR road yesterday, way back.