Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter and Astronomy

Many of our holidays have a fixed date, such as Christmas on December 25th. Others have an easily determined relative date (such as Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday in November).

Easter is a holiday with a floating date. That date is determined by 2 astronomical phenomena: the Vernal Equinox and the full moon. We can thank the First Council of Nicaea in 325, for wanting to preserve the connection to the astronomical phenomena that occurred at the time of Christ's resurrection in 30 A.D.

Determining the exact date for Easter can seem confusing at first, but it's not nearly as complicated as it seems.

Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal (Spring) Equinox. So breaking it down into 3 steps:

-- The Vernal Equinox this year was on Wednesday, March 20th.

-- The first Full Moon after this year's Vernal Equinox was Wednesday, March 27th.

-- The first Sunday after the March 27th Full Moon is Sunday, March 31st.

The earliest Easter can occur is on March 22nd. This last occurred in the year 1818, and won't happen again until 2285.

The latest Easter can occur is April 25th. The last time that happened was in 1948, and we won't see Easter on that date again until 2038.

For a detailed discussion of Gregorian/Julian calendars, leap years, Orthodox Easter, charts, and other related topics, visit the web site of the Astronomical Society of South Australia:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yellow Weekend

Desert Marigold

Palo Verde


Yellow Chuparosa

Brittlebush - Encelia farinosa

Cassia sp.

"The road to the City of Emeralds is paved with Yellow brick."
~ L. Frank Baum

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pink Friday

Mallow sp.

Mallow sp.

Penstemon sp.

Mallow sp.

"Slow buds the pink dawn like a rose
From out night's gray and cloudy sheath;
Softly and still it grows and grows,
Petal by petal, leaf by leaf."

~ Susan Coolidge, American children's author

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vernal Equinox - First Day of Spring

Today is the Vernal Equinox, which marks the first day of Spring. Since the Winter Solstice back in December, the sun's daily path across the sky has been gradually moving northward. Today it reached the halfway point (equinox) on its way to the Summer Solstice - which will mark its furthest point north in June.

If you compare the pictures of the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes, you can see the sun is in the same position on the horizon.

Sunset at Vernal Equinox - March 20, 2013

Sunset at Winter Solstice - December 21, 2012

Sunset at Autumnal Equinox - September 22, 2012

Sunset at Summer Solstice - June 20, 2012

During the time of Vernal (Spring) and Autumnal (Fall) Equinox, the amount of daylight and darkness hours are equal. As the sun moves farther north, there will be more hours of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.

"Spring is the time of plans and projects."

~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

White Wednesday

More spring blooms from the garden.

Cryptantha sp.

Apricot flowers

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ruby Tuesday

Red, Vermilion, Scarlet, Crimson ...

Crown of Thorns


Baja Fairy Duster



"A thimbleful of red is redder than a bucketful."

~ Henri Matisse

Monday, March 18, 2013

Blue Monday

More spring colors from the yard - Blues and Purples...

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it."
~Alice Walker

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fifty Shades of....


Fifty Shades of Green.

For St. Patrick's Day. Of course.

Honeypod Mesquite, with Catkins


Indian Mallow sprout

Brittlebush - Encelia farinosa

Honeysuckle hybrid

Apricot Mallow leaf

Euphorbia spp.

(OK, so that wasn't quite 50...)

"May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand."

~Irish blessing

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Art Show at Cabot's Pueblo Museum

CABOT'S PUEBLO MUSEUM in Desert Hot Springs, CA

We were invited to participate in "Artisans at the Pueblo", an art show and sale featuring local desert artists.  The event was held at Cabot's Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs, CA.

Other artists at the show had handmade jewelry, photography, luminaries, tile mosaics and fabric arts for sale. We brought our handmade Bird Houses, Bee Houses and Bird Feeders.

We set up in the beautiful, scenic Pueblo courtyard, in front of the Museum Trading Post and Art Gallery.

Bluebird Houses and Bat Houses

We used our new 4-way grid display and a custom-built gourd tree for the first time at this show.

The grid let us display more merchandise, including our Bluebird Houses and decorative Bat Houses. The gourd tree allowed our customers to easily see the bird houses from all sides.

Gourd Tree for displaying Bird Houses

There was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. Many came for the guided tours of the museum and grounds.

The Pueblo was built by Cabot Yerxa, who came to the desert in 1913 and homesteaded 160 acres in Desert Hot Springs.

The Pueblo is built in a Hopi-style, using mostly recycled and repurposed scrap materials that Cabot scavenged from the desert. The 5000 square foot multi-story main building has 35 rooms, 150 doors and 65 windows! 

The top floors and upper meditation garden have gorgeous views of the desert floor below and Mount San Jacinto to the west.

Waokiye means "spiritual helper" in Lakota

Another interesting feature on the Pueblo grounds is the gigantic Waokiye sculpture.

 The carved wooden Indian head was created by artist Peter Wolf Toth, and is one in a series of 74 Native American heads known as the Trail of the Whispering Giants.

The 43-foot tall head was carved from a 750 year old giant Sequoia log, which had been felled by lightning. The feather measures 23 feet high, and is Incense Cedar which came from Idyllwild.

Cabot's Trading Post & Gallery

Cabot Yerxa died in 1965. The property was eventually purchased by a private party, restored, and donated to the City of Desert Hot Springs which now owns it.

The Cabot's Museum Foundation operates the facility, and opened Cabot's Trading Post and Gallery in 2008. The Trading Post features the work of many local artists, and the building also houses the Desert Hot Springs Visitor Center.

Cabot was a talented artist, world traveler, entrepreneur and adventurer who discovered the hot and cold water aquifers that Desert Hot Springs is famous for.

To learn more about his amazing life, check out the Pueblo's web site and Facebook page. Or even better, come out for a visit and see it for yourself.

67-616 E. Desert View Ave.
Desert Hot Springs, CA  92240
(760) 329-7610

The Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, from 9am to 4pm.
Closed on Mondays.

Tickets for the regularly scheduled tours are first come, first served.
Limit of 12 people per tour.
~Official website of Cabot's Pueblo Museum

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Record Setting Heat

The temperature hit 96 degrees today.
Yesterday, it was 100 degrees down the road in Thermal.
Record setting temperatures for both days.

It's still officially winter...

"Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get."
~Mark Twain

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Has Sprung

The desert weather have been gradually warming after the last pair of storms, which rolled through a few weeks ago. We didn't get enough rain to help our wildflower bloom this year, but the view of snow on the mountains ringing our valley was really beautiful while it lasted.

Our Peach and Nectarine trees were blooming when the last blast of cold weather hit, and it definitely knocked them back. The Apricot is just starting to flower, and missed the setback.

Current temps are in the low 80's and there is plenty blooming in the yard. Bees and butterflies are keeping busy. The male Hooded Oriole has returned and was drinking from one of our hummingbird feeders. We will be putting out oranges and more jelly for him. The White-crowned Sparrows are still here, but they will be heading north as the weather gets warmer. Need to keep the feeders full, so they can tank up before their migration.

"Spring had sprung, the grass has riz
I wonder where the boidies is?
The little boids is on the wing.
Ain't that absoid,
the little wings is on the boid."
~ Anonymous