Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gamelan Extravaganza in the Desert

Harrison House has a new outdoor stage, set just behind the building in the open desert. While my camera doesn't do it justice, the above photo gives you some idea of the magic afoot at the inaugural performance, which took place this past weekend: the CalArts Burat Wangi Gamelan orchestra and dance troupe, with 25 musicians and 15 dancers.

This was a true spectacle, even more so under the nearly full moon with a pack of coyotes howling their approval. The costumes were astounding, especially the flower-bedecked headdresses--my favorite had a burning incense stick, with the smoke wafting over the audience as the dance proceeded. The dancers use intricate hand and foot movements that take many years of training to master.

Around a half-dozen pieces were performed. I don't know anything about gamelan music, but for me the effect was hypnotic, almost trance-inducing. A friend described being in Bali and going to the temples to hear this music. The CalArts Burat Wangi Gamelan did indeed create the atmosphere of a temple in the desert. What a night!

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Morning Walk in Big Morongo Preserve

This morning we had intended to visit the Whitewater Preserve. We couldn't get there, though, due to traffic delays on Hwy. 62. So we settled for a walk in the Big Morongo Preserve, which turned out beautifully.  Once you're in the trees, you're protected from the wind.

We saw several big, fat, black lizards and this very tiny bunny.
There are so many birds, it sounds like a tropical rainforest.

One trail consists of a tunnel of mesquite trees, which are now in bloom.

If you keep walking back, you get to the foothills. 
One of the trails goes all the way to Indian Canyon Rd.


It doesn't feel like the desert in here.
We've been here before, but we don't visit often enough.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

What's Growing

The weather's been blowing hot and cold this spring--no surprise there! Overall, it's been good for the garden. The colder weather things are still going, and the warmer weather things are coming on. Above: Cherry Belle and Pretty in Pink radishes.

We thought we were going to have to stake the peas--but they hugged the wire mesh and are standing tall that way.

Here come the tomatoes! This is a variety called Arkansas Traveler. I started some tomato plants, like this one, indoors and transplanted them outside a few weeks ago. Yes, we have too many tomato plants. I picked heat-tolerant varieties, so hopefully they will do well this summer.

The Optima butter lettuce is doing great. Butter lettuce was Bill's special request--his favorite. We also have mild mixed greens.

The beets are my favorite. I use a Colorful Beet Mix from Seeds of Change that includes red, orange, yellow and striped beets.

Will we, or will we not get broccoli before it's too hot? This is an experiment. Again, I started the plants indoors and transplanted them outside a few weeks ago. Stay tuned.

This is a heat-tolerant spinach called Tyee F-1. So far so good!