Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts by Muses by Marti

High Desert Angie Introduces Her New Book at the Phelan Library

Angela Horn at Phelan Library Book Reading

Angela Horn kicks off the summer adult reading program today at the Phelan Library with her new book, Phantom Seven Secret Heroes of WWII and OSS.

John and I can hardly wait to get our autographed copy when she gets her shipment in! Today Angie read excerpts from the various heroes including her own father….just enough to give us a taste of some of their personal experiences as these veterans remembered their undercover agent experiences in the OSS.

I love history and especially WWII history. I also love spy adventures so this book is right up my alley!
You can get a copy of Angie’s new book by calling Pleasant Word at 1-877-421-7323 or order online by going to: This is a great way to support our local High Desert Author plus read an exciting WWII Spy story.

Comments welcome.

High Desert Home Show in Victorville, CA


There is still time to run on over to the High Desert Home Show today, Sunday April 15, 2012, at the Victorville Fairgrounds.  It’s open until 5:00 PM today!  John and I went for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon and it was fantastic.  Cindy Poore, our good friend that is a Landscape Specialist with Perfection Landscape in Phelan, CA gifted us with VIP tickets to come to the Home Show.  We had originally planned to go on Friday but with the high winds and pouring rain we decided to go Saturday instead.

There were lots of vendors and great educational displays that were so inspiring to us.  We are “chomping at the bit” to implement all the things that we learned about yesterday at the High Desert Home Show.  To read more about this great Home Show and some of the vendors there, visit Marti Muses and Marvels blog, another High Desert Blogger from Phelan.

Comments Welcome.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Raised Bed Gardens in the High Desert

Here’s a great way to have a raised bed vegetable garden and save your back!

Build a Straw Bale Raised Bed Garden.

Building a Raised Garden out of Straw Bales

John and I decided we were tired of having to bend way over to plant and tend our vegetable gardens so we started building raised garden beds out of straw bales.  They are fantastic!  We live in the High Desert in Phelan and have discovered there are so many things that grow well as long as they are planted properly and tended well.

One thing to be sure to do when building raised beds is to make them narrow so you can reach into the middle easily from both sides to harvest your vegetables and also for easy weed control.  This way there is no need to climb inside them.  We make our raised beds using 6 – 12 straw bales depending on how long we want to make each garden.

Since we have alpacas, chickens and horses; we have an endless supply of manure that we can compost. We also add crushed eggshells and vegetable clippings to our ongoing compost pile.  We always have plenty to amend our soil each season of new planting.  You can see more details and photos of how we build some of our raised straw bale gardens by going to a post on Marti’s Muses and Marvels blog.

Ode to the Redbud Tree

One of my favorite trees is the Redbud tree. We had many in our yard in Glendale, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, MO, where I grew up. It was one of my mother’s favorite trees as well. When we moved to the High Desert in Southern CA I got several from the forest service and planted them on our ranch. They have started blooming once again and the butterflies and the bees are are having the time of their lives enjoying the tasty nectar. Even the humming birds love them! This is a photo I took of one of our Redbud trees yesterday afternoon while out enjoying all of our fruit trees beginning to bloom.

Butterfly in the Redbud Tree

The Redbud is a small tree which grows in the forest, on the borders of fields, on hillsides or in valleys…and now on our ranch in the High Desert of Southern CA! The leaves are alternate and heart shaped, three to five inches long, turning to a bright clear yellow in the autumn. The Redbuds bright magenta, pea shaped flowers grow in clusters along the twigs and small branches, and usually appear before the leaves in early spring.

Redbud Tree with Heart Shaped Leaves Unfolding

A Bit of Oklahoma History

Maimee Lee Robinson Browne, my husband John’s grandmother, was instrumental in getting the Redbud Tree to be the official tree of the state of Oklahoma in 1937. Redbud in Poetry as expressed in verse collected by Maimee Lee Robinson Browne is a beautiful book of poetry that was published in 1964, honoring the Redbud Tree and acknowledging her for all the work she did to get this accomplished. She was the leader of a state-wide campaign to plant the Redbud tree. The beautification program took hold all over the state. There are over thirty thousand Redbud trees in Sulphur, OK. They must be a sight to behold when they are all in bloom in the spring. That is a lot of Redbuds compared to the seven on our ranch!

“Whereas in the beginning of this great commonwealth, when the sturdy and hardy pioneers thereof trekked across its rolling hills and plains, one of the first sights to greet them spread out in glorious panorama, was the Redbud tree-a tree, that as it arose in the spring from verdant fields, was emblematic of the eternal renewal of all life; a tree that in its beauty renewed the worn spirit and gave hope to the tired heart of a people seeking homes in a new land, and….” a partial quote from the Senate Joint Resolution Number 5 declaring the Redbud the official tree of the state of Oklahoma on March 30, 1937.

Bees Enjoying Nectar from the Redbud Blossoms

Beauty in Our Forests

Deep in the forests in spring
When the redbird makes her first call
She sees only the green of the cedar
and the Redbud through brown leaves of fall.
Brilliant buds tempt travelers to gather
Small sprays to take on their way,
Denuding the forests of slender
and wasting God’s glory each day.

To protect this miracle of springtime
When drab colors become radiant hue,
Help God keep beauty in our forests
For birds and mankind to view.


Redbud Tree in Full Cycle

This Redbud tree still has its seed pods on from last fall and is in full bloom with its flowers and the beginnings of the heart shaped leaves unfolding.

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