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“PoemSmiths” Gain new Audience at First Fridays Event

On First Fridays when the Historic Apple Valley Inn opens its doors to open-air vendors, booths, walk-through visitors, and gallery viewers, you’ll often find different events at Hi Desert Book Oasis used bookstore.

Shoppers Concentrate on Book Sales

Shoppers Concentrate on Book Sales

This time, owners Donna and Allysa, hosted a poetry reading event to celebrate their third year of business.

Mary Langer Thompson leads PoemSmiths event

Mary Langer Thompson leads PoemSmiths event

Members of the newly-organized PoemSmiths gathered to read a variety of poems from each member. The PoemSmiths are a critique group sponsored by California Writers Club – High Desert Branch.

Mary addressing the group of poets

Mary addressing the group of poets

Elizabeth Pye shares a poem

Elizabeth Pye shares a poem

“There was so much interest in poetry that we branched out to share our poetry and support poets within the branch,” said Mary Langer Thompson. She’s also a former California Senior Poet Laureate, and retired English/poetry teacher. Break-out groups are common within the CWC organization.

Other featured poets were: Linda Boruff, Loralie Kay, J.P Newcomer, Rusty LaGrange, and Elizabeth Pye, and a guest reader, Davida Siwisa James.

A Personal Space is Prime for Poems

A Personal Space is Prime for Poems

Donna, the owner of the bookstore, often encourages different events in the bookstore: from book signings by local authors, to painting displays, poetry readings, and craft booths. But First Fridays remains the featured evening when shoppers can stroll the entire Apple Valley Inn complex to see what’s happening.

Rusty LaGrange

“Palms to Pines” Ride Not Far Away

Tram leaves canyon station

Tram leaves canyon station

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where can you go when the temperature is getting so hot that you feel your skin dripping off? Palm Springs, California, of course. What? Yes, that is a destination with an unique twist. Just when you think it can’t get any hotter, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway can take you to a cool place — over 8500 feet to crisp and breezy San Jacinto Peak.

 

Visitors come from around the world, their voices excited and familiar

Visitors come from around the world, their voices excited and familiar

One of Palm Springs signature amusements is the breathtaking ride up craggy canyons, over pinnacles, and across deep tree-filled ravines. It’s managed nicely by letting you and dozens of other visitors stand onboard a round gondola with 365 degree views. It’s the world’s largest rotating tramcar. Really.

The initial climb is enchanting

The initial climb is enchanting

Recently updated, the gondola ride is smooth and now rotates around its core control port still manned by a tram driver. As the ride lifts you up above the arid desert floor of Chino Canyon, you can easily spot the Palm Springs Airport, the wind farms, and other large features. The detailed rock faces can be just as impressive as the height. Soaring over the deep canyons, and hearing everyone onboard chattering in different languages about their feelings as we passed cable towers, is part of the experience.

Breathtaking view of the valley floor

Breathtaking view of the valley floor

Riders hold their cameras continually as everyone takes photos of their family, their friends, their best canyon shots, and even the gondola driver. Each tower we passed caused a bit of excitement due to the slight swing the gondola took to level back out as it continued skyward.

The air is clear and crisp. At over 8500 feet, the heat of the desert dissipates. Pine trees provide the aroma, while rock swallows and ground squirrels provide some entertainment. Be warned — the air is much thinner at this

View of trailhead facing the peak hiking paths

View of trailhead facing the peak hiking paths

elevation so you might feel a bit light-headed or find yourself breathing harder to get more air. But that’s all part of the experience of the sudden climb from the base station at 2,643 feet above sea level, crossing five bio-transition zones to pristine alpine habitat.

Shear canyon walls

Shear canyon walls

Our goal was the top building perched high on San Jacinto Mountain filled with two large restaurants, shops, a museum, and the doorway to “top of the world” hiking trails. For the intrepid, this is the trailhead to over 80 miles of rated trails — easy, moderate, and skilled. Rain or shine, snow-capped or clear, the mountain is always open.

Your appetite is enhanced by the climb and view

Your appetite is enhanced by the climb and view

Our purpose that day was to enjoy one of the visitors’ packages: Ride and Dine. For one price you get a tasty dinner to go along with that incredible ride. The complete experience is truly a “Palms to Pines” adventure. And for us, our 34th anniversary celebration.

Rusty

 

To find out more about the PS Tram’s ride packages, its history, its trails, and hours of operation, you can phone: (760) 325-1391 or go to: http://www.pstramway.com

 

Pretty and Drought-tolerant Plant for High Desert Gardens

The wind is howling. The temperature is climbing. I just bought a Lantana (lantana camara) plant and I’m afraid it will get blown right out of the pot. I love the small flowers and the red-orange flame of color is my favorite. Nurseries in our area know that they come in several color varieties. How can I enjoy adding some new color to my drab garden when I’m afraid of killing it?

Drought-tolerant plants are one of the better choices for our High Desert in Southern California. We have two strikes against us though: 1) we have high winds 2) Californians should be paying more attention to their water use.

Pink variety of Lantana

Pink variety of Lantana

I chose the Lantana due to its hardy nature in arid climates. It has clusters of tight, tiny trumpets that give off a light scent. They’re great for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. So I really want this plant to survive but I’ve killed more than I want to admit.

So I stopped off at my nursery of choice and asked how to keep my Lantana healthy. One of the clerks I found also loves Lantana, so she suggested that I water two or three times a day when the temps go over 100 degrees F. And, yes, I know the temps get that high almost every year.

I should also make sure I have a thick mulch to protect the roots and keep the heat from dehydrating the soil too fast. But how much water is enough? She said there’s an easy way to test that. Dig a hole in your garden larger and deeper than a one gallon pot. Plant the empty pot. pack soil around it. Pour exactly one gallon of water in it and let it evaporate and soak into the ground. Watch it often until all of the water is gone. That will give you the time it takes for a gallon-per-minute soak for your soil conditions.

If you don’t like how fast it goes then use an amendment that holds the water longer. If it takes too long, then loosen the soil and amend it with a more fibrous mulch product that allows drainage. I have heavy clay so I’m still trying to balance the drainage time to fit my plants.

For wind problems, I can always build a short wind wall to keep the speed under control. And for too much direct light, I can tent my plant with a tiny tarp until late in the summer.

Two colors in one planter: red flame and pink

Two colors in one planter: red flame and pink

At any case, I know this plant will be babied this year just so I can prove I can keep a Lantana in the yard. I think I’ll make a baby bonnet and get a drip bottle to make it happy. [grin]

Are you having special trouble with any of your desert plants? We may not have all of the answers, but we’ll look for them. Let us know here at High Desert Blogging.com.

Rusty LaGrange

For more Lantana growing info, here’s a place that helped me:

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/lantana/lantana-plants.htm

Share Your Event with our Blogging Network

Like a Pebble Dropped in a Pond

Like a Pebble Dropped in a Pond

Does your business have a new event to share or mile marker in its history? A celebration? An anniversary? Get the word out to hundreds of blog readers who follow on High Desert Blogging.com then tell them about your shop.

How long have you been in business? What is your specialty? Are you only online or do you have a storefront as well? What’s your address? Do you sell to a certain age group or specific interest? Do you have an active web site? Please share with us.

What days are you open?

What hours are you open?

Do you have sales days or use coupons?

Can shoppers use credit cards, debit cards, or gift cards?

What’s your shop’s telephone number, fax number, and do you have a toll-free number?

These are the basic questions that readers ask us.

Don’t forget to list all of your supported social media connections. Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. The list goes on …

In every case, you’ll find a new shopper, a new friend, and a new connection. That’s what blogging and networking is all about? Like dropping a pebble in a pond.

If you feel that networking and blogging are taking too much of your time, you can hire someone to do that task for you. Virtual Assistants and  business bloggers are all around. Let us know if you need some help.

Rusty LaGrange

 www.aFlairForWords.com

New Basket Give-Away at Cadillac Antiques in Lucerne Valley

We just heard the news! Cadillac Antiques is gearing up for their first year anniversary with a Blog Basket Give-Away in July. It’s been nearly a year since the shop first opened in the Pueblo Building in Lucerne Valley. To celebrate, owners Patty, Ralph, Charlene and Dave have decided to fill a huge basket with everything donated from the store, its consignment vendors, and High Desert Blogging members.

Cadillac Antiques has Car-lectibles and furniture, glassware, and paintings and great gifts

Cadillac Antiques has Car-lectibles and furniture, glassware, and paintings and great gifts

Watch here for the latest news as the basket begins to fill with collectible goodies, new and used gifts of all sorts, plus a few re-purposed “car-lectibles” — auto parts with a new lease on life as chromed gadgets, and what-nots. We don’t know what surprises are inside. READ MORE »

Cadillac Antiques Calling Lucerne Valley it’s High Desert Home

Small towns, like Lucerne Valley, can seem to move at their own pace — too slow for the younger generation, too fast for those entering their retirement years. Then there’s the working folk who want a slower pace.

Stylish Glass and Vases

Stylish Glass and Vases

Meet Patty Muldoon of Cadillac Antiques. She’s slowly moving up to the High Desert one weekend at a time. The new shop, open just a year ago come July, is a long-term investment for two couples. Patty and her husband, Ralph, are co-partner/owners with good friends Charlene and Dave Guertin.

“The High Desert offers so much of what we want: less noise, wide open spaces, blue skies, and at night you can see the stars,” says Patty.

When they made the choice to find the perfect place for an antiques shop in 2014, they all fell in love with the two-story Pueblo Building in Lucerne Valley. The building was once owned by Tom and Arla Daugherty and their daughter, Karen. Over the years, ill health took both Tom then Arla. Karen owned another business out-of-state so she began placing the large Pueblo-styled shop on the market.

 

A Few Dolls & Crafted Toys

A Few Dolls & Crafted Toys

The Muldoons and Guertins  made the move and the commitment to see their business grow, while the Muldoons are gradually moving to the less stressful lifestyle of the desert.

“We made some remodeling changes that exposed the wood rafter ceilings, then we painted and changed a few more things. I was a bit nervous when the current owner came by to check on us,” said Patty. “But Karen was pleased with the facelift, too. And I think her mother would have loved it.”

Men with find Car-lectibles and repurposed auto parts

Men with find Car-lectibles and repurposed auto parts

Settling into the new community has been much easier than they thought. Patty reports that so many people like to just come in and browse, talk to us like we’ve been here a long time.”

With the ideas of expansion, Patty explained that they’d like to add a “Cruising Cars & Coffee” event maybe once a month, and eventually a café next door. “In a small town people need something to do,” said Patty.

Snowy Curio Family

Snowy Curio Family

It’s the antiques and collectibles that draw new customers. You can stroll through a selection of mid-century art and icons, repurposed car art what Dave and Ralph call their ‘car-lectibles”, dolls, jewelry, paintings, kitchen gadgets and cut glass — all lovingly displayed in curio cabinets, and bookcases. Some items are on consignment, or offered through quality vendors, but most items are managed by the owners.

Two Young Girls

Two Young Girls

This past Saturday Patty hosted a bloggers brunch and shopping event with members of www.HighDesertBlogging.com. She provided breakfast croissants, fruit, pastries, and coffee. Bloggers will be posting here about their experience visiting with Patty and shopping among the vintage and antique items.

Meet Patty Muldoon

Meet Patty Muldoon

“Maybe it’s the small town attitude, the easy pace, that let’s us know that Cadillac Antiques is home. So we’ve decided to purchase the building in July.”

 

Cadillac Antiques, in Lucerne Valley’s historic Pueblo Building, is at 32090 State Hwy 18. They can be reached at (760) 248-2829. The store is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm; Sunday 11am-5pm; and closed Mondays.

The Pueblo Building now Cadillac Antiques store

The Pueblo Building now Cadillac Antiques store

Rusty LaGrange

Mother’s Day is 11 Days Away

I’ve been a contributing blogger for several years now, so I figured you might like to know  that I’m a devoted fan of the Old West. I live on a rural ranch in the High Desert, love the ghost town trails and a bit of off-roading.

All it takes is a rustic bucket and a bunch of field flowers

All it takes is a rustic bucket and a bunch of field flowers

I collect almost anything rusty and rustic. While I do admit to having too many irons in the fire, one passion is bringing history to children in my traveling museum just for kids. In fact, my collection doesn’t fit in one car now, so I’m hoping to get some money together for a box trailer in which to haul my displays and Civil War tent.

Those who know me, weren’t surprised when I was elected as the President of our local museum association. I can be the curator of a large collection of outdoor farm implements and mining equipment — each one is rusty — so I’m in my element.

My husband has put up with my crazy need to share Old West history with everyone I meet. So after 34 years of marriage and Mother’s Day just around the corner, what does he think will be a good gift?

How about you? Does it get harder to find that something special for that special someone? Flowers are nice, but why not go the extra step and have a plant in a designer pot with a nice photo of you in the card? Take a “selfie,” print it out and attach it. It will mean that you took some extra time to really make a point.

Back to Mother’s day gifts. I’ll let you know what he sprung on me. Enjoy your Mom on this special day —  get her something nice and memorable.

Rusty Profile photo

Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you see here then go to my other sites:
www.AFlairForTheOldWest.com
www.RustyLaGrange.com
www.AFlairForWords.com

Lovely Spring Gift Ideas For High Desert Gardeners

Prickly Pear as a Source of Food

Prickly Pear as a Source of Food

Gift Ideas We Love

Do you really want to receive a dozen roses that will only last a week? Why not ask for a cactus that blooms for you each year? Just go to your nursery and pick out the prettiest. And as for color, you’ll find a good variety.

Many of the varieties offer different shapes and heights, while others bloom in hues of white to cream to yellow, pink to red to rose. All of them are easy to water, drought-tolerant, and easy to grow in typical desert temperatures. Prickly Pear is native to the Southwest, easy to transplant and grow while providing sweet fruits to make jelly. The new pads or leaves (before they grow spines) can be cut and boiled or fried like green chilies. They have a mild taste and are also worth pickling.

Animals use their broad trunks and leaves for hiding from predators or getting out of the summer heat. Ernie, my cat, loves to sit in the shade and dream of being a lion — I’m sure that’s what he’s thinking.

Another feature of cactus that I enjoy is their slow growing nature. You can plant them in a 10″ pot and it will be years before you’ll need to transplant them into a half whiskey barrel or directly into your yard. Many of them can grow for decades, often dropping “babies” or allowing their arms to be cut and replanted for the new generation of cacti. I have a night blooming cereus that is over 40-years-old and has been inside all of its life.

 

Cream Yellow bud from Hedgehog cactus
Cream Yellow bud from Hedgehog cactus

“Christmas cactus”, known for blooming in winter with bright red or fuchsia colored pointy blooms, can be more temperamental because they are a tropical cactus. They don’t like their roots too wet or too dry. A trick for forcing their blooms is to place them in a closet for a month prior to the holidays. Once out of the dark, they want to herald in the New Year. Healthy and happy plants will blossom all year.

Those combination cactus sampler dishes, that nurseries often place near their check out stands, are a really smart way to try some cactus plantings. Each dish holds a selection of tiny cuttings. The photo above is of a Hedgehog type of cactus you’ll find in some platter gardens. Some selections don’t live very long; others grow and bloom and last for years.

If you’re not sure which ones to try, try all of them. They take little water and often produce a few flowers or even double in size during their first year.

Some cactus plants for sale at nurseries are not really cactus at all but are succulents with spiky skins. Their interiors are mushy pulp and don’t have the fortitude to make it through a dry, hot desert summer. You can try growing them in a portable pot or inside near a window. Be careful of direct sunlight scorching them through the double- and triple- panes of your windows. I tried that and more succulents and aloe vera plants succumbed to being bleached to death by the sun. It doesn’t take long to broil them in the intense heat.

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

My favorite tropical/ desert species is called the Carrion Plant. It grows large, slim, columnar arms  on thin stems that look more like sipping straws. It produces flowers only once a year. The bud is a large yellow pod with purple lines and polka dots but covered in hair. In a few days, the pod bursts open into a giant yellow and purple star with the most horrific odor you’ve ever smelled. This rancid perfume is designed to attract insects — especially the fly that helps propagate its pollen. It smells like dead, rotting meat — hence the name “Carrion” plant. It only takes one visit to a Carrion Plant to instill that smell into the sensory part of your brain. Whew!

So there are some of my favorite cacti and plants that make a good gift and have the longevity to last more than a few days or weeks. Once you have cacti in your garden, you’ll have a fragrant  friend for life.

Rusty LaGrange

An Evening at the Art Walk, Strolling Apple Valley’s Historic Inn

Art Walk at Historic Apple Valley Inn

Art Walk at Historic Apple Valley Inn

For an evening walk through the doors of many businesses in and around The Historic Apple Valley Inn, that Friday April 3rd was the right night for it.

Tools of the Trade for Women's Self denfense

Tools of the Trade for Women’s Self defense

A light warm breeze engaged visitors to stroll along to visit the Inn’s large main lobby.

An array of crafts at Apple Valley Inn

An array of crafts at Apple Valley Inn

In there guests met franchisees from Mary Kay Cosmetics, The Origami Owl charms and lockets, Tupperware, Scentsy Fragrances,  jewelry crafters, a women’s selection of self-defense protection,   and off stage dance troupes.

Art Walk shoppers perused jewelry and services

Art Walk shoppers perused jewelry and services

Farther on where doors opened to a family counseling salon and a psychedelic blue-light art gallery, guests stepped into several display rooms. Talented artists and carvers had their wares on display.

A Gallery of Blue Light Artistry

A Gallery of Blue Light Artistry

Carver of Wooden Toys displayed in Gallery

Carver of Wooden Toys displayed in Gallery

At the western end of the sprawling complex, High Desert Oasis Used Book Store graciously hosted the talents of the Gibson-Reyes Trio. Instrumental and classical tunes emanated throughout the evening. Inspirational writer T J Michaels offered several of his latest titles to patrons stopping by at his book signing.

Guitar players fast hands

Guitar players fast hands

Flamenco and Classical Artist: Attila Gibson

Flamenco and Classical Artist: Attila Gibson

A little jazz, a bit of bluesy tones and folks lingered for refreshments. What better way to enjoy browsing through hide-away bookshelves. Owner Donna and daughter Alyssa shared their hope to enliven the historic business complex, known for visits from Hollywood celebrities and iconic Western stars, by hosting more events like this on the first Friday of each month.

 

Playing to standing room only -- Gibson-Reyes Trio

Playing to standing room only — Gibson-Reyes Trio

With the doors closing at 9 pm, Historic Apple Valley Inn became the venue of the night, leaving shoppers strolling off to their thoughts of a balmy spring evening.

~~ Rusty LaGrange

Beware: Kraft Foods Puts Out Recall for Mac & Cheese

Check Your Mac Boxes

Check Your Mac Boxes

According to reports, the Kraft Foods Company has sent out a general recall for its signature mac dinners. The recall affects only Mac & Cheese regular dinners in the 7.25 oz. size product. Look for the date stamp: “Best When Used By” dates of “September 18, 2015” through “October 11, 2015”, with the code C2 below the date embossed on each individual box.

Other later reports said that metal pieces were found in the product boxes. The recall affects 6.5 million boxes.

If you locate one or wish to find out more about the recall go to :

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm438700.htm

According to Kraft, eight consumer complaints have been logged about the product, but there have been no reported injuries. “We deeply regret this situation and apologize to any consumers we have disappointed,” Kraft said in a statement on Tuesday.

The recall affects 242,000 cases of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner that have been distributed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and some South American nations. The Associated Press reported that it amounts to about 6.5 million boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, one of the Kraft Foods Group’s signature brands.

Consumers who purchased this product should not eat it. They should return it to the store where purchased for an exchange or full refund. Consumers also can contact Kraft Foods Consumer Relations at 1-800-816-9432 between 9 am and 6 pm (Eastern) for a full refund. There was no indication when the recall would end. Products purchased with end dates after the recall dates listed should be considered safe. It was also stressed that only product boxes with C2 stamped under the dates were in the recall. The C2 indicates a certain production line location where the metal contamination was found.

Rusty LaGrange

This post has been provided as a public notice and does not reflect any personal view or liability on this blog network.

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