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Posts tagged High Desert Living

Fireworks Fun in the High Desert


July 1

Faith & Freedom Festival, Phelan

New Life Church of the Nazarene has partnered with other local churches and community organizations to host a free, family-focused Independence Day festival on July 1 at the Serrano High School football field. There will be food, activities, live music and of course, fireworks once it’s dark. The event will run from 6 to 10 p.m. at Serrano, located at 9292 Sheep Creek Road.

Jamboree Days, Crestline

The Crestline /Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce will present Jamboree Days, which will feature a full weekend of activities including a parade at 10 a.m. and a fireworks show at 9 p.m. July 1 at Lake Gregory. For more information visit or call 909-338-5230.

North Beach celebration, Silver Lakes

With the theme of “America the Great,” the Silver Lakes Association will put on the North Lake Boat Parade on July 1. The parade is open to all Silver Lakes residents and will begin at 11 a.m. sharp, featuring patriotically decorated boats with first-, second- and third-place awards given to the best decorated. Festivities will carry on all day at North Beach, culminating with a fireworks show at dusk. For more information, contact Bob Ward at 951-318-5816 or Anna Ward at 760-963-1623.

Red, White & Boom, Lucerne Valley

Lucerne Valley’s annual Red, White & Boom Independence Day event will be held July 1 at Pioneer Park. Activities including bounce houses, family games, a flag retirement ceremony, with food and craft vendors will begin at 4 p.m., with the fireworks show beginning around 9 p.m.. For more information, contact Sharon Fritz at or 760-248-7048.


July 2

High Desert Yardbirds, Adelanto

The High Desert Yardbirds invite fans to a night of baseball and fireworks on July 2. The fireworks show will begin after the 6:30 p.m. game between the Yardbirds and Hollywood Stars. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased online at or on game day at Adelanto Stadium, located at 12000 Stadium Way in Adelanto. For more information, call 760-246-6287.


July 3

Concert Series, Lake Arrowhead

The Lake Arrowhead Village Concert Series will host the “Women Who Rock” concert, featuring a musical tribute to Heart and Pat Benatar. The July 3 concert will be followed by a fireworks show at 9 p.m. For tickets and general information, visit or call 909-337-2533.


July 4

Freedom Fest, Victorville

The High Desert Event Center will host its annual Freedom Fest at the fairgrounds on July 4, which will include a day of activities, music and food. The festivities will culminate after sundown with a traditional fireworks show and music simulcast. The event will begin at 2 p.m., with the fireworks show at 9 p.m. The fairgrounds are located at 14800 Seventh St. in Victorville. For more information, visit or call 760-951-2200.

Freedom Festival, Apple Valley

The Town of Apple Valley will present its 20th annual 4th of July Freedom Festival, a patriotic day of celebration that will include children’s games, live music, bounce houses, food and shopping vendors, a beer garden and a fireworks show. The Freedom Festival will begin at 2 p.m., with the fireworks show beginning at 8:55 p.m. The festival will be held at Lenny Brewster Sports Center, 21024 Otoe Road in Apple Valley. For more information, visit or call 760-240-7000.

Fireworks Spectacular, Barstow

The Robert A. Sessions Sports Park will host its annual Independence Day party with a 5 K Freedom Run, as well as live music and fireworks. Gates will open at 5 p.m. on July 4 and the fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. There is no admission charge. Robert A. Sessions Sports Park is at 2800 Mayor Katy Parkway in Barstow.

Independence Day Festival, Big Bear

Billed as the largest July 4 fireworks display in Southern California, Big Bear’s Independence Day Festival can be viewed from any of its public parks or on a boat on Big Bear Lake. Fireworks are shot off from a barge on the lake directly off of Pine Knot Landing. The show begins between 8:45 and 9:15 p.m. on July 4. For more details, call the Big Bear Visitors Bureau at 800-424-4232 or visit

Enjoy the holiday. Drink plenty of water and stay in the shade as much as possible.

Rusty LaGrange

(This listing was prepared by outside sources and Daily Press online. Any errors are not the responsibility of the blog  page owner)

High Desert Outdoors in the Spring

Planning Spring Activities Outdoors

What do you think of when you hear the word Spring in the High Desert? I think of several things, including:

  • gardening
  • pulling weeds
  • organic herbs and vegetables
  • outdoors
  • picnics
  • grilling
  • bugs
  • snakes


Growing a flower garden or herb and vegetable garden is good for nutritious eating but creates a reason to get exercise. Pulling weeds is one of those necessary outside chores that is impossible to escape. Either you have to pull them or hire someone to do it for you. The next time it rains, watch those weeds pop up all over the yard. Pulling them yourself will ensure that you get healthy exericise.

Herbs and Vegetables

Plant several tomato plants, and you’ll have fresh tomatoes, tomatoes for salsa, and tomatoes to give away. They grow well in the high desert, but the neon hornworms love the tomato plants and before you know it, they’ll eat all the leaves. Take a flashlight out at night to see them light up. Then can’t hide so well then.

Peppers, green onions, carrots, and squash are a few vegetables that will grow in the high desert. Add herbs to your garden. Add flavor to your meals with fresh herbs from your garden. There’s nothing like eating organic herbs and vegetables from your own garden. It makes you want to eat more vegetables and cook healthier.

Natural Vitamin D

Gardening is a great reason to get some sun, the natural Vitamin D. Just spending fifteen to thirty minutes outside does wonders for you. The benefits of Vitamin D and serotonin is worth studying. You don’t have to know all the scientific effects to know that it makes you feel good just being out in the sun a bit.

Picnics and Grilling

It’s spring and a great time to get out the picnic baskets and grilling equipment. Do you have picnics in your backyard, or do you go to the park? Picnics are fun and usually include some type of activity. When I was a little girl, croquet was a game my family enjoyed playing in our yard. It’s not such a popular sport anymore, but it’s still fun to play. Be on the look out at vintage shops for croquet sets. Some people use the vintage croquet games equipment for various upcycled decor items.

Bugs and Snakes

There is one thing for sure. A high desert organic garden will attract bugs. Not only does the garden attract them. High desert bugs love to come inside the house. Bug spray should be kept in every room in the house. If not, by the time you run to another room to grab the spray, the bug is nowhere in sight.

A serviceman from Terminix told me that the worst thing you can do that attracts pests and snakes is to have a flower bed next to the house. I asked would it make a difference if you landscaped with rocks instead of a flower bed. He said snakes like rocks, too.

My mother loved flowers, and she always warned me to watch out for snakes in the springtime around the flower beds. I love the outdoors and flowers, but I do not like bugs or snakes. Bugs are tolerable in that they are small enough to squish. Snakes are a different story altogether. About a year ago in Texas, my cousin, Stephanie, and her children had just come home. As she was about to unlock her door, a poisonous snake slivered between her and her front door on its journey to wherever. Stephanie screamed and jumped. Her purse and keys flew. That is not a scenario I want to experience.

You can contact pest control for bugs and snakes. Like the Terminix serviceman informed me, there are things you can do to get rid of them. offers excellent ways to eliminate snakes from your house, yard, and garden.

High Desert Food Bloggers’ Traffic Generating Experiment

Traffic Generating Experiment VS

Community blogging comes alive when fellow bloggers connect to promote interests and events in the area in which they reside – and, yes, when they promote their blogs. What are the benefits of promoting a blog? Drive traffic to your blog, convert that traffic into leads, and make money blogging, to name a few benefits. Two High Desert bloggers joined efforts to promote their food blogs, and

Cookie Cutter Breakfasts

Egg Valentine Blog Post by

Fudge Hearts

Fudge Hearts Valentine Blog Post by

Both blogs are fairly new, and the bloggers decided to participate in a month-long experiment by scheduling regular quality content. You can learn more
about the experiment READ MORE »

The Traffic Generating Experiment–Blog vs Blog versus in a traffic generating contestAnyone who has ever started a blog knows that one of the biggest challenges is getting traffic to your blog, and traffic is essential if one hopes to monetize their blog.  There are various recommendations on the web regarding how best to draw traffic to a blog, and after reading through several of these, it’s easy for a new blogger to feel overwhelmed and confused by the conflicting information.

A few years ago, I listened to Bill Belew speak at the HDCWC meeting in Apple Valley.  At that time, he recommended multiple short posts (100-150 words long) per day to generate traffic.  He shares similar information regarding the success of mutiple short posts per day at Search Engine Journal.   Another site suggests longer posts (300-350 words) two or three times per week are best, and one claims that Google considers posts of less than 200 words to be “thin content”.  Another site recommends a combination of regularly scheduled  quality content on your own site paired with guest posts on a blog that has more traffic than your own. There are sites that list specifically how long a tweet, facebook comment, and a blog post should be in order to be most effective.  These list the best  content length for a blog post at 1600 words.  When you’re looking for a definitive answer, all of this seemingly conflicting information can be very confusing.

Even regarding the topic of page rank, there is disagreement.  There are those who say it’s vital to get traffic to your site, but is it really? READ MORE »

Discovering High Desert Beauty

Joshua Tree

Mohave Desert, Southern California

Mohave Desert living surprises new residents, especially the ones who have never lived in such arid weather or terrain covered with cacti and Yucca plants. Scorching hot and dry summer days, rattlesnakes, and dirt are typically expected. What else could there be? It’s just a hot, dry desert. Right? Maybe to some who haven’t stayed long enough to discover more. But to others, the area grows on you as you begin to notice its beauty like the author who comically describes the High Desert in “Living in the High Desert.”

Joshua Tree

High Desert Joshua Tree

Mohave Desert Joshua Tree

Photo by Greg Horn

One of the first things noticeable in the High Desert is the Joshua tree. It is the largest of the Yucca. Different than most trees, its trunk doesn’t have rings that grow annually. Joshua trees can live over 500 years. Their pointed leaves are sharp. If you get one stuck in your foot, it hurts worse than a needle.


Growing a garden in the desert seems like a daunting task, but it is possible. Flower, vegetable, and herb gardens all can grow well in the High Desert.

Pink Cactus Flower

My Garden Pink Cactus Flower

Cacti flowers

My Chain Cholla Cactus Flowers

Bright pink and green is vivid where there are cacti which, surprisingly, produce beautiful colorful blooms. It seems amazing that the prickly native plants can produce the gorgeous flowers. California Poppies, easy to grow in the Mohave Desert, show off their orange beauties. Pinching off a few twigs of this plant and sprinkling them around the yard is about all you have to do to multiply this plant in your yard.

Growing poppies in Southern California

California Poppies with Raindrops

Growing a garden is possible in this hot and dry region, but it does take determination. Drought and triple digit weather can cause complications. Cities enforce a watering schedule of certain days that you can’t water, extreme heat and lack of water makes tomatoes crack, and some vegetables won’t make it. However, those hindrances don’t stop the High Desert gardener from trying.

Strawberries have grown in my garden for the first time this year. Popping the itty bitty berries in my mouth is a treat I enjoy when I’m gathering tomatoes or beans.

Four types of tomatoes were planted, two of them in my square-foot garden and two near the strawberries and a grapevine. The tomatoes stayed green so long that I wondered if they would ever turn red. Finally, they did – and tons more grew and ripened. I gave baskets of tomatoes away.

Growing tomatoes in the High Desert

High Desert Organic Tomatoes


My favorite herbs that grow exceptionally well are lavender, rosemary, basil, and mint. Watching hummingbirds drink the nectar from each lavender blossom is a highlight of growing the herbs close to the kitchen window. Catching that on camera is quite challenging, though. Every time I grab my phone camera, the hummingbirds fly to the window and hover for a moment as if to tease me and say, “Catch me if you can.” One day I hope to be waiting and quick to snap the perfect picture.


Lavender in an Herb Garden

Desert Sunsets

One of the prettiest sights in the High Desert is shadows on the mountains during sunset. Sometimes the sun shines so that the shadows make the mountains look purple. Natural Mohave Desert beauty.

Mohave Desert Sunset

High Desert Sunset


Surprising Valentine’s Day Gift That Grows in the High Desert

red blossoms

Vibrant little “fish hook” barrel with big blooms


Cactus Thrive in the High Desert

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 and easy to grow in typical desert temperatures.

Another feature 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.100_0756

“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.

Rusty LaGrange

Vintage Gypsies Join “Autumn Basket Give-away”


A stunning Oriental Cabinet displays shop's odds & ends

A stunning Oriental Cabinet displays shop’s odds & ends


Gypsies now carry their own line of handmade soaps and scented lotions

Gypsies now carry their own line of handmade soaps and scented lotions

Historically, gypsies have been known to travel, so when Vintage Gypsies moved into Old Town district of Apple Valley, the move was well worth it. Reopening last month, Vintage Gypsies displays antiques and collectibles, outdoor décor, and their own line of scented lotions and handmade soaps. Antiques above all else, shoppers stop and gaze up, around, and down to take it all in. “We really do like the extra attention we’re getting. Old Town location is great,” said Becky, during the Grand Opening. She and her partners, Kathy and Kevin, all seem so


much happier with their new digs.   Their shop is now in a row of antique shop storefronts facing across from Mollie’s Country Kitchen, on Happy Trails Highway, Hwy 18, Apple Valley at the east end of town. The shop hours are 10-5 Wednesday through Saturday, with Sunday through Tuesday closed. Find them on Facebook, too. Those extra days off  will help them buy, repair, and refresh their inventory of eclectic goodies each week.

Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th    Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th

We’re proud to announce that Vintage Gypsies is also sponsoring our High Desert Blogging’s, first-ever, “Autumn Basket Give-away.” Their basket is full of useable and collectible items, coffee gift card and mug, and samples of their house brand of scented soap and lotion — too many to list here. Stop by when you shop and sign-in to win. No purchase necessary. No tickets to buy. Overall, three baskets will be given-away Nov. 15th and two more on Dec. 6th.

And why is all this happening? Because High Desert and their network of guest bloggers, have grown and helped advance the word of blogging into our local High Desert communities for the past three years. We’re giving back to the communities that supported our efforts.

Just sign up at any of the five vintage businesses listed below, and you could win one of five baskets brimming with antiques and collectibles, comfort foods, and office supplies, and other personal lotions and potions from  many donors.

See Vintage Gypsies listed below, or call (760) 552-5851 or contact them on Facebook.

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

  1.  Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA
  2.  Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA
  3. Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA
  4. Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA
  5. The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

 Our first three baskets will be given away this Saturday, Nov. 15th between 10:30 and noon at stores #2, 3 & 5. Winners do not need to be present to win.


More news to come…


Table Top Tablet for Your Dining Ease

 It had to happen. The electronic age of handheld games, PDAs, a cell phone that will let you purchase as well as communicate, these are all transforming faster than we can afford to upgrade.

Table Tech

New electronic waitresses sit on your table


Now the newer trend is to have an automated cashier at your table. I don’t mean standing at your table; I mean a small e-cashier sitting on your table.

You may have seen these in the large franchise restaurants like Applebee’s, TGIF, Chili’s and Red Robin, among those in the High Desert. It sits unobtrusively at the rear of your table or right in your face, either way, you can even opt for a pre-paid game, the news, see the shop’s menu and specials, and more. You can even ignore it and pay the traditional ways of cash or card handed directly to the cashier as you leave.

I talked to several waitresses who will be anonymous, of course, and found that this trend creates mixed feelings. I figured the younger patrons would quickly grasp the ease of the unit and use it as masterfully as WarCraft. But not so. They’re concerned about someone losing their job.

The latest news is that Applebee’s started the trend and IHOP soon joined in.

From their web site:   For more than 30 years, Applebee’s has defined the casual dining experience in America, influencing food trends for more than 1 million guests every day and defining value and service for the industry. Today, Applebee’s steps into the future to redefine and enhance the guest experience through the installation of 100,000 E la Carte Presto tablets, powered by Intel, on every table and multiple bar positions at more than 1,800 Applebee’s® restaurants in the United States by the end of 2014.

DineEquity, franchisor of Applebee’s and IHOP® restaurants, announced the relationship with an aggressive schedule for installation throughout the Applebee’s system. The tablets, which enable guests to add to their orders, pay, and play games from their seats, will also be introduced at IHOP locations.

With the convenience of swiping your credit card down the edge of the screen, you have no need of talking to a cashier as you leave the restaurant. This topic alone, replacing some of the cashier staff, has caused patrons to bristle at the fact. The younger generation patrons under 50 feel pretty much the same as patrons over 50. They don’t like killing off another staff position. More unemployed or part-time staff. No good.

Some diners love the convenience but then wonder about its safety. Most franchises will have secure coding at the level of ATMs so the fear factor is reduced. Yet, if hackers can jump into The White House, Lowe’s, and Target, who is really safe? Others said that handing a credit card to a person can be just as dangerous when they duplicate the card behind closed doors.

Sometimes the restaurants with loud sports bars make it hard to hear a transaction at the table. Using a quick swipe of the table top tablet offers quiet, quick, and quality service. Units can offer their shop’s complete menu as well.

Discussion at our table centered on enjoying ambiance, conversation with real people, and the skill of a waitress knowing her menu and pricing much easier than scrolling through a menu on screen. One server stated with a grin, “You might as well get use to it. I think these are here to stay.”    

Missing the Arm of Casino Slots?

                                             Missing the Arm of Casino Slots?

 Is it the trend that we will just accept like the ATM, the smart phone, and slot machine with no arm? Perhaps.



High Desert’s Vultures Return on Icy Winds

Some traditional events are founded on the return of animals and birds to their home range after a cold winter. This year we didn’t really have Winter in the winter months of December of January. It was disappointing to people hoping for a snow-ski season as well as plants and trees ready to replenish their stores of water for a summer that’s sure to be a scorcher.

Lucerne Valley Sunrise

Lucerne Valley Sunrise

Today came the first signs of the first returns of a bird that no one really pays much attention to. They don’t flash a colorful wing, or come down to frolic around the bird feeders; in fact, most folks ignore them.

The California Vulture sets his timer to return about mid-March after the worst of the weather is over.

Then why are they showing up a month early? We can only speculate  that they felt it was time to return. The short rain season, snow season, cold snap, then followed by a crazy warming trend, would confuse any of us. The vultures are just now returning from Mexico because they think it’s time.

California Vulture

California Vulture


We surely can’t shoo them back south and tell them their timing is off. We can only enjoy watching them soar and wheel in the cold skies, enjoy their awkward hop-jump and limp when they attempt to be ground birds, and revel in their displays as the first rays of sun warm their cold backs. Many can be seen roosting on ranches around the valley, perched on teetering treetops, fences or rock ledges, hoping that any kind of warmth will soak into their black backs.

They’re no swallows like those returning to Mission Capistrano. Just buzzards back from the barranca.

 Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you see here, you can find more stories at . Rusty is a freelance writer, poet, editor, and spends her days staring at the skies when the buzzards return.


Running and Walking in the High Desert, California

Submitted by Guest Blogger Beverly Prine

5K, Hesperia, CA

5K, Hesperia, CA – 9/11 Remembrance Run on the Hills of Ranchero, Wednesday, September 11th, 2013. Taken at the corner of Danbury Ave and Ranchero Road.



As a resident of the High Desert for over twenty years, I often enjoy taking long walks along the California Aqueduct Trail. During the summer months, early morning is the best time to walk the Aqueduct, aka “AD.” Walking with someone is ideal, just in case of trouble. The “Buddy-System” we learned in kindergarten applies to walkers and runner of all ages.

Since June of this year, I have started running, which is not any faster than my walking pace, but it works a different muscle-group than walking. Running with a buddy, or two or three, is even better than walking with a buddy. I got the chance to meet some running-buddies at the Ranchero Underpass Opening Ceremony on June 29th, 2013. At first I was intimidated when I was approached by an extremely fit young woman who introduced me to her group called “Mom’s Run This Town,” also known as MRTT. This individual was an experienced marathon runner (that’s 26 miles) and invited me to look up her group on Facebook.

I joined the Facebook group, “High Desert, CA Moms RUN This Town,” but a few more weeks passed before I actually made the commitment to meet up at a running event. This first event I attended was a run around Malibu Park and surrounding area on a Saturday morning. It was a nice surprise to see a familiar face, and meet six new people. One of the new friends I met runs at my pace, and we quickly became running buddies. I am so glad to have found someone who is like me, a beginner, and who is working at increasing miles and pace. Some in the group took off fast and ran the five miles in record time. Others ran and walked and finished before Mar and I, who brought up the rear of the group.

Not long after, Mar and I met many from the first run at the Maple AD trail, and I was glad to have company on “my” home-trail. The almost-five miles from Maple to Main Street on the trail of the aqueduct was very pleasant, as we watched ducks and ducklings in the water, and heard a coyote cry in the distance.

Mar and I have been running together three times a week for the past two months, and we are enjoying our progress. There are days when I need her encouragement to get going, and there are other days when she needs me to push her. This morning, for instance, we ran my favorite trail, which is the Ranchero Underpass. We start at Ranchero Road and 7th Avenue, and run east toward Danbury Avenue. On the return from Danbury back to 7th, I was about to quit and give up, but she was at my side, giving me words of encouragement to keep going.

At the beginning of each run at five-thirty in the morning, before the rooster crows, we love to look up at the stars and constellations still visible before sunrise. During the time of the Super-Moon last week, we marveled at its beauty, as we chased the setting of the moon on the return run, from Danbury back to 7th. The bonus about this running route is the trains that pass us overhead as we run. The Hesperia Airport is nearby, and sometimes we watch helicopters and airplanes land and take-off.

The highlight of September was running with MRTT at the Hesperia Days 5K, and Mar and I both improved our time, coming in at thirty-five minutes and thirty-eight minutes, respectively. I am no longer intimidated by others who are faster. The whole point of running is to get off the couch and get outside, exercise and get moving. The bonus is meeting new friends who encourage and inspire each other, not only in running but also in life in general. This quote from George Sheehan at Runner’s World sums it up:  “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”



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