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Posts tagged High Desert Living

High Desert 5K Events

My daughter told me awhile back about a lady who began training for 5K running events to lose weight. She started participating in the 5K’s and lost the weight. I thought of her yesterday when I joined my friends for the Apple Valley 5K. Like anything you want to accomplish in life, you have to stay consistent and never give up.

Two 5K events have already taken place in the High Desert this summer. One was the 5K at the Ranchero Road opening event, and the other was yesterday at Brewster Park in Apple Valley. Take a look at these dedicated 5K participants below. Is this something you would like to try? If I can do it, so can you. You can walk it, run it, or walk and jog it.

Ranchero Road 5K

5K at the Ranchero Road Opening

5K at the Ranchero Road Opening

Santa Fe Overpass

Santa Fe Overpass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranchero Road & Santa Fe Overpass, 5K

Ranchero Road & Santa Fe Overpass, 5K

Cyclist 5K

Cyclists 5K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5k Runners, Ranchero, Hesperia

5k Runners, Ranchero, Hesperia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 4th Brewster Park

5K Run at Brewster Park

5K Run at Brewster Park

5K at Brewster Park

5K at Brewster Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 4, 2013 - 5K at Brewster Park, Apple Valley

July 4, 2013 – 5K at Brewster Park, Apple Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Future High Desert 5K

Plan now for the next 5K in the High Desert. The Hesperia Days 5K is scheduled for September 21, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. Out of shape and not sure you can tackle it? Get in shape now. No one but you can make that happen. Physicians can give advice on preventative health measures besides prescribing medicine, so listen to your physician’s advice on how to get in good fitness shape.

5K Motivation

Hint: it’s easier to change into workout clothes as soon as you get home from work. When you get home, put your tennis shoes on right away. Get into your walking clothes, and go exercise. The longer you wait, the more you’ll talk yourself out of exercising.

A nurse who moved to the High Desert many years ago said she has walked every morning since she moved here. She used to walk three miles every day. Aging may have slowed her down some, but she has continued to walk at least one mile a day even after retirement. Don’t let aging stop you from being active. This retired nurse volunteers twice weekly and keeps up her walking. That’s a good example for any of you who are in need of motivation.

If you’ve read this blog post and was motivated you into action and you’re now in an exercise regimen, I’d like to hear from you. Reply in the comment section below and motivate other readers to start exercising.

You can read other testimonies for encouragement like the Couch-to-5K. It’s so easy to read stories on the Internet of how people needed to get in shape or lose weight and did so by planning for and participating in a 5K. Are you a couch potato? Read these stories and see how you, too, can begin a fitness program. Always consult your physician before starting any new workout regimen.

 

What Isn’t There to Love About the High Desert?

I’m Tania L Ramos, nurse by trade, author by choice, and now an independent sales rep for It Works Global.  You’ll be seeing a lot more of me around here now that I know how to log in.  I’ve lived in Hesperia for going on ten years, and moved up here to escape the traffic, smog, and lifestyle L.A. had to offer. It just wasn’t for me, and I knew that at a very early age.  A good friend and colleague told me about Hesperia, his hometown, and I called him crazy among a bunch of other wordy things.  But after searching “down the hill” for weeks, I gassed up the SUV and drove up the Cajon Pass from Claremont, where I was selling my twonhouse.  I found my home that day, and ten years later I can honestly say that I’ve found my roots up here.

There are many desert natives who say they dislike the boom and influx, and usually I nod my head and smile–not wanting others to know I’m not a born and raised High Desert gal.  I love it up here.  And what isn’t to love? Three hours to Las Vegas, three hours to San Diego, forty-minutes to two local ski resorts, and hour and a half to Newport Beach, maybe forty minutes to Angel’s Stadium, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.  The way I see it, we highlanders are sitting in utopia central.  The best of California is well within our reach without traffic (minus those pesky Cajon jam ups), and we can easily head to the mountains on a whim on those hot days, or commute into warm Nevada on cooler days.  I ask again: what isn’t there to love about the desert?

We are above the brown skyline that I cringe at every time I drive down the pass and see what looks like floating mud across the sky.  We have our very own weather climate, so when it is gloomy and raining down the hill, we often times are sitting out under clear blue skies.  Speaking of skies, stars were scarce in L.A., but on a cool and crisp desert night the sky twinkles in a cosmic show of shimmering glitter dusted across the wide spans of our horizon.  We see snow at least once year, and that is wonderful.  Usually not enough snow to be a huge disaster, yet enough to have a day of fun and enjoy and welcome the ivory powder.  What isn’t there to love about the desert?

We have colleges, malls, a variety of theaters and restaurants.  There are outlets in either direction and let’s not forget the summer night trips into Barstow to watch a movie outdoors at the Skyline Drive-In.  I love the high desert: the atmosphere, the people, the central location, the weather, the small town feel, the closeness,  and where I could do without some of the wind, it is certainly overlooked by all the wonderful friends I have made here.  I feel like I am home, probably because I am.

Tania L Ramos, RN, Author, It Works Ind. Distributor

tlr speaking eventFollow me on FB, Twitter, Pinterest 

3 Ways That YOU Can Make a Difference In the High Desert Today

Glass HeartThe High Desert is an amazing landscape filled with natural beauty, plentiful resources and caring citizens. While outsiders may not immediately grasp the desert’s allure, those of us who live here are well-acquainted with its distinct and attractive personality. Yet, despite all of the wonder that the Mojave has to offer, it is not without its areas in need of attention and improvement. I don’t mean areas strictly in terms of neighborhoods and zip codes either as individual members of our communities are in need of support and enlightenment too, which is why I’m so pleased to show you how we can all make a difference through three very worthwhile organizations representing faith, hope and love, today.

Faith Rainbow by xandert morgueFile1. FAITH

A strong vision has taken root in the Town of Apple Valley and its organizers place diligent faith in bringing it to pass. Perhaps you’ve seen the dilapidated abandoned house sitting alone on the top of Bass Hill just off of Highway 18 and have wondered about its history. You may have even longed to take a closer look like Daniel Harley can be seen doing in the video below. Regardless of your initial thoughts after recognizing the behemoth peering down upon the highway, you’ve undoubtedly also wondered about what will become of it in the future.

Well, a grass roots group has plans to reclaim Bass Hill in order to restore it to the heartbeat of the town that it once was. The Apple Valley Legacy Trail (AVLT) Endowment Fund aims to cultivate a hiking trail leading up to the property, which will include picnic areas and educational tours. Visitors may navigate the trail by foot or by horseback while enjoying the natural plant and wildlife along the way. The house itself will act as an observation deck, as it offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the desert. It will also feature historic memorabilia recounting the rich story of the Town of Apple Valley.

You can help make a difference by assisting the AVLT Endowment Fund via donation or volunteering in a myriad of other ways detailed on the group’s website. Always remember that faith requires action and yours is both welcomed and needed in order to bring this worthwhile vision to life.

Daniel Harley’s Hilltop House Video Courtesy of YouTube (MojaveDan)

Message Stones2. HOPE

In situations of family strife, hope often appears to be lost. In its absence depression, suicide and a variety of other social ills tend to prevail. When people come together to restore hope, however, they deserve to be both recognized and supported in their efforts. This is why I found it such a pleasure for the High Desert Bloggers to be situated right next to the Family Assistance Program at the RelyLocal Expo during the San Bernardino County Fair last weekend.

The Family Assistance Program exists to help individuals and families address a host of pressing issues such as domestic violence, housing threats, homelessness and others which often tear families apart while leaving individual members feeling lost, hurt and angry. The following is a sampling of the services that they provide under the main organization:

Domestic Violence Assistance

  • 24 Hour Hotline
  • Shelter and Transitional Housing Assistance
  • Support Groups and Counseling
  • Restraining Order Clinics
  • Bilingual Court Support
  • Teen Dating Classes
  • Art Classes Promoting Healing and Empowerment

Family Assistance Services

  • Counseling (individual and conjoint are both available)
  • Anger Management Classes
  • Parenting Classes
  • Supervised Visitation

As funds permit, the agency also offers rent and utility assistance to members of the community in need.

Special Services For Homeless Youth

This particular community based organization is also the first to open a shelter for homeless and runaway teens in San Bernardino county. Known as Our House, the shelter is located in Redlands and offers a safe harbor to young people between the ages of 11 and 17 years old who have runaway from home or who are homeless due to other circumstances. The primary goal of the shelter is to see families be restored whenever possible through supportive services beyond shelter which include counseling, goal-oriented workshops and case management.

LGBTQ Outreach Services

Another very worthwhile effort under the Family Assistance Program umbrella is the Giving Resources, Outreach, and Wellness Education (GROWE) Program which exists to increase awareness about the needs and challenges of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) community here in the HD. As teens who live outside of society’s established sexual norms often experience higher than average rates of depression, violence, bullying, substance abuse, homelessness and isolation, the GROWE program works to prevent all of these by providing resources and education to teens, their families and the community-at-large.

With boots on the ground and in the midst of some of the most dire circumstances families and individuals can face, the Family Assistance Program is a champion of hope. By offering resources, education and support, the agency tackles tough issues with optimism and strength. Volunteers and donations (monetary and in-kind) are always needed there, so if you believe that hope really can lead to change, please visit the Family Assistance Program’s website to learn how you can join forces with them to help it happen.

Loves Saves Lives by Kokabella at morgueFile3. LOVE

It takes a special individual to be so selfless as to open one’s home to children who are underprivileged and at-risk. Yet, this is precisely what Julie Wilson does through her Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation. For several years now, Julie and her staff of volunteers have offered camping and a host of fun and educational events on her multi-acre ranch located in Hesperia.

The Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation allows children to connect with nature through activities which include hiking, caring for animals and horseback riding. Other events and activities include western-themed barbecues, various arts and crafts, talent shows, roping lessons and horse shoe competitions. The foundation is also very well known for its annual Easter programs, which offer Bible-based activities and education in a naturally beautiful setting.

As the Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation’s leader, Julie Wilson has managed to press through her own string of adversities in order to keep children in need as her first priority. In fact, during recent consecutive years Julie endured the loss of her mother, watching her husband suffer in the hospital following an horrific accident, her husband’s death, major structural damage at the ranch and a host of other trials that would have caused someone of a weaker spirit to give in. Yet, Julie persevered and, though she is still recovering financially and emotionally, her determination in seeing the ranch thrive in order that children in trouble may have a place of refuge fuels her on. This sort of sacrifice, dear readers, is true love in action.

To help keep the Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation as a beacon of light for children in the High Desert, visit their website for information on volunteering, making a donation or becoming a sponsor. Specifically, the ranch is in need of people who can swing a hammer and who aren’t afraid of a little hard labor, as well as those who love to work with animals. As a non-profit organization, all monetary contributions are also tax-deductible.

A Little Bit of Faith, Hope and Love Can Make a Big Difference In the High Desert

I met leaders and representatives from each one of these groups while at the RelyLocal Expo discussed in my last post. Truly, it was a pleasure getting to know what each one stood for. An equal pleasure was had in preparing this post in order to urge everyone to invest in the faith, hope and love each one of these groups is infusing into the High Desert. While we’re all spread out across different cities, I believe that we are all a part of one very powerful community and together we can accomplish much.

Your Turn

The comments section is now all yours. Tell us, how will you choose to make a difference in your community today?

Looking for Live Red Worms For Your High Desert Garden?

I had the pleasure of meeting Greg Anderson of WorldWideWorm Farms in Apple Valley, California recently and I must say that I was extremely impressed with his breadth of knowledge with all things pertaining to high desert gardening. We’d only intended to pick up a pound of worms for composting, but we ended up getting an awesome tour of Greg’s farm in the process. To say that I was fascinated by Greg’s use of space, land and recycled materials is an understatement of the highest degree.

No Master Gardener Here…Yet!

Now, I’m just going to be honest with you– I’m no gardener. Having never been successful in cultivating anything green, I’ve always fancied the talents of others who can. And if you can literally grow your own food, you’re nothing short of a rockstar in my mind. I bow down to the master gardeners of the world, which is why meeting Greg was such a delight.

At this point, I’m sure you’re all wondering why on earth I’d be at a live red worm farm if I can’t grow so much as a dandelion, right? Well, since moving to the desert, my husband’s been learning quite a bit about green living from Neville Slade of the Sustainable Learning Center (in fact, it was Professor Slade who originally introduced my husband to Greg Anderson). Anywho, I’ve always been sorta interested in greener lifestyles, too, and as a freelancer I’ve learned a little here and there about things like composting, repurposing old things and the like. So, I may not be a high desert gardener yet, but I think I’m heading in that direction and am happy to learn from people like Greg Anderson as I go. Just don’t be too surprised when the day comes that I blog about my own square foot garden or cabbage patch or something really cool like that, ok?

WorldWideWorm Farms

But back to the WorldWideWorm Farms in Apple Valley. When we arrived, Greg took us around back to show us his worms in action. While en route to his composting areas, however, we got to tour his property where we saw a bunch of cool things like the greenhouse he built with his bare hands and a few recycled materials.

Homemade greenhouse at worldwide worm farms in Apple Valley, Ca

The entrance to Greg Anderson's handmade greenhouse.

 

The following are a couple of shots from the rear as well as the interior of the greenhouse:

 

Plenty of shelving and room for Greg's plants

 

Greg also has a full on garden filled with fruits and veggies. He jokes that the only thing he ever needs to go to the grocery store for are his favorite candies, since he can’t grow them, lol.

Here are some of the grape vines, which we can see are edging towards producing delicious edible grapes very soon– check it out:

One of the things that I loved about Greg's garden is how organized everything is. High desert gardening takes a bit of planning, which this guy makes look oh so easy.

 

Tiny grapes are beginning to bud at the WorldWideWorm Farms in Apple Valley, Ca.

 

Just beyond the greenhouse area, Greg showcases a square-foot garden. Here, you can see what I mean about being organized. Each square features its own vegetable like kale, cauliflower,  onions, garlic, etc.

Square-foot garden filled with a variety of veggies and fresh herbs.

 

Notice the worm tube Greg uses to insert live red worms into his square-foot garden. The worms create vermicompost, which fertilize his vegetables.

 

Greg also sells worm tubes and vermicompost at his WorldWideWorm Farms. Above is a photo of one of the tubes he uses in his garden. Here’s a photo of what they look like brand new just to give you an idea of their size and how deeply they’re inserted while providing many of the nutrients a garden needs:

Brand new live red worm tubes for sale at WWWFarms in Apple Valley, Ca

 

Greg’s chickens love fresh vegetables from his garden. While we were there, they followed him around like crazy begging for a bit of kale, collards and other greens that they regularly feed on. His chickens all have names, they are never slaughtered for food and they’ve pretty much got the run of the yard (with the exception of the areas he’s had to fence away to keep them from eating the live red worms and fresh veggies. We were the ones fenced in on this photo, not the lady birds).

These girls love kale! The grey striped one is named Zebra (pronounced like Debra, lol). I don't recall the white one's name, but she's a Leghorn and the other one produces beautiful blue eggs.

 

No dye for these eggs. Featured in blue, tan, brown and white, each chicken produces a different colored egg.

 

She's happy to dine on her veggies all alone while the others are preoccupied with their kale feeding.

 

Once again proving that High Desert gardening doesn’t require a lot of space (even though he’s got plenty), Greg crafted ths “salad pyramid”. Even if you’ve got little more than a patio, there’s no excuse not to grow your own fresh vegetables if you’re so inclined to do so.

This salad pyramid is one of my favorites. Lettuce, radishes and anything you need for a delicious salad are right here for the picking.

 

Greg was kind enough to send us home with a few fresh-picked radishes. They were soooooo delicious, too!

 

No real ick factor like I would have expected at a live red worm farm. I mean, really, besides a little bit of an earthy scent (which I rather like), Greg’s worms and compost are very well maintained. Here are a few photos of his worms and vermicompost areas:

 

Just what we came for...live red worms!

 

Live red worm beds at WorldWideWorm Farms in Apple Valley, Ca

 

And lest you think that it’s all worms, chickens and veggies at Greg’s place, he’s pretty handy with recycled items, too. You’ve already seen the greenhouse featured in his High Desert garden, but take a look at what else he’s built with using items that most others would consider trash:

Bat shelter

 

BTW, did you know that bat poop is an excellent fertilizer, too? Greg’s been studying this stuff– first as a hobby, then as a business– for years. His passion for High Desert gardening has led him to build a bat shelter, which is positioned just above his square-foot garden. The plan here is to regularly attract bats, which will eat gnats and other insects that hang around the garden, and, in return, Greg hopes the bats will leave him a little “something” for his garden.

Greg keeps track of the climate in his High Desert garden with this handmade weather vane.

 

Zebra, Dog (these are actual chicken names, folks) and about 7 other feathery residents of the WorldWideWorm Farms rest here when the sun sets.

 

Greg says he makes the best homemade bread in the world inside of his handmade outdoor brick oven.

 

Greg admitted to being most proud of his latest creation, a windmill that he made using discarded pipe, metal, a treadmill engine and other materials that were going to end up in a landfill.

 

Handmade windmill

 

Pretty nifty, huh? And this windmill doesn’t just get points for its cool factor or for being a good conversation piece…it actually works! Greg’s hard work will more than pay for itself in the form of electricity powered by this incredible device.

A close-up of the windmill's handcrafted blades.

 

Last, but not least, a few snapshots of the gourds that Greg grew. Note all of the interesting shapes and sizes:

 

Gourds Galore!

 

 

 

 

To purchase live red worms or to learn more about high desert gardening, give Greg of WorldWideWorm Farms a call at 760-792-9660. And for more photos and information on vermicomposting, visit Greg’s blog at WorldWideWormFarms.WordPress.com. And be sure to tell my friend that Laura from the High Desert Blogging network says hello!

Let’s Hear It

Have you interested in High Desert gardening? Are you already well on your way to being a master gardener? What are your thoughts on live red worms, vermicomposting and all that jazz? Your comments are more than welcome in the space provided below.

Mr. Duckworthy

 

I was pondering as I am wont to do on Autumn afternoons about the meaning of things and I recalled a recent incident that happened a few weeks ago.  It was the night of the 16th of October, I believe, and my husband and I had just spent a pleasant evening with some close friends of ours having a nice dinner and watching the second presidential debate at their house in Hesperia.   We happened to turn South onto Arrowhead Lake Road (we were always for some reason getting lost in this area).  We drove on down the dark and winding road and were considering turning around because we realized we were heading South and needed to head North when we came upon more than 14 or more dead ducks in the right lane of this narrow road.

I realized they must have been run over in the dark.  I was wondering about a possible poultry truck that had lost it’s load of live ducks when I saw that there was one lone duck standing uninjured but in obvious shock near his compatriots in the middle of the road.  He was standing still and quiet near the carnage but every time I tried to shoo him to one side of the road or the other he would simply come back onto the road.  On the right side was a steep hill with scrub brush and on the left was a narrow dirt edge with a high steel fence.  I knew I would have to remove him but he wasn’t cooperating.  Some cars would stop and ask questions and then move on but two different drivers were kind enough to stop and assist me. One of these kind gentlemen had a flashlight which I sorely needed on this dark night and the other offered to catch the duck for me.

I had no idea what I was going to do with this duck once we caught him.  I only knew he couldn’t stay where he was if he wanted to live any longer.  So one of my “duck helpers” dove for the duck and on the second try he managed to catch him. He handed him off to me, I thanked him profusely and wrapped Mr. Duck in my hoodie.  I bid my two helpers goodbye and got into the car with my husband, Glenn and we drove off.  We didn’t know where we would go.  It was late and vets were closed and we had two cats at our small apt.  We had some idea of asking our friends that we had just left so we headed back there and they told us about a park and a lake nearby that the ducks probably wandered away from.

So we got back in the car with me holding the duck near my body and he, poor guy, was gently nestling his bill into my neck in  exhaustion with his little eyes drooping.  We headed on back to the park on that same road and realized what probably had happened:  The ducks wandered away from the park at night on that dark and lonely road and nestled together in a sleeping huddle on the warm asphalt until they were suddenly run over by a large truck or something…because they were asleep, they never had a chance to fly away.

Even tho the park was closed,  I said goodbye to Mr. Duckworthy (a duck worthy to be saved) and lifted him to the top of the park fence.  He flew down to the other side and with a few backward glances and a couple of quacks he waddled off to his other friends and the lake nearby.  I then knew I would never forget my new friend and that we were meant  to turn the wrong way down that lonely road…to meet and save Mr. Duckworthy…..

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