Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Creating an environment

For the fourth day in a row, it was raining when I woke up.  The weather didn’t dissuade the first grade classes from Frazee, MN, from coming to do their annual tree planting on the refuge however.  They came to create an environment.

73 Tamarac NWR, 20132

For the past ten years, the Frazee first graders have come to help turn a former farmer’s field into a white pine forest.  Amazingly, the rain quit while these youngsters were here.  You could not find a more enthusiastic group of young arborists!  I think there were about ten volunteers here this morning to man the shovels and help the youngsters.  I made sure I had a father in each of my four groups because I just couldn’t get the shovel through the dense sod.  It gave me a true appreciation for those first white settlers in the area that built those Soddy houses to live in.  Hard work for sure.  Imagine the pride these youngsters will have when, in the future, they bring their children here to the refuge to show them the forest they planted.

73 Tamarac NWR, 20133

As the kids were leaving shortly after 2:00, I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon further familiarizing myself with the refuge.  I took a drive down the Blackbird Lake Auto Tour route through the showers that had returned.  I literally saw hundreds of American redstarts flitting among the trees and hunting insects from the ground.  A huge flock must have arrived over night.  There were also yellow warblers and flycatchers trying to find something to eat in the chilly temperatures.


Three of the flycatchers that can be seen on the refuge are the least, willow, and alder flycatchers.  They all look very similar so about the only way they can be identified is by their song.  This little one wasn’t singing today, so I can’t make a positive ID.


I watched spring arrive while I was down south earlier this year, but now I get to watch it arrive again here in the north.  Because of the severe winter, spring is really just getting here.  These blossoms weren’t here last week.  Do you think I could actually have a chance to find some morel mushrooms?  Now that would truly make my day!  Open-mouthed smile

Speaking of mushrooms, have you ever wondered how people grow them?  I have, so I really enjoyed reading about how it’s done on one of the blogs I follow.  If you’ve wondered the same thing, check out the latest post from Up North With Mel.  If I weren’t on the road, I think I would like to try this.


As I pulled in to park by the rig, this little dude was in my front yard.  I’m thinking it’s a gopher since once I brought Emma out it disappeared down a tunnel.  I’ve never seen a gopher close up before.  I guess it will join the ranks of the bear, woodchuck, and the porcupine that have been wandering around the RV rigs the last few days.


                                                                               THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Those youngsters sure looked enthusiastic... looked like they'd be a pleasure to work with. Aren't morels supposed to grow under old apple trees? It's been a few years since I went mushroom hunting, but I haven't forgotten how good they taste... hope you find some!

  2. first graders from Frazee: will most definitely be proud of the forest they helped produce when they are adults and bring their children. What a wonderful project and heritage.

    Flycatchers: I Made two birdhouses for them over the weekend. Today a Red-bellied Woodpecker couple started to enlarge the opening of one. I am hopeful.

    Mushroom blog. Totally amazing, but you really have to like mushrooms a lot to go through all of that work.

    Your blog: continually first-rate. Thank you.

  3. I think your gopher is actually a thirteen-lined ground squirrel but they are called striped gophers too!

  4. How great for the first graders to spend their time at the refuge planting a forest for the future...sounds like fun to me!

    Beautiful blossoms!

    Hugs to Emma!

  5. Spring has always been my favorite season, and I'd love to welcome it twice a year.

  6. I love that the first graders get to do this. I hope the trees grown tall and healthy.

    I love the blossomes. getting to see spring twice is awesome.

  7. Awesome pictures of the first graders. So nice to see youngsters exposed to nature this way.

  8. Lucky you, two springs in one year. Here too, spring is just getting into the swing of things!!

  9. very wise of you to know your limitations, and allow others to do the digging. . .don't do anything to mess up that hip. . .it needs to last you a long time. . .loving the bird pics!

  10. When my family went to our cabin in Hayward, WI, we called those little rodents Chipmunks...and left out toasted marshmallows for them so we could watch them get all stuck trying to eat them...Now, if you did that, the ASPCA would be knocking at your door for rodent abuse...Love all the neat birds you are seeing up there!!! Also, maybe you should buy some "bear bells" for your walks;-)

  11. Those kids will remember their day out for sure. How nice that their work will stand the test of time and someday they can show their own kids the trees.

    Hope you get some sun soon, I'd hate to see your MH start to mold over... :cO

  12. Glad to hear the kids all had a great time. A little rain sure wouldn't bother them.

  13. All that rain can get a person down. Glad the kids were able to enjoy the great outdoors

  14. I just love your header.

    You bet the kids will remember that day! Around 60 years ago my girl scout troop did the same thing in California and I still remember that day. I can picture it now. I was very proud of the work I did and didn't want to leave.

    That little guy is way too cute to be a gopher.

  15. Looks like a fun, if wet day. Love the bird pics, which leads to my question: Do you have plans for the Fall/Winter season? Any chance you would be interested in spending at least part of it down here with us next door to the World Birding Center in Mission, TX? If so, I have some thoughts I'd love to discuss.

  16. Good to see the students out there planting. What a great way for them to interact with nature and contribute the lands around them. The morels are just coming on down here in Iowa, about two weeks later than usual, hope you find some because they are sure good eating!