New Englanders were digging out from a major snow storm and Punxsutawney Phil* was eying his shadow and predicting six more weeks of winter, while we were enjoying balmy weather, festive night skies, and the Full Snow Moon* over the Anza-Borrego Desert at the beginning of February.
We also continued celebrating the 2015 Mardi Gras season* and so we continued the tradition that we began last month of bringing along King’s Cake. This time Larry made cinnamon roll King’s Cake* with craisins, walnuts, and a hidden baby that added to the fun. It was charged with the light of the Full Snow Moon, along with our Black Diamond Apollo Lanterns, now softened by Larry’s custom made shades using beaded fringe tape suspended from inverted baskets, which has whimsical movements in the breeze and provides fun shadows.
A slice of this rich cake, along with a cup of French roast coffee, made for a good start for my early morning hike on the Moonlight Canyon Trail. Recent sprinkles here brought new green leaves to ocotillo and brittlebush plants, but flowers are not yet plentiful due to the ongoing California drought. Nevertheless, this canyon trail always presents spectacular sights, such as golden cholla on canyon rims, piercing dark blue skies.*
After seeing the beauty of the canyon, I returned to camp and spotted an eyesore of long ago discarded trash, partially covered in sand. I lifted the items up and discovered that they provided a home for a large Anza-Borrego Hairy Scorpion, Hadrurus anzaborrego, that I quickly photographed before taking the trash to the dumpster. The scorpion held its tail with sting and venom-injecting barb up high and quickly found a new home in the nearby rock wall.
Scorpions are nocturnal and emerge at night to hunt and feed, just about the time I am outside in flip-flops doing night photography, such as of the nearby rock wall with a large Catclaw Acacia in moonlight. A Chinese I-Ching coin wind chime is on a branch and reminds us that Chinese New Year starts February 19.
We thoroughly enjoy our desert home away from home and the beautiful view of Whale Mountain at sunset… even Howdy Doody seems particularly happy here, and I can imagine him singing, “Home on the Range“.*
*This is a link to a YouTube video.