Monkey business under the Hunger Moon

The Hunger Moon* was rising as we unhitched our Airstream Safari in the California desert, which marked the conclusion of the 15-day celebration of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey.*

DSC_0038 Hunger Moon 2016

This moon is also called the Snow Moon* because it usually occurs during the snowiest month of the year, but in San Diego, we just had the hottest February since records began in 1874.  Here in the desert, we experienced comfortably warm, sunny days, and cool, clear nights that were perfect for celebrating the Chinese Lantern Festival* as we did last year at this site, except this time, we suspended a large paper Chinese lantern with string attached to a long bamboo stick from our garden.

DSC_0049 Chinese Lantern Festival Full Moon

Evening breezes made low light photography of this large paper Chinese lantern challenging until I held on to it…

DSC_0079 Lantern festival celebrator

while our Chinese lucky lion* looked on and laughed (perhaps regarding the Year of the Monkey political predictions)!

DSC_0065 Chinese lantern festival lion

The Chinese New Year* is also known as the Spring Festival,* and this year, it felt like spring arrived early at our campsite, especially with freshly cut Freesia flowers that Larry brought from home.

DSC_0007 Spring Year of the Monkey

Larry also brought a pork and mushroom mixture that was placed in dumpling wrappers to make siu mai,* which were then steamed.

DSC_0121 Larry making siu mai

DSC_0131 Pork mushroom siu mai

Recent rain and warmer temperatures have brought new growth and flowers to Agua Caliente’s Moonlight Canyon flora.

DSC_0097 Moonlight Canyon

Swaths of red were seen across the desert due to prolific chuparosa, Justicia californica, blooms.

DSC_0106 Agua Caliente chuparosa

And a beautiful and fragrant Cattleya bloom greeted us upon arrival home and seemed to announce the arrival of spring!

DSC_0191 Cattleya (at home)

“Winter is gone, the mountains are clear, and water sparkles… Spring comes, birds sing, and flowers fragrant.” (A Chinese Spring Festival – New Year’s couplet,* Chun lian.)

*This is a link to a YouTube video.


  1. says

    All your pictures are nice, as usual, but it’s particularly nice to see Larry cooking. Brings back good memories—and makes me hungry!

  2. says

    Bill and Larry, wish we had been with you — with Bill to talk about photography and with Larry to taste once again some of his epicurean delights. Looking at your pictures, Bill, of Larry preparing a meal brings back some wonderful memories. Please stay in touch. Could be that we’ll be back in Borrego to get a leak fixed in the AS. There’s a man there that does good work and going to an AS service center means going into a big city and that is a scary prospect for two wilderness lovers from Montana.

  3. Liisa Coit says

    Hi Bill and Larry & of course the fur kids 🙂 As you know, we’ve moved up north to Oroville.
    You both need to make a trip up here, you would love the wonderful camping and nature trails.
    The Feather River and the Forebay and Afterbay of Lake Oroville has 42 miles of hiking trails that also allow horse camping, dogs are also welcomed.
    We also have the highest waterwaterfall that you can hike up to with spectacular views. This waterfall is over 600 ft. tall, which is higher then Bridalveil in Yosemite Park.

    We both miss you guys, please visit. Liisa and Michael