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By Annelies Kuiper
Our little Community is crawling with reptiles and rodents, emerging from their winter hibernation, now that Spring has definitely sprung! Jim and I have lived here so long now, we recognize old friends who re-emerge every Spring. That big Gopher snake I’ve mentioned in previous Spring columns, is now at least five feet long and as big around as my wrist, or even my ankle.
Our golden Desert dog, Abigail, had a wee encounter with the big Gopher in our driveway. She doesn’t bark unless there really is an impending intruder close to our property lines. I heard just one bark, but there was a tone to it and I rushed outside. She was just beyond striking range, but the snake was all coiled up, head off the ground; behaving very threateningly. I called Abigail off; told her it was a big ssssssnake and “oh what a good girl she is”. Honestly, I enjoy having these non-venomous serpents around. We have King snakes; Gopher snakes; Red Racers; Glossy Desert snakes; burrowing sand snake and a few more I can’t recall right now. We haven’t seen a Rattlesnake or Sidewinder on the property since the mid-nineties; although they are all around us.
Life is all about sowing and transplanting right now. Onions, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, etc. The Garden Cage over at the Community Center, by the Firehouse fence; is coming along nicely. Tim Atzei sowed Beefsteak Tomatoes and Bell Peppers; there’s a pea-plant in the northwest corner of the cage; a border of Marigolds and onions are in for pest control and several varieties of Tomato seedlings will be ready to transplant within the week. Yay!
Jim and I donated corral panels to local “Feathers n Fur” Animal Rescue, non-profit facility. Our beautiful Appaloosa mare, Candy, died in 2005 and we never took anything down. It was sad to see her “Home” being dismantled; but a lovely closure that Candy’s Corral would be helping other horses.
Absolutely loved the Sibleys’ Matinee performance at The Palms in Wonder Valley last Sunday. Perfect way to kick off my Spring Breakation; stay well!
ONE YEAR AGO THIS WEEK
The Year 2013
By Annelies Kuiper
Our little Community was WINDY these last ten days. All outside chores
have been mega-challenging and my Skin is inflamed and itchy! I see Neighbors
at the mailboxes on Border Avenue: their eyes and noses running; bright red
from allergies; coughing, sneezing: Phaw! Of course, I’m being careful not to
complain too much; because we know what the next phase is: HOT!
We had temperatures in the 90s on our Porch, until this latest, bone-
chilling Wind arrived. In fact, beginning of the week, Jim noticed a four-foot
Gopher Snake gliding inside the ancient Piano on the Porch. I came outside in
time to see the end of the Gopher’s tail disappearing. “He must be after the
Rat,” observed Jim, referring to the PackRat who took up residence in the old
Piano years ago and has turned it into quite a mansion! We stood by the open
front door, waiting. Suddenly, the Rat raced out from under the Piano lid; its
eyes almost as round as its ears and launched itself airborne. Next thing, it
scurried between our feet and quickly, Jim blocked it with his foot, while I
slammed the front door closed. The PackRat tumbled before racing off around
the back of the porch. We waited for a while, but never did see the Snake re-
emerge. The Rat seems fine and has since been spotted, foraging at dusk. Love
watching Life happening in the Desert!
Someone has been dumping adult diapers and bedliners again: on
Winters Road, between the Community Center and Coyote Valley Road. Ongoing
for months, the dumping stopped for a while after the matter was mentioned at
the Neighborhood Watch meeting. Recently, however, Steve Tuttle discovered
that the ‘Diaper Dumper’ had left a load by the Firehouse. This is unpleasant, un-
Neighborly behaviour: whoever is doing this, please Stop. If you know anything
about this, please let us know.
After Beef and Turkey Pot Pies for Supper, we had a U-Pik-Em big winner
at Bingo last Tuesday: congratulations Carol! Please join us; love to see your
Face. Potluck Party is next Saturday at 4pm. Stay well!
FIVE YEARS AGO THIS WEEK
The Year 2009
By Bob DeLoyd
Our little community had an Easter Egg Coloring Party last Saturday, but I couldn't make it because my friend Wessel, visiting from Holland, called needing help retrieving a truck that broke down in Juniper Hills. I contacted Annelies Kuiper, who is going to be at the party, to write a story for my newspaper column. So hereâ€™s what Annelies wrote:
We held our first annual Easter Egg Coloring Party at the Community Center last Saturday. There were a dozen of us: kids of all ages, creating works of art, using bright, vibrant colors. While some liked one-shade pastels, others preferred the tie-dye and controlled drip effect. We had stickers too and came up with funny combinations to make silly faces. We enjoyed cookies and apple juice while we worked and there was much giggling and good-natured teasing. After about an hour, it was time to judge the most beautiful eggs. We had three grand prize winners: Brooke, Brenda Zimmer's great-niece, for the under twos; Slade, Brenda's great-nephew, for the under eights and Phoenix, another of Brenda's great-nieces, for the tween age-group. As you can see, Brenda's family was well represented! They each received a prize, kindly donated by the Thrift Room. Then everyone received jelly beans and colored eggs to take home and show off to their families. We had a great time!
Birthdays this month are: Carol Lane, Patty Bradley, Mary Helen Tuttle, Marie Morrison, Bob Stonebraker, Bill Bonner, Ruth Malton, Roger Toomes, and Brenda Zimmer.
TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK
The Year 2004
By Bob DeLoyd
Our little Community has learned that long time resident Caroline Kirschman has passed away last March 27 at the age of 92. Stevie Villarreal has written me about Caroline and her husband Roy a few years ago and I think this is a decent time to print the story of her friend of 32 years; they have shared many memories, special occasions, and adventures:
We met Roy and Caroline, when we were first weekending to the desert, from Huntington Beach, in 1968. We spent many hours dune buggying, as they showed us this area, (at that time, they had lived here already for 12 years) we went on long walks sometimes, not planned ones, as we may have gotten stuck somewhere, and had to be "saved" by Roy and his hybrid "rescue--er" an amazing vehicle, that has probably winched more than one of the readers out there out of some pretty sticky situations. We also careened down the backside of a mountain in the Copper Moon area, with another vehicle, also of Roy's making, that was long, had about 3 distinct separate parts, that by the way, seemed to move independently of each other. Roy was at the wheel, Caroline at his side, Mike and I towards the back on a seat that was above the drivers seat, and all I remember was Royâ€™s hair streaming, his war-hoop, the speed of the descent, Caroline's smile, Roy's holler that he didn't have any brakes, with Mike and I seeing our lives pass before us! What a day.
That was only one of many exciting occurrences that we shared with Roy and Caroline. We have always considered them our mentors. We have learned so much from them, from how to drive a tractor, to uncountable practical solutions to the unique problems of living in the desert. I could write a book about them alone!
Caroline is fiercely independent, and delightfully irreverent of some of the more "conservatives thoughts of the day. She says things as she sees them, which is pretty accurate, when you come down to it. She added to our conversations of the times that we have spent together, and we laughed for minutes on end. She participates in the activates of the days, and enjoys seeing her friends from "the hills as she calls our little community."" She celebrated her 88th birthday recently, but I can tell you that has only to do with the calendar. Her thoughts are bright and fresh!What a joy and privilege to know her! !
LAST WEEK'S STORY
By Annelies Kuiper
Our little Community is bursting at the seams with Wildflowers. The yellow ones blossomed first, as usual, but I’m seeing red everywhere now too; especially Mallow, Beavertail Cactus and Ocotillo.
Jim and I had the honor and pleasure of welcoming daughter Jamie and her husband Dan, with their two-and-a-half year old son, Tucker, for a two-night visit to our Home and Neighborhood. Wow! What a whirlwind of joy, as we filled every moment with memories. Naturally, we visited our world famous Joshua Tree National Park; which was utterly splendid. The Park is gorgeous right now, with fields of wildflowers. We were so impressed with how well everything is managed and taken care of. Hats off to Park Personnel and Volunteers: Whoo-oot! Thanks and jolly good job!
Unfortunately, Jamie, Dan and Tucker did not arrive in time to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at the Community Center last Saturday morning. They missed out: Steve Tuttle and Ray Foyil were in fine form: turning out over 50 yum-E breakfasts! We were happy to welcome such a good crowd and a wonderful time was enjoyed by all. We saw several new faces at the Breakfast last week: always a joy to behold. Welcome Neighbors: so happy to see You!
Our Copper Mountain Mesa Community Association Board meeting is going on at the Community Center this morning, starting at 10. We, the elected officials, continue to search for new and innovative ways to attract people to the Center for neighborly gatherings; in hopes of keeping the doors open and the bills paid. Our Community Center is not owned or operated by San Bernardino County. It belongs to us: the members of this Community. We need to appreciate and take care of it. Pioneering Neighbors built our Center with their own hands, sweat and blood; in order to benefit all of us who are so fortunate to call our beautiful Mesa, Home.
Any practical ideas, do-able thoughts?
There’s a big Music-pollooza going on all weekend at The Palms Bar and Restaurant on Amboy Road, in downtown Wonder Valley. Hope to see you there; stay well!
A Video Blog or Some Such
by Bob DeLoyd
December 2013 to January 2014 Run!
A short video of me running out of 2013 and into 2014. Been doing this for many years and this is my second time videoing it :)