Memorial Day is upon us but the celebrations that are traditionally in full swing all over our valley this weekend will sadly be abandoned in support of the social distancing we’ve all been practicing. A disappointment to be sure, but better to be safe than sorry in all our efforts to keep our Morongo Basin communities safe and healthy. 

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was borne out of the desire to remember and honor those who died in service of the United States during the Civil War. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan that May 30 be designated for the purpose of “decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” The date of Decoration Day was chosen because it wasn’t an anniversary of any particular battle fought during the Civil War. After World War I, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day, honoring all Americans who died fighting in any war and is observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May.

Our April/May weather has been a bit of a roller coaster with hot days, warm days and chilly winds, all of which dictate what we wear and how much outdoor activity we can squeeze into the milder morning hours. Baby desert critters have been arriving a bit later than normal and although I see quail on a regular basis, I haven’t seen any coveys of little “walnuts” as yet.  

The first snake of the season slithered into Hoss’s stall the other day, much to his surprise and displeasure! Efforts to re-locate the serpent to the other side of the road failed when he slid off the manure fork and managed to find safety under one of the out-buildings. He was a garter snake and not harmful but sharing space with the horses isn’t the ideal situation. I’ve been keeping an eye out and perhaps his absence suggests he’s moved on to more appealing real estate elsewhere!

Four tortoises have frequented the ranch over the years and sadly, this is the second year that I haven’t seen any of them. One in particular would share breakfast with the horses. All of them! Each horse would nudge the tortoise into the next stall and the next until he was in the open and had to mosey on to the next set of stalls where the routine repeated itself. We always watched to make sure the horses didn’t flip him upside down and made side bets as to how many nudges it would take to get the tortoise into another stall. Didn’t take much to keep us entertained, but sure do miss seeing those slow-moving critters!

As we ease into stage two of COVID-19 related reopening guidelines, stay safe, stay well and “good job” hugs to all!

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