Thursday, February 11, 2016

Desert Trail, February 11, 2016

Last week, Mary Lindsley’s name was inadvertently left off our birthday list. So this week we send out belated Rainbows-of-Amethysts-and-Violets to Mary, along with our apologies. Happy belated birthday, Mary!

Karen’s Commentary: I read something very interesting recently, so thought I’d share it with you. The Smithsonian Institution has 19 museums and galleries, plus the National Zoo, all located in Washington DC and New York. It is the largest collection of museums in the world. In 1829, English chemist James Smithson willed his fortune to America to found an institution to spread knowledge, even though he had never set foot in the United States. No one knows why he did this, but we’re glad he did. When his donation was received in 1838, it was in the form of half a million dollars in gold sovereigns which filled 105 bank bags. There was a lot of arguing in Congress about how to use the money, but finally, in 1846, an institution for learning was set up to be used for research and exhibiting objects about art and science. And that is how the Smithsonian Institution came about.

Darlene’s Commentary:  Have you seen the little book called “The Desert Oracle?” I bought one at The Palms (the Autumn 2015 issue) and it is full of great writing and interesting information about the desert and desert living. I want to share some amazing facts about the creosote bush from the article “Ancient Creosote Clumps and Dog Walks on the Old Dirt Road” by Chris Clarke. The creosote bush grows very slowly. The creosote seedling starts out with one skinny stem that grows thicker, and it may take a decade or more to sprout branches that emerge from the ground in a ring around the center stem. To figure out how old a creosote bush is, measure the diameter of this outer ring at ground level and multiply the number of feet by 370. The next time you walk by a creosote bush, show some respect!

No matter what our fire tax situation is, the men and women of the San Bernardino County Fire Department are at our Wonder Valley Fire Station #45 every day, willing to put their lives on the line for us. If you drive by and see the bay doors open, stop in and say hello.

Handy Hint:  If you’re looking for the best buy, a brand-name item may be more expensive than the store brand, even with a coupon.                                                                                                                                                                  
Thought for Today: What’s the difference between a hippo and a Zippo? One is heavy and the other is a little lighter.

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.