Saturday, June 23, 2012

desert oasis

i was mistaken. we were in the mojave desert and the colorado desert which is part of the sonoran desert, and they border each other. oh dear this is confusing. wikipedia says it better, we were in joshua tree national park which includes both of these two california deserts. we came for one reason, to find and photograph the crotaphytus collaris, common collared lizard.

    yucca brevifolia ~ joshua tree

 teeny tiny ground squirrel

creosote bush

 chuck needed a photo of a specific lizard. knowing it's habitat and preference for temperatures between 105-110 f (41-43 c) meant if we were to find one, we would be visiting the desert in summer. which was good for room rates, but not so much for hiking.

 oh my goodness gracious it was hot

 we hiked, and we looked, on every rock, in every crack

one trail led to a natural oasis

which was really lovely, the shade of these palms was welcome relief 

 in this extreme heat the earth seemed to shimmer

 our desert accommodations

 morning view

 we arrived early monday and spent the day searching, finding many things, but still not a collared lizard to be seen

 this little bird hasn't yet been identified. we saw few birds, they must all stay in their air conditioned nests  :)

 back at the inn for lunch, we looked around the grounds. there is a natural spring here at 29 palms

 and an organic garden, where food is grown for the 29 palms inn restaurant

  a two bedroom adobe for rent at the inn

 lepus californicus ~ black-tailed jackrabbit

air conditioning! ice cold drinks! these were made with fresh plums picked that very morning in the fault line garden

 where to look, my husbands baby blue eyes or the art for sale above him? hee hee easy choice

i looked at this! my yummy lunch (kidding honey)    :)

 we stayed in the 'buffalo bur'

 cucurbita palmata ~ coyote melon    coming across a green growing thing in the vast dry summer desert is exciting, supposedly the pulp is not edible but the seeds are, it's a little larger than an apple and so cute

 jumbo rocks ~ a good place to camp, but not this time. this trip is our first time to rent a room, i don't think camping would be too much fun in such heat (thank you honey)

 hello elephant rock!

end of the second day and still no lizards. but being in joshua tree is such a pleasure, it's a place of beauty and serenity (and a great place for rock climbing!)

at dinner we have lizards on our minds...visualize it, we can see it!... tomorrow, we will find it

 next morning we're out early, and i'm determined

it's like finding a needle in a haystack, and then...

 i see something!! now this is one we haven't seen yet on this trip

 it's not the one we're looking for, but basking in the sun, is a very large and lovely chuckwalla

and later, another one! you must tiptoe up very slowly, making no sudden movements, or they run away, hide in a crack of  rock and blow up their wrinkly skin, to wedge themselves in against predators



 what is going on?? i am giggling and it's making it hard to hold the camera still

 is this a yogi chuckwalla? what are you doing silly lizard?

can you please tell me where to find your friend the collared lizard? and that's when i realize he must have been directing me with his foot. that way...

and do you know he was right?! at the very end of a very long three days, there it was, a young female collared lizard. on a very precarious perch, not at all afraid of cameras and admirers. she is lifting her foot off the heated rock, a way to cool off. thank you little lizard, now you are no longer my husbands nemesis. did i mention i found her? hee hee, maybe i should get a new career, the lizard hunter

with extra big grins, we hiked back out, mopping our brows, and bid farewell to joshua tree (for now). can you spot the young coyote in this photo? this is what happens as soon as you pack up your lenses, this little guy ran right in front of us, stopped and posed, and i think i saw a wink.

 back home waiting on our doorstep, was another package from my

 i made these tiny books

 for children in my life, my grands and friends little ones

they are so small, measuring 2  1/2" x 3  1/2"  only. at this size you are allowed 20 photos only. i chose ones i thought the children would like, animals mostly. and included a couple of photos of the pockets being worn. i thought others might like to have a copy too. so i'm giving away one of these tiny books, and it matters not if you sent a pocket along with me to africa, i know your well wishes were there. it's a small way of saying thank you for making the pockets so very meaningful and so much fun. please leave a comment telling me if you'd like to win one of these books.

and please remember to leave a way for me to get in touch with you. i'll leave comments open until next sunday july 1st.

if you'd like to make your own photo book, i made a sort of tutorial here and if you go to (here) you will receive a FREE $20 gift card. that means you can make a 5 x 7 softcover photobook free with gift card (like the nkozi one), or a classic hardcover photobook for only $9.80 with card. i think you'll love it!  (i think if you mention i sent you i may qualify for a discount on future books. thank you if you do!).

thank you again for coming along with us, it is always a pleasure to share our adventures!
xxx, lori


  1. What a beautifull place! And the photos!! Uau

  2. Your pics are always beautiful!!!
    and your booklet.....I would like to have one just because I love Africa! I've been living in Egypt and Libia for many years and I spent a summer holiday in Congo many years ago! Namibia is the place of my dreams, and maybe one day I would be able to go there!!! In the meantime, your pics did a great job!!!
    Thank you, xxxx Alessandra

  3. I love your adventures. To visit amazing places to look for amazing things. Jealous. (:

  4. Loved your postings from Africa - absolutely fascinating.
    Would love a copy of your sweet little book! Your recent post on Joshua Tree was lovely and so fun although a little hotter there than I like!

  5. Lori,
    Wow..lucky you that you finally managed to see the collared lizard.I love that red eyed slider turtle..(one had come visiting us here:))That booklet is so cool.Maybe I'd try to make one too:)Thanks for sharing!Have a great sunday!


  6. I've always wanted to visit Joshua Tree National Park. I've never seen the desert. Your photos are gorgeous! My son LOVED looking at the Chuckwalla yogi and the other little lizard.

    I'd love a copy of your little book. What a great idea to make them as gifts for the kids in your life. I think I'll be checking out my publisher pretty soon. Thanks!

  7. What a thoughtful idea! I'm sure my son would love a copy of your book! Thanks for the info about mypublisher, too--always looking for new ideas!

  8. Oh, Lori, I would love to have one of the books for my very own ~ add me to your contest wish list and I'll cross my fingers :)
    You know where to find me on Ravelry if I'm lucky enough to win ~ twoknitwit!
    What a wonderful momento of your trip for your family!
    (it's funny, you 'hee hee' so much in your blog posts that I've started hearing a real giggle every time I read the words ~ hee hee)

  9. You do get to visit some wonderful places Lori! Glad you found your lizard and saw all his little desert friends.
    Would love a chance to win one of your lovely picture books.

  10. Lori, your photos are just so beautiful, I loved the ones of the curious Chuckwalla. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

    I think the little bird is called a Paradise Flycatcher, we have similar birds that visit here in December, they are very shy but so lovely and their song is sweet.

    I would love a chance to win one of your photo books Lori, you are giving such a generous gift, thank you for the chance.

    Have wonderful Sunday
    xo xo

  11. Even your trips close to home are wonderful and filled with adventure. Our temps are the same as what you were faced with which made my walks last week very, very hot indeed! That oasis sure was a welcome sight. And your accommodations are ever so lovely. Very unusual melon -- I've never seen anything like it! So glad you were able to find the collared lizard. I bet they come out in the early morning when it isn't so hot. How funny to see them trying to cool their feet. :) Those little books are a fabulous gift idea. Wishing you a wonderful day. Tammy

  12. Your adventures make me smile :) i love reading them. I was relieved you found your lizard in the end - phew! Bella calls lizards - baby dinosaurs and she gets so excited (as Sam did) when she sees one. If I were to win a photo book I'd be so made up! What a treasure you have made xxx

  13. thank goodness you found her (the lizard) - the suspense was almost too much!

  14. Your books are lovely, how I would love to win one!

  15. I knew you'd find the lizard! I'm so glad the other lizard pointed her out for you ;)

    I could feel the intense heat there. ugh. You and Chuck live a very blessed, rich life in all the right ways. (I mean non-materialy, nature filled!) Sigh.

    I see the coyote! I really had to look. I love how camouflaged he is. All of the photos are wonderful.

    I need to catch up on your Africa posts! I live vicariously through you :)

    You can throw my name in the hat please. I didn't send anything but my warm wishes, but I know you felt them ;)


  16. Looks like home. Arizona is home to the Sonoran desert as well. So glad the nemesis is satisfied. Love the cookbooks. My kiddos would like one too I am sure. Have a beautiful day, Lori

  17. My parents loved the heat and 29 Palms was one of their favorite places to stay...oh, parents, they loved the heat, I love the snow! :)
    I think it's super that you found the lizard for your Chuck, you guys really are the perfect pair.
    I would love a chance to win a copy of your book for the little one here, she would love it. I am going to make a book for her of our last week here together, I think it will make a great going away present don't you? I will be sure to let them know you sent me:) Much love to you!

  18. This was a very gripping post, Lori! I loved sharing your experiences of searching the rocky desert for the little lizard for Chuck's pictures....and you found her!! It is all so fascinating, and the little books you have made are an adorable idea to capture some of those magical moments and to share with others...what a lovely thing to give to children especially....and I would be thrilled to win one so please do put my name in the draw :)
    Thank you for such inspirations! Have a wonderful weekend.
    Helen x

  19. But Lori, it's a dry heat! lol! You were in my old stomping grounds. I love the desert in the very early morning, before the heat really kicks in. Lovely pictures - and I have gone by that Inn, but never stayed there. I think that was a good idea (to have a place to cool off). Last time I was home in the Mojave, I walked outside, and every drop of moisture on my body went 'poof!'. :) Id' forgotten how that felt. I adore those lizards. They were happy to see you. xoxo

  20. I love how you go on these adventures with your husband and you both have cameras in hand. I always have mine and sometimes I will pull the car over to take a picture and my husband moans and groans and occupies himself with his ipad. I give you lots of credit for braving that heat for a picture of a lizard and how exciting that you found it! You guys make a great team. I'd love to win a little book!!! But also I would love to buy a book of your photos. Will you be posting any for sale in your Etsy shop?

    xo Andee

  21. So many fun things Lori! (I love the blue eyes and the art gallery...hehe)
    You live in a beautiful place - lots of sunshine and wonderful fauna. It is such a joy to visit your blog always something new and intesting.
    Please sign me up Lori I would love to win something so special!

    Namaste little lizard.

  22. I like lizards. I used to play with horned toads when we lived down south,
    they seemed to be everywhere. The collared lizard is beautiful~
    The books are such a perfect way to share your trip. I can't help but think when I look at these pictures how incredible and varied our state is.

  23. I know that heat, we're now in the triple digits where we'll likely stay until fall. Tons of lizards adorn our place, but of course not the collard type.
    Your photos always hold so much interest,,always less ordinary.
    Love the yoga practicing lizard!
    Of course I'd adore a chance at one of the books, thank so much!

  24. I struggle so much with the heat in the summer....just reading this post, and I was starting to sweat!! (that is sweat---not 'glow' or perspire!!!) So glad your lizard whisperer skills came through!!! Yoga lizard was a hoot!!

    such a great way of saving travel memories in those little books! so very special. and thanks for the tutorial!!!

  25. Lori - your creativity knows no bounds! Love the tiny books and I am definitely going to five it a whirl. I have my Kenya pics that I have never really done anything with. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Lori I love your blog ! After reading your post I went to MY Publisher and made me a couple of books and I plan to make a few more. I only used this compony on your recommendation thanks.

  27. Beautiful, as always, Lori. I do hope that some day Amante and I get to travel like you and your dear husband do. You seem to have such fun!

  28. I could just FEEL the heat! I was in death valley once in august and oh my - a cold shower ran tepid. SO glad you found that lizard, I can see where it got it's name.

    Would I like a little book??? Sure would! and I already have a little beautiful pouch to put it in.


  29. Lori, I guess you were not close by after all :-). Lovely tour and lizards and I spotted that coyote. Count me in for the give away, wonderful little books! xoxo

  30. You are just the most interesting person I've ever met (blog-wise) and you never cease to amaze me with your photos. I'm not a "lizard lover," but when the last photo was the the one your husband had been waiting for, I smiled! XOXO

  31. The desert is just so beautiful. Glad you found the lizard. And what a great idea, those little books.

  32. My pockets are in one of the pictures. I LOVE that photo!!! I would love to win a copy :)

  33. Dear ms kj.

    We are writing about ms Lori graham. Do you carry influence with her? Would you tell her a coffee table book of creatures and critters and deserts and dunes would be most desirable? You might recommend lightning source to her for publication and distribution. Is ms lori graham aware of her talent and astonishment, ms kj? Please advise.

    Most sincerely,
    The international society of kind wonderous adventuresome observant human species

  34. Gorgeous & inspirational as always.
    I laughed watching the yogi poses of Collared Lizard ... so cute.
    I would LOVE the chance to win one of your sweet mini travel books ♥ Such a beautiful & thougtful souvenier for your family & friends.
    Have a wonderful week.

  35. I so enjoy your posts, and eagerly awaited seeing the ones from your trip. It was fun trying to find the pockets I sent in the pictures. I would love to win one of your little books, thanks for sharing your travels. Your photos are wonderful..

  36. Oh Lori, the lizard pictures had me in stitches. And hats off to anyone who grows vegetables in that heat! You make an empty nest look like a lot of fun... A time for every thing under the sun, I guess?
    (Of course I want my name in the hat, too.)

  37. My brother has a home where you were visiting in the desert..
    so fun, so pretty...but Hot,,, is sooo hot there this time of year.

    Great photos, I enjoyed seeing you experience the same locations I visit -

    the little books? Perfect, perfect! - the fact you took my pockets with you was such a wonderful treat I've already won a prize..good luck to the future winner of the book - you're a sweetheart Lori - I hope one day I'll be enjoying a cold drink and look over and see you and Chuck in the desert - I'll be the grinning knitting fool with her camera waving a big hello friend!

  38. What a wonderful little treasure book...I would love it!
    Enjoyed your latest fascinating adventure in the desert.
    I wouldn't last a minute in that heat so it's nice to see it through your eyes!

  39. What an amazing trip and quest. Those photo books are adorable. I'm sure the little ones loved them!

  40. so impressive pic report. cant wait until our summer trip! thanks 4 sharing!

  41. My sister (Lap Dog Knits) said I should check out your blog. What a great post! My wife and I go out to 29 Palms / Joshua Tree every other weekend, and all these photos are familiar to me... 29 Palms Inn, the Oasis, 49 Palms Oasis trail, Elephant Rock... you did a great job documenting everything. Thanks!!

  42. Once again Lori you and Chuck have taken us all on a wonderful adventure.

    I didn't realize when I first started reading your post that Chase (who was in his chair behind me) was following along, too. He has been loving seeing the world through your eyes (as have I).

    (And he giggled at the chuckwalla and his posing!)

  43. Mrs Lizard Hunter,
    Thank you for taking us along your hunt.

  44. Of course I would love to win one of those books! Thanks also for posting about my publisher. This is a great gift that I can send along with my hubby on his deployment! Beautiful photos Lori, I love this blog!

  45. I spotted the coyote! And I liked the lizards, how great that you found them!
    All your pictures and captions were so lovely again (I always like your beds), but oh my, how did you stand that HEAT?? I was thinking how lucky Chuck was in picking you for a wife! Not many would endure all these hardships with such happiness inside!
    Yes please, I`d like a picture book. But I know you`d need 200 to make us all glad. Not possible.
    Thank you for your wonderful posts, Lori dear!

  46. I'd love the picture book, to give to my son's gf who I think I mentioned is in Uganda at the moment. I almost missed this entire post because I didn't notice the second word in the title was different!

    Debbie4 on rav
    mcsix at embarqmail dot com

  47. Lori X5! I just love following your sweet blog. We were photography students at Gale Zucker's class in Santa Barbara a few months back. Africa must have been unbelievable...
    I'd love one of your lovely books and also to see your wonderful spirit and smiling face again one day.

  48. Beautiful pictures, as always. It has been great seeing Africa through your lens :)

  49. I would love to win, thanks for the chance!
    heher88 at hotmail dot com

  50. I would really enjoy to have such a wonderful photobook from your journey with me, always. Thank you, Lori.

    enim sou.

  51. What a wonderful place sometimes what one sees in the mind is not what is the pictures you took. I would love share this little booklet with lots of people!

  52. I would love to win the photo booklet of your trip to Africa and those "Pocketfuls of Sunshine.I will be traveling till the 7th of July.My email is I have enjoyed viewing your African trip on your blog and your knitting projects.

  53. Oh my goodness, yes please! What a wonderful memento of your trip. :)

  54. I would definitely love one of those!! Beautiful!!

  55. OH...what was I thinking? you'd best add my name to the list..
    so I can look back on those beautiful faces smiling
    oh, I DO hope to see you one day looking for lizards and we can share a frosty cold drink at 29's.

  56. Hi Lori! Please sign me up for your book give-away. It's beautiful and sweet, just like you. Susan

  57. I know a very special grandson and grand daughter who would love to share one of these! I am honored to be perusing the master...HONORED!!

  58. Seeing all the lovely pictures is almost like being there. Our young son is quite an animal lover and would be thrilled to have such a treasure.
    Thank you for chance to win!

  59. Ha, I found the coyote :-) What a wonderful trip you haven been on Lori! It felt like an extension of Africa to me, only this time you didn't give out pockets ;-) Instead we get the chance to jump into the basket for a lovely give-away, that is so so sweet Lori! Count me in ;-)
    I am just about to make a book for Aaron for his birthday with pictures of the last year and I am still looking for a good printing service, so thank you for the link I just have to figure out if its worth it with the shipping price...
    Wishing you a lovely weekend my dear!

  60. Oh, how I would love to win the little sweet book!
    I really love your blog.


  61. What a great way to keep this wonderful adventure images so close to you, Lori.
    Oh, and yes, I found the coyote, too!!

    Have a wonderful weekend,
    with much love

  62. You have an amazing skill for capturing beautiful images that touch both heart and soul. I can only imagine how wonderful they would look bound up in this little book - I have two little boys who are a long way from Africa here in Australia and they would enjoy something like this so much. Thank you for so generously offering us the opportunity to perhaps win one.

  63. You two do THE neatest things! Such a beautifully matched, inspiring couple.

    LOVE the wee books!

  64. Wow Lori-so beautiful and inspiring. Thank you. Oh and those drinks are to die for-wow!

  65. J'ai beaucoup aimé voyager avec toi, quelle aventure... et ce petit livre-souvenir, quelle merveille !
    Merci de partager toutes les jolies choses que tu fais !
    Chloé (de France)

  66. May I repost your photo of the coyote gourd on the cholla cactus on my Facebook page? I am teaching scouts about nature...and that is such a great shot of nature providing its own "trellis".
    How would I give you proper credit for it? THANKS!

  67. thank you! and thank you for asking, yes that would be great. i guess link to my blog, i don't have a f.b. account. good luck with your scouts!


xoxo lori