Watching Wild Horses In Nevada

Virginia Range

The immense peace, and joy that comes from watching wild horses being horses, was something I discovered when my daughter was an infant. During a rather stressful part of my life (moving to another continent, learning a new language and culture, leaving my daughter’s father, etc etc,) I once again found relief by horses. I’ve had a love story with horses since before my first memory. It doesn’t weaken through the years, it’s the opposite, it gets more and more important.


It’s still one of my absolute favorite things to do. I do it every opportunity I get. Here in Nevada there’s plenty of opportunities to watch horses being horses. The wild ones are not loved by everyone, due to the complicated challenge of who has the right to the range? How to manage them? Should the mustangs be managed? Birth control? I don’t have any answers to those questions, but I follow the debate closely, as it is a matter close to my heart.

When I first got aquatinted with these majestic animals, I started to collect photos, facts, and stories. I published my first book, a deluxe coffee table book, with my observations 2013. (My business info in the book is outdated, but the rest is till enjoyable.) When I published the book I decided to donate 50% of the books profit, to non-profits (of my choice) that works for the wild horses. I haven’t done any marketing for the book lately, but that still stands when I do sell copies.

View Nevada Mustangs - Living Symbols Of The West by Maria Northcutt Jansson

This is the front cover of the book. If you click on the image it takes you to my book store, where you can see a preview of the book, and get your copy if interested.

I patented the title of the book, and I’ve been starting to think of a second edition. I don’t have enough material yet, but I am collecting photos, and stories for a sequel. Feel free to contact me if you have an idea that you would like to see in the book. 

How is your week so far? I still feel on top of my world after last weekend camping trip! I hope the feeling rubs off on you ❤


Ms Zen

China Ranch


On the way back from our camping trip to Death Valley National Park last weekend, we stopped at China Ranch. A family owned date farm, with a fabulous cactus garden, and gift shop. Located in Tecopa (CA,) in the Mojave Desert.


I love dates, and eat dates every week. I was very surprised by the great variety of dates that I’ve never heard of, that they are growing right there, in their little oasis, in the middle of the Mojave Desert. You can taste samples of the dates in the gift shop, and buy your favorites.


Along one of the trails.

China Ranch is a worthwhile pit stop, or could even be a destination during the cooler months. It was a little too hot to explore everything. I would of liked to spend more time in the rock shop, but even in there it was kind of warm. There was several trails that definitely needs exploring one day this fall.


Gorgeous blooming cacti outside the gift shop. Their cacti garden was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.


Blooming Cholla





I absolutely loved this place. I wish it was a little closer. It’s about a two hour drive from Las Vegas.

I feel that this is a fitting contribution to my friend Terri’s Sunday Still;Warmth. There’s definitely enough of that in The Mojave Desert. The desert both intrigues me, and scares me at the same time. It’s an absolute opposite to the cold mountain town, in northern Sweden that I grew up in. We had snow 8 months out of the year..LOL. That such a place could even exist feels unreal here. I hope you enjoyed the visit to China Ranch. I sure did. The place is well kept, and loved.

Did your week get off to a good start? Mine did, it’s been a great week so far. I still have plenty of Death Valley photos to share with you, I’m hoping to get to that later this week. To be continued..


Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share – Death Valley National Park


Happy Mother’s Day all fabulous moms out there! I lost my mom 28 years ago, as a celebration to her life I take my own daughter out on an adventure every Mother’s Day Weekend. This year we went to Death Valley National Park (CA.) I was hoping that we could have our weekly coffee date there. (We had to postpone our Arizona trip due to heavy rains in the area.)

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!

How would you like your coffee today? Or maybe you would prefer some tea? I’m having some green tea today. There’s some chocolate muffins to go with your preferred drink. My daughter thinks they are amazing, but don’t take her word for it 😉


This was our campsite for the weekend.


As you can see it’s simple living at its best. No campground, just dispersed camping in the middle of nowhere; extremely quiet (except a serenade from an owl just before bedtime,) no cellphone service, a bright star display at night, and endless possibilities to explore. Are you enjoying the day?

When we woke up this morning this was the amazing view that greeted us. Ooo, I forgot to say that it was so warm that we didn’t use our sleeping bags. It was a comfortable 70 degrees in the tent.

Death Valley National Park is the hottest, driest, and lowest National Park in the US. A below-sea-level basin, with steady drought, and record summer heat makes Death Valley a land of extremes, but the weather was just perfect for some Mother’s Day Weekend fun! I love our adventurous Mother’s Day tradition, and I’m hoping to create memories that will last a lifetime for my daughter, along with an appreciation for nature, and the simple pleasures in life.



Across from our campsite you can see these amazing sand dunes. I love how the light constantly played over the smooth sand.


The area is covered with Creosote bushes that adds an aromatic smell to everything. Last night it was in the 90’s until dark, and the scent from the bushes were almost toxic, in a sweet way, contributing to the serenity of the landscape.


The geology in Death Valley is intriguing, and you can find a great variety of rocks, in all the colors of the rainbow.


Gretchen LOVES camping, and exploring.


Can I get you a refill on your drink?


On the way home to Las Vegas we stopped at China Ranch, a 200 year old date plantation. It was gorgeous, and very special. Their cactus garden was so beautiful as well. An unexpected oasis in the desert. It deserves its own post, I’ll work on that this coming week.

How was your weekend? If you have any Mother’s Day’s traditions you would like to share, I would very much like to hear all about them! I sure hope the weekend was everything you needed it to be. Mine was very relaxing, and adventurous at the same time. It definitely leaves me with a good feeling, ready for a productive new week.


Ms Zen