This ruling means that if they still want to put a Dollar General in here in Joshua Tree the developer will have to start the permit process pretty much all over again, only this time they will be required to do a very expensive Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which they didn’t have to do previously. They can also appeal this ruling, but apparently these kinds of rulings are rarely overturned in appeal. We’ll see what happens next. This battle has been going on for almost three years now and WE ARE WINNING.

Press release via the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance website

Joshua Tree, California wins a key court battle against corporate predator, Dollar General.

Joshua Tree, California, a small, unincorporated desert community and the Gateway to Joshua Tree National park, is engaged in a nearly three-year struggle to preserve its unique community character, and so far it’s winning. Small, local business owners and residents in Joshua Tree, 150 miles east of Los Angeles, won a key court fight against San Bernardino County and discount retailer Dollar General, which wants to build an outlet in the iconic tourist village. The store would be the fourth Dollar General serving the community of about 8,000 and surrounding towns, in addition to a Walmart Supercenter only four short miles from downtown Joshua Tree.

“Tourists, campers, rock climbers, bird watchers, artists–they all come to Joshua Tree National Park to get away, and they stay, eat and shop in the town of Joshua Tree because we offer something different, something charming and authentic that they cannot find in most cookie cutter towns around here,” said Celeste Doyle of the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance (JTDBA), which brought the suit. “Our local economy and tourism appeal depend on our unique character.”

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Donald R. Alvarez agreed the store could put the town’s economy at risk. Judge Alvarez recently ordered the County to conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to determine whether business and property owners would suffer economic harm from the proposed 9,100 square foot formula retail chain store. Dollar General, a $17.5 billion public company with 11,000 stores in 40 states, will pay for the EIR…

Read the entire press release and the court’s 41-page writ and judgement:

Posted in blight, Dollar General, Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance, The State | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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Propagation-in-progress by Stephanie of Shoestring acacia and Desert willow trees using locally foraged seed. When they’re ready, the seedlings will be planted in protective cages across the six properties for specific uses; for example, at Sunever Farms, these drought-tolerant trees will be planted in patterns that should provide some wind barrier and shade cover to future plantings of other trees, and will begin to repair and enrich the damaged, scraped soil. More on this later, as we get further along. The desert willow is a genuine local desert native tree, of which there are only a few species. The acacia comes from Australia. Store-bought trees would cost $30-50 each, maybe more. The shoestring acacia  isn’t always easily available.

Photo via instagram

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Photo by Stephanie on Instagram of the old water tanks at Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center, our neighbor. (Elevated water tanks were necessary in this area before public water lines were installed in the mid-1980s.)

Dhamma Dena was founded in 1977 by Jay’s dhamma teacher, Ruth Denison, and built, decorated and maintained by her and her students through the decades. Today it is a collection of houses, cabins and camper trailers spread across several acres. Now 92, Ruth has retired from formal teaching but Dhamma Dena endures, holding several meditation retreats a year, as well as free daily silent morning sittings in the center’s zendo.

Our friend Caroline Ryder profiled Ruth for Spirituality & Health a year and a half or so ago: read her article here

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Twilight coyote at the farm, lying down in a shallow hole, watching me as I watered the jujube trees…


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This little guy’s coming along. Adding an outdoor kitchen, outdoor hot water shower and deluxe fire pit. Aiming for Oct 15 vacation rental start date. Homestead cabin campsite. Excited!

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Quick snapshot photos by Stephanie of a young desert horned lizard I spotted outside our house a few evenings ago. The animal was very small — just a couple of inches long, if that. Desert horned lizards will shoot a stream of blood out of their eyes up to 4-5 feet when threatened by animal predators — this little guy didn’t bother.

This is the second horned lizard I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks. It’s LizardLand outside right now — we’re seeing a greater variety of species zooming around than we’ve had the last couple of years… maybe because of the recent ant population explosion that seemed to follow the spring rains…?



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Fantastic photo by Angela de la Agua of our mutual neighbor tortoise wandering down the road a coupla sunsets ago…

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Follow Angela: instagram

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We now have a greenhouse full of propagation experiments waiting to be planted in mid-September when it cools down a bit: mexican & blue paloverde, catclaw & shoestring acacia, carob, jojoba, wolfberry, desert willow and more.

Posted in Blue paloverde, catclaw, desert willow, jojoba, Mexican paloverde, shoestring acacia, Sunever Farms, wolfberry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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We bought another small, old, local cabin for dirt cheap at the County tax sale last week. Stephanie will rehab it.

Posted in cabin, humans, North Joshua Tree | Tagged , | 1 Comment


Midcentury Prefab Homesteader Cabin

Love it when somebody has this experience, and then tells us about it… from a guest who stayed here last week:

“So, so, quiet. I took a walk during sunrise and literally HEARD a beetle walking slowly at my feet before I looked down to see it.

“Nighttime is unreal. My wife and I have never seen so many stars in the sky. Absolute magic.”

Be our guest: airbnb

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