Making a path in the desert, at Sunever Farms

Making a path in the desert

A photo posted by Jay Babcock (@jaywbabcock) on

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The Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance has given a public update on our three-year battle to keep Dollar General out of Joshua Tree, and has announced a community meeting to discuss how to keep on winning against these creeps. From the JTDBA website:

Community Meeting
Thursday December 18, 2014, 7-9 pm
Joshua Tree Community Center

Three years ago, the Joshua Tree Community began its battle against Dollar General, a corporate predator that wants to build a store in our central district. Community members, friends and neighbors rallied, organized and educated ourselves, and forced the County to change its process and give the project greater scrutiny and broader public review. Despite all our statements and evidence showing the project should be rejected, the Planning Department and Planning Commission approved it. We appealed to the Board of Supervisors. Despite the hundreds of pages of written statements and evidence we submitted, and a day-long hearing, the Board of Supervisors also approved the project, with only Supervisor Ramos voting our way.

We challenged that decision in State Court, and won! Our legal victory means the County has to review this project again from the beginning, with a new initial public notice and it must correctly follow CEQA procedure and standards.

At the end of November, 2014, Dollar General appealed our win to the next level. We have until December 22 to file a pro forma response.

Please attend this Community Meeting to learn about the next steps we have to take, and other steps we can take, with our attorney and in court to defend our win.

Hanging in the balance of this fight is the future of our Community: If we maintain this win, we set a precedent and maintain our unique community character and identity as Joshua Tree. If we lose, we will inevitably become the same as everyplace else, overrun by corporate box stores.

Please visit the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance website for easy access to all the legal documents and decisions that got us to here:

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Can you be in Van Nuys tomorrow (Wed., Dec 3)? Come out and help the effort to protect the ban on trapping that went into law last year thanks to Project Bobcat’s advocacy work. Speakers are needed to counter the trapper lobby at an official meeting of the California Fish and Game Commission. Info here:

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Our Joshua Tree comrade Reanna has written a fantastic piece for BoingBoing on how she and her extended family approach living out here. Lots of photos too.

Read it:

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Picked up a copy of this issue of Desert over the weekend at Sagebrush Press & Bookstore in Yucca Valley. Fantastic magazine from an almost-lost era.

Download the entire May, 1955 issue at: Desert Magazine archive

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From our good friend and neighbor Angela de la Agua:

I am so blessed and so thrilled to finally unveil what I’ve been working on for many Moons. My new photography website WWW.ANGELADELAAGUA.COM is up and running, and even more exciting, I have released my first book of photography!

The creation of my book, Water in the Desert, was truly a dream come true for me. I have always believed my photos would be best communicated through the book format. I was always intrigued by the possibilities of how my photos relate with each other, how they sit alongside one another. What stories would they tell together, I often wondered. In the book, the images come together in conversation, relating to each other, finding their connections. While laying out the book, I would witness how certain photos would find each other, moments that were captured long ago effortlessly find comfort and strength in the company of a more recent experience. The connections between the photos are endless, and it was an incredible experience to sit with thousands of my images and find the conversation that was happening in the present moment- a conversation that wanted to be shared on a large scale.

It has always been my dream for someone to hold a book of my photos, and to be able to sit with it quietly, becoming absorbed in the connections within the images and finding her or his own connection within it as well. It’s a much different experience from focusing on a single image standing alone in a different context. It is the sacred intimacy and quietness of my experiences that I long to communicate with others, I want others to feel the same peace and connection I feel when I am in the sacred process of creation. I believe this is most effectively communicated through the intimate time spent sitting with a book. The stillness and sacredness of one’s meditation can touch the lives of others, I have learned. It is my hope that each individual who holds my book and spends time with it, is touched by the light and love that I experienced not only when the images were first captured, but while I was making the book.

The book-making ritual was truly a ceremonial experience for me. I devoted my life to its creation for two months, and let my entire home evolve into a temple dedicated to the creation of Water in the Desert. It was my every waking moment, my nourishment, my meditation, my pulse, my light. It was a sacred, transformative journey, and it took me to places I was unprepared for. I birthed this book with the most sacred of intentions, light and love woven into each and every page. Now that it is complete, I am forever changed. It is an honor to offer a tangible object to the world that truly holds my heart and spirit….

On the new website you will discover a selected archive of my work to explore, which I will continue to add to, and a shop to purchase the book and a selection of prints….


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A flock of migrating turkey vultures in the neighborhood late yesterday afternoon, roosting in out neighbor’s giant mesquite, a couple hundred yards from our house. Incredible to hear their giant wings flapping en masse, as they arranged and re-arranged their respective roosts. Very hard to photograph, but here they are from this morning, motionlessly warming their outstretched wings on fence posts before departing. Cel phone pic by Stephanie…


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Here’s some fantastic local wildlife corridor/linkage news via a sign that popped up recently less than a quarter-mile from us. We are so grateful for this far-sighted effort to keep land non-“developed.” One of our goals with our property acquisitions is to augment the efforts of the Mojave Desert Land Trust (and other NGOs and agencies) to create and steward wild lands, for wildlife. Every unfenced, monitored acre helps…


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This is our fourth homestead cabin, ‘Sahara’, with a 30-foot camper trailer just delivered Friday, bought on craigslist for a song. Future farmstand/studio/gallery space, and friends & family crash pad, spring 2015.

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