Instagram by Rohini Walker.

Local legend Roger Smith leading last Sunday’s desert homestead garden/farm workshop for our Stewards of the Coyote Valley group.

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First bloom on this Joshua tree since we moved into this house in January, 2012…

Big bud on second Joshua tree at our house, neither of which has bloomed in at least five years…

Two-year-old “Eve’s Pride” peach tree is blossoming already…

Two-year-old peach tree is blossoming already. #desertlife #joshuatree @jthomesteader @suneverfarms

A post shared by Jay Babcock (@jaywbabcock) on

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Red winter wheat garden, grown in composted soil under some leftover Agribon floating row cover, no watering. Grew in very thick and strong, photo doesn’t quite do it justice. The cover kept birds from eating the wheat seed, mice and rabbits from eating the growing stalks, protected the plants and soil from high winds, and kept the soil moist. Perfect for desert farming, just like Roger Smith said. This Sunday, Roger will be leading a workshop for Coyote Valley Stewards at his home on running a kitchen garden in the desert. If you’re interested in attending, let Jay know.

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Shoot. 60-mile wind blew down my yurt greenhouse. Yeah it was meant to be temporary but still, bad timing as we’re below zero most nights. Got all my little babies inside the house til Feb. I say: 2016 be gone! #happynewyear

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Here is Stephanie’s plan for the in-progress ‘food oasis’ at our ‘Sunever Farms’ property.


Read more at:

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“Become a Preservation Partner by donating $100 or more. As a special thanks, we will send you a Steidl reproduction copy of NOAH PURIFOY: HIGH DESERT, a three-volume catalog Noah Purifoy himself fabricated with photographs and writings in a 3-ring notebook in 1997. At that time, he wrote this introduction…

This book is divided into three separate parts: The photographs, the photographic chronology and the text. The advantages of this format is to give the viewer at least three options. You can proceed chronologically from the beginning of the book to the end, thereby grasping the artist’s full intent to inform, entertain and intrigue. Or you may casually thumb through the book spotting only those details that give meaning to each piece. Or you may flip the pages rapidly just to get a bird’s eye view of the content. Or perhaps, you may discover some aspects of the book that we overlooked altogether. Nevertheless no matter what option a viewer chooses to take, it is our desire that each of you get so close to the piece that you see the smoke from its breath as it comes alive.

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To protect the desert we love, we gave to the Mojave Desert Land Trust’s #Protect62 Campaign today.

Matching funds will double your donation — today only. Help keep the native Joshua Tree forests intact along Hwy 62!

Join us by donating here:

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What’s happening here is foolish and heartbreaking


What the San Bernardino County government is doing to Joshua Tree is a disgrace — foolishly marring what should be the County’s crown jewel.

The National Park’s attendance has soared in the last two years, and our area’s profile continues to rise (fwiw) with a steady stream of national media profiles — New York Times, National Geographic, GQ, countless fashion shoots, etc. — with more to come.

Yet the County is working to diminish Joshua Tree, piece by piece.

First, they approved a Dollar General store. Then, they approved two large fenced industrial solar fields in sight of the Park. Now, they’ve approved a developer’s plan (“Alta Mira”) to bulldoze wilderness to put in gated, high-density housing.

Since Joshua Tree is unincorporated, our village has zero power over these decisions. So, we file lawsuits, which we fund out of our small community’s pockets. What’s happening here is heartbreaking.

Please help out, if you can…

STOP ALTA MIRA — gofundme

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Above: Local vegetable gardening and growing inspiration Roger Smith, in front of his hi-desert home garden.

At Roger’s suggestion, we’ve been planting red winter wheat this past week in beds around our house, following his instructions.

“Make sure you thoroughly saturate the beds you plan to plant,” Roger told us. “Covering with a clear plastic should shorten sprouting time, help preserve soil moisture, and keep out the deplorables.”

More learned desert gardening advice from Roger is archived here: Roger Smith’s Desert Garden

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We were deeply distressed recently when the Institute of Mentalphysics/Joshua Tree Retreat Center, without a permit, cleared 3-plus acres of their land at the corner of the 62 and La Contenta to make a parking lot. Bad enough that this was permanent destruction of intact, native habitat — it was also a crucial part of the wildlife corridor, a place of rest and refuge for wild animals making the dangerous transit across the highway. No longer.

What Mentalphysics did was awful — but there’s something we can do to try to mitigate it. The Mojave Desert Land Trust is appealing to the public to raise $15,000 to kickstart the ~$400k acquisition of 80 acres of wildland on the other side of Mentalphysics, next to MDLT’s headquarters. When purchased by the Land Trust, this land (nicknamed “Willow Crossing”) will become PERMANENT, PROTECTED WILDLIFE CORRIDOR. We need to help make this happen.

Please, follow the link to donate what you can: Scenery Worth Saving #Protect62

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