We finally closed today on this nearby property that Stephanie has coveted for years. Big plans! Grateful us.

We bought something crazy today @magicalavenue More soon

A photo posted by JT Homesteader (@jthomesteader) on

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


This morning, by Stephanie

First tortoise sighting of the season! #joshuatree

A photo posted by JT Homesteader (@jthomesteader) on

Desert Tortoise: Digital-Desert

Posted in tortoise | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Stephanie started these little Jojoba from seed last summer (there are about 20 of them that took), and this morning we planted them in a location at our Sunever Farms site near the wash, which we think has a really high water table. Jojoba tap roots can go down 200 feet or more.

Posted in jojoba | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


Sunever Farms is a long-term project and we’re learning as we go.

One thing we’re doing there is attempting to revive the fruit trees that survived five years without irrigation. All of the Jujube trees were robust, and revived instantly, giving us loads of fruit.

On the other hand, almost all of the several hundred Asian Pear trees were dead. A few that we thought were dead actually leafed, though, and those were the ones we mulched and watered. Last year some of those fruited, but most of the fruit was small or eaten by birds and coyotes. Since then Stephanie has learned how to prune these trees for proper growth and fruiting (thank you Bob Morris and 29 Palms Inn), and we’ve applied fertilizer (from very rich homemade compost) and mulch (woodchips from our friend Alma) to all the trees. Now we’re seeing blossoms…

Asian Pear blossoms. @suneverfarms in Joshua Tree

A photo posted by Jay Babcock (@jaywbabcock) on

Posted in asian pear, jujube, Sunever Farms | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment




Coyote Valley Clean-up and Restoration Event- 8:30AM-12PM

Please join us in North Joshua Tree, off Sunfair Road, for our first Coyote Valley stewardship event with a pre-event coffee and welcome address by MDLT Executive Director, Danielle Segura.

Neighborhood Meet & Greet: 8:30AM-9:00AM
Stewardship Activities: 9AM-12PM
Location: Meet at the intersection of Sonora Road and Sunfair Road in North Joshua Tree

Please join us for our first Coyote Valley stewardship event in North Joshua Tree, off Sunfair Road, with a pre-event coffee and welcome address by Mojave Desert Land Trust Executive Director Danielle Segura. After having coffee with our ED, get ready to roll up your sleeves and join us for clean-up and restoration activities on this critical habitat, which is a part of the wildlife linkage area the Land Trust is dedicated to protecting.

Please bring water, snacks, gloves, sunglasses (eye protection), long sleeved shirt, long pants, sunscreen, wide brim hat, and sturdy boots.

Driving Directions: From the intersection of 29 Palms Highway and Park Blvd
1. Travel east on 29 Palms Highway for approximately 4 miles
2. Turn left onto Sunfair Road and travel north for approximately 5 miles until the road curves left and becomes Coyote Valley Rd.
3. Continue on Coyote Valley Rod. for about one mile and then turn right to travel east on Sonora Rd. for about 500 feet until reaching the intersection with Sunfair Road
4. The MDLT table with coffee will be set up at the intersection of Sonora Rd. and Sunfair Rd. Please park on the right side (or South side) of Sonora Rd.

We encourage you to invite any family and friends who would like to be involved in this effort.

Please contact Lesley Hughes for further details and to RSVP at 760.366.5440 or

Posted in Mojave Desert Land Trust | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Joshua Tree Buddhist teacher RUTH DENISON: September 29, 1922 – February 26, 2015

(This is a re-post of the official obituary for my teacher, written by one of her longtime students.)


September 29, 1922 – February 26, 2015

In the great movement of Buddhism to the West, Ruth Denison was a pioneer. Jack Kornfield, founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, called her “one of our most amazing Buddhist elders, whose vision has helped plant the Dharma in the West.”

The first Buddhist teacher to lead an all-women’s retreat and the first teacher to use movement and dance to train her students in mindfulness, Denison, who asked everyone to call her simply Ruth, created a quintessentially female, body-centered way of teaching. She was one of the first meditation instructors at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts, as well as at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California; for forty years she taught extensively in the United States and Europe, helping to establish meditation centers in Canada, Germany, Alaska, Massachusetts, Colorado, Portland and California. She founded Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Retreat Center near Joshua Tree, CA, in 1977, where she led retreats thrice-yearly up until last year. She was an ardent supporter of female Buddhist monastics’ efforts to be allowed full ordination and often welcomed nuns to Dhamma Dena. In 2006 the Women’s International Meditation Center Foundation recognized Ruth for her role in bringing Vipassana Buddhism to the West.

She was also, as Joseph Goldstein, co-founder of Insight Meditation Society, said of her, “a splendidly unique teacher. There is no one quite like her.” Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of IMS, remarked on “the unique, colorful, and gracious qualities of Ruth Denison as a person and in her teaching style.”

Ruth’s journey began in Nazi-dominated Germany, where she grew up on an East Prussian farm. Later, as a young woman, she struggled to survive the near-fatal abuses and privations that befell her after the War. After immigrating to California, Ruth met and married Henry Denison, a spiritual seeker and former monk in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. Through the sixties and seventies they were active participants in the explorations of the counterculture, hosting lectures and workshops in their Hollywood home led by luminaries like Alan Watts, Aldous and Laura Huxley, and Timothy Leary; and traveling to Asia and Europe to study with the major spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. The teacher who influenced her most profoundly was Charlotte Selver, creator of the Sensory Awareness training. All this became a rich compost for Ruth’s later flowering as a Buddhist teacher in the eighties and nineties.

She was authorized to teach by the great Burmese Theravada lay master, U Ba Khin, who chose her as one of his Western Dharma-heirs (another one was the very well known S. N. Goenka). The style of meditation she taught is called Vipassana, or “insight meditation,” a method created by the Buddha to cut through our programmed thoughts and behavior and allow our true nature to manifest. She also studied with the leading Zen masters of the twentieth century, both in Japan and the United States, helping to establish the Southern California Zen centers founded by Sasaki Roshi and Maezumi Roshi.

While she considered herself a traditional Buddhist teacher and tried to convey the “Dharma” or teachings in their most straightforward form, she felt compelled to innovate and create, to shape the practices to reach her Western students. So in addition to offering guidance in formal sitting meditation, and teaching Dharma from Buddhist scriptures, she also instructed her students, in passionate and playful detail, to pay attention to the slow stretch of an arm at the side, to watch the colors change in the desert horizon, or to mindfully taste the food during mealtimes. Everything she did came from her desire to help her students open to the truth of this present moment, where enlightenment lies.

Through her years of intense spiritual practice and teaching, Ruth ripened into a mature, wise and delightfully unpredictable teacher of the Dharma. She taught from a center of wisdom and deep insight and was beloved and will be remembered by many.

A memorial service will be held at Wiefels Yucca Valley Mortuary, on Saturday, March 21, 2015, viewing 9:00 am – noon; service 1:00pm

In lieu of flowers please make donations to Dhamma Dena Enduring Legacy Fund.

For a beautifully researched and written biography of Ruth Denison, see Dancing in the Dharma: The Life and Teachings of Ruth Denison by Sandy Boucher.

Posted in Ruth Denison | Tagged | Leave a comment



A photo posted by Jay Babcock (@jaywbabcock) on

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Testing the fire pit at our new Saturn cabin (launching soon!). Full moon, spectacular sunset. All good. #joshuatree

A photo posted by JT Homesteader (@jthomesteader) on

Posted in Saturn Cabin | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


Huge: Bob Morris’s blog (link at bottom) is one of our go-to resources.

Via the 29 Palms Inn facebook event page:


We invite you to join us this Saturday, January 31st in our Faultline Farm orchard for a free garden workshop lead by Bob Morris, Professor Emeritus from the University of Nevada who will demonstrate dormant fruit tree pruning techniques, tool selection, sharpening and sterilization and fertilization methods.

This free class runs from noon until 3pm.

Bob Morris blog:

Posted in flowers, garden | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 6.17.37 PM


Thanks to your efforts along with our partners, the Center for Biological Diversity and other supporters across the state, the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 was passed by the California legislature just over a year ago. Now we need your help to ensure the bill is implemented to truly protect the state’s bobcats. The California Fish and Game Commission is launching a rulemaking to implement the bill that could result in a complete ban on the commercial trapping of these beautiful animals. But for that to happen, the Commission needs to hear from you.

The Bobcat Protection Act was passed in response to the outrage triggered by the discovery of trappers lining the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park with cages, luring the animals out the Park, and killing them for their fur. Under the bill, trapping was immediately banned around Joshua Tree and the Commission was directed to implement similar bans around all other parks, monuments and refuges in California. One option the Commission is seriously weighing is a statewide ban on bobcat trapping.

Please take a moment and contact the Fish and Game Commission and let them know you support a complete statewide ban on bobcat trapping. Note that original, personalized letters are the most effective way you can help our effort.


Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5pm

Submit comments to -or- FAX to: (916) 653-5040

Address comments to Executive Director Sonke Mastrup. Fish and Game Commission, 1416 Ninth Street, Room 1320, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Written comments received at the Commission office by 5:00 p.m. on January 29 will be made available to Commissioners prior to the meeting on Febuary 12, 2015. Comments received by 12 noon on February 6 will be marked late and made available to Commissioners at the meeting. Please also remember to email Project Bobcat at: a PDF copy of your sent letter.


RE: Agenda Item 29: Ban Bobcat Trapping Statewide

I urge you to implement the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 by banning trapping statewide. I am appalled that hundreds of California’s native bobcats are trapped and killed each year for sale of their skins in the international fur trade. Californians overwhelmingly value our wildlife alive, not as commodities to be exploited for the private profit of a handful of trappers. It’s long past time to end the subsidized destruction of our wildlife and instead protect and value them as living members of a healthy ecosystem. Please vote for the alternative of a complete statewide ban on commercial trapping of bobcats.

TALKING POINTS for Statewide Ban:

Let the Commission know that you would like to see bobcat trapping banned for anything other than rehabilitation or research.
There are fewer than 100 commercial trappers “harvesting” bobcats and that taxpayers are essentially subsidizing these commercial trappers.
A statewide ban is simpler and more economical than determining boundaries, methods for describing boundaries, fees, enforcement, and creating documents describing new boundaries and regulations.
State the valuable role of bobcats in ecological system, tourism economy, rodent control, and any reasons for your opposition to the trapping of bobcats for pelts.
Remind the Commission that natural resources and wildlife are public assets, and not for the profit of a few.

Are you available to travel for the Commissioners meeting in Sacramento on Thursday, February 12th, 2015? Please let us know at: so we can put you in touch with others that are traveling up north for carpooling, sharing hotel accommodations, etc.

Project Bobcat thanks you for your ongoing support!

Posted in bobcat, Project Bobcat | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment