Good morning Western Banded Gecko

Spotted the other morning outside our house in the potato patch…

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More info: http://www.desertusa.com/reptiles/western-banded-gecko.html

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STARFRONT PROPERTY

Gorgeous photo of our original homesteader cabin and the Milky Way by recent guest Dr. Leon Gurevitch: “Full frame camera and an exposure of 20 – 30 seconds. 8 shots and stitched them together afterwards.”
Leon Gurevitch: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/design/about/staff/leon-gurevitch
Be our guest at this cabin: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/39492

Click image to bigify.

GurevitchstarscapeSml

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SEED GATHERING IN THE WASH

May Day! What a beautiful morning wandering through nearby washes gathering seeds. I’ve never seen this much abundance. While gathering native seeds for propagation or other uses, I’ve been working on a new approach I’m learning from folks in the habitat restoration world, which is based on respect. Take very few seeds, not all from one plant, with a very light footprint. This is the ‘paperbag bush’ (Salazaria mexicana)…we have to wait until they dry out then they’ll be ready to release seeds. At that point we can gather…

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CHOMP CHOMP

One of the local adult wild desert tortoises dining on some wildflowers the other day…

Chomp chomp. #joshuatree

A video posted by Jay Babcock (@jaywbabcock) on

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AT THE WATER AWARENESS GARDEN IN LUCERNE VALLEY

When I die bury me under a ‘Royal Purple’ Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria). As seen at the Water Awareness Garden (created by the Desert Crossroads Garden Club). One of the many secret pleasures you’ll find in the very small farming town of Lucerne Valley, a 45-minute scenic drive from north Joshua Tree …

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STOP INDUSTRIAL SOLAR SPRAWL IN JOSHUA TREE WILDLIFE CORRIDOR JUST OUTSIDE OF NATIONAL PARK

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This is a fundraiser to appeal the Planning Commission’s recent misguided approval of a proposed 115-acre industrial solar farm on Sunfair.

We are appealing the decision to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, where we have a much better chance of prevailing against the industrial solar creeps.

The appeal itself costs $1,331. Then there will be various legal fees, hiring a lawyer, etc. The money is being handled by responsible and respected members of the Joshua Tree community.

Let’s get this happening! These jerks want to build gated industrial solar fields across a wildlife corridor, less than two miles from the National Park’s border. Sick and stupid. We can win this!

Go here now and donate: https://www.gofundme.com/265567fg

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WILD DESERT TORTOISE TESTOSTERONE TIME

Yesterday at our Prefab Homesteader Cabin property

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Our friend and herpetologist Kelly Herbinson says: “Looks like a male blocking a female in her burrow. Sometimes they even just sit sideways in the burrow entrance so no other tortoises can get to her… Males will also block other males in like that too, so it’s hard to say what’s happening here since that interior tort is obscured. But usually it’s a mating thing. Male tortoises have extremely high levels of testosterone and are quite aggressive towards both sexes this time of year.”

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Fremont’s dalea going spectacular in the wash

Just down the dirt road from us, this bush has bloomed into a striking indigo entity erupting in a sandy wash. Photos taken with phone, so not the best. Sorry!

Fremont’s dalea: wikipedia

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GARDENING

Prepping a new raised bed with compost #desertgardening @jaywbabcock

A photo posted by Sunever Farms (@suneverfarms) on

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PLANNING COMMISSION DELAYS VOTE ON ALTA MIRA GATED CONDO PROJECT TO APRIL 7

From local radio station KCDZ 107.7:

March 25, 2016: After a postponement last week due to a power outage, the County Planning Commission still didn’t make a decision yesterday about the controversial Alta Mira housing project. Reporter David Haldane was at the teleconferenced meeting, and files this report…

Eloquent. Angry. Passionate. Intense. Those are a few of the words describing some of the testimony at yesterday’s four-hour public hearing before the county Planning Commission. The one describing it all, though, is opposed. Opposed to a 248-unit housing development near Joshua Tree’s Friendly Hills Elementary School that many believe would ruin the neighborhood.

In the end, the commission postponed until April 7 its decision on the 105-acre Alta Mira project. Along the way, though, the testimony – mostly from an overflow crowd in Joshua Tree where the proceedings were televised interactively – raised some pointed concerns. Among them: that the project would adversely affect the environment, create major traffic problems and be inconsistent with the town.

Alexis Sonnenfeld, a 20-year resident, felt that he’d made his point.

“I think that they get that nobody up here is for this. And it certainly raises questions. So I feel that in that sense, we were effective.”

More info on Alta Mira: Morongo Basin Conservation Association

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