Well, maybe not madness, but encouraging spring growth. We've been having brief rains and almost everything is growing. Especially encouraging are buds on the ocotillo and desert willow (which we thought had not made it through the winter freezes), and the palo verde and mesquite. It would be discouraging to lose trees when we've put so much time into them.
We are sitting out the craziness of the times here, it's a relief to be out of the city. Stay safe.
DD Donation Board
Toulie invites visitors to check out our Art Donation Board, where residents can donate small works to be for sale to benefit future artist residents. The idea, and first donations of polaroids, came from resident Lori Lipsman.
The Last Cabinet
I am nothing if not my mother's daughter when it comes to having a well-stocked pantry. Since I've worried for several weeks about the health crisis, I stocked up even more than normal, and that meant getting the desert ready for us to stay more longterm.
But where to put all the water, dried stuff, cans, and yes, tp? This is an old-fashioned farm house, with canning shelves in the basement, but at the moment there are also big black widows down there, so food needs to stay up top. I had to tackle the laundry room, and one big cabinet there that remained uncleaned, because Terry, the previous owner, had forgotten to empty it before she left. It was packed with stuff.
So yesterday I pulled everything out. It was filled with stuff for canning, and hadn't been opened in many years. There were jars of brown liquid, with the label, "Cactus Sondra." Sondra was Terry's mother, so they are probably 50 years old. Pickled cactus? Ted wants to find Terry's grave and make an offering of them, but research came up a blank.
There were also treasures: old thermoses, cool ladles, stainers, and funnels. And an absolutely perfect cast iron casserole. I've priced these in antique stores and couldn't begin to afford one. Today we will fire up the newly coated earth oven, make some pizza, and try to cook a pork roast inside this beauty.
We will survive!
Today we learned from a neighbor that Terry Imel, the woman who sold us the Desert Dairy, has passed away. She moved to the property when she was a little girl, and her presence is still here. We hope you had some fun before you left, Terry!
Some Success, Some Worries
The winter has been beautiful in the Mojave. We have been working on the house and grounds as always, building a composting bin, finishing the earth oven, and starting a new fence. But we are also being more social, meeting friends out here and participating in shows. I was honored to have studio visits with two curators in the last few months, something that never happened in San Diego or Los Angeles (the desert mystique works). My work is currently on view in "Mojave Madness" at the Yucca Valley Art Center, and the two small pieces sold--the new metal series, especially the tools, seems to be hitting a nerve and opening pocketbooks.
With all the worry over the spread of the virus, it feels that 29 Palms might be a safer spot to hide out if things get bad, so we are stocking up on supplies and preparing mentally to isolate if necessary. Sort of a scary time.
The other thing I find myself thinking about is the coming summer, if we will handle it any better. Having grown up in San Diego, where the weather is almost always perfect (and perfectly boring), it's a new experience to have seasonal anxiety. I try to live in the moment, or at least the current month, enjoying our wood burning stove and getting under the feather quilt at night. We are refurbishing our above-ground pool, which we originally thought was a cow trough, hoping it will make hot days a bit more bearable. But in reality, summer is another scary thing to contemplate.
Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.