So my wacky musician/builder friend, Gizmo, his beloved Dr. Catherine along with cats Harry and Whit, have retired and moved to Joshua Tree in the heart of the Mojave Desert. Yes, that 110 degree Mojave. Against my sage advise, they have decided to create their sustainable lizard ranch. Spending their days building a passive solar house, writing books, recording music, howling at the moon ... what are these knuckleheads thinking? Get a real job!!!
I had to go and verify their sanity so I threw the ol' acoustic, boots and snakebite kit in the truck and headed south toward HellA (LA to mere mortals). After miles of traffic, things started to unwind into the rhythm of the vast desert. I was brought back to nights in New Mexico when I remodeled an old hacienda on the Rio Grande outside of Santa Fe with my friend, David Williams. Big skys, clear air and endless stars.
After miles of washboard dirt road, I arrived at their casita perched on a bluff adjoining BLM land with unobstructed views forever. They have managed to peal back the rock and sand, turning a simple house into a modern open vessel with lots of glass to take in the outside world. All water is brought in and stored in large tanks, all greywater waste goes to landscaping plants and there is a SunMar composting toilet. The wonderful outdoor shower drains directly to the newly planted cottonwood tree. Not content with unraveling Jung's Red Book, Dr. C has embraced masonry and built stone walls, paths and planters around the property. Gizmo has bought old steel tanks, cut them into sections and turned them into rusty, Richard Serra inspired planters. Starbucks is nowhere to be found.
Joshua Tree has always been an end of the world bowl where artists seem to collect, recuperate and create. A friend stopped by and brought a truck full of digital recording equipment. Did he make a wrong turn?? Who cares, we set up and spent the afternoon cutting a few of Gizmo's new tunes while watching the sun go down over the mesa. Such a stressful environment. A fire on the BBQ, smoked salmon, good wine with Orion's Belt and the Pleides. I didn't even get to the desert tortoises yet.