Thursday, April 30, 2015

Desert Trail Column, April 30, 2015

We’re sorry to report that Charlotte Williams fell and broke her arm in three places, from her elbow to her wrist. It is a compound fracture and she had surgery at Hi Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree. All the bone splinters were removed and a metal harness was put in place. Since her elbow was shattered, she may also need elbow replacement surgery. Good grief, Charlotte! You didn’t have to go to such extremes to get out of washing dishes! Only joking – our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we sincerely hope you’re feeling quite a bit better by the time you read this.

The Well Owners Association meeting will be held on Sunday, May 3 at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road, at 4 pm. Whether or not you currently have a well, the information brought forth at these meetings is always interesting and valuable. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Since the birthstone for May is the emerald, and the flower is the lily-of-the-valley, we send out Rainbows-of-Emeralds-and-Lilies-of-the-Valley to Marlene Roberts who will celebrate her special day this week. Happy birthday, Marlene!

Anyone wishing to go to the 29 Palms Nutrition Site for lunch can be picked up by Reach Out Morongo Basin on Tuesdays and Thursdays at The Palms at 10 am and returned at 2 pm. This is a free service, and if you have a problem getting to The Palms, they will be happy to pick you up and drop you off at your own home. Call 760-361-1410 for information.

How to make your ownweed killer
Handy Hint: This is a “potential handy hint”. Our cousin Annie in Phoenix told us that a sure way to kill weeds is by pouring white vinegar on them. The only problem is that the weed is eradicated, but nothing else will grow in that spot either. So here is our thought: Would this work on mustard plants? At this time, neither one of us has any mustard plants growing in our yards, which is unusual, so would someone try pouring vinegar on a mustard plant to see if this works? Also, if you want to do a little science experiment, try pouring a little on one plant, twice that much on another and a lot on a third plant. See if the amount makes a difference, and how long before each one dies (IF they die). We’re very curious to know if this would work.

Thought for Today:  Many girls like to marry a military man – he can cook, sew, make beds, is in good health, and he’s already used to taking orders.

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Where's Heather?

Wonder Valley's own Heather L. Johnson, artist, on her way to the ferry, In Search of the Frightening and Beautiful, Sayaxché, Petén, Guatemala.

Hilary Sloane and Ray Lamb reception at Glass Outhouse Saturday

Opening reception for the works of Hilary Sloane, photographer and journalist, and Ray Lamb, painter is this coming Saturday, May 2, from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Glass Outhouse Gallery on Highway 62 between the airport and Twentynine Palms.

WV Well Owners Association Meeting

NOT the logo of the WVWOA.
The Wonder Valley Well Owners Association 
will be meeting this coming 

Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. 

at the 

Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 Amboy Road
Wonder Valley, CA 92277

Everyone is welcome to attend. You do not have to have a well. This is one of Wonder Valley's regular community meetings so if you live in Wonder Valley or are interested in Wonder Valley, this meeting is for you.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Desert Trail Column, April 23, 2015

Donna and Pappy Parsons are celebrating their wedding anniversary this week. We hope you have a wonderful anniversary and many more to come!

Karen’s Commentary:  Quite some time ago, we got three tadpoles from Fins and Fangs in Yucca Valley. We moved them into their new home, which was our fishpond. We have no clue as to what happened to two of them, but one survived and is now a very large bullfrog! When he croaks, you’d think a freight train is coming through! We have now added four more polliwogs to the pond, and the big bullfrog has not croaked since. Maybe he no longer needs to call for one of his own kind? I don’t know.

Darlene’s Commentary:  Our desert weather is spectacularly beautiful these days. We are at the “between time,” when I choose to languish sitting in the morning sun, then move into the shade where I enjoy the shade and the birds and the air and the occasional breeze, like a cherry atop your favorite ice cream! Of course, that little annoying Guilt Fairy begins to interrupt my peaceful, serene enjoyment reminding me that I really should be using this time for more practical matters, such as getting the darned swamp coolers ready for another season of triple digits. I go into the house and come back with a tall glass of ice tea and a fly swatter. I reach my chair, now in full sun, and adjust it so I have shade and my favorite view of the Sheephole Mountains that are being transformed into a magical canvas of violet and magenta – just breathtaking! As I watch the sunset, I grasp my fly swatter and keep my eyes open for that daggone fairy.

The Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road, holds worship services every Sunday morning at 10:30, plus Bible Studies on Sundays at 9 am and Wednesdays at 10 am. Following the regular service on the second Sunday of each month, a potluck meal is served. This little church is a friendly and welcoming place, so stop in and see for yourself. Call Pastor Garry Brooks at 760-367-0279 for further information.

Handy Hint:  Here’s another testimonial for a previous Handy Hint, this time from Darlene. Wrapping a head of lettuce, cilantro, celery, broccoli or Brussels sprouts tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil before storing in the refrigerator works like magic! The veggies retain their crispness, color and flavor for about three times longer than if they were left unwrapped.

Thought for Today:  “Magic is what we make; music is how we do it.” – Jerry Garcia

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New OHV Routes in Wonder Valley - ADJACENT to Private Land

Please see this map:

The brown lines are OHV routes and they do run adjacent to private land.

This map:,%20Valley%20Mountain.pdf

will also show you that the routes travel county roads adjacent to private land. The breaks in the route indicate roads alongside private land. I don't assume OHV riders will turn off their vehicles at this point and push them to the next route area.

This will have an affect on your:
  • property values, because you will have to disclose that your property is on an OHV route
  • quality of life: noise, dust, traffic, trash
  • trash and dumping
  • quality of public roads.
It appear that many of these routes are ON county roads, the roads we pay fees each year to maintain. It's difficult to read these maps (the details are obscured) but it looks like Kern, and large parts of Pipeline and Poleline will now be OHV routes. You will be paying to maintain these as OHV routes.

You have until June 4 to send your public comments to: or by mail to:

Bureau of Land Management
California Desert District
Attn: WMRNP Plan Amendment
22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos
Moreno Valley, CA 92553

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BLM West Mojave Plan - IMPORTANT, please review

The public comment period for the WEMO (WEst MOjave Plan) opened on March 5 and will close June 4, 2015. Send your comments to: or by mail to:

Bureau of Land Management
California Desert District
Attn: WMRNP Plan Amendment
22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos
Moreno Valley, CA 92553

- * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

MAC member Pat FLANAGAN (Desert Heights) gave a presentation on the WEMO Plan at the last MAC meeting. I encourage you to view it. Her presentation begins at 59 minutes.

I am unclear on the impacts of Alternative 3 but some people are concerned that this will allow OHV access to 1.) county dirt roads and 2.) to BLM land adjacent to private property. I cannot speak to the validity of these concerns though I am looking into it. As it seems these concerns are at least possibilities I recommend that Wonder Valley residents look into this and write letters to the BLM addressing your concerns and interests.

I will try to arrange a presentation to better explain the impacts of this plan.

- Teresa Sitz, MAC Delegate, Wonder Valley

- * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

The preferred BLM alternative (3) will increase OHV roads from 5,338 miles to 10,428 miles.

Read more here:

The plan, chapter by chapter:

Chapter 2 - The 4 plans (3 is preferred by BLM)
Alternative 1 - page 2-36
Alternative 2 - page 2-38
Alternative 3 - page 2-39, 2-65, (preferred, see page 2-88)
Alternative 4 - page 2-41

Comparison of Length (in miles) of Alternative Route Networks (Chapter 2, page 2-86)

Total Open and Limited Miles of Routes in Network
Alternative 1 (current) 5,338
Alternative 2 4,293
Alternative 3 10,428
Alternative 4 5,782

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Desert Trail Column, April 16, 2015

The USDA Food Distribution will take place at our community center located at 80526 ½ Amboy Road on Monday, April 20 between 11 and noon. The He Provides Ministry will also be there with free clothing and household items for anyone needing them.
We send out Rainbows-of-Diamonds-and-Sweet Peas to Penny Root and to Lonnie Casper, both celebrating special days this week. Happy, happy birthday to both of you!
There is also a very important anniversary being celebrated this week – ours! April 19 marks the beginning of our fourth year writing the Wonder Valley News column. In case you are new to our area, we are sisters, Darlene being the younger and more creative one, and Karen being the older and wiser one! The youngest in our family of three girls is Donna who previously lived in Wonder Valley, but now resides in Yucca Valley, and is forced to read our column every week! Our mom, Louise Borquez wrote this column for 18 years, so we have a way to go to catch up to her record!
Darlene’s Commentary:  I had a great conversation with our Wonder Valley representative to the Basinwide MAC, Teresa Sitz. One of the issues that she planned to address at the MAC meeting was the ongoing illegal dumping on multiple sites in Wonder Valley. Teresa will request a number of metal signs stating the penalties and fines for illegal dumping to be placed at the dump sites in our beautiful and delicate desert. We must be the eyes and ears for our neighborhoods and report illegal dumpers.
Karen’s Commentary:  Thank you, Marie, for sending over those neatly cut out used postage stamps. A ¼-inch border all around the stamp is desired, but not necessary. I just sent a huge envelope full of stamps (including Marie’s) to Hi-Desert Gardeners in Phelan.  They sell them to a company that packages them and sells them all over the world to stamp collectors. The money that the gardening club collects goes to help save the eagles in Big Bear. So, Marie, the eagles thank you!
The Food for Life Ministry prepares delicious hot meals every Saturday at Little Church of the Desert. There is no charge, and if you are unable to get into town, Reach Out Morongo Basin will deliver the meals to your home, also at no charge. Call 760-361-1410 for further information.
Handy Hint:  Keep brown sugar soft by storing with a couple of marshmallows.
Thought for Today:  Pigeons have the distinction of being the only birds that don’t have to raise their heads to swallow when they drink water.

Until next time . . . remember to
take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blast from the past

I discovered this 2011 photography show in New York City featuring cabins and various other ruins in Wonder Valley. The copy on the flyer reads, "a slow glimpse of love, passion, quarterless abandon and makeshift resolution at 3,800 feet."

I've lived in tourist towns before - Sun Valley, Idaho; San Francisco and Los Angeles - and am used to this kind of exoticizing in those places, but I really didn't expect it here, in our little rural community. I haven't been here long, so it's still amusing. I imagine it must wear on the people who have lived here for a long time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MAC Meeting - April 13, 2015

Hello, Wonder Valley!

I went to my second MAC (Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council) meeting last night and picked up my business cards - thanks, Gayl!  What follows is my take on the meeting – UNOFFICIAL in every way, and I invite correction for anything I got wrong.

Review the meeting for yourself, on YouTube on Bob Stepheson's channel.

IN ATTENDANCE WERE: Pat FLANAGAN (Desert Heights), Mary Helen TUTTLE (Copper Mountain Mesa), Mark LUNDQUIST (Joshua Tree), Lib KOENIG (Flamingo Heights), Gayl SWARAT (Morongo Valley) and Teresa SITZ (Wonder Valley).

Mark Lundquist was elected Chair and Pat Flanagan was elected Vice Chair.

Tom O'KEY traveled to Santa Rosa, CA this month to advocate for the bobcats - AB 1213. There will be a discussion meeting on June 9 and a decision meeting in Fortuna in August. A group of 4th graders attended to testify for the bobcats.


David FICKS of Joshua Tree reported on the Dollar General campaign which he said was officially in limbo. He offered applause to the Sheriff’s department on their recent notoriety.


County Fire. The new battalion chief Rick Dennison introduced himself. He serves the south desert which includes Joshua Tree. Chief Chamberlain was unable to attend.

California Highway Patrol (CHP). Officer Joan Griffin reported on Distracted Driver Month including following too closely and texting.

Sheriff’s Department. Captain Mondary reported on “social engineering” where a con man psychologically engages someone, by computer or phone, to takes their identity. He told everyone to never give private information like your birthday or social security number over the phone.

Officer Joan Griffin presented on START SMART free teen driving  class for parents and teens (14-19) once every month at the CHP Office on Highway 29 in Joshua Tree. The next class is Wednesday, April 29 at 6:00 p.m. RSVP to 760-366-3707. The teen does not need to be licensed yet. They will show the movie Red Asphalt, version 5. There is also a class for elder drivers called Age Well.

Steve Martinez from the California Department of Public Works spoke on the ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM, a statewide opportunity to obtain infrastructure funds to encourage biking and walking. His proposal was to extend a class 1 bike path to the new elementary school on Sunburst. They are asking for $1.2 million. The DPW is doing a traffic count and then a survey in the community.

Gary, in the audience, spoke on the dangers for pedestrians and bicyclists on Sunburst, Alta Loma and Park Boulevard.

Pat Flanagan, MAC, Desert Heights spoke on the WEMO (West Mojave) Route Network Project and the BLMs preferred strategy to double the number of roads available to off-roaders. There will be a meeting tomorrow night with the BLM in Yucca Valley.

Wednesday, April 15, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Yucca Valley Community Center Complex – Yucca Room
57090 29Palms Hwy, Yucca Valley

Everyone is invited to attend and to comment.

Ms Flanagan’s presentation can be viewed at ORV Watch.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Dumping in Wonder Valley

Bob, the most interesting man in Wonder Valley, pointed out a "No Dumping" sign yesterday at Shelton and Amboy. Boy, he has good eyes. I'd never seen it, but they I rarely drive east on Amboy and it seems it's targeted to those drivers.

The "We Tip" program seems like a good way for people in Wonder Valley to make a little extra cash. Keep your eyes open and your cameras at hand.  Call (800) 782-7463. Information can always be sent directly to the County Sheriff's office Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (760) 366-4175, and to the San Bernardino County Code Enforcement at: (909) 387-4044 or (800) 722-3181.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Wonder Valley artist wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Susan Lipper, self-described Wonder Valley "partial resident" and "habitual visitor", was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for her desert photography.

"In 2012, [Lipper]began a series in the California desert, which is still ongoing. What initially attracted Lipper was addressing the formal differences between her previous habitat of Appalachia and journeys along I-10. However, fueled by research covering topics related to the desert as trope and as prior photographic subject, and—in the light of the idea of Manifest Destiny—society’s attempts to comprehend a possible positive future for our country, the project has continued to evolve. She sees this project as completion of a sort of trilogy of her travels from East to West."
About Susan Lipper

I've seen many of Susan's photographs and they're captivating. She's also pretty great to hang out with. I only wish she were here more often. She does Wonder Valley proud. Congratulations, Susan!

UPDATE: Susan is also looking for photography models for pictures similar to the one below.

So, if you're at least somewhat buffed, contact Susan at: (917) 435-8013 or email her at Monetary compensation is negotiable.

Joshua Tree Artist Kim Stringfellow wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Kim Stringfellow is famous in these parts for her photography of jackrabbit homesteads in Wonder Valley, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Ms. Stringfellow has done a lot to put Wonder Valley on the map. Thank you for your work, Kim, and congratulations.

See: Jackrabbit Homestead: Tracing the Small Tract Act in the Southern California Landscape

Monday, April 6, 2015

More WONDER: God bless america

This wonderful land art is north of Amboy, not far from the Palms Restaurant. I haven't been there. The person who told me about it has been and said that even though she knew exactly where it was it was still hard to find, and still hard to read. Interesting people we have out here.

Wonder Valley Weekend, April 4 & 5, 2015

Well, I missed Arroyo Rogers twice this weekend and I really wanted to see them. We couldn't get to the Wonder Valley Music Festival until around 10 and walked in to the Sibley's playing "Can I borrow you guillotine?" So perfect.

We were in time to hear Ben Vaughn - they didn't make a single mistake, from what I could tell. Just kidding, they rocked it. Everyone was dancing. The air was electric.

French Vanilla closed the festival and even without their saxophone they were amazing. The sinewy vocalist was captivating - operatic. They reminded me a little of Cibo Matta.

On Sunday, since we'd missed the opening at the Glass Outhouse on ,Saturday we stopped to visit and see the show.

Laurel was telling us stories of her early days in Wonder Valley, when the gallery housed rabbits. John Sophio, from Built, in Los Angeles was visiting, too. Time slipped by and before we knew it we'd missed our second chance to see Arroyo Rogers at the Beatnik.

Someday I'll see them and I just know they'll be as good as I imagine.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Join the Wonder Valley mailing list!

Why? So when we have an event, or workshop, or news about something cool in Wonder Valley, you'll know. Unless it's a bona fide emergency I won't send mail more than once a month, if that. But if we need to rally the troops on behalf of the community, it would be great to be able to be in touch with you.

I will never give this list out to anyone else.

Tomorrow Night's Lineup at the Yet Another Wonder Valley Music Festival

Thank you, Miss Laura!

This week's MANY MOODS OF BEN VAUGHN will feature selections by these fine recording artists and more. Full playlist to follow.

WXPN, Phila., PA (Saturdays at 5:00 pm EST)
WEVL, Memphis, TN (Fridays at 6:00 pm CT & Tuesdays at 9:00 am CT)
PRAIRIE PUBLIC RADIO, all of North Dakota (Saturdays at 3:00 pm CT)
KCDZ, Joshua Tree, CA (Sundays at 3:00 pm PST)
KDLG, Dillingham, AK (Sundays at 9:00 pm Alaska Standard Time)
KISL, Catalina Island, CA (Mon., Wed., and Fri. at 8:00 pm PST)
KLOI, Lopez Island, WA (Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Fridays at 8:00 AM PST)
Now available on iTunes thanks to KCDZ in Joshua Tree, CA.

Palms Upcoming Events: March through May, 2015

SATURDAY, March 28, 8:00 p.m., No Cover
Field Hollars, Drug, and The Sibleys

SATURDAY, April 4, 6:00 p.m., No Cover
Wonder Valley Music Festival, produced by Ben Vaughn: The Sibleys, Ben Vaughn Ensemble, French Vanilla, Donna Bummer, Arroyo Rogers, Gwendolyn, Hunter and The Wick'd

SATURDAY, April 11, 5:00 p.m., No Cover

SATURDAY, April 18, 6:00 p.m., $10 Cover
Etropol, Slow Poisoner, and Kosmic Halo


BATT, The Sibleys, plus 10 bands

Diane Best Art Music Event

Deserted at the Palms 2
King Tuff, Black Bananas, No Age, Sonny &  the Sunsets, Magic Trick, Jack Name, Part Time, Pharaohs, Nedelle Torrisi, The Memories, Boody Death Skull, Zombelle, LA Takedown, Anna Oxygen, Barfth, and more.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Desert Trail Column, April 4, 2015

The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery invites you to an Artists Reception on Saturday, April 4 from 5 to 9 pm, with featured artists Duncan Roseme and Ehsun Asapian. Refreshments will be served and music will be provided by the uniquely talented Joel Daniel. The gallery is located at 77575 29 Palms Highway. For further information, please call Laurel at 760-367-3807.

Glass Outhouse Gallery
Yet Another Wonder Valley Music Festival will take place at The Palms, 83131 Amboy Road, on Saturday, April 4 at 6 pm. The Sibleys, Ben Vaughn Ensemble, French Vanilla, Gwendolyn, Hunter and the Wick’d, Donna Bummer and Arroyo Rogers will perform. Admission and camping are free. Call 760-361-2810 for further information.

Arroyo Rogers
Since the birthstone for April is the diamond and the flower is the sweet pea, we send out Rainbows-of-Diamonds-and-Sweet Peas to Charlie Ware and to Charlotte Williams, who both celebrate their special days this week. Happy, happy birthday to you both!

Darlene’s Commentary: Who took the cushions and matching pillows that belong to the couch and chair that were donated to the Wonder Valley Thrift Store on Godwin Road? Pastor Max Rossi and his wife Olympia are loving and kind-hearted people. They don’t seek punishment or judgment. If you needed the couch and chair, but had no money, they would give you the couch, chair AND CUSHIONS, then ask if you need blankets or clothing or food. Everyone makes mistakes; please do the right thing – take the cushions back. Remember, when you do good, more good things come back to you.

Karen’s Commentary: About a year ago, I went through a period of buying scented candles for the house, but very few of them lasted very long, either physically or scent-wise. The best performer was a lavender vanilla one from RiteAid, so I put the jar with the burned out candle remains in a cupboard, thinking I’d get an exact replacement, but I never have. Ever since then, every time I open that cupboard, I can smell that wonderful scent, so I stick my whole head inside and just breathe it in for a minute or two. Yes, it may look a bit strange, but it sure is refreshing!

Tai Chi classes are held every Wednesday in our Wonder Valley Community Park at 10 am. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, classes are moved inside the community center. There is no charge and everyone is welcome.

Handy Hint: Put “plastic peanuts” packing material in the bottom of flower pots. They’re light weight and allow for good drainage.

Thought for Today: “Don’t try to take on a new personality. It doesn’t work.” – Richard Nixon

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge - it pays to Wonder!

The 2016 Rural Entrepreneuruship Challenge application period will open June 1, 2015. Check out the timeline and other information for this year's Challenge!

Pasturebird, LLC, was awarded $25,000 for a system of feeding chickens designed to end factory farming. Their story, and their founder, are quite amazing and this all happened not too far from here. He sounds like someone a lot like us.

Primal Pastures from Kathi Bahr on Vimeo.

Though geared to agribusiness one 2015 finalist won $15,000 for a plan to "use aquaponics technology to provide fresh, local produce and fish to the community throughout the year." That seems like something we could do in Wonder Valley.

Check out the finalists from 2015.

Free community book/dvd/vhs lending service

The Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 Amboy Road, has a lending program: books, dvds, and vhs tapes. Just come in and sign something out. No dues. No fines. No late fees.

Such a deal, right? Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. - noon.

Wonder Valley Thrift Store

Just look at all the spaghetti forks that people have disposed of! Who could have guessed there were so many frustrated spaghetti cooks in Wonder Valley? Their loss is your gain at the Wonder Valley Thrift Store.

As much as I'd love to keep this little gem of a thrift store secret, I cannot in good conscience do so. Go here for some serious thrifting at yesterday's prices. Beautiful stock, and tons of nostalgia. I bought my favorite coffee cup here.

6266 Godwin Road off HWY 62, 92277, just north of the 62.

Also for sale: soda, water, candy bars, stamps, postcards and envelopes. FREE coffee!

Tue:  9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm