Welcome to the Desert

I cried when we went house hunting here in Joshua Tree, California.  That’s a first.

I’ve cried when I’ve left friends and duty stations before but never upon arrival to one.  Then we got orders to 29 Palms . . . for two whole years.  Twentynine Palms is the place that you hear horror stories about when you’re stationed down in San Diego (where we spent almost 3 years before this).

Not many people choose to come here.  Especially not people who want to homestead.

I’m a Missouri girl through and through.  I love the rolling hills, beautiful old trees and grassy pastures.  San Diego was foreign enough – how was I going to live in the Mojave Desert???

The Marine Corps would do itself a favor by not moving people here in the middle of the summer.  It’s bleak.  It’s hot.  And it’s harsh. No wonder I cried!

We moved into our house in JT on the 1st of July last year.  It was 104˚ and my Fly Guy loves to DITY (Do IT Yourself) move so imagine the scenario between husband and wife  hefting a couch through the door in that heat.  It was the perfect storm.  Nevertheless, we made it through just like the last 8 times.

Now that I’m looking back over this last year, I’ve found that I have grown to enjoy the wild beauty that surrounds us.  Yes, the summers are still intense but you work with it.  I do my outside work in the morning and head inside by about 9am.  I spend the day indoors, and, if we push back bedtime for the kiddos a little, we can enjoy the evenings outside from 7pm on.  Still, at this point, we’re living for October.

Being a military wife, I’ve learned that there are always pros and cons to wherever you live.  I’m coaxing a few veggies out of my garden by having a raised garden bed with a water reservoir and a homemade shade tent.  I’m learning to do my baking in the (relative) cool of the morning or night.  My boys automatically wear sunglasses and cowboy hats when we run errands – and know to ALWAYS have a water bottle with them.

The up-side?  No mosquitos!  Yes, that is my silver lining.  I hate those things and this is my #1 perk to living in the desert.

#2 – I don’t think I’ll ever find a better place to line dry my laundry.  It’s even quicker than using my dryer and there is something very satisfying about line-drying your clothes.

 If you’re heading out this way, rest assured this can be a great place to live!  About 9 months out of the year, my family is out of the house and hiking all over the Joshua Tree National Park.  Hidden treasures abound – you just have to look for them!  We’ve made some wonderful friends here and as much as we’re looking forward to a grassy lawn, there are some things that we’ll miss when we move.  Like our view from our picture window at sundown:


 I might even shed a tear or two.

  1. Hey Em,
    Just read your blog for the first time. Meghan told me about it. I feel so out of touch! You are doing amazing things! I wish that I had the motivation and drive to do a fraction of what you do. I will try to call soon. Love!!!!

  2. Laura, you captured the spirit of this place beautifully! Yes, there is a peace and calmness of life here that is so refreshing after being in San Diego. Thank you for the insight!

  3. Emily,

    I must say I am in no way your typical mountain climbing, desert type of girl … I am, deep in my roots, of being a full “Cajun Coonass” from the swamplands of Louisiana. But to my surprise both times I visited with Yvonne before she moved from Joshua Tree I found myself loving the calmness and less hectic lifestyle the desert seemed to offer. The scenic views were all breathtaking, mountains bordered every angle of the town as a backdrop for the eye. I loved the rustic beauty it offers … a little, simple town which still had many dirt roads (mostly for Yvonne to scare the crap out of me driving down, but all in good laughter). I always laughted while giving Yvonne a hard time for all her “healthy” eatting habits but being there gives off a sense of wanting to be healthy. Can’t explain why but can completely understand how adapting those habits come easy to many … maybe it is a lack of resources that are available. I dunno … for me it was just something in the air; a cleaner atmosphere maybe?? lol … It could possible be that a lack of refineries allows for there to be more of a reason to want a healthier lifestyle, being surrounded by pollution and fumes kinda sets the “not so caring” attitude.
    There was a lot of “reflecting” for me during my time out there, and I think that I was able to bring back, a little more contentment within myself, with me home. That was the first time I had ever been away from my family that long, all by myself … I think it did, me, some good. And to be completely honest there couldn’t of been a better place to be secluded at or a better person to be secluded with, lol good ole Yvonne, can’t help but love her … it was nice catching up with her, in person and laughing about good ole times!!! It was very nice meeting you, I am glad she had a great friend to share her experience with while living there … hope to hang out again in the future, maybe you, I and yvonne should plan a girls trip to all meet up again!!


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