Early Spring 2024

Journal No.6, 2024

Spring warmed the desert landscape, welcomed by bold rains and wildflower blooms.

We kept the tiny home parked at Terraform Homestead, Bisbee AZ while Isaac and I flew to the East Coast for a week; me to see family and him for business. I met up with my brother Alex, and we spent time with our Uncle and Papa in Jacksonville, Florida. Isaac and I returned to Bisbee and continued working on the property for another 3 weeks, where I contributed to building the water cistern using the hyperadobe method, and various other small projects. Some of the folks on the property and I did a ceramic pit firing, where we cooked our low-fire clay art in an increasingly hot firepit for 12-24 hours. This took place in the cienega (wash) where the ground is naturally sandy and has many rocks, dried cow patties, and firewood that can be found to feed the fire. Most of the pieces came out great (some cracked with the transition of temperature, and some were lost in the coal pit at the end because they were too small), and I turned a few acorn and prickly pear charms into earrings to sell. While in Bisbee, I also got 2 more days selling at the Bisbee Saturday Market, and learned a lot about how I can prevent my art goods from flying away in the wind and still be on display. We spent some fun nights out; eating birria with corn tortillas in the border town of Naco, Mexico, playing darts at an original saloon in Old Tombstone, and navigating Old Bisbee’s winding streets and friendly folks. The history in this area is always exciting to learn about, and much of it is still visible by the city planning, architecture, and literal ground (copper, silver, gold, geodes, and turquoise can be found in the surrounding mountains and cienegas). After some rains, it was time for Lady Loam to begin a new adventure up north. We found that the hours requested to work on the homestead versus the amenities and facilities provided were not worth the experience of the labour exchange. We spent a few days camping in Coronado National Forest, AZ in the Dragoon Mountains east of Tombstone with the friends we made at the homestead. We were surrounded by waves of creosote and sky islands, and enjoyed times by the campfire. Isaac and I got a number of little projects done on the tiny home, fixing little things, adding smart storage solutions, and getting road ready again.

We then spent the long weekend at Isaac’s parent’s house in Gilbert, AZ and parked Lady Loam at his aunt and uncle’s place. Artie loved playing with the Harper dogs, and we rested and recharged as much as we could with the family. I sold my art at a big weekend market called Made With Love, “Spring Fling” at Gilbert City Center. There were a lot of kids, so I set up a community coloring station that became a big hit. Unfortunately, the 10x10 tent I had purchased the day before the event broke from the wind on the second day, and the sales I had the whole weekend didn’t cover the cost of the tent, (let alone the application fee, business license fee, and criminally high booth reservation for the 3-day event) so it will be awhile until I pay into another market. Still, I look forward to selling with the same group in December at one of their holiday markets, and plan on selling at smaller markets until then.

To our relief and surprise, I got a seasonal job teaching outdoor education at a beloved forest center at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon. I found out this job starts April 1 (it was mid-March at the time that I was offered the job), so rather than making our way east into New Mexico for spring, we will be booking it the PNW in just 4 travel days (20 hours total!) to make it for the first day. I am really looking forward to teaching environmental subjects again and creating community in the PNW, and even more excited to spend time in the magical temperate rainforests for springtime. Let us know if you have any Portland/Eugene event or location recommendations! We have both visited before, but we will live in the area for a full 2 months this time, allowing lots of time for day-trip activities and such.

After the long weekend in Gilbert, we turned north and hauled Lady Loam back to a camping spot we loved in the early winter, near Wikiup, AZ on BLM Land managed by the Kingman Field Office. As our last hurrah in the Sonoran Desert, we secured a breathtaking free camp spot surrounded by views of the Sky islands, and everywhere you look is comparable to the most diverse and lively science diagram of Sonoran ecology. The ocotillo’s red blooms, neon yellow creosote flowers, bright Arizona poppies, and violet lupines welcome us and simultaneously bids us a sweet farewell.

Big Takeaways: Southern Arizona is a lot drier and less plant-diverse than the Tucson area. In a similar way, northwestern Arizona is much more mountainous and plant-diverse than the Phoenix area. Experiencing rain in the desert (even after 5 years) will always be an awesome phenomenon. Isaac’s new Stetson cowboy hat he bought in Tombstone is timelessly iconic.


isabelle's painted sky ● Copywright 2023