May 15, 2018


I swear I thought I'd get back to blogging on a regular basis. Alas, no. Meanwhile here's a rundown of what's been happening. I almost wrote, "haps" but I'd have to put on a black beret and snap my fingers while writing and that's just too much, man, too much.

I made it through an entire winter depending on a wood burning stove for heat. Because I often take on a scarcity mentality, I have enough wood to last through the Apocalypse. My holtzhausen I was so proud of building has become a birthing unit and luxury high-rise for desert rats and squirrels. The only way to remedy this is to tear it down and reconstruct it. As I write this, the tiniest little baby squirrel is dining on one of my agaves.
Time needed: 1 full day
Skill Level: moderate
Enthusiasm: meh

I bought ten native plants from the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Three survived. I call this a success. My friend, Kate and her brother were passing through over the winter and brought with them some fig offshoot. Her brother planted 3 fig saplings. They looked like twigs, but I call them saplings. One survived and is currently in a primitive cage I built to protect it from the squirrels. It will grow up feeling isolated, but very special.

I've been lax on building necessary storage space for things most people put in their garage. Doesn't everyone have a storage tree?

I'm happy to report that the Ground Nests I built as part of the Archeology Project have withstood winds up to 45-50 mph.

Work from the paint studio has been slow but steady. The work continues to focus on place, only now here in the Mojave Desert. Rocks still show up in the work, as do plants and micro-bits of the terrain and artifacts that resurface after the winds and rain. I made the observation last week that there are more shades of green here than back east. Prickly Pear, Barrel Cacti, Agave, Palo Verdes, Mexican Birds of Paradise, Creosote, Lavender, Rosemary, Alepo Pines, Joshua Trees, of course, Yucca, Cholla, some wildflowers and numerous other plants I haven't learnt the names of. All green.

I've been making videos documenting ordinary routines of homesteading life, mixed in with some video meditations on life here in the desert.

Update: After spotting the third squirrel enter the holtzhausen condo today, I tore it down and have begun rebuilding it.  I was going to leave an opening but structurally that's a no-go.

My desertversary approaches....

November 11, 2017


HDV, 3:03 min. color, sound.

THE ARCHEOLOGY TAPES 1: WHAT DIRECTION SHOULD YOU FACE A BUDDHA? takes place on a parcel of land in the Mojave Desert, where over time, past residents had used the property as a private landfill for both household and green waste. Using both collected and constructed footage, the video blends fact with fiction to create a poetic narrative about a modern-day homesteader in the process of building a large nest and bioswale out of the yard debris left behind. THE ARCHEOLOGY TAPES series continues my investigation into domestic space, the everyday, and the absurd, while leaving behind in real life, a site-specific environmental arts piece that will facilitate land rehabilitation in the damaged area. 

October 09, 2017

Oct 9, 2017.

Test shots of Ground Nest in progress. The area behind my house was used as a dumping ground for burning dead pines and oleander, along with detritus left behind by owners, past. I’m working on a rehabilitating the areas that were scorched and composting into sculptural habitats for desert creatures. There’s also the amateur archeological aspect to the project as I catalog the household items I find buried and scattered on the ground. 

October 02, 2017

OCTOBER 2, 2017

OCTOBER 2, 2017
Before we found out about Las Vegas, before we found out about Tom Petty, it was just another day.

Desert Housekeeping, PB&J Detail, video, 2017

Giant Rock (Screen Test 1, Agnes), video, 2017

September 23, 2017

Russian Roulette

She avoided doing the repair because dark, cramped spaces reminded her of the four years she lived in a cave and ate scorpions while waiting for the new regime—but then she got an estimate from a licensed contractor and put on a pot of Oleander tea. 

September 19, 2017

Tales From the Dump: Casual Friday

Casual Friday was his favorite day of the week but the summer had been stressful for us both. He took a long inhale and said he was taking off again- didn't know where or how long. As he exhaled he smiled and blew a ring of smoke in my face. I picked up my Heineken and took the last sip. No need to let good beer go to waste. They never found his other shoe.  

September 14, 2017

Tales From The Dump: The Man in the Blue Polo

Pretend like you're holding an invisible knife, I said. Otherwise it looks like you're fidgeting with your bandana.  A few days later I found his vision board in the garbage along with a receipt from SkyMall and an ode to polo shirts he had written the summer we first met. It was a doomed relationship from the start. 

September 13, 2017


Mary Addison Hackett, Concrete Jetty (after Robert Smithson), installed at Jemez Homestead, Flamingo Heights, JOSHUA TREE, California,  summer, 2017. Photo by Sierra Delgado.

While watering plants at Jemez Homestead, I discovered pieces of broken concrete strewn about. Spiral Jetty came to mind and I spent some time imposing my sense of order. "Jetty" from the French word, jetée, meaning "thrown," signifies something thrown out. The lack of a local body of water, did not deter me. 
Mary Addison Hackett, Concrete Jetty (after Robert Smithson), installed at Jemez Homestead, Flamingo Heights, JOSHUA TREE, California,  summer, 2017. Photo by Sierra Delgado.

September 11, 2017

Desert Nights

When I was a kid I asked my mom whether she liked day or night the best. She said night. Being around 5 years old, the full spectrum of nighttime was over my head but it struck me as an adult answer, full of mystery and a little dangerous. Every time I pull in my desert driveway late at night, I feel like I'm in a David Lynch film.

August 27, 2017

Hi-Desert Breadbox

Because it’s Sunday, I decide to sleep in. I still have yesterday’s headache. I let the dog out and go back to bed.

8:03 am. 
I’m unable to sleep in. I boil water for coffee. Based on experience, this is day 2 of a 3.5 day migraine. I made fresh guacamole yesterday for Michelle and Caroline, but forgot to offer it to them. I also forgot that I was testing out my breadbox. Inside was a new loaf of store-bought bread still wrapped in plastic, an opened bag of tortilla chips, with the top folded down a couple of times to seal in freshness, and a small cup containing a few tortilla chips basking sans wrapper in the tidy confines of the breadbox. 

8:04 am.
I open the breadbox and scream. Inside was a legion of ants crawling all over my breadbox test subjects. In succession, I douse the entire counter and breadbox with organic ant killer, vinegar, peppermint soap, cedar oil, and more vinegar. Next I wipe the floor down and take the party outside. Lighting fast observations: The cup of exposed chips is covered in ants. The bag of open, but loosely sealed bag of chips, is also creeping me out. I scrutinize the six dollar loaf of unopened bread thoroughly. I transfer the sliced bread to a Ziploc bag and place the bag in the fridge. Fuck freshness. I mist the counter with cedar oil once more and vacuum. 

10 am.
I re-boil my water for the 3rd time and finally make coffee. I still have a migraine. The coffee tastes funny, but I am ant free for now. I burn sage and wave it over the killing fields. The breadbox sits empty and open. Outside by the trashcan there's a hermetically sealed trash bag full of ants gorging themselves silly on fucking chips.

11 am.
I open the six dollar loaf of bread and carefully look for any signs of life. Satisfied there is none, I decide guacamole on toast will help my migraine. The toast is fine. The guac is fine, but I still have a migraine.

1:38 pm
I try recuperating in every room of the house. Currently I’m on the couch tucked away from the sunlight. It’s dark even though it's a beautiful day outside. Since the morning coffee tasted awful, I’m having iced this afternoon. I’ve never had my taste buds affected by a headache, but it could have been the combination of organics this morning. Fun fact: ants have a chemical compound that can cause blindness. I rub my eyes a lot these days. Floaters, ants. I take nothing for granted. 

2:35 pm. 
Earlier in the week I rsvp’d to a film screening to be held tonight. I was looking forward to this event, but it requires I use my eyes. Why can’t migraines affect your elbows or little toes? Because: 
migraine. late 14c., megrim, from Old French migraigne (13c.), from vulgar pronunciation of Late Latin hemicrania "pain in one side of the head, headache," from Greek hemikrania, from hemi- "half" + kranion "skull" (see cranium).

2:47 pm.
Latin class is over. Time for another nap. I try a yoga mat on the floor. Child's pose, then Shavasana, also known as corpse pose. I use an eye pillow, but my body is restless. I backtrack and try and pinpoint what triggered the migraine. 

4:28 pm
I change out of my pajamas. Sort of. Switched tops. I've eaten most of the guac and five slices of six dollar bread by now. Coffee's not doing it today, so I've been hydrating  with water in between naps. The migraine is still there, but knowing I'm possibly over the worst of it, I feel like I can stay in an upright position for 30 minutes at a time. The eyes are tired though and I can't focus. 

4: 35 pm 
I feed Agnes and eat the remaining guac on toast for my own dinner. 

I miss the film screening. One day I will rip out that granite counter top that camouflages the ants. I don't know what wlll become of the breadbox.