Alison Carroll

Alison Carroll lives near the national park in Joshua Tree, CA. She focuses on creating beautiful and useful goods for health and for home through her company Wonder Valley.
website / instagram

01    Nature

One evening around dusk, we sat around drinking margaritas by a friend’s pool, a cattle trough tucked into the boulders. Dozens of small bats started swooping in one at a time to take sips from the pool, all the while quail families started hopping into a nearby tall Alepo pine tree to put a safe distance between them and the packs of coyotes that descend from the rocks after dark.

02    Object (old)

One of the few items we kept from the previous homeowners was a book written in 1940 called Desert Wild Flowers by botanist Edmund C. Jaeger. It’s been a tremendous resource for cactus propagation and identification. Tucked into the book was an article from 1959, the year the house was built, on the desert superblooms from recent rains, which the Mojave experienced again this year.

03    Object (new)

A very meaningful new purchase was our metal roof panels. The house has been bald and weathering the wind and rain as we’ve waited an extra month for their delivery.

04    Surprise

I walked up to my front door after returning from town and before I could place the key in the lock, the slow crawl of stripes at my feet caught my attention. A kingsnake; a beautiful protector and groundskeeper from nearby venomous snakes, a wonderful omen for a new home.

05    Encounter

I met Jack the old neighbor in the wash at the end of the road, the secret neighborhood access point into section 5, hundreds of acres of BLM land. Jack’s parents were homesteaders; they build his house in the 1950s after being selected from a lottery of veterans to receive free five-acre parcels of land. Jack’s seen it all. The particular wash we met in has very unusual boulder patterns and split rocks, and we always thought it was due to an earthquake or fault line. Jack explained that one neighbor stuffed sticks of dynamite into the wash and blew it up decades ago as a response to the government’s plans to open it up as an off-road vehicle route. It is only passable by foot now.

06    Night Out

A friend, Tim Whitten, from Deer Isle, Maine overnighted us a gift: sixlive lobsters. We had a downeast in the hi-dez night with Glen and Steve and made California lobster rolls (+ avocado, lime not lemon) and pina coladas. We used a set of plyers to split the shells open.

07    Day Out

For my birthday, I asked Jay to make all the plans and let me enjoy the ride. The first stop was at the local car rental to pick up a sports car to zip around the desert...really made it feel like a vacation that way. I ate piles of waffles with salted butter for breakfast and we explored areas of the desert new to us, hiking the Whitewater preserve and mineral soaks at Desert Hot Springs, hoping the town would live up to the strangeness of Robert Altman’s portrayal of it in “Three Women.”

08    Time Alone

Time alone is sparse and invaluable…usually spent stretching, meditating, reading, writing, cooking something new and when possible – napping.

09    Time With A Friend

Danielle spent her last California weekend with us before moving to Hawaii the next day. We drove to Wonder Valley and spent the day at Jack’s pool. The sun was so strong that day. We wore a hippie natural spf that made our faces ghost white as we talked about what’s next for us both. Later, we ate ribs at Pappy & Harriet’s with friends. I drove her to the Palm Springs airport at 4am, and watched the sunrise from the park when I got home.

010    Movie / TV / Book

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander sits on my bedside table as a guiding light through construction and architecture.
Currently watching "The Walking Dead" series with my husband, or as we call it, "Night Stress."

011    Creative Act

I spent the last six weeks rehabbing a 1951 vagabond trailer with Jay: replacing birch panels from water damage, installing a floor, building cabinets, a daybed, and bed platform… all while staining and sealing the wood in a way to match the yellowed old original wood. It feels like sleeping in a boat.


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photo by Jay Carroll

photo by Jay Carroll

photo by Alison Carroll

photo by Alison Carroll