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Penny Harper: Living the dream

Penny Harper, a farmer and earthen dome builder in Hinkley, is a retired registered nurse.

“I don't look back anymore,” says Harper. “I live in the present and create my future ... living on my ranch, pursuing my dreams.”

Harper is currently involved with the Hinkley Bible Church, the Mojave Desert Gem and Mineral Society, Barstow Master Composters, Equestrian Trails Inc. and Cal-Earth adobe building.

“Here at the ranch my team and I grow organic vegetables and fruit, keep bees, remove bee swarms from trees, raise chickens for eggs, and build compost piles to nourish the soil. I love to teach people about transforming desert soil so you can grow your own nutritious vegetables.”

Q: Describe a special memory you have in the High Desert.
A: Watching the desert tortoises and tarantulas migrate from east to west in March each year across my open desert property north of Hinkley is just a memory now. Because they have disappeared. They were last sighted here three years ago.

Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I read books printed on paper.

Q: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
A: I do not dye my hair. The color is natural.

Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
A: Eliminate daylight saving time.
Q: If you could change one thing about the High Desert, what would it be?
A: Bring in moderate rainfall monthly.
Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
A: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. To enjoy his presence.

 Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: Henry Thoreau.
Q: What talent do you most wish you had?
A: Levitation.
Q: What is your favorite quotation?
A: It is better to give than to receive.
Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?
A: Don't depend on the current system to provide you with a life, a job, a future. You will need to create your own future.

Q: Tell us about the charities or causes that are close to your heart and why.
A: Save The Earth. It's our only home currently.
Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?
A: Transforming the barren, salty, alkaline soil on my desert property, making it fertile so we can grow fruit, vegetables and pasture.
Q: What’s your favorite movie and why?
A: AVATAR. Teaches us that we are not our body, that we can migrate to a new body when this one dies, so we are immortal. Death is not the end, then.
Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about living in the High Desert?
A: The peace and quiet out in the totally natural open spaces made by the Creator, especially looking up at the starry sky at night.
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: I work for myself at my ranch now full-time and choose what I do, when I will do it, for how long and with whom.
Q: What book had a significant impact on you?
A: The Bible.
Q: Of all the places you’ve been, what’s your favorite and why?
A: Harper Lake Valley where I live. The possibilities are unlimited here.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A: I already went there — it was Tibet. I felt strongly drawn there for decades. It was like going home again.
Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: Levitation.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in the High Desert?
A: Star East Chinese Buffet on Highway18  in Apple Valley.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: More energy, looking younger, slimmer, healthier, learning to make it rain.
Q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
A: You have to create your own lifestyle and live it. Don't walk someone else's path. Be your own person.

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