• The Boulders (map)
  • Kelvin Florence Road
  • Kearny, AZ, 85137
  • United States

I'll be teaching a series of classes and workshops at...

Winter Count Gathering

…at the Boulders

held near Kearny, AZ

February 10-16, 2019

The Boulders… just above camp at Winter Count

The Boulders… just above camp at Winter Count

Once you register for the week you can sign up for one of my following classes:

Creosote Bush: The Governess of the Desert - Monday,  9:30a-2:30p  *includes medicine making

Ocotillo: Healing Heart of the Desert - Tuesday, 9:30a-2:30p  *includes medicine making

Ogham: Language of the Trees - Wednesday, 9:30a-12p

Wild Plant Foods of the Sonoran Desert - Wednesday, 1:30-3:30p

Ancestral Foods: Processing Acorns - Thursday  9a-12:30p *pit baking acorn bread

Creosote Bush: The Governess of the Desert


Monday: 9:30a-2:30p

A morning exploration of creosote bush: walkabout, discussion, plant meditation, and recap.

Known as creosote bush, chaparral, hediondilla, governadora, guámis, shegoi, and many other names Larrea tridentata is one of the most valuable healing plants of the North American deserts. A powerful medicine with a great variety of applications that is safe for use both internally and topically. Join John for a discussion and deep exploration of this powerful plant ally in its native habitat. 
Come back for the 2nd half of class (1-2:30p) where we'll prepare an creosote bush oil infusion. Materials fee $5 (includes qt mason jar and organic olive oil).

Ocotillo: Healing Heart of the Desert


Tuesday: 9:30a-2:30p 

Ocotillo lights up the hillsides each spring with a magnificent display of its red flowers. The preindustrial torch of the desert to show the way for travelers in the night.

Ocotillo lights the way for many who seek healing within the bounding immensity of the desert. Join John for a walkabout and intimate exploration with ocotillo in its native habitat. A healer of the emotional heart, ocotillo holds many wonders including the power to transform one's deepest fears and pains of the heart into beauty, lightness, and understanding.  

Following our in-depth exploration and discussion with ocotillo, we will be preparing a tincture of ocotillo as a group. This will take place after lunch (1-2:30p) at John's white shade cloud tent. A materials fee of about $6-15 (for jar and alcohol) depending on the size of tincture you wish to make. 

**Break for Lunch from 12-1p**

Ogham: The Ancient Language of the Trees

Book of Ballymote Ogham scripts.jpg

Wednesday: 9:30a-12p 

Ogham (pronounced OH-um) is an ancestral language of Ireland and the druids which can be found throughout western Europe and North America dating back hundreds to thousands of years old. Often referred to as "the language of the trees" it has dozens of representations.

Known as a written as well as a sign language, Ogham has undoubtedly held many uses over the centuries. Carved along the edges  or across the face of large stones, it can communicate a great deal of information. Many of the sites recording ogham within the greater Southwest U.S. also possess alignments with significant solar dates (equinox, solstices) and images associated with ancient deities.   

The language of Nature is embedded in all of creation. Thus, it is said that the sound of each tree ogham is a reflection of the sound it makes when the wind blows through the tree.

During this class, John will share an overview of ogham as a language, as a divinatory tool, and as a means to reconnect to the worldview, beliefs, and understandings of our ancient ancestors (from Europe and elsewhere). 

Wild Plant Foods of the Sonoran Desert


Wednesday: 1:30a-3:30p 

A discussion and demonstration of a wide variety of plant foods from the Sonoran desert region.

Utilizing preserved samples of foraged plant foods from the Sonoran desert, John will lead a discussion on the great bounty of wild plant foods available throughout the Sonoran desert bioregion (from sea level to 10,000 feet elevation). Samples will be passed around for tasting and a discussion of gathering and processing techniques will be shared about a wide variety of plants.

The "cornerstone" plant foods of the Sonoran desert (e.g. saguaro, prickly pear, mesquite, palo verde) will be discussed in depth with samples of each to share. 

Anyone attending this class can purchase John's book, Southwest Foraging, for $20 (regular price - $25)

Ancestral Foods: Processing Acorns - Includes pit baking Acorn Bread and other foraged treats! 


Interested in acorns but feeling intimidated about what to do with them, or how to make them edible? In this information-packed, hands-on workshop, John will take the participants through all the steps of processing acorns for food, and provide recipes for preparing your leached acorn meal.

We’ll fully process sun-dried acorns, prepare them as a bread to pit bake, then enjoy a small feast to wrap up the class. All participants will get hands-on experience with processing acorns, and everyone will leave with the knowledge and experience to properly process all acorns for food. 

The virtues, history, and ethnobotany of oaks and acorns is vast and diverse. We'll begin our workshop with some discussion of this vast lore as John guides us on a walk through the history of oaks in the ancient world highlighting why oaks were so important and highly revered by our ancestors of the northern hemisphere - and why they’re so important here in Arizona, “the Land of the Good Oak.

Next we’ll take dry acorns and turn them into a ready to use flour using basic tools and techniques. There are so many ways to utilize acorn flour in your everyday home cooking, and John will provide a variety of suggestions for you to try at home.

Feel free to bring your sun-dried acorns to class for processing if you have them.

Early adult registration ends at midnight January 18!

Visit https://wintercountcamp.com/ticket-info for ticket info

Hope to see you there!