Friday, June 14

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Owner-Builder Conversations: Where are they now? Juniper Good

By John Rowe 

I wrote a series of articles five years ago about people who were building their own homes in the Baca. The Crestone area has a long history of folks homesteading here, building all manner of homes, usually environmentally friendly ones. I am going back to speak with them again, just to see how they are doing and how the homesteading experience has been for them. 

This month I interviewed Juniper Good, who built a colorful and eclectic home in the Grants. It seems part pagoda, part greenhouse, part castle. 

It is part frame, part cob, and I don’t know what else. Juniper is unique among all the builders I have met insofar as he grew up in Crestone and started building his home at the tender age of 19. I interviewed him on his 30th birthday and he is still at it, adding finishing touches here and there. Juniper is chock-full of ideas about building and about all sorts of things to do with his life. Allow me to introduce you to Juniper: 

EAGLE: Most kids who grew up in small town America couldn’t wait to finish school and head out for a big city somewhere. And yet here you are, in your 30s now, very much dug in here in Crestone. What’s up with that? 

JUNIPER: [smiling, which he does a lot of] It’s beautiful here! All the wildlife, scenery, mountains, and more. I love it here, I have a lot of family nearby, we have all kinds of different people here doing all kinds of interesting things. I am happy to be calling this home base. The land invites you to have perspective, gratitude, and gives you the ability to grow spiritually in the midst of a chaotic world. 

EAGLE: What do you like best about your house? 

JUNIPER: There is peace, stability, and comfort in knowing you have your own place, free-and-clear of any mortgages. No matter what, no one can ever take this away from me. There is also much peace to be had in living in the middle of nature, of being able to have a nice garden. 

I love the freedom my house affords me. I can rent my home out and travel — almost anywhere. I just got back from Africa and have visited four other continents. I have already seen a lot of humanity and plan on much more. Who knows what is next?

EAGLE: What have you learned about the building process? 

photos by Matt Lit

JUNIPER: I have been building for over 10 years and I realize I know only a little. There is so much to learn. 

EAGLE: What advice would you like to pass on to new builders? 

JUNIPER: Invite your family into your project, have a blueprint that is as specific as possible, use YouTube and books for ideas, build with food growth potential in mind. 

EAGLE: What design ideas worked and what did not go so well? 

JUNIPER: I think including a walipini greenhouse (partially underground with warm air circulation) into the design was a good idea. Incorporating my school bus into the body of the house was not. It is a cold living space and allows rodents to migrate freely inside — not good at all. 

EAGLE: How has building your house changed you? 

JUNIPER: I have a sense of place, of belonging. I believe that I am in the process of becoming the person I want to be. 

EAGLE: What have you discovered about yourself? 

JUNIPER: I have discovered my creative self. It unfolded more and more, the further I got into the building process. The house began to take on the characteristics of qi gong, and the second and third stories pushed the structure into a more cultural milieu, hence the colorful themes of Africa and India. There are various meditation centers throughout the house as well, reflecting the qi gong influence. 

This creative impetus becoming manifest led me to attend and graduate from Crestone Healing Arts Center and create my own healing business — see Nature’s Temple on Facebook. This is now in process and will be a rehab center to reconnect people to their natural selves. There will be holistic and integrated body ayurvedic treatments, soaking tubs, meditation practice, and more. 

I have discovered in creating a home that I love to have purpose in life and will continue to follow these creative urges that the building process brought to the forefront. I think building a house at such a young age also kept me from destructive forces that can be alluring. I feel that I was able to grow spiritually without a lot of worldly distraction.

EAGLE: You certainly have grown up since you and I last talked at length. Anything more along those lines you would like to share? 

JUNIPER: My attitudes towards the POA have changed. I see now that they help keep Crestone cleaned up, help keep people accountable and to stick to their plans. And all the growth has not spoiled the broad and varied nature of the people who make up Crestone. I find much to love about this place.

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