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Sunday, March 27th, 2016 | Author:

Jug Handle Creek Farm hosted the Tibetan monks of GADEN SHARTSE DOKHANG MONASTERY  to stay in the farmhouse while they were visiting Caspar from March 20-24, 2016.

The monks are on a Compassion tour to raise funds to rebuild a dormitory at their monastery in India. You can read more about their tour and offerings at



The monks worked for 3 days on a sand mandala at the Caspar Community Center, with the final sweeping away of the mandala that was returned to the ocean at Jug Handle State Reserve.

Warren and I were ever so grateful for this magical experience and the blessing that the Jug Handle Creek Farm received during their stay.


“Mandala means literally “that which extracts the essence.” There are many different types of mandalas used by Tibetan Buddhists. They can be created in either two or three dimensions. The ones on the monks’ tour will be two-dimensional sand mandalas. These are without doubt the most creative, labor intensive, and concentration intensive of all mandalas created. The ones provided on the tour will require between two and five days of effort, completed by several monks at a time, including several Mandala Masters. Prayers are said throughout the making of the mandala. Traditionally, upon completion, the mandala is swept up and placed in a river, lake, or ocean as an offering to purify the surrounding environment. It is possible to make the mandala permanent. Please let the monks know in advance if you wish to preserve the mandala.

Pricing for the sand mandalas vary. A small version (approx. 1.5 ft by 1.5 ft) is usually done in one to two days, with the largest (approx. 5 ft by 5 ft) taking four to five days. We generally seek funding from corporate sponsors, private donors, grants or venues such as universities, museums, etc., that have budgets for these types of events. However, people can also arrange for one to be made and preserved in their home. Cost is $1500 to $2000 per day.”

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Jug Handle’s new grant from the State Coastal Conservancy is Now Official

Thursday, November 12th, 2015 | Author:

The State Coastal Conservancy’s October meeting in Fort Bragg had a wonderful outcome for Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center in Caspar. A new $ 600,000 grant agreement  was officially approved by the Conservancy for Jug Handle.

The project will provide new affordable visitor serving accommodations with access to the coast and ocean which is a need in this coastal area.   Through this project, Jug Handle’s campground will be enhanced with showers, sinks and flush toilets–something never before offered in this primitive camping spot.   

A new bunkhouse designed  to serve large school groups or service groups such as Americorps and the California Conservation Corps (up to 30) also been designed into four large rooms that can serve family groups and other smaller groupings.

The facility will provide four -season visitor accommodations. Botanical studies, avoidance of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas, pinpointing of solar gain, soils and topographical work were all completed to ascertain the ideal building placements within the site.

The Conservancy had previously provided Jug Handle with two grants to complete all required studies, planning and visioning meetings, preliminary surveys including: topographical; wetland; botanical; soils; hydro logical; archaeological, Permaculture Site Design Plan; two public design meetings; architectural programming report and schematic designs; cost estimates; mapping and site plans.  Construction design is still being completed as well as construction level septic plan and storm water plan.

Jug Handle’s Coastal Development Permit was approved in June, 2015 and Jug Handle is taking all necessary steps to meet the conditions of approval.

While Jug Handle Farm and Nature Center currently has a nice open, undeveloped camping space with pit toilets and cold running water, the addition of a plumbed restroom and shower facility will serve the new bunkhouse users as well as the general campers, making this campground a much more desirable low-cost visitor serving accommodation.

Jug Handle as a nature education center hosts several local and regional school groups throughout the year  and has hosted several environmental resource groups such as the Coho Confab or Salmon Restoration Federation’s field school.  To date, there has been no indoor teaching space or large meeting room available at Jug Handle to serve these groups.

A new 915 square foot teaching room  attached to the bunk cabins is designed to hold classes and workshops and provides a needed sheltered space for teaching and presentations for large groups.

The goals of this portion of Jug Handle’s Education and Access Site Enhancement Project are:

to provide additional low cost visitor serving facilities with access to the Coast and Ocean; to host many more restoration/education groups such as Americorps, Ca. Conservation Corps, Coho Confab, Salmon Restoration Federation and others; to provide more family friendly overnight spaces; to increase the attractiveness and functionality of the current primitive campground and to Increase comfort level of overnight visitors to the Nature Center and Lodge.

The project will additionally provide an indoor, sheltered teaching and/or meeting space and thus will allow Jug Handle to increase restoration/Education Training and other environmental workshops on site.

Jug Handle for several years has worked with Americorps volunteer teams on landscape restoration tasks at Jug Handle and several State Parks. The new bunk cabin structure will allow Jug Handle to increase coastal restoration activities with Americorps, Ca. Conservation Corps and other groups and thus  to help several community groups who also need low cost housing for shared Americorps teams.

Local State Parks has two bunk cabins which often house Americorps groups; California Conservation Corps and Park interns, but these cabins are full almost all year  The new bunk house at Jug Handle Creek Farm will fill a community need by providing an additional low cost lodging for these conservation/education/restoration groups that serve community agencies and non-profit organizations.

Letters of support for Jug Handle’s project were received from:

State Parks, Mendocino Sector Superintendent, Loren Rex; Senator Mike McGuire; Assemblymember Jim Wood; Mendocino County 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde;

Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner and City Council ;Fort Bragg Unified School District Superintendent Charles Bush and President of the Dorothy King Young Chapter of the Ca. Native Plant Society,Nancy Morin

For Information: Contact Helene  Chalfin, Director Grants/Ediucation & Site Enhancement Project.

Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center
(707) 937-3498

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New Innkeepers

Friday, April 03rd, 2015 | Author:

Warren and Michelle Bishop

Warren and Michelle BishopAfter two years of circling the globe and managing retreat centers, Warren and Michelle are excited to ground down as innkeepers at Jug Handle Creek Farm.

Warren grew up in London, England. His career has taken him to many beautiful spots across the world. He lived in Bermuda and Latvia as a currency trader. Then, found his way to Egypt and worked as a scuba diving instructor in the Red Sea. He then immigrated to Australia where he continued as a diving instructor on the Great Barrier Reef, which then led him to leave the sea and head to the sky. There he started “flying” as a skydiver. After years of traveling to Southeast Asia, he began to study meditation, yoga and massage. For the past 10 years, Warren has worked as an international yoga teacher and massage therapist in Australia, Portugal, Costa Rica, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Warren and Michelle BishopMichelle is a Southern Belle from Alabama, with a wild spirit. She was “called home” after her first trip to the Redwood Forest in 1995. She finished her last year of college at Humboldt State University in 1997, and visited the Mendocino Coast. Her first night of camping nearby at Russian Gulch State Park, she confessed “one day I will live here.” And, 18 years later the Universe answered with a “YES” and offer to support Jug Handle Creek Farm. Michelle moved to Portland, Oregon in 2000 and was excited to jump into the food and wine scene. She spent her first winter abroad working in the vineyards of New Zealand, and continued to study wine at the International Sommelier Guild. In 2007, a car accident invited changes in her life and yoga and meditation became a daily practice. Michelle went to Thailand to deepen her studies in yoga and there she met Warren in a 3 month intensive course. It was in 2008, that Michelle immigrated to Australia and the 2 married on Halloween. Michelle took up a wine sales role in Queensland for 4 years, and managed a small yoga studio. Once she became an Australian citizen, the two embarked on a worldwide adventure of teaching yoga and managing retreat centers.

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Americorps Green 3 Hard at Work at Jughandle

Wednesday, March 04th, 2015 | Author:

  • _MG_1474

The Americorps NCCC Team  assigned to Jug Handle beginning in January 2015 have been working steadily at the Farm to accomplish major site enhancements and beautification.  Working with Jug Handle naturalists Adrienne Long and Fern Tahja; the 8 member team has been diligently carrying out a long task list developed by SIte Enhancement Project Director, Helene Chalfin.

Left to right: Tyler, Audrey, Alex, Jade, Shannon  (Team Leader) , Alison, Alexa and Rafael.

Left to right: Tyler, Audrey, Alex, Jade, Shannon (Team Leader) , Alison, Alexa and Rafael.

Americorps has completed two of the three back meadows at the Farm in removing young gorse seedlings.  The end of this week, they began work on the third meadow, near the viewing platform  on the campground loop trail.

Two full packages of black trash bags have been filled with the gorse uprooted so far by the Americorps team.

The  team has also completed all  the weeding  around the  front and back of top of hill building; north side of Eucalyptus Cabin, north side of Top of Hill Building;   Areas surrounding  the Greenhouse garden fence and  the Alder Cabin.

The team has installed native plants  around the Eucalyptus cabin; including Fairy bells, columbines and wild strawberry; mugwort  to the west of the Grand Fir Cabin and Coltsfoot in shady areas near the Orchard cabin and  east Greenhouse fence.
More chips were hauled over to cover the weeded areas to create a thick mulch for the installed native plants.

Tyler Audrey ( in wheelbarrow); Shannon, Rafael Adrienne ( JH Staff Naturalist); Jade, Alex, Alison and Alexa pose on top of a huge pile of weeds they pulled out of the western hillside of the Farm.

Tyler Audrey (in wheelbarrow); Shannon, Rafael Adrienne ( JH Naturalist); Jade, Alex, Alison and Alexa pose on top of a huge pile of weeds pulled from the western hillside of the Farm.

They have also  completed the weeding of the wild ginger bed east of the picket fence behind the Farmhouse and installed more fairy bells and columbines on both sides of the fence.  A team member repaired the picket fence close to the laundry room where it had broken down.

Among other jobs in the overall site beautification project, the team removed debris, old wood and garbage from the east side of the Top of Hill Building;  from behind the Greenhouse; cleaned up fallen branches in preparation for mowing near alder cabin; and began weed eating around the periphery of nursery area and garden fence as well as inside the food garden area after pulling many weeds by hand.  The scrap lumber pile was reorganized and unsalvageable wood taken to the burn pile.

We have completed clean-up and reorganization of nursery area and periphery; still a little to do; and the food garden area is in process of a major overhaul; plus more weeding.

The team spent 3 days with Jug Ha ndle Gardens coordinator Ariane Fuller working on terrace gardens; Creamery garden and Farmhouse back yard garden.  The 3rd day, 2 of the team members helped to replant in other areas several plants dug up from the terrace gardens the day before, so that the plants would survive.

Tyler ; Audrey; Rafael, Shannon; Fern Tahja (JH staff Naturalist); Jade; Alison; Alex and Alexa : atiop hundreds of weeds pulled from western hillside at the Farm.

Tyler ; Audrey; Rafael, Shannon; Fern Tahja (JH staff Naturalist); Jade; Alison; Alex and Alexa : atiop hundreds of weeds pulled from western hillside at the Farm.

The team also repotted several trees at the nursery;  helped divide and cut back a few species of plants; sterilized  many pots and prepared needed dirt mixes.  The team also helped to extract seed of Bishop Pine  and Pygmy Cypress from the cones; and extracted seed was planted and set up in outdoor cages for next year’s crop of trees.

Among the other jobs completed by Americorps  was the complete weeding and mulching of the entire western hillside to the Farmhouse.   Plants that needed to be moved were dug up and replanted further down the hill.  More plastic and cardboard was laid down after weeding and covered by chips–hard job pushing wagons and carts uphill from the chip pile.

Still to do is broom removal on the north field and highway fence and Jug Handle’s property of the trail to the beach, as well as continued gorse removal near campground and adjacent meadows. Another job coming up in the team’s last two weeks is creating cuttings from plants such as pink flowering currant salmonberry and wax myrtle to set up for future nursery stock.

Also still to do is a check of trail work on two trails completed last year for accessibility.  Dead branches behind the Grand Fir cabin will also be cleaned up and taken to the burn pile.

Our Coastal trail Day with Americorps is scheduled for March 17th, when the team will install Deschampsia and Douglas Iris which is part of a new plant order for the City of Fort Bragg.  March 17th is the last day we will have the team.

If there is enough time; we will also take a day to do a restoration project at Point Arena/National Monument–still to be determined.

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See the Festival Lights – and stay locally

Thursday, November 13th, 2014 | Author:

Xmas lights at the Botanical Gardens

Xmas lights – Botanical Gardens

Come stay with us and enjoy The 5th Annual Festival of Lights extravaganza at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

This amazing display of lights promises to dazzle visitors with an array of thousands of glittering lights, creating a spectacular garden full of sparkling whimsy. Follow a magical path through tunnels of light, find surprises at every curve, and wander along luminary-lined avenues bordered with enchanted scenes from the most delightful of dreams.

This community light display opens Friday, November 28 and runs Thursday through Sunday each weekend through Sunday, December 14, from 5:00pm–7:30pm.  Tickets available at the door.

Check out the Botanical Garden website at  for more information, and then book your stay here with us at Jug Handle Creek Farm & Nature Center. Looking forward to seeing you this holiday season.

Carolyn and Kirby- Lodge Managers  JHCF

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Jug Handle Farm Wine and Mushroom Event Walk on the Wild

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 | Author:

Wine and Mushrooms at JHCF Nature Center

Wine and Mushrooms at JHCF Nature Center – Click to enlarge

Take a walk on the wild side– looking for wild  mushrooms– with Teresa Sholars, Professor Emeritus of Biology and Sustainable Agriculture, College of the Redwoods, on Sunday, Nov. 16, at Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center.

The guided wild mushroom walk is part of an all afternoon event  beginning 2 p.m. which will feature wines by Navarro Vineyards, a wild mushroom display prepared by Eric Schramm  of Mendocino Mushrooms and hors d’oeuvres prepared and served by authors of the “Wild Mushroom Cookbook”, Alison Gardner and Merry Winslow.

The refreshments will feature recipes from this brand new cookbook which is  the most comprehensive collection of wild mushroom recipes ever assembled into one book, from breakfast to dinner, appetizers to dessert.  The two authors will have signed copies of their cookbook, hot off the press for sale at the event.

Enter your mushroom photo in Visit Mendocino County’s Instagram contest.

The Fungi Finale and Mighty Mushroom weigh off winner will be announced at this event, which is part of  the 2014 Mendocino County Mushroom WIne and Beer Festival.  There is an admission fee to this event.  You can RSVP at 937-3498.

Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center is located at 15501 North Highway One in Caspar–look for the sign on the east side of the Highway where the beautiful Red and white Victorian Farmhouse sits at the top of the hill.

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Jug Handle Creek Nature Center, California lodging, Mendocino retreat, Casper educational - 15501 N Highway 1 Caspar, CA 95420
(707) 964-4630 | © 2005-