Homesteading in Joshua Tree, Ca...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by stevensmom, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. stevensmom

    stevensmom New Member

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    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fairfield, Texas
    Hi All,
    I have been lurking for awhile and love all the advice everyone gives. Here is my question for anyone who might know. My aunt gave too me a 2 1/2 acre piece of property in Joshua Tree California that was her now deceased sons property. I am a city girl, born and raised in Long Beach, California. I have lived here all my life except for 3 years in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas with ex-husband. I am married with a 4 yr. old son and am in the middle of finishing my nursing license (one more year, god willing). I want too live in a rural area again.

    I went out too the property and love it. It is about 4 miles in off a paved road, the road leading in is maintained and graded(sp?) all the time. It has city water, electricity (at the pole, not too the small cabin), does not have a septic or propane on it. The area is very rural, no one living close. The cabin is small and not developed at all (no windows, doors, etc.). My cousin was in the middle of working on it when he was killed in a motorcycle accident 5 years ago. So, what is there is a small cabin that has doors cut, covered with boards at the moment. Brand new roof his buddies put on for my aunt and not much else. What I want too know is should I keep the cabin and develop it to live in or should I just put a mobile home on the property??? What can you grow in the desert???? Should I put propane out there or should I go all electric??? Solar power, what options are there????

    My husband is not that handy, I can do the small repairs and such, but not the big stuff. We will not be able too move there until I am done with school, but would like too start getting some ideas of what I should do with it??? So, I guess what I am asking is, does anybody live or homestead in a desert area and where can I find more info. on it......

    The property is free too me, all I have too do is pay the yearly taxes and whatever expenses there are too make it livable. So, any replies or questions are welcomed....

    Thanks for reading,
    Deborah
     
  2. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Aug 12, 2002
    We are living in the desert but in AZ. The area was an old cattle town and has plenty of water. Night temps are cool and days are in the low 100's at the worst. Homesteading can be done anywhere you set your mind to it. Is the whole family in agreement to move there in the future? It is quite different from Long Beach. Read all you can about life in the country. We were raised in the LA area so moving was quite a change. City conveniences are important. We have to go about 100 miles to shop on a large scale. We have animals and a large garden. Good luck.
     

  3. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    I think the best thing to do at this stage is to read about country life, What do you want? How do you want to live? You will likely have a job and have to drive back and forth, so your time at home will be limited. start small give yourself time to figure out what you really want to do along the way. enjoy and good luck!
     
  4. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Aug 13, 2003
    i went to millikan high in long beach and then spent 13 years living in the victorville area. at that time, i was not into homesteading, but i can tell you some things about living there.

    you need to check on water. i know you said you have city water, which is great, but how expemsive is it? this could be the deciding factor on what you can grow. when i lived in the desert, my summer water bills were well over $100 just to keep a lawn semi-green. keep water costs in mind when choosing what to grow ar animals to have.

    start learning about sprinkler systems and how to install them. they really are just like tinker toys and you can save alot of money by doing your own. check ou the different types...drip usually works well for gardens. the hard part is digging the trenches for the lines. if you are not familiar with heavy equipment, I would recommend hiring someone to do your trenches. of course you can always just drag a hose.

    it used to be that gas/propane was generally cheaper than electric, but check recent prices.

    keep in mind that you will have cold winters....mostly below freezing at night, though usually getting into the 50's during the day. lots of wind. i'm sure you are aware of the high summer temps. think about the costsof heating your hime, whatever you decide to do. that constant wind sure sucks heat from a building! air conditioning is definitely not necessary. get a swamp cooler. much cheaper to run and easy to fix. i wish i could have one here, but they don't work in humid areas like mine.

    the soil is basically sand and HARD. you will have to add organic matter (manure) to the soil to pretty much grow anything.

    jena
     
  5. j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    j.r. guerra in s. tx. Well-Known Member

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    May 10, 2002
    A book about a very small (and very CHEAP) homestead in Blythe California is published by this Loompanics - it is well worth reading.

    http://www.ranchocostanada.itgo.com/

    I hope this helps - it sounds like your homestead will be very peaceful. The desert is a beautiful place, but does have some dangers - be careful.
     
  6. Ozarkquilter46

    Ozarkquilter46 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    South Central, Mo
    I lived in 29 Palms for 10 years. I just love it out there. My husband is a retired USMC Amtracker so now we are in south central Missouri. Anyway I had friends out that way who homsteaded. There Chickens did wonderful. I always loved going out and getting there eggs. There garden also did well with a shaded top. They had the bigest zukkinni (?) I had ever seen. So it sounds like you have a good start. If you can get it perked for a septic and can get electric to it a trailer sounds great!! As for water most of the people I knew out there had big metal tanks on a tall stand and had water delivered. One of my friends dads had a spicket under one tank and took his shower outside in front of god and everyone LOL very rural area. They didn't even have electric they used oil lamps. It was the most relaxing place I think I had ever been. Use for the cabin sound like a good place for a work shop! Man I wish I were you. I would go live there in the winter when we have a snow. I have never gotton use to the cold or ticks out here. Good Luck on your new Peace of Mind Farm ( no payments LOL)
     
  7. Murdock

    Murdock Member

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    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    CA
    I live about 30 minutes from Joshua Tree. I dont homestead where I am now, however it could be done very easily. Water out here is very cheap and growing is fairly easy. There are some VERY large agricultural communities within a very short distance. Joshua Tree is a little higher elevation and does get down to freezing temperatures, and does get very hot during the summer.

    There would be some other details you would need to check out since Joshua Tree is actually a state park, and there are very few lots and acres zoned for residential use. You would need to make sure you would be able to use it the way you intend.
     
  8. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    Hi Stevensmom........ Someone posted this site once on here somewhere.. it's great.. and they are in the desert of New Mexico... give it a good read!! Enjoy!

    http://www.solarhaven.org/
     
  9. JoAnne in CA

    JoAnne in CA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Location:
    California
    Well hi, Deborah,

    My son has lived in Joshua Tree for the past five years and loves it. His biggest problem with gardening was the critters that ate the first green leaf that showed itself. Now they have two old truck beds full of the most beautiful vegetables.

    We have 9 acres in Pioneertown (just down the road a piece) and plan to move out there full time before the end of the year. You are in better shape than we are as far as utilities are concerned. We haul water and catch and store rain water from the roofs of our fifthwheel and tiny cabin (10x12). It's amazing, even in the desert how much water you can collect from the sky. My husband has solar panels on both, as well, which keep us in lights and the ability to watch a movie now and then. We do have a generator for backup. We plan to start building our home this fall. It will be a long process, and long baths are what I'll miss most. But we are planning an outdoor bath house around a claw foot tub I salvaged. Our first project will be a well. We're looking at alternative housing; ie: strawbale, solar and a water cachment system. I have grown to love the desert. Desert nights are spectacular. Solar and wind power are ideally suited (and an outdoor bath house can serve you well the majority of the year--not many places can say that!) Every enrivonment has its advantages and disadvantages. But if the property is free and you already like it, go for it.

    We live in Banning and will be hosting Carla Emery, the author of "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" July 18th. We'd love to see you. I think you'd really learn a lot and have a chance to talk with other folks who are doing what you're contemplating. Please feel free to pm me.

    JoAnne





     
  10. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    May 12, 2002
    When I lived in Socal I use to go climbing out at JTree on a regular basis. Its a great area, with lots of cheap land, but it gets so hot!!!!!!

    In the summer we go climbing out at Tahquitz and suicide rock which is actually Lilley rock in Idyllwild for non climbers.
     
  11. Brad

    Brad Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Hi All,
    I have been lurking for awhile and love all the advice everyone gives. Here is my question for anyone who might know. My aunt gave too me a 2 1/2 acre piece of property in Joshua Tree California that was her now deceased sons property. I am a city girl, born and raised in Long Beach, California. I have lived here all my life except for 3 years in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas with ex-husband. I am married with a 4 yr. old son and am in the middle of finishing my nursing license (one more year, god willing). I want too live in a rural area again.


    Howdy Deborah,

    I live not far away as a matter of fact.

    Well as you probably know, there is a hospital right in Joshua Tree that might be a place of employment.







    I went out too the property and love it. It is about 4 miles in off a paved road, the road leading in is maintained and graded(sp?) all the time. It has city water, electricity (at the pole, not too the small cabin), does not have a septic or propane on it. The area is very rural, no one living close. The cabin is small and not developed at all (no windows, doors, etc.). My cousin was in the middle of working on it when he was killed in a motorcycle accident 5 years ago. So, what is there is a small cabin that has doors cut, covered with boards at the moment. Brand new roof his buddies put on for my aunt and not much else. What I want too know is should I keep the cabin and develop it to live in or should I just put a mobile home on the property??? What can you grow in the desert???? Should I put propane out there or should I go all electric??? Solar power, what options are there????


    I would develop the cabin because there will be no school fees to fix it up. Plus, you can add on to it whenever you want, as the county lets us add on x number of square feet of living space without submitting blue prints. The add on will be inspected to be sure it meets county building code. (I think we can add up to 600 square feet without having to submit plans)

    You can grow any vegetable out here as long as it is planted at the right time of year. You may want to consider putting in your own well at some point.

    I would use propane most definately for heating and cooking, and electric refridgeration for cooling the home.

    Solar is an option for heating hot water, but it is simple to use propane for this also.





    So, I guess what I am asking is, does anybody live or homestead in a desert area and where can I find more info. on it......


    Sure, go ahead an PM me. My wife and I and two kids live in the area and can answer most of your questions. The desert is great but it does have it's drawback which is no rain hardly at all. This means no lush green pastures for livestock.
     
  12. Brad

    Brad Active Member

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    Feb 22, 2004
    Oops fogot to answer about septic systems-

    Shouldn't be a problem getting permits I think they go for about two thousand or so, installed.