I had posted an article at the beginning of December with the intent of letting that be the last article for 2019.
In it, I told a little bit of the recent bumps on our road. Interestingly enough, however, the day after I posted that article, Pancho and I bought 9 acres of Agricultural land.
This is something we did without the help of an investor or bank, and I want to share with you a little bit more about the process. I have personally met many people out there who have dreams of owning land and creating a homestead, but most believe it to be a dream outside of their grasp. I'm here to tell those souls that not only is it within your grasp, it's a goal toward which many of you could take the first step right now. I'm not selling anything when I write this. I'm just someone who has had that exact dream for many years, and putting the $440 down-payment on the property has changed everything.
Our View North East from the 9.11 Acres that now belong to Mushroom Valley Farms
9.11 acres sounds like a lot of land to some, but to think that the down-payment to this acreage was only $440 with monthly payments of $300 and a grand total of $13,000 USD! I just have to tell the world about it.
We feel incredibly lucky to have found a gorgeous property with breath-taking views in an area that's already zoned Agricultural. But even with us feeling so charmed, it turns out that parcels of land this large and with such reasonable payments are not too hard to find. Especially if you know where to look.
Events transpired throughout November and December that lead to a new-found push for us to get something, anything, that we could begin to build on. With the ever-growing demand for mushrooms out-growing our little cabin in the desert, I took it as a sign from the Universe inside of me DEMANDING that I take that step that I have feared to take for the past 7 years. Take it now, my heart told me.
So, I did something that I've done many, many times before. I typed LandWatch.Com into my browser. I clicked on the link titled Deals, which narrows my search to properties with Owner-financing available.
"Owner-financed" means that many of the parcels will have small down-payments, small monthly payments, and no credit checks. 17,882 listings like this came up, spread across the United States.
I currently live in Lucerne Valley, California and much to my own surprise, we both genuinely love it here. There is one supermarket, one tiny post office, one hardware store, and two major highways that cross paths here, making it one of those towns that you know because you pass through to get to Vegas or Big Bear, but it's hardly ever anyone's destination. Even so, it has been our destination every day for the past 12 months.
Who would have thought that I'd find my Eden in the bare and beautiful desert?
When I filtered my search down to Lucerne Valley properties with guaranteed owner-financing, 17,882 listings were narrowed down to just 28. This made the search easy. Next, I narrowed it down to the largest acreage possible within our budget, which became 13 listings. From there, I chose the property closest to us and there it was: 9.11 acres near a monastery with 360-degree views. From our home, we took the 10-minute drive on State Highway 247 toward Vegas and wound up inside this valley that used to be the bottom of an ocean. 50% of the property is on a slight slope with beautiful rock formations, and the other 50% is flat with beach-sand soils. It looked like I what I had imagined it would look like, but with more spectacular views.
Revisiting the listing while we were on the land, it mentioned that the down-payment is $440 and the monthly payments are $300. It was a done deal. We e-mailed the agent, sent the down-payment via PayPal, and signed our contract. Growing up around conventional real estate, it never dawned on me how much easier it would be to work with bare land.
It was such a lovely process.
Paperwork was signed on December 16, 2019 and today is the second day we've taken off from working on the property. We felt the first day of 2020 was as good a reason as any to stay home, catch up on chores and give our bodies a break. We were lucky enough to have found railroad ties on our property, which the hubby had the idea to tie together with a heavy-duty chain and drag up and down the rough road with the truck. It's working rather well; we were kind of surprised!
We've also put up our very first fenced-in area! That's exciting because that means that we'll be able to bring the dogs along to the worksite. For the past 2 weeks, I haven't been able to hang out with the dogs much since we're at the site during the day, and we come home pretty tired in the evenings. Without a fenced-in area, we weren't ready to take the dogs to the land while we worked; the monastery has chickens and roosters.
Seeing that the fence was pretty easy to set up, we went ahead and got started on digging out a 5-foot-deep hole in one of the more slopped areas of our chosen 9 acres. Last year, we gifted the pups a dog-house made by a local carpenter, and it's been awesome. However, even though the size of the house fits all four of them fine, it surely doesn't support their weight too well. The floor had started to give way. We've now realized that most dog-houses we find will not fit our fur-family's needs, so we've decided to take a more unconventional route to solve this problem. The plans and debates were endless, but in the end, we made what feels like the absolute best decision. We're going to bury their current dog house. We're about 3 feet in already.
We had been making speedy progress at the dig site; that is, until we hit rock bottom; literally. Once we had actually cleared out a lot of the loose dirt and got a good look at what we were standing on, we were disheartened. It was solid rock under every inch of the 5x5x5 hole that we were casually digging out. Here, we had to stop and have the talk... do we give up and pick another site to start over at, or do we continue with the pickax, drill, and home-made "jackhammer" through what are probably another 2 feet of solid rock? We know we have the option to rent a jackhammer at my local hardware store, but one of the points of our projects is to show how much can be done with a minimal arsenal and a lot of dirt.
In the end, without the technology on hand to see what's underground, there was no guarantee that the next site we picked would be any better. So, with the confirmed goal of clearing out whatever those last 2 feet are made of, we've continued to come back to the site every day from Sunrise to Sunset. I now see these feet of rock as a representation of every obstacle that we will face in 2020; "I love you because you're teaching me so much, but ya gotta go! I've got things to do."
In between the swinging of the pickax, we've managed to make a nice little door for the fence out of reclaimed wood. This is wood that I found for free on OfferUp. It was a fence that was on it's last legs, and the owner just wanted it gone. In this exact same fashion, Pancho and I have already managed to acquire about 500 sq. ft. of some surprisingly gorgeous tile, beautiful glass shower doors, and a good dozen windows that were headed to the landfill. We'll be using the glass in the near future to create our very first greenhouse. I wanted to share about these fun finds because I know many people think that finding free material is a right-place-at-the-right-time type of thing, but it really isn't. If you take the time to look, you'll find what you're looking for; if not free, at least much cheaper than new materials.
This is not to say that buying certain new material isn't a good option; that's a great option. But here at MVF, every step of our production is executed in a green-friendly way. Most of the time, it costs us more out-of-pocket to do so, but in this case, we're getting our material dirt cheap... also literally. To learn more about that, though, you'll have to wait until HomesOfMotherEarth.Org is back up and running. One moment, please.
We hope you'll enjoy some of the pictures of our little projects taking shape. Among these mountains you will soon find a self-sufficient mushroom farm and a couple of off-grid homes. We're very excited for this coming year. Subscribe to our Mailing List to stay up-to-date on our progress. You'll be among the first to know when we are publishing articles and holding Workshops, Tours, and Promotions.
Thank you for taking the time to support us! You WILL have a 2020 full of love and abundance! It is done!
Always in Love,