Can a city boy build his dream homestead on a mountain, by himself and with no mortgage?


and now for the “Urban” part

I’ve had a very tumultuous few months with the recent sale of my land and cabin and setting up my new small house in Arizona.  For the past 15 years or so I’ve been working as a freelance professional in the tv industry, often on the road all across America. As Los Angeles is the epicenter of the entertainment biz, I’ve been forced to keep a home there for the past decade in order to maintain my career stability.

The first few years of this blog have been focused on the “rancher” half of my UrbanRancher alter ego.  This next chapter is dedicated to the “urban” side.

Now that I have a fantastic small house in the desert, it’s time to revisit and streamline my home base situation in LA.  I will essentially be doing what I accomplished on a mountainside, but in the belly of the urban beast. Paperwork needs to be finalized and some details still need to be sorted out but I will take what I’ve learned from everyone in the tiny house movement and apply it to the big city.

I know many of y’all are focused on rural and off-grid living. I’ve climbed that hill and seen the gorgeous view from the top and blogged about it every step of the way.  It turns out I’m not quite ready to chuck it all and leave civilization behind. I like the idea of keeping one foot in the urban fire as long as I can escape to the solitude of open spaces.

As a Gemini I’ve always struggled with wanting everything at the same time. I have 2 distinct careers (tv and music), 2 distinct homes (city and country), don’t get me started on my taste in music or my politics. I’m gonna die trying to have my tiny piece of cake and be able to eat it too.

Happy Thanksgiving and peace out everyone, I’ll post my next update after the holiday!


loft wide

when God closes an escrow, he opens a…

My tiny cabin and all the land under it has been sold. My neighbor snapped it up 2 days after I put it on the market.

I’ve cleared out all my stuff, moved the trailer to an undisclosed location and have taken a job on a new TV show that has me working on the road across America through Thanksgiving.

For what it’s worth, letting go of my little mountain was easy, not at all stressful as I expected.  The time was right, the decision was made months ago so it was really only a matter of paperwork.  My wee cabin is in the capable hands of good people who will enjoy it as it was intended and I couldn’t be happier.

While I’ll be spending a lot of time in Phoenix, I’m still actively looking for another mountain to settle. Tennessee and Georgia loom large in my view as Nashville and Atlanta are cities I could easily embrace.

That darn woodpecker will miss me tho, the new owner shoots a lot of guns.

last looks

… world of possibilities

a new. day. has. come

I’ve not been posting much over the past several months, mostly for 3 reasons.

1. it’s all quiet on my land and there’s not much to talk about (true) and

2. my life is so glamorous and busy that I barely have time to write out a grocery list (false)

3. I’ve been scouring the country in search of a better place to live than California (also true, see my posts from June 2012)

so I headed East…


too muggy.

Further East…


too dangerous.

Even further East…


umm, no.

So then I went South…


too depressing.

and further South…


too wet.

Finally I went to Arizona…


Now that feels ’bout right!

I cracked open my piggy bank and bought a small house at the edge of the sprawl outside Phoenix!


This is the view out my front door!

The new casita is still technically a small house at 750 sq feet (not a tiny one tho). It has 2 bedrooms, 1 good-sized bath with double shower, laundry room, open kitchen/dining/living room, a nice large patio, and plenty of open spaces, desert critters and the cutest old wild west town a mile down the road!  It’s only 25 minutes from Downtown Scottsdale and the Phoenix airport AND, it cost me less than the down payment on a tiny 1 bedroom ghetto apartment in a bad part of Los Angeles!

What to do with my mountain and my tiny cabin? What about my career, spent basking in the glamour of Hollywood? What about my friends, family and everything else?

Hell, I don’t know. I do know a few things though…

1. California is a financial and social train wreck and getting worse. It’s not a place I want to (or can afford to) retire.

2. I love the desert and the scrappy people of  Phoenix and I LOVE my new little casita!

3. As a working freelance Hollywood creative professional, 90% of my work in the last 3 years has been OUT of California so realistically I could live anywhere near an airport.

4. It’s a 6 1/2 hour drive from Hollywood to my new casita, 8 hours to my mountain and my little car gets 40 mpg.

I am now splitting my time between my mountain, the new desert casita, my apartment in LA, and my work on the road so…


I’m pretty sure I’ll work all this out, I’m a smart guy.    Maybe now I’ll be a happy guy too?


All quiet on the Western front

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, all is good, weather is hot, work is slow, cows and I are lazy, not much else to report.


Tri-tip and Sirloin are fine, London Broil has been visiting her mother in the next county (I assume) and Lil’ Sirloin spends most of his time with the hoodlums down by the creek.


The woodpecker has moved on finally, the disco mylar strips and attack spikes have managed to put a wrench in his gears so he’s off destroying someone else’s cabin.

Eventually I’ll do something and write about it, but just not today!

The lazy hazy crazy days of summer keep a rollin’ on


Anybody wanna be my neighbor?!


There is a small plot of land for sale, not too far from my place, and I wanted to let y’all know about it! Small plots near me are rare, small ones for sale even rarer, and this one is a beauty. It’s almost a full acre, with plenty of oak and pine trees, a small wooded hill, and a good wooded flat area. It is one of a group of 1/4 to 1 acres plots that were originally carved out to be a housing developement back in the 1930s. I looked at it last week and someone could bulldoze a driveway right off the main road and put up a cabin with relative ease.

There is a power pole with electric and telephone service on the property line, so you could plug into the grid with a building permit. There’s also a well on the property line that belongs to a neighbor. It may be possible to negotiate a share agreement so as not to dig a separate well.

The asking price is $15,000, the general going rate for about an acre in the area. FYI, Vacant land is usually not mortgage-able, the buyer must pay cash or have the seller finance it with 50% down.

It is located about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Hollywood, North of Los Angeles County. If anyone is seriously interested, email me privately at and I can get you more info.

On a personal note, please don’t email me just to get details for curiosity’s sake, only if you are seriously looking to buy. I don’t want to overwhelm the real estate lady with questions, I’ve met her in town and she’s very nice!

me and my big mouth

cabin close

A few weeks ago I was asked, by a very nice girl, if I would want to participate in a tiny house lecture/Q&A in Los Angeles. Being the publicity houndwhore that I am, I agreed.

With that in mind, if anyone in the Los Angeles area is not too drunk at 1pm this Sunday March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day for those of you in Rio Linda), come on down to Atwater Village, have a cup of coffee, and watch me make a fool out of myself for 45 mins! (you’ll have to buy your own coffee though). I’ll talk about my process, my cabin, and if I don’t get too nervous and wet my pants, I’ll answer questions about everything tiny house.

In case I suck and bore everyone to death, there’s a second lecture after mine about earth-building homes by a very cool and clever couple, it looks like they build fantastic hobbit houses from this picture on Facebook…

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 1.04.31 PM

Robert and Mireille from Earth Works Building will be speaking about the history of natural building traditions. From cob, adobe, and clay ovens, to newer methods like sandbag structures, recycle friendly earthships. Learn how surprisingly inexpensive, fireproof, and energy efficient natural building can be and the vital connection it makes in building community. 

Clearly they will be more interesting than me so this event should be well worth the drive (and if it’s not, we can always start a food fight!)

For you Face-place fluent types, there’s a interweb page about it…


Tiny House lecture

Lecture is free.
Lunch is pay-what-you-want.
Q&A to follow both presenters.


The event is being held at “Thank You For Coming” at 3416 Glendale Blvd, in Atwater Village, a short walk from either Silverlake or Glendale, I hear that the food is fantastic.

Like the cool kids always say, be there or be square!


long time no see

little sirloin

Hey y’all!

Sorry I’ve been offline for a while. Truth be told, I have very little news to report on my tiny cabin. As my sainted late Grandmother used to say “no news is good news, now go get me a beer sweetie!

All is well up on my mountain, the woodpecker and I are still playing our game of peck, destroy and repair. No signs of man-eating beasts but Tri-Tip and Sirloin had a baby! I’ve named him “lil’ Sirloin’ after his Father (see adorable picture above). The weather has been glorious, I am content, fat and resting.


I had a very busy work season and am now in full repose, gonna start on my next project as soon as the winter chill is out of the air. I promise I’ll post as I go, once I start going!

Thanks for hangin’ in with me. Go out and find someone you love, give ’em a big hug and a kiss and have a fantastic Valentine’s Day!

For now I’ll just sit here LMFAO watching Superbowl commercials, Tivo-ed hours of “Modern Family” and kitten/hedgehog videos)