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

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

The view from my homestead

A few years ago, I bought a plot of land on a remote mountain outside Los Angeles. With the economy deteriorating and my disdain for urban life growing, I decided to build my own homestead with the intention of transitioning to full-time country living. Due to some recent financial constraints, I can only afford to use free labor and either scavenge or pay very little cash for materials.

I parked my camping trailer on the land and have been using it as base camp on weekends. County ordinances do not allow camping or living in trailers but my neighbors are very private and have been pretty chill so far. The trailer has 12 volt battery power but no generator and must be filled with water regularly. It’s poorly insulated and only has 120v a/c plus the propane furnace cannot keep up with the winter cold. It’s a good enough starting point though, even with it’s limitations.

I have already drilled a well but ran out of money before installing a pump or holding tank. There is grid power nearby but no line or meter dropped on the land. The power company will only drop a temporary line if I install several poles and have a building permit in place. This is proving too expensive right now so I’ll have to work around it.

My short term goal is to have one insulated and livable structure built before the first snowfall in mid-December. Although I’m close to LA, and it was 100 degrees Labor Day weekend, the land is above 4000 feet elevation and gets 4 full seasons. Snowfall is usually light, rarely more than a few inches, but it does get into the high 20’s-low 30’s at night during the winter months.

Next step, designing the cabin and clearing the land! Click HERE to read the entire blog

4 responses

  1. Pingback: Simple Living News Update: Week of September 21th

  2. Hi Chris, came by your blog via Tiny House Blog. Thinking about your phone issues, have you considered getting a wifi router, putting it in a weatherproof box with a 12v gel cell and charging it via a small solar panel? This could be attached to the phone pole across the ravine and with a directional antenna attached to it, and another on your camper trailer / finished house you could have a decent wifi link. Through this you’d have internet access and could use skype or similar without having to run 500′ of cable. That distance should be an easy connection if you have line of sighth and a couple of decent ariels. Google ‘cantenna’ for an idea of what’s possible.

    Look forward to following along with your adventure,



    October 15, 2009 at 12:21 am

    • Excellent suggestion! I’ll look into it. Until I get the battery house up I was considering a cordless phone, hooked up to the generator. At least I could have a handset on me instead of running across the land when it rings.

      October 15, 2009 at 9:05 am

  3. Chica

    Good luck to you and will be interesting to follow your journey.

    October 15, 2009 at 3:17 am

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