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

WordPress gives us an end of year “Wow”!

A very heartfelt thanks to everyone who’s visited my blog this past year. I’m sorta new to this blogging thing and WordPress sent along an end of year report, suggesting I post it to show my readers how we’re doing…I want to send a special shout out to Michael Janzen from TinyHouseLiving (to name one of his wonderful sites). Michael was one of my first supporters and to this day, lots of my incoming traffic still comes in from his blogs, Michael, you ROCK man.

the report…

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and Google Reader.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for urban rancher, urban rancher blog,, urbanrancher, and osb.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Look out SoCal Edison, PG&E and DWP! November 2010


a solitary man May 2010


A sow’s ear? November 2009


a little *BLING* on top November 2009


Drinking beer is way better than installing drywall April 2010


Here’s wishing that all of our dreams come true in 2011!

btw, between last week’s rains and this week’s snow storms, even though it’s relatively close to Los Angeles, it’s been VERY difficult to get up to my mountain. Since I’ve been working through the holidays and need to fly back east this week for a meeting, I’ve chosen to stay in town so I don’t get stranded. Soon as the snow stops, I’ll run up, resume work on the compound and hopefully get some awesome pics of snow on my tiny cabin!


2 responses

  1. Taylor Roberts

    For your health, please do not use railroad ties or pressure treated chemical wood for your garden. They contain poisons. Try pure cedar, pure redwood or a Trex type of wood product. More expensive, but better than poisons in your food and water table.

    I recommend gardening catalogs such as Gardener’s Supply Company, etc. Putting rain gutters and rain containment barrels on your structures will capture rain water for use in your garden. Then you can eventually move on to a small green house structure.

    Your Oaks should be planted much farther from your cabin, unless you plan on moving the oaks or the cabin. The oaks will grow larger and will be much too close to your cabin. The roots, trunk and leaves will disrupt your cabin and provide a fire & lightning hazard.

    You could also dig a low run-off graded trench out in front of your water diversion, put down a layer of aggregate rock first, then a permeable black landscaping fabric, then a layer of small river rock on top. This will also hold back some water, discourage erosion & provide a path for it to drain around the structure and help the water permeate back down into the water table.

    Just some suggestions…I’ve learned this from 40+ years of experience, and I love what you’re doing!

    October 11, 2011 at 8:58 am

    • Hey Taylor, when I said railroad ties I meant 6×8’s. I worry about termites up there, they are voracious!
      I’ll probably use redwood, it’s easy to get nearby.

      I agree about the rain gutters, quite a bit of water drips off the roof from the dew every morning. It will, by design, drip into the beds without actually needing the gutters.

      For my drainage, the grade of the land has a water path that has now been diverted from going under the cabin. The adjacent driveway needed a slight berm on the perimeter to keep the flow on the driveway, the cinder blocks and 6x8s have accomplished this. The garden beds will also help keep any dirt behind the berms from washing under the cabin!

      I thought about the fire hazard with the oaks but these only grow about 3-4″ each year. The cabin is just sitting above grade on gravel and blocks so there’s no foundational issues with any roots. My other 2 sheds both have oaks growing all around them. If a fire was to come through, all would certainly burn anyway so I’m voting to keep the trees! I always hated the barren look that many of my neighbors have around their structures. I’m adding more gravel around the cabin to keep the grasses and low vegetation away, this’ll help squash any embers that might fly by. Plus with their slow growth pace, I’ll be long dead before the oaks get to be a problem!

      October 11, 2011 at 9:26 am

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