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Off the grid, green and wholesome in east San Luis Obispo County  RSS feed

 
Perry Way
Posts: 65
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I've got a wee little thing starting now on my property I purchased in November.  My plans are to use the Greening the Desert project as a model on my property.  I have only 2.5 acres, but hoping to buy other lots adjacent to mine and increase my area. I think I can probably handle 4 of these lots myself, or 10 acres.

The area is in east San Luis Obispo County in California, and it's name is California Valley.  It's a huge subdivision that was made in the late 1950's that never grew to anything enough to show the streets on most maps, therefore giving you the impression that it's forgotten, and yes it is forgotten to many but some are coming now and building homes. Most of them are razing the land down to dirt and then leaving it as dirt. Those are the newer homes. I think it's a bad idea to do that, if you don't want the fire hazzard, there's other things you can do like... permaculture!

Springtimes are the best time of year if you like green and wildflowers.  They are everywhere!  Green grass, millions upon millions of wildflowers for 60 miles nonstop down the Carrizo Plain.  California Valley is the northern center of the Carrizo Plain.  There is a seasonal lake called Soda Lake.  Guess what?  Soda---sodium sulphate and "carbonates of salt".  The effects of the sodium are spread throughout California Valley by the way.  Many lots have standing water all winter long.  Much of that standing water evaporates but some of it does sink into the ground so there is life there year round. Birds everywhere!  One thing I noticed lacking is bees pretty much, maybe because they would have to come from very far to get there since there's no natural bee habitat there. Well I can fix that!  There's flowers in winter, late winter actually, flowers in spring, and flowers in summer and even some flowers into fall, a special bee plant that makes highest kind of grade of honey, a plant called Blue Bell, or Vinegar Weed, or Trichostima something.. I'll find that later.

Anyhow, why I am posting here is because I have an idea about how to change California Valley for the better.  There are many factors which limit population there.  But there are some encouraging things happening such as improvements that the solar plant people will be doing like paving some main roads, main roads for existing residents. Oh, yes I must mention the solar plants.  There are three of them going up, in stages.  The first to get approved is the Sun power company, and they are battling with the kangaroo rat huggers over how much of their land they get to put solar arrays up.  The Carrizo Plain is one of the sunniest locations in America and at one time I think in the 1970s and 1980s there was the worlds largest solar plant operation.  Well it was financed through taxes at first and when power prices went down after Jimmy Carter left office the people wanted to know why they were subsidizing the solar power plant when power was much cheaper after Diablo powerplant was erected.  So that solar plant folded up shop and the land reverted to cattle grazing.  Well, now there are three companies that are going to build solar farms there.  Two of them touch California Valley itself.  Once again, San Luis Obispo County will be the leader of "green energy". That's how things are going to be played out.. sort of taunting the rest of America to pick up the slack somehow. 

Anyway, this solar farm improvements could be very advantageous to a group of citizens that want to demonstrate how to green the desert by using permaculture methods.  Every home would be off the grid and every home would be nearly wholely green (using cob, rammed earth, adobe, papercrete, padobe), every home would rely 100% on rainwater they collect using swales and rain catchment on rooftops, there would be no blackwater sewers, everything would be recycled graywater and then composting toilets.  I think something modeled after those sort of rules could be a handshake arrangement with the county planners and the assessor as well, and that arrangement would be, anyone doing this permaculture method will have ZERO property taxes.  They will also sell their goods locally ONLY such as the Farmer's Market in downtown San Luis Obispo which is a huge thing.  I think this sort of arrangement could be drawn up.

I'm looking for anyone interested in this idea.  Let me know if you're interested at all.  Then we can talk about how to get some property in your hands.

If you go waving cash around with your hands these days, you will find you can buy a home on 2.5 acres there in California Valley for $100,000. Not many at that price but 1 or 2, during these present times.  That same home would have gone for $240,000 before the economy went sour.  Reason for huge price drop is because California Valley has no gasoline stations, has no grocery stores, has no stores of any kind actually, only a seasonal (like two days a year) restaurant, and the nearest anything commercial is 35 miles to Taft or 45 miles to Santa Margarita or Atascadero or 65 to Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. 

So this is an area that is isolated. But there is incredible beauty there, seasonal of course, but even the high summer is beautiful to me.  The expanse of the natural landscape, the Elkhorn Escarpment the undulating foothills rolling through San Andreas Fault, the white reflective surface of Soda Lake in the dry season against the deep blue skies that go on forever, the snow capped mountains. It's all beautiful.

Anyway back to pricing.  Right now if you wave money around you can have your pick of the litter at $10,000 to $20,000 for a lot.  But those are yesterday prices.  Not many properties have sold in the past year.  My lot excluded, I got mine from someone who was needing money to pay divorce lawyer.  So, I got mine for around $200 more than it sold for in the late 1950's.  And I know how to get other lots at rediculously low prices, and will help you find one, to the point of even introducing you to a seller so you can negotiate a sale directly with them.  I would do that because I want to see more of what my plans are.  I want to see many people doing permaculture there.  We will bring rain if we do that.

One top of these individual lots ideas, there are scattered 40 to 200 acre parcels that are all zoned agriculture and to my knowledge they have never been used for commercial agriculture.  Instead most are owned by the California Valley community services district.  A quasi governmental quasi private organization.  The governmental aspect of it is because when the subdivision was created they needed a post office area and a library and some park improvements and a shared well.  You can haul your own well water by filling up at the community center.  That is free.  Reason for it being free is because there is some bad water areas and some areas where there's no ground water.  So in order to get the subdivision passed back in the 1950's they had to somehow get water for people.  Anyway, these larger parcels could be farmed by some industrious people.  If anyone would be interested in that at all, I will look into how one could acquire the land cheaply.  Maybe by leasing to own.  Or leasing for $1 a year in exchange for free food for the poor in California Valley.  Something like that would maybe be able to be arranged.
 
Apolonia Paulusse
Posts: 38
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I love your spunk and your love for permaculture (as I find that in myself also). I saw your Paul Wheaton movie on smokehouse and composting toilet.
My son and I are interested in joining the permaculture valley. He is 18 and has completed the permaculture design course in Quailsprings.We live in Ojai Cal and it is harsh climate cause of cutting the surrounding trees. I am an acupuncturist also.
We were on vacation in Mexico. The Mayan civilistion with their hudge temples stopped doing their things cause they cut up the jungle for firing the hudge amounts of cement for their buildings. Then drought came and hunger and warring and the people stopped worshipping their leaders as Gods and the civilsation fell apart. And then the jungle grew back and covered the ruins so they were not discovered by the explorers, just this last century.
Isnot that interesting, the power of nature and stupidity of humans destroying the climate they live in. Souds like a modern story but it is 14 centuries old.
Please return mail to us as we come traveling to SLO soon.
Hooray for nature and mother Earth,
Apolonia
 
Apolonia Paulusse
Posts: 38
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We are interested in buying some land in California Valley
Would you contact us? 805-624-5701.We live in Ojai California now. i am an acupuncturist and my son is a permaculture design grad.
In Enthousiasm
Apolonia and Francis
 
Apolonia Paulusse
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We consider permaculturing in the California Valley.  Would you contact us?

Apple.acupuncture@yahoo.com or tel at 805-624-5701
Apolonia and Francis
 
Karen Crane
Posts: 158
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Occasionally I have seen lots on ebay for around $1,000 ( 2 acres each).
Not often, but I've seen them there.
 
Chia Olin
Posts: 30
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Thanks for your post! I am actually of Salinan descent (coastal indigenous to that area) and would love to inquire on this project...

Please contact me, I can share my vision statement of a current project or other things I have been involved in.

Two zero 9 four 0 six 9 five 0 4
Chia
 
Karen Crane
Posts: 158
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As of today ( 3/20/2012) on ebay ( under realestate, california) there is a post
selliong land ( 2.5 acres) there for around $1,500.
Item # 330701622307
Move fast and you can get it cheap!
 
maria pastor
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I really appreciate you posting info about this area. It is unbelievable that Central california land, much less in San Luis Obispo County can be purchased at such affordable prices.
I know these parcels went for 10s of thousands more before the economic turn down. Anyway, it worked out that like minded peeps, with great intentions for the land, can now actually
afford it! I recently bought a parcel & am making payments on a second parcel. I am very interested in Earth ship Biotecture (http://earthship.com/) .
Presently, I am saving up in order to work alongside the Earthship team on one of their projects, to learn valuable, hands on info. Eventually I hope to attend the Earthship Academy, so I
can help others perhaps in undeveloped countries, or after homes losses from natural disasters.
Anyway, I hope to go visit the property soon, maybe I can come by & see what you have done. I am wondering if there are building codes that would prohibit me from constructing
what I want. I am also wondering what I will be able to grow. I think the bees are a great idea! I would like to be involved with something like that. I have some property in Southern Az.
is I had bees, they could go to Az when it gets cold. Please feel free to contact me at quixote2u@gmail.com
 
Karen Crane
Posts: 158
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I do not live in that area. Just posted because I had seen interest there.
If you like earth ships you would probably like the information at
www.calearth.org. I hung out and learned form them for years and years.
LOVE thier houses!!!
 
Julie Carney
Posts: 76
Location: Silicon Valley
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Perry, when my son studied at SLO about 6 [?] years back, SLO County had a building moritorium in place and were not allowing any building...There was a huge waiting list for permission to build, and some people had resorted to living on boats....... Have things opened up?
 
Gaia Mana
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Perry, do you have a work trade available on your land? I'm traveling north and looking for a place to volunteer. Thanks!
 
Anand Sahaja
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Hi Perry,
Can you update this thread and let us all know how it is going there? what is the current situation and what does the outlook look like?
How have your plantings and plans been going?
 
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