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high desert. small house.

Day 11 – Chino Land

We spent the entire day looking at land.  Well, all of the day that wasn’t spent changing rooms (yay, no cat pee!) and becoming human again (i.e. sleeping and showering).

We woke early, got coffee and walked the dogs (utilizing the discreet poop lands of Yavapai Community College).  We should clarify the method of our poop walks so that readers don’t think we are irresponsible dog owners.  Since we feed the dogs a raw meaty bone diet, their stool comes out like normal dog poo but hardens into chalky white poop-ash within a few days.  If you’ve ever come across weird, white poop, then you know what I’m describing.

We stopped scooping our yard 2+ years ago when we switched to the raw diet.  Once the dog poop becomes white and dry, then it is at the stage where it will just crumble apart when something steps on it.  Ta-da, no scooping required!

Thus, we try to walk in places where people aren’t going to see us leaving our poop behind and get all upset about it.  Maybe we should wear t-shirts that say “We feed raw.  Our poop is white.”  Or maybe, “I leave my stools where I want.”

Chino Valley Land Revelations

After dog walking, we spent the entire morning in Chino, hunting down properties.  The ones we viewed were a mixed bag.  Half featured difficult to impossible dirt roads.  The other half were approachable and had ideal building conditions – flat lot, no plants needed to be removed, ideal soil for septic drainage, in an area with good wells and close enough to paved roads that building material transport would be easy.

Probably the best piece of land we found in Chino - 1 acre with good south face, diverse terrain, backs to state land and gentle enough slope that a building pad would be simple.

Probably the best piece of land we found in Chino – 1 acre with good south face, diverse terrain, backs to state land and gentle enough slope that a building pad would be simple.

Another view of the state-bordered lot.  It's behind the house and to the left.  You can tell it has a good slope and an easy-to-work-with amount of trees.

Another view of the state-bordered lot. It’s behind the house and to the left. You can tell it has a good slope and an easy-to-work-with amount of trees.

After viewing some of the difficult lots in Silver, the lots in Chino were a great discovery.  With our ‘minimum viable’ approach, it would seem we should scoop one of these lots right up.  However, they did have a few downsides –

  • The grassy, flat lots were often situated right in the middle of a bunch of other houses.  Some of the lots were land-locked, meaning there was no boundary of the property on the road.  When you live on a land-locked property, you access your home via a long driveway or an easement.  The only real downsides are the neighbors and potential noise.  Think rubik’s cube – the middle piece has 8 pieces around it.  Thus, as a land-locked property, you have the potential to have 8 neighbors.
  • North facing or flooding – A few lots had ideal neighbor setups but the land was situated poorly.  When a lot is north facing, it means you have the potential for drastically reduced sun time, depending on the slope of the hill you’re on.  The other natural problem was low points were flooding occurred with the annual monsoons.  Some properties looked great, even with a southerly face, except for the fact that a seasonal stream bisected it.

What we’ve discovered so far is that a few lots are great for building but tend to be very close to neighbors and uninspiring.  Additionally, a dollar goes 5-10 TIMES as far in SIlver.  The lots we looked at all morning were 1-2 acres, not the 5-11 acres we investigated in Silver.

Lowering the bar

After lunch, we decided to lower the acreage bar and see if we could find any lots that had a south face with good access.  Maybe we’d find a lot with inspiring terrain that was a tad smaller.

At the end of the day, we narrowed it down to 6 potentials, all about the same price but ranging in access difficulty and amount of acres.  As would be expected, the more challenging ones to get to had cooler terrain and more land.  The square, pricker pads with easy access had boring terrain and less land (nearly an acre to a little more than an acre).

One cool thing we saw today was a herd of secretive antelope.  In the mid-morning, we drove onto a main, paved road and stopped for a second to get our bearings for the next property.  We soon realized that the cactus plants across the road were actually antelope.  They appeared to be resting in a strategic way – everybody was facing a different direction, and frozen in place.  They were beautiful.  Later, while driving down the highway, we saw a huge herd along the road – probably 20 individuals grazing about.

During one of our many property hunts, we had to park the car because the road was too tricky.  In addition to deep ruts, it had plant life that encroached on the road.  We walked for awhile before we realized we could access from another, potentially better road.

During one of our many property hunts, we had to park the car because the road was too tricky. In addition to deep ruts, it had plant life that encroached on the road. We walked for awhile before we realized we could access from another, potentially better road.  Can you see the car in the wayyyyyyy back?

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