TWO CROWS: The Beginning
JULY 13, 2014
We’ve been hankering for a getaway, somewhere far enough out of the SoCal madness, yet close enough we can escape for the weekend. For months now, we’ve been visiting old Homestead properties around Joshua Tree, Wonder Valley, Morongo Valley, and Yucca Valley, trying to find the perfect place to call our home away from townhome.
THE SMALL TRACT ACT
The Homestead properties began dotting the desert in the 40s, when the government offered five acre parcels for lease–the Small Tract Act–but the resident had to build a minimum 400 square foot house within three years of the lease. If they did so, they could file a patent for the property and own it for a nominal fee. If you want to learn more about the Homesteads, there’s a terrific website called JACKRABBIT HOMESTEAD packed full of great info–way better than I can provide.
There are tons of these little structures scattered across the high desert, many abandoned and beyond repair. Others, clinging to a fragment of hope, like this one we looked at in North Joshua, still furnished, but with a recently blown off a roof.
Then there was the one touted as “Fine Craftsmanship,” with multiple cobbled on rooms that defied gravity–as in, how the hell is this place still standing?? The outhouse was the best part.
The right property for us.
We had a couple of MUSTS for the property. We wanted a minimum of an acre, but liked the idea of 5. It HAD to have Joshua trees on the property. We liked the hillier locations, although we were open to looking at others. Water and electric were a must. We needed it to be accessible by a decent road since we’d often be riding street bikes–this was the real stickler, since many of these properties are off very sandy dirt roads. A bunch got crossed of the list for this reason alone.
Then we started using our noggins.
The more we looked, the more we realized–as romantic as the homestead properties were–we seriously didn’t have time to completely recondition a place, not with the Winslow project still ongoing. And we want to use this weekend getaway NOW. Not ten years from now. Plus, we need a garage.
Saturday June 28th, 2014, Brian forwarded me an ad.
This yard picture sold me.
I immediately sent the realtor an email asking if we could drive out the next day to see it, and we did. The yard in person was even more spectacular. Plus, it hit ALL of our requirements. 1.3 acres. Two car garage. Joshua trees. PLUS… misters, and a Jacuzzi complete with rubber ducky.
The ad said something like “don’t look at the year,” but that’s part of what makes this three bedroom, two bath, traditional home so cool! It was built in 1966. 66!! Our lucky number!
The Skinners (the family we’re buying from) seem to be the only documented owners.
Mr. Skinner passed several years ago, and Mrs. Skinner has moved out of state to be close to her family. It’s evident in every detail they loved their Yucca Valley house. We hope to carry on that tradition.
As far as the inside, it’s not “quirky” like we’d originally been looking for, but it has nice solid bones. We both love the kitchen cabinets and layout. Just needs some new flooring, curtain removal, and interior wall paint.
The middle bedroom faces out to a gorgeous empty lot next to us (one we’d like to acquire as well)…
…and since this will be my writing room, we’d ideally like to make this window a french door out onto a little deck.
The Living Room:
The focal point of the living room is certainly this beautiful stone fireplace.
On the dream list, is to maybe enlarge the living room windows to let in more light and make it so when you’re sitting in the room, you can see the beautiful view outside. Plus, of course, different flooring, fresh paint, smoothing the ceilings, and replacing the ceiling fan.
So there it is! Say hello to TWO CROWS! Our (hopefully) Yucca Valley Hideaway! Technically not “ours” yet since we are still in esCROW. Ha Ha ha Ha!! I just saw the crow in escrow as I was typing. Hilarious. Anyway, by early August, the place will hopefully be ours.
I look right at home, don’t you think?
Just like I should be partying with these ladies.
Stay tuned for many more pictures and progress reports to come.
From the Townhome-stead in Orange…