Murphys Land Purchase

In June 2020, we closed on the purchase of a 5 acre lot in Calaveras County, California. The property is on the edge of Murphys, a historic mining town in the foothills of the Sierras about 150 miles east of San Francisco.

The lay of the land
View on Google Maps

Main Clearing and South-facing Hill

The lot is unimproved, aside from a driveway, two clearings for houses, and a small Tuff Shed. There is a large south facing hill, which we’d love to terrace into a garden with fruit trees.

Main clearing looking down over south-facing hill
Second clearing looking back at the main clearing

Wooded Area

There is a wooded area on the eastern border with strange lumpy terrain, possibly shaped by miners. We are thinking the shade in this area might work well for housing animals.

Looking down into the wooded area
Wooded area meets south-facing hill
Bottom of the hill looking up and towards the wooded area

Long-term Plans

We are hoping to build a modest sized house on the property, but imagine it will take at least 6-8 years to save up for the down payment on a construction loan.

Until the house is built, we see ourselves continuing to live in the Bay Area, and commuting up to the property periodically to camp or work on landscaping projects.

Brass Tacks

A few things that really excite us about the property:

  • Space for a terraced garden and raising small animals
  • Prospect of living in a modern home that we design to fit the lot
  • Being walking distance to downtown Murphys restaurants, tasting rooms, and pubs
  • Nature and outdoors close by including hiking and camping, Big Trees state park, Bear Valley ski resort, lakes, and bike trail systems
  • Living in historic Gold Country (we discovered an inactive gold mine on the adjacent property!)

Among the great things about the property, there are some causes for concern:

  • Public utility hook ups will be costly, and may require us to “get creative”
  • The threat of forest fires is real and worrisome
  • It gets darn hot and dry in Murphys in the summer (90-100 degrees) and the lot is largely unshaded
  • The adjacent land is owned by the local water utility. It is undeveloped now.. fingers crossed that it remains that way
  • The property is rough, and needs A LOT of work! 🙂

A Work in Progress

We’ve spent a few nights camping on the lot, and intend to get started working on small projects like adding shade structures, removing weeds, and pulling out unwanted trees.

I hope to post updates about our various projects here in the future. Come back and check us out!

Existing shed, deck, and hobo burn barrel

Projects and Updates

    • Land Surveying
    • Property Lines
    • Vacant Land

    – We had a surveyor come out in September of 2021 to mark the property lines. It was interesting to catch a glimpse of all the history involved with recording property boundaries.

    • Circular Saw
    • Construction
    • Deck
    • Drill
    • Shed
    • Woodworking

    – We finished a shade structure for the deck and shed up at the property. Despite the project only consisting of a couple 2x4s and some metal, it had lots of complications!

    • Hiking

    – Sienna takes us on a narrated walking tour of the lower part of the property, and walks along the county easement.

    • Hiking
    • Shower
    • Woodworking

    – Sienna gives a video tour of the shed, including a lot of the comfort focused improvements we’ve made!

    • Landscaping
    • Shed
    • Shower

    – We took a load of materials and gear up to the property, and started assembling the shower behind the shed.

    • Camping
    • Shed

    – My dad and siblings visited the property for my birthday, and we took down a dividing wall in the shed.

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