One of our dreams after moving to Nevada County was to build a home on land in Nevada City and grow some of our own food. The vision was to work towards sustainable living by making green building choices for the home and applying permaculture principles to cultivating the land.
A few years ago we bought two and a half acres of raw land in Nevada City. At that time we couldn’t even walk anywhere on the property because it was covered in six foot tall blackberry brambles. I had hoped to write about the building process as it unfolded, but building a home was so much work that it didn’t leave me any spare time for blogging! John and I also have two young children as well as our real estate clients to support, so my intention of sharing the process of building a home in Nevada City didn’t quite happen.
But what did happen is that we built an amazing home! Complete with 27 solar panels on the roof, thanks to Sustainable Energy Group. The solar offsets nearly all of our electricity use even though our home is 100% electric. It helps that our appliances are high efficiency options like a heat pump water heater and a mini split HVAC system that also uses heat pump technology.
Building a home was a lot of work, but we survived, and we learned so much about the process. John is also a licensed general contractor, so we are very capable of advising our clients who are thinking of building a home in Nevada County. And now we are on to the next phase: creating a sustainable food forest here on our Nevada City land, which is much more relaxing!
We just mowed down a whole lot of brush (points for fire safety) and we are in the process of creating trails and plots for fruit trees, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi vines, and more! Our focus will be on perennials so that the gardens can mature over the years. We will also grow numerous species of herbs and flowering plants to support the pollinator population and to make healing teas and tinctures.
If you dream of sustainable living in Nevada County, feel free to contact us to share your vision so that we can help you find the right property. There is a lot of land for sale in Nevada City, Grass Valley, and the surrounding area and we would love to help you explore your options and achieve your goals.
We are delighted to announce that we bought land in Nevada City and we will be building our future home. We are feeling honored and grateful to have over a couple acres close to town and the possibilities feel endless.
The land is lovely and about 40% of it was cleared a long time ago, so there is a nice sunny area to build a home. But that lovely greenish ground cover you see here is about an acre of 6 foot high blackberries:
John and I spent lots of time thinking about the best way to clear the blackberries without causing much harm to the land. Our ideal choice would be a herd of goats, but we do not have water on site yet and we were pressed for time, as the septic engineer needs to be able to walk onto the property asap. Walking was not possible, as you can see from this picture showing a truck parked in the brambles:
We decided to hire a local fellow with a brush mower attached to the back of his tractor. Thank you Lyn from A1 Tractor, for braving the weather and getting so much done in one morning!
Sadly, the blackberries proved to be a formidable opponent for even the Kubota, which ended up getting a flat tire after a couple hours of driving over the brambles. But quite a bit of blackberry was mowed, and we got to see the ground for the first time on our land. The mulched brambles look brown, but the soil underneath is dark and fluffy!
We can now move ahead to the next steps . . . figuring out the site plan, the septic, and the well!
Developing raw land is a new adventure for us. Over the last few years we renovated several Nevada County homes. Some were major fixers—distressed properties in need of extensive repair, while others were Nevada City homes that just needed some upgrading. Each property had its unique challenges, but by the time the work was done they were all comfortable, clean, and ready to be someone’s home once again.
We are going to apply the skills we learned from renovating fixer homes to building our new Nevada City home. Although we know there will be lots of unexpected puzzles to solve, we look forward to the process of building a home in these beautiful mountains. We will be sharing some of our adventures here on our website (and our Facebook page) so please check back soon to see our progress!