Oldtimer got wild rocky land, started NorCal off-grid Watertopia

was a college junior when he bought a piece of cheap river-front land to start a homestead. He was a boy (partly in Washington DC where his father was a Republican senator) so he planned to learn-by-doing on how in the rugged mountains of Northern California’s Six Rivers National Forest.

The property cost him only $11,000 back in 1976, but soon he had built his own home (much of it with hand tools) and was his own food, pumping water from the river to irrigate his garden & orchard, and powering his homestead with photovoltaic and firewood (for heat and his hot tub/bathtub).

In a state that is drying up, Streamfellow considers his large chunk of riverfront his true wealth: he’s on the South Fork of the Trinity River, the longest undammed river left in California. Forty-five years ago he tried harvesting the water by carrying 5 gallon buckets up the 150 feet from the river to his home. He then tried a pedal-powered pump, but the calories burned weren’t replaced by the calories created in the garden. He finally perfected a system – an electric pump that is powered by a photovoltaic array – which provides the water he, and his tenants, need for large gardens, orchards and the five homes on this property.

Starting before the Internet, Streamfellow felt he was without an instruction manual for most of his nearly 5 decades working the land, doing everything from building roads (chipping away at granite), creating garden terraces along his steep property and building up hugelkultur beds to garden on bedrock.

Now 68 years old, Streamfellow isn’t wealthy, but he has no debt (he believes in the pay-as-you-go model) and he considers himself wealthy from what his land provides; he has four tenants (who often work the property in lieu of rent), a garden that supplies sufficient annual fruit, vegetables and potatoes, and chickens, pigs and deer for meat. “It was always my goal to be as self-sufficient as possible,” explains Streamfellow. Forty-five years after settling here he says he always has a year’s worth of food and three year’s worth of firewood: “to me that’s what represents wealth– that food and the capability to heat my home”.

On *faircompanies https://faircompanies.com/videos/oldtimer-got-wild-rocky-land-started-norcal-off-grid-watertopia/


  1. Kristen, thank you so much for finding these geniuses around the planet. That guy gives us real hope that one day we can get up leave civilization and never go back.

  2. Stringfellow served one term, and was running for reelection in 1954 when his past was exposed as a fraud by his Democratic opponents. They revealed that Stringfellow actually wasn’t a paraplegic at all. He had been wounded from a mine explosion during a routine mission in France, but he could walk with the aid of a cane.

    Furthermore, Stringfellow had not worked for the OSS. He had been a private in the Army Air Forces, and he had never won the Silver Star. Almost his entire military career, in other words, was a fiction. Stringfellow also had claimed that he had attended Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, but neither institution had any record of his attendance.

    When his Democratic opponents exposed him, the Mormon church ordered Stringfellow to make a public confession, which he did. He was replaced sixteen days before the election by Henry Aldous Dixon.

  3. With the food shortages that are coming and the prices hikes we are seeing this should be happening in every single community. Locally sourced food and communities working together is amazing.

  4. Your channel opened my eyes to possibilities I didn’t know existed. Not every place is right for me, but I always learn something from each episode.

  5. This is the best place I have seen in the last few years of watching off grid videos! What a spectacular home! My only fear would be people trying to come there to duplicate what he’s doing it seems that everyone wants to jump on the same wagon these days.

  6. That’s to bad about the Trinity River. I was working at a restaurant in town called Big Bar right on the river. It was a bar a restaurant and a store with a Post Office in the store so I guess that really is not a town in 1975. The river was beautiful. There were a few homesteads up there.

  7. This is so educational and a beautiful story..I had tears of happiness..I hope that we can all learn to be more like this in the near future. This current government seems to want to destroy us..God please protect everyone from the harm and please lets come together and live in harmony..Many blessings

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