Custom built beach house for sale. 2 master bedrooms en suite. Spectacular views. Unique design. This location south of Todos Santos is truly special. (Double click any photo to launch a slideshow view.)

Realtors Listing with additional photos: http://www.ricardoamigo.com/Properties-CasaMigueles.asp

For more information or to schedule a visit, please contact:

Richie Friend
richie@ricardoamigo.com
US LINE: 619.270.2241

Todos Santos OFFICE: 612.145.0551
(from USA dial 011.52 first)

The home is 1,604 sq ft (149 sqm) of interior space with 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a lovely indoor/outdoor main room, and a modern chef’s kitchen. It has 1,025 square feet of finished outdoor space, including a covered patio downstairs, a large open roof deck, and a private covered patio off the upstairs bedroom. There is an outdoor shower, a built in barbeque and sink, covered garage (475 sq ft) and many special amenities. The lot is 7,500 square feet (option to expand) with a panoramic, unobstructed view of the ocean.

This prime beach house has been built with high end custom home features including two sets of disappearing pocket doors that open the main livingroom to a breathtaking view of the beach, providing a great indoor/outdoor lifestyle. Ceilings are 10′ throughout providing great light, airflow and a breezy feel. The master bedroom has a private enclosed patio with glass on three sides.

This very green, self-sufficient, off-the-grid home is powered by a top of the line solar system (1170 watt) that has been sized for vacation use and can be readily expanded for full time occupancy. Not only is your carbon footprint small, but you also pay no power bills – a large savings in Mexico. We have a great local solar vendor and we can help people new to solar powered living with any questions or concerns.

Todos Santos is actually a natural desert oasis fed by the 5,000 foot Las Lagunas Mountains immediately to the East and water is delivered to your private cistern (in the ground, of course!) from local springs. Hot water and gas for cooking are supplied by propane. Property taxes in Mexico are very low and your overall operating costs for this home will be exceptionally affordable.

This house is just 100 yards from Cerritos Beach and about 1 mile south of the famous Cerritos surf spot. Local favorite Art & Beer is 200 yards to the west. Pescadero, which features an amazing new coffee house, a couple local restaurants (Super Pollo!), Rancho Pescadero’s high end bar, spa and restaurant and a local farm coop is 2 minutes north.

Pueblo Magico Todos Santos with many fine hotels, bars, restaurants, galleries and so forth is just 5 minutes north by car. The recreational port city of Cabo San Lucas is about 40 minutes south. Cabo is a significant city with all necessary services and recreational activities. It is a famous party town with plenty of night life. It is also a world class center for sport fishing featuring a very fine harbor with many elegant shops and restaurants. Just outside Cabo, there are many world class golf courses and resorts. The drive to Cabo San Lucas airport is a little over an hour. The new four lane divided highway from Todos Santos to Cabo San Lucas will be completed in early 2012, making the drive a safe and speedy trip.

To the East across the Baja peninsula you’ll find the very Mexican city of La Paz. Famous for fishing and a beautiful, if perhaps more local harbor, La Paz is about 1 hour 10 minutes away.

Situated on an elevated pad on a slope that lifts the site above the dunes, this home has an unrestricted 360 degree view of the expansive Cerritos Beach, the Pacific and the Las Lagunas Mountains. The desert beach climate is exceptional with a cool Pacific breeze nearly every day. While La Paz an Cabo can get quite warm, coastal Todos Santos is very pleasant year round.

This house is for sale for $295,000.

Realtors Listing with additional photos: http://www.ricardoamigo.com/Properties-CasaMigueles.asp

For more information or to schedule a visit, please contact:

Richie Friend
richie@ricardoamigo.com
US LINE: 619.270.2241

Todos Santos OFFICE: 612.145.0551
(from USA dial 011.52 first)

If the waves are breaking, you can also try Michael Hassan at mmh85@columbia.edu or Michael Collette at michael@collette.com.

Environmental activism is alive and well in Baja California Sur. Cabo Pulmo Reef is the site of a major source of biodiversity and a wonderful park for visitors. Located along the coast between San Jose del Cabo and La Paz, this is a great place for an outing.

A major real estate development has just been rejected that would have devastated the park and the natural environment it was set up to protect. Score one for Mexico.

We’re all for development, but the amount of earth assigned to high rise apartments should be carefully managed. Baja’s natural wonders are it’s main wealth.

So, until you visit this area, it’s a little hard to understand why it’s so special. The image below helps paint the picture.

Todos Santos and the valleys of Pescadero and Cerritos to the immediate south benefit from lying on the windward side of the Las Lagunas mountains. These are quite unexpected. The Las Lagunas mountains rise to 7,000 foot peaks just 15 miles inland. They’re dramatic mountains and they provide a remarkable backdrop to the beaches and groves of the region.

They’re also a huge, unique water system. While it rains very infrequently, when it does rain, it rains very hard. The mountains soak up the water and feed it down into the valleys. This makes Todos Santos the only green spot I’m aware of in Baja Sur and has enabled a vibrant agricultural export business. Pescadero has fields of basil, lettuce and herbs that extend for miles in all directions.

On the photo below, the three large tributaries funneling into the large artery are funneling into Pescadero. Todos Santos, just to the north, doesn’t have an obvious stream, but it has a lot of water – perhaps from an aquifer.

If you click on the picture to expand it, Cerritos Beach runs from the surf break point where the map reads W110 08 to just above the N23 15 marker.

Our Cerritos Beach Home is located about 1/3 of the way down from the northern point of the beach. This shot gives a good perspective on the site in relation to the beach and the mountains. We’re just 200 yards towards the beach from famed Art & Beer.

So, we’re having a pretty fun yack with our architect and we’re talking about the relative merits of fences and such when the conversation drifts to cactus.

We’re going to displace a bunch of cactus (not the protected ones, okay!) when we clear land for a foundation and a yard and such. And I’ve been thinking heck, why not replant the cactus along the property line to create a kind of natural barrier? In the back of my mind, I’ve also been thinking geez, I’ll bet those cactus would get huge and beautiful if we just watered them… Great barrier. The reef of cacti. Seems like a plan, right?

Wrong.

Turns out, that if you actually water cacti, they die. Who knew! They turn yellow, rot, and blow away with the morning breeze. So okay, build your natural barrier and ya know, it’s definitely good to preserve the cacti that we displace as we build, but by all means, keep the water for something else.

Not sure why, but alluva sudden there’s been a lot of news about our little nook on the planet. There are links to the articles in the ‘Articles about the Area section of the blog. I really love the mood and light and feeling of this particular photo…

Pescadero Beach

This post from our Ace Assitant Gaby Escobosa…   we will definitely use grey water recycling in our houses.   The interesting questions for newbies have to do with uses, impact on plants and so forth.

Recycling Gray Water for Home Gardens

Sometimes plants in a vegetable garden or flowerbed will need more water than is provided through normal rainfall. Usually at those times a gardener just turns on an outside faucet and waters the garden, drawing on community water supplies, or from a private well.  But-below normal rainfall and predictions that the Northeast may be going through a drought cycle are causing people to find other ways to provide gardens with the moisture they need without using what may become scarce supplies of fresh water.  One method is to use the wastewater, usually referred to as gray water, produced in the home. The following are answers to some basic questions about how to safely use gray water in the home garden.

First, what is gray water?

Gray water is all the non-toilet wastewater produced in the average household including the water from bathtubs, showers, sinks, washing machines, and dishwashers. Although gray water does not need extensive chemical or biological treatment before it can be used in the garden as irrigation water, it still must be used carefully because it usually contains grease, hair, detergent, cosmetics, dead skin, food particles and small amounts of fecal matter.

How much gray water can be used in the home garden?

First, collect only as much wastewater as you will need to meet the water requirements of your garden.  The rest should go into your sewer or septic system.
A good rule-of-thumb for deciding how much gray water to use on your garden is that a square foot of well-drained, loamy soil can handle about a half gallon of gray water per week.  In other words, if your garden area is 500 square feet, then you can put up to 250 gallons of gray water on your garden each week.
If you can be choosy about the gray water you recycle on your garden, then use shower and bathtub water first, followed in decreasing order of desirability by water from the bathroom sink, utility sink, washing machine, kitchen sink and dishwasher.  Water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher is not desirable because of the larger proportion of grease, food particles and other materials it will contain.  If there is no way you can avoid using water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher, try to limit the amount of grease and solid food particles that go down the drain.  Do not recycle water from a washing machine that has been used to wash baby diapers because it may contain fecal matter.

What about soaps and detergents? Are they harmful to the soil and plants?

Soaps and detergents are biodegradable, but they can present problems when gray water is used over an extended period. The main problem with most cleaning agents is that they contain sodium salts which, if present in excessive amounts, can damage the soil structure, can create an alkaline condition, and can also damage plants.

Avoid detergents that advertise “softening power,” because they will have a large proportion of sodium-based compounds.  The phosphates in detergents can be good for plant growth, but unfortunately, the detergents highest in phosphates usually contain the greatest amount of sodium.  If you re-use washing machine water, cut down or eliminate the amount of bleach you use and do not use detergents or additives that contain boron, which is especially toxic to plants.  When doing your household cleaning, use ammonia, or products that contain ammonia, instead of chlorine as the cleaning agent.

What precautions can I take to protect the soil from damage when I use gray water over a long period of time?

As mentioned earlier, a great danger in using gray water is the build-up of sodium in the soil. You can discover if the sodium levels are high by having the pH of your soil tested. A pH of 7.5 or above indicates that your soil has become loaded with sodium. You can correct or avoid this problem by spreading gypsum (calcium sulfate) over the soil at a rate of two pounds per 100 square feet about once a month. Rainfall, or rotating gray water applications with fresh water, will help leach the soil of sodium and excess salts.

Is there any danger of spreading disease by using gray water in the garden?

Recycled water from the bath, shower, or washing machine could contain organisms causing diseases in humans. However, when gray water is poured onto soil that has an abundance of organic matter, the potentially harmful bacteria and viruses die quickly.  If any should survive, it is unlikely that they would be taken up by the roots of garden plants and transferred to the edible portion of food plants. Nevertheless, for safety, you could use gray water to irrigate lawns and ornamental plants only.

How should I apply gray water to the soil?

Whether you carry your gray water to the garden by hand in buckets or modify your household plumbing for direct delivery of water to the area where it is needed, a number of guidelines should be followed in applying the water.  They include:

  • If possible, use gray water for your ornamental plants and shrubs and use what fresh water is available for your vegetable garden.
  • If you need to use gray water for irrigating food plants, restrict its application to the soil around plants such as corn, tomatoes, broccoli, or other vegetables of which only the above ground part is eaten.
  • Do not apply gray water to leafy vegetables or root crops.
  • Apply the gray water directly to the soil surface.  Do not use an overhead sprinkler, or allow the recycled water to splash off the soil and contact the above-ground portion of the plants.
  • If you have a drip irrigation system, do not use gray water in it since any solid matter it might contain could clog the emitters in the pipe.
  • Pour the gray water on flat garden areas; avoid steep slopes where runoff could be a problem.
  • Apply the wastewater over a broad area; avoid concentrating it on one particular site.  When possible, rotate applications of gray water with fresh water.   The fresh water will help leach out any soil contaminants that might be building up.
  • Apply thick compost mulches to areas where you use gray water. They will speed the natural decomposition of waste residues.
  • Use gray water on well-established plants only.  Seedlings can not withstand the impurities of the waste water.
  • Do not use gray water, which is alkaline, on acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons and azaleas. Be sure to rotate your use of gray water with fresh water on lawns and fruit trees.

How can I get gray water from the house to the garden?

Gray water can be transported to the garden in a number of ways, the most basic being to bucket the water from the sinks and bathtub into pails and hand carry it to the garden.  More sophisticated systems involve siphoning or pumping water from the bathtub or other deep basins (sumps) to the yard through a garden hose, or removing the trap from the bathroom sink drain pipe and putting a five-gallon, or larger, bucket beneath the sink.  If you decide to adapt your plumbing system to allow you to get the gray water to the garden, be sure to have your local board of health inspect your work to insure that no sanitary codes are violated.

Prepared by: Allen V. Barker, Professor; Jean E. English, Graduate Student, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The dominant feature of the landscape in the area is the large, protruding cacti called a Cardon.    These cactus grow in Mexico and southern Arizona and are protected by the State in both regions.   More on them here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachycereus.

They look like a forest of frozen soldiers posing for posterity.

These fellers are found throughout the region.   Their density varies quite a bit as you move to and from the coast.   Down by the breach, there are fewer.   We have several on our lot.   I supposed we’d have more, but 50 years ago, the land we’re on was cleared for cultivation.     Has probably been fallow/wild for 20-30 years.. .not quite sure.

In any case, we need to plan around these beauties as we cannot move or remove them.

So, it’s January 27th and I’ve decided to setup my first blog to document a new adventure building houses in a magical strip of Baja beach just south of Todos Santos.

There’s some history to this. I’ve been to Baja several times – mostly during college (UC Berkeley, late 70s-early 80s… took my time). Those were wild Baja blasts with lots of beer, cheer and the few boyz that I’m still friends with from those days.

One time, we drove straight from Berkeley to Bahia de los Angeles, where we crashed, exhausted, on a wind blown beach. Back then, I remember being struck by the wide open expanses of nothingness… miles of empty beach front. Was such a contrast to the densely populated coastal areas of California.

A few years ago, my wife and I took a trip to Cabo. We were partying pretty hard (a theme…) and really had a great time. Loved the dry heat, the friendly folks and the frontier feeling of Mexico.

So, my best buddy from my LA days calls and says he has decided to retire in Cabo. Has an idea for a project and has put a deposit down on a piece of land. I’m just about to quit a job as CEO of a little tech startup that’s very cool but also kinda too small and somehow, this is just the right thing.

I visit. We walk the land. We meet the locals – warm folks and full of spark for the prospects of the area. We visit nearby Todos Santos, a petite mix of Sedona and Sante Fe in a charming small Mexican coastal town.

I’m hooked and the adventure begins.    It starts with dirt.   This is ours.

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