I spent several afternoons with my neighbor, Abe, chatting about the history of our Desert Dairy. I've yet to be here on a Wednesday when the 29 Palms historical archives are open, so don't have formal research yet. But I now understand that only one family owned this property for almost 90 years. Teri, the woman we bought it from, said she came here as a little girl, and that's why I thought there were two families involved. But she came to live at her grandpa's house.
The major characters:
Grandpa, the dairy farmer who built the house and barn in 1930.
Miner Mike, his son, who turned to mining when the dairy dried up.
Teri and her brother Mike, who inherited the property from their father.
A single family explains why we found items related to the dairy in the sand, and books from the 30s. Miner Mike brought rocks to the property from mines across Southern California and Arizona. According to my neighbor, father and son snuck into the abandoned Bisbee mine, bringing back loads to the Dairy. Somewhere on the dune there is a contraption that tumbles the rock apart.
During a dispute between one of the Mikes and a neighbor, they burned down a structure. Brother Mike spent time in prison, and both he and Teri's son died of heroin overdoses.
Abe is convinced there's gold under the sand. He also said there was a large pile of valuable rock near the house, and a few months after we bought the property someone drove through our fence, knocking it down, probably looking for this rock pile. It's long gone.
Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.