National Geographic : 1957 Nov
+ Weekend Campers Repair Their "Jack-rabbit" Home In the midst of brush and Joshua trees, Lloyd and Mary Zondler hung out a house num ber (left). "It was a mistake," they acknowledged, "because the tax assessor saw it and left a notice arbitrarily rating the cabin's contents at $50." Each Friday afternoon the Zondlers load a half-ton truck with water, firewood, and pro visions and drive the 65 miles from Burbank to Pearblossom. On Sunday, rather than set the desert afire, they bundle up all their trash for burning at home. The author saw Mrs. Zondler, in what seemed a curious ma neuver, pick up a pair of binoc ulars and survey the desert. "Bird watching?" he asked. "No, people watching," she laughed. "We have a protec tive association, and neighbors keep tab on one another's cabins while they're gone." Homesteaders' Arrows + Point to "Five Acres of Dreams" Jack-rabbit pioneers from big cities find refuge from fumes and confusion among the sage brush and Joshua trees off the Yucca Valley-Victorville road. "Do-it-yourself" builders create everything from one-room shacks to four-room cottages. "Our Haven from Slavin' " be speaks their philosophy. + Young Settler Gets an Outdoor Bath Pamela, the German shepherd, chases chipmunks and guards Morna Ruth Kimberlin from rattlesnakes. Until Morna's father, Robert, drilled a well, he hauled water nine miles in the trailer tank (background), and Anne, the mother, made bath water do double duty by irri gating peach trees. They live near Pearblossom. "As far back as we can re member," Mr. Kimberlin said, "my wife and I always wanted a home of our own. But how could we afford one without going head over heels in debt? This cabin was the answer: materials cost $300; the labor was our own." ( National Geographic Society volumes about the land hunger of city dwellers (opposite). Amid the brush and Joshua trees, we found transplanted cityfolk reverting to rural ways and helping one another build cabins. Some of these dwellings sat carelessly in dry washes, where the first flash flood was sure to carry them away. Flimsy outhouses lay on their backs, knocked down by high winds like victims of a Halloween prank. When Wahoo Sam Crawford, an old-time outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame this year, reporters vainly sought him in his accustomed haunts in Los Angeles. He had gone to Pearblossom for the weekend. We met no athletes in Pearblossom, but as we drove away our jeep flushed a convention of long-eared high jumpers, the Mojave's true jack-rabbit homesteaders. Desert Pool Offers Trout Fishing Touring Apple Valley, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, we found the real estate boom in full blast. One mild Sunday in March we saw half a hundred salesmen in cowboy togs standing in wait for visiting prospects. The discovery of an underground reservoir fed by snow capped mountains has given Apple Valley an almost unlimited water supply and encouraged developers to subdivide the desert. To see the valley's flowing water, I went to the Stoddard Jess trout and turkey ranch, where pumps dip into the sunken Mojave River, 150 feet below the surface. This water flows out of the ground at 570 F., an ideal temperature for trout. Last year Mr. Jess raised two million rainbows. These he marketed or offered alive in an angling pool on the ranch; the largest measured 36 inches.