What A Day! or OMG!

This could only happen in California.

Ray and I are always checking out Craigslist to see if there is anything we need for our future homestead at a discounted price.  When we saw that someone was selling water storage tanks for more than half the price we would pay for new, Ray called the seller right away, and made arrangements to pick them up the next day.  The tanks were located several miles down the road from our future homestead, so we figured it would be easy to get the tanks into the truck, one at a time, and take up to our property.

We use the tanks to store rainwater collected off  the metal toolshed roof and also the metal outhouse roof, which during the summer, waters our orchard automatically with zero pressure, battery run timers.  If you would like to see our system, click HERE.

The next afternoon we set off with cash to meet the seller.   It takes about 1-1/2 hours to get from our current home in the valley up to our future homestead and we arrived about four o’clock in the afternoon at the bottom of the road to meet the seller, then followed him up the hill to his property. When we drove through his gate, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a HUGE marijuana field.


Smack Dab!

The seller and his girlfriend explained that they had just bought the tanks the previous month, because their well had gone dry and were getting water trucked in, but now they were harvesting and no longer needed the tanks. He went on to say that they were harvesting a bit early because they didn’t trust their landlord, who seemed a bit shady and scary to them.

Oh.     Okay.

Right in front of us were the tanks, pretty brand spankin new.  In fact, the insides still smelled like new plastic and the purchase tags were still on the outside of the tank. The larger tank was 1,100 gallons – just like the other three that we already have on the future homestead.  The other was 550 gallons.  We had just paid about $650 for a 1,100 gallon tank a few months ago, and this guy was asking only $400… for both.  Cash (of course).

Ummmm Hummmm.

Just then a helicopter flew overhead very slow and very low.

All we could think of was that these guys were going to get busted RIGHT NOW and we would get caught in the middle!  They might think we were buyers!!!

“Well no, officer….  you see, we were just here to buy water tanks”.

The seller could see our nervousness and laughed, saying that they fly over several times a day, but that he was perfectly legal according to California laws, and that we shouldn’t worry.

R i i i i i i ght.

We handed him the $400 and loaded up the smaller tank so fast it would have made your head spin.  We left quickly (the truck engine was still running) explaining that we would be back within the hour for the second tank. It only took about twenty minutes to get up to our property.  We unloaded the small tank, grabbed some ramps we had to make it easier to roll the large tank into the back of the truck (we actually bought them to load the quad into the back of the truck, but have found them handy for a number of other reasons), and then took the ladder rack off the truck so the larger tank would fit in sideways. Within thirty-five minutes we were driving back up the road to get the other tank.

An 1,100 gallon water storage tank fits nicely into the back of our F150 truck - without the ladder rack.

An 1,100 gallon water storage tank fits nicely into the back of our F150 truck – without the ladder rack.  Of course, you MUST strap it down or it can blow out.  Go ahead – ask me how I know!

When we got about 100 feet from the gate going into the seller’s property, we saw that the road was blocked by two cars full of the roughest looking guys you have ever seen.  They ignored us at first, then reluctantly moved their cars so we could get by.  We waved and thanked them but avoided eye contact.  When we got to the seller’s gate, however, we could see that it was closed, chained and padlocked!  Oh no – had we been scammed?!  We already gave the guy the cash (nervousness can make you stupid), but we didn’t get the bigger, more expensive tank! On top of that, there were two pit bulls and two German shepherds circling our truck.

Just wait – this gets better!

That’s when things really started to get sticky.  Ray got out of the truck (the pit bulls started  wagging their tails) and walked through the gate, into the property.  Afterall, we wanted our water tank!  He was able to catch the attention of the seller’s girlfriend, who came over and explained she had locked the gate because the guys down the road (the ones we saw in the cars) were scaring her.  She was afraid they might try to take her “crop” and she was there by herself.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have a key to the gate, but said her boyfriend would be back soon with the key. That’s okay, we said.  We’ll wait.  A few minutes later, one of the cars that had blocked the road pulled up, and inside was a woman along with three of the thugs we had seen about 10 minutes earlier.  The woman got out of the car, introduced herself as the “landlord” and explained that the seller and his girlfriend were renting the land from her.  She questioned who we were and when we told her we were buying the water tanks, she seemed satisfied with our answer and left with her carload of thugs.  A few minutes later the seller came back and unlocked the gate.

We drove in to the property where our large tank was and discovered that there was still at least a foot of water in it.  Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so you can imagine that there was no way we were going to be able to move this tank until it was empty.  The seller appologized (he though it was already empty) got a sump pump and started pumping out the tank, while we stood around and chit-chatted.  I did learn a little bit about his “crop”.  What was especially interesting was the fact that he said he had about 50 plants (looked like a lot more than that to me), which required approximately 1,400-1,600 gallons of water per week.

PER WEEK!  No wonder his well went dry!

At our home in the valley, we are only allowed to use water outside two times a week, along with quite a few other restrictions, and this guy is using at least 1,400 gallons of water PER WEEK on a marijuana crop! At our valley home our water is on a meter and we pay for every drop. But this guy could use as much water as his well would pump.  We have been reading reports about how some commercial marijuana growers are diverting creeks and streams for their crops, which is causing serious environmental disasters here in California. It wasn’t such a problem several years ago, but now that we are in a serious drought, the problem of illegal growers killing fish populations by draining and polluting streams and lakes is coming to the forefront.  Unfortunately, these lakes and streams are also where our drinking water supply comes from.

Don’t misunderstand – I am not totally against using marijuana as a medicinal herb if you really need it.  But, I believe these big commercial grows are wrong.  Just sayin’ 😉

So, as we were finally getting the big tank loaded up, the seller tells us how they think their landlord is trying to “bump them off” so she could have their crop, and that they had been hearing strange noises at night.  They pointed out five trailers that had been left on the property by the previous “farmers”, full of clothes, food, etc., and wondered if they had left in such a hurry they couldn’t take their belongings.

Well… who do you think shows up just then?  The landlord! The seller met her out of hearing range, but it was evident that they were not happy with each other.  Luckily the thugs stayed in the car.  In the meantime, his girlfriend quietly retreated into their trailer.  Ray and I put our heads down and tried to pay attention to our own business, rolling the tank onto it’s side so the last of the water was poured out, and positioning the tank where it could be rolled up into the truck.  Just then, the girlfriend came out of their trailer with an AK-47 strapped across her shoulder, and started walking through the “farm” as if she were guarding a prison gate!

Seriously!  Cross my heart, this is a true story!

We were no longer nervous at this point, we were just plain scared.  What had we gotten ourselves into?  It was time to go. The tank wasn’t completely empty, but we muscled that sucker into the back of the truck anyway! Ray and the seller shook hands, we hopped into the truck and pulled out of the “farm” onto the driveway, afraid that the road would be blocked again.  It wasn’t. Whew!  I don’t think I actually took a breath until we got to the end of the road and turned onto the highway to get up to our future homestead!

Water Storage System

Here is the smaller tank – 550 gallons. It was in excellent, almost new, condition.

Will we ever do that again?  HECK NO!

Storage System for Rainwater Collection

We placed the 550 gallon tank above an 1,100 gallon tank, so it can refill the lower tank, for a total of 1,650 gallons of water to irrigate the orchard.  That’s not counting an 1,100 gallon rainwater collection tank behind our tool shed and another 1,100 gallon tank behind the outhouse.

But we did get some nice water storage tanks for $400! 😀

We now have four 1,100 gallon tanks, one 550 gallon tank and another 325 gallon tank for a total of 5,275 gallons of water storage space!  This should be plenty of water to get the orchard through our arid California summers.  We will also provide a map of our property and placement of our tanks with our local CalFire office, just in case they need it to fight a wildfire on our property.

So, what do you think – are we crazy or not!

These are some of the places I party:  The Backyard Farming Connection Hop; Show & Share Tuesday; The Gathering Spot; Tues Garden PartyBrag About ItTues with a Twist; The Scoop;  Two Cup Tues; Tweak It Tues; Inspire Me Tues; Tuesdays at Our Home; Turn It Up Tues; Lou Lou Girls; Down Home Blog HopWicked Awesome WedWhatever goes Wed; Show and Share Wed; Wined Down Wed; What We Accomplished;  Wake Up Wed; Fluster’s Creative Muster; Hump Day Happenings;  The HomeAcre Hop; Share Your Cup Thurs;  Home and Garden Thurs;  Mountain Woman RendezvousCreate it Thurs;  Think Tank Thurs; Homemaking Party; Treasure Hunt Thurs; All Things Thurs Inspire Us Thurs; Inspire or be Inspired; Freedom Fridays; Friendship Friday; From The Farm Blog Hop; Eat, Create, PartyPinworthy Projects Party;Farmgirl Friday;  Friday Flash Blog Party; Weekend re-Treat; Family Fun Friday; Friday’s Five Features; Real Food Fridays; Friday FavoritesOld Fashioned Friday; Fridays Unfolded; Inspired Weekend; Anything Goes Linky; Show Off Friday; Craft Frenzy FridayFront Porch Friday; No Rules Weekend Party; Savoring Saturdays; Say G’Day SaturdaySuper Saturday; Show Stopper SaturdaySimply Natural Saturdays;Strut Your Stuff Saturday; Saturday Sparks;  Show and Tell Saturday;  My Favorite Things;  Serenity Saturday; Simple SaturdaysFrugal Crafty Home; That DIY Party; Nifty Thrifty Sunday; DIY Sunday Showcase; Snickerdoodle Sunday;  Simple Life Sunday; Think Pink Sunday; Homesteader’s Hop; Sunday Showcase

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52 thoughts on “What A Day! or OMG!

    • I know – right? The whole way back to our property I kept looking behind to make sure we weren’t being followed! To be honest, living where we do here in California, it’s not unusual to smell pot farms while driving through the countryside and foothills during harvest season. Marijuana has a very strong, pungent, almost skunky smell that is unpleasant to many people, so we shouldn’t have been so surprised at what we found. Thanks for visiting, Poppy.

    • Yup – he had our money – we just wanted our tanks! I’ll tell you, it sure was scary at the time, but now that it’s over and all is well, it;s certainly fun to tell the story. 😀

  1. Heck yes!!! you are crazy….like a fox!!! I have met ” normal” people. They scare me LOL. Who would ever want to be normal? We have so much more fun!!! Great story about the land lord. You know she can’t kill them now cuz you posted the story.

    • You are right, Sunny, we may have saved a couple of lives! I guess that would make this a win/win situation – we got two tanks for cheap and they get to keep their lives! 😉 You never know….

    • Yeah, you are right. That’s why we were on a first name basis and giving them cash was good enough! We really scored BIG on this one! With that much more storage of rainwater, we shouldn’t have to worry about the drought as long as we have enough rain to fill our containers. Now, we need to get some for the vegetable garden – but we will be more careful the next time. Thanks for stopping by today, Sheri!

  2. Man, what an amazing but super scary adventure. Glad it was you and not me. Fantastic bargain you got there and as another commenter stated your sellers got their life.
    I’m off to do a catch up read of your blog as I haven’t visited for quite a while.
    Also all the best in your quest.
    Alexa blogging from Sydney, Australia

    • So nice to hear from you again, Alexa from Australia! You know, visiting Australia is on my bucket list. I hope to make it there some day. Thanks for your kind comment!

    • Yeah – we thought about not returning for a minute. However, here in California, huge fields of marijuana are not uncommon – unfortunately. Though there are large cartels growing huge profit making “farms” (we had one at the end of our ridge last year – they finally got busted), most of the “farmers” are young locals just trying to make a buck. I think the sellers were in greater danger than we were, simply because the cartels want the business all to themselves and don’t want the mom and pop operations to cut into their profits. Let me tell you – it’s crazy here! I wish the state would legislate greater restrictions!

  3. Wow, that is a crazy story… how frightening! It sure isn’t always easy to tell if a situation will be a good one… or will turn out like yours or worse… glad you were okay. I agree…. I wouldn’t do that again if I were you! 🙂

    • Nope – not gonna do that again! But then we still new a few more tanks! Maybe if we buy another off of Craig’s List, we should ask first if they are a marijuana grow, though I would bet some people might be a bit snarky if we asked. Ah well, life wouldn’t be fun without some challenges! Thanks for stopping by today!

  4. Oh My Goodness!!!!!! I would have passed out due to holding my breath!!!!! Holy mother of Mac and Cheese!!!!! But hey you got your water thingys…..

    So have they made it to the news out your way yet????

    Good grief, reason # 3854839253495-q345 Not to purchase off of Craiglsit!!! 🙂

    Be SAFE!!!!!!

    • Teehee – my face was turning a pretty shade of magenta! 😀 Right now, I think the authorities are going for the really big grows being run by cartels, and are leaving the smaller grows (100 plants or less) alone. Besides, there probably aren’t enough law enforcement officers around to take care of all the “farms”. It used to be 10 or 15 years ago that I would love to go for a hike in the mountains in the fall. The fresh, clean air along with the crisp weather always regenerated me. Now, it’s actually dangerous to hike around during harvest season, lest you run across someone’s “farm”. And the smell is pretty rank, kinda like a skunk that ate some honey and garlic! 😉

  5. This was the best thing I’ve read in a while 😀

    I would have still got the tanks. But I was raised by drug dealers (no joke) so… I guess I’m a little immune to pot growers. I’ve seen worse. The water usage thing with the crops bothers me more than what the crop is.

    • Yes – at least we weren’t in the middle of a meth lab! There are some of those sprinkled around also. 🙁 I have just recently been investigating naturopathic medicines, including herbal medicines, and the truth is that marijuana really does have a positive effect on many ailments. With the cost of prescription drugs nowadays, growing a plant or two would be a cheaper and sometimes safer alternative to quite a few drugs. I just wish the “big” guys would go away and stop stripping the forests and polluting the water.

    • Nope. And to tell you the truth, I’m not gonna go back up there to find out! 😉 Besides, if they were harvesting, they are probably gone by now. Not gone as in “dead” gone, but gone as in “at another place”. 😉

  6. OMG I would have peed myself when she came out with a gun. I grew up in a town where basically everyone I knew grew and smoked..not that that sounds good or anything..but I have never heard of anyone being that paranoid. I would say that they had way more plants than 50 if they were that concerned with anyone taking them haha. Man that would be a crap ton of money, no wonder why you got the tanks so cheap..$400 would be nothing to them once they sale their crop lol. You are way braver than me, Seeing a girl who was acting scared and hiding in her house and locking a gate come out with a gun…well that doesnt sound like a good mix lol. But hey, at least you are safe and saved yourself a ton of money!
    I am stopping by from HumpDay Happenings! I run a link party on my blog too, if you would like to come link up, well I would love to have you 😉

    • Hello, Jessica! I know. Until she came out with the gun, I thought we were going to be just fine. But when I saw the gun (I knew it was a high powered rifle of some type, it wasn’t until we were off the property that my husband said it was an AK-47!!!!) I felt my blood pressure skyrocket and my knees were knocking, because it seems that the innocent people are always the ones that get hurt! But, we made it. And we got an awesome deal! I would love to link up with you, unfortunately you neglected to give me your url. See you soon!

    • Good afternoon, Ken (and Penny 😀 ). Yeah – we have already had a lot of fun with this story. I am sure it will get blown all out of proportion some day, but then, that’s what good stories are all about!

    • You know it! After all, a bargain is a bargain. That being said, I think my days of Craigslist suprises may be over. Have a great evening, Heidi

    • Hahaha – you betcha! I’m sure, as good stories go, it will be embellished and stretched over the years. I slid over to your blog and saw the beautiful orchids! Just gorgeous! Thanks for stopping by today, Kathy.

    • Yes, those water tanks are great! Since we have been in a nasty drought (who knows how long it will last) we decided to take matters into our own hands. We should be able to fill all of the water storage tanks during the winter (it takes only two or three good rains to fill one 1,100 gallon tank) so that if it doesn’t rain enough to replenish well water or reservoirs, we should be covered! This way we won’t have to depend on our well, which could go dry if we pump too much water out. Thanks for reading my story, Jennifer! Now I’m off to read yours. 😀

  7. Yikes! I hope you live far enough from those characters that you don’t meet up with them again. I’m glad you got your storage tanks though. Next time you go on a Craig’s LIst pick-up, maybe you should go armed! Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week!

    • I probably wouldn’t recognize them if I saw any of them again! Probably. Why? I was so nervous that I don’t remember details like faces and such – most everything was a blur! So, while they might recognize me (I certainly hope not), I don’t think I would recognize them. Whew!

  8. Ak-47 Holy crap, this sounds like a cop story, Im glad you got a great deal and glad all turned out well. That was quit the story, thanks for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girl!!! Be safe!!! Have a great weekend!!!

    • We got a fantastic deal! And yes, it’s funny now (though my mom wouldn’t think so – I won’t be telling her the story), but at the time I was terrified! I think my stress levels were through the roof and I probably aged at least five years in two hours! 😉

  9. Hello Vickie,
    you are not crazy.
    You do it just like that, how do you like it best.
    The reports that you also Calfire your office, I find it very good.
    You never know what comes before.
    This post is very exciting to read.
    You really have an adventure behind you, and it turned out well.



  10. I’m from California originally, live in Wyoming now. I can believe this happening, very funny story, NOW. I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time. I would have been shaking in my boots. But at least you got a good deal.

    • Oh – I would love to live in Wyoming! I hear it’s so beautiful and uncrowded. But, my family is here in California, so here I stay. I loved your story about Ashley – I laughed so hard and have been giggling ever since!

      • Thanks for visiting my blog, glad you liked my Ashley story. Yes we did get the carpet clean but it took a lot of work. We do have family in California, so visit as often as possible. Also family here in Wyoming. We live in Sheridan at the base of the Big Horn mountains. It is beautiful and uncrowded (17,000 in our town).

  11. Wowsers! We lived in Riverside, Ca for awhile and there was similar goings-ons… Yikes! I could see me and hubby being in your boat too (all in the name of a good deal of course!!!)… So glad you ended up with both tanks in the end! Adrenaline can do a lot to lift that final tank into the truck 🙂

  12. That’s a ‘so crazy it could only be true’ type of story for sure. I do CL all the time, but a few times I have felt a little sketchy about the situation. However, none of them ever had an AK strapped on! Glad you got in and got out with your tanks! Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!


  13. Oh my goodness! That is insane. Here in NC it is still illegal and it blows my mind how common the seller acted about their “farm”. And all of the thugs and such. Gracious. I’m glad nothing worse happened. Only on craigslist in California! LOL

    • Yes, it was crazy scary, but it sure has been fun to talk about! 😉 Luckily the laws in the county just changed with the last election, and most of these “farms” will now be illegal! As I have said, I am not totally against medicinal marijuana – after all, it is a proven herbal remedy for quite a few maladies. It’s just the commercial farming that was ruining our environment by polluting the streams, lakes and ponds, and clear cutting beautiful forests that I am opposed to. With so many states approving marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, I only hope they take lessons from California on how not to allow such large, unregulated “farms”.