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LaRonna Jojoba Company
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We moved here thinking we could install electricity, have a well drilled, and start our farm with the modest amount of money we saved to move here. Wow were we ever silly !!
We had a Guardian Angel on our shoulders though, because things rolled our way, even if it took longer than we expected. First, we were asked to develop the 50 acres of land near our property for a “Doctor Farmer”, from Santa Ana, California. As an aside, he insisted on planting seeds and implement different cultural practices that we recommended. We were then able to compare which technique supports jojoba’s needs.
One of the many tasks necessary for developing the “Doc’s” farm, was to obtain permits for electricity, and be there when the well drillers arrived. The drillers were a family owned business named Fundin Well Drillers, from Yucca Valley. Doc’s well was the last well Mr. Fundin, (with help from son Richard), drilled prior to retiring and turning the business over to his sons.
We talked with Mr. Fundin about drilling a well on our property. He was very willing, but dang it’s expensive to drill a well. We had to supply 1/2 of the fee when they showed up to our property then the other 1/2 when the well was complete - if we “hit” water or not. Mr. Fundin provided us with some funding possibilities and thought we’d be able to get a grant or some other financial mechanism. Well, we were refused. The program Mr. Fundin was familiar with only drills water wells for families in Mexico. That didn’t stop Mr. Fundin who then said he will drill our well, AND WE MAY MAKE PAYMENTS! He only asked us to have a down payment that would cover his expenses. We were more than thrilled, as this is absolutely unheard of.
Larry’s father was a gold miner with claims in Santa Margarita. He said we needed to “witch” our land to ensure we get water where the well is drilled. So, Larry & I began “witching” our property - our first objective was to be darn sure we drilled on our land so, we had a survey done. We’re not sure if it is because we wanted the witching rods to work, or they really worked because when we would go to the spot where we had our well drilled, those rods crossed every time.
Mr. Fundin’s grandson Jeff, his wife Angle, and his workmate, John arrived on our land one early morning in April 1985. It was Jeff’s very first solo well, and he & John did a fantastic job. It seems it only took less than a week when they set in gravel, pipe, and pump and began to develop the well get all the debris, clay, and dirty water out of that 400 ft hole in our ground. It was such a beautiful site. We were surprised to learn that our water comes from the ground at 90º - AUGUA REFRESCO !!! We were more than happy. A few of our friends came by to get splashed and congratulate us on this gigantic achievement. We to this day respect the water we have and consciuosly work towards not wasting any of the precious liquid that keeps our farm and desert alive.
By the way, the pump young Jeff set back in 1985, worked for 19 years ! Not bad for his and John’s first well. In 2004, Jeff’s uncle, Richard came out to put in new column pipe and new pump. Wouldn’t it be grand to get 19 more years………
There is no life without water, simple as that. We were Blessed to have the opportunity to meet the Fundin family. Without Mr. Fundin’s kind heart, we probably would have had to “pack it in” and move back to Santa Barbara without ever knowing if we could ever bring jojoba from obscurity to a household name.
Thank you very much Fundin’s - you are truly a great family !!!!