Okay, Then, Let’s Build Emerald City

Published by 31 Comments

Thank You

When I posed the question, “should the Rileys leave California?” our Instagram blew up, and I am still faced with email, chat-window, and blog comments too numerous to process very quickly.  THANK YOU.  If I don’t respond to everyone individually, please know that your support is why we’re still here–and why we plan on staying.

The Responses

  • “Stay, we need you!” I’ve never seen so many link-clicks on an Instagram story. People read the blog, or at least the headline, and just concluded, “no, it’s not acceptable.  The Rileys must stay.”
  • Stay, and I’m buying something right now to prove it.” The weather has killed a lot of our tours, so this helped a lot.  People stocked up on Sleepy Hollow, Christmas in the Colonies, and Revolutionary Evenings. Thank you!
  • Stay, but it’s a difficult decision and we support you no matter what.” Anyone who has ever had to say goodbye to a good friend or a child when some far distant necessity is taking them thousands of miles away, knows how touching that sort of love is.  Thank you.
  • “If you leave the enemy wins” Now you’re talking.  Ready to help build the fortress?
  • “We left some time ago”  Quite a few of our friends, of course, have made the exodus to Texas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Oklahoma.  There are some success stories and there are a few who didn’t find the paradise they were looking for. These folks are largely happy with their move, but they recognize we are truly in a national, and a global, struggle.
  • “Absolutely, get out!” We had about two people overjoyed at the idea of our leaving California, out of thousands to the contrary.  I keep thinking that even in California most people are normal, America-loving, family-loving, Christ-loving people.  There are only a few weirdos here and there.  (Why do we keep letting them win?)

Sanctuary: The Good Ship Liberty

Ponder, with me, what I believe is the real solution.  Generally, wherever you are, build a church, a restaurant, a company that people see as their local sanctuary from the prevailing insanity.  Start a gun club. Host a recital.  Climb a mountain together.  Forge strong alliances with people who care about both you, and what you believe.

With respect to Oak Glen, imagine, with us, two or three thousand acres of high country sanctuary, a cultural and physical retreat: cottages and homes, short and long term residences, miles of nature trails, a producing vineyard, concerts, dances, living history, gospel sings, Bible studies.  A place for community and the America we once knew — and could make better together.   Not so much Disneyland, but a “City on a Hill.”


Here’s the tricky part.  Most of us don’t really know what it means to “stand together.”  I count myself in that number.  It’s difficult to live in geographic proximity, share financial obligations, and commit to weekly community rituals.  We would rather sit on the couch and watch videos on our iPad.  Everything about the modern world encourages us to enjoy the blessings of absolutely no obligation.  Marriage difficult?  End it. Pastor made you feel guilty? Find another church.  Have a friend in trouble and he needs your help?  Not now, he probably deserves it, anyway.

Years ago, I knew two families who — tired of California — moved to Texas.  I was surprised to find they didn’t even pick the same town as a destination, much less the same fellowship.

We keep hoping some “place” will make us better, but it’s common belief, common culture, common love that truly protects us.  To ignore that would be something like watching Moses lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, only to see them scatter across the desert in search of separate villages and their own little condominiums .

Leaving the evil empire is just the first step.  You need to find, or build, Emerald City.

The “Law”

The average American is a criminal several times a day. Did you forget to unplug that extension cord running across the lawn to an exterior light?  Did that campaign contribution get deposited in the wrong account by accident?  Did you light your fireplace on a night when the local air quality agency said no wood could be burned?  Did you secure the proper remodeling permit when you replaced your ceiling fan?  During the last pandemic, did you install Plexiglas wherever customers interacted with your employees?

Those are the laws for us little people. They are only used, generally, when a neighbor feels like making your life difficult, or, post-disaster, when the extension cord you left plugged in burns down your storage shed.

On a grander scale, US Senators dump staffers in a river and dozens of “intelligence” officers pretend (read: “lie”) that  Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Soviet disinformation.”  Hillary Clinton conducts state department business on a private email server.  President Trump forgets to declassify documents proving he did not collude with Russia.

The law is becoming a plaything for political manipulators and neurotic neighbors.  A true covenant community only uses the LAW when it is necessary and only that law which makes sense to a reasonable man.  Did you know that the County of San Bernardino simply ignored the Covid complaints against Riley’s Farm?  They chose NOT to use the law as a tool for political reprisal.

Why am I bringing this up?

Listen carefully:  any re-building of America will REQUIRE people of good will to ignore laws that make no sense, and stand with each other when rogue prosecutors and police officers attempt to enforce them.

If you are tempted to regard that as radical, consider something a law enforcement officer once told me.  He confessed that a certain neighborhood was so completely controlled by a gang, that law enforcement did business with that community, as though, in effect, it were its own nation, a separate jurisdiction more or less out of their control.  We see this, too, on an official level, when machine Democrat cities declare themselves “sanctuary” for law-breakers of all sorts.

I think it’s sad that violent gangs and corrupt cities have more autonomy, essentially, than like-minded Americans simply trying to build homes and escape hyper-regulation, but maybe it’s time to learn something from the mammon of unrighteousness?  What they use for evil, we use for good.  We need to establish effective, and defiant, local control.

Building the Team

We have heard, already, from a civil engineer.  We need..

  • Finance: someone skilled at raising capital
  • Legal: someone who can help us pick the right umbrella structure
  • Entertainment:  music directors, talent scouts
  • Artists:  People need to see it to believe it.  We need people who can paint picturs of Emerald City
  • Craftsmen: Did you know it’s almost impossible to find someone who can use stone-cutting tools to square cobblestone or cornerstones?  We need people who want to preserve old world skills

What say you?  In or out?  

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This post was written by Jim Riley


  • Sarah Lucas says:

    AMEN, GOD is good

  • Lisa C. says:

    I will support you in any way that I can!

  • Jessica Ryder says:

    Count me in for artistry! let me know what you need done and I will find a way to do whatever I can.

  • steve gifford says:

    Thanks for sticking around in our wacky State. People asked me why I don’t leave teaching in a godless public school/. Someone needs to stand in the gap. Someone needs to be a light in the darkness.
    Keep being a light and the Giffords love the fun activities ( and the pie too)

  • Grace says:

    Is this like an investment opportunity in Emerald City ……Thank yous so much for your words . Im definitely interested. Remember you can always open the farm for a race……10k or 10k run in the farm.

  • NN says:

    Before the pandemic, a city in Utah had drawn up plans to recreate Mount Vernon. They wanted to be the west’s largest american history destination. It has since fallen through the cracks. Why not bring it here?? I keep saying there are no american revolutionary history museums in this area. You are perfectly primed to expand to something similar to this. I’m so excited for your journey. I will be following along and seeing if there is something I can assist with.

    • Jim Riley says:

      We have heard about that project. My sense is that big money for outdoor attractions got nervous when they found out how cowardly political leadership was over Covid. If an incompetent doctor, too short to go on the rides at Disneyland, can shut down the nation and put fear in all the customers, capital has to think twice.

      • NN says:

        You are probably right. It is painful to me that we don’t have american founding history museums here. I have dragged my kids all over the east coast many times and they are frequently the only ones in their history classes who know anything about the founding fathers or the revolutionary war (I took them to one of your revolutionary war days as well!). Museums out east are spotty, with many of them focusing on the mistakes of America. There are some wonderfully inspiring ones though. The little museum at the battleground of Yorktown. The George Washington museum at mount Vernon. These are privately owned and operated museums that showcase the beauty of our great american experiment and the brilliance of the founding fathers. When we went to DC to show the kids the constitution we were met with trigger warning labels and giant exhibits on BLM.
        I love that you are brainstorming how to expand. When I homeschooled during Covid you and the Ronald Reagan library were the only places I found within 3 hours of my home that shared the same love for America that our family does. More than half of the kids in their classes won’t even stand for the pledge of allegiance. Kids have no real concept of what America is anymore and it is a tragedy.

        • Nancy says:

          I agree with you. I grew up in New England where I had early American history so readily available to me.
          Now I live in CA and Riley’s Farm is the only place that makes me feel like back at home, with a strong connection and love for the founding of our country.
          I feel bad for kids in California who don’t get that connection– the kids who come to Riley’s Farm are very lucky! I bet it builds great memories and you never know which kids it’ll speak to especially and will carry on that love into adulthood.

      • Tim Adams says:

        Here is the mindset of many venture capitalists. https://youtu.be/Mt9jl8qlzfQ
        Kevin O’Leary basically calls California “uninvestible”. I had never heard this term directly but his reasoning is straight forward.

        Jim You have great vision and God has gifted you and your family with a great responsibility of curating a way of life which bring us back to a more innocent and wholesome time. At the end of the day honoring God should be a continued thrust of your operation, in fact I say take the gloves off and make God the central theme of your mission.

        This is the time we must seek direction from God and not man. If the Lord is leading you to move your tribe like Moses, then even at an older age we must move. Let God move your heart, and he will provide the blessings, miracles, and bounty!



        • Jim Riley says:

          I’ve been following Mr. Wonderful on this. He’s been incredibly outspoken about how bad New York and California are for business, and that can’t be very good for a network, or even a cable career. While I agree with him, my sense is that he might be — ironically — showing the way. Smart, “big,” shark-tank money may not be on the side of investing in California, but the wildcat types understand there might be a HUGE market in providing sanity for people stuck in Babylon, and that very sanity might CURE Babylon.

  • Barbara Papp says:

    This sounds amazing ! My husband assisted their father building their first home in Cherry Valley singe has many skills. He is also a city planner and used to work on getting grants for the city of Temecula. I have grandchildren who would be great at entertainment

  • Kathleen Unsell says:

    Oh my gosh!!! I can sleep tonight!! We NEED to stand together. Sending an email on behalf of my husband and I with information. God BLESS!!!

  • Cathy Turner says:

    Love this idea. Look forward to where this goes!!

  • Kris Wellborn says:

    Your email and subsequent email gave me so many mixed feelings and things to ponder. As you know, I am trying to get my mom and I out of California. I would love to see your family and business flourish wherever God convicts you to be the best witness for Him and His kingdom.

    My knee jerk advice would be to expand your merchandise. There are tons of people that started online merch (tshirts, sweatshirts, tanks, etc) during the pandemic and are still going strong. Can you do farm, colonial, patriotic, God fearing merchandise? I’ve thought about it for myself (mailbox money)! I have several leads on good quality clothing companies if you are interested.

    Blessings to you & family

  • Frances Mena says:

    I wish I could stay and help, but alas we are one of the escapees. Wishing you and Mary all the best, because you all are the good ones. Missing all of you!

  • Carolyn says:

    I so love this idea!! Will be watching to see how I can help.

  • Michele says:

    I support you! I am so glad you are staying. I’ve been going to your farm since I was just a little girl, and without saying my age that’s a really really long time! The needs you are looking for above unfortunately I can’t do any of that but I will do whatever I can. I will buy tickets I will come visit and I will bring people. Would love to buy a little plot of land up there as well!

  • Beth says:

    Wow! I cannot wait to see what comes from all of this! Looks like you are going to have people come out from the woodwork to help! My daughter is a great graphic artist and video editor, if need be. She’s licensed in Temecula.

  • Doug says:

    Glad you and your family decided to stay and fight. It’s what we are doing. -I believe it’s the right thing to do, in part because God gave us the ability. Easier roads elsewhere? Maybe, but who knows. I sometimes live on the back and forth as you do and have been, but the little voice inside always seems to say keep a firm hold on, and defend what you’ve worked so hard to build, and don’t let anyone push you out so easily. Darkness needs light more than light needs light, be the light in the darkness . Hope to meet and talk someday.

  • Kacy Tribble says:

    I made a forced move to Oklahoma (where I grew up), and I kind of hate it. I’m always looking for a way back. I’ll support you however I can! Riley’s is awesome, and Californians NEED you to stay there. The homeschoolers NEED a local option for field trips and the best Revolutionary and Colonial Reenactments outside of Williamsburg. Support you 100%.

  • Taliah says:

    I read every email you have sent out and I’m so excited for this new adventure! I will continue to support you in anyway I can!

  • Maureen Anderson says:

    Count us in. I could add something essential for this movement. Healthcare! You will need at least one doctor and nurse. That’s where my husband comes in.

  • Rich Frisk says:

    If I was able I would leave California, this state is Satan’s playground, the ones running the state are his fools and they do what he wants. You can see it in the laws and what they do. California is a beautiful state, but for the people to say we have to stand together. If I could afford to live in Oak Glenn and get a good paying job I would. Take care and God Bless – Rich

  • Marilyn Boone says:

    Our family will continue to come up and support you.. God Bless.!

  • Josh says:

    Can we wear cool Emerald glasses, too???

  • Nancy says:

    I am so happy you’re staying. I’m not always able to make it to events but I will come by to your gift and mercantile shops regularly simply to give you guys more business.
    Keep letting us know how we can support you!

  • Sonja says:

    Here’s someone you might be interested in connecting with.


  • Jana says:

    I’ll do what I can to help!

    I don’t know what that looks like yet,
    but I’m down for the cause!
    My two friends and I SO enjoyed the hayride/lighted apple orchard and envisioned carolers in period costume, walking throughout the area. Lighted and roped walk paths (safety first). Maybe popcorn garland stringing “class”. Face painting. “go fish” booths. A photo booth. The kind of things that become tradition for families to enjoy every year. AND (hopefully) bring more revenue for future aforementioned growth.

  • Blanca Manson says:

    We need the love of God from Riley’s Farms!
    Many coming to America and here in California need to sense that which they don’t have at home. Thank You for being salt and light to the darkness

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