Friday, December 9, 2011

Terlingua Vacation In Review

It has been almost a month since our Terlingua vacation and work sucks so bad and I have been so busy I have not had time to post. Dammit Jim!
We had a great time and enjoyed the nothingness of no phones, tv, computers, or radio. Here is a picture of our place with the added 12 x 20 carport completed last spring.

On Monday we went to go meet and visit Frann and Denese. Very impressed with all the work done on Frann’s place and flat can not fathom how they worked through the hot azz summer. Learned a lot more about of earthbag building and hands on experience. You Go Girls !!

We needed an inspection on the Terlingua Jeep, expired 3/11, and decided to take it to Beechie’s. Sandy had never been out Terlingua Ranch Rd so it was a new experience for her. We headed out to Beechie's Auto which was about a 40 minute drive from the highway with about 5 miles of dirt road. The next closest inspection place is 70 miles away in Alpine beyond the BP check point. Once there we meet Beechie who is an older gentleman and is in no hurry. It was cold and windy and he hates the cold so even slower. It took around 45 minutes to get it done. A reminder of no reason to get in a hurry in the desert. Of course he said I needed wiper blades at $10 a piece. I know I should have taken some out. Good thing we like site seeing.

While out that we way we went to meet John Wells and Benita plus got a tour of ‘The Field Lab’, (See We took gifts of a block of ice, a 6 pac, and a baby bottle of JD Tennessee Honey. Benita was out with the visiting longhorns so we did not get to meet or pet her. We did see Dennis Hoper, a cotton tail rabbit, in the building. Amazing the work one person can do. More inspiration for doin it yourself but just lookin at all that work made my back hurt! :)

Benita                                        Denese

On Friday we went out River Road lookin for Crow Town movie set. I was told there was a sign for it but we never found it. We road back an forth from the HooDoo’s to Redford. With the Jeep runnin on 5 cylinders, thanks to a f’n field Rat, and a worn out steering box it was a stressful ride for me. I was highly pizzed we did not find it. Dammit Jim!

We normally go to La Kiva on Friday night but after talking it over decide to save our money and party at our place. I figured I would just cuss the new menu anyway. Well I mixed Gumby strength drinks, never ate supper, and stayed up late. I said 'F'k the Burn Ban' and we had an outdoor fire. :) We got a major buzz on!
We spent a lot of the week riding the buggy in the Solitario, hikin canyons, lookin for fossils and rocks. Sandy usually drives S County Rd and she loves haulin azz. I told her with some more practice should do well in a race. :) We did more hikin on Terlingua Creek off the County Rd where I did find some pieces of worked flint. Not sure where S County turns into N County? I guess it is at Terlingua Creek Crossing!

All in all as usual the week was to short and I consumed a ton of Jack. Isn't that what vacations are for? :)

Did a lot of thinking bout wanting to retire in the better climate of the Davis Mountains but not sure how to swing that and keep my place in Terlingua. I sure love the solitude, the desert, and our view of the Chisos!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Road Trip / Vacation

Terlingua Road Trip / Vacation
Now the weather is nice Sandy, Wally Dog, and I are headin to Terlingua for a week vacation. Hopin to meet Frann, Denese, John Wells, Benita, and check out their awesome work. Need to get over to Beechie’s for an inspection on the Jeep. Gonna be hard to find the time while doin nothing! Nice!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Terlingua Fall Vacation

Plannin our fall trip to our Terlingua place. Sandy, Wally dog, and I will arrive Saturday Nov. 5th for a week. Not even goin near the cookoff. The time changes that night and it always really messes with my body clock. Not being on my regular schedule usually allows me to acclimate better.
No big projects this trip so a lot of ridden the UTV and hopefully visiting new Terlingua friends that I have not meet personally.

Even with no plans the week goes by awfully fast. Sure lookin forward to bein in the tranquil desert doin nothing!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Solar Cookin Ribs

My latest home made solar oven. I used two thin lexan sheets for the window. They have already warped and wrinkled loosing my tight air seal. I have been doin more solar cookin and gettin pretty good with ribs. I got St. Louis style pork rib marinated and rubbed then cool chilled for 30 hours. Solar oven cooked 5 hours and topped off 12 min. on the gas grill.
Didn't do so good on the beans. I soaked less than 1/2 cup of pinto beans overnight which swelled to almost fill my 28 oz. jar. Even after soaking overnight with that much volume they never got soft. Early this summer I was successful with unsoaked beans but it wasn't very many and I cooked them all day.
Check out these solar ribs. I went ahead and put them on the gas grill on high a few minutes each side to get a little char goin and added some sauce.
They were tender juicy and tasted really good. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Davis Mnts. Driveway Work Estimate

I got an estimate from a guy in the Davis Mountains Resort to cut me in a driveway and culvert install on the tract of land for sale that I like;
An 18” x 20’ culvert itself is around $500 and to install it and cut a 200’ plus driveway is another $600, so a minimum of $1100 for a driveway. I thought it would be lot less but didn’t really think about cost and delivery of the culvert. I have another suppose to look at it and get back to me.
He did say the tract had an area of better soil than most tracts and a septic would be $6500 to $7500. It still sounds like composting is the way to go plus saves precious water.
I like the tract I found but for 5.5 acres only about 1 acre is buildable which makes it kinda tight for what I want to do. Wanting to be able to build with a partial passive solar design has been a major concern in looking at Davis Mountains property.
I am really stugglin with trying to like the Davis Mountains comparatively to Terlingua / Big Bend. Although it is beautiful in the mountains with trees and grass it doesn’t have that awe inspiring feelin or character of the desert. You Terlingua residences know what I mean. I guess a silhouette of the Chisos is etched upon my heart.
I am still considering the tract and lookin at others but not overwhelmed or convinced on anything yet. Hopefully I will find an excellent Davis Mountains retirement property.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Davis Mountains Resort Visit

Sandy, Wally, and I enjoyed our trip to the Davis Mountains. Goin Saturday comin home Monday was kinda quick. Know I need time off to recuperate. :)
Saw a lot of property in the Davis Mountains Resort. The roads are all dirt and mostly single lane 4x4 roads. Terlingua’s Solitario roads are good compared to some of them. We did find one tract that we like for having good views, blocking the summer afternoon sun, protected on the north, and getting some winter sun, elevation 5800’. Photo is a view from building site lookin south.

We stopped at the Davis Mountains Resort Country Store and everything was 50% off everything. It was their last day to be open. So now to even get ice or beer it is 10 miles plus of dirt roads then another 11 miles to Fort Davis. Bummer.
Although I gotta have the cooler retirement weather than BB it is hard for me to justify 5 acres in the Davis Mountains costing more than my 40 acres north of the Ghost town. With the trees and elevation changes you can be pretty isolated on 5 acres.
To run electric it is around $14 a foot so unless building right on the road that adds up real quick. Sure wish batteries for off grid had a longer life.
I have a local guy going to do an estimate to cut in a driveway and do a septic install. Code is 750 gallon minimum septic tank. Ouch! I just got my copy of the ‘Humanure Handbook’. $7,000 to 9,000 for a septic system makes me think I can sure do humanure composting. Now I gotta sell the idea to Sandy or she better start saving for septic. I know humanure composting would save big time on water usage.
I am trying to look at all angles and costs before buying property but am still leanin towards the Davis Mountains for retirement.

Monday, July 18, 2011


In talking with Jon Blackmon he suggested checkin out the Davis Mountains area for tolerable weather while researching retirement. Hottest month is June with an average high of 91. The hottest low month is July at 61. Well compared to Terlingua / Big Bend and most of the rest of Texas it is like bein up in Colorado or somewhere.
With my old azz not able to stand the heat more and more every year it is something to really thing about. Of course you got restrictions, government, higher taxes and other things that go with more populated areas but you can go outside and do something most all year not having to huddle out of the intense sun. Oh yeah, did I mention there are trees which produce shade for those that have forgotten.

Property is not cheap. I am finding asking price is about twice or more the appraised tax value but isn’t it like that in most places?
Terlingua / Big Bend definitely has its beauty, magic, and character especially with its Characters and places.
Just thinkin out loud here, Although I wanna do a lot of layin around relaxing when I retire I do not want to be forced to stay inside out of the death rays of the sun prayin for rain so I can run my swamp cooler and take an occasional shower.
I am sure the hard core off griders will disapprove of me callin me a quitter for givin up the total off grid life but I am just researching. Go ahead let me have it!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Plan for Now

I am looking into building a 600 sq. ft. house with the west and north sides being earthbag walls buried to at least 6 feet into the side of a hill hoping to get the earths thermal mass heating and cooling. No sun ever on 2 walls. That has gotta make the place cooler. Except for extensive labor you can't bet the price. Plan on having at least two large water tanks mostly buried with my battery power supply box between the tanks hopefully keeping things cool.
This will give me my nice view of the Chisos out the east side which will be a large covered patio. Check out pictures of my existing place and views from my place at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My First Post

Welcome! This is my first blog entry. I mainly joined so I can commment on blogs I follow. Hopefully I will be adding interesting updates, links, and tips to living off the grid. This picture is from my place in the Solitario portion of Terlingua a few mlies north of the ghost town area.