(NOTE: we have openings now from mid-July, through all of 2018. We only take one person or couple at a time, so reserve your time ASAP! Also, we regret that we cannot accept international volunteers who do NOT speak FLUENT, AMERICAN ENGLISH,. This farm has many potentially dangerous tools and animals that require that you understand instructions completely!)
We are a growing, learning center for those seeking to learn to live off grid, learn alternative (solar & wind) power, alternative construction, stone masonry, water conservation & rain water harvesting, small to moderate poultry flock management, debt free life, “New Homesteading”, scratch cookery and sustainability.
For accommodations, we have a 26′ travel trailer for our guests to stay in. One task we need to do, is to move this to a more private spot, with separate infrastructure. But it is ready for guests now.
We have WIFI, satellite TV, hot & cold water, electricity and will share all of our meals….. but no vegetarian, vegan, other food fad of the week or extraordinary requests.
We would expect 15-25 hours of work per week, or 3-4 hours daily in exchange. We want guests to limit their stays to two weeks, more or less, but can be flexible, nothing long term however. Our emphasis right now is on constructing several parts of the compound, using both native “raw” rock & empty glass bottles that are being re-purposed as “bricks”.
From now until May, we will be focusing exclusively on stone & bottle masonry. This presents a great opportunity for anyone considering building their own home, to get the basics and find a place to begin their journey! If you are considering building a “hobbit house”, straw bale house, earthship, cob house, pallet wood house, or other alternative building construction, a stay here will give you the opportunity to learn masonry basics like: foundation/footing creation, rubblestone foundations…….mortar AND concrete mixing…… sourcing, selecting & placement of “raw” rock…….shaping, cutting & polishing rock……setting glass & plastic bottles in walls……. setting plumbing & electrical in masonry walls…….. setting windows and doors in mortar and much, MUCH more!!!
We will continue of course to maintain the poultry, care for the horse, produce our small micro-green business and plant, grow & harvest our Moringa tree “orchard” as well. However, the primary focus for 2017 is the stone masonry construction, using concrete & mortar mixes.
One of the more interesting masonry projects that should start in May or June, will be the construction of our 3500 square foot greenhouse. This will be a hybrid project using tires, “earthship” style, clear glass bottles and window glass re-purposed from many sources, including from rest areas in the National park! We will construct a “swamp” for water plants & vegetables, as well as a complete aquaponics system….. the aquaponics will start in the Winter of 2018….. first, the building & swamp must be completed!
Our ranch is located about 25 miles from the Mexican border and 20 miles from Big Bend National Park, in the Texas Chihuahuan Desert. There are many opportunities to hike, canoe and raft in the Big Bend National Park, as well as Big Bend Ranch State Park. Amateur astronomers will appreciate our clear, dark night sky! Since it is a long way to, well, ANYWHERE, if you don’t have a vehicle, you will be “stuck” here, as we only make one trip into Terlingua every week, on Friday. Please bear that in mind.
This is the real deal in sustainable, desert living and can be hot, dusty & labor intensive! This IS a desert location, despite the “Alpine” address. To get a better idea of the location, the GPS coordinates are: N29.56357 W103.60476
We also have posted a video about our ranch, just a teaser with different projects shown. From there, you may link to the other 150 videos on our channel. There is a longer “homestay” video there too, showing a “day in our lives”. Please take a look at them:
While we will happily share our meals, we can, within reason, shop for your food items that you can prepare in our shaded outdoor kitchen.
We have several small, geriatric dogs. They bark and NEVER get used to visitors, but they are fenced in or supervised at all times. Because of their safety, we cannot allow large or “fighting breeds” of dogs, regardless of temperament. However, we can discuss another geriatric dogs, toy dogs or registered service dogs.
There are power tools, broken glass, nails, screws and everything you would associate with a construction site all over. NONE of these are toys for children and we feel the ranch is too dangerous for kids under 15. NO ONE can insure that children are supervised all the time and we won’t have a serious injury on our conscience!
This ranch was designed to be an example of how we can live sustainably & responsibly, while enjoying the important aspects of 21st century living, not “camping on our land with a light bulb & laptop”. But it also is not “dancing through wildflowers, picking blueberries & singing kumbaya!” This is a great place to enjoy seclusion, to test yourself & your skill-set, learn off-grid life as it should be and have a bit of fun!
We are retired from marketing & distribution. Our goal was always to have a working farm and this was realized in 2002 when we built our first poultry farm in Florida. Now in the Texas "Big Bend" since 2010, our emphasis has shifted to teaching sustainability, self-sufficiency, individual infrastructure and all aspects of construction without government intervention, e/g: OFF-GRID!
We are extremely skilled in small to medium poultry flock management, stone masonry , solar/wind power and rainwater harvesting. We seek to teach these and more to our guests during their stays. We are looking to pass on our knowledge in exchange for help with construction. We are NOT looking for free labor, giving little in return!
Guests would be treated like family, sharing as many meals as they wish and interacting with us as much as they desire. guest workdays would be 3-5 hours, five days a week, working with Robert and learning. Guests could always work more if they wish, but 3-5 hours in the morning is all that is expected.
There is a 26' travel trailer for guest use, with water, electric, WIFI, heat and daytime air conditioning