Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Danny to the rescue....

Everyone on Terlingua Ranch knows Danny from Big Bend Telephone....he's the guy that comes out  and does the initial site survey for a new phone line.  This guy knows his stuff....and is constantly out here making sure our phones and internet are up to speed.  My little lapse in service was fixed with one of the new modems (with wifi built in) from the phone company.  Gifted the man with a Longhorn Benita mug.

The New York Times piece about TFL just came out online this afternoon.  Thank you Penelope Green and Tony Cenicola for venturing all the way out here if for only a day.Welcome to my world all you new people.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/garden/10texas.html?hp   It has been almost 20 years since my first little feature in the Times - from my former life...    64,72,48,0,C   This secret string at the bottom of every blog post is:  temperature at 8PM, high temp of the day, low temp of the day, amount of rainfall, wind conditions (C alm, B reezy, W indy, G usty )

60 comments:

El Viejo said...

Wow!....You had a cat?!

bougeotte said...

Loved the article, however could not convince my husband to try such an endeavor. Will enjoy following your blog.

Nick Cooper said...

NICE PIC IN THE ARTICLE! article was ok.

John Wells said...

that was my trusty friend Mia (also had a cat named Gato)...both lived with me for 17 years of my NYC experience.

Hill Country Slacker said...

Yep, cool article and pics.....loved the pics.

K1MGY said...

Delightful article John and what marvelous photos. I always wondered what the Grub Shack looked like.

You are a continuing inspiration to those of us who are living a life of desperation on our way to expiration.

rj said...

1500 gallons from 1" rain? Must be a record, although I bet you were talking about the greenhouse roof and not the house.

Bruce S said...

John, I loved the comparison to you and Joshua Slocum. One of my favorite books is Sailing Alone Around the World. You two are soft spoken and very capable men. Congrats.

The Flying Tortoise said...

Great story John, wonderful for the cause. Congratulations.

laura said...

Just read the NYT article. Where are you in relation to the Agua Fria? Spent two summers doing geology field work there in the '70's. You have internet? A phone? Wow. Billy Pat McKinney was once on a TV show, and they gave him an electric coffee pot as a gift. He said, "Thanks, I'll have to get out my 12 mile extension cord..."

Dani said...

JW - you had to love the article?

Your (and the writers') sense of humour come shining though.

Just love the nighttime shot - wish I had a camera that could take one on our farm - could show you a little of where we live too :-) Our stars are as bright - don't you feel priviledged to be able to sit and star gaze at night?!

LP said...

Awesome dude. Hats off to you for showing us all how it can be done.

JLP said...

Great article. Good read. Congrats JW.

Peter said...

I'm thinking this same might just work here in Northern Thailand where I live...

captaincrunch said...

John

Where can I get copies of the NYT photo's of the field lab?

Can I purchase them from you?


Come hell or high water. Im gonna sell my house and go off the grid.

Teresa said...

What a fascinating and charming life you lead! I plan on living vicariously through your blog. Thank you for sharing it with the desperate world.

jdeware said...

Facinating, I dream of building a small cabin up in the wood or in the middle of the desert. Inspiring indeed, although I'm wondering why you choose containers over a adobe house?

Congrat again

shawn said...
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ratgirls said...

What a wonderful article John!

LarryLilly said...

What do the numbers mean on the bottom of some of your posts?

Coordinates? Times you smacked your head thinking of new ideas?

I has got to know.

Juliana said...

Muito legal!!!! Adorei sua idéias!

malcolm_designs said...

Hi John
I was surprised but at the same time not surprised to see you in the NY Times this morning! You being an ex New Yorker and all. Great photos and article. Ive been following your blog for about 3 years now. Congrats.

malcolm

zoe said...

just found you from the NYT article--inspirational! Will link to you from my blog.

Erica said...

Cool place! I am adding you to my blog reader.

Guy Hodges said...

Excellent article JW. They did you justice.

neil said...
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Craig said...

It's funny that You went from watching TV every day to not watching TV at all.

gaijindragonslayer said...

We are seriously thinking of moving out of NYC and doing more or less what you are. Where we are there are no stars and nature is just something to sweep away. However I am nearly 58, my wife near 57, and two old cats; wonder if we'd be fit enough to live like you do? We have some medical issues that stop us from being too far off the grid. Do you have any suggestions for a not quite off the grid but near enough to see the stars and feel the seasons flow? Is it odd to want to live and die with stars above and land below? Well it seems not. Just knowing you live your life is a boon to my life of walls and nights of waddling drunks, booming music, growling cars and intense street lights bursting through our black out blinds. I have not seen the stars in 10 years. Though nature does intervene: we did have record breaking snow two months ago. That changed the city and while most New Yorkers curse we loved seeing the grid groan and snap.
I guess living like you do will be just a dream for us but I am looking for communities that might allow us a taste. If you know of any I'd be interested to know. The only ones we have come across require members to sing the minutes of a board meeting. I just can't go there.
So good luck, we will follow your blog and check you haven't got yourself locked in a container. I'll think of you tonight watching the stars while smoking a cigarette.

repsychallblues said...

Great article. Now you have been found by the rest of the world!

Kerry said...

Nice to see someone living the dream - I'm both jealous and inspired! Best of luck with your 'experiment.'
Kerry

sionnac said...

Dear John,

I have only been to the Dallas/Ft. Worth and Allen part of Texas (family there)... I saw the article in the NY Times & enjoyed reading about The Field Lab, seeing your excellent photos and "meeting" Benita. Best wishes.

frann said...

I think I found some Terlingua Creek Cats Eye on my place...growing in the middle of the road.

everlastingblogstopper said...

I love the Big Bend region, and that drive south of Alpine. I did it in my mid-twenties when I needed a healing trip alone in the Soutwest, and later, I lived in New Mexico. Now in a totally lush, overgrown decidious rainforest in the Southeast, I look at your little homestead and dream of electric desert air broken only occasionally by monsoon rains. Hope those rains come for you soon.

Jack Stephens said...

Hi John,

I admire what you're up to. I'm what I'd call a "reverse pioneer". I've left my California roots behind and am reclaiming an abandoned sharecropper's farm in Italy, and using hand tools mostly to do it, scythes, axes, etc. I've got solar hot water, and gravity feed irrigation catchment, etc. Old ideas, new technology. I'd love to get plans for your pepino swamp cooler!!!!!

One question: After seeing pictures of your phone line being laid, I wonder if you can say you are "off the grid" anymore?

Keep it up!

Jack Stephens
http://foundintuscany.blogspot.com/

Reed Stevens said...

Want some company?

peckham2paris said...

totally inspired

Houstonrufus said...

Just read the article in the NYTimes and was completely charmed by you and your lifestyle. I live in Houston. I've driven through west texas and wondered how anyone could live out there. But I must say what you've created sounds like a peaceful corner in Heaven. Good luck to you!

Don Auderer said...

Great Article. I now know more about you than I wanted!
I'm sending the link to all my friends.

tffnguy said...

I stopped by the Grub Shack this morning and John was there. I noticed he had a brand new cowboy hat on because his head was 4 times larger.

Kidding of course. The same old John. Congrats on the NYT article. Now! I hope NYC doesn't move down here because of it. ;)

Son of Liberty said...

Great article John. From cats to cows, my how things change. to LarryLilly, the numbers at the bottom of his posts are temp at time of posting, High temp, low temp, rainfall and wind conditions.

nicole said...

Congrats on the NYTimes story -- so glad to have found your blog and look forward to reading more.

CR said...

I'm so inspired I'm breathless! Great article!

Pamela said...

Very much enjoyed reading the NY Times piece. Beautiful pictures, lovely life! Look forward to following you.

tffnguy said...

Oh Yeah, Forgot to mention that Danny is a hell of a good guy. I had the same trouble with my modem after they upgraded the system. When I called the problem in the woman told me it would be the following day before they fixed it. Danny was here the same afternoon I called it in with the new WiFi modem.

Hally said...

As someone who grew up in Tucson, AZ and recently relocated to Manhattan, I have to say that the NYT article and pics really made me long for the desert. So glad I stumbled across this story. You lead a very interesting and inspiring life, Mr. Wells!

KMS Woodworks said...

Nice pics and a good story to boot.

Keep up the good work

RWeHavingFunYet said...

Wonderful article. What caught my attention was the Constellation "Canis Major" and the bright star Sirius, above your field lab.

Don't forget to attend the largest gathering of telescopes and people who would observe all night, and they will show you the heavens for free. You don't need a telescope to attend. http://texasstarparty.org/

Tim said...

Wind data:
--------------------------
C=calm
B=breezy (0-15mph winds)
W=windy (15-30 mph winds)
G=gusty (30+mph winds)

Alexander said...

I'm one of those "new people."
Thank you for sharing your life, I look forward to following. You might have a new neighbor!
Love the flame-thrower!

Geekgirl said...

Found you through the article in the Times and loved reading about a TransPecos dweller. I have fond memories of trips to Big Bend (and thus Terlingua and the Starlight) in graduate school.

There's a part of me that feels most free in the deserts of West Texas.

susan nyikos said...

And one more newbie :) Just couldn't resist. Excepting my sons' blogs, i do try to resist for fear of obsession. Living off of the land, but truly, and being self-sufficient today? I had to pause and tip my hat and let you know all about it. Any critters visiting tonight, John?

BTW, thumbs up for the reporters and NYT for running a news piece about something this exciting and admirable.

More thumbs up for John!

CoolChange©© said...

That was a great article to read, John. My wife sat down with me so we could read it together. Carry on! We'll be there soon!

A Real Person said...

Hello from Canada. Read the piece in the Times. Fascinated by your story. Will follow your blog. Cheers!

thebuckleez said...

I'm in fourth grade and my mom and I read your article for my current events homework. We are learning about blogging so it's neat that you have a blog too.

Ellen Rennard said...

Very appealing. Hope you don't mind -- I wrote about this article in my blog and reposted the Times photo. If you mind, tell me and I'll take it down. Now I'd better quit procrastinating and get on the road, literally and otherwise.

Hema said...

I read the NYT article and loved the pictures, especially the night sky one. You are the Thoreau of the desert.

Steal These Words said...

You remind me of her:http://oko-organic-clothing.blogspot.com/

but she did it(got far away) because she's chemically sensitive - also the people in Snowflake,Az did it for that reason - chemical and electrical sensitivity - here's a Snowflake Person: http://planetthrive.com/2009/11/destined-for-desert/

Brian said...

Your NYT article and the picture of you on your porch is the main front page story in Friday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

alam0tx said...

Well! I am a Fan...Can't wait to read all of the blog..
Tell Benita I said, MOoo..

small said...
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