From Gotham to isolated, code & debt-free West Texas estate

  • Опубликовано: 17 ноя 2014
  • Seven years ago John Wells sold his heavily-mortgaged home in upstate New York and bought 40 acres in West Texas for $8000. The area (Brewster County) is so isolated there are no codes or zoning restrictions so Wells built his own tiny home (in 9 days with $1600) relying on his set-building experience.
    Not wanting to rely on outside labor, Wells has continued to build his own services: a solar shower, a basic composting toilet, a bike-powered washing machine, an Airstream guest house, and a huge greenhouse which also houses 4 shipping containers he hopes to convert to housing/office space.
    Wells named his homestead (now 40 acres, he bought a second 20 acres for $500) the Field Lab (short for “Southwest Texas Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living Field Laboratory”) and he likes to experiment with off-grid solutions: one of his latest is a more-powerful solar oven.
    Original story:
  • Хобби и стильХобби и стиль

Комментарии • 2 314

  • Anne Bell
    Anne Bell 7 часов назад

    Going over old video's to get ideas and LEARN LEARN LEARN...about off grid living...loved this one Kirsten...I love what you do for the are great at finding interesting people and places...thank you so much for that...I have learned more from your video's to allow me to make a "schoolie" for myself and my three grand daughters to live in without a lot of the expense...even the video's that don't seem to have much to do with my dream in particular give me some kind of tid bit or idea or something to make my dream happen...LOVE THE CHANNEL! Because after all, "It's A Wander-FULL Life" indeed!

  • Alice Devens
    Alice Devens 3 дня назад

    Amen great job to ya, . I'm in pa yuck

  • timberdogz
    timberdogz 6 дней назад

    I built scenery up in NYC for a while.....creative bunch of folks! Nice house!

  • Rafe Walker
    Rafe Walker 7 дней назад

    How peaceful and quiet that life must be!

  • A Dream Lyfe, By Michelle Carvalho
    A Dream Lyfe, By Michelle Carvalho 8 дней назад

    This man is amazing. Where can I find a husband with these kind of skills?

  • Jay Mercha
    Jay Mercha 10 дней назад

    People like you will colonize Mars.

  • Darin- USMC B- 85-93
    Darin- USMC B- 85-93 10 дней назад

    Funny how when someone is in the city,
    They falsely rely on the police to come to the rescue,
    But in the country or out in the remote desert like he is,
    You realize you better arm yourself, just in case, be it, someone unwanted shows up or wildlife,
    911 is way off,
    You are your best defense!
    And only defense!

  • Blank Page
    Blank Page 11 дней назад

    He almost makes desert living look fun.

  • Seesooki0pi
    Seesooki0pi 11 дней назад

    Great story!
    He'd be cooler in an Earthship out there

  • dawn klug
    dawn klug 11 дней назад

    He forgot a bee hive......without them, he'll never get any fruits

  • Dave Hughes Farm
    Dave Hughes Farm 11 дней назад

    Liked this very much...Salute to you Sir..

  • Rocco Grimaldi
    Rocco Grimaldi 15 дней назад

    I’m sure he’s got another home where he keeps his “stuff”, and probably a few hundred thousand in the bank.

    • 1Howdy1
      1Howdy1 11 дней назад

      Probably has money, but that's how he lives. Worked with a guy years ago that did the same thing - still out there 20 years later. Very cold in the winter, hot in the summer. There are coyotes and rabbits everywhere. There are no lights visible at night. You can shoot up in the air, just to hear it echo. It helps to know most things mechanical and electrical. You'll notice in the video a domed looking thing about waist high half buried. That's probably the cellar that he was joking about. Very common to do since the earth temp is around 53 degrees year around. They have to be sealed well to keep the snakes out, yet be ventilated. Really surprised how similar this guy is to my friend. I need to go see him - He lives 300 miles from me and over 200 of those are the kind that if you have to pee, you just stop and piss in the middle of the road.

  • michaelwni
    michaelwni 16 дней назад

    and this one solar panel here,.. well that's how I inflate my gf :-))

  • Jita'ame suluma
    Jita'ame suluma 16 дней назад

    More vegetation too

  • Jita'ame suluma
    Jita'ame suluma 16 дней назад

    Needs to put a pool of water in there, helps to cool a few cheap ornamental fountains would help a lot

  • ric234100
    ric234100 17 дней назад

    Very intelligent guy. awesome

  • Radnally
    Radnally 17 дней назад

    It's interesting to see the variance in viewing volume between her different videos. Some have 50 to 300k views and some are way over 1m views.

  • Johnny Draco
    Johnny Draco 21 день назад

    I don't think he's being very honest. Did he say how much money he had when he came to Texas? NO.
    Open your eyes people. You need to start thinking out side the box. Look what he's driving= money. Do you think that the phone co. is going to run their phone line for nothing? NO.
    How much did he pay for his phone line? A lot.
    Do you think he can pick up any time he wants and move back to NY? Hell yes. He has the money to do so.
    In a nut shell, You need to have a lot of MONEY (like he has) to make that kind of a move.
    John Wells in my opinion is very dishonest.
    And furthermore, I bet he has rental property in NY that generate a lot of money for him each month.
    Don't be fooled people. Unless you have 100 to 200 thousand $ in your pocket you will never make it in Texas.

    • Johnny Draco
      Johnny Draco 10 дней назад

      Believe what you want, but remember it's only your opinion.

    • 1Howdy1
      1Howdy1 11 дней назад

      What's dishonest about it? A lot of people do it. Once you retire and have steady monthly income - you can live very cheaply out there. You better have some major skills, even with money. He probably lives very well on SS.

  • Dan McCoy
    Dan McCoy 21 день назад


  • dominic coughlan
    dominic coughlan 22 дня назад

    Great video and Kudos to the main Man...inspirational!!!

  • Himself Lee
    Himself Lee 23 дня назад

    Is there an update.

  • Himself Lee
    Himself Lee 23 дня назад

    I lived in the desert as a child. When you live there it does not seem so desolate. You notice things that others do not see. It gets in your soul. Still miss it.

  • Spaghetti Monster
    Spaghetti Monster 23 дня назад

    this is one of my favorites Kristen. I have come back to it more than once over the last couple years. Would like to know what he did with the trailers structure over the last 4 years. Keep up the good work.

  • No use for lazy people None.
    No use for lazy people None. 24 дня назад

    yeah,, Great, No Building we see old school buses, Shacks, junk cars, rotting Trailer Houses, etc. So sad to destroy the beautiful landscape of this desert area...just sad.

  • Dylan Baxter
    Dylan Baxter 24 дня назад

    Dunno if anyone's mentioned it yet, but his greenhouse design has fatal flaws. I might suggest a walipini instead with a cooling pipe buried adjacent. Should keep his space a reasonable temp year-round..

    • 1Howdy1
      1Howdy1 11 дней назад

      He joked, but I think he might have a root cellar or bunker. If those containers had been tarred, sealed, and buried he could take care of the year around thermal. He knows that from his slab foundation failure. I've thought that would be the most efficient way to live in the the high desert; basically live in a basement where the whole place had a glass ceiling. Solar panels on a chassis that would act as shutters to shade or roll away at night. Semi bury the greenhouse.

  • Enjoy!
    Enjoy! 24 дня назад

    SHIT............. dumb fuck got the CORPORATE DOGS on his ass now. I bet they have BULLDOZED IT by now.

  • My Reality
    My Reality 24 дня назад

    I want to know all the locations in the USA I can live free without building codes etc so I can choose where the best place to live is. Where would one find this info?

  • Cross & Cross Industrial Energy
    Cross & Cross Industrial Energy 24 дня назад

    that looks horrible.

  • Michael Strookman
    Michael Strookman 25 дней назад

    SO jealous!

  • Robert
    Robert 25 дней назад

    I lived in Texas, great state for scorpions, I've been stung several times, how come he didn't mention it? I bet the place is crawling with them!

  • Bob Crosby
    Bob Crosby 25 дней назад

    You do NOT need fans. If you build an insulated tower about 10 to 15 feet up much like a chimney . Then put a box with evaporative pads on all 4 sides of the box and set it on top of the chimney them pump the water to the pads it will cool the air the cold are is heavy and will drop down the chimney into your cabin and out if you want it more powerfill then a second tower that IS a chiny for warm air to go up you get even better down draft all convection only power is to pump water thus far far less power is needed.

  • philbarrance
    philbarrance 25 дней назад

    Watch ben fogles tv show about this guy very interesting

  • Horse237
    Horse237 26 дней назад

    Two thoughts: 1) You can get abandoned RVs cheap. Great if no building codes.
    2) A man grew food in North African deserts. Take sand and mix with red clay, compost and add mycorrhizal fungi and earthworms.

  • Brandon Anders
    Brandon Anders 26 дней назад

    He wasn’t kidding about that elevator. But it doesn’t go to a pool 😱😱😱😱

  • Logan Stroganoff
    Logan Stroganoff 26 дней назад

    My good friend bought one of those $500 dollar swamp coolers he mentions only to find out that in the northwest Florida humidity he basically had what amounted to a $500 box fan. He is correct,they absolutely don't work in high humidity areas!

  • steve turpin
    steve turpin 26 дней назад

    Very interesting and well edited....thanks for that.

  • Muchknowledge Greatersorrow
    Muchknowledge Greatersorrow 27 дней назад

    We all wish we could be as free as he is but we are caught in The Matrix.

  • C Eldredge
    C Eldredge 27 дней назад

    God awful

  • G Bear
    G Bear 27 дней назад

    Nice job! Great tour! New subscriber :-)

  • manu ochenta
    manu ochenta 27 дней назад

    In a place like that why not live underground for the heat and cold insulation and for those winds and also alot less work I m lazy so i would just hired someone to dig a hole to put either some containers or if the ground is firm enough just live underground. But all his ideas are interesting none the last.

  • Texas Yankee
    Texas Yankee 28 дней назад

    This quality of land would require about 600 acres of grazing land per head of cattle.
    Land still available for a few hundred dollars per acre.

  • David Vermillion
    David Vermillion 28 дней назад

    Somehow it reminds me of minecraft

  • doc hall
    doc hall 28 дней назад

    What a great education for your kids. No school can teach this. I was fortunate to travel the states when I was young. It really helps to know your country. And all the people.

  • doc hall
    doc hall 28 дней назад

    One thing about desert places like this is that the trash & scrap can accumulate quickly and the people never get rid of it. I've seen it everywhere.

  • doc hall
    doc hall 28 дней назад

    How do you make your money , Kirsten ? You must have a lot of liquid income to travel around this much. You're a go getter for sure !! Cool vids.

  • gary rimington
    gary rimington 28 дней назад

    That is a badass property and the greenhouse is amazing!!

  • Mark Allen
    Mark Allen 28 дней назад

    Nice escape from the race run by rats...(rat🐀🐁🐀🐁 race)..

  • typhoon320i
    typhoon320i 29 дней назад

    What a great story. I can relate to this guy.

  • w23857980
    w23857980 29 дней назад +1

    The earth version of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

  • James Truitt
    James Truitt 29 дней назад

    I like he is adding on an office, room, church and a church he used to go to.

  • Ken Ciolek
    Ken Ciolek Месяц назад

    this is a really nice video and He's a good host ...very interesting...

  • Ken Ciolek
    Ken Ciolek Месяц назад

    I love it ...nice and simple ...I'm pretty much dong the same thing in a friends basement.

  • Gilley Loranger
    Gilley Loranger Месяц назад

    That’s a beautiful place you have.I would love a place like this but my wife wouldn’t.

  • Chuck D
    Chuck D Месяц назад

    Building stage sets has no relation to building habitable spaces. Codes are written to prevent fools from harming themselves and others.

  • outbackeddie
    outbackeddie Месяц назад

    I'm not sure what I would do all day. If I had projects such as building a chicken coop, tending to livestock, shooting at illegal aliens, etc. that would keep me busy but otherwise I would go crazy.

  • Jay Reilly
    Jay Reilly Месяц назад +1

    Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
    I fell in love with a Mexican girl

    • jewando1
      jewando1 13 дней назад


    • Jay Reilly
      Jay Reilly 14 дней назад

      Lmfao that's verse 3 bro

    • jewando1
      jewando1 14 дней назад

      Jay Reilly what is her location so I can call ICE

  • Blue Mountain Edward
    Blue Mountain Edward Месяц назад

    Don't need more than 10 acres, do need a air conditioner. It can be 90 degrees in March 100 degrees in April. It would take a lot of solar panels to run a air conditioner. Plant those trees in the ground.

  • Tova H
    Tova H Месяц назад

    so bizarre, he left behind his cluttered life in ny to become a horder in the middle of the desert?

  • flyinhawaiian49
    flyinhawaiian49 Месяц назад

    "If there's no one to smell you, do you really stink?"...CLASSIC!!!

  • Robert Dodd
    Robert Dodd Месяц назад

    Can you get mail there? That's something that could be a limiting factor for me, I have to be able to get mail and Fedex/UPS. Do you have to pick up your mail somewhere else? Thanks. :)

  • Scarakus
    Scarakus Месяц назад

    if i had known you could get land that cheap, in such beautiful, and yet inhospitable country, i'd be there.
    'This is my house, all 128º of it...
    This is what you do; Start diggin, get yerself an under ground cool spot, the deeper ya go, the cooler it gets...

  • Konstantin Malcev
    Konstantin Malcev Месяц назад +1

    Man, you should dig a basement , it will be cool inside it and a little bit cooler in building you live in, in the one above the basement, huge basement with air exchange with building above will provide more stable temperature regime in building above, no extra high or extra low levels of temperature, it will establish some average level, more comfortable .

  • Uplift in Faith
    Uplift in Faith Месяц назад

    I want to hang out with this guy for a while! Wonderful! Can we get an update on his greenhouse?

  • Dave Boothney
    Dave Boothney Месяц назад +3

    I have my own land and I am homeless because of "Codes", Codes and property taxes are two of the most evil unconstitutional things in existence, rob a man of his home, his only castle, his place of solitude and solace

  • Victoria Woodland
    Victoria Woodland Месяц назад

    What a nice interesting man!

  • Josef Venport
    Josef Venport Месяц назад

    The best application for a container to live in at a location with low humidity would be to bury one in the side of a hill so it would not be an oven or an icebox.

  • Jake Williams
    Jake Williams Месяц назад

    I’m gonna surprise my wife with one of those bike peddle powered washing machines 🤓

  • Alexander Grover
    Alexander Grover Месяц назад +1

    You can use drip irrigation to water the plants and they will do ok in the shade setup. Plants will grow wherever there is water hitting their roots. (i.e. the Oasis in the desserts).

  • Brock Ary
    Brock Ary Месяц назад


  • Sketti Boi
    Sketti Boi Месяц назад

    yeah great quote: "places aren't lonely, only people are lonely."

  • Russell Cupples
    Russell Cupples Месяц назад

    Just put lawnmower style belt guards on your worsher (As you had it printed) Machine and it should work fine .

  • Robert
    Robert Месяц назад

    Thumbs up.

    KETAN RAMTEKE Месяц назад

    40 acres of land for mere $8K ??

    • Shawn R
      Shawn R Месяц назад

      Out there it takes much more land than that just to support ONE cow. Very little water, Very desolate. Beautiful in some ways. I love it out there. Spent last three years vacationing in that area. Big Bend National Park, Big Bend State Park, Davis Mountains State Park. Ft Davis, Alpine and Marfa are some neat places.

  • Future Hindsight
    Future Hindsight Месяц назад

    People that don't like codes are stupid!

    • Future Hindsight
      Future Hindsight Месяц назад

      Codes are for good reasons. Anybody that does't build to code is either stupid or lazy.

    • Toni Smith
      Toni Smith Месяц назад +1

      i have a solution for you then. it is called a jail. keep you nice and safe from every possible thing that could go wrong......short of corrupt officials

    • Future Hindsight
      Future Hindsight Месяц назад

      Go live in a cave.

    • Toni Smith
      Toni Smith Месяц назад +1

      people that want to force them on everyone are tyrants. put your codes where the sun dont shine

  • RadicalTerminator
    RadicalTerminator Месяц назад +1

    Back in the 1800`s one could just grab whatever land one wanted in the US & claim it as ones owns. Wish we could travel back in time to that era & grab lots & lots of land.

  • donald allen
    donald allen Месяц назад

    I wonder if he is still alive

  • Martin Babin
    Martin Babin Месяц назад

    Awesome place, but 1 question. 3.5 years later, how did the cooling for the fruit trees work?

  • the devil cried
    the devil cried Месяц назад

    very clever man,these idiots asking questions and filming don't get a clue at all you can tell by the way they react,speak,ect,
    they're just for the"evernt"of making a video for youtube,

  • Alan
    Alan Месяц назад

    Where's the dog?

  • Dreamingrightnow
    Dreamingrightnow Месяц назад

    I'm so curious what he pays in taxes on that land and if, and how much, the outbuildings add to the taxes. Anybody know?

  • txflyguy007
    txflyguy007 Месяц назад

    I did some flying around that part of the country couple years ago nice part of Texas

  • Chlorophant
    Chlorophant Месяц назад

    This is some hills have eyes shit right here

  • Lyles 🐢
    Lyles 🐢 Месяц назад

    3 years later, I wonder what it looks there now.

  • Teddles Peddles
    Teddles Peddles Месяц назад

    I couldn't live like this without a girl.🦂

  • Dennis Earle
    Dennis Earle Месяц назад +1

    Those plants you got need the bugs for pollination. You need a couple of bee hives as well. The problem with indoor green houses is pollination bees would solve that.

  • Merelle Main
    Merelle Main Месяц назад +2

    The American dream is NOT suppose to kill you to pay for for what you have,... but rather reward you for what you are doing now!
    Regardless of what we have been taught, the American dream is FREEDOM!, and freedom alone, not government or bills to make someone else rich.

  • Martin Dodds
    Martin Dodds Месяц назад

    Every evening put your chickens in the dog house, lock em in , do it for week, after that they will go in every evening, also they will lay eggs in there, right now they are laying eggs all over the place.your inviting snakes and other critters.

  • Gregory Sylvan
    Gregory Sylvan Месяц назад

    Oh and the phone both, love that one

  • Gregory Sylvan
    Gregory Sylvan Месяц назад

    WOW what a great place, job well done, two thumbs up

  • Big Dan
    Big Dan 2 месяца назад +9

    I've watched this video twice now.. I lived in the middle of nowhere in northern california for 20 years with dialup until satellite became a thing, what a ripoff that was! The deciding factor in moving was being over an hour from town it was poor health and the fact that half the neighbors sold their homes to pot growers. Even though I was on the back side of 40 acres the smell of weed permeated our home every fall. When we started seeing asian people hiking up into our property and above it packing in supplies and a couple of shootings happened where people were stealing crops we decided enough was enough. We sold the place to growers who came in and bulldozed flat areas all over the mountainside and put in 100 planters, which is the same thing all the other neighbors had in their yards (Google Earth tells all!)
    So I left the desert and headed to the east coast to NC and found a happy acre just outside of town and a beautiful 120 year old home in great shape that needed all new plumbing and gas lines repaired.. 12' ceilings and more room than we know what to do with.. But the best part is the 50Mb cable and 5 people streaming movies and doing whatever they want anytime they want. A/C runs us an extra $200 a month and I'm working on putting wood stove inserts into two of the fireplaces. We get 2+ inches of rain every month of the year. I don't have to water my garden after the first month. We don't have to heat the house until the end of November and we plant the garden in March.
    I spent the first half of my life as a city kid, spent the 2nd half as a hermit.. Now I'm ready to try a little of both. We lucked out and have 4 old growth pecan trees and a black walnut. I've planted peaches as my first trees thus far and I'm looking forward to getting apples, figs, and maybe some oranges if I'm lucky and a dozen others I can't even think of right now. I've planted a strawberry patch, several blueberries, and over 100 asparagus..
    Everything is green.. property tax is dirt cheap.. an acre is more land than I know what to do with.. I could plant 200 fruit trees here and still have room for all the veggies I want to grow.. I've never mowed so much grass in my life! I'm 5 minutes from everything and the only things I can't do anymore is walk around my yard naked and shoot my gun. In fact there are a lot more freedoms here than we had back in communist california. And everything is cheaper. From milk to gas to.. well.. liquor isn't cheaper lol vehicle registration is amazing. I can do any engine swap I want and no one cares. No emissions testing! Building codes are lax in my county. They basically don't care unless I'm adding on or building a new building. Gas required a permit for inspection and all the guy did was look at the pressure guage and see that it held so many psi for 15 mins.
    I've talked to one of my neighbors twice in 2 years, the other one I haven't even met. It took a little while to get used to sirens and the occasional hot rodder drift racing at 3am lol I almost feel more isolated here in the city than I did back on the mountain. Although it is really nice being 2 minutes from the local grocery store, gas station, like 7 fast food joints including two kinds of bbq, like a 10 minute walk.
    We mostly work because we want to. $200 from each person holds down the fort and covers the basic food staples. Anything else we want we just get it. People post free firewood every week year round and then come winter everyone is scrambling to buy it and the wood guys never answer phones or return calls or texts.. I used to make a living off cutting firewood, but we had to drive up into the mountains and hunt for it. Here most of it is already cut up and ready to load! City folk are too soft apparently.
    Back on the mountain every time I took a trip to town I put $80+ in fuel in the truck. Here I fill up once every 2-3 weeks. On the hill I paid $130 a month for satellite internet. Here I pay $50 for 10 times as much with no data cap. When I left California 2 years ago diesel was $4.49 a gallon, about half way across the country diesel was $1.57, and it was $1.79 when I landed in NC and has been hovering around $2-$2.50 since.
    idk what else to say.. I could go on for hours about how hard it is to live in the middle of nowhere, and compare the benefits to living in town. I mean this guy went to some crazy extremes.. From Gotham city taxes to mad max hermit.. You don't have to go that far. Play around with zillow and look for all the homes over $100 and under $10,000. Not only will you find land EVERYWHERE cheap, but you can find TONS of fixer upper cabins in town with enough land for anyone to get started planting trees and building a garden. Give that home some love, maybe a new roof, lots of paint, a custom kitchen.. Counters can be covered in epoxy like some Jackson Pollock painting or flat tile, or mosaic.. You can cover ANYTHING with food grade epoxy so your artistic talent is your only hindrance. A few years of love can turn a $10,000 cabin into a $50,000 retreat that will sell in a heartbeat when you're ready to move on to the next project! Do that a couple times and you can have anything you want.
    The sky is the limit. Live within your means. ALWAYS save money every paycheck. And go be where you want to be.

    • Jalen R
      Jalen R 9 дней назад

      Buckleberry Ferry what a doucher

    • Big Dan
      Big Dan 10 дней назад

      Yep. Californians are the redheaded stepchildren of the west coast.

    • Kman
      Kman 14 дней назад +1

      Buckleberry Ferry Your comment shows exactly the type of person you are, an asshole! "people like you..." Good grief, SMH. Looks to me like Dan made a good move getting away from folks such as yourself!

    • Kman
      Kman 14 дней назад

      Thanks Big Dan!

    • Buckleberry Ferry
      Buckleberry Ferry 15 дней назад

      You don’t know what else to say? I don’t know why you had to write a novella explaining yourself on someone else’s video. And those of us on the west coast are thrilled when people like you move to NC. Stay there.

  • Grant Sipos
    Grant Sipos 2 месяца назад

    This guy reminds me of one of my desert neighbors

  • 2nd A
    2nd A 2 месяца назад

    That's lonely. Interesting, but the interiors look like shit.He needs to bury a gun-safe.

  • Stealth ExpressVan
    Stealth ExpressVan 2 месяца назад

    Another great interview

  • bob Last
    bob Last 2 месяца назад

    Doesn’t need much water because he doesn’t shower much. Looks like he eats beans as his main diet. Craps in a bucket with pallet walls. Must not ever get horned! What a crap lifestyle!

  • digitalmorgan
    digitalmorgan 2 месяца назад

    "If there's no one there to smell you, do you really stink?"

  • Romeo Frankenstein
    Romeo Frankenstein 2 месяца назад

    Now show us the spot where he buries the hikers.

  • 222Lightning
    222Lightning 2 месяца назад +1

    When I was young I thought cities and being around people was the most awesome thing. Now I could live like he does but I'd rather be in a Appalachia Mtn setting. Just do my thing and enjoy the open space. It would take money though. That's the problem! When I go places now that are secluded like a park hiking area I cringe when I have to pass people....I'm like "put on a friendly smile...say hello" but really I can't stand being around people anymore.

    • Toni Smith
      Toni Smith Месяц назад

      know well how you feel. i am working towards it

  • wes cadmore
    wes cadmore 2 месяца назад


  • Catherine Watson
    Catherine Watson 2 месяца назад

    Wow this guy is fantastic!

  • arne s
    arne s 2 месяца назад

    Future after Trump hi.