Expanding Our Off-Grid Property

We are now two and a half years into our off-grid adventure in the magnificent Big Bend of Texas — and we could not be happier. Dos Arbolitos, our off-grid property, is good medicine for us. The nine-hour drive no longer seems so long knowing that each mile takes us closer to our cabin and the opportunity to breathe in soul-refreshing vistas.

Earlier this year we purchased the five acre tract adjacent to the north side of our property, giving us a 10-acre footprint in the Big Bend Valley of Terlingua Ranch. I met another property owner down the road who agreed that the plus of our location is the visual access to million dollar views.
The first thing I did after filing our paperwork at the Brewster County Clerk’s office was to arrange to have the tract surveyed. Once the survey was completed, I made a trip to the cabin to check the survey monuments and to take down a 100+ year-old fence running across the property.

The old fence was still standing strong, even after all these years. Remarkably, the slender cedar posts were still as solid (and fragrant) as the day they were put into the ground. I rolled up the old barbed wire and cut the rusted field fence into 10-foot panels. We may use this old material in the future, possibly to make some gabion walls.


Once I removed the old fence, I put cedar posts at the northern corners of the new tract. I wrapped these with orange tape to make it easier to see them from a distance and to get a better sense of the property. I then stretched fluorescent mason’s line from corner to corner. This enabled me see the new fence line and get an idea about what I will need to clear to prepare for fencing.

The next step was to set the corner braces and midway brace on the west side of the new tract. Cheryl and I added cedar posts and cross braces and tamped them in place.


The final step was to tension the braces with barbless cable. This will add strength to the fence and take the strain off the t-posts when we add and stretch the field fencing and barbed wire.

On our next trip I will add the cedar posts interspersed with t-posts along this side of the property. The final step will be to add the field fence topped with a strand of barbed wire. Then we will repeat this whole process two more times to complete the fencing.

The good thing is that we can add the new fence a side at a time and without getting in a rush. Even though the work is hard, there is something very satisfying about fencing. The whole process is stress-relieving and enjoyable.

This past weekend the Jackass Flats Improvement Association sponsored a fun event at the Little Burro Country Store location. Cheryl and I took a break and visited with local artists, heard some good music, and met new friends. We also bought a couple of art pieces for the cabin that we will enjoy for a long time.

We look forward to our next visit to the cabin and the wide open spaces that have captured our hearts. Thanks for following our adventure.

8 thoughts on “Expanding Our Off-Grid Property

  1. this is awesome…I just shared with my nephew. I’m in WVa….he and his wife are renovating a house built in 1806; land surveyed by George Washington (they have the documented signature)… I learned to put up shiplap…helped make a tv stand out of walnut trees cut from the property…. Cheryl…we will have to share stories when I get home.

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  2. What you’re doing out there is just amazing! I imagine that a lot of us wish we could do the same thing. Age and arthritis has limited the fulfillment of some of my dreams, but I can still enjoy those of people like you, if only vicariously! Just curious – why fencing? Do you plan to have livestock on the land in the future, or is there something now that you need to keep out?

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    • Hi Lanni,

      We are definitely enjoying the adventure. Cheryl and I decided to fence our property for a couple of reasons. First, because we are only there a few times a year and it adds a small measure of security. No crime to speak of but just trying to keep honest people honest. Our nearest neighbor also drives by our place every day.

      The second reason is to keep critters out and to give Biscuit, our little dog, safe access to the property. She loves visiting the cabin and running free without a leash. There are javalinas, coyotes, and a few other critters that would love to snack on Biscuit (with or without gravy). Thus, the fence.

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